WINNIPEG - Manitoba's Opposition party is not going to revoke the membership of a former youth wing president who made admittedly racist comments about aboriginals — at least not right now.
The Progressive Conservative board of directors met Wednesday night and formally accepted the resignation of Braydon Mazurkiewich as the party's youth president. But it rejected, at least for the time being, calls to revoke Mazurkiewich's member card.
Mazurkiewich stirred up controversy last month when he took to Facebook to blast a proposed urban reserve on a former military base in Winnipeg, saying the area was "built for hardworking men and women of the military, not freeloading Indians."
The post created an online furor and within hours, the party asked for and received Mazurkiewich's resignation as youth president. The following week, party leader Brian Pallister denounced the comments as unacceptable and wrong, but rejected calls for an apology, saying the comments were never made on behalf of the Tories.
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One Tory board member, Clay Purves, emailed his colleagues last month to ask that Mazurkiewich's membership be revoked.
"Mazurkiewich no longer holds a voice within the P.C. party," party president Ryan Matthews said in a written statement on Wednesday. "The board reserves the right to send the issue to the P.C. (membership) credentials committee should further action be deemed necessary."
Mazurkiewich declined an interview request Wednesday night. Tory staff said no one in the party would grant interviews or make any comments beyond the brief written statement.
Mazurkiewich apologized for his remarks when the controversy broke, to the party and to "all aboriginal people who work hard and pay taxes." He has, however, posted further messages on social media sites in which he says he has not met a taxpayer who disagreed with him.
Aside from his former post as youth president, Mazurkiewich was in charge of 10 so-called "Blue Blitzes'' — pamphlet distributions in NDP and Liberal constituencies.
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