Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tom Lukiski on Tape

Tom Lukiski is in a world of trouble. The Tory MP was videotaped, seventeen years ago, making extremely disparaging remarks about homosexuals. These comments resurfaced when the NDP opposition in Saskatchewan found the tape in their new opposition offices.

The remarks are vulgar, ignorant, and delivered in a manner which suggests that they did not just come to the top of his head spontaneously and fully-formed. No, he has the swagger of someone who said similar things, several times, probably always to great effect.

Lukiski has issued an apology which includes the claim "They do not reflect the type of person I am. I do not believe in those types of comments."

Whether or not Lukiski is the type of person who still believes this things is precisely the point, I think. Not whether he used to believe those things. I want to phrase this as precisely as possible: the average man, certainly of Lukiski's vintage, viewed homosexuality and homosexuals much differently than most men today do. Much progress has been made towards greater and deserved tolerance in the last 17 years. In fact, I think we can say a near sea-change of opinion has occurred since broad public discussion over same-sex marriage began in earnest in the last four or five years.

I think this is much to the credit of people of a certain age who grew up with views which were ignorant and wrongheaded but widely-held and believed. If we want to make progress towards greater toleration, then we have to be willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and not to play politics with past intolerance.

So, the important question is this: Does Mr Lukiski still hold these views? And, if not, when did he change them? What was the moment at which he cast them aside as useless, incorrect, and uncivil. Maybe he can't define an exact moment, but he could at least try to explain his progression. Provided he does, the matter should be put aside.

I am open to opinions on this, having given my own.


Anonymous said...

I think it is odd that the media reports these comments as being "homophobic" and yet on the face of them there is nothing expressing fear of any type.

Ross I.

Peter Loewen said...

Yes, the word is used more broadly then a strick definition would allow. The comments are still outrageous and uncivil.