ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- A provincial cabinet minister in Newfoundland and Labrador has resigned following comments deemed racist by one of the province's largest Indigenous groups.

Perry Trimper issued a statement today acknowledging the hurt caused by his statements and saying he is stepping down as environment minister, effective immediately.

He said Liberal Premier Dwight Ball accepted his resignation late this morning.

Trimper had apologized to the Innu of Labrador on Thursday after the group released an audio recording in which Trimper is heard saying the Innu are prone to playing "the race card."

The recording starts with a low-key voicemail message from Trimper to an Innu Nation staff member about vehicle registration, but it continues to pick up a conversation Trimper has with someone after he fails to hang up his phone.

Ball said in a statement that Trimper will focus on rebuilding relationships with the Innu from outside cabinet, a process that will include cultural sensitivity training.

"While my words do not represent my values, I recognize that they were insensitive," Trimper said in a statement. "Understanding and sensitivity are critical to relationship building, and I welcome all opportunities for healing, which includes the process of reconciliation."

-- By Michael MacDonald in Halifax