Tom Flanagan appears on the CBC's Power & Politics
OTTAWA - Having "grave doubts" about locking up perverts who view child porn has left one of the architects of the modern Conservative movement in Canada a pariah.
Reaction to comments by University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan, a former adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a paid CBC commentator, was swift and decisive Thursday.
Flanagan was sacked by the state broadcaster. He was also dumped as a speaker at the upcoming Manning Conference of Conservative thinkers and grounded from any future involvement with Alberta's Wildrose party.
The Prime Minister's Office took to Twitter to denounce the remarks to shocked students as "repugnant, ignorant and appalling."
It also instructed law and order Conservative MPs to tell media that "Tom Flanagan in no way represents the views of our Conservative government, and has not done so for a long time."
The professor was at the University of Lethbridge to speak on the Indian Act when he was asked about previous comments he had made on child pornography.
Flanagan, who freely admitted he was on the mailing list of the National Man-Boy Love Association for a couple of years, said he had no sympathy for child molesters "but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures."
Alberta Premier Alison Redford said she was sickened by the remarks.
"It turned my stomach. I am absolutely disgusted by it."
Alberta Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said there "is no language strong enough to condemn" the comments by her former campaign manager and said his services would no longer be needed.
The CBC also ended its relationship with its contributor.
"While we support and encourage free speech across the country and a diverse range of voices, we believe Mr. Flanagan's comments to have crossed the line and impacted his credibility as a commentator for us," said Jennifer McGuire, the network's editor-in-chief.
Flanagan apologized for the firestorm, saying his words were badly chosen, "and in the resulting uproar I was not able to express my abhorrence of child pornography and the sexual abuse of children," he said in a statement.
University of Calgary said Flanagan has been on leave since January and will retire June 30.
Flanagan was manager of the 2004 Conservative federal election campaign that issued a news release saying Liberal leader Paul Martin supported child pornography - a desperate move many believe backfired and led to a Martin minority government.
SEE MORE: Wildrose cuts Flanagan loose