Friday, April 04, 2008

The Tom Lukiwski Affair

I will confess that as a younger man, I was slightly homophobic. Part of this was basic ignorance - and part was certainly cultural and generational.

My opinion changed in the ensuing years, as I came to realise that homosexuality has been with us since the dawn of mankind. One can have an opinion on the matter one way or the other, but the fact remains that it has always been part of the human condition.

What people choose to do with their genitalia is really none of my business, as long as they are not knowingly spreading disease, applying coercion, or ignoring the obvious guideline of "conscious and fully-informed consent" in the procurement of sexual gratification.

Tom Lukiwski was an adult when he made his statements on the issue that he is now being roasted for; as well, he allowed the diatribe to be videotaped - and then kept the tape as a memento.

Tom Lukiwski's error here was not that he once retained a now-unpopular opinion on such matters; his error was an error in judgment. He can deny that he is currently a homophobe all he wants, but the question that begs asking is this: Why did he keep the tape? What kind of judgment does this show? What does this say about the man?

In the not-too-distant past of the US South, members of the KKK would take photographs of the lynchings of black men to keep as souvenirs. Some of these were turned into postcards and sold at Petrol Stations and Diners across the US South-East.

Does Tom's behaviour not seem somewhat derivative of this?

Edmund Burke wrote is his famous "Speech to the Electors of Bristol" in 1774 that as a Member of Parliament ...

"Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

Normally, I trot this gem out as a means of pointing-out the we live in a "representative democracy," and not a "delegational democracy."

Today however, I make the point that - for an MP - the clear and consistent application of good judgment is paramount to retaining the confidence of the electorate.

Lukiwski's error was not in once holding an opinion on homosexuality that he now may or may not hold; rather, his error in this matter is one of exercising incredibly poor judgment in letting it be taped, and then in retaining it as some sort of keepsake.

The extension of civil rights to homosexuals is akin to the emancipation of people of colour in the United States, or the extension of Voting Rights to Aboriginals in Canada. It is not debatable anymore - it is the Law of the Land.

This man is guilty of poor judgment; as such he has lost the moral authority to exercise his judgment on behalf of the people of Regina Lumsden Lake-Centre.

He should resign - immediately. Honour demands no less.


Update the 1st: A wise reader pointed to the fact that Lukiwski's statements are hate speech. To this I say: "I agree." That just serves to bolster my point: that this MP is sorely lacking in judgment, and that his continued presence in the House of Commons brings disrepute to that body.


Update the 2nd: So, Lukiwksi did not retain the tape, but some idiots in the CPC/Saskatchewan Party Office did. What's the difference? Lukiwski was 41 years old at the time and occupying an Executive position in the Progressive Conservative Party. He should have known better than to voice such offensive crap for the benefit of posterity. "Once committed, forever admitted." Just like Blogs.


At 9:02 am , Blogger toujoursdan said...

Lukiwski's error was not in once holding an opinion on homosexuality that he now may or may not hold;

His comment wasn't that homosexuality as an act is filthy and spreads diseases, but that "homosexual faggots with dirty fingernails spread diseases".

The former is directed at an act and other is directed at a group of people - who seem to be no more the sum of that act.

So I disagree with your statement here. That isn't holding an unpopular opinion on homosexuality as you say, but demonizing a group of people, those "homosexual faggots...who spread disease".

It's one thing to believe that a certain group of people are doing something we don't like. Roman Catholics disapprove of those who use birth control and get divorced. Muslims and Baptists disapprove of the consumption of alcohol. We all deal with people whose actions we may have moral problems with. That is part of life in a diverse society.

But it's quite another when you demonize a whole subset of the population, including those in your constituency. The flaw here is a reductionist thinking that all people are is what they do in the bedroom.

At 9:08 am , Blogger Aeneas the Younger said...

I agree with eveything you have stated.

I am astounded that he would retain his "reductionist" musings (whether he still believes them or not ...) as a video-keepsake.

I am not suggesting that "destoying the evidence" would have justified the hate in is heart, but I do think the retention of a video record inicates that there is more here than meets the eye.

EVERYTHING about this situation brings his judgment - and thus his fitness to exercise said judgment - into question.

At 9:49 am , Blogger Red Tory said...

It clearly demonstrates an appalling lack of judgment in a number of respects, however if that alone was the criterion for stepping down from office, we’d likely have a sudden thinning amongst the ranks of our politicians. Maybe not such a bad thing… But seriously, as egregiously bigoted as his comments were and as foolish as the man apparently is, I would say that the electors of his riding should be the ones to decide whether they want this man representing them should he choose to run again in the next election. In the meantime, I’d say we have to take him at his word that his attitudes have changed since 1991. I don’t actually believe that, but in absence of evidence to the contrary, he should be given benefit of the doubt.

At 10:06 am , Blogger Aeneas the Younger said...


What about keeping the tape? What does that say about the man? What does that say about the sincerity of any mea culpa he issues?

I think "thinning the ranks" is highly necessary. If that means a whole new slate of MPs and a slew of by-elections, so be it.

We must restore some dignity to the House.

You know it is a strange world. John Fraser resigned a Minister of Fisheries and Oceans shortly after "Tunagate" reared its ugly head back in 1985. He did so rather quickly - even though no one got ill for eating said Tuna.

At 10:06 am , Blogger Aeneas the Younger said...

Compare and Contrast if you will.

At 11:47 am , Blogger JimBobby said...

Whooee! I may be mistaken but I think I reads that the tape was discovered in some of Brad Wall's former offices recently vacated when he became Premier. It's not entirely clear that Lukiwski himself was the one who retained them.

If it was Wall, instead, then he showed poor judgment. Then again, since the tape was simply left behind when he moved, maybe he'd forgotten it even existed. In that case, he showed poor personal organizational skills and kept junk lyin' around beyond its best-before date. Sounds like somebody I know.


At 12:11 pm , Blogger Aeneas the Younger said...

Interesting stuff. Then, and if this is the case, Lukiwski is still a moron ... and a discredit to the House.

If he uttered Racist remarks, he would be gone already. No difference as far as I am concerned.

At 12:19 pm , Blogger JimBobby said...

I've blogged on it and I'm calling for forgiveness for former queer-hater Lukiwski and former Jew-hater Ahenekew. Every badass is acpable of changing and I ain't got any evidence either Lukiwski or Ahenekew are lyin' about seein' the light and mendin' their wicked ways.

I ain't sayin' there won't be consequences. That's already happening.

Drop over to ol' JimBobby Sez an' join the fray, if yer inclined.


At 8:28 pm , Blogger Red Tory said...

Lukiwski must resign for his remarks
Murray Mandryk, The Leader-Post
Published: Friday, April 04, 2008

Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre MP Tom Lukiwski needs to do the honourable thing and resign his seat.

At 7:48 pm , Blogger Patrick Ross said...

Another thing that should be mentioned: the tape was found in opposition block offices in the Saskatchewan legislature.

Lukiwski didn't keep the tape. Someone else did, and lost track of it.

What difference does this make? None. I think suggesting Lukiwski resign his seat in parliament is a bit much, but he should definitely resign as Parliamentary secretary.

However, I doubt he will. Anyone want to place bets?

At 12:09 pm , Blogger Just Some Guy said...

Kewanio Che Keeteru, aeneas.

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