Conservatives in hot water over Nelson Mandela comments

Some conservatives in Canada got into trouble Friday over remembering Nelson Mandela.

The communications staff for the Office of the Premier of Alberta (@ABPremierComms) were the first to come under fire when a staffer used the Office's twitter account to call a critic of the government's new anti-labour laws "a truly disgusting human being."

Activist Michael Connolly got things started when he tweeted that watching Alberta Premier Alison Redford speak "of the wonder that was Nelson Mandela while her gov't is taking away rights of AB unionists hurts."

Mandela was a fierce supporter of trade unions and workers' rights, one among many left-wing causes for which he fought during his long fight to tear down South Africa's apartheid regime. 

The new labour laws in Alberta, passed just this week by Redford's Progressive Conservative government, strip the right of members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees to arbitration. Going forward, provincial employees also "won't even be able to talk about a strike or a disruptive labour action that could be seen as leading to a strike."

@ABPremierComms replied to Connolly on Twitter on Thursday night, saying "you are a truly disgusting human being." By Friday, the tweet had been deleted. An apology followed. "We apologize for a poorly worded tweet last night. It was sent in error."

Just as the Premier's Office in Alberta was extricating itself from its misstep, Conservative MP Rob Anders stepped forward. Anders was the lone MP to oppose giving Mandela an honorary Canadian citizenship in 2001.

In response to a request from CBC News requesting his comment about Mandela's death, the Alberta MP emailed his response, saying he wishes peace for the people of South Africa. He didn't stop there.

"If you are looking for another perspective you may be interested in the obituary that David Horowitz wrote for the Freedom Centre," Anders emailed.

The obituary penned by Horowitz reads that, "Mandela began as a terrorist and never turned his back on monsters like Arafat and Castro, whom he considered brothers in arms.

"But if a leader should be judged by his works, the country Mandela left behind is an indictment of his political career, not an achievement worthy of praise – let alone the unhinged adoration he is currently receiving across the political spectrum."

Photo: United Auto Workers Ford Department Facebook page

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