Calls for the resignation of Perry Trimper, the Liberal MHA for the district of Lake Melville, Labrador, have come about once again in the past few weeks. The demands are emerging after he claimed “[i]n an interview with CBC News on Tuesday,” that “people who are homeless are “choosing” a risky lifestyle, and putting themselves and the community at risk.” This comment took place after a disturbing video surfaced of a Happy Valley-Goose Bay police officer slamming a handcuffed Innu man on the ground.
Trimper is unwilling to resign and claims his constituents have been supportive of him. He has backed out of his bid for re-election. Newfoundland Labrador Premier Andrew Furey stated, prior to Trimper’s announcement of ballot removal, that Trimper “is likely reconsidering his role as Liberal MHA”.
However, the Innu Nation believes he should “quit politics altogether” right now.
This is not the first time Perry Trimper has been under fire for acts of anti-Indigenous racism. In September of 2019, Trimper left a voicemail to the Innu nation discussing DMV translation services for Indigenous peoples, but did not hang up the phone before having a conversation with a female colleague. The two discuss the previous voicemail. They are both overheard laughing. Trimper says that “even if we did translate it from English, they wouldn’t read it anyways”. Later, after the unidentified female says “they [the Innu community] certainly don’t think the way we do… they have a sense of entitlement”, Trimper replies “the race card comes up all the time”. In 2019, former Premier Dwight Ball made an apology to Innu Nation’s Grand Chief Gregory Rich. A recording of that voicemail is posted here.
In just over a year, two serious incidences of anti-Indigenous racism from Trimper have occurred.
Trimper, again, has withdrawn his candidacy for next election. But the Innu nation has been vocal with their concerns that Trimper and the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador are symbols of systemic racism in Canada. Coupled with the lack of action on Prime Minister Trudeau’s behalf to end the clash between Mi’kmaq and settler fisherman in Nova Scotia, the news about Trimper has sparked conversations about the role played by the Government of Canada, and more specifically the Liberal Party, in upholding systemic racism and white supremacy.