More articles written by Paul Bunner, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s speechwriter, have been discovered in which he expressed controversial remarks about transgender people, women, people of colour and the homeless community.
Bunner came under fire last week for an article he wrote in 2013 calling residential schools a “bogus genocide story.” More articles came to light on Friday, where he called homosexuality socially destructive.
Another dozen articles penned by the speechwriter have now been uncovered. Most of them were written in the late 1990s and early 2000s, while he was editor of the now-defunct Alberta Report.
Indigenous leaders, Alberta’s NDP and others have called for Bunner’s resignation. So far, the premier is standing by his man, even though he disagrees with his comments. The premier’s office said on Friday that Bunner’s views have since evolved.
In one column, he talks about wanting to overcome racism, reflecting on his time at a Boston boarding school and his friendship with two Black dorm mates. That article goes on to discuss how “everyone knows that race is the defining element of violent crime in Canada today,” and talks about Toronto’s Jamaican “ghetto.”
It continues, “On the prairies, if it’s not Asian gangbangers whacking each other and occasionally innocent bystanders, it’s Aboriginal murder and mayhem,” it reads.
In an article entitled, The Planet in Need of Colonialism, Bunner wrote: “What is Canadian immigration refugee and multiculturalism policy rather than a way to subjugate cultural homogeneity?”
‘Emotionally disturbed gays and lesbians’
Transgender people also feature prominently in his columns.
In March 2000, he reviewed a column written in the Globe and Mail about sex change surgeries. He criticizes surgeons who exploit the “Frankenstein flavour” of such procedures and says only a small proportion of “emotionally disturbed gays and lesbians” consider the surgery.
Another sees Bunner reflect on an anti-gay activist talking about the “disproportionate involvement of gays in deviant, violent sexual activity,” including the suggestion that one man’s desire for “rough trade” sex contributed to his violent murder.
One talks about the need for a census to track who is gay or lesbian because he doubts there are enough of them to warrant the rights they were seeking such as gay marriage and affirmative action.
“As I am sure you can appreciate, societal norms have changed greatly over time,” a statement from the premier’s office sent Tuesday reads.
“Matters addressed in decades old articles have long since been settled law.”
Some of his musings do reflect a portion of public opinion at the time. For example, these articles were written before the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada.
He talks about the shifting role of men in society in yet another article, saying women’s hot-and-cold natures are partially responsible for that.
“With all these conflicting signals from women, it is no wonder that men are uncertain about their place in society. Though it goes against eons of socialization, some may be tempted by the role of the victim, if only because it has worked so well for women and homosexuals,” he wrote.
“Turns out it’s handy to have big, strong, brave men around, no matter how stupid and insensitive they are.”
In February 2000, he wrote an article about new federal funding for homelessness. He argues most homeless people are on the street by choice and that Canadians are made to feel guilty about the “shivering vagrants, panhandlers, squeegee kids, drunks, drug addicts and lunatics” at Christmas time.
Views do not reflect government stance, premier says
Bunner was hired as Kenney’s speechwriter in the spring of 2019. He also worked in the same position for prime minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2009.
The premier has not said whether or not he plans to fire Bunner.
“Somebody who was a journalist for 40 years undoubtedly wrote things with which I disagree,” Kenney said Thursday. “That does not reflect or change the policy of the Government of Alberta.”