B.C. cabinet minister sacked after making racist comments about Palestinians
B.C.'s Minister of Post Secondary Education and Future Skills, Selina Robinson, stepped down on Monday, February 7, over anti-Palestinian comments she made six days earlier during a Zoom meeting with B'nai Brith Canada, a zionist organization. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Vancouver called an emergency rally Monday morning at the Guilford Sheraton Hotel in Surrey, where the B.C. NDP was holding the All MLA Retreat.
"Selina Robinson made her notorious racist comments, calling Palestine a 'crappy piece of land' before Zionist colonization, at the same B'nai Brith meeting where she boasted of her interference at Langara College to fire Dr. Natalie Knight," read Samidoun's emergency rally call-out.
Natalie Knight, an indigenous grassroots organizer, taught at Langara College in Vancouver. Langara placed Knight on paid leave during an investigative process into supposed pro-Hamas comments she was recorded saying at a rally last October. She was briefly reinstated and then fired. The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C. and the Langara Faculty Association (Local 14) released a joint statement stating that Knight's rights were violated in that she was put on leave without a fulsome investigation or due process and that Langara President Paula Burns publicly announced Knight's termination before providing she received a written letter of termination. Knight was fired one day after Minister Selina Robinson used her X account to share a statement by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) reiterating its call for Dr. Knight's termination.
Knight's firing is being challenged by her union, which has also accused Robinson of "inappropriately" intervening in the school's disciplinary process, CTV News Vancouver reported.
Last October, Israel launched a genocidal campaign in Gaza in retaliation to the Palestinian armed group Hamas attacking southern Israel on October 7 Israel in a conflict that left around 1,200 Israelis and foreigners dead. Hamas kidnapped about 240 hostages and has been calling for abuses against Palestinians detained by Israel to be addressed and for those detainees to be released. In late January, the Gaza Health Ministry reported the Palestinian death toll since October 2023 surpassing 26000.
Robinson has announced that she will be stepping down as Minister; however, she will finish the remainder of her term in the NDP Caucus. "My words were inappropriate, wrong, and I now understand how they have contributed to Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism," says Robinson in a statement. She has stated she will be taking part in anti-Islamophobia training.
By the time of writing, 11,345 people signed the online petition, which further called for her removal from cabinet. This petition was initiated by the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Canada Palestine Association, Palestinian and Jewish Unity, the Canadian BDS Coalition, Just Peace Advocates, Samidoun, and the Ontario Palestinian Rights Association.