2019-08-08_thumb
2019-08-08_thumb This article is more than 2 years old
News

Manitoba Green Party Scrubs Biography Explaining How Candidate Got a Job ‘Even Though She Wasn’t Black’

Manitoba Green Party insists ‘copy-and-paste error’ is to blame for ‘confusing biography’ on official campaign website

Manitoba’s Green Party says it accepts “full responsibility” after quietly scrubbing the official biography of a Winnipeg-area candidate.

Green Party officials confirmed to PressProgress they removed a few unusual details that appeared on the campaign website of Martha Jo Willard, the Green Party candidate for the Winnipeg riding of Notre Dame.

Willard, a former federal and provincial Liberal candidate now running for the Greens, wrote a lengthy biography for her campaign website chronicling the many twists-and-turns in her journey to become a veterinarian in 1980s Winnipeg.

The original version of her online biography explained that Willard nearly gave up on her dream of becoming a veterinarian after “failing to be accepted to veterinary school on the first two tries.”

“Eventually, after 17 tries,” the bio continued, “she was accepted into veterinary school at Tuskegee Institute, the only Black veterinary school in North America.”

The Green candidate’s original bio noted that even after graduating from veterinary school, she still had trouble finding a job until she applied for a job in Winnipeg:

“After 97 job applications and no interviews, she applied for a position in Winnipeg. She was accepted, even though she wasn’t black.”

Source: Green Party of Manitoba

Green Party officials confirmed removing both lines from Willard’s online biography Saturday evening, blaming a computer problem for the gaffe.

“The original post to the website had a copy-and-paste error,” said an official party statement to PressProgress. Green spokesperson Bryanne Lamoureux later clarified the bio was written by the candidate and posted to the website by a party staffer.

The party insists the line should have instead read that Willard was “accepted into veterinary school at Tuskegee Institute, the only black veterinary school in North America, even though she wasn’t black.”

“Upon further reflection and editing,” the party statement said, “it was decided that a simpler, less potentially confusing biography was preferable, which is why it was edited further.”

The party also cut a reference to the candidate’s 97 failed job applications.

diffchecker.com

Tuskegee University is a recognized historically Black university in Alabama, founded in 1881 on an abandoned plantation by Booker T. Washington and other former slaves soon after the US Civil War.

Following the 1965 Higher Education Act, which extended special recognition to historically Black colleges and universities, schools founded to serve Black students during segregation began accepting admissions from students regardless of race.

Willard did not respond to multiple requests for comment from PressProgress.

The Green candidate previously ran provincially for the Manitoba Liberals in 2007, and has run twice for the federal Liberals in 2008 and 2011.

Willard’s name appears on attendance lists for several “donor appreciation events” hosted by Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, then-Heritage Minister Melanie Jolie and ex-Health Minister Jane Philpott between 2017 and 2018.

Elections Canada records show she has made thousands of dollars in donations to the federal Liberals between 2013 and 2018.

In a biography attached to a 2011 press release, the Liberal Party of Canada noted Willard graduated from Tuskegee in 1982 before “immigrating to Winnipeg four days later,” offering no comment on race or her 97 failed job applications.

 

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

ELECTION Explainer

CEO of Private Healthcare Company Hosted Fundraising Event for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

Related Stories

News

Justin Trudeau Tells International Conference Left-Wing ‘Extremist Groups’ Are ‘Pushing White Supremacy’

View the post
News

Ford’s Reduced COVID-19 School Funds Pushing Up Toronto Catholic Class Sizes, Putting Students At Risk, Teachers Warn

View the post
News

Years Of Wage Freezes Demanded By Manitoba PCs Leading To ‘Brain Drain,’ University Of Manitoba Faculty Say

View the post

Explainers

Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

The battle of the PACs in Calgary’s municipal election

View the post
Politics & strategy

Jeremy Appel

27 Different Candidates are Vying to be Calgary’s Mayor. Here Are the Biggest Issues at Stake.

View the post
Work & rights

Shanice Regis-Wilkins

How Labour Activists Pushed For Policies That Protect Workers and the Environment This Election

View the post