Skip to main content

Alberta Wildrose Leader Brian Jean speaks during a press conference at a campaign stop in Edmonton on Wednesday April 15, 2015.Jason Franson/The Canadian Press

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean faced questions Thursday about an election candidate who encouraged supporters to "bring your wife's pie" to a fundraising bake sale.

The to-do came one day after another hopeful was dumped for eight-year-old comments made about a gay pride brunch held at a church.

Candidate Rick Strankman's campaign issued an invitation on Twitter to attend an old-fashioned pie auction and urged folks to "take a break from calving, farming, spring work and NHL playoffs."

It was billed as "BYWP (Bring Your Wife's Pie!!!)"

People on social media, including members of rival campaigns, blasted the invitation as sexist.

"Is this for real? If so, 1950 just called," tweeted Premier Jim Prentice's media spokeswoman Emily Woods.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley laughed out loud when asked about the pie auction.

"Mr. Strankman has perhaps some out-of-date assumptions about who does the cooking," she said. "I would say perhaps it's clear he has a sweet tooth, but he needs a wisdom tooth."

Strankman, who is running in the largely rural riding of Drumheller-Stettler in the May 5 vote, apologized.

"It was posted by our volunteers through my account," he tweeted. "As soon as I saw it, I asked them to take it down."

Jean said he considers the issue closed.

"I talked to Rick recently and ... I understand Rick has removed that particular mention and we'll leave it at that."

The developments came a day after the party announced it would not sign the nomination papers for Russ Kuykendall in the constituency of Calgary Varsity.

The party wouldn't say why it wouldn't endorse Kuykendall, but comments made on a blog in 2007 criticizing a gay pride brunch that was held in a Catholic church hall were circulating on Twitter at the time.

"He was not an actually certified candidate," Jean said Thursday. "We received vetting on that particular candidate and we felt that the results of that required we find a new candidate for Calgary Varsity.

"We are standing up for all Albertans and we're planning on governing for all Albertans."

Polls showed the Wildrose was poised to form government under the leadership of Danielle Smith in 2012, but a series of high-profile missteps by candidates threw the campaign off the rails.

Smith, who called the gaffes "bozo eruptions," took heat for refusing to replace one candidate who, in a blog, had urged gays to repent or face an eternity in hell's "lake of fire."

Jean has proven less tolerant.

After he won the leadership last month, he asked a candidate to step down after a microphone caught the candidate saying, "We need lots of brown people in the front" before Jean's address to the party.

Jean called the statement inappropriate and said it failed to show respect for all Albertans.