Manitoba legislature member to take sensitivity training after offensive tweets

A Manitoba government backbencher is apologizing after calling asylum seekers a “drain on society” on Twitter and for retweeting posts that suggested Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a “scumbag.”

Cliff Graydon posted a message late Tuesday saying he is undergoing sensitivity training and taking a break from social media after coming under fire for the posts.

“Above all political debates must be respected,” he posted. “This is a standard that I’ve not met on social media, as a result I will be taking some sensitivity training while limiting social media activity. I wish to offer my sincere and unequivocal apology for any offensive (sic) I’ve made.”

In a tweet posted at the end of January, Graydon replied to a tweet where a woman called asylum seekers “illegals” and called them a “drain on society.”

Graydon represents the town of Emerson on the United States border where many asylum seekers have crossed into Canada.

Last week, he retweeted a post which called Trudeau “a disgrace” with the hashtag “scumbag.” An earlier retweet from December 2017 referred to “turdeau” and questioned “How can any woman vote for that SICK/RETARDED/TRAITOR?”

The Progressive Conservative caucus issued a short statement saying it had been made aware of “some unacceptable comments made or retweeted by Mr. Graydon.”

“These tweets do not reflect the views our caucus and our government,” caucus chair Wayne Ewasko wrote.

A party spokesperson said the caucus leadership and Graydon agreed he should “step back” from social media and take some sensitivity training.

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