John Beck (politician)

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John Beck was a political candidate in Toronto, Canada. Beck was a Reform Party candidate in the 1993 federal election, but was forced to abandon his candidacy after making a series of racially insensitive remarks.

Beck was an heir to the Beck Taxi family, but received only a grade 9 education. He worked as a taxi driver, but was barred from operating in Toronto by the Metro Licensing Commission. He responded to an advertisement asking for Reform candidates, and won the nomination in York Centre, in North York. There was little support for the Reform Party in the area, and there were few candidates willing to run. Beck was given little scrutiny when he applied.

In an interview with the York University student newspaper, he expressed particularly strong views regarding immigrants and Natives. Among them:

  • "You have a $150,000 guy there coming to buy a citizenship into Canada to create a job, fine, he's bringing something to Canada. But what is he bringing? Death and destruction to the people."[1]
  • "We came here and took their (Natives') land from them. I feel that's what (immigrants) are doing to us... they will overpower us."
  • "Look at the Natives, they're very messed up. That's what's happening to us. We're all being hooked on booze and drugs and we're going to end up just like the Indians."[2]

He later reiterated his comments in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, saying "I feel if an immigrant comes into Canada and gets a job for $150,000, he is taking jobs away from us, the gentile people." In another interview with the Financial Post, Beck said that "I feel it's time some white Anglo-Saxons get involved" in politics and told another paper that "it seems to be predominantly Jewish people who are running this country."[3]

Angry York students confronted Reform leader Preston Manning at a campus speech and demanded a response. Manning was quick to distance himself from Beck, calling his statements inconsistent with Reform policy. The same day, however, word spread that the interview was taped. Within an hour, the party asked Beck to abandon his candidacy, which he did. "They think I'm nuts, but I've had no breakdown. They asked me to resign, so I resigned," Beck told reporters the next day.[4]

It was too late to remove Beck's name from the ballot, however, and he ended up placing fourth in the election, with 2,141 votes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Reform candidate resigns amid allegations of racism." Norm Ovenden. The Montreal Gazette. Oct 14, 1993. pg. A.6
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Reform candidate who resigned slipped by screening, officials say." Darcy Henton. Toronto Star. Oct 15, 1993. Sec. E. pg. A.16
  4. ^ "Reform drops candidate over alleged racist remarks." Norm Ovenden. The Ottawa Citizen. Oct 14, 1993. pg. A.5