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Free Press: Premier’s absence criticized

June 14, 2016 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports:

The NDP says Premier Brian Pallister owes Manitobans an explanation for his absence from Monday night’s vigil for the 49 shooting victims in Orlando, Fla….

Karen Busby, a professor of law at the University of Manitoba who has won awards for activism within the LGBTTQ community, said she can forgive Pallister’s absence considering the short notice. However, she took issue with a statement sent on his behalf Sunday evening that made no mention of homophobia or the LGBTTQ community.

“I don’t understand why he wouldn’t acknowledge that it is a homophobic act in some way. Obviously it was an act aimed at queer people, so why not acknowledge that?” she said. “This is the worst atrocity that has happened to queer people since the Nazi extermination. This wasn’t a random act, it was an act aimed at queer people.”

She pointed to other statements on the massacre, made by Republicans in the United States and interim federal Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, which also didn’t mention the LGBTQ community.

“You wouldn’t talk about the Montreal Massacre without mentioning women were killed and it was a misogynistic act,” she said, referring to the murder of 14 women at École Polytechnique in 1989 by Marc Lépine.

“What it signals to me is that politicians think they will get more votes if they are not supportive of queer communities.”

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