"I wanted to wish everyone a really, really Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah … all you infidel atheists out there, I want to wish you the very best also," Brian Pallister said in an online video.

"I don't know what you celebrate during the holiday season. I, myself, celebrate the birth of Christ."

Pallister made the remarks to Natalie Pollock, a former Winnipeg cable TV host who now posts videos to her Pollock And Pollock News Channel on YouTube.

Two versions of the YouTube video have attracted a total of at least 52,600 hits since they were posted on Nov. 29.