VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson has offered an apology of sorts after referring to victims of domestic violence as people who are in a “tough marriage.”
“This was the wrong choice of words and I got it wrong,” Wilkinson tweeted. “Victims of domestic violence need their voices heard and our unwavering support, and I want everyone to know they have that with me.”
This was the wrong choice of words and I got it wrong. Victims of domestic violence need their voices heard and our unwavering support, and I want everyone to know they have that with me. #bcpoli https://t.co/gp7qDTFrVs
— Andrew Wilkinson (@Wilkinson4BC) February 12, 2020
The quickly condemned comment was made on a radio show on Wednesday. Wilkinson was criticizing Tuesday’s NDP Throne Speech, which includes a promise to give workers fleeing domestic violence paid leave for up to five days. The Opposition Leader called it paid leave for people who are in a “tough marriage.”
Reaction was swift, with MLA Mitzi Dean saying Wilkinson should know better and Ending Violence BC saying domestic and sexual violence is much more than a tough marriage.
Wow. This morning, Andrew Wilkinson described people experiencing domestic and sexual violence as "people who are in a tough marriage."
— Mitzi Dean (@MitziDeanBC) February 12, 2020
BC Liberal leader @Wilkinson4BC characterized domestic violence today as a “tough marriage”. It’s much more. We beg you to get informed as domestic and sexual violence occurs upwards of 60,000 times a year in BC alone and deeply affects whole families. #supportsurvivors
— EVA BC (@EndViolenceBC) February 12, 2020
“Between the years 2010 and 2015, 100 people died as a result of domestic violence in BC,” Ending Violence BC further said on Facebook. “It’s much more than a “tough marriage” as BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson suggested this morning.”
Despite walking back the blunder, some are suggesting Wilkinson said what he meant, with one person on Twitter saying “Wrong choice of words? This was actually a very REVEALING choice of words sir” and another saying “No, you said what you felt.”
"Wrong choice of words"??
That sounds incredibly exculpatory!
This was actually a very REVEALING choice of words sir.
— Mita Naidu (@MitaNaidu1) February 12, 2020
Words matter and these words are NOT an apology. You let your misogyny leak out and your attempt to backpedal does not absolve you from what you must really think about victims of domestic violence. #morethanatoughmarriage
— Barb Nederpel (@BNederpel) February 13, 2020
Wilkinson also caught some heat last year for saying B.C.’s challenging rental situation was “part of growing up” and a “wacky time of life.”