Feb 28, 2013 / 5:08 pm
Former Stephen Harper strategist Tom Flanagan has been widely and swiftly condemned for suggesting that people looking at child pornography shouldn't be jailed.
Flanagan made the controversial remark during a lecture Wednesday night in southern Alberta. His words were recorded on a cellphone and quickly posted on YouTube.
It didn't take long for people to start cutting ties.
By noon Thursday, the CBC dumped Flanagan as a panellist on its "Power and Politics" program. The University of Calgary, where he is a political science professor, issued a statement distancing itself from his views and then hours later announced his retirement.
In a statement attributed to him on the CBC website, Flanagan was apologetic to anyone he offended. He said he absolutely condemns child sex abuse.
"In an academic setting, I raised a theoretical question about how far criminalization should extend toward the consumption of pornography," reads the statement posted on the blog of Kady O'Malley, also a panellist on "Power and Politics."
"My words were badly chosen, and in the resulting uproar I was not able to express my abhorrence of child pornography and the sexual abuse of children.
"I apologize unreservedly to all who were offended by my statement, and most especially to victims of sexual abuse and their families."
Flanagan did not return calls or emails from The Canadian Press.
He was giving the lecture on the Indian Act at the University of Lethbridge, hosted by the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs. He has written several books about aboriginal issues and believes the government should allow property rights on reserves.
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