An Alberta NDP MLA has been criticized for remarks he made in the Legislative Assembly critical of another MLA’s origin.
Marlin Schmidt, the NDP environment critic, appeared to ridicule Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda’s birthplace with a crass question in the Legislature on November 21, 2019.
“The member from wherever the hell he’s from, the Minister of Infrastructure,” Schmidt said to the Speaker.
Panda who is originally from India took offence to the question.
“It’s true, I was born in India. Like hundreds of thousands of others, I chose to make Alberta – the greatest place on earth – my home. It’s my honour and privilege to represent the residents of Calgary Edgemont as their MLA,“ Panda tweeted in response.
Schmidt apologized in the Legislature for his use of unparliamentary language.
Schmidt’s comment has been heavily criticized on social media, with videos of his statement receiving hundreds of retweets.
In the past, Notley and NDP MLAs have accused UCP leader and Premier Jason Kenney of racism and prejudice, saying Kenney has a history of “mixed signals and dog-whistle politics.”
“Kenney’s UCP party has failed to demonstrate that racism has no place in public debate,” the NDP writes on the NDP website.
Notley has not disciplined Schmidt or addressed the controversy publicly.
UCP MLA Kaycee Madu, himself an immigrant from Nigeria, claimed that Schmidt has also made derogatory comments towards him in the past.
True North reached out to Schmidt and the Alberta NDP but has not received a response.