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Tory MP won't resign for praising 
Indian e-mail joke 

[PoliticsWatch updated 6:15 p.m., January 25, 2007]

Tory MP Colin Mayes.

OTTAWA  — A B.C. Conservative MP said Thursday he will not resign as head of the aboriginal affairs committee over a controversy in which he approved a joke e-mail that the Liberals are calling racist.   

As well, Tory MP Colin Mayes is demanding the Liberals apologize to him for levelling the racism allegations. 

A B.C. TV station reported this week that Mayes received the email from a fellow Tory that began "An Indian walks into Tim Horton's . . ."  and ends with a punch line intended to poke fun at the perceived irresponsibility of senior public servants. 

> Read the Joke Here

However, in the e-mail the person behind the counter at the Tim Horton's refers to the Indian as "chief" and "Tonto," names which the opposition Liberals described as "racist"

Mayes replied to the email with the words "good joke." The emails were provided to the TV station by a man who was recently fired by Mayes' riding association. 

The Liberals called for Mayes to step down as chair of the aboriginal affairs committee on Thursday.  

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Mayes would support and find funny something that is so insulting to First Nations," Liberal MP Anita Neville said in a statement.

"His attitude indicates that he is not qualified to chair the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. He should resign immediately as chair and apologize to First Nations people. As Chair his responsibility is to ensure that Aboriginals from coast to coast to coast get a fair, unbiased hearing at committee."

Later Thursday, Mayes issued a statement in which he accused Neville of levelling a "cheap, partisan smear" and of "completely" misrepresenting his email remark. 

Mayes said in his statement that he finds "no humour that insults the culture or heritage of any group people" in the e-mail. "Those types of jokes are completely inappropriate."

"I am proud to be the chair of the Parliamentary Aboriginal Affairs Committee and look forward to continuing in my duties," his statement concludes. 

Mayes was named chair of the committee in the spring after another Tory MP, Maurice Vellacott, resigned following comments he made about Supreme Court judges.  
 
It is not the first time Mayes has been the subject of controversy. 

Earlier this year, Mayes issued an apology after he wrote a letter to a local newspaper suggesting some journalists should be put in jail for writing misleading stories. 

:  Related Links

> Read the joke in question here
> Tory MP apologizes for wanting to jail journalists 

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