POLITICS

Manitoba MP defends Pallister over Tory's racist remarks

12/19/2012 10:02 EST | Updated 02/18/2013 05:12 EST
A Conservative MP says Manitoba's Tory leader should not have to apologize for racist comments that his party's former youth wing president posted on Facebook last week.

St. Boniface MP Shelly Glover says aboriginal leaders are wrong to politicize Braydon Mazurkiewich's remarks, which sparked a public uproar after he called aboriginal people "freeloading Indians."

Mazurkiewich resigned as the PC Party's youth wing president hours after he posted the comments on his Facebook page on Friday. However, he remains a party member.

Some First Nations leaders, including Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, have since been calling on Pallister to denounce Mazurkiewich's comments and apologize publicly to First Nations citizens.

Glover told CBC News that while the remarks in question are disgusting, she said First Nations leaders should not be urging Pallister to say anything.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with Pallister. It has nothing to do with Conservatives, which I am," Glover, who is Métis, said Wednesday.

"It has absolutely everything to do with a young man who has made some racist comments who ought to be taking responsibility."

At the time, Mazurkiewich was reacting to a Federal Court ruling that favoured First Nations regarding the future of Kapyong Barracks, a former Canadian Forces site in Winnipeg.

"That was built for hardworking men and women of the military, not freeloading Indians," Mazurkiewich wrote on Facebook.

'Not fair'

Manitoba's aboriginal and northern affairs minister, Eric Robinson, has also been urging Pallister to condemn Mazurkiewich's Facebook comments.

While PC Party president Ryan Matthews condemned the remarks when he asked Mazurkiewich to resign on Friday, Pallister has yet to say anything publicly.

A party spokesman told CBC News earlier this week that the issue is behind them, as Mazurkiewich's comments are strictly his own.

"For leaders to ask for an apology after a volunteer has said something that's against a a race ... I think is not fair," Glover said.

Pallister may be confronted with the issue on Thursday, when he is scheduled to speak to reporters about a separate topic.

Mazurkiewich recently wrote on Facebook that since his "offhand remarks" were posted, he has been compared to former U.S. president George W. Bush, embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "I am honoured," he wrote.