The province of Alberta — often simply explained to people outside Canada as “it’s our Texas” — is in the middle of an election, and it’s shaping up to be a battle between the right (the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta) and the far right (the relatively new Wildrose Party, named after the official flower of the province).
The Wildrose Party’s candidates have been attracting the wrong kind of media attention lately. There was the discovery of a blog entry written in 2011 by Allan Hunsperger, a pastor and candidate for Edmonton Southwest, in which he condemned the Edmonton public school board being “wicked” and “godless” for welcoming and accepting gay students. “You will suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell, a place of eternal suffering,” he wrote.
I think as a Caucasian, I have an advantage. When different community leaders such as a Sikh leader or a Muslim leader speaks, they really speak to their own people in many ways. As a Caucasian, I believe that I can speak to all the community.
For the benefit of the Doubting Thomases in the audience, you can listen to the audio recording of this statement.
You might be asking yourselves this: “Wait a minute…by his logic — and we’re using the term loosely here — wouldn’t he himself be speaking to only his own people?”
The answer, of course, is “no, silly!” By his logic, being Caucasian is the Platonic ideal. And like the Platonic ideal, everything else is just an imperfect (and darker!) copy.
Leech has since apologized for the remarks, with these explanations:
- He did say those words, but they were taken out of context. It’s the standard defence in such situations, but short of a Klan rally, there isn’t a context where his statements would be benign.
- What he meant to say was that in the diverse riding where he was running as a candidate, being white would not be a disadvantage. Were that true, then his from-the-gut answer would’ve been something along the lines of “I’m campaigning on the issues, and that’s really what the people care about,” which is a boilerplate statement in any election.
- Some of his best friends are these people of non-standard skin colour! ”I love all of the people,” he said, “all the different cultural groups, and all the different faith groups, religious groups that are there. … I have a great love for all the nations.”
Expect plenty of “clarifications”, sophistry and accusations of “reverse racism” in the next couple of days as the Wildrose Party’s PR machine works feverishly to maintain the seven-point lead they have in the advance polls.
There’s less than a week left in the campaign; voting day in Alberta is next Monday, April 23rd. This should be interesting.