Manitoba's NDP government says Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister should publicly denounce derogatory comments his party's former youth wing president made about aboriginal people.
Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson has written a letter to Pallister, urging him to condemn the statements made by Braydon Mazurkiewich, who called aboriginal people "freeloading Indians" on Facebook on Friday.
Mazurkiewich was ousted as the PC Party's youth wing president hours after he posted the comments on the social media website.
"The comments in question underscore a troubling ignorance of First Nations issues and basic principles of the laws of the land," a spokesperson for Robinson told CBC News in an email late Monday.
"There is no place for them in any political party in Manitoba."
While party president Ryan Matthews has spoken out publicly against Mazurkiewich's remarks, Pallister has not.
Reacting to Kapyong Barracks decision
Mazurkiewich was reacting to a Federal Court ruling that favoured First Nations regarding the future of Kapyong Barracks, a former Canadian Forces site in Winnipeg.
"Looks like they might be announcing that they're building a freaking reserve in the middle of Winnipeg. This city is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the entire country," he wrote in a Facebook post Friday.
After some people commented on that post, Mazurkiewich commented, "That was built for hardworking men and women of the military, not freeloading Indians."
Robinson is calling on the Tory leader to denounce Mazurkiewich's remarks "for the exacerbation of racism and conflict they cause," according to his spokesperson.
The spokesperson said Robinson also wants Pallister, a former Conservative MP, to "publicly support the legitimate economic aspirations of the Treaty One First Nations concerning the Kapyong Barracks" and to lobby his former federal colleagues to negotiate with the First Nations towards an agreement.
A PC Party spokesman has told CBC News that Pallister was not available for comment.
'Pretty much live tax-free'
In explaining his comments on Friday, Mazurkiewich said he believes many aboriginal people "pretty much live tax-free."
"I do know hard-working aboriginal people, and I commend them for the work they do and the taxes that they pay. But a lot of them don't," he said at the time.
Mazurkiewich said he also has concerns about an urban reserve being established at the Kapyong Barracks site, which is considered to be prime real estate.
"Up north there's housing, and when I look at the news it's not the greatest sight," he said.
"I don't think people paying high property taxes in that neighbourhood should have to deal with that next door."
Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard says Mazurkiewich's remarks are troubling.
"What the comments of Braydon Mazurkiewich show is an appalling ignorance right now in terms of what's happening in the First Nations community," Gerrard said.
Lack of outrage 'deafening,' says chief
Chief Jim Bear of the Brokenhead First Nation says he also wants to hear from Pallister regarding Mazurkiewich's remarks, adding that it's a leader's responsibility to speak out against racism.
"The lack of outrage in condemning this individual is deafening," he said.
Bear's uncle is Tommy Prince, one of Canada's most decorated soldiers, who even fought in the same battle the Kapyong Barracks was named after.
"My uncle, Tom Prince, along with other First Nation vets and also the Métis veterans, fought in the battle of Kapyong for people such as this individual who made those derogatory statements," he said.
Bear added that First Nations soldiers are still serving Canada around the world.
"We're still there in Afghanistan, in different places throughout the world where there's conflict," he said.
"We're exempt from war, we're exempt from the military, but that has never stopped our people from joining the military."
The Canadian Aboriginal Veterans and Serving Members Association says it does not accept Mazurkiewich's "regret at his remarks on Facebook."
"His loathing for the First People of this land slowly recovering as a people from decades of an attempt at cultural genocide and the assimilation of the young into [an] underclass of servants is evident," Richard Blackwolf, the association's president, said in an email.