Premier orders chief of staff to apologize over tweet

Premier Alison Redford has ordered her chief of staff Stephen Carter to apologize for a tweet he made on Tuesday night about the president of the Alberta Association of Urban Municipalities, Linda Sloan.
Premier Alison Redford told the legislature on Wednesday that she has ordered her chief of staff to apologize for his remarks about Linda Sloan on Twitter. (CBC)

Premier Alison Redford has ordered her chief of staff Stephen Carter to apologize for a tweet he made on Tuesday about the president of the Alberta Urban Municipalties Association, Linda Sloan.

"I was made aware of these comments about an hour ago," Redford said during Wednesday's question period in response to Liberal Leader Raj Sherman's demand to fire Carter.

AUMA president Linda Sloan suggested last week municipalities are funded based on how they vote. (CBC)

"I have said publicly that I do not condone the comments and I have already directed my chief of staff to apologize directly for them Mr. Speaker."

Later in the afternoon, Carter indicated on Twitter that he had sent an apology to Sloan: "I have sent a note to the AUMA president apologizing for my inappropriate language."

Sloan, who is also an Edmonton city councillor and former Liberal MLA, sparked a political firestorm this week with comments she reportedly made in a newspaper story.

In a weekend article in the Edmonton Sun, Sloan suggested municipalities are funded based on how they vote. She made simliar remarks in an editorial for the Calgary Herald in December.

That prompted Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths to fire off a letter to Sloan expressing his "extreme disappointment" and calling her comments "deliberately inflammatory and erroneous" and "patently untrue."

He said Conservative MLAs would boycott the AUMA breakfast on Thursday unless she apologized and retracted her statements.

But Carter went further on social media, tweeting on Tuesday:  "Let's be clear, Linda Sloan didn't just criticize the budget, she lied. Maliciously."

On Wednesday, it appeared the government softened its stance. Griffiths says he's encouraged members of the Tory caucus to attend the AUMA event.

"I know that they will. They're very excited to see their municipal councils, discuss what the issues are going forward, that's what they want the attention and the focus to be" he said. "So they'll be in attendance."

Griffiths and Sloan have spoken since he sent the letter. He said Sloan told him that she didn't make the remarks. Sloan has not yet responded to interview requests from CBC News. She is expected to make a statement at Thursday's AUMA breakfast.

Sherman also called on Redford to order Griffiths to either apologize to Sloan or resign. But Redford says she stands by Griffiths' comments.


With files from The Canadian Press