Conservatives: say what you will about their beliefs on gay rights, or birth control, or other touchy issues — but at least you can count on them to stick up for the troops, right?

Wrong.

Behold, several Fox News “comedians” mocking Canadian troops in Afghanistan, within days of four more Canadian soldiers being killed in the field:

The homophobic overtones (“Leslie? That’s an odd name for a man,” the host sneers at one point) are the icing on this tasteless, ignorant cake.

The clip has touched off a firestorm in Canada: it’s one of the lead stories on most every paper today, and the Canadian government has used strong words in its demand for an apology.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay said:

It’s crass, it’s insensitive, it’s in fact disgusting, given the timing. There should be an apology – to the families in particular, and to the Canadian Forces and to Canada generally – given the sacrifice and the commitment that we’ve demonstrated in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for MacKay added that he wanted the apology to come directly from the people in the segment itself:

These are despicable, hurtful and ignorant comments. I think that so-called comedian should stare in the camera at his first opportunity and apologize to all of the families of people he’s hurt with these despicable comments.

Meanwhile, one of the comedians, Doug Benson, has had an upcoming string of gigs at an Edmonton comedy club cancelled. (That’s my own original research, there! I called, outraged, to demand that they can him, and learned they already had.)

Anyone out there holding their breath for an apology from Fox? I wouldn’t bet on it.

“Support our troops,” indeed.