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UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean apologizes for ‘regretful word choice’

Click to play video 'UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean apologizes for ‘retarded’ remark' UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean apologizes for ‘retarded’ remark
WATCH ABOVE: United Conservative Party leadership candidate Brian Jean apologized for using the word "retarded" during an interview about Quebec and Bombardier.

United Conservative Party leadership candidate Brian Jean apologized for his choice of words when discussing Quebec’s position on Bombardier.

In an interview with rdnewsNOW, Jean said Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard’s call for the federal government to stand up against American tariffs on Bombardier jets was “ridiculous” and “retarded,” when there is opposition in Quebec to the Energy East pipeline that would carry Alberta oil to the east coast.

“They would rather support a dictator and his abusive system to the people he controls, rather than good, clean Alberta energy….It’s ridiculous, retarded,” Jean said during an interview with the Red Deer news site.

READ MORE: UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean reveals platform

Jean made the comments at a campaign stop in Drayton Valley on Wednesday.

Watch below: The focus was supposed to be on labour relations at a United Conservative Party leadership debate on Thursday night. But as Gil Tucker reports, many Albertans are instead talking about a comment by Brian Jean that some call “awful” and “insulting.”

Click to play video 'UCP leadership hopeful Brian Jean apologizes for “regretful” remark' UCP leadership hopeful Brian Jean apologizes for “regretful” remark
UCP leadership hopeful Brian Jean apologizes for “regretful” remark

On Thursday morning, he issued an apology on Twitter.

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The Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA was criticized on the social media for using the word “retarded.”

The NDP caucus issued a statement, demanding Jean issue an apology for “irresponsible language that negatively impacts Albertans with intellectual disabilities and their families.”

“This word is offensive. It hurts people, and Mr. Jean should have known to remove this word from his vocabulary by now,” St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud said.

“But this is always the level the UCP sinks to when they throw around insults. Insulting other premiers is no way to get pipelines built.”

Education Minister David Eggen said Jean’s choice of language doesn’t forward Alberta.

“If he uses that kind of language, how does he talk to his colleagues in private? I find that to be an illuminating little glimpse into Brian Jean,” Eggen said.

READ MORE: Alberta UCP leadership candidates target labour issues in 2nd debate

Jean will be in Edmonton Thursday night to face Jason Kenney and Doug Schweitzer in the second UCP leadership debate.

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The UCP leadership election is on Oct. 28.

With files from The Canadian Press