The Nova Scotia Liberal Party sticks to one candidate despite her comments on Indian status cards, which another Liberal candidate, a Mi’kmaq woman, describes as hurtful and harmful.
Cape Breton East candidate Heather Peters got into a fight on Facebook in July 2019 with a Mi’kmaq who posted a meme about Native people “not really getting free stuff.”
In a long and at times stormy back and forth, Peters questioned the basis of the message.
“The point is, yes, you get things for free. It’s a wonderful thing,” she said in a comment.
The exchange began circulating on social media last week, amid the Nova Scotia election campaign. Peters has been trying to win a seat that the Progressive Conservatives have held for 15 years.
Victoria-The Lakes candidate Nadine Bernard took to Facebook on Tuesday to express her disappointment at the comments from her party colleague. Bernard is the only Liberal Mi’kmaq candidate; she runs in a neighborhood near Peters.
“I recently saw messages from a fellow Liberal candidate about the benefits that unfortunately many Canadians believe Indigenous peoples receive from the Canadian government.
“Personally, it never ceases to be hurtful when I encounter these types of beliefs. The myth that indigenous peoples get a free ride – free income, tax exemptions, free education – has been debunked again and again.
Bernard said the perpetuation of these beliefs was “very harmful” and said it was important for Canadians to learn about the history of Indigenous peoples as an act of reconciliation. She cited one of the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report for the education of public servants, in particular.
Rumors began to circulate after Bernard’s message that the Liberals could drop Peters or that she could withdraw from the race. A Liberal Party official told CBC on Tuesday night that was not the case, Peters would stay on the ticket.
Liberal Leader Iain Rankin told reporters last week he was aware of Peters’ comments. He said his party was focused on upholding equity and diversity and, as part of that, he would ensure universal access to cultural awareness training, if his party formed government.
“For me, it’s just about making sure we all continue to learn more about our shared history,” Rankin said.
Earlier in this summer’s election campaign, a Liberal candidate dropped out, citing mental health issues at first, but Robyn Ingraham later said it was because the party forced her to leave after taking over. cold about her revelation that she had sold boudoir photos online.