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First Nations Drum newspaper says an ad salesperson came up with the wording in the ad and ran it without the approval of Joyce Murray’s office.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Canada's largest First Nations newspaper is apologizing to British Columbia MP Joyce Murray for running an ad in her name that included an "inappropriate" salute to the "sobriety" of aboriginal students.

At the same time, Ms. Murray, the Liberal Party's defence critic, is taking responsibility for the text, even though she said she was unaware of it.

"I was not aware of this advertisement and did not approve of its content," Ms. Murray wrote on Wednesday in a Facebook post.

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"However, I assume full responsibility for what has happened and I offer my most sincere apologies to all those who were offended by this comment."

She described the statement as "completely inappropriate" and said she was "unreservedly" apologizing for the "deeply offensive" language.

She was not otherwise available for comment on Wednesday.

The ad appeared in the Aboriginal Day issue of the First Nations Drum newspaper, which is distributed across the country. The ad said: "Congratulations to all 2015 Aboriginal High School Graduates. Sobriety, education and hard work lead to success."

Richard Littlechild, the general manager of the paper, a monthly with offices in Toronto and Vancouver that is celebrating its 25th anniversary, described "sobriety" as a "very loaded" word.

He blamed the text on an ad salesperson who came up with the wording and ran it without the approval of Ms. Murray's office after her office and the newspaper agreed, in principle, to run the ad.

"They never got to see a proof," Mr. Littlechild said from Toronto. "The salesperson himself came up with the slogan. Unfortunately, we didn't catch it. I guess that makes us guilty also."

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He said the paper will run an apology online on Thursday, print an apology in the August issue and run the ad again without the offensive text.

He added that the salesperson, who has been employed by the newspaper for about 18 months, will be losing their job over the incident.

"The salesperson won't be with us much longer. He's going to be released from his job. It's negligent on his part," Mr. Littlechild said.

Ms. Murray, a former B.C. environment minister who has been an MP in Vancouver-Quadra since 2008, has been a regular advertiser in the publication in recent years, Mr. Littlechild said.

"I have total regrets. This is a woman who is very, very sensitive to native issues," he said, adding he had no doubt Ms. Murray would never have allowed the slogan to run had she had the opportunity to see it.

"The best we can do is apologize and try to rectify things to make people understand it was our problem, not hers," he said. "I feel really badly that her name is being dragged in on this when she had nothing to do with it."

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