New Democratic Party MP Alexandre Boulerice speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA -- A New Democrat MP's writings that praise communist activists and criticize Canada's participation in the First World War have sparked outrage.
Writing on a left-wing Quebec blog, Alexandre Boulerice mocked the conflict as "a purely capitalist war on the backs of the workers and peasants."
"The only ones to have refused this butchery, to have rejected the call of the 'sacred union' within each nation, were communist activists," Boulerice wrote in an April 10, 2007 posting on Presse-toi à gauche (Hurry to the left).
Boulerice also sniped at Canadian soldiers involved in the Battle of Vimy Ridge with his claim that "thousands of poor wretches were slaughtered to take possession of a hill."
Almost 3,600 Canadians died in the battle to take the strategic Vimy Ridge from heavily entrenched German forces on April 9, 1917.
The costly but successful capture of the ridge is widely considered the moment Canada came of age on the international stage.
Following the 96th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney reacted angrily to Boulerice's posting.
"On such an important day of remembrance, I denounce these statements and call on Thomas Mulcair and Alexandre Boulerice of the NDP to immediately retract these inflammatory and inappropriate comments and to formally apologize to the Canadians and veterans they have insulted," he said in a statement.
Ron Cundell, publisher of the website VeteranVoice.info, accused Boulerice of "spitting" on Canada's history.
"The only apology I will accept is when he walks off Parliament Hill for the last time as a citizen again of whatever country he wants to go to," said the retired soldier with 20 years service in the Canadian Forces.
QMI Agency briefly referred to Boulerice's blog posting in Quebec shortly after the 2011 election, but his posting hadn't been reported on in the rest of Canada.
"I still think like that," said Boulerice at the time, though he hasn't responded to new requests for comment.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair declined comment.
Instead, his office referred to his Vimy anniversary statement released Tuesday.
"The Canadian soldiers' tremendous bravery, sound strategic planning and powerful artillery support are widely credited with the success of this mission," Mulcair said. "It is a point of pride for all Canadians that our soldiers serving today are still recognized as embodying those fine qualities."
Mulcair's office also noted that Boulerice re-circulated his leader's statement via Twitter.