An Open Letter to Ted Falk

Dear Ted,

I tried calling you yesterday.  I was told you were unavailable.  I left a message for you to call me back, but you didn’t.  This morning, I called one of your workers to get through to you.  You still didn’t call me back.  So I’m going to write it as an open letter instead, with the hope that you read this again and give me a call.

When I first read the transcript of your interview with the Carillon, I couldn’t believe you actually suggested that a then 16 year old gay kid may have organized people to drive by and yell gay slurs at him while on national television. 

But apparently you did.

I don’t think you truly understand what you did.

Ted, you marginalized an already marginalized kid, part of a demographic that is not getting a lot of love these days in Steinbach.  This fall, the furor over Bill 18 had subsided for the most part, and we were all moving on with our lives.  The news cameras were gone, the petitions were over, and Evan was trying to live a normal life, finishing grade 12.

And then you went and threw him under the bus.  You, a 53 year old married man who takes his grandkids on the campaign trail promoting family values, threw a high school student under the bus.  Unprovoked and out of the blue, no less.

Do you see what you did? 

I thought you’d realize your error.  Yesterday, before I called you, I told my friends:  “Ted made a mistake. All he has to do is apologize, admit that he was wrong, and move on.  We all make mistakes.  Admitting them publically can sometimes be considered a character strength.”

Evan publically denied organizing homophobic slurs to be yelled at him, and stated his shock and hurt at your suggestion, and was hoping for an apology.

And then I read your statement.

You simply said that you had no idea if it were staged or not and that you’re against bullying.

Ted, by you not apologizing, you are indirectly saying that Evan’s story might not be true.  And thus, you are saying that a then 16 year old of might have lied, deceived, and manipulated an entire community/province/country.   You are casting doubt on his words without a shred of evidence suggesting the contrary.

Do you see what you did here?  Now, a 17 year high school student, whom everyone recognizes, is accused of not telling the truth.  How do think he feels?  His family?  His friends?  His community?  Have you even talked to him in all of this?

He didn’t seek out the press this time.  They approached him.  He said yes in order to clear his name and show a bit what his life is like in Steinbach.  And when he’s being interviewed on TV today, guess what happens?  Someone drives by and yells another homophobic slur at him.  Do you think that he staged that one too?

My faith leads me to defend the cause of the weak and to seek justice.  This is not a question about orientation, lifestyle, agenda, faith, religious rights, or politics.  In my little way, I will not stand silent while are using your position of power and influence to marginalize a minor.  This is unacceptable.   

Ted, I expect more from you.  This goes beyond politics and the by-election happening on Monday.  This is about you and your words creating an unsafe environment for a vulnerable population, all the while hoping to represent them in Ottawa on Tuesday morning. 

I hoped you would apologize, or at least explain why you said what you said, but apparently that’s not going to happen.  But I continue to hold out hope that you will work to restore broken relationships. 

You have my phone number.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kyle Penner

35 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Ted Falk

  1. Good on ya Kyle. I am angered by his comment about some parents not wanting to stay home and raise their children. I wish he would work for the current wages and try to have one parent stay at home. Oh grrrrrr, then there is the virtual town hall meeting with invited people only. Oh geee, here we go again.

    Peace.

  2. Aaron…read Amos’ blog….he’s not trying to make a parody. However when Pat Buchannan is one of your influences…I guess that explains everything.

    Notice how when Justin Trudeau made a mistake (HUGE mistake) in telling the country how much he loved Chinese style dicatorship….the Conervatives jumped all over him. Trudeau mentioned his marijuana stance (which won’t work..but at least it’s thinking outside the box) and Falk deploys the attack ads in the newspapers and online.

    Ted Falk throws Evan Weins under the bus as you put it…and nothing happened…which caught my attention. Terry Hayward could have lit up Falk…make the comments national news, etc…and nothing happened. Hayward hasn’t used any of the attack-style ads Falk has used, and now passed on an opprotunity to nail Falk days before the election?

    For an undecided voter it makes you wonder who else Ted Falk would throw under the bus, and it also makes you wonder…which candidate is acting more “upstanding”.

    I may not end up voting Liberal in the Federal election cause I think Hayward’s boss is running for PM just because he wasn’t able to become the next Ben Mulrooney….and he thinks China’s dictaorship is admirable…that’s almost a Rob Ford level gaffe…but I could end up voting for Hayward on Monday.

    And the thing is, Falk probably doesn’t care…cause there probably aren’t another 25% of the population like me out there.

    • @Brett
      Just so you know, the China dictatorship thing was sarcasm (and a poke at the Tories’ tight oil/trade relationship with the country), and in the same paragraph, Trudeau made fun of how Sun was going to jump all over it. Now, Trudeau isn’t my favourite guy, but I do find it funny, in a sad way, how the Tories take things out of context.

      Here are his comments in full, pulled from an article in the National Post:
      “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime,” Trudeau said, according to reports on the event. “I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about, of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted, that I find quite interesting.”

      “But if I were to reach out and say which…kind of administration I most admire, I think there’s something to be said right here in Canada for the way our territories are run,” he said.

      “Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon are done without political parties around consensus. And are much more like a municipal government. And I think there’s a lot to be said for people pulling together to try and solve issues rather than to score points off of each other.”

      Trudeau rounded off his answer by quipping “but Sun News can now report that I prefer China.”

    • Curious how the interpretation and spin of Justin’s remarks on ONE topic might put one voter against the Liberals. I would hope a wise person would reflect on the whole context – global to local picture, the new generation’s Liberal team, positive plans and respect for process – versus repeated poor behaviour compounded by a blame game: deny, deflect and spin over past Conservative years on MANY issues/Topics – Hmm? I have been taught to LOOK for at least ONE good thing in anyone – so if communist china has ONE good thing (Acknowledging ALL the Bad stuff), perhaps all the doubters of Federal Liberal’s can take a pause and reconsider.

    • What Justin Trudeau actually said – “You know, there’s a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say ‘we need to go green fastest… we need to start investing in solar.’ I mean there is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about of having a dictatorship that he can do everything he wanted that I find quite interesting.

      But if I were to reach out and say which…which kind of administration I most admire, I think there’s something to be said right here in Canada for the way our territories are run. Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon are done without political parties around consensus. And are much more like a municipal government. And I think there’s a lot to be said for people pulling together to try and solve issues rather than to score points off of each other. And I think we need a little more of that.

      But Sun News can now report that I prefer China.” – and Justin called it…

  3. Thank you for writing this letter. I’m so saddened it was ever needed in the first place.

    I’m reminded of a line from a favourite hymn I used to sing in chapel choir at Grebel: “We are pilgrims on a journey, fellow travellers on the road / we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.”

    Thank you for speaking out and doing your part to bear the load of another’s pain (and another’s indifference, for anyone who can ignore a young person’s suffering is hurting, too). Whatever the election result, your community is better for having you in it.

  4. Amos is a typical CONsevative supporter. You’d think people like that wouldn’t exist in this day and age but they’ve been brought up like this. If you vote for any conservative this is what you are voting for. Homophobes racists and liars.

    • Comments like yours make me sick. People go on and on about eradicating the labels, and here you are applying labels yourself. Just because someone votes conservative does NOT make them a homophobe, racist, or liar. Your comment is disgusting.

      • Perhaps small minded Merlin55 would prefer to live in a dictatorship where citizens are not free to enjoy the right to elect their leaders. Honestly I’m sickened by both Amos’ and Merlin’s comments as both use broad, sweeping generalizations to incorrectly classify and insult large and diverse groups of people. Both simply display their ignorance. Go ahead Merlin, call me a CON again 🙂

      • If the shoe fits and it seems it does. A study out of Harvard shows right wing supporters have a lower IQ then the rest of the general/liberal population. Your IQ is showing. Yes I do believe you are a CONservative.

      • Ha ha. I do IQ testing for a living and I know mine is way higher than the general population. good try though 🙂
        I think the fact that you rely solely on personal attacks based on nothing more than your own assumptions of peoples’ group membership simply displays ignorance. That’s nothing more than prejudice and intolerance. You don’t seem to care about the issue at hand as much as you do insulting people who do have an opinion. As you said yourself “You’d think people like that wouldn’t exist in this day and age but they’ve been brought up like this.” Poor example you make my dear.

      • And yet here you are. I don’t have to be politically correct. At least so far I have the right to free speech though if Harper is in power much longer we may not have that either. Frankly I’ve run up against you smug reasoned argument types before. In the end you say nothing worth listening to. The holy then thou act is so old and lame.So long as you support tyranny and corruption you can be oh so smug and rail on and on about whatever. In the end the CON Party of Canada will be gone by 2015, perhaps before if the RCMP arrest Herr Harper. And then all the trolls can crawl back under the bridge. I hope you’ve kept your spot.

      • Sorry Kyle,
        Merlin just insulted half the country by calling all conservative supporters “Homophobes racists and liars”, comparing them to the likes of Amos, whose comments you’ve deleted. I think that his comments stand in stark contrast to the tone of your letter. Yes, I’ll stop commenting on the thread. In fact I had not intended to continue; but I did want to point out that such prejudicial comments really are not at all appropriate. I’m sure, based on your eloquently worded letter that you would be inclined to agree regardless of your political orientation.

  5. Hi everyone.
    Just a quick note. I found Amos’ posts to be quite offside, so I deleted them.
    My apologies to anyone who was hurt by them.
    Thanks to everyone who responded with kindness.
    Kyle

  6. Pingback: Roundup: Wright’s animosity toward Duffy | Routine Proceedings

  7. Honestly, I can’t get past the first paragraph… you gave Ted Falk 1 day (if that) to respond during what’s probably the busiest weekend of his life?!?!

  8. Yes, you are right. It doesn`t matter what his gender is. Yes, Ted Falk made a mistake in his accusations. No one should be treated and ridiculed in front of people. Each person should be treated with respect. Jesus said to love them. The word also says judge not and you will not be judged. That is between that 17 yr old and God. Mr. Falk, I sincerely hope you do take the time to apologize to this young boy. It`s one thing when kids do it to him. But a political figure? Is totally wrong. Set the example

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