The Prime Minister of Canada has declined to discipline one of his MPs over comments he made in 1991 calling gay people “homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit disease.”
Conservative Stephen Harper told the House of Commons on Monday that he considers the matter closed after Tom Lukiwski apologised.
However, the only openly gay member of the PM’s parliamentary party has decided to challenge Lukiwski about his remarks, which only came to light last week.
Senator Nancy Ruth told the Canadian Press that an apology is insufficient.
“I will speak to him and let him know that it’s not good enough, and I’ll do it in the most tactful way I can,” she said.
“There are queers everywhere, including in his constituency, and we don’t ever forget this stuff.”
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,” in an apology to the House of Commons.
Many, including opposition leader Jack Layton, have called for Mr Lukiwski to be sacked.
In 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.”
Senator Ruth said that her conversations with PM Stephen Harper about LGBT issues have been positive, and suggested Mr Lukiwski spend some time with his gay constituents.
“I know he has experience with homosexuals in the caucus (parliamentary party, comprising MPs and Senators). I’m in the caucus, there are others.”