NEWS

#PrenticeBlamesAlbertans outrage fuels hand-mirror rally at Legislature

03/07/2015 05:12 EST | Updated 05/07/2015 05:59 EDT
More than 100 people carrying mirrors of all shapes and sizes gathered on the steps of the Alberta Legislature Saturday, demanding Premier Jim Prentice account for comments stating Albertans "need only look in the mirror" to see those responsible for the province's financial mess.

“They’re the ones who created the problems,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, which helped organize the event.

“We’re here to hold up a mirror so we can show the people in that building who the real culprits are, and that is the [Progressive] Conservatives are themselves."

Speaking with CBC’s alberta@noon earlier this week about Alberta’s finances, Prentice said "in terms of who is responsible, we need only look in the mirror. Basically, all of us have had the best of everything and have not had to pay for what it costs."

The comments sparked outrage from many in the province, with many mocking the comments under the hashtag #PrenticeBlamesAlbertans.

That frustration gave birth to the rally Saturday. Many of those who gathered on the legislature grounds said they took Prentice's comments personally. 

“When I hear I’m blamed for the economic situation in the province, it irritates me just slightly," said Gary Hansen.

Hansen said Prentice is ignoring the sacrifices that many Albertans have already had to make. As a teacher, he said his wage has been frozen for the past three years and said the PC government has "mismanaged" the province's finances. 

“We need to point out fingers at the legislature, and not at the average Albertans."

Electrician Michael Twerdochlib said he was angered by Prentice's comments, considering the premier has ruled out raising corporate taxes to help deal with the shortfall. 

"It's time to share the load, and not just on our backs as regular Albertans, " he said. "How about sharing the wealth?"

He said the province's needs to look at raising royalty rates for oil-and-gas resources. 

Prentice has not backed away from the comments, but has said he never said Albertans caused the problem, but instead had to be "part of the solution."

Other Tory MLAs have said the comments were taken out of context, while Alberta’s opposition parties have demanded Prentice apologize for the comments.

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