Ignatieff says Trudeau comments expose east-west tensions

ichael Ignatieff address the guest at the 9th annual Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Conference at the Westin Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday, November 22, 2012.



EDMONTON - Following recently surfaced anti-Alberta comments by Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau, former party leader Michael Ignatieff said east and west need to get rid of their "prejudices."

Trudeau has since apologized for the comments - made in an interview two years ago in which he said Canada was struggling because Alberta continues to control the agenda and there should be more Quebecers in power.

Ignatieff said all politicians put a foot in their mouth at some point, himself included. But he did say that the comments are part of a long-standing east-west tension,

"When I was in politics, I used to say - and this didn't make me popular in Ontario - the whole centre of gravity in Canada has shifted west to Saskatchewan, Alberta, and B.C.," Ignatieff said during a Trudeau Foundation event in Edmonton Friday.

"Alberta is as diverse, multicultural, environmentally progressive, and as socially progressive as the rest of the country. We've got to get rid all of our prejudices against each other. The East has bad feelings about the West, the West has bad feelings about the East - and all of it is about 40 years out of date."

The comments come as the Liberals aim to steal a seat in Calgary during a federal byelection Monday.

"It's pretty obvious that Albertans are looking for an alternative. The polls are saying that there are many more people against the Conservative Party than are for it, and that's a huge development in this province," Ignatieff said.

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