Sunday, May 22, 2005

Conservative Politician Apologizes

In Canada, a Conservative politician has apologized after making a mistake.

Conservative MP apologizes for racial epithet
Rookie Conservative MP Steven Fletcher has apologized for an incident last weekend where he referred to Japanese soldiers from the Second World War as "Japs" and "bastards."

Fletcher made the remarks last weekend at a veteran's convention in Winnipeg.

His specific statement was: "The Japs were bastards."

In his statement of apology on Saturday, Fletcher referred to his family's personal experiences during the war, saying they had given him "a very emotional perspective" on that historical period.

His grandfather was a prisoner of war held by the Japanese, captured during the fall of Singapore.

"I allowed those emotions to colour my remarks," he said. "I should have chosen more appropriate language, and will do so in the future. I apologize for any offence I may have caused, and retract my choice of words without reservation."

But he also said this: "I stand by the fact that the Japanese were ruthless. If people want to challenge me on that, I look forward to it."


Bev Oda, a Conservative MP and the first Japanese-Canadian elected to Parliament, was mildly critical of her colleague.

"We have a job certainly as members of Parliament to work against racism but we can do that without using the terminology of the day," he said.

The Liberals said Fletcher's outburst is yet more evidence that the Conservatives are an angry party led by people with narrow views.

But the NDP said Fletcher's apology should end the matter.
Why do I mention this? Mostly because I find the contrast so interesting. In the United States when Conservative politicians get caught making mistakes, they don't usually apologize. They mostly get abusive.

Only in Canada, eh? Pity!