Manitoba Daily

Friday, January 28, 2022

Niki Ashton, backs First Nations’ calls for military assistance to combat COVID-19

Niki Ashton, MP, supports First Nations' requests for military help to combat COVID-19

Key takeaways:

  • NDP MP Niki Ashton is linking calls for military assistance for Manitoba’s First Nations, who are dealing with an increase in COVID-19 cases.
  • The northern Manitoba MP said she had asked the Ministers of Indigenous Services and Defence for military assistance.

NDP MP Niki Ashton is connecting calls for military support for Manitoba’s First Nations as they deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Manto Sipi Cree Nation, for example, says it urgently needs assistance, and Ashton, MP for Keewatinook-Aski, says chiefs she’s spoken to are overwhelmed by the number of sick people — including children — in their communities, as well as support workers who are becoming ill.

In an interview, Ashton stated, “Lives are on the line, and we need the federal government and also the military to step in and support First Nations that are calling for help right now.”

Also read: As of Friday, there were 34 more COVID-19 patients in Manitoba

The northern Manitoba MP said she had requested military assistance from the Ministers of Indigenous Services and Defence. Still, no commitment has been made to submit the reinforcements she claims the First Nations require.

Because she’s heard from chiefs that the count of COVID-19 cases continues to increase higher than several have seen so far, Ashton is worried about northern and isolated communities.

At least ten First Nations communities in Manitoba have been placed on full or partial lockdown, as they have been in previous pandemic waves.

Niki Ashton, MP, supports First Nations' requests for military help to combat COVID-19
Niki Ashton, MP, supports First Nations’ requests for military help to combat COVID-19. Image from Global News

Chief Marcel Moody of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation previously expressed his frustration. Despite doing everything they can to contain the virus, the virus is still getting in and spreading rapidly in his community, despite strict lockdowns.

According to Moody and other chiefs, workers in their communities are also getting ill, but there aren’t always enough to replace them.

Ashton agrees, stating that due to a lack of pre-existing capacity and the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, front-line workers who provide critical services are also becoming ill or becoming isolated.

“There’s no one to replace them,” Ashton added. “This isn’t the same as outbreaks in other places, which must also be taken seriously — this could be far worse.”

According to Ashton, Canada’s military assistance is needed to help First Nations contain COVID-19 and Omicron before the situation worsens.

Source: CTV News

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