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Pallister calls comments 'abhorrent'

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Opposition Leader Brian Pallister today called comments made last week by the former president of his political party’s youth wing as "wrong", "unacceptable" and "abhorrent."

"What he said was unacceptable certainly I think to any thinking Manitoban," Pallister said. "These are not an expression of the views of the PC Party of Manitoba nor of mine."

Braydon Mazurkiewich made online comments last week following a federal court decision on claims made by several First Nations on the former Kapyong military base on Kensaton Boulevard in Winnipeg. The urban reserve planned for the Kapyong site is intended to be a mix of residential and commercial development to create jobs for First Nations who are still owed land from Treaty One signed in 1871.

Mazurkiewich said on Twitter and Facebook that he was upset about a planned urban reserve on the former base that was designed for the "hard-working men and women of the military, not free-loading Indians.''

Within hours PC Party president Ryan Matthews had requested and received Mazurkiewich’s resignation.

Pallister said that was the proper course to take as it followed internal party rules. He declined to offer an apology as leader on behalf of the entire party because Mazurkiewich was speaking as an individual and not for the party. He also declined to immediately strip Mazurkiewich of his party membership as such an action would have to be made by the party following proper channels.

"It was dealt with in the constitutionally correct way for the party, a respectful way, and I think it sent a powerful and clear message, because it was dealt with so effectively and so quickly, that this is just not acceptable conduct for people who take, whether volunteers or not, who take positions of office within the Progressive Conservatives of Manitoba," Pallister said.

"On a personal level, it deeply distresses me that people think the way that his comments reflected."

Mazurkiewich issued an apology for his comments though an online news site via Twitter Wednesday night.

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs later cancelled a meeting with the Progressive Conservatives and demanded a full public apology to First Nations. The PCs have said they were initially told the meeting was cancelled because Nepinak was in Ottawa.

Nepinak said in a letter last week to Pallister that Mazurkiewich's ouster was nothing more than political correctness.

Pallister’s office says it’s attempting to reschedule the meeting.

History

Updated on Friday, December 21, 2012 at 7:08 AM CST: corrects spellings of Braydon and Pallister

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