Premier Furey won't remove Perry Trimper from caucus, but says his 'political career is done'

·2 min read
Mark Quinn/CBC
Mark Quinn/CBC

Premier Andrew Furey is doubling down on Perry Trimper's decision to remain as an MHA within the Liberal caucus until the next general election.

When asked by multiple reporters on Wednesday if Trimper would be removed from caucus Furey wouldn't commit. The premier did say, however, Trimper's political career is over and those were Trimper's own words.

"I talked to Mr. Trimper, he offered a very heart-felt apology. He was very emotional. He's removed himself from his executive positions. He's declared that he's not a Liberal candidate in the next election," said Furey.

"His political career is done, and I'm satisfied with that for now."

Trimper is at the forefront of controversy once again, this time after a comment surrounding the homeless population in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. A year ago he stepped down as minister of municipal affairs and environment after inadvertently leaving a voicemail for an Innu Nation staffer which was deemed "very racist" at the time.

On Monday leaders of the Innu Nation, Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation and Mushuau Innu First Nation called for Trimper's full resignation, saying simply stepping away from legislative duties was not enough.

The group said it notified Furey on Friday that anything less than a resignation would be unacceptable, and took issue with Trimper still representing people of the Lake Mellville district for an undetermined amount of time until the next general election is called.

Furey said he did speak with Grand Chief Etienne Rich of the Innu Nation on Tuesday.

"We discussed Mr. Trimper and I said that he had offered an apology. But, we moved very quickly to recognize that this is more than an individual issue. This is a systems issue," Furey said.

"The path to reconciliation is long and bumpy, but we need to walk it together. It was a very collaborative exchange that we had."

Furey was also asked how he could justify keeping Trimper on board after two incidents in one year that left Trimper apologizing to Indigenous communities.

Furey again answered that he's satisfied that Trimper's apology and that he has "ended his political career."

"I'm satisfied for now that Mr. Trimper has reflected on this and made the right decision for him," said Furey.

Furey explains absence

Also on Wednesday Furey met reporters with an explanation for being unavailable to speak after question period a day ago.

At the time, Opposition leader Ches Crosbie called the decision "a disgrace," adding both Indigenous reconciliation and the province's offshore oil industry was crumbling.

"Frankly, as you can all appreciate, it's an incredibly busy time for the province and I had a meeting that was already in the schedule around the economic task force," Furey said.

"I have complete faith in my ministers and the team we have assembled to be able to speak on behalf of government. That's part of having a cabinet."

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