Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield finds herself in the midst of another Twitter storm.
Merrifield, who is also the Liberal critic for Gender Equity and Inclusion, is taking heat from the NDP and members of the LGBTQ+ community after tweet-quoting a message from Jordan Peterson, an opponent of some transgender rights.
This is really scary. Regardless of what side of politics, everyone should be able to engage in open dialog. When we stop critically thinking and asking questions, we are all doomed. When silence is demanded and threats made, democracy ends. #bcpoli https://t.co/3GkSryc0Tb— Renee Merrifield (@ReneeMerrifiel3) January 4, 2023
Wilbur Turner, founder of Advocacy Canada, told Castanet News he's shocked Merrifield would publicly support someone like Peterson.
"The main reason I felt it was inappropriate for her to do it and was shocked she did is that his public notoriety is really as a result of his anti-transgender rhetoric," Turner said.
"He has been very public about that. Being that she is the shadow minister for gender diversity and inclusion, that really shocked me that she would support someone who has a public message, not just against transgender people, but misogynistic as well."
Peterson, a famous Canadian psychologist, is again in headlines this week for sanctions placed on him by the Ontario College of Psychologists. He was suspended from Twitter, before being reinstated, for calling the surgeon who completed the mastectomy on trans actor Elliot Page a "criminal."
Turner noted Merrifield's comment was not made in isolation.
"She seems to be supporting a lot of trans-exclusionary activists, and that is also concerning. She retracted a Twitter-like about some laws that had changed in the U.S. that were discriminatory toward trans people."
That tweet supported a US Court of appeal decision allowing schools to constitutionally maintain single-sex bathrooms.
"She stands up in the legislature on Transgender Day of Remembrance and gives a speech about trans people, but that seems to be a different voice than she uses on social media."
Turner has reached out to Merrifield on social media in hopes of meeting the MLA to discuss the harm her messaging has on the community, and broader LGBTQ issues.
He has not received a response.
The NDP meantime have criticized Liberal leader Kevin Falcon for refusing to remove Merrifield as the party's gender equality critic.
In response to request for comment, Merrifield told Castanet News she is not going to comment any further on the story.
She told CityNews Vancouver on Wednesday "this is nothing more than someone trying to make something of an issue that it simply is not."
On social media, Merrifield has defended her record on gender equality, saying she will continue to speak in the advocate for trans rights in the legislature despite the criticism.
I strongly support the rights of people of all gender identities. Trans rights are human rights and it's up to all of us to create a more inclusive world for trans people and all British Columbians. #transrightsarehumanrights #bcpoli— Renee Merrifield (@ReneeMerrifiel3) January 4, 2023
This is not the first time Merrifield has come under attack for comments she made on Twitter.
Two years ago, when serving as health critic, Merrifield apologized after liking tweets that appeared to suggest the province was deliberately trying to infect children with COVID-19 in order to develop herd immunity.