Elsie Wayne is refusing to retract comments that gays and lesbians wishing to marry should just "shut up," leading an openly gay member of her party to call for her head.
"If any other deputy leader of any other party had said this, we would have been the first to stand up and call for their resignation," Asad Wali, spokesman for Tory MP Scott Brison, told globeandmail.com "We're not saying that she should resign her seat, we're saying that it's inappropriate that she be deputy leader."
Ms. Wayne, who has been under fire for a rant Thursday in which she condemned gay activism and same-sex marriage, issued a statement saying: "I regret that some have been offended by my remarks because this was certainly not my intention.
"Rather, my only goal was to reiterate my support for the historic definition of marriage."
During a debate Thursday on a Canadian Alliance motion calling for Parliament to step in and limit the court-ordered rights of gays, pornographers and prisoners, Ms. Wayne launched into a diatribe directed at gays.
"If they are going to live together, they can go live together and shut up about it," she said.
"There is not any need for this nonsense whatsoever and we should not have to tolerate it in Canada," Ms. Wayne said of court rulings endorsing same-sex marriage.
"Why do they have to be out there in the public always debating that they want to call it marriage? Why are they in parades? Why are they dressed up as women on floats? They do not see us getting up on the floats, for heaven's sake, to say we are husband and wife. We do not do that. Why do they have to go around trying to get a whole lot of publicity?"
Mr. Brison, a candidate for the Tory leadership, said later that her comments bordered on bigotry and are not acceptable in a senior party figure.
An Ontario politician added his voice Friday to the chorus of criticism. Toronto Centre-Rosedale MPP George Smitherman, also openly gay, said that Ms. Wayne had "clearly gone too far."
"For too long, Mrs. Wayne's intolerance has been dismissed because she is seen as folksy," he said. "[Her]ignorance has no place in this debate, particularly given her leadership role within the Progressive Conservative Party. She needs to go."
Offered a chance to retract her comments in a Friday morning interview with CBC Newsworld, Ms. Wayne would not, saying that she has many gay friends and respects them.
"They don't come out and they don't ask us to redefine the definition of marriage," she argued. "They don't even talk about that."
Mr. Smitherman noted that the gay and lesbian vote in Calgary helped Joe Clark win his parliamentary seat in Calgary Centre, beating Alliance candidate Eric Lowther by 4,400 votes.
"He has walked in the gay and lesbian parade," the Ontario MPP said in a statement, "the same type of parade that Elsie Wayne mocks with her dismissive, hurtful and out-of-date slurs. It's time for an act of leadership from him."
With a report from Canadian Press