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A Canadian politician’s photo of his wife shoveling snow sparked outrage. She says: ‘I just wanted to.’

A November blizzard in the backcountry in Squamish, British Columbia. (Alex Ratson/Getty Images)
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A snowy saga has gripped Canada — and ignited heated debate on social media around the world.

A local politician, Jon Reyes from Manitoba, was met with a barrage of criticism over the weekend after sharing a photo on social media of his wife, Cynthia, a registered nurse shoveling snow in their driveway after a work shift.

“Even after a 12 hour night shift at the hospital last night, my wife still has the energy to shovel the driveway,” the self-described “family man” tweeted. “God bless her and all our frontliners,” he said, adding that he would be making her breakfast.

The post catapulted the Reyes family into the social media spotlight, going viral as tens of thousands of people chimed in — mostly to criticize the member of the legislative assembly for Waverley and minister of economic development and jobs for taking pictures instead of jumping in to help his wife.

“The hell? Get down there and shovel some snow,” wrote one Twitter user, as many others asked: “Why didn’t you shovel the driveway?”

Now, the woman at the center of the social media (snow) storm has hit back, writing in a lengthy Facebook post late Monday: “I just wanted to Shovel!”

Cynthia Reyes wrote that she arrived home early Saturday morning after her nursing shift, while the rest of her household was still asleep.

“As I pulled up to my driveway, I felt energy to shovel the snow that fell all night and into the morning,” she explained, adding that she thought of it as a “great workout,” a chance to unwind and a “refreshing” outdoor activity after wearing an N95 mask for most of her shift. “Most importantly, I enjoy it.”

“Jon heard me shovelling, it actually woke him up and he was surprised and impressed to see that I had energy after a long shift to do this, so he took a pic, made breakfast and posted, and the rest is embedded in social media history forever!” she continued.

Cynthia Reyes said the Internet critics had it wrong. She added: “This tweet probably would not have gone viral if the gender roles were reversed” and that, in her family, “we share different chores not based on any gender; but mostly on who is available to do it.”

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She also urged people to “read past the headline; and to know the whole story before passing judgement. … Social media can blow things out of proportion and negatively affect many users.”

Cynthia Reyes’s statement appears to have resonated with some social media users, with one apologizing and thanking her for her work as an essential worker, and another acknowledging: “It’s hard to resist when a meme is whipping around twitter, so that’s what I’ll take from this: retweet less when I don’t know the facts.”

The couple, who have two children and a dog, are not giving media interviews but in an emailed statement to The Washington Post, politician Reyes said he was happy that his wife was “getting the worldwide recognition she deserves.”

“My wife is amazing, both at home and at work. I’m eternally grateful for her and everything she does. I love her very much,” he said. “It serves as a reminder to everyone — especially me today — that we can never do enough to show our gratitude to healthcare workers.”

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