Letter to the editor from Amanda Lathlin, NDP MLA for The Pas and NDP critic for Indigenous and northern affairs

Manitobans deserve leadership that brings them together, rather than divides them. Manitobans deserve leadership that emphasizes our common values, rather than inflaming tensions and inciting emotions.

Premier Brian Pallister, however, has made inflammatory comments on the issue of night hunting over the past several weeks. He first said it was becoming a “race war” in a private closed-door meeting with party supporters. He refused to clarify or to withdraw his irresponsible comments at the time.

When he was recently confronted by a reporter on the issue at his vacation home in Costa Rica, he refused again to withdraw his comments. Instead, he asserted without any evidence that “young Indigenous men—a preponderance of them are offenders, with criminal records—are going off shooting guns in the middle of the night.” This is a shockingly irresponsible use of a racist stereotype for Indigenous people in this province. What’s worse, this premier did it from thousands of miles away, unable to face the very people he is stereotyping. This sort of rhetoric is a step backwards for Manitobans.

It’s time for the premier to take responsibility for his words and his actions. He needs to return to the province from Costa Rica. He needs to apologize to First Nation and Metis Manitobans. He needs to actually sit down with all Manitobans to work towards real solutions. That’s the least that Manitobans deserve, and that’s the least that this premier can do.