Canadian governor under fire over bomber quip

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The lieutenant-governor of Canada's Newfoundland province, former cabinet minister John Crosbie, came under fire Thursday for wisecracking about Pakistan suicide bombers and other matters.

Crosbie at the swearing-in of a new provincial cabinet last Friday had recounted an American friend's tale about the current US economic woes that earned him rebukes from a student association and the premier of Newfoundland.

"This fellow said, 'I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etcetera, I called a suicide hotline and got a call center in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck,'" Crosbie quipped.

The representative of Queen Elizabeth II for the eastern province also joked that the US economy was so bad that "ExxonMobil apparently laid off 25 congressmen," and that "a truckload of Americans were caught sneaking into Mexico."

Wasiq Waqar, president of the Pakistani Students' Association at Memorial University in Saint John's, Newfoundland, told a local newspaper the joke was "shocking" and "insensitive," and "it embeds prejudice."

The premier of the province also issued a statement saying the comments were "inappropriate."

Crosbie, 80, vowed to the daily Globe and Mail to be "more circumspect and more boring" in future speeches.

© 2011 AFP

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