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EDITORIAL: Making a choice

Perry Trimper
MHA Perry Trimper. — Telegram file photo

When Premier Andrew Furey said last week that he thought Perry Trimper would be “reflecting upon (his Liberal candidacy) himself,” the writing was already on the wall.

Trimper, the sitting MHA for Lake Melville, had already been nominated as the Liberal candidate for the next provincial election — but that was before his mouth got him in hot water.

Commenting on a homeless Inuk person being handcuffed and then thrown to the ground by a municipal enforcement officer, Trimper talked in a CBC interview about people “choosing” to live risky lifestyles, implicitly blaming the victim in the incident.

It’s the second time Trimper has found himself on the hot seat over comments about Indigenous people in the province, the first coming just over a year ago when Trimper accidentally left a voicemail on a telephone call to the Innu Nation where he was overheard saying that, with the Innu, “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.”

It’s the second time Trimper has found himself on the hot seat over comments about Indigenous people in the province…

The first controversy saw Trimper resign from the Liberal cabinet, and almost certainly sank his chances of being chosen to return as the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The second?

On Monday, Trimper announced in a brief statement that he would not be running in the next election. It’s pretty clear his career as an elected official was going to be over as soon as an election writ was dropped anyway, given the clear lack of support from the premier.

But shortly after that, things got even more complicated: the Innu Nation said Monday it wants Trimper to resign his seat as an MHA, saying in a news release that if he stays in the House of Assembly and in the Liberal caucus, it shows an “acceptance of systemic racism by both the government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador and only serves to demonstrate further failure by Mr. Trimper to take responsibility for his actions.”

Trimper said Tuesday morning that he intends to stay on as MHA, saying on CBC’s “Labrador Morning” show that, “I don’t quit. I made a commitment to the people of Lake Melville that I would serve as their representative, and I would do it to the best of my abilities, so I will do that.”

Trimper has said he’s gotten plenty of support from his constituency.

He’s certainly not gotten that from the leader of his party.

And now, the ball is back in the premier’s court. An election is coming, the Liberals are a minority government, and every seat counts. But so does every vote.

Welcome to the job, premier.


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