Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Premier to lunch at eatery hit by taunts

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A restaurant in Morris that is set to close next Saturday because of homophobic insults directed at its two gay owners will serve Premier Greg Selinger on its second-last day in business.

Selinger announced via Twitter Thursday he will visit the southern Manitoba community next Friday to discuss flood preparations with local officials.

While there, he will stop for lunch at the Pots N Hands restaurant, which has received national attention because of prejudicial remarks hurled at its owners. The eatery -- which has received several compliments for the quality of its food -- will close after four months of operation.

In a tweet Thursday, Selinger wrote: "Congrats Mayor (Gavin) van der Linde and Morris on stand against racism and homophobic bullying. Lunch at Pots N Hands next week during flood prep."

Selinger later said he wanted to express his support for the restaurant as well as for van der Linde.

He said the mayor has shown tremendous leadership by speaking out against homophobia and racism while defending the majority of townsfolk who are not prejudiced.

This past winter, an editorial in a Morris newspaper attacked aboriginal people, accusing them of being lazy and corrupt.

Selinger telephoned the mayor Thursday to say he would be visiting and to commend him.

"He's just been a strong advocate for an inclusive community and to make the case that his citizens are people that respect others," the premier said.

He also joined the mayor in defending the community. "I don't think the mayor believes the whole town is like that, and I don't believe the town is like that," Selinger said. "My interactions with the people of Morris have always been very positive. They're hard-working folks."

Selinger recently visited Brandon to discuss flood preparations. Next week he will travel to Emerson, too.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2013 A4

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