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Perry Trimper, a cabinet minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, issued a statement Friday “acknowledging the hurt caused by his statements and saying he is stepping down as environment minister, effective immediately,” reports The Canadian Press.
The resignation came one day after a recording was released wherein Trimper can be heard accusing the Innu of Labrador of being prone to playing “the race card” to get what they want. He was immediately accused of racial profiling and subsequently stepped down. Liberal Premier Dwight Ball accepted his resignation.
“My government values the relationship with the Innu Nation,” writes Ball, “and holds the Innu Nation in the highest respect.”
The recording is from a voicemail message to the Innu nation about vehicle registration, but the controversial part came after Trimper failed to hang up the phone properly and the Innu were able to hear his private, personal thoughts on the issue.
“They’re accusing us of having bias on motor vehicle registration,” said Trimper, “saying that people taking the test don’t have adequate translators, and it’s their God-given right to have adequate translation.”
Someone else in the room then say, “You can’t have it all in every language. … They have a feeling of entitlement.”
“And the race card comes up all of the time,” Trimper continues. “I’ve been working 30 years with you guys, don’t play that on me.”
Trimper’s blunder immediately sparked shock and outrage, with many coming out to condemn Trimper and defend the government’s stance on indigenous issues and relations, saying that his comments are not representative of government.
Trimper also issued an apology and says he’ll work to repair relations from outside his former cabinet position.
“I regret that I said these words,” Trimper told St. John’s radio station VOCM. “I need to apologize, and I want to apologize. … Those words don’t reflect me. I drifted away from the person I aspired to be.”
Ball says that Trimper showed genuine remorse for what he said.