Calls for mayoral candidate Steeves to address 'drunken native guys' comment made by wife
Published Monday, August 11, 2014 10:28AM CST
Last Updated Saturday, September 27, 2014 5:01PM CST
More calls surfaced Monday for mayoral candidate Gord Steeves to clarify his views on racially-charged comments made online by his wife four years ago.
A Facebook posting from Lorrie Steeves leaked on Friday, in which she had complained about aboriginal panhandlers in downtown Winnipeg.
Now, other mayoral candidates say Gord Steeves, who has remained silent, must step forward to say something.
First Nations mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette suggests comments made by Steeves' wife on Facebook may reflect those of candidate Steeves himself.
“I know when I speak, or my wife speaks, or any one of my family speaks, our word is our honour," said Ouellette.
Ouellette reacted to remarks made public on Friday from a 2010 posting by Lorrie Steeves. In it, she complained about "drunken native guys" in downtown Winnipeg.
Steeves's wife has apologized in a statement but the candidate has, so far, remained silent regarding the matter. He has a news conference planned for Tuesday.
Last Friday, Steeves made a pledge to make downtown safer by removing intoxicated and high people from downtown Winnipeg by utilizing more police and cadets.
The 2010 Facebook posting from his wife started circulating about an hour later on Twitter by someone using the handle of @DarlingDarleneJ.
CTV News reached out to the person for comment but did not get a response. She has commented on Twitter since Friday, saying she is not part of any campaign, but some political observers say the timing of the tweet is suspicious.
Political analyst Curtis Brown from Probe Research said Gord Steeves should have spoken out earlier, rather than waiting several days to address the controversy.
“To me, this is the sort of thing that you would address right away because this has sort of festered over the weekend,” said Brown.
But, he said he's not sure whether the remark by Steeves' wife will hurt his candidacy in the long run.
Mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis also weighed in.
"It's more important than ever for Gord Steeves to actually clarify his position and disassociate himself from anything that smacks of racism,” she said.
Mayoral candidate Brian Bowman called the comment deeply offensive, but won’t say whether he believes it reflects Gord Steeves’ own views.
“That's a question I would put to Gord Steeves and the Steeves’ camp. I don't think it's appropriate for me to speak to that,” he said.
Steeves will address media on Aug. 12.
- with a report from Jeff Keele