Monday, May 26, 2008

Tory MP Tom Lukiwski's empty apology

When the Tom Lukiwski scandal broke last month (after it was revealed he used hateful, homophobic language in a 1991 video), I was impressed by his immediate and seemingly heartfelt apology. He looked like a deer caught in headlights. I remember thinking at the time there was no doubt his apology right down to the wording had been carefully stage-managed by the PMO to minimize embarrassment and damage to the government.

I must admit it seems I and many others were fooled into believing Lukiwski's apology was genuine. After reading stories like this, it now seems clear Lukiwski's remorse was as meaningless as Harper's climate change plan. Since the scandal, after Lukiwski dealt with the national media, he seems to have forgotten about the very people he was slamming in the 1991 video and to whom he owes more than a simple, swift apology. He has yet to respond to any requests for meetings from local LGBT groups in Regina.

The hateful words Lukiwski uttered in the 1991 video betrayed a truly ignorant attitude, cloaked in humour. Spoken at age 40, many observers doubted that he could've changed his opinions much since. The Tory defence was to claim Lukiwski never believed the words he spoke in 1991, that he was just joking around for the Tory cameras.

I doubt Lukiwski has truly learned anything from this (except how to orchestrate damage control in the national media). To date, it looks like Lukiwski simply got away with making some hateful comments against gays. It also seems the Harper government is sending out the message that hatred against the LGBT community is completely tolerable. This is disgusting.

My message to Lukiwski is clear: the words you uttered in that video are so hateful and despicable, you still need to make peace with the LGBT community in this country. What you've done to date simply doesn't cut it. This scandal will not fade away (and I'm glad some media outlets continue to report on it).

Until Lukiwski reaches out to his LGBT constituents and asks directly for their forgiveness, this matter will not be closed and Lukiwski will just be another politician who got away with spouting off bigotry.


Anonymous said...

What we have to remember is what Tom said is a joke which to some was highly offensive and to others it was just a typical joke told in the backrooms of a political campaign. Certainly, anybody who was offended by the comments have every right to be pissed off and expect that since he did state his comments were wrong that he would perform some actions to show he truly is sorry. Has he done that? It would seem by not meeting with the local gay community in Regina or others in Saskatchewan that he has not but I do not know what exactly he has done.

However, in my mind the real issue that was overlooked is just how common comments allong the lines of Toms are made in the backrooms of election campaigns of all political parties. The problem is that these jokes are made by individuals in all political parties and instead of being told that they are offensive, individuals not only laugh at the jokes but also continue to tell similiar jokes. Being a bisexual individual who would fall under the stereotype of straight acting, I've heard homophobic comments from fellow Liberals who at the time had no idea that I was bisexual. So as much as Tom needed to apoligize and take steps to show that he truly is sorry, we need to change the backrooms of politics so jokes like these would not be acceptable.

Antonio said...

the reason this never really got anywhere was the fact the stpry originally was more about gotcha! than about homophobia.

See, the real issue here is if a group of people took something i said 17 years ago and went completely nuts over it, dragging my name through the mud for a few days, despite an immediate apology, I probably wouldnt wanna meet them either. Why? Cuz they would invite the media and say more things about how I am homophobic or whatever.

I want a personal apology from all the MPs who voted against my right to marry. Am I gonna get one? No. Is the issue closed? yup it was closed a long long time ago.

the guy is a douchebag. i get it. But i dont need an apology from this idiot to feel like I am an equal citizen of this country.

Matt Guerin said...

I don't think this issue is closed by any stretch of the imagination. Certainly not for LGBT folks in Regina. The longer he refuses to meet with them, the more his initial apology seems insincere. Can he get away with that? Probably for a while, but we'll see for how long. Politicians who alienate constituents needlessly do eventually pay a price as that list of unhappy locals grows and grows over time.

Antonio said...

cuz im sure they were all bg tom likuwski supporters to begin with hahaha

Matt Guerin said...

He could've neutralized them a bit with a personal apology or meeting. If this keeps up, they'll be fighting big time to see him defeated and working for his opponents. So not smart politically any way you slice it.

Anonymous said...

I honestly do not think that this is going to matter come the next election. We are talking about an MP who gets elected in part to the fact the riding is a mix of rural and urban areas, and it is the rural areas that have helped elect Tom. Certainly, some voters in the rural parts of the riding will have been so offended by his comments that they will not vote for him but for most its a non-issue. This might be bigger in a more urban part of Canada but this is not the main concern of most voters in his riding or in the province.

Queers United said...

those were vicious comments that should not go untouched