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Indigenous Loss of Confidence Extends Beyond Trimper, says Crosbie
The capacity of the Liberal government to engage in reconciliation with the Inuit and now the Innu has been destroyed by what Indigenous people suspect is systemic prejudice in government.
Friday, September 13, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition 

For Immediate Release

 

St. John’s, NL (September 13, 2019) – PC Opposition leader Ches Crosbie says that the departure of Liberal minister Perry Trimper from cabinet became inevitable in the wake of the statement by Grand Chief Gregory Rich that the Innu Nation had lost confidence in him and refused to accept his apology for racially charged comments.

“It is essential that the regional minister have the confidence of the communities he represents”, Crosbie said. “Trimper clearly lost the ability to work with the Innu, most of whom live in his district of Lake Melville.” Crosbie said Premier Ball must yet address the question of whether Trimper should remain in the Liberal caucus.

Crosbie said that the larger issue is whether racially charged attitudes are prevalent in the provincial Liberal government, pointing to tweets from former Grand Chief and Innu advisor Peter Penashue that ask: “Is this the attitude of government ministers when Indigenous peoples are not in the room?” How is the government going to deal with this huge racial profiling of Innu???”

Crosbie said the capacity of the Liberal government to engage in reconciliation with the Inuit and now the Innu has been destroyed by what Indigenous people suspect is systemic prejudice in government.

In August, the Nunatsiavut government expressed “extreme disappointment” with the Liberal government over the Muskrat Falls “fiasco”, stating that Premier Ball had “repeatedly betrayed our trust,” and wanting “no part” of reconciliation as conducted by the Liberals.

 

Contacts:

 

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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Backgrounder

The comments made by Perry Trimper are symptoms of a much bigger issue of a systemic culture of disrespect and racial profiling towards Indigenous peoples by the provincial Liberal Government.

There have been several examples where Indigenous people have been disrespected and not treated appropriately by several Cabinet Ministers and other individuals in this Liberal Government:

  • Failure of Ball to keep his promise to apologize to residential school survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Failure to proceed with wetland capping before flooding the Muskrat Falls reservoir.
  • Inappropriate comments by Minister Dempster in the House of Assembly in response to questions about the impact of methylmercury as follows: “If there is a concern, we may have to go out and say you cannot eat trout seven times a week, you can eat trout twice a week, Mr. Speaker, but that is the reason why we're monitoring.”
  • Unauthorized search and seizure of Indigenous people travelling on the North Coast of Labrador ferry.
  • A history of racially loaded comments towards the Innu by Minister Trimper’s Executive Assistant.
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