Manitoba Minister of Indigenous Relations Resigns Cabinet After Premier’s Comments on Colonial History

Eileen Clarke resigned as Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations for Manitoba after Premier Brian Pallister made comments last week suggesting that the colonization of Canada was done with good intentions.

Clarke confirmed her resignation on Wednesday morning and said Pallister’s comments were a factor in that decision, although she did not specify which comments.

Clarke said she will not speak more about her resignation at this time out of respect for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs election taking place today.

She said she quit on Friday afternoon. Two days earlier, Pallister had reprimanded those who participated in the destruction of the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on Manitoba’s legislative grounds on Canada Day, after a march in memory of the Aboriginal children who died in residential schools.

“We must respect our heritage just as we must respect each other … Not to find fault, not to demolish, not to point out every failure, but rather to realize that we are a complex country as we are. made of complex people, “Pallister told a press conference, adding that the statues would be restored.

“The people who came here to this country – before it was a country and since – did not come here to destroy anything. They came here to build. They came to build better.”

Clarke was first elected as the Progressive Conservative Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the constituency of Agassiz in 2016 and became Minister of Indigenous and Municipal Relations the same year. his profile on the government website said.

She was re-elected as a Member of Parliament in 2019 and remained Minister of Indigenous Relations until her resignation last week.

Pallister’s comments last week, which were criticized by Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics as anhistoric and insensitive, marked his latest stumble on issues related to Indigenous peoples in Manitoba.

In 2017, he said the divisions between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples over illegal night hunting were “”become a race war. “Pallister did not apologize for the remarks, although he later walked them home saying he had used”the wrong choice of words. “

At the end of 2020, the Premier suggested that the need to prioritize Indigenous peoples for COVID-19 vaccines would put Manitobans “”at the back of the pack“for doses if the province did not receive a larger proportionate share of shots.

These comments were criticized by Indigenous leaders, including Grand Chief Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Garrison Settee, who asked for an apology.

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