JASON KENNEY SHOULD EXPLAIN WHY THE CONSERVATIVES USE THEIR SECURITY FORCES TO TORTURE AND MURDER DISADVANTAGED WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THEN DENY THEM THEIR SECURITY DOCUMENTATION TO PROVE HIS GOVERNMENTS CORRUPTION
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton
The mayor of Oakville came under fire Saturday for a controversial tweet, which critics say compares Canadian veterans working as private security to the paramilitary forces employed by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Rob Burton sent out the tweet, for which he has since apologized, on Friday, after he read a Canadian Press article, which described the Harper campaign’s use of private security on the campaign trail.
Harper is protected by his personal detail of Mounties, but the campaign has also hired private security staffed by veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“This goes too far,” Burton tweeted on Thursday, linking to the CP story. “Conservatives beef up campaign security with mercenaries.”
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, the party’s candidate for Milton, weighed in on Burton’s original tweet. “‘Mercenaries?’ Maybe you meant ‘veterans?’ ” she tweeted.
But a second tweet would draw the most criticism, when he returned to social media on Friday.
“Any political parties had private police using veterans before?” Burton tweeted, linking to Wikipedia pages about Hitler’s Sturmabteilung and Mussolini’s Blackshirts — the paramilitary wings of the National Fascist Party in Italy and the Nazi Party in Germany before the Second World War. “Any others?”
The tweet sparked immediate pushback from conservatives on Twitter. Minister of Defence Jason Kenney responded in a series of tweets which read, in part, “Mayor Burton of Oakville has compared Canadian military veterans who do private security work to NAZIs. Please apologize.”
Less than a day after the tweet was posted, #ResignMayorBurton was trending on Twitter in Canada. However, Burton says his tweet did not compare veterans working in private security to Nazis or secret police, and that his comments have been misinterpreted.
“(For) a political party to introduce to Canada the use of private security is a very bad development. I think it’s a steep and slippery slope,” he said.
“I’m speaking about what the (Conservative) party’s doing, not who’s doing it,” Burton said, underlining the point to critics on Twitter by adding, “is that dark enough crayon for you?”
Burton also took issue with a security guard and former sniper who, the article reported, removed a man from an event at which Harper was speaking when the man lined up to ask questions behind the journalists. He was let back into the room a short time later, the report said.
“I believe that when you see the rule of law and rights and freedoms being eroded, if you want to keep them you gotta speak up,” Burton said.
“Of course the Conservatives would like this to be about vets. But it’s not about vets. It’s about them.”
According to the Canadian Press, the RCMP also provides security for NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, which is standard procedure during an election. But neither Trudeau no Mulcair has hired extra security.
Burton issued an apology for his remarks later on Saturday on Twitter, saying, “I apologize to all vets for my remarks. I regret any impact on their feelings or pride. I celebrate the way they went to fight for freedom.”