A huge furor had developed in British Columbia and across Canada about recent comments (and the racist history) of BC Minister for Post-Secondary Education Selina Robinson. Robinson was already mired in controversy over her role in the recent firing of college instructor Dr. Natalie Knight. Knight had been on leave since early November, due to pro-Palestinian comments she made at a rally.
But last week, Robinson’s comments at a B’nai Brith forum went viral with a video clip showing her saying Palestine was “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it” until after the Zionist colonization. Many activists quickly responded by calling for her resignation.
Since then, calls for her resignation or firing intensified. Multiple petitions with thousands of signatures were underway, and the BC government retreat on February 5 at a hotel was met with demonstrators. Although Robinson issued two apologies, the latest one claiming she will undertake “anti-Islamophobia training” to undo the damage she caused, many were convinced that this was simply damage control.
Photos Michael YC Tseng
The pernicious and systemic anti-Palestinian behaviour of Selina Robinson had been well-documented; she was vocal for the last 4 months in sharing the Zionist narrative that dehumanizes Palestinians in Gaza and enables their genocide.
Indigenous people were also outraged with Robinson’s glorification of settler colonialist ideals, when she alleged that Palestine had “nothing on it” before the Zionist colonization made it thrive. This is exactly what settler colonialism espouses everywhere: nothing is of value until the (white) settlers come and civilize it!
This isn’t the first time Robinson has demonized indigenous people. In 2022, during the Wet’suwet’en protests, she claimed she felt “unsafe” because the protestors’ “words were violent”.
Although the resignation of her Cabinet position is a testament to the groundswell of popular support for Palestine, she is not the only Canadian politician supporting Israeli genocide. Not by a long shot. She was more vocal and more blatant in her anti-Palestinian racism, but she represents a disturbing trend in Canada’s official political landscape.
Coverage by AlMayadeen English
New interview by Hanna Kawas, Chair of CPA, with Gurpreet Singh of Spice Radio regarding Selina Robinson’s resignation: