B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson attends a press conference following the budget speech from the legislative assembly at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Wilkinson under fire for characterizing domestic violence as ‘a tough marriage’

The B.C. NDP have pledged to implement five days pay for those leaving domestic violence

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has drawn the ire of domestic abuse advocates after characterizing those fleeing violence as “people who are in a tough marriage.”

The comment was made by the opposition leader Wednesday to Red FM radio show host Harjinder Thind, a day after the B.C. NDP pledged to provide five days of paid leave for people leaving domestic or sexual violence during the annual throne speech.

ALSO READ: B.C. touts Indigenous reconciliation in protest-delayed throne speech

“Well, it’s a huge disappointment because there is absolutely nothing in it,” Wilkinson said.

“They basically talked about what’s happened in the last two years and offered nothing for the future. They talked about guns in hospitals, which nobody has ever heard of, they talked about rural policing and they talked about five days pay for people who are in a tough marriage and that’s it.”

ALSO READ: Surrey woman’s ‘tell-all’ book aims to help those struggling with domestic violence

Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity Mitzi Dean, who represents the riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin, took to social media to condemn the statement.

“These comments dismiss the devastating violence that too many people face every day. He should know better.”

The Ending Violence Association of B.C. also took to social media to combat Wilkinson’s comment with a number of statistics that depict the serious – and fatal – nature of domestic violence in the province.

“We beg you to get informed as domestic and sexual violence occurs upwards of 60,000 times a year in B.C. alone and deeply affects whole families,” the association said in on tweet.

“Between the years 2010 and 2015, 100 people died as a result of domestic violence in B.C. It’s much more than a ‘tough marriage’ as BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson suggested this morning,” it said in another post.

Wilkinson released a statement of apology on social media shortly before 12:30 p.m.

ALSO READ: Two women take on province over domestic abuse legal aid

“This was the wrong choice of words and I got it wrong,” he said. “Victims of domestic violence need their voices heard and our unwavering support, and I want everyone to know they have that with me.”

The apology didn’t stop Premier John Horgan from commenting.

“I can’t believe that in 2020 a man would say such a thing,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Wilkinson apologized for comments he made after drawing criticism from British Columbians and opposing politicians.

In March 2019, Wilkinson was slammed for calling his time as a younger renter “fun,” “wacky” and “a rite of passage” while questioning the need for legislation that protects renters from rate hikes and instability.

Two days later, he apologized and said he would have phrased his comments differently.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Unusual smell in water’ not a health concern, says City of Abbotsford

Odour is just temporary due to treatment-plant maintenance, city says

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

Man charged with hit-and-run that killed pedestrian in Abbotsford

Man in his 50s died after being struck by vehicle on Highway 11 in October 2019

Fraser Valley Bandits reflect on 2020 turnaround

Abbotsford-based CEBL team goes from worst to almost first at Summer Series

Vedder River gets reprieve from gravel removal this summer

Applications withdrawn by river management committee and process concluded for 2020

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Displaced tenant ‘heartbroken’ to find Langley City condo robbed after fire

Wedding rings of Michelle Buchan’s have since been recovered, but much is still missing

Canucks fan risks life to celebrate at Surrey intersection

‘All fun and games until somebody falls out an open side door of the van’

FoodMesh taking its emergency food recovery project nationwide

Pilot project in Chilliwack helped show that food surpluses could be diverted to charities in need

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read