Mayors decry Wildrose candidate comments
The mayors of Edmonton and Calgary are speaking out against controversial remarks made by two Wildrose candidates in their respective cities.
Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel said on Wednesday that anti-gay comments made by Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger are not reflective of Alberta and should be refuted by party leader Danielle Smith, who so far has declined to do so.
"I've only seen the response on the comments about gay individuals and so I'm not sure that satisfied me," Mandel said.
"I really believe that we are a multi-dimensional, dynamic province ... we don't want people to think that this is a place that people are not welcome."
The comments were made on Hunsperger's blog last year, but have caused a backlash this week against the Wildrose. In the post, Hunsperger said that gays will "suffer the rest of eternity in a lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering."
Smith has said that Hunsperger made the comments in his role as a church pastor and doesn't believe she should discriminate against him for making them.
Gay activists have demanded Smith apologize as well as remove the Edmonton-Southwest candidate from her party's slate of candidates. Mandel said he was was disappointed by Hunsberger's comments, which have since been removed from his church pastor's blog.
"I don't think there's any place in our province for [homophobia] and or diminishing the value of any group to the greater good of our city and our society," Mandel said.
Mandel's counterpart in Calgary, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, is unhappy with remarks made by Ron Leech, who is running for the Wildrose in Calgary-Greenway.
Leech suggested in a radio interview on Sunday that because he is white, he can best communicate with everyone in his riding, unlike a Sikh or Muslim leader who "really speak to their own people."
Leech has apologized for his comments. But Nenshi said on Twitter that it wasn't clear to him whether Leech still believes them.
"It's not that he shouldn't have said it. It's that he shouldn't believe it. He has not yet said whether he does," Nenshi said.
"His clarification did not in any way address the content of his comments. Does he believe ethnic (politicians) speak only to some?"
With files from The Canadian Press