New Democrats bash Bennett back

Earlier, we exclusively reported Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Bill Bennett had described a tourism operator in his constituency as having "bigoted" and "ignorant" opinions. This, after the operator wrote an email criticizing the minister for talking more about coalbed methane development than the tourism industry. In an interview with Public Eye, Minister Bennett was unapologetic about making those statements, which were part of a message sent to the Fernie Chamber of Commerce's president. But the New Democrats are demanding Premier Gordon Campbell tell his "tourism minister that enough is enough. British Columbians deserve a tourism minister who will work with the ndustry to help create jobs and welcome visitors to this province, not an arrogant minister who attacks anyone who disagrees with him." The following is a complete copy of the opposition's news release.

REALITY CHECK

Feb. 5, 2009

CAMPBELL'S TOURISM MINISTER ATTACKS A TOURISM OPERATOR. AGAIN.

In an email, Tourism Minister Bill Bennett called a Fernie tourism operator "bigoted" and "ignorant" after he expressed disappointment with a recent speech by the minister.

It begs the question: is someone so thin-skinned and undiplomatic that he responds to differences of opinion with outright personal attacks really the right person to be laying out the welcome mat for visitors?

After being confronted about the email, the minister actually defended his statement, saying "I'm a street fighter" (www.publiceyeonline.com).

And this isn't the first time Bennett has been caught sending unprofessional emails.

He had to resign from cabinet in 2007 after writing an email to the president of the local rod and gun club that said, "It is my understanding that you are an American, so I don't give a shit what your opinion is on Canada or Canadian residents."

Is the minister so arrogant and out of touch that he thinks this is acceptable? It's time for Gordon Campbell to tell his tourism minister that enough is enough.

British Columbians deserve a tourism minister who will work with the industry to help create jobs and welcome visitors to this province, not an arrogant minister who attacks anyone who disagrees with him.

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