Tom Flanagan, a successful man with an illustrative political and academic career, a professor at the University of Calgary, and a former top advisor and mentor to Stephen Harper, has nose dived from influence while giving a lecture at the University of Lethbridge.
In response to a comment raised about child pornography, Flanagan expressed "grave doubts" about "putting people into jail because of their taste in pictures." Flanagan also incites intense opposition from the audience when he made the remark that viewing child pornography did no harm. "It is a real issue of personal liberty, to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person."
These remarks were recorded and posted in a video on Youtube, subsequently leading to the condemnation of his remarks by many federal and provincial politicians, including Danielle Smith, Stephen Harper's spokesperson and the University of Calgary. Also, his remarks have caused the recent announcement of his retirement as a professor and being dropped as a panelist from the CBC program of "Power and Politics."
This is not the first time Flanagan's remarks have caused a public outcry and stirred considerable controversy, after he called for the murder of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, on the CBC.
Flanagan contends, "I think that Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think that Obama should put on a contract and maybe use a drone or something," as he remarks to CBC Host Evan Soloman. Soloman responds with, "Tom, that's pretty harsh stuff," to which Flanagan replies back, "Well, I'm feeling very manly today."
I represent and speak solely of my own personal views. As a widely respected academic, with 45 years of experience as a university instructor, and a senior political strategist for the Canadian federal government, his responses were disturbing and appalling. The issue of irreversible harm being inflicted upon children is one that finds absolutely no support. One's freedom of speech and personal liberty should never come at the expense and suffering of another human being, especially a child's.