03/11/2018 16:53 EDT | Updated 03/11/2018 17:36 EDT

Jason Kenney's 'Gender-Neutral' Jab At Ontario PC Convention Draws Ire

He said Justin Trudeau would call Ontario the "gender-neutral sibling of Confederation."

The Canadian Press Images
United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney takes part in the 2018 Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa on Feb. 10, 2018.

Jason Kenney made a comment during a speech at the Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership convention that rubbed many people the wrong way.

The leader of Alberta's United Conservative Party was emphasizing Ontario's importance to Canada when he took the opportunity to take a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"Ontario has always played a special role as the older brother of Confederation, or as Justin Trudeau would say, 'the gender-neutral sibling of Confederation,'" Kenney said near the beginning of his address.

His quip was interpreted by many as not only an attack on Trudeau but also as a derogatory jab aimed at transgender and nonbinary people.

"Way to promote your party diversity #pcpoldr by ridiculing Trans kids, including mine," one person tweeted.

Another person pointed out that a joke at the expense of the LGBTQ community was in especially poor taste considering Ontario's current premier, Kathleen Wynne, is a lesbian.

Another person noted that the party's hostility towards "gender-neutrality" ended in them spilling the beans on their own leadership results before they could officially reveal Doug Ford's victory because they used male pronouns.

Kenney's gender-neutrality comment wasn't his only remark at the convention that raised eyebrows.

"You have a phenomenal, diverse, talented, principled team of candidates ready to be the next government of Ontario," he said, mid-way through his speech.

As all four of the candidates who ran to lead the PC party were white, many were confused by his comment about the diversity of the people running.

"Jason Kenney just described four white conservatives as 'reflecting the diversity of Ontario.' I'm confused," one person remarked.

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