UCP Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre candidate Jason Nixon is seen during a news conference in Calgary,, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Comments on energy sector from NDP candidate raise ire of United Conservatives

The United Conservative Party is demanding an apology from an NDP candidate for comments he made in a 2021 book about Alberta’s energy sector.

“Wild Roses are Worth It: Reimagining the Alberta Advantage” by Livingstone-Macleod candidate Kevin Van Tighem is described as a collection of provocative, personal and thoughtful essays.

Jason Nixon, UCP Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre candidate, said Friday that in the book Van Tighem calls Albertans angry, entitled rednecks and resource exploiters.

Nixon added that Van Tighem also compares the province’s energy industry to slavery and energy workers to slaves.

Van Tighem, who is also a conservationist, said in a statement on Twitter that “everybody’s insights evolve.”

“I’ve been talking to hundreds of people in this province. People in Alberta rely on oil and gas,” he wrote. “We need to build a future where we maximize its value to our economy.”

“Oil was a vital part of our past; it will be a vital part of our future.”

On Friday, United Conservative Leader Danielle Smith was in Grande Prairie, Alta., in her role as premier for an emergency cabinet update on wildfires.

She was to tour the fire zone and hold strategy meetings with local officials and Indigenous leaders.