Independent MHA Perry Trimper rejoins Liberal caucus

·3 min read
Premier Andrew Furey announced Monday that Perry Trimper, MHA for Lake Melville is returning to the Liberal caucus. (Regan Burden/CBC - image credit)
Premier Andrew Furey announced Monday that Perry Trimper, MHA for Lake Melville is returning to the Liberal caucus. (Regan Burden/CBC - image credit)
Regan Burden/CBC
Regan Burden/CBC

A now-former Independent MHA has rejoined the Liberal caucus, three years after stepping down from the Liberal cabinet following comments that were described as "very racist" by a member of Innu Nation.

Perry Trimper, MHA for Lake Melville, has rejoined the Liberal caucus, Premier Andrew Furey announced Monday in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Furey told reporters he was "excited" to welcome Trimper back into the fold.

Trimper had previously served as the province's municipal affairs and environment minister under then-premier Dwight Ball, resigning from that position in 2019, after comments about the Innu Nation were recorded on a voicemail. Those comments were criticized for being racially insensitive, and Trimper apologized after they were made public.

At the time, Ball said that the MHA would remain a member of the Liberal caucus.

Trimper, who ultimately left the party in 2020 before running as an independent, on Monday pointed to progress the province has made on the issues of homelessness, addictions and highways in the region, as well as offering compensation for resettlement for Mud Lake residents, as reasons for his return.

Trimper explained that in the spring, Furey reached out to see if there was a way the two sides could work more closely, despite past issues, for the better of the community.

"The needs of Lake Melville are great and require a close relationship with government to resolve," said Trimper in an statement.


Troubles of the past

At the time of Trimper's resignation from the Liberal caucus, he pointed to a pattern of exclusion, often feeling as though he was unable to contribute to his riding.

"I've been finding myself increasingly isolated from any type of input, consultation, influence on any of the important decisions that are facing Lake Melville and Labrador in general," Trimper said at the time.

The tipping point, he said, was a Liberal delegation trip to Labrador with the premier that Trimper himself wasn't made aware of. The premier's office released a statement shortly thereafter claiming that Trimper's office was informed about the visit.

"It's not just about me — it's not just about Perry Trimper, how he feels. It really is starting to become now about the district, and I am the representative at the provincial level for the district of Lake Melville, but if I'm not at the meetings in my district, well, then my district isn't at the meetings," said Trimper at the time.

When asked about his comments following his departure from the party during today's announcement, Trimper said recent conversations with the premier about the challenges the district faces gives him confidence that this time around will be different.

"I feel very confident and comfortable today sitting here before the province and the people of Lake Melville saying we are working well," said Trimper.

"There is good progress, and I am very proud of that. We feel there's a real opportunity to make a legacy here for Labrador. I'm excited."

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