Gord Steeves a no show at event to feed the homeless

Gord Steeves did not show up at an event Sunday to feed the homeless.

But mayoral candidate says he will speak Tuesday, 4 days after wife's 'drunken native guys' comments

About 100 people showed up Sunday to get food from Winnipeg's Bannock Lady. Some of them said, in response to Lorrie Steeves' post about "drunken native guys," that everyone makes mistakes. (Kiran Dhillon/CBC)

Gord Steeves did not show up at an event Sunday to feed the homeless, and neither did his wife, Lorrie.

It was her comments on Facebook that angered many in Manitoba's aboriginal community.

Lorrie Steeves wrote in 2010 that she was tired of "drunken native guys" harassing her downtown. 

Winnipeg's Bannock Lady, Althea Guiboche, challenged the mayoral candidate and his wife to make up for the hurt those comments made by handing out food to the homeless on Sunday. 

While hundreds of people showed up on Sunday at the corner of Dufferin Avenue and Main Street, the Steeves were not among them. 

Guiboche said she was disappointed but hoped that Lorrie Steeves would some day make it up to the people she criticized in the Facebook post.

"If she was truly, sincerely sorry, she should, you know, it doesn't have to be here.  But somehow, some way educate herself on why people are homeless, why this happening, why are they on the street," she said Sunday.

Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who is aboriginal and is also running for mayor, said the Facebook comments speak to a larger issue. 

"I think there needs to be a bigger conversation happening in the city about how we view each other, how we work together, how we live together," he said. "And what the actual long term goals of the city should be."

Steeves to address the media Tuesday

Gord Steeves' campaign however, did issue a notice Sunday saying he would hold a news conference Tuesday, "at a time and place to be announced."

The former city councillor has been silent since his wife's derogatory comments about aboriginal people surfaced Friday, on the same day that he vowed to tackle public drunkeness downtown. 

Silence not a good sign on campaign trail

A political analyst said silence is not a good tactic when you're on the campaign trail.

Chris Adams, a Winnipeg author and political commentator, said mayoral candidates can and should be held accountable, even if the controversial statements are made by other family members.

"I do think it's disconcerting that we haven't heard from him since Friday on this," he said. "The silence is not helping his campaign."

Adams said it may not have been Gord Steeves who made the derogatory comments four years ago, but politicians do campaign with their spouses, and so to some extent, they do have to answer for their actions. 


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