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During five years as Manitoba’s premier, Brian Pallister has made a trio of statements his critics can fairly describe as impediments to reconciliation. Speaking in Virden in 2017, Pallister characterized divisions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people over illegal night hunting as the makings of “a race war.” He later walked back those comments as “the wrong choice of words,” but did not apologize for them. Late in 2020, the premier suggested the need to prioritize the Indigenous population for COVID-19 vaccinations “puts Manitobans at the back of the line” for doses if the province does not receive a greater proportional share of shots. The implication, as Sen. Murray Sinclair noted, was Indigenous people are not Manitobans. In spite of that rhetoric, the province went on to partner with the First Nations Pandemic Response Team on what is widely regarded as a successful effort to ensure vaccines made their way to Indigenous communities.

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