OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is resisting calls to fire Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett over a text message he acknowledges was "wrong" and "hurtful" and harmed his government's progress on reconciliation.
However, Trudeau says he knows the minister's "heart" and how hard she has worked for decades on these issues, and believes she understands how much work needs to be done.
Bennett apologized yesterday for a one-word text to Jody Wilson-Raybould in response to the Independent MP's tweet about the discovery of what are believed to be 715 unmarked graves of Indigenous children at a residential school in Saskatchewan.
Bennett texted "Pension?" in response to Wilson-Raybould's urging of Trudeau not to call an election, in light of the fact that her former Liberal colleague would not receive a pension if she is voted out before October.
Wilson-Raybould tweeted about the text message, saying it was racist and based on harmful stereotypes about Indigenous people, and Bennett wrote on her Twitter account that she had apologized to Wilson-Raybould directly.
Trudeau says he spoke with Bennett this morning and believes what she did moved the government in the wrong direction on Indigenous issues, but she did the right thing by apologizing and the focus now needs to be on the important work ahead.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2021.
The Canadian Press