Brian Pallister says he will not apologize for ‘race war’ comment on night hunting
WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier, Brian Pallister admitted it was the wrong choice of words, but said he will not apologize for using the term “race war” when it comes to Indigenous people and night hunting.
During his first media conference since making the comment, Pallister said night hunting is a growing problem and needs to be addressed. He said he regrets the turn the debate has taken since he suggested the issue was fuelling a “race war,” but said he was trying to ease tensions at the time.
Pallister made the comment during a speech to fellow Progressive Conservatives in Virden, Man, on Jan. 16.
“It’s becoming a race war and I don’t want that. Young Indigenous people going out and shooting a bunch of moose because they can, because they say it’s their right. It does not make any sense,” Pallister said at the meeting.
Listen: Premier Brian Pallister speaking about night hunting in Virden, Manitoba
On Tuesday, when he was asked about the comments, Pallister said he used the “wrong choice of words” and it was taken out of context.
“There was discussion at the meeting [in Virden] with people concerned about a video they say of young Indigenous men standing there with slaughtered moose,” Pallister said.
The comments were widely condemned by Indigenous leaders and opposition parties, who said Indigenous hunters have the right to hunt at night.
Maclean’s magazine article
Last week, Pallister came under fire after a controversial quote about night hunting was attributed to him by Maclean’s magazine.
The reporter, Nancy Macdonald, visited Pallister unannounced in his home in Costa Rica. Pallister was quoted for saying, “young Indigenous men — a preponderance of them are offenders, with criminal records — are going off shooting guns in the middle of the night. It doesn’t make sense.”
On Tuesday, Pallister said he did not make the comments and called them “gross implications”.
“I think this is not my statement,” Pallister said. “I was immediately offended by it. Those are not my words.”
WATCH: Pallister denies the comments he made about night hunting to a Maclean’s magazine reporter
Pallister said he could not remember if the reporter had a recording device.
“I wish it would have been recorded so you could hear my words,” he said.
“Why would I spend over 10 years of my life fighting for Indigenous issues and then make that comment,” he added.
Maclean’s magazine is standing by the article.
With files from the Canadian Press
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