BC Metis Federation Comments on Tom Flanagans Statements

Yesterday this youtube video was captured by a aboriginal youth at a lecture at the University of Lethbridge. In a February 27, 2013 discussion about child pornography at the University of Lethbridge Flanagan said that there was “no harm” in actually viewing child porn, stating that “I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters,but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures, I don’t look at these pictures.” He also indicated “he was put on the mailing list of the national Man Boy Love Association for several years”. His remarks proved controversial; Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith cut her ties with Flanagan because “there is no language strong enough to condemn [his] comments”, Andrew McDougall (a spokesperson for Harper’s government) considered them to be “repugnant, ignorant, and appalling,” while CBC News immediately dropped Flanagan as a commentator. Flanagan subsequently apologized for his remarks, stating that his words were “badly chosen”.

We cannot express the disgust in these statements, as senior former aboriginal advisor to stephen harper and a CBC commentor he held a respected position. Child pornography is a despicable crime that seriously harms all those involved, including the viewer.  The viewing of child pornography first requires the production of child pornography, which causes untold suffering and abuse towards children.

Tom Flanagan served as an advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper until 2004. Flanagan has focused on challenging Native and Metis rights. In connection with his multi-year research and publications on Louis Riel, Flanagan published a reinterpretation of the North-West Rebellion, defending the federal government’s response to Métis land claims.  He began publishing works on Louis Riel leader of the 1885 North-West Rebellion in the 1970s which evolved into a multi-year Louis Riel Project that he coordinated. Flanagan was retained by the federal Department of Justice in litigation over Métis claims in Manitoba. Flanagan has served as a witness for Alberta, Manitoba, and Canada in litigation involving native rights and land claims, providing testimony about the Numbered Treaties and the administration of federal programs for Métis and Indians in Western Canada.

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