News

Image

CALGARY, February 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal Conservative Party campaign strategist and campaign manager for Alberta’s Wildrose Party told a group of students at the University of Lethbridge Wednesday night that looking at child pornography is “a question of personal liberty” and that users shouldn't be jailed.

Image

 Professor Tom Flanagan, also a University of Calgary political science professor and CBC commentator until he was fired for his remarks today, responded to a student's question about a remark he made in 2009 in which he said “what’s wrong with child pornography — in the sense that it’s just pictures?” 

Flanagan told the University of Lethbridge students, “A lot of people on my side of the spectrum, the conservative side of the spectrum, have been on kind of a jihad against pornography and child pornography in particular. And I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters. But I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures.”

Amid gasps and boos from the audience, the questioning student said loudly, “That’s disgusting.”

Flanagan responded that “It is a real issue of personal liberty. To what extent do we put people in jail for doing something for which they do not harm another person?”

A video of Flanagan’s remarks was posted to YouTube.

Reactions condemning Flanagan's remarks were immediate.

Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Prime Minister Harper’s office, tweeted that the comments were “repugnant, ignorant, and appalling.”

Alberta opposition leader Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Party released a statement today condemning Flanagan's remarks and cutting all association with him.

“There is no language strong enough to condemn Dr. Flanagan’s comments,” Smith wrote. “Child pornography is a despicable crime that seriously harms all those involved, including the viewer.  The viewing of child pornography first requires the production of child pornography, which causes untold suffering and abuse towards children. In no uncertain terms, Wildrose condemns the production, transmission and viewing of child pornography.”

“To be clear,” Smith emphasized, “Dr. Flanagan does not speak for me or the Wildrose caucus and he will have no role – formal or informal – with our organization going forward.”

Alberta Premier Alison Redford said Flanagan's remarks “turned her stomach” and were an example of taking an ideological argument too far.

The CBC, while posting Flanagan's statement of apology for his remarks on their Inside Politics blog today, also posted a statement saying that he is fired from his job as a CBC commentator

“My words were badly chosen, and in the resulting uproar I was not able to express my abhorrence of child pornography and the sexual abuse of children,” Flanagan said in his apology. “I apologize unreservedly to all who were offended by my statement, and most especially to victims of sexual abuse and their families.”

“In light of recent remarks made by Tom Flanagan at the University of Lethbridge, CBC News has taken the decision to end our association with him as a commentator on Power and Politics.

“While we support and encourage free speech across the country and a diverse range of voices, we believe Mr. Flanagan's comments to have crossed the line and impacted his credibility as a commentator for us,” said Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor In Chief of CBC News.

The University of Calgary also released a statement today distancing themselves from Flanagan and his comments.

“In the university’s view, child pornography is not a victimless crime. All aspects of this horrific crime involve the exploitation of children. Viewing pictures serves to create more demand for these terrible images, which leads to further exploitation of defenseless children. Tom Flanagan has been on a research and scholarship leave from the University of Calgary since January of 2013.”

Comments

Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.

0 Comments

    Loading...