Calgary Tory offers no apology for immigrant-crime comment
by Jason Fekete; Thursday, September 25, 2008 – Canwest News Service
CALGARY – Local Conservative incumbent Lee Richardson expressed regret Thursday – but offered no apology or resignation – for controversial comments he made suggesting immigrants are to blame for much of the crime in Canada.
But opposition parties and leaders representing minority groups are demanding the Calgary Centre Tory candidate – whose riding population is almost one-quarter recent immigrants – immediately apologize and either resign or be turfed for his “disgraceful” remarks.
“(Stephen) Harper must fire this man right away,” Liberal Leader Stephane Dion told reporters on the campaign trail, suggesting the comments reek of “intolerance” he attributed to the former Reform party.
“He cannot be a candidate anymore.”
The remarks were denounced by police officials, criminologists and immigrant aid groups, who noted there’s no data suggesting immigrants are to blame for a disproportionate amount of crime either in Calgary or across Canada.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper – who already has been knocked off-message a few times this campaign by candidates making inappropriate comments – could face the fallout at a campaign event Friday in Calgary.
“Mr. Richardson has clarified his remarks, and from our perspective the matter is over,” said Kory Teneycke, Harper’s chief spokesman.
The political firestorm stems from an interview with a Calgary weekly newspaper published Thursday, in which Richardson is quoted as saying many crimes aren’t committed by people who “grew up next door” and that immigrants aren’t as law-abiding as the rest of the population.