Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Axis of Intolerance: Brad Wall, Tom Luwkiski & Kate McMillan

The Saskatchewan NDP is in possession of an allegedly damning 1991 tape containing "sexist, racist and homophobic comments" made by Saskatchewan's premier Brad Wall and Tory MP Tom Luwkiski.

I've contacted the Saskatchewan NDP office to get a transcript and/or copy of the video and will post the response when I get it.

Speaking of Brad Wall and conservatives behaving badly:

Blog loses Wall backing over comments

REGINA -- Premier Brad Wall distanced the Saskatchewan Party from a popular right-wing blog Tuesday over controversial comments posted about inner city Saskatoon.

Wall told reporters that the Saskatchewan Party would remove from its own website an endorsement of Wall from Saskatchewan-based Kate McMillan of

Saskatchewan Party MLAs have referenced the website approvingly in the legislature in the past but Wall said that would likely not occur in the future.

Following the government's cancellation of $8 million in funding for the Station 20 West project in Saskatoon's core, McMillan posted on her blog suggesting "economic stimuli" for the area to get a private sector grocery store.

These included "put the cap back on the used needle . . . failing that, share it with your friends. It's a quicker solution to your problem anyway."

She also suggested "cross your legs" and "put down the spray can." McMillan later posted "try not vandalizing every business still standing in your neighbourhood, try not selling your ass up and down the street in front of the doors. Try parenting your sticky-fingered brats."

Wall said the comments were "beyond the pale."

I don't think I need to point out how ironic it is that a bigoted premier would find the roadkill blog's comments as being "beyond the pale" while wondering aloud why, considering that site's endless record of intolerant hate speech, this just popped up on his radar screen now. Frankly, Wall and gutter-dwelling Kate deserve each other.


Luwkiski has apologized. Here are some of the remarks he made that were caught on tape:

‘Let me put it to you this way. There's A's and B's. The A's are guys like me. The B's are homosexual faggots with dirt in their fingernails that transmit diseases.'


[NDP deputy leader] Ms. Atkinson said the pair is heard on tape ridiculing Roy Romanow, who defeated the provincial Tories in the 1991 election. “They're done in the context of Mr. Romanow and his descent, his ethnic background,” Ms. Atkinson said.

“I would say that he is using an immigrant accent of some kind and he is referring in the end to Mr. Romanow ... There are those of us who grew up at a time when, in the province of Saskatchewan, negative things were said about people of Eastern European background and they were hurtful things,” she added.

Ms. Atkinson also said there were inappropriate remarks about the gender of the provincial Liberal leader at the time, Lynda Haverstock.

Wall's office hasn't issued a response yet.

While the Globe & Mail has closed its comments on this story, the CBC hasn't and you can see just exactly how ignorant people will try to defend what these politicians said. Sorry - there is no excuse for that kind of bigotry, folks. None.


Luwkiski held a quick press conference in which he said: "I have no prejudice against gay people whatsoever". But he wouldn't explain why he made the comments in the first place, seeking instead to distance himself.

CBC TV is now showing portions of the tape. I suspect the video will be online somewhere soon. Stay tuned.


Wall's reaction:

The video also shows Wall, then a young PC staffer, engaged in a mock interview with Kathy Young, now the Saskatchewan Party's executive director of communications.

Apparently speaking as a voter from Preeceville, a rural community which has a large Ukrainian population, he talks about liking then-Premier Grant Devine.

"Roy Romanow got his head up his ass. I don't even know how he walks upright with his head so far up his ass," he said in a gravelly, accented voice.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Wall said he would personally apologize to Romanow, who became premier after the NDP's landslide victory over Devine's Tories in that 1991 election, for his "bad language" and "disrespectful tone."

He said he didn't remember the evening but said he was doing an impression of a friend's accented uncle.

"It's not a bad impersonation of a people, it's a bad impersonation of one individual," he said.

However, he said he unequivocally apologizes if anyone was offended.

Typical response - just a lame explanation with the 'if anyone was offended' caveat. That's not going to cut it, Wall.

Let me add, as someone who went to school in Saskatchewan in the central/NE area heavily inhabited by Ukrainian people, (my daughter is, in fact, half Ukrainian - I'm French), that this type of bigoted ridicule will certainly not go over well. Saskatchewan's Ukrainian community has had to put up with decades of that type of intolerance - it certainly isn't a rare occurrence - so I suspect Wall may suffer enough of a backlash, as a result of these revelations, to force a more humble mea culpa than what he issued today.


The tape also shows the Sask. Party's Young joking about sending a letter bomb to union leader Barb Byers. The government has been embroiled in a fight with organized labour since taking office over a major overhaul of the province's labour laws.

Wall said Young's comments were not reflective of Young's and the government's views.


****CTV has posted the Luwkiski portion of the videotape****. (Right side of the page.)


You can see Luwkiski's comments at the end of this clip:


Giant Political Mouse has the full video and snippets from the transcript.


Follow the reactions of Saskatchewan bloggers at the Sask Blogs aggregator.

Regina Leader-Post

Refresh this page for updates.

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