Conservative candidate Lee Richardson links immigrants with crime

Wow! This could be a killer to the Tory effort in luring ethnic minorities. Eye-popping comments from Lee Richardson, a seasoned Conservative; will this one “resonate” with ethnic voters? What a bomb!

First, Asian immigrants drop and European immigrants up. Then this kind of textbook example of racism. The Tory war room must be freaking to do damage control.

See these extracts from this article was published September 25, 2008 in Fast Forward (a weekly publication in Calgary).

 

In light of recent shootings in Calgary, Fast Forward contacted Richardson September 18 to ask how the Conservative approach to crime compares to other parties’ approaches. In reply, Richardson said Canada has been too “soft on crime” by showing too much sympathy towards offenders and their civil rights. “Particularly in big cities, we’ve got people that have grown up in a different culture,” said Richardson, 60. “And they don’t have the same background in terms of the stable communities we had 20, 30 years ago in our cities”¦ and don’t have the same respect for authority or people’s person or property.”

Later in the same interview, Richardson brought up the increase of immigrants coming to Canada. “Canada accepts so many refugees, for example,” he said. “These are people that have had a very difficult life from whence they came. If you’ve been in a refugee camp, then you live day-to-day. And those are troubled people. They come here and, well, it’s easy to take advantage of people that are trying to help.”

Richardson added: “Talk to the police. Look at who’s committing these crimes. They’re not the kid that grew up next door.”

He said his comments weren’t meant to be racist. “I’m just being practical,” he said. “And those are the people that are tough to get to, and sometimes the only thing they understand is that we’ve got laws, and they have to be obeyed.”

Too late to retract”¦

When Fast Forward phoned Richardson the day after the initial interview to ask him to clarify his earlier comments, he expressed regret for what he’d said. “I just don’t want to go there at all,” said Richardson. “That is not my intention. If I misspoke, I apologize to you for that.” Richardson said he was referring to only a “small minority” of people and was reflecting what he’s heard from his constituents. “What their comments are based on is probably anecdotal — what they read in the newspapers,” he said.

“I just don’t want [my comments] to be torqued out of context,” Richardson added. “We see anecdotally — and through our experiences here — the differences from the Alberta that I grew up in. And that’s the same in a lot of big cities across the country. That’s really all I was trying to say”¦. I regret having said that yesterday.”

Wreck the ship?

During this campaign, the Conservatives have labelled themselves the “true voice for new Canadians.” When the party won power in 2006, it halved Canada’s $975 immigration landing fee to $490, following through on a campaign promise. The Conservative government also made it easier for companies to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada to ease the country’s worker shortage.

Richardson is no rookie. He’s a senior politician, a senior conservative. I strongly believe his views are shared by many many otherwise silent Tories.

Susanna Ng is an editor of a Vancouver Chinese newspaper. Read more on her Chinese in Vancouver blog.

Comments

4 Comments

DaveInCalgary

Sep 25, 2008 at 2:41pm

I Live in this "man's" riding and i am ashamed to say that this stuff tends to go down well in Calgary. It's no different than the comments made by Jason Kenny for the Conservatives in Calgary S.E. Hopefully Canadians in more enlightened areas of the country will see these people for what they really are.

kwhunter

Sep 25, 2008 at 4:01pm

" He’s a senior politician, a senior conservative. I strongly believe his views are shared by many many otherwise silent Tories."

Nice generality......as a journalist, do you have facts to back up that statement or is this an editorial? And if this is an editorial, can the reader then assume all of this article is written based upon your opinion only? And if so, can the reader then assume the asinine comments by the Con in Alberta were taken out of context and not quoted verbatim within your editorial?

Wink Dinkerson

Sep 25, 2008 at 6:29am

I'm sure Harper will be putting out the 'shut your mouths and don't blow the lead' memo to all the rest of the candidates.

David Wong

Sep 25, 2008 at 6:00pm

Hey... Lee Richardson is stating the truth.

Other than our First Peoples, everyone to Canada is an immigrant. Therefore, all criminals are of immigrant origin.

What if the headline read:
"Immigrants link Conservative candidate Lee Richardson with Grime"

Now that would be true too... as we often see our warm & fuzzy daddy, Stevie Harper, showing how to be king of the mud puddle.

And Lee Richardson is only learning from the best.