Two candidates in Manitoba's upcoming provincial election — Liberal Jamie Hall and New Democrat Wab Kinew — are facing criticism about the way they've spoken about women in the past.
Jamie Hall, the Manitoba Liberals' newest candidate, is debating whether he'll stay in the election after remarks he posted on social media were called into question on Wednesday.
In a news conference that took place hours after Hall was officially announced as a candidate, the New Democrats called on Hall to step down as the Liberals' Southdale candidate.
"He refers to women as whores and skanks, among other terms," NDP caucus spokeswoman Sharon Blady told reporters, adding that the Liberals should have caught Hall's remarks before he was nominated.
"I do wonder, you know, what the Liberal Leader [Rana Bokhari] thinks of her candidate. Does she stand beside him in this use of language?" Blady said.
"Anything that we as elected officials or those seeking office say on social media is a reflection not only of our personal values and beliefs but also stands as a reflection of our party's beliefs and values."
Blady said Bokhari should drop Hall as a candidate if he does not step down himself.
Hall apologized for his tweets, but told reporters, "My actions speak louder than my tweets."
Hall said he is not sexist and some of the tweets were meant to be humorous. One, in which he said "feminists are so sexist," was a quote from comedian Bill Maher, he said.
"I have countless friends that are women — my girlfriend, my mother, my sister, my grandmas who are no longer with me — and I am not by any means sexist," he said.
At the same time, Hall said he has not decided if he will stay in the election race.
The Manitoba Liberal Party says "all options are on the table" with regard to dealing with Hall's tweets.
The tweets in question
One post from Hall's Twitter account, dated Aug. 17, 2012, asks, "If a whore screams in the bedroom and no one is around to hear it, is she really a whore?"
Another tweet from May 24, 2011, states, "Killin' them with kindness doesn't work if they're born bitches."
Critics also pointed to 7 Deadly Women, a novel Hall wrote in 2011.
In a YouTube video promoting the book, the main character describes "seven types of women that I have found to have taken control of my story," including "the slut," the "good girl," "the virgin" and "the crazy bitch." In the novel, he compares explicit sex acts by women to driving a race car.
Hall also maintained a blog about dating. And as a bar promoter, he has filmed videos promoting "sexy ass" female bartenders.
On July 8, 2014, a tweet from Hall's account said, "Best quote I've ever heard about #7deadlywomen, 'You're that guy that wrote that book about f--king … everything."
According to Hall, freedom of expression is one of the greatest benefits of living in the country.
"That's the thing I love about living in Canada is that you can release books that are both creative and pieces of fiction and that you're allowed to have freedom of expression," he said.
"Again, the tweets came from my account. So, anything that came from my account I am very apologetic about it. I take full responsibility."
Still, he will not remove what he posted.
"I would consider that to be very disingenuous, to go through my social media before running and take pieces of me off of the table," he said.
"I am who I am. I've supported women."
Hall was nominated as the Liberal candidate in Southdale, a constituency in Winnipeg, on Tuesday night.
The Liberals described him as a "businessman and technology expert" when they announced his candidacy on Wednesday morning.
Wab Kinew's lyrics
Hall also responded to his critics by pointing to Kinew, the NDP Fort Rouge candidate and former hip-hop artist whose lyrics have referred to women as "bitches" and "whores."
"I don't think the NDP has many legs to stand on in that regard, considering one of their candidates that they have," Hall said.
But Kinew said he acknowledged and apologized for his mistakes in his 2015 book, The Reason You Walk.
"I think I've been very up front about the fact that I've changed the way I view things and recognize there's no place for misogyny … especially given the issue of missing and murdered women and gender-based violence," he said.
"We have to as men step up and let people know that words can be harmful, and the role we have to play in ending gender-based violence and discrimination is to tell other men that it's not OK and that we have to make the public a safe space for everyone."
According to Blady, there's a difference between Kinew's past words and those of Hall.
"The one thing that's different there is that he's taken ownership of them," she said.
"I mean, he's published about it in a book. He's talked about his own personal growth and frankly, the regret. That's about a period of angry youth."