VANCOUVER -- The leader of B.C.'s New Democrats is apologizing for an answer he gave during the only televised debate of the 2020 provincial election.

The leaders of three major parties – all of whom are white – were asked during the debate Tuesday about white privilege.

John Horgan's response at the time was to outline a childhood that included playing sports and attending classes with a diverse group of people.

At one point, he said he doesn't "see colour," a response which drew criticism from many who see the often-used phrase as minimizing the challenges racism presents.

After the debate, Horgan apologized for the language he chose.

"This is the answer I wish I gave on stage," he wrote on Twitter, posting a video of a redo of his answer.

He described his comments as a mischaracterization and as inappropriate.

"Saying 'I don't see colour' causes pain and makes people feel unseen. I'm sorry," he wrote.

"I'll never fully understand, as a white person, the lived reality of systemic racism. I'm listening, learning, and I'll keep working every day to do better."

Many reacted with positive messages, but others were critical of his apology

One person wrote, "It always amazes me when white people claim they have no clue what challenges people of colour face every day when in fact they created this system."

Others said the video Horgan posted with his tweet had been edited. He'd taken out part of his answer, which was given during a Q&A portion after the debate, where he mentioned he grew up with friends who were Indigenous and South Asian, and that he grew up in poverty and knows what it's like to be part of "the crowd that nobody paid attention to."