‘I deeply regret it’: B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan says he misspoke about white privilege at debate


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Horgan said he did not intend to hurt people with his debate comments.

“I was jolted out of my comfort last night and I’m going to reflect on that,” he said. “I profoundly regret that I alienated and hurt people last night.”

In an earlier statement on Twitter, Horgan said he wished he had given a different answer during the debate when the three party leaders were asked how they have reckoned with white privilege.

“Saying ‘I don’t see colour’ causes pain and makes people feel unseen,” he wrote. “I’m sorry. I’ll never fully understand, as a white person, the lived reality of systemic racism. I’m listening, learning, and I’ll keep working every day to do better.”

At the debate, Wilkinson discussed his time working in rural B.C. as a doctor in Indigenous communities, saying all people must be treated equally.

He expanded on his comments Wednesday at a campaign stop in Kitimat.

“In medical practice, I became very much aware of the particular struggles of Indigenous people in dealing with the health-care system and in dealing with society’s other structures,” Wilkinson said. “The idea that people in our society are somehow treated differently because of the colour of their skin or where they grew up or who their parents are is not acceptable.”

He said he grew up fortunate as a white male and it wasn’t until his teenage years that he realized he received different treatment than others.

“It’s wrong. It’s not fair,” said Wilkinson. “I’ve suggested in the (Liberal) platform there should be anti-racism training for everybody in the provincial government.”

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