Gay activists demand Wildrose remove candidate
Gay activists in Alberta are demanding Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith remove an Edmonton candidate for a controversial remarks he made in a blog posting last year.
"Danielle Smith should immediately apologize. The candidate should be removed from this election and Danielle Smith should clarify that there isn't a two-tiered approach to equality in this province," said activist and researcher Kristopher Wells.
In a blog posting last year, Allan Hunsperger, the Wildrose candidate for Edmonton-South West, stated that gays "will suffer the rest of eternity in a lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering." He went on to write that others shouldn't accept homosexuals for the way they are because "accepting people the way they are is cruel and not loving."
Smith has so far declined to criticize Hunsperger for his comments, which he has since removed from his church pastor's blog.
"We will not legislate on contentious social issues," she told reporters at a campaign stop in Edmonton on Monday. "Mr. Hunsperger understands that the views he expressed were his personal views in the context of him being a pastor and I'm not going to discriminate against anyone."
When asked by a reporter how expressing a personal religious view differs from promoting a hate crime, Smith had a quick response.
"If any candidate is guilty of a hate crime, then call in the police," she said.
Progressive Conservative Leader Alison Redford condemned the remarks.
"I found those comments absolutely shocking, well over the top and inappropriate," Redford said on Monday
"When we're starting to talk about people facing eternity in lakes of fire, those are pretty unique comments and I think Albertans will judge those for themselves."
Hunsperger released a statement on Sunday stating that the views on his blog were given "in the capacity as a church pastor."
"I fully support equality for all people, and condemn any intolerance based on sexual orientation or any other personal characteristic," he said.