Liberal MHA Perry Trimper has resigned from the Liberal cabinet, but it appears he's staying in the Liberal caucus.
The resignation comes in the wake of a five-minute audio file of a voice mail left by Trimper on Thursday that was made public by the Innu Nation last night.
In it, Trimper, who thought the phone call had ended, is heard conversing with an unnamed woman.
“They certainly don’t think the same way we do. They have a feeling of entitlement,” says the woman speaking with Trimper.
“Yeah, and the race card comes up all the time. Man, don’t play that on me. I’ve been 32 years working with you guys, don’t play that on me,” Trimper said in response.
On Friday, Trimper says he spoke with Premier Dwight Ball and offered his resignation from cabinet "effective immediately."
"I have the utmost respect for Grand Chief Rich and the Innu of our province. I am extremely disappointed in myself and am truly sorry to the Innu people, residents of Lake Melville, and my colleagues," Trimper wrote in a statement.
"Reflecting upon the hurt that my words have caused, I've decided to step back from ministerial responsibilities as my focus must be on repairing relationships. This is the best decision.
"While my words do not represent my values, I recognize that they were insensitive. Understanding and sensitivity are critical to relationship building and I welcome all opportunities for healing which includes the process of reconciliation."
The statement ended with Trimper stating that he will continue to represent the Lake Melville riding.
In an emailed response to the resignation, Premier Dwight ball says Trimper, "has shown extreme remorse for his actions and I accept his decision to step down from his ministerial role, so that he can continue to focus on rebuilding relationships with the Innu of our province and the residents of his district of Lake Melville, outside of cabinet. There are many levels to the rebuilding process, including cultural sensitivity training."
Ball says discussions are underway to set up an in-person meeting with Innu Nation Grand Chief Rich.