HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia lawmaker is apologizing for comments she made about Jamaica during a debate on the government’s bill to regulate recreational marijuana.
Progressive Conservative MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, who represents the riding of Cumberland North, says in a Facebook post that the comments “were criticized as racist and insensitive.”
She says she never meant for her words to be hurtful, and the comments don’t represent the views of her party or its interim leader, Karla MacFarlane.
According to a transcript on the legislature’s website, the controversial comments came during a debate on Tuesday over the Liberal government’s proposed Cannabis Control Act.
Smith-McCrossin said she heard from a friend that “smoking in marijuana in Jamaica is completely accepted, and there’s a completely different work ethic and very low productivity in Jamaica.”
She went on to say that Nova Scotia already has a productivity problem, and legalized recreational pot may only make it worse. She apologized in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
“My comments came about as a result of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a woman of colour originally from Jamaica,” Smith-McCrossin wrote.
“I made a mistake in my choice of words in the House of Assembly and take full responsibility for that…. I sincerely did not feel that my comments would be viewed in a negative light, but I was wrong.
“I apologize for my choice of words and any impression left that this was based on someone’s country, race or ethnicity.”
The Canadian Press