Quebec native affairs minister slammed after using phrase ‘Indian time’

Quebec Native Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley grimaces as he reacts to Pierre Peladeau's resignation, at the Provincial Legislature in Quebec City on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

MONTREAL – Quebec’s native affairs minister is being criticized for making a joke about the stereotypical term “Indian time.”

Geoffrey Kelley used the words at a news conference Thursday regarding a long-awaited bill recognizing indigenous customs related to adopting children.

Kelley said some people use the term to refer to something that takes a long time and added that in the case of the adoption bill, one could also refer to government time.

Cree health spokeswoman Bella Moses Petawabano corrected Kelley a few minutes later by saying the true meaning of Indian time is to get things done within a set time frame.

A reporter pounced on Kelley’s comment and asked whether the minister was clumsy to use such a term at a news conference.

He replied his comments were meant in jest.