Innu Nation seeks identity of second voice on ‘race card’ recording

Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal Party Leader Dwight Ball, joined by members of his cabinet, Gerry Byrne, left to right, Perry Trimper, Eddie Joyce, Andrew Parsons and Siobahn Coady, speaks with the media after being sworn in as the province's 13th premier at Government House, in St. John's, N.L., on Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

The Innu Nation is pressing Newfoundland and Labrador’s government to identify the second speaker on a voice mail in which a provincial environment minister is heard saying the Innu are prone to playing “the race card.”

Perry Trimper resigned from cabinet Sept. 13, after apologizing for comments he left on the answering machine of an Innu Nation staffer.

READ MORE: N.L. cabinet minister resigns over ‘race card’ comment about Innu Nation

The message, which the Indigenous organization published online, continued to record Trimper’s conversation with another person, who is heard saying Innu people “have a feeling of entitlement.”

On Friday, the group called on the provincial government to investigate the speaker’s identity, tweeting that Innu leaders would “continue to press for accountability.”

Premier Dwight Ball’s office responded in a statement to The Canadian Press, saying that confirming the second person’s identity is a “priority,” but they will not be publicly identified.

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The statement also repeated Ball’s comments from last Monday, saying he was “assured” the person does not hold a management, policy or decision-making role.

READ MORE: Race a factor in NDP’s poor outlook in N.B. ahead of election

Ball and Innu Nation Grand Chief Gregory Rich met last Monday, and the premier agreed to establish a working group with a mandate to ensure government officials and employees appreciate Innu culture and values.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 23, 2019.

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