Toronto-Centre candidate who said ‘Ontarians are idiots’ apologizes
Posted August 7, 2015 6:04 am.
Last Updated August 7, 2015 12:19 pm.
This article is more than 5 years old.
A federal Conservative candidate has apologized after controversial comments he made in a blog almost a decade ago surfaced online.
Posts made by Toronto-Centre MP hopeful Julian DiBattista, from his now deleted blog titled ‘A Look to the Right,’ re-appeared online last week.
One of blog posts, titled ‘Guns don’t kill people,’ contains a picture of DiBattista holding a gun at what appears to be a gun range, standing next to a picture of Saddam Hussein which is riddled with bullet holes.
“That’s a picture of me. I’m holding a gun. (Glock 17, Excellent Weapon) I had just used it to shoot holes in a poster of Saddam Hussein,” the post begins, before questioning the Liberals’ proposed handgun ban.
In another post, DiBattista claimed “Ontarians are idiots” and that he planned to move to Alberta after graduating from university.
“I regret the comments that I’ve made, as many as ten years ago and for these I apologize,” DiBattista said in a statement to CityNews.
In a post on Nov. 8, 2005 titled ‘It’d be a travesty for Ottawa to give any aid‘, DiBattista lambasted the federal government over the idea of using taxpayer money to get Omar Khadr (referred to as ‘this kid’) out of Guantanamo Bay and into a Canadian court.
“Hopefully there are no legal injuctions [sic] that prevent his hearing in this quasi-legal court from taking place, and hopefully he gets the most severe sentence possible,” DiBattista’s post read. “He deserves everything he gets, and I swear if the Canadian Government interferes in this using my money, I will lead the march on Parliament Hill. This kid dug his own grave, now it’s our job to let him lie in it.”
Other posts included commending Walmart for cutting benefit packages to its employees and stating that Ontario needed tougher alcohol control because he had been drinking under age and had a hangover.
DiBattista claims that the posts were a product of his attempt to hide his sexuality and come off as more of a stereotypical straight man.
“During this time, as a gay teenager and someone who was struggling, I felt an overwhelming pressure and made incorrect statements to mask the confusion I was feeling. I did this in order to present an image of myself that I felt was expected of a straight man,” he explained.
DiBattista said that over the last 10 years he has worked to serve people in the LGBT community as best he can – including serving as a member of the board of OutSport Toronto and supporting LGBT charities, AIDS service charities and community athletics.
“I’m grateful to offer my support 10 years later, toward some of the support structures that are so necessary to help LGBT youth who were in the same position that I was in. My hope is that they don’t feel alone or afraid, and that they can access organizations that are here to support them,” he stated.
“I look forward to continue working to serve my community and I commit to representing their best interests if elected as the Member of Parliament for Toronto-Centre,” he continued.
Toronto-Centre is a often seen as a crucial, often Liberal, riding which is currently held by Chrystia Freeland.
DiBattista is just one of several next-generation politicians coming under fire for their online content.
In May, Deborah Drever was suspended from the Alberta NDP caucus after a series of social media gaffes – including questionable photos posted on her Facebook page and a heavy metal band album cover she posed for which critics said promoted sexual violence.
Chris Reid, the Conservative party’s candidate in Toronto Centre in 2008, also stepped down after a blog was discovered that reportedly contained a number of controversial posts.