“I Don’t See Colour” Said B.C Premier Horgan at the Leaders Debate
Last night’s provincial leaders debate may have just won the newly-minted Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau another term as the MLA for Cowichan Valley.
Heading into the debate, Furstenau needed to express with certainty why the Green Party was the best party to form the next government. In last night’s debate, not only did Furstenau reaffirm to her party and its members their decision to elect her to lead the party, she may have secured enough seats to form the official opposition.
With the calling of a snap election by NDP Premier Horgan and the Liberals gently nursing self-inflicted wounds, B.C may be in for an October surprise.
The night was set up to be an easy win for Premier Horgan until the question about race was asked by moderator Shachi Kurl. How have you personally reckoned with your own privilege and unconscious bias as a white political leader?”
Liberal leader Wilkinson reflected on his time as a doctor working with Indigenous people and felt the experience humanized him. The answer was vague and lacked the substance you would expect from the man wanting to be Premier of British Columbia.
Wilkinson’s response was also disappointing and puzzling. If working with the Indigenous community humanized him, what was he before?
Premier Horgan’s response to the question on White Privilege was not only wrong, it was tone deaf to today’s environment. “For me, I did not see colour. I felt that everyone around me was the same. I brought that through my entire adult life and I’ve instilled that in my children,” said Horgan
I do not see colour or I am colour blind are responses you would expect from a rookie politician, not the Premier of B.C. His response cast doubt on his comprehension of race and its underlying issues. It also draws comparison to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister when he was asked to comment on the tens of thousands of Manitobans who peacefully marched to support the Black Lives Matter movement, he responded “All Lives Matter.”
The Manitoba Premier had to be educated that his response was a racial trope used by anti Black Life Matters extremists. Manitoba’s Premier is also and older white privileged millionaire who has been said to be out of touch with issues relating to the Indigenous community.
The Green Party Leader Furstenau was the only candidate to actually answer the moderators question of what it’s like to have White Privileged Politician.
“We aren’t all equal. I wish we were, but we’re not. The three of us cannot reckon what that’s like, because we are white. But we have to, in our roles, work to end that systemic racism.” Said Furstenau
Her response was honest and genuine. In that very moment, she signaled to British Columbians, she is ready to lead. Most importantly, she told minorities and the Indigenous communities, she is ready to have the difficult conversations about race and that she will be a Premier for everyone.
Premier Horgan in a post debate scrum, apologized for his comments about being colour blind.
“I certainly mischaracterized the challenges that people of colour face every day,” he said. “It was inappropriate to say that I don’t see colour. That was a mistake on my part. I have to work every day to improve on that, as do all leaders that aren’t of colour.”