Winnipeg mayoral candidate addresses wife's 'drunken native guys' Facebook post

Gord Steeves held a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. He ended up responding to questions...

Gord Steeves held a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. He ended up responding to questions about his wife's "drunken native guys" Facebook post. (KRISTIN ANNABLE/QMI Agency)

Kristin Annable, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

WINNIPEG ─ He didn't drop out of the race and he didn't apologize.

Mayoral candidate Gord Steeves broke his five-day silence on the recent controversy surrounding comments made by his wife on Facebook with a whisper, not a bang.

"We acknowledge that the comments were wrong ... I hope people understand where they come from context-wise and they were made at a time of anger and fear," he said. "Those comments were not my comments and I support her and I love her and I stand with her and she made the apology and I support her apology."

The online comments made by his wife were leaked late Friday afternoon in the form of a screengrab and showed her expletive-filled rant about "drunken native guys" while taking shots at aboriginals on welfare.

A small crowd gathered at Bonnycastle Park on Tuesday to hear Steeves' response, interrupting the former city councillor several times to speak out against the racially charged post.

He left the park without speaking to any of them.

Twice during a two-week period in 2010, Steeves said his wife Lorrie was aggressively approached by panhandlers while walking in the Skywalk, which fuelled the post.

"She has apologized for this, she is deeply sorry and regrets that she did it," he said, although Steeves himself did not apologize.

When asked why it took five days to comment publicly, he said it was a tough weekend for his family and he chose to spend it with them.

Fellow candidate Brian Bowman said on Tuesday he was disappointed by what Steeves had to say.

"The step to moving things forward is striking the right tone, it is a tone of respect . . . on all levels today I did not think he was respectful and I think all Winnipeggers deserve better," he said.

However, another candidate, Judy Wasylycia-Leis said it will be up to voters, not her, to decide if Tuesday's response was adequate and she didn't expect him to apologize for his partner's comments.

kristin.annable@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @kristinannable


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