A politician in Canada has issued an apology after a the discovery of a videotape in which he described homosexuals as ‘diseased.’

Tom Lukiwski, a 56-year-old Conservative MP for Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre in Saskatchewan, spoke of his, “deep regret and deep remorse for my words of 17 years ago.”

He was elected in 2004 after his predecessor, Larry Spencer, was barred from running for making homophobic comments.

Mr Spencer was a member of the Canadian Alliance caucus, but was dropped by the party after he told a reporter in 2003 that homosexuality should be outlawed and that a conspiracy is responsible for the successes of the gay rights movement.

Many, including opposition leader Jack Layton, have called for Mr Lukiwski to receive the same treatment.

When the NDP government was ousted by the Conservatives last November, the two parties exchanged offices.

In one of the offices vacated by the Conservatives a member of staff found an aluminium briefcase containing a camera and three tapes.

The comments were part of a video that was taped inside the Progressive Conservative campaign headquarters of Grant Devine, who was defeated after two terms in power in 1991.

Mr. Lukiwski tells the camera:

“There’s A’s and there’s B’s. The A’s are guys like me. The B’s are homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit diseases.”

In a statement to the House of Commons the disgraced MP said:

“Despite the fact that I made these comments just about 17 years ago does not lessen the shame that I feel for making those comments in the first place.

“I want to apologise to all of my friends and colleagues who are gay or lesbian. I have no idea what they must think of me now.

“I know there is an awful lot of anger directly toward me from members of the gay and lesbian community and that anger is certainly understandable and, I would say, it is justified.

“All I can say is that I hope that over the passage of time, my apologies will be accepted.

“I deeply regret and I have deep remorse for my words of 17 years ago.”

Although receiving numerous calls for his resignation, the apology has been well received by colleagues including Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Peter Van Loan.

Mr. Van Loan said: “We accepted that apology as sincere and genuine and are satisfied that the comments in question don’t reflect his beliefs.”

In a final plea to forgiveness Mr Lukiwski said:

“I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, and all of my colleagues in this House, that I will spend the rest of my career and my life trying to make up for those shameless comments.”

With the opposition calling for his immediate dismissal and members of his own party urging him to resign, he may not have that opportunity.