Canada is in trouble because Albertans are running the country, said Justin Trudeau in a two-year-old interview unearthed by Sun News.
The French language interview was conducted by Patrick Lagace on the Tele-Quebec program Les francs-tireurs (The Sharp Shooters) in Nov. 2010.
"Canada isn't doing well right now because it's Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn't work," Trudeau told Lagace, who then asked the Liberal leadership forerunner if he thought Canada was "better served when there are more Quebecers in charge than Albertans?"
"I'm a Liberal, so of course I think so, yes. Certainly when we look at the great prime ministers of the 20th century, those that really stood the test of time, they were MPs from Quebec... This country - Canada - it belongs to us."
Public reaction to Trudeau's comment has been swift, with many on social media channels launching pointed attacks at the Liberal contender.
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A statement released by Trudeau's camp answered by saying the comments are being taken out of context by conservatives fearful of a Liberal win in the Calgary Centre by-election on Monday, CTVs Power Play reported.
Until now, the Liberals and the Tories were in a statistical dead heat in the race for Calgary Centre.
"The conservatives are taking out of context statements made years ago in a long interview. They are clearly concerned they are losing the by-election in Calgary Centre and are resorting to smear campaigns to stop their slide," Power Play reports.
"Justin knows that Calgary, Alberta and all of western Canada are at the very heart of Canada's future.. We need to get beyond the divisive politics of the Conservatives and include all Canadians."
Reacting to Trudeau's comments on Power Point, senior MP and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the opposition MP's statements must serve as a reminder of what he says is at the heart of the Liberal Party's psyche.
"This was the same Liberal Party that brought in the long arm registry and wouldn't let farmers have the freedom to sell their own wheat and bashed the Alberta energy industry at every opportunity, Kenney said in the interview.
"This is not a one-off, this is not just a lapse in judgement, this I think really reflects the core idea that the Liberal Party has towards Alberta."
Trudeau's tone towards Alberta and Alberta politicians this week has been markedly different from what is portrayed in the interview, with him distancing himself Tuesday from an assertion by his party's natural resources critic that Alberta Tories have a protectionist, provincial view of energy policies.
Asked at a campaign appearance in Edmonton what he thought of reported remarks by David McGuinty, Trudeau would not comment directly but stressed his priority is national unity.
"My entire campaign has been about bringing people together, about not pitting region against region and about being a strong representative and a voice that says the same thing in Chicoutimi as we say in downtown Calgary as I'll say in Toronto as I'll say in B.C.," said Trudeau.
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