Warning: Coarse language.
The wife of mayoral candidate Gord Steeves, Lorrie Steeves, was the focus of social media today for what she posted on her Facebook page in 2010.
Her post on February 11, 2010 reads: "Lorrie Steeves is really tired of getting harrassed (sic) by the drunken native guys in the skywalks. we need to get these people educated so they can go make their own damn money instead of hanging out and harrassing (sic) the honest people who are grinding away working hard for their money. We all donate enough money to the government to keep thier (sic) sorry assess (sic) on welfare, so shut the f**k up and don't ask me for another handout!"
Comments surface as candidate vows to cut drunkeness downtown
It comes on the same day that Gord Steeves announced that as mayor, he would commit more police cadets to the downtown area to pick up intoxicated people.
He said Winnipeg's downtown can't thrive while there is a perception it isn't safe.
Steeves said if he wins the election in October, he would hire 20 new police cadets to work exclusively in the city centre.
In addition, he would ask the police service to increase its foot patrols. He said he would recommend the city purchase two extra vans to remove intoxicated people from the downtown area.
The former St. Vital city councillor said the added presence is intended to be firm, but fair.
"I don't believe that it is heavy-handed," he said. "There is no good reason, in my estimation, for somebody to be sleeping in an inebriated state on our streets in the downtown."
Steeves said the extra cadets would cost the city between $600,000 and $800,000 a year. He said he would also improve lighting in dark corners of the downtown.
CBC has asked for comment from Gord Steeves' on his wife's Facebook post that was trending on social media after his announcement but has yet to hear back.
Nepinak 'offended' by comments
Derek Nepinak, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, said he thought Lorrie Steeves' Facebook comment was narrow-minded.
"It's reflective of an attitude among some people from some of the privileged areas of the city that venture downtown and see some of the things they don't want to see," said Nepinak. "I think it's problematic being that it comes from the wife of one of our candidates for mayor."
Nepinak said he was offended by the comment as well as Gord Steeves announcement this afternoon.
Nepinak said Steeves' plan to beef up the cadet presence downtown was a "shortsighted" bandaid solution to a deeper social issue.
"We should be offended by comments like that and we should be asking more, a broader vision and a stronger vision and stronger solutions and better solutions from the candidates who are stepping forward to become mayor," said Nepinak.
"I think we need better leadership than that."
Mayoral candidate Robert Falcon-Oulette was on CBC's Up to Speed Friday afternoon and weighed in on Lorrie Steeves’ comment.
"I feel very sorry for Steeves and his wife,” said Falcon-Oulette. “It must be very disappointing for them, you know, when you spend your life trying to build up trust throughout a lifetime and you work to build something and you make a mistake … a few minutes can just destroy it."
Lorrie Steeves: [It's] 'between myself and my family'
CBC News reached Lorrie Steeves by phone Friday.
"I've been talking to my husband already about this so I'm not commenting on anything," she said Friday afternoon. "This is a post that was put [up] back in 2010, ... so that was a long time ago. And I'm talking to my husband about it and I won't comment on anything. I'm dealing with this between myself and my family."
Late Friday afternoon, Lorrie Steeves apologized for making the problematic Facebook comments:
"In 2010 while I was working downtown I was regularly harassed for money and often put in a position where I feared for my safety. One day in particular 4 years ago was very bad and out of frustration I vented on my personal Facebook page. I feel terrible about these comments I am terribly sorry and apologize. I do not clear my Facebook posts or status updates with my husband."