A United Conservative Party Leadership candidate is under fire, after he was recorded using an offensive term in an interview.

Brian Jean was being interviewed Wednesday afternoon in Drayton Valley, when he was asked by a reporter to comment on Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard’s support of Bombardier, following drastic tariffs imposed on the company by the U.S., and his opposition of the Energy East pipeline.

“They don’t believe in Energy East, they would rather support a dictator and his abusive system to the people that he controls, rather than good clean Alberta energy, it is ridiculous and retarded,” Jean said in an audio clip distributed by the website RDNewsNow.

On Thursday, Education Minister David Eggen responded to the comment.

“That’s a pretty, you know, schoolyard diplomacy, that I think doesn’t forward our position as Albertans at all, really,” Eggen said. “If he uses that kind of language in public, how does he talk…in general to his colleagues in private? I find that to be an illuminating little glimpse into Brian Jean.”

The NDP Caucus released a statement Thursday, demanding Jean apologize for using the word.

“This word is offensive. It hurts people, and Mr. Jean should have known to remove this word from his vocabulary by now. But this is always the level the UCP sinks to when they throw around insults,” St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud said in a statement. “Insulting other Premiers is no way to get pipelines built.”

On Thursday, Jean apologized for the comment on Twitter.



Jean and the three other UCP leadership candidates are slated for a debate in Edmonton Thursday.

Jason Kenney, Doug Schweitzer, Jeff Callaway and Jean will debate at the Expo Centre. Their first debate was held last week in Calgary.

Party members will vote October 28.