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Selina Robinson steps down as B.C. minister following controversial comments

Click to play video: 'Selina Robinson resigns as B.C.’s advanced education minister'
Selina Robinson resigns as B.C.’s advanced education minister
Coquitlam-Maillardville NDP MLA Selina Robinson has stepped down as the B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, following widespread condemnation about comments she made last week many felt were demeaning of Palestinian history. Richard Zussman reports. – Feb 5, 2024

Selina Robinson is stepping down as B.C.’s minister of advanced education, Premier David Eby announced Monday afternoon.

She will remain in the BC NDP caucus.

Eby said the government has been reaching out to the community on how to make things better. “When you hurt someone, you need to reach out and figure out how to reduce harm. The depth of work she needs to do is substantial.”

He said Robinson’s comments were “belittling and demeaning.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. premier announces minister of education will step down following controversial comments'
B.C. premier announces minister of education will step down following controversial comments

Eby added it was clear the amount of work Robinson had to do was too much for her to balance her work in the cabinet.

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“What has become apparent is the scope of work, the depth of the hurt, as a result, we came to the conclusion together – she needed to step back.”

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Dozens of people showed up to protest outside a BC NDP caucus retreat in Surrey on Monday morning, demanding Robinson be removed from her role, following her comments last week that Israel was founded on a “crappy piece of land.”

In her initial comments, made in an online panel discussion hosted by B’nai Brith Canada, Robinson also equated the generations-long battle between Israelis and Palestinians to a fight between the Tsleil-Waututh and the Squamish First Nations over land.

In a statement, B’nai Brith said it was “unfortunate that comments that she made last week have resulted in her feeling compelled to step down from her ministerial position.”

“We believe that her apology was sincere and that MLA Robinson will work to regain the confidence of the constituents who were offended by her remarks,” the Jewish human rights group said.

Click to play video: 'Protesters call for B.C. minister’s resignation following controversial comments'
Protesters call for B.C. minister’s resignation following controversial comments

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

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Robinson issued another apology Monday morning, adding that she will take part in anti-Islamophobia training.

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