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‘Andrew Wilkinson has a lot to answer for’: Bowinn Ma calls out BC Liberal leader for sexist roast video

Click to play video: 'BC NDP candidate Bowinn Ma demands answers from Andrew Wilkinson' BC NDP candidate Bowinn Ma demands answers from Andrew Wilkinson
A video call meant to roast a retiring BC Liberal MLA is raising a lot of eyebrows and creating a growing call for action. Jennifer Palma has more on the comments made by a Liberal candidate and the reaction of the NDP candidate who was targeted – Oct 12, 2020

North Vancouver-Lonsdale candidate Bowinn Ma says Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson must respond to questions about a sexist video that emerged on the weekend.

In the video, North Vancouver-Seymour Liberal candidate Jane Thornthwaite makes a joke at the expense of Ma widely criticized as sexist.

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BC Liberal leadership concerns following fallout from sexist comments – Oct 12, 2020

“I think Andrew Wilkinson has a lot to answer for about what he feels is acceptable in his caucus,” Ma said in a press conference on Monday.

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“And I question if a man who is unable to set a tone of his political party in terms of respect for women is able to set a tone for British Columbians.”

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Decision B.C. political panel: Oct 11 – Oct 11, 2020

The joke in question involved Ma and Ralph Sultan, the retiring MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano.

During a Zoom “virtual roast” at Sultan’s expense, Thornthwaite recounted a story insinuating Ma had used feminine wiles to beguile the retiring MLA at a constituency event.

“Bowinn is a very pretty lady, and she knows she’s got ‘it,’” Thornthwaite said.

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Impact of sexualized comments on women in politics – Oct 12, 2020

READ MORE: ‘Sexist’: BC Liberals take fire over leaked Zoom video mocking NDP’s Bowinn Ma

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Thornthwaite told Global News she has not spoken to Wilkinson about the joke, either at the time of the roast or since then.

Wilkinson did not speak to reporters on Sunday and has no public events scheduled for Monday. Requests for Wilkinson to amend his schedule and speak to reporters have so far been turned down.

Wilkinson took to Twitter Sunday, saying Thornthwaite was right to apologize to Ma and added his own apology, stating “this never should have happened.”

The video has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media. One of the most common themes expressed in the comments about the video is that behaviour like this from elected officials turns people away from wanting to be involved in politics.

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Click to play video: 'Decision BC: controversy over sexist comments' Decision BC: controversy over sexist comments
Decision BC: controversy over sexist comments – Oct 11, 2020

Ma said she has faced sexism in her career as an engineer and politician.

“What I am most concerned about is how women and girls look at themselves when they are looking towards leadership roles. I think it is really up to voters of British Columbia to decide if they want these political leaders re-elected,” Ma said.

“I am not the only woman who has experienced this in their daily lives. So many women, girls and non-binary people across this province are judged not by their experience, not by their potential but by the way that they look. What we are seeing now is a courage from British Columbians we have not seen before.”

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Leaked BC Liberal Zoom video draws accusations of sexism

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Wilkinson is set to debate BC NDP Leader John Horgan and Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau on Tuesday night. The televised leaders’ debate will be an opportunity for all party leaders to make a pitch to voters with advance polls set to open this week.

“This is becoming a pattern of behaviour that Andrew Wilkinson has tacitly endorsed by allowing to continue on. All of us make mistakes. We are human. We learn from them. We grow. But not all of us are running to lead the province,” Ma said.

“I must admit I have been extremely fortunate to serve in the BC NDP caucus under a leader, John Horgan, who has made it very clear he would not tolerate any sexism of any time amongst his team. I almost forgot that not every political party subscribes to the same level of standard of respecting women.”

–With files from Simon Little

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