Wildrose candidate Ron Leech says he has an advantage because he’s white

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Meet Ron Leech - a 60 something Wildrose Alliance candidate running in the riding of Calgary-Greenway.

He's a pastor and he operates a private school.

And one more thing - he's white, which he thinks gives him an edge over his visible minority opponents.

"I think as a Caucasian I have an advantage when compared to different community leaders such as Sikh leaders or a Muslim leader when they speak, they only speak to their own people in many ways," Leech said, Sunday, on a Calgary radio station according to Openfile.ca.

"As a Caucasian I believe I can speak to all the community in the whole area."

While Leech later apologized, his opponents are outraged by the comments.

PC candidate, and incumbent, Manmeet Bhullar says there seems to be a pattern emerging.

"This is not just about one statement. It is a series of actions by the Wildrose that portray a message of intolerance," he told Yahoo! Canada News.

"Advantage does not come because of one's skin color, we live in a province and city where if you want to make a difference and you want to serve-you absolutely can."

The Liberal candidate who is running against Leech says the comments are "sad."

"I never expected Dr. Leech to give such a low statement," he told Yahoo! Canada News.

"I think we as Canadians should be proud of our multicultural tolerant society. Dr. Leech's statement is unacceptable."

On Tuesday, Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith defended Leech's comments.

"I'm not concerned about [his comments] I think every candidate puts forward their best argument for why they should be the person who can best represent the community," Smith said during a press conference.

"I know that Dr. Leech runs a private school which has a large number of people from different cultural communities. He has a very ethnically diverse riding, he's made great friendships and inroads with many of the leaders in different cultural communities there."

This is the second time this week, Smith has had to answer on behalf of a controversial candidate.

On Monday, Smith stood up for Allan Hunsperger, a pastor whose anti-gay blog caused a huge furor over the weekend.

Interestingly,  Leech is not a big fan of gay-marriage either.

In 2004, he wrote an article for the Calgary Herald pointing out that homosexuality is a sin that violates God's intention for human creation.

UPDATE:

Leech apologized for his comments late Tuesday.

According to CBC News,  Leech said  what he meant was that it was not a disadvantage to be white when it comes to representing different cultures.

He says he loves people from all different ethnic groups.