UCP candidate apologizes for homophobic comments, NDP wants him fired
An audio recording of a United Conservative candidate making homophobic remarks during a church sermon in 2013 has surfaced.
In the sermon, Mark Smith, who is seeking reelection in Drayton Valley-Devon, said: “You don’t have to watch any TV for any length of time today where you don't see on the TV programs them trying to tell you that homosexuality and homosexual love is good love. Heck, there are even people out there—I could take you to places on the website, I'm sure, where you could find out that there’s, uh, where pedophilia is love.”
Smith apologized on Twitter Tuesday.
“I regret how my commentary was framed at the time,” Smith said. “Of course I do not believe that homosexuality is akin to pedophilia.”
Sarah Hoffman, NDP candidate in Edmonton-Glenora, called for Jason Kenney to fire Smith.
“I think he needs to. He’s told Albertans that he’s rooting these views out of his party, and instead he’s letting them run for office.
“Anyone who’s running for office should not be carrying hateful views in their heart, and not only do I hear those, (Smith) actually espoused them very clearly. There was no mistake in what he was saying, and I think that’s very troubling.”
In a statement, Kenney said he finds Smith's comments "offensive," but did not say whether the MLA would be fired.
"The comments in question were made before Mr. Smith was a legislator. In Mr. Smith’s time as an MLA over the past four years, he has not, to my knowledge, made similarly offensive comments."
Nominations for candidates ahead of the April 16 election closed last Friday, so if Smith was fired or resigned, the UCP would not have a candidate in Drayton Valley-Devon.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett