Nfld. & Labrador

NDP leader under fire for tweet about 'rookie woman minister'

Earle McCurdy says people have misunderstood a tweet he made attacking Justin Trudeau's broken promise on electoral reform.

Earle McCurdy says his comments have been misunderstood

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy has received an angry backlash to a tweet he sent out Wednesday night (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador NDP leader Earle McCurdy says people have misunderstood a tweet he made attacking Justin Trudeau's broken promise on electoral reform.

McCurdy has faced a backlash since he criticized the prime minister for sending out a "rookie woman minister" to announce that government won't pursue electoral reform.

McCurdy's comment referred to Karina Gould, who was sworn in as the minister of Democratic Institutions in January, replacing Maryam Monsef. Gould is under 30.

Many people on Twitter questioned why he thought it relevant that a woman delivered the news.  

"Perhaps I could have been clearer in my wording," McCurdy told CBC News Thursday.

'Intended as a shot at the prime minister'

He said he attacked Trudeau because the prime minister, who calls himself a feminist, has put two women in charge of a controversial file and delivering the bad news to the public.

"It was not intended in any way as a shot at the minister, it was intended as a shot at the prime minister for not facing the music himself.

"He's made much about wanting to give women opportunities in politics, and boy that's not much of an opportunity to give someone to put them under the firing line and face the music for him.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May also critisized Justin Trudeau for throwing "two young women cabinet ministers under the bus." (CBC)

McCurdy's comment was similar to the criticism leveled by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May on Wednesday.

"I am deeply ashamed that our feminist prime minister threw two young women cabinet ministers under the bus on a key election promise, that he left them twisting in the wind," May said.

McCurdy insisted the comment wasn't sexist and pointed to his track record, saying the NDP under his leadership ran more female candidates than the other parties.

But for some, this tweet has changed their perception of McCurdy.

There was even one call for him to resign — from Progressive Conservative MHA Steve Kent.

"Sometimes Steve Kent spends too much time on Twitter," said McCurdy.

"I'm not interested particularly in a sparring match with Steve Kent."

About the Author

Peter Cowan

CBC News

Peter Cowan is a St. John's-based reporter with CBC News.


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