DISGUSTING! Ex-Harper Adviser Tom Flanagan Okays Viewing Child Porn

“I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures” – Flanagan

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive | Feb. 28, 2013:

Prime Minister  Stephen Harper‘s former senior adviser, Tom Flanagan, has questioned the jailing of people who view child pornography. And paid a huge price for it.

“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,” Flanagan said Wednesday night in Lethbridge, Alta., during a lecture discussing the Conservatives’ anti-democratic changes to the Indian Act. “It’s a real issue of personal liberty and to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

Flanagan, a University of Calgary professor, is a prominent Conservative figure widely regarded as the architect of Harper’s rise to power. He’s been called “the man behind Stephen Harper”. In 1997, he and Harper penned a paper in which they called Canada “our benign dictatorship”. They prophetically argued that our “system of one-party-plus rule has stunted democracy.”  Flanagan served as campaign manager for the Conservative Party of Canada during the 2004 and 2006 federal elections.

Back in 2009, he asked: “What’s wrong with child pornography — in the sense that it’s just pictures.” There was some criticism but no serious consequences. Not this time.

This time the Conservatives, from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to Alberta’s Official Opposition, the Wildrose Party, were quick to denounce Flanagan.  The PMO called the statements “repugnant and appalling.”

“Tom Flanagan’s comments on child pornography are repugnant, ignorant, and appalling,” said Juie Vaux, Harper’s press secretary. “The tragic reality is that child pornography hurts children,” said Juie Vaux, Harper’s press secretary. “Pedophiles abuse children, and then trade these pictures on the internet. Once online, these images haunt victims long after the sexual abuse occurs.”

In 2012, Flanagan helped Wildrose Party to become Alberta’s Official Opposition. Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said “there is no language strong enough to condemn” Flanagan.

“Child pornography is a despicable crime that seriously harms all those involved, including the viewer,” she said in statement posted on her party’s website. “The viewing of child pornography first requires the production of child pornography, which causes untold suffering and abuse towards children.”

The Calgary-based Manning Centre, a pro-Conservative government organization, has ditched Flanagan from a forthcoming conference.

“The Manning Networking Conference has removed Dr. Tom Flanagan from its speaking program,” the organization said. “Dr. Flanagan’s comments do not reflect the values of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy, its Board of Directors, or its staff.”

Flanagan announced his resignation from the University of Calgary hours after the institution distanced itself from his views.

Clearly, Flanagan has gone too far but not just for the Conservatives.

On Thursday, the CBC dropped Flanagan from its popular Power and Politics program. CBC editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire said while the national broadcaster supports free speech, Flanagan’s comments had “crossed the line” and compromised “his credibility as a commentator for us.”

What will Flanagan do next to nurture his strange delight in controversy and insults? Head down south, where he was born, and join Fox News?

In 2010, he suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be assassinated or disappeared for leaking over 250,000 US diplomatic cables, most of which detailed human rights abuses in the US’ conduct on the world stage. During a panel interview on Power & Politics, Flanagan said U.S. President Barack Obama “should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something” on Assange.

“I think Assange should be assassinated, actually,” he said.

A number of prominent U.S. Republicans, among them presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, have also called for the targeted killing of Assange for releasing the cables.

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.