The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs are calling for the resignation of Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies candidate Bob Zimmer.
The organization is calling for Zimmer to withdraw his candidacy after comments made earlier this week at a debate in Fort St. John.
Zimmer said at Tuesday night’s debate in Fort St. John that a ‘lack of a job’ was a big factor in the deaths of Indigenous women.
One of the major drivers of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women is lack of economic activity – or, simply put, lack of a job. We’ve tried things to where we brings economic activity – or jobs – to reserves and other legislation to see that through. Ultimately when people have a job, they’re not in despair – and they can stay on reserve. That’s where we want them to be, we want them to be happy where they live, and go from there with their families. I know a lot of them don’t want to live off of reserve, they want to stay there – and I support that there. We just want them to live happily and healthily.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says “Aboriginal women and communities were shocked, outraged and deeply offended by Mr. Zimmer’s derogatory remarks towards women.”
Zimmer spoke to Energetic City on Thursday, saying that the comments were taken “grossly out of context.”
“I deeply care about missing and murdered aboriginal women… I can’t imagine a tragedy like that happening, and it is a tragedy. My point was, in my statement, was that we need to start acting on recommendations and fix the problem – because I don’t want to see anybody missing or murdered again. I say that from the deepest part of my heart, that’s where I’m at. It’s unfortunate it was taken that way, but it’s certainly not reflective of my views of it. Again, I’m deeply committed to the issue.”
Zimmer says that he was referencing an RCMP report on missing and murdered Indigenous women – which he says lists unemployment as a factor among many others.
NDP Candidate Kathi Dickie called for another inquiry, saying 1,200 Indigenous women missing and murdered is ‘shameful.’
Liberal Matt Shaw said it is a ‘bloody national emergency,’ which Barry Blackman with the Progressive Party of Canada pointed at poverty as a factor.