Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba Premier Says Indigenous Night Hunting Is Starting a 'Race War'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba Premier Says Indigenous Night Hunting Is Starting a 'Race War'

Article excerpt

Pallister says night hunting creating 'race war'

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WINNIPEG - Manitoba's premier is being criticized for saying indigenous people shouldn't be night hunting and that the practice is creating a "race war."

Brian Pallister made the comments to fellow Progressive Conservatives earlier this week in Virden, Man.

"Young indigenous guys going out and shootin' a bunch of moose 'cause they can, 'cause they say it's their right, doesn't make any sense to me," he said in a speech, which was recorded by the local radio station CJVM.

"This is a poor practice. A dumb practice ... It should stop.

"So what are we doing? We're organizing to bring indigenous people together and say the same thing I just said to ya, 'cause it's becoming a race war and I don't want that."

The province's hunting guide says indigenous people have the right to hunt at night where it is safe, but it is illegal for others.

The premier said in an emailed statement Friday that night hunting is a dangerous practice for everyone and that "rights do not trump responsibilities." He said the government is reaching out to indigenous communities on the issue.

NDP legislature member Wab Kinew called the premier's words awful and offensive.

"You're a dinosaur if you're talking like that," Kinew said.

Kinew said that as an aboriginal man, he hunts, but not at night because it isn't safe.

"There are reasonable people on all sides of the issue," he said. "But the problem is reasonable voices get crowded out by inflammatory comments like 'race war.' The premier's got to own up to that. He's got to recognize this was reckless and he should apologize."

Grand Chief Derek Nepinak with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said Pallister's remarks are damaging to reconciliation in rural Manitoba.

"Whether you see the issue politically or from the lens of responsible leadership, the comments are unnecessarily inflammatory and only add to the difficulty in addressing long-standing challenges that indigenous hunters have faced in accessing our traditional hunting territories. …

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