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.