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Robinson out as minister, remains Coquitlam–Maillardville MLA

“She screwed up. She made a really significant error … It’s not a mystery why she needs to step down,” Premier David Eby said.
Selina Robinson has stepped down as the post secondary education minister, but will remain as the Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA, as of Feb. 5, 2024, in light of "crappy" land comments related to the Gaza-Israel conflict.

The MLA for Coquitlam–Maillardville is out as B.C.’s minister for post-secondary education and future skills.

Today, Feb. 6, Premier David Eby, who was due to be in Coquitlam for an affordable housing announcement, told reporters during a tele-conference from Vancouver that Selina Robinson resigned from her cabinet position.

But she will remain in caucus following comments she made via a video last week about Israel.

Specifically, Robinson, who is Jewish, referred to the origins of Israel as “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it.”

Robinson issued an apology after an uproar on social media; Eby also put out a statement condemning her comments.

This morning, the Tri-City News also published a letter from a Coquitlam resident blasting her remarks.

Eby said the decision about Robinson’s resignation happened after significant conversations with Muslim communities over the weekend.

“She screwed up. She made a really significant error … It’s not a mystery why she needs to step down,” Eby said.

“She’s got a lot of hurt to address.”

The premier described Robinson as someone with “integrity, sensitivity and compassion” who “crossed the line with her demeaning and belittling” comments.

Eby said Robinson is taking some time out to “catch her breath” and prepare for the difficult work ahead to understand anti-Islamophobia.

Among her work will be to visit mosques and speak to Muslim leaders.

“She has a tonne of work to do to repair the damage,” Eby said, noting the ministerial portfolio will be taken over by MLA Brenda Bailey.

The Tri-City News reached out to Robinson today, but she did not immediately respond.

Robinson issued the following statement and apology earlier today:

"My recent comments have caused pain and distress within the Palestinian community, the Muslim community and beyond. I am very sorry. I bear full responsibility.

"My words were inappropriate, wrong, and I now understand how they have contributed to Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian racism.

"During a time of crisis when many innocent people are being killed, including Palestinians and Jews with family in British Columbia, those in positions of power have a responsibility to bring people together. My comments, however, did the opposite and contributed to further division.

"I know that my comments have additionally caused pain, including among Indigenous communities, for perpetuating harmful narratives of colonialism. The experiences of First Nations people are not mine to manipulate. That was wrong and I am deeply sorry.

"I am grateful to each person who has expressed to me their feelings of pain, anger, sorrow and outrage. All of it is valid.

"I also know that there will be those who are not willing to speak with me. I have broken the trust of many, including friends and allies. It is fair for them to not want to engage with me, I know I will have to earn back their trust.

"I am committed to learning from this significant mistake. To that end, I will be taking part in anti-Islamophobia training to more deeply understand the concerns that have been expressed to me.

"I am committed to making amends, learning from the pain I have caused and doing whatever I can to rebuild relationships.

"I am sorry. I will do better."