B.C. minister sorry for ‘crappy piece of land’ remark that angered pro-Palestinian groups

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Calls grow for B.C. minister’s resignation
a B.C. cabinet minister continues to take fire this weekend, including from within her own party. Selina Robinson is under attack for comments she made this week at a forum for Jewish leaders, making unflattering comments about Palestine for which she has apologized. As Julia Foy reports, the calls for Robinson's resignation are only growing louder. – Feb 3, 2024

B.C. Premier David Eby says Post-Secondary Education Minister Selina Robinson needs to “repair the damage” caused by her comments that Israel was founded on a “crappy piece of land,” angering pro-Palestinian groups and triggering calls for her resignation.

Eby says the remarks were “totally unacceptable,” and “increase division” in the province at a time when people of Palestinian descent are feeling alienated.

Robinson apologized in a social media post on Thursday, saying her comments were “disrespectful,” and she had been referring to the land having limited natural resources.

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She made the original remarks in an online panel discussion with Jewish politicians hosted by B’nai Brith Canada.

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Video of the discussion streamed on YouTube on Tuesday shows Robinson lamenting a lack of knowledge about the origins of modern Israel, saying the land on which it was founded “had nothing on it,” before adding that there were “several hundred thousand people.”

Robinson said in her apology on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that her remarks diminished “the connection that Palestinians also have to the land,” and she apologized unreservedly.

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Groups including Independent Jewish Voices Canada have called for Robinson to resign over the remarks.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has meanwhile called on Robinson to quit for an alleged intervention that led to the termination of a college instructor who had praised the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.

Robinson and Eby have both denied that she played a role in the instructor being fired.

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Eby, speaking at an unrelated news conference in Vernon, B.C., on Friday said he had made clear to Robinson that her comments were wrong and hurtful.

“Her comments increase division in our province, they increase the feelings of alienation of groups of people, especially people of Palestinian descent, and people who are concerned about the death and the destruction and Palestine, that’s happening right now,” he said.

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Eby said politicians should not use their authority or power to belittle or dismiss anyone or any community, and Robinson failed that standard.

“She offered her apology to me, to all of her colleagues in cabinet and caucus, and assured me she would be apologizing unreservedly to British Columbians and, in particular, the individuals and the communities that were hurt,” he said.

Eby didn’t directly respond when asked if he had considered firing Robinson or if she had offered her resignation.

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