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Toronto Minnan-Wong apologizes for saying Keesmaat ‘should stick to the knitting’

Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner for the City of Toronto, is seen during a council meeting on June 11, 2015.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Toronto's deputy mayor is apologizing for comments he made about the city's outgoing chief planner after backlash from critics who called his words sexist.

Denzil Minnan-Wong told the Toronto Sun last week that Jennifer Keesmaat "should stick to the knitting," meaning city planning, rather than weighing in on other matters.

Keesmaat fired back on CBC's Metro Morning today, saying she found the comment deeply offensive.

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Minnan-Wong says his comments were taken out of context, but added he nonetheless believes the city's next chief planner should focus on planning.

Keesmaat plans on leaving the role next month after five years on the job during which she has often been an outspoken advocate on accessibility, transit and public space issues.

Several local councillors, from Mary-Margaret McMahon to Mike Layton to Joe Cressy, called out Minnan-Wong for his comments.

"First of all, I'm not going to mince words, he might as well have told me to go back to the kitchen," Keesmaat told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway.

"Just so you know, I've never been there – I'm not a very good cook – I think it's a deeply offensive comment."

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