Saskatchewan MP apologizes for anti-gay slur
This story contains language that may be offensive to some readers
A Saskatchewan MP says that he's sorry for homophobic comments he made on a videotape from 1991 that was released by the NDP on Thursday.
A flush-faced Tom Lukiwski offered his apologies to reporters in Ottawa, but would not answer questions on whether he would resign.
"If I could take those comments back, I would," the Conservative MP for Regina Lumsden-Lake Centre said. "I would give anything to take those comments back. They do not reflect the type of person that I am. I can only say that on behalf of myself, my family and my children, I am sorry. I am ashamed."
The apology came after the Saskatchewan NDP released a video recording on Thursday that showed Lukiwski making disparaging remarks about homosexuals.
The tape appeared to have been made at the Progressive Conservative campaign headquarters during the 1991 provincial election campaign.
'It made me feel rather sick': NDP MLA
The NDP said it found the 17-year-old tape when it moved into the Opposition offices at the provincial legislature. The party is now calling on the prime minister to remove Lukiwski from the party caucus.
"How did I feel when I viewed it? I think I can say disturbing — his comments were disturbing, and it made me feel rather sick," said New Democrat MLA Pat Atkinson.
The amateur video shows a number of people at the campaign headquarters, drinking beer and answering questions about their thoughts on the campaign debate.
Lukiwski's derogatory comment is made early in the recording after the cameraman makes a comment about him being old.
"As we say on tour, I may be old but I'm f---ing A," Lukiwski responds.
The camerman retorts: "And who is this A person?"
"Well let me put it to you this way. There's As and there's Bs. The As are guys like me. The Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails that transmit diseases," Lukiwski says.
Lukiwski was the general manager of the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservatives in 1991. He was first elected as a Conservative MP in 2004.
Premier also made 'troubling' comments
The tape also includes comments from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall that Atkinson said were "troubling."
She said Wall was using an "immigrant accent" and ended with a disparaging reference to then NDP Opposition leader Roy Romanow.
In 1991, Wall was a ministerial assistant working for the Progressive Conservative government. He was a candidate for the Tories in the October 1991 election, but failed to be elected.
On Thursday afternoon, Wall also offered apologies for his comments. He said he wasn't making fun of Eastern European people or Ukrainians in the video when he used an accent. In the video, Wall can be heard saying, "Roy Romanow got his head up his ass."
Wall said Thursday he's trying to get in touch with Romanow to apologize one-to-one.
"I used words in reference to Mr. Romanow that I teach my kids not to use and hope they don't," he said. "It's not something that I'm going to show at Christmastime, certainly. It's obviously not a very good example of how anybody at any age should conduct themselves."
Tories stand by MP
Shortly after Atkinson released the tape to media in Regina, New Democrat MP Bill Siksay raised the matter during question period in Ottawa.
The B.C. MP demanded Lukiwski apologize immediately or face disciplinary action from his own party.
Government house leader Peter Van Loan later said the Conservatives are standing by Lukiwski since he's apologized for his remarks and stated that he no longer holds the opinions expressed in the video.
"We welcome that quick and unequivocal apology and consider the matter is now closed," said Van Loan.
Lukiwski was first elected in 2004. The previous MP for that riding, Larry Spencer, was suspended from the Canadian Alliance caucus after he told a reporter he would support a law to outlaw homosexuality.
When he ran for office, Lukiwski criticized Spencer for those remarks.
With files from the Canadian Press