According to CBC News, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Kristine Eidsvik apologized to University of Calgary Law students for what some called racist remarks she made in a lecture on Thursday.
Several students say Eidsvik talked about being uncomfortable when she walked into a room 'full of big dark people.' One student told CBC News the judge said she was used to having a button to press if she was in trouble. The students say Eidsvik told them she was used to being in her 'ivory tower' where she's normally 'removed from the riff raff.'
Twitter had some thoughts about this.
"Eidsvik talked about being uncomfortable when she walked into a room "full of big dark people.""— Robin Mazumder (@RobinMazumder) January 6, 2018
This woman is the judge in residence. At a University.
That she even felt safe to say something as terrible as this provides insights into the legal system.https://t.co/cx1yjLMLlb
"Being a person of colour planning on becoming a lawyer, it makes me think if it comes down to the wire ... would someone like that on the bench give the other side the victory just because they're white and I'm not?"— Idil Mussa (@idilmussa) January 6, 2018
"It's not a right to be on the bench, right? It's a privilege ... I think it's contrary to our values to have someone like that in a position of power."— Idil Mussa (@idilmussa) January 6, 2018
Eidsvik's apology, which she gave on Friday, read:
I am sorry for offending or causing hurt to anyone in this room from the bottom of my heart. I hope that you will accept my apology.
Frankly, an apology is insufficient. With her guard down, Justice Eidsvik revealed troubling biases that impact her ability to preside over matters and approach matters fairly.— Avnish Nanda (@avnishnanda) January 6, 2018
There should be an investigation, and at the very least, some sort of training around racial and ethnic bias.— Avnish Nanda (@avnishnanda) January 6, 2018
People seemed unsure whether Eidsvik was referring to students in the room or litigants. But one possible reason why, if Eidsvik was referring to litigants, that this would be worse, is that it may reveal prejudices she carries with her into legal proceedings that could in turn affect their outcome.