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

PHOTOS: Abbotsford home with helipad and trout-stocked lake up for sale

Man-made lake on Abbotsford property has its own white sand beech and island

PHOTOS: Coldest Night of the Year in Mission

Fundraiser for MY House and Hope Central attracts large crowd

Wet’suwet’en solidarity protesters blockade rail lines in Abbotsford

Two dozen set up barricades between Riverside and Vye Roads

After Abbotsford woman’s death, accused killer bragged about money at casino, video shows

David Miller is charged with the first-degree murder of Debra Novacluse in 2016

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

UPDATE: Two killed in fiery collision on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for four hours

Father, two children killed after car goes over embankment on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Chilliwack youth coach acquitted of sexual touching of a minor

BC Supreme Court justice finds reasonable doubt despite not believing the accused

Trout ‘doing quite well’ at Kootenay hatchery after otters, who ate 150 fish, relocated

River otters had been pillaging a moat outside the facility for months, gobbling up about 150 trout

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

Trudeau revisits blackface embarrassment during Black History Month

Photos and a video of Trudeau wearing makeup to darken his skin surfaced during last fall’s election campaign

UPDATE: Protesters dismantle blockade on Maple Ridge tracks

West Coast Express train service is expected to run again Tuesday morning

Most Read