Tom Lukiwski, M.P.: Once a bigot, always a bigot?

By: Sandford BorinsThe discovery and dissemination of a video tape of Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski making homophobic statements brings to mind the case of former Virginia Senator George Allen's videotaped use of the racist epithet “macaca”, the subject of my blog of last September 26.There are two important differences, however. First, Allen made his racist remarks in the present, while Lukiwski uttered his homophobic words back in 1991. Second, Allen spoke during an election campaign, while Lukiwski's words came to light in the middle of the government's mandate – a mandate that looks increasingly likely to stretch right to its legislated limit of October 2009.How do these differences make a difference? That so much time has passed since Lukiwski's words means that much could have happened since.Lukiwski profusely apologized, saying that such words should not be tolerated now or in the past. His apology would have been stronger – indeed conclusive – had he been able to say that some time ago he changed his views of gays and had since acted in accordance with his changed views. It is in his interest to demonstrate a conversion experience. One can doubt its depth or sincerity.Had Lukiwski's past homophobia come to light during an election campaign and before the deadline for putting a name on the ballot, there would have been considerable pressure on the Conservatives to dump him and scramble to find a candidate who would not have been a liability.Lukiwski's candidacy would have hurt the Conservatives both in his Regina riding and in the urban ridings throughout the country where they were attempting to make inroads. In mid-mandate, the government can attempt to ride out the criticism and hope it will be forgotten by the next election.Those who find homophobia abhorrent – a population which includes but extends beyond the gay and *** communities – have a choice. They can forgive and forget or they can follow the adage “don't get angry, get even.” If they choose the latter, I suggest three courses of action: investigate, communicate, and retaliate. Interestingly, each will to a great degree be played out in cyberspace.First, investigate whether there are other more recent instances of Lukiwski using homophobic words in speech or in print. Politicians are voluble and their embarrassing statements often turn up in cul-de-sacs on the information highway. This search will take a while. I googled “Lukiwski + gay” and, of the 9150 pages, the first few hundred are all from the last week.Second, communicate. The original comments have now been posted on YouTube, as well as some intelligent critiques, such as that of Nathaniel Christopher. The view counts will be an indicator as to whether this issue has legs.Third, retaliate. Raise money and organize to find an alternative to Lukiwski, either within the Conservative Party or in the two national opposition parties. It ain't over till it's over. It will take a while to see whether this one's over.

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