July 17, 2015 4:17 pm
Updated: July 17, 2015 6:18 pm

Apologize for ‘untrue and offensive’ comments about women, Liberals tell Tories

Joan Crockatt on the phone in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal


OTTAWA – The Liberals are calling on the Conservative minister responsible for the status of women file to apologize for her Tory colleague’s “untrue and offensive” comments about women.

In a letter sent Friday, Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan urges Labour Minister Kellie Leitch to denounce Conservative Joan Crockatt’s comments about the wage gap, which were made in a Global News story.

Crockatt was responding to a report released this week about Canadian inequality.

The report found widespread wage inequality in Canada, with some 97 per cent of women making less than their male counterparts.

READ MORE: Canada’s best and worst cities to be a woman: report

It said factors such as subsidized childcare were seen to increase women’s economic positions in Canada.

But Crockatt had another point of view.

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WATCH: Joan Crockatt on the wage gap

“Women are choosing professions that aren’t as high paying…if women want higher paying jobs, those jobs are out there waiting for them,” said Crockatt, the MP for Calgary Centre.

“We know we have a shortage of skilled labour in this province. Hello women, there’s your opportunities.”

Duncan says these comments blame women for the wage gap and dismiss “the serious issue” of pay equity.

She calls on Leitch, who was on hand when Crockatt spoke out, to publicly denounce the Alberta MP.

“I also note that you were silent and have remained silent on these comments even though you were with Ms. Crockatt when she made them at a Calgary event,” Duncan writes.

“As Minister responsible for the Status of Women, you know firsthand that statements like these are out of touch with the realities faced by women in the workforce today. As such, I am calling on you to immediately and unequivocally denounce Ms. Crockatt’s comments as untrue and offensive.”

On Thursday, NDP MP Peggy Nash said no woman chooses to be paid unfairly.

“Yes of course we want to encourage women to get into science, technology, trades,” Nash said. “But it’s not a matter of personal choice. We have women who are highly educated but still don’t have pay equity.”

Leitch’s spokeswoman on Friday said opposition criticism is “completely ridiculous.”

“MP Crockatt was discussing the many opportunities available to women in the skilled trades,” Heather Tory wrote in an email.

“Our government is working to provide young Canadians with labour market information to help them decide what career to pursue.”

Tory pointed to a previous statement in which she praised Crockatt as a “tireless advocate” for women in Alberta.

Here is Duncan’s letter:

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