Friday, July 24, 2009

Daniel Petit New Conservative But Old Reformer Racist

When Conservative MP Lee Richardson blamed immigrants for the rise in the crime rate, many people were surprised ("Talk to the police. Look at who's committing these crimes. They’re not the kid that grew up next door.”).

He wasn't even an a former Reform Party member, who were notorious for making racist remarks. Richardson had been a Progressive Conservative.

Well Daniel Petit, Conservative MP for Charlebourg-Haute-Saint-Charles, Quebec, wasn't a Reform Party MP either, but actually ran for the PC Party back in the 1980's, and was a party organizer.

He certainly shared their views on multiculturalism, which is basically 'not in my neighbourhood'.

Mind you, I don't expect much from Mr. Petit. As one of the Conservatives who agreed to launder money during the 2005/2006 election campaign, he arrived with little integrity, and went downhill from there.

But if you thought being seen on national television giving the finger, was horrendous, that may have actually be his high point.

Liberal MPs are demanding Prime Minister Stephen Harper expel a Tory MP who suggested school shootings could be curbed in Quebec if more money were given to immigration programs.

Although Quebec City-area MP Daniel Petit has since apologized and retracted his comments, Liberal MP Ralph Goodale still demanded Petit be removed from the Conservative caucus.

"This situation does not need pontification," Goodale said in the House of Commons during question period. "It needs rectification."

When asked about Montreal's Dawson College rampage last week, Petit drew attention to the fact that none of the three gunmen who blasted their way onto Montreal campuses since 1989 was an old-stock francophone.

He suggested a solution to curbing school shootings would be scrapping the gun registry and using the savings to help immigrants integrate better in Quebec.

"So I think the $1 billion that we spent on the [gun] registry should have been spent on the education and integration of immigrants in Montreal."

On his website, Liberal MP Denis Coderre also called for Petit to be ejected from caucus and the Commons standing committee on justice and human rights.

"It's scandalous that a member of Parliament would make comments like that," Coderre said. "Mr. Petit demonstrated shocking hypocrisy after voting in favour of a motion I moved on Wednesday evening rebuking a Globe and Mail journalist who made similar comments. Does the prime minister condone the absurd and irresponsible things his MP said? Does Mr. Petit have the support of the other members of the Quebec Conservative caucus?"

Article raises controversy

Earlier this week, Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest rebuked Globe and Mail writer Jan Wong, who wrote a recent article that suggested Quebec's francophone culture may have contributed to the Dawson College shootings.

Harper's office reportedly reacted angrily when Petit's comments were made public Thursday and contacted the MP, who issued an apology almost immediately.

"I made inappropriate remarks," Petit said in a statement. "I withdraw them entirely because you cannot draw any link between the integration of immigrants in Quebec and the terrible tragedy at Dawson College."

Jason Kenney, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, said Petit's retraction is good enough.

"The member for Charlesbourg has recognized that those comments were inappropriate, which is precisely why he has retracted the comments unequivocally and apologized," Kenney told the House of Commons. (Kenney? That's rich. He has even less integrity than Daniel Petit.)

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