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Former Alberta NDP candidate suspended by employer after calling Fort McMurray fire ‘karmic’

UPDATE: Friday, May 6 at 10:50 p.m.: The Town of Taber Council unanimously approved a resolution to suspend Moffat indefinitely pending an investigation into comments he made on social media.

LETHBRIDGE – A former NDP candidate is under fire for a tweet he made suggesting the Fort McMurray wildfire was karma.

Tom Moffatt tweeted out Tuesday evening that the current state of the oil and gas town is no coincidence, calling it “Karmic #climatechange”. He also used the hashtag #FeelTheBern in the post.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: Alberta government declares provincial state of emergency

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Many on social media were outraged by Moffat’s comment, as they felt he was being insensitive to the emergency situation going on in Fort McMurray.

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READ MORE: ‘It’s like Armageddon here’: Fort McMurray resident who stayed in town during fire describes city

Moffatt, who ran as a provincial NDP candidate in Lethbridge-East, said his comments were taken out of context.

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“That wasn’t my intent when I said karmic, I was thinking of a bigger type of spiritual event, sort of a planet-wide karma, not an individual blame of people,” he explained.

“I did get the impression that I was seeing something karmic going on, because the largest polluting area in Canada is being affected by the largest climate change event in Canada’s history.”

He said in no way did he wish any harm or bad will on the people of Fort McMurray, who are in a state of emergency.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire: Evacuees staying in work camps, homes and temporary shelters around Alberta

 Moffatt’s employer, the Town of Taber, said they don’t support his comments:

“A recent post made by a town employee on a personal account in no way reflects the Town’s views on this terrible tragedy. Employee’s views and opinions in no way reflect the views of the Town. The Town of Taber apologizes unreservedly. We are discussing this matter with the employee.”

The board of the Lethbridge Public Library, where he volunteers, also said “his view on the Fort McMurray fire, does not in any manner reflect the view of the Lethbridge Public Library Board or the Lethbridge Public Library staff or volunteers.”

Moffat ran in the 2008 and 2012 Alberta election for the Lethbridge-East riding, but was never officially elected. He remains a member of the NDP.

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READ MORE: Fort McMurray fire forces temporary closure of Shell oilsands project