On April 19, a highly regarded member of the P.E.I. legislative assembly unwittingly violated the political correctness norms, and unexpectedly found himself depicted across the country as a racist bigot.

Well-known pro-lifer Wilbur MacDonald, former member of Parliament, former speaker and longest serving member of the provincial House, was addressing a resolution on child pornography. Speaking without notes, he said that some decisions made under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, such as protection for adults creating or owning graphic or violent child pornography, have contributed mightily to the disintegration of our social environment.

He also linked the Charter’s protection for abortion rights and other destructive lifestyle choices with rapidly dropping birthrates among “the white races” and increasing dependence on immigration. Media reports left the impression that he blamed immigrants for Canada’s social ills.

Across the country, reaction was swift. Demonstrations, phone-ins, emails and letters – some quite intolerant – labelled MacDonald a hate-filled bigot and racist.

The few who came to his defence echoed Premier Pat Binns, who said, “I have never known Wilbur to have prejudiced views toward any person. He has always been the first to defend someone’s rights.”

Nevertheless, Binns demanded of MacDonald an unequivocal apology to the House and to all non-whites, his resignation from government committees, and attendance at sensitivity classes.

Commented Islander John Brewer, “Because MacDonald is white, he has lost his right of free speech.”

Soon after, in an unrelated article, Financial Post columnist Diane Francis noted in the Charlottetown Guardian, “Anyone who criticizes immigration … is immediately slandered and labelled as a racist and anti-immigrant. … They are guilty until proven innocent … and innocence is impossible to prove.”

What was ignored by all the media commentators was MacDonald’s underlying point, that Canada’s population is shrinking and the role of abortion in that phenomenon.

Wilbur MacDonald has learned the hard way, that it is dangerous to speak politically incorrect truths, and even mentioning sensitive key words can undo a lifetime of public service.