A Vancouver Island Green Party candidate is apologizing after one of his speeches used the rhetoric from a famous Martin Luther King Jr. speech.
“I went to the mountain top, and I looked over, and I seen the promise land! Because the promise land is here, it’s British Columbia, we’re here right now.”
That language is drawn in part from King Jr.’s famous I’ve Been to the Mountain Top speech, his last public address before being gunned down.
Mark Neufeld, the Green candidate for Saanich South, says the American civil rights leader is one of his greatest heroes and he wishes he could take it back.
“I regret it. I’ll probably regret it for the rest of my life because I’ve hurt some people and you know, I just can’t apologize enough. I should’ve known better and I got caught up in the moment.”
WATCH: Mark Neufeld’s “Mountaintop” speech
The speech, once uploaded online, quickly spread and attracted widespread outrage.
“I went to Pkols, y’all I went to the mountaintop. I looked all over the South Island, I looked at Andrew Weaver’s riding. I went man, that looks nice, I looked down at the legislature, across South Saanich. I looked up the island. I went to the mountain top, and I don’t mind. I’m not fearing anything.”
Pkols is the original Salish name of Victoria’s Mount Douglas.
Neufeld says the incident was an unscripted addition to his speech, and has been a crushing lesson and he needs to walk through this world with more humility.
“I’m a high school teacher, and even from that perspective I should’ve known better. I’ll never go into another speech not having written something down. I knew what my thoughts were, and I should’ve just taken the time.”
In the 2013 election, the Greens managed just over 15 per cent of the vote in Saanich South.