'I want to thank her for those heels': Premier under fire for comments on chamber chair
Published Thursday, December 7, 2017 9:55PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, December 7, 2017 10:00PM CST
Premier Brian Pallister is being urged to say sorry for commenting on a woman's wardrobe in front of hundreds of people.
Before starting his annual State of the Province speech in front of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Pallister commented on the high heels worn by the organization's chair, Johanna Hurme.
“I want to thank Johanna for dressing up,” the premier said. “I want to thank her for those heels. I notice they are a foot high."
Pallister went on to say, “It is a humbling experience to come to you today, not just in this condition, but having Johanna cut my meat for me meant a lot to me.”
NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine said the public statement on the chair's appearance and her body was highly inappropriate. Fontaine says the premier should know better and should apologize.
“To imagine that he would make such a public statement on someone’s appearance and their body, and then follow it up by thanking her for cutting his meat for him is highly inappropriate,” said Fontaine in a statement.
In his own statement, Pallister says he has the greatest regard and respect for the chamber chair. He says he often makes lighthearted comments about being taller than people around him.
The premier says he made an awkward reference to her about high heels in that context and meant no offence.
Statement from Premier Brian Pallister:
“I want to address comments that I made to Johanna Hurme, a woman for whom I have the greatest regard and respect, at the outset of my Winnipeg Chamber Commerce speech. Given my tall stature, I am particularly aware of my height and often make light hearted comments about being taller than the people around me. I made an awkward reference to Johanna’s high heels in that context. I can see how they could be easily misconstrued. That was never my intention and I meant no offense of any kind to Johanna.”
Statement from NDP MLA Nahanni Fontaine:
"It's disappointing to hear those comments from the premier. If you’re the premier of Manitoba, you should know better. The woman that he was addressing and all of the women in the audience are very accomplished. He should be highlighting those accomplishments. To imagine that he would make such a public statement on someone’s appearance and their body, and then follow it up by thanking her for cutting his meat for him is highly inappropriate. He should know better, and he should apologize to everyone."