UPDATE: McKeever has apologized for his remarks. Well, sort of — but probably enough for the party to keep him on the ballot, at least unless something else turns up in the Googlecache-ic record of the Internet.
What, really, can one say about Andrew McKeever, the NDP’s candidate in Durham, who, according to the Liberals, spent his spare time this summer engaged in a protracted Facebook flame war with supporters of “American traitors” like Corey Glass, the former US soldier who fled to Canada to avoid being sent back to Iraq? Other than wonder how he managed to miss the fact that it was the NDP – the party for which he’s now running – that successfully passed a motion in the House to protect Glass and others from deportation, of course.
McKeever apparently even started a rival group – “DEPORT US WAR RESISTERS” – although he admitted that it didn’t have as many members as the pro-resister group, which didn’t stop him from directing borderline threats at his detractors. A sample: “Answer a fucking direct question you cunt. I can guarantee, if I ever see you face to face, I will make you squeal for the same authorities that you have such a (baseless) [sic] disdain for.”
To quote McKeever himself, “Ugh. You people are nowhere near as bright as you think you are.”
Seriously — did he just not know about Olivia Chow’s motion? Or was his anti-war-resister persona just one of those “social experiments”?
Meanwhile, out west, longtime Calgary incumbent Lee Richardson has come under fire from both the NDP and the Liberals after suggesting to Fast Forward, a local newsweekly, that immigrants – not “the kid that grew up next door” – may be to blame for rising crime rates:
“Canada accepts so many refugees, for example…These are people that have had a very difficult life from whence they came. If you’ve been in a refugee camp, then you live day-to-day. And those are troubled people. They come here and, well, it’s easy to take advantage of people that are trying to help.”
To his credit, however — or his political judgment, at least — Richardson apparently did realize that his comments might come back to haunt him, and attempted to mitigate the damage before the story had even gone to press:
When Fast Forward phoned Richardson the day after the initial interview to ask him to clarify his earlier comments, he expressed regret for what he’d said. “I just don’t want to go there at all,” said Richardson. “That is not my intention. If I misspoke, I apologize to you for that.” Richardson said he was referring to only a “small minority” of people and was reflecting what he’s heard from his constituents. “What their comments are based on is probably anecdotal — what they read in the newspapers,” he said.
“I just don’t want [my comments] to be torqued out of context,” Richardson added. “We see anecdotally — and through our experiences here — the differences from the Alberta that I grew up in. And that’s the same in a lot of big cities across the country. That’s really all I was trying to say…. I regret having said that yesterday.”
The Conservatives fired back with a demand for the Liberals to remove Hedy Fry, Garth Turner and Keith Martin for various past comments on crime and immigation, but apparently didn’t double check the dates of the quotes dredged up by the War Room research squad: Turner’s comments are from 1993, when he was a Progressive Conservative, while Martin’s remarks were from 2001, when he was still part of the Canadian Alliance caucus.
Thursday, September 25, 2008