Ex-Canada aide rebuked over child porn remarks
AFPOTTAWA -- A former senior advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized on Thursday for saying he has “grave doubts” about jailing people for possessing child pornography.
March 2, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
“I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste of pictures,” Tom Flanagan said during a lecture Wednesday evening in Alberta, in comments that were recorded and posted online by someone in the audience.
“It's a real issue of personal liberty and to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”
The prime minister's office said in a Twitter message that the remarks were “repugnant, ignorant, and appalling,” while others distanced themselves from Flanagan, including public broadcaster CBC, which had featured him in a nightly politics program, and the University of Calgary, where he taught politics.
Flanagan said Thursday he had flubbed his words and apologized.
“I absolutely condemn the sexual abuse of children, including the use of children to produce pornography,” he said in a statement. “These are crimes and should be punished under the law.”
Flanagan was a key player in Harper's political rise to prime minister, managing his leadership campaign for the Conservative Party and the party's national election campaign in 2004, before returning to academia.