Tory MP apologizes for anti-gay comments
Published Thursday, April 3, 2008 11:35PM EDT
Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski apologized Thursday after a 16-year-old videotape surfaced in which he makes offensive remarks about homosexuals, including that they spread disease.
On the tape, Lukiwski, who represents the Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, says:
"Let me put it to you this way -- there's As and Bs. The As are guys like me. The Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails that transmit diseases.''
NDP MP Bill Siksay raised the issue in the House of Commons Thursday, reading a transcript of the comments.
Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan replied that he was not familiar with the tape, but said the comments sounded "distressing and inappropriate" and that they'll be given "due attention."
Following question period, Lukiwski, who was a provincial Tory organizer at the time, apologized and told reporters that he was ashamed.
"Obviously I just found out in the last 30-40 minutes that some comments I made back in 1991 have been made public and I just want to publicly say I am truly, truly sorry," said Lukiwski.
Lukiwski said he doesn't currently share the views expressed on the tapes.
"I have the utmost respect, I have no prejudice against gay people whatsoever," said Lukiwski.
"Those comments do not reflect the type of person I am and I'm very, very sorry."
The federal Liberals are now calling on the Tories to strip Lukiwski of his parliamentary secretary status.
Liberal MP Ralph Goodale noted the irony Thursday of what happened to the last MP in the Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, Larry Spencer.
In 2003, Harper, who was at that time the opposition leader of the Canadian Alliance, kicked Spencer out of caucus after he suggested that homosexuality should be made illegal.
"The previous Conservative member for this same riding -- Mr. Spencer -- was dumped by his party for similarly offensive attitudes,'' said Liberal MP Ralph Goodale.
"Will the government House leader require the member to step aside today from his duties as parliamentary secretary until this matter can be properly investigated and resolved?''
But later Thursday, Van Loan said the Conservatives were satisfied with the apology.
"We believe that Mr. Lukiwski has made an unequivocal apology for those comments and indicated clearly that he does not hold those views,'' said Van Loan. "We welcome that quick and unequivocal apology and consider the matter is now closed.''
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is also shown on the tape making comments that appear to make fun of the Ukrainian heritage of former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, who defeated the provincial Tories in the 1991 election.
Wall, putting on a thick eastern European accent, appears to be making fun of Romanow in a mock interview.
"Roy Romanow's got his head up his ass,'' says Wall. "I don't even know how he walks upright with his head so far up his ass.''
Wall, in his mid 20s and a ministerial assistant for the PC party at the time, apologized Thursday for his comments on the tape.
"There needs to be an apology made for those people who are still involved in the party and who offended somebody on the tape, I think that's reasonable, that's certainly the case for me," Wall told reporters.
He said he's going to call Romanow and apologize for using "bad language" and a "disrespectful tone" concerning his predecessor.
Still, Wall said "it just never was then, and neither would it ever be, in any way an attempt to slight any group."
"However if anyone would take it in that way at all -- take any offence in this way at all to that -- I would unequivocally apologize to those groups, especially with respect to the remarks I made.''
At a press conference in Regina Thursday, Deputy Saskatchewan NDP leader Pat Atkinson called the comments, especially those made by Lukiwski, "disturbing and quite hateful."
The Saskatchewan New Democrats claim they found the tape after they moved into Opposition offices following Wall's Saskatchewan Party victory in last fall's provincial election.
With files from The Canadian Press