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Deborah Drever says ‘attempt at humour backfired,’ vows to serve as MLA

CALGARY – Controversial Calgary MLA Deborah Drever, who was suspended from the NDP caucus on Friday, says her “flippant attempt at humour backfired” in a statement posted to her Facebook page on Tuesday.

“I would like to acknowledge certain images that were captured from my social media accounts. I understand why they are problematic, and I am sorry that my actions were hurtful,” reads the post on Drever’s account.

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Premier-elect Rachel Notley announced Drever’s suspension on Friday after reviewing an offensive photograph Drever posted to her Instagram account over a year ago.

The photo shows PC interim leader Ric McIver and Jim Prentice, and Drever commented “Gay boyz” underneath.

Drever homophobic remarks
Calgary-Bow MLA Deborah Drever was suspended from the NDP caucus after posting a photo containing homophobic remarks. Instagram

“I want to stress in the strongest possible terms that my comment was never intended to convey an insult to LGBTQI* people,” wrote Drever on Tuesday. “I also want to make it perfectly clear that I know now that my intent doesn’t matter. When it comes to discriminatory language or actions, intent is irrelevant when it causes harm to another person or persons.”

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Drever said she has long stood as an ally with LGBTQI* activists and she deeply regrets her comment.

“My flippant attempt at humour backfired and I sincerely apologize to my constituents and to all Albertans for that. I am also sorry that I was the source of significant distraction from what should have been a time of celebration for Premier Notley and the NDP caucus. I appreciate the Premier’s past advice and will live up to the expectations she has set out for me over the coming months.”

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On Friday, Notley apologized on behalf of Drever for the “homophobic statements” made by the newly elected MLA, and said she hopes the young student will take to a heart a conversation the two had “about her responsibility to speak out clearly on issues of violence against women and homophobia.” Notley said she would review the suspension in the coming year and decide whether Drever might return to the NDP caucus.

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Drever currently sits as an independent in the legislature.

“I intend to serve as the MLA for Calgary-Bow, as I was elected to do, and I will sit as an Independent MLA,” said Drever in her Facebook post. “I am ready to work hard to ensure my constituents are well represented and I will continue to promote the core NDP values of inclusion and fairness upon which I ran.”

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Read her full Facebook post below: