British Columbia

B.C. Green Party candidate says he regrets impersonating Martin Luther King during rally

Green Party candidate Mark Neufeld says he regrets imitating Martin Luther King during a campaign rally.

'If I could do that differently I would in a heartbeat,' says Saanich South candidate Mark Neufeld

Green Party candidate Mark Neufeld has apologized for imitating Martin Luther King at a campaign rally. (CHEK News)

B.C. Green Party candidate Mark Neufeld says he regrets imitating Martin Luther King during a campaign rally.

"If I could do that differently, I would do it in a heartbeat," said Neufeld, who is running in Saanich South.

"Even if one person was offended [it] would be enough for me to want to revisit that moment, for sure."

Neufeld gave the speech at the Victoria Convention Centre Wednesday during a B.C. Green Party rally, mimicking Martin Luther King's "I've been to the mountaintop" speech, which was delivered April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated.

"And I looked over, my, my. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Greens," roared Neufeld from the stage.

"And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land."

Neufeld is a teacher at Saanich's Claremont Secondary School, who restarted their Institute for Global Studies. 

Fran Morrison, director with B.C.'s Black Awareness Month Society, said she couldn't believe that a politician would compare Saanich to the American civil rights movement.

"I couldn't quite figure out why this was happening," Morrison said.

"I think it belittled the work that Martin Luther King had done. And I think it belittled the civil rights movement."

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said Neufeld's gaff was the result of inexperience. 

"Mark isn't a seasoned politician. [He] has not been doing this for a long time. He got inspired by the audience," said Weaver.

With files from CHEK News