Tory MP sorry for calling unemployed 'no-good bastards'
Published Tuesday, November 24, 2009 9:53PM EST
Conservative MP Gerald Keddy has apologized for saying unemployed Haligonians are "no-good bastards" because they won't work on Christmas tree farms.
"I would like to offer a sincere apology for remarks I made regarding the unemployed in Halifax. These comments were insensitive, and for that I am truly sorry," Keddy, who owns a Christmas tree farm, said Tuesday in the House of Commons.
"In no way did I mean to offend those who have lost their job due to the global recession, nor did I mean to suggest that anyone who is unemployed is not actively looking for employment."
There are more than a dozen tree farm operations in Nova Scotia's Annapolis valley, and many hire migrant workers from Mexico.
According to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the "bastards" remark came Monday after Keddy was asked whether he had ever hired migrant workers.
He replied that his family-owned operation does not, but about 20 Christmas tree growers in the area do hire migrant workers because they have no choice.
"Nova Scotians won't do it -- all those no-good bastards sitting on the sidewalk in Halifax that can't get work," Mr. Keddy said.
His comments came on the 20th anniversary of an all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty.
New Germany, N.S.-based tree farmer Jim DeLong told CTV Atlantic he uses local labour, but that the work isn't for everyone.
"Sure it's a great way to make a living, but it's not what a lot of people choose, and not a lot of people say, 'I hope my children pick vegetables for a living,'" he said.