Friday, August 30, 2013

Eric Robinson Should Go

Deputy Premier of Manitoba Eric Robinson

Osborne House does a lot for Winnipeg and the surrounding community. It is a women's shelter that is there when women need it the most: at their most vulnerable. It is for all women regardless of their background. Eric Robinson sullied that reputation by attaching race to their fundraising motivations.

The suggestion that those who organized a Burlesque were "ignorant white do-gooders" was bringing in race into a the discussion based on Eric Robinson's own prejudices and race based beliefs. The fact that one of the prime organizers was black from a mixed white and aborginal family appears not to have been known by Robinson. His assumption was it was white people, they were ignorant and they were go-gooders.

Let's go over that again. Robinson believes that people associated with Osborne House fundraising are white, ignorant and do-gooders.

The government did not want this view known and in a freedom of information request redacted those words. However, typical of government, the blacked out areas were not adequately invisible due to cost saving paper that was near transparent. You could see Robinson's views plain as day.

Several days earlier a NDP caucus member was disciplined for trying to out a Conservative MLA as gay. It was repugnant and the NDP were forced to act.

Days later Greg Selinger was defending Eric Robinson and saying the apology on the subject made things right. But was it an apology? No. Robinson said he was entitled to his beliefs on race. The no apology apology stands and Robinson remains defensive and defiant. Selinger is in his corner but questions remain about Robinson's ability to do his job given the views he says he is entitled to have.

Robinson was perfectly entitled to his view on Burlesque. He was the one who added a race component. It was totally uncalled for.

The government blacking out Robinson's views is also astounding. It is hard not to think that their solution to the problem is thicker paper and blacker ink rather transparency.

It seems unlikely that Robinson can represent all Manitobans because he seems to have learned nothing from this ordeal. One can imagine him representing his government at various events with: Hello ignorant white do-gooders of...Osborne House, Winnipeg Football Club, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce...

No apologies for you ignorant white do-gooders even if you happen to be black, Asian or Hispanic.

Eric Robinson should go. Will he? Probably not. Selinger is stuck now.

The aftermath of this is that women are increasingly feeling this NDP government is out of touch. This just added fuel to the fire.

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