'Eating cheesies and watching cartoons': UCP MLA under fire for comments on benefit recipients
EDMONTON -- Alberta's Official Opposition is calling for a government MLA to apologize for comments he made about those receiving the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.
The Alberta NDP shared video of UCP MLA Shane Getson speaking at a public event.
"They make more on CERB, eating cheesies and watching cartoons I guess," Getson said in the video. He also said the money was being used to fuel drug addictions.
"Now all of a sudden you've got that population that's got that extra cash."
In a statement to CTV News Edmonton Tuesday night, Getson said his remarks were taken out of context. “Clearly, the vast majority of recipients of government support truly need it. At the same time, some legitimate concerns have been raised about these programs that cannot be ignored.”
Opposition MLA Christina Gray called the comments "absolutely vile" saying the statement was "baseless and harmful."
In his statement Getson went on to say, “according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, CERB was the number one reason cited by small business owners for their inability to recall workers. And according to Ottawa Inner City Health, CERB is fueling overdoses in Canada’s capital city.”
The premier's office said it had no comment, noting Getson planned to address the issue directly.
Getson was elected in 2019 as MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland.
More than one million Albertans accessed the CERB since it was created in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The UCP confirmed in May that it applied for the federal wage subsidy to help pay its staff.