Kathleen Wynne wonders whether a man would have faced the same kind of vicious attack that was aimed at her by a member of Alberta's Wildrose party.

The Ontario premier says she accepts the Opposition party's apology but suggests a man might not have been treated the same way.

Wynne was a visitor in the Alberta legislature Thursday, at the invitation of Premier Rachel Notley, when Wildrose finance critic Derek Fildebrandt launched an attack on her economic management. He called Ontario a fiscal basket case.

Later, Fildebrandt appeared to personally insult the openly gay premier when he responded to a commenter on his Facebook page who congratulated him for "telling the truth about Mr. Wynne or whatever the hell she identifies as."

The MLA said he was "proud" to have the commenter as a constituent.

Brian Jean, Derek Fildebrandt, Wildrose
Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt grilling some steaks on the BBQ. Facebook photo.

That earned him a suspension from the Wildrose caucus, although Fildebrandt contended he'd misread the supporter's comment and had not intended a personal attack on the premier's sexual orientation.

"Yes, I accept the apology," Wynne said Saturday during a session on women in politics at the federal Liberal party's national convention.

"But, you know, I think it was an interesting confluence of things. There's a woman premier in Alberta, I'm there as a woman, we're talking about climate change.

"And I think the attack, the viciousness of the attack, had a particular quality to it. So, I will just say we need to pay attention to that."

Wynne acknowledged that there are "vicious women in politics" as well but she "suspects" a female politician wouldn't have launched the same kind of attack.

Brian Jean, Derek Fildebrandt, Wildrose
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean (left) and MLA Derek Fildebrandt campaign in the 2015 Alberta election. Facebook photo.

Fildebrandt, meanwhile, issued a statement Saturday in response to his Wildrose caucus suspension over the Facebook comment.

"My colleagues know that those views do not reflect my own opinion and they recognize that I made an honest mistake, so I was surprised by this decision. I accept this decision," Fildebrandt wrote in the statement, which was posted on Facebook.

Fildebrandt wrote that he receives an average of 800 comments on his public Facebook page daily and that he does his best to respond personally.

"As I've already stated publicly, I did not read a comment posted to my page by a constituent as carefully as I should have."

The Canadian Press

Brian Jean, Derek Fildebrandt, Wildrose

Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt has pledged to scrap the NDP's climate change plan. Facebook image.

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