British Columbia

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs demands B.C. Tory Bob Zimmer not seek re-election

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is demanding that Conservative MP Bob Zimmer withdraw his bid for re-election for suggesting that joblessness is largely the cause of Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women.

MP says 'lack of a job' behind missing and murdered indigenous women

Grand Chief Stewart Philip is demanding federal Conservative Prince George candidate Bob Zimmer not seek re-election following comments he made at an all-candidates forum in Fort St. John earlier in the week. (CBC)

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is demanding that Conservative MP Bob Zimmer withdraw his bid for re-election over his suggestion that joblessness is largely the cause of Canada's missing and murdered indigenous women.

The incumbent MP for the northern B.C. Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding made the comments at an all-candidates meeting in Fort St. John earlier this week. 

"One of the major drivers of missing and murdered aboriginal women is the lack of economic activity, or simply put, the lack of a job.… Ultimately, when people have a job, they're not in despair. They can stay on reserve, and that's where we want them to be," Zimmer said at the time. 

On Friday, union of chiefs called Zimmer's comments sexist and racist.

"Aboriginal women and communities were shocked, outraged and deeply offended by Mr. Zimmer's derogatory remarks towards women," stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the group, in a statement. 

"Astonishingly, Mr. Zimmer's simplistic solution to one of Canada's most disgraceful and profound abuse of human rights issues, concerning missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls, is that aboriginal women should stay home, stay on the rez, and get a job."

CBC News contacted Zimmer and his campaign office on Friday for his comment. 

On Thursday, he told CBC his comments were taken out of context. He clarified that a lack of jobs is "by far not the only factor" contributing to missing and murdered indigenous women, and said he wants women not to have to endanger themselves by hitchhiking.

Twitter response

Zimmer is also facing criticism on social media for allegedly blocking some followers on Twitter, which prompted some to use the hashtag #bobblockedme. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now