North Saskatchewan First Nations leaders were “disappointed” and “outraged” by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s remarks on Tuesday, which were widely used by North First Nations for low COVID-19 vaccination rates.
The prime minister’s comments came as he took a post-election job dealing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s COVID-19 epidemic in northern Saskatchewan.
Trudeau highlighted the low vaccination rates in Saskatchewan and Alberta, while campaigning for re-election in BCM, arguing that Trudeau had a “role to play” in the situation.
Mo’s ‘message out’ for people in the north.
Mo said the province had gone out of its way to increase vaccine access in the northern and indigenous communities – the prime minister said it was a federal responsibility.
“We have gone far beyond our provincial jurisdiction – in many northern communities – to provide door-to-door vaccination opportunities,” Mo said.
“This is, after all, an area where we have seen the Prime Minister look down on vaccination rates in Saskatchewan.”
Mo said the province has worked hard to address low vaccination rates in northern and local communities “throughout the epidemic.”
The Prime Minister pointed to the 14% of vaccines received by Saskatchewan in the early stages of the epidemic and the allocation of local services to Canada.
Brian Hardlot, Grand Chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council, replied that while the North was initially weak – the province was not considered to have distributed the vaccine fairly.
Hardlot said at the start of the epidemic that “everyone agreed” on a strategy for wearing masks, social distance and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – but the province was not cooperating.
“The political leadership in the north has had to lobby for the proper allotment of vaccines. The message was not included, it was excluded, “said Hardlot.
“We are calling on the Prime Minister to include us in a unified provincial strategy. We look forward to working with this government to ensure that all people, especially in North Saskatchewan, have access to safety and comfort.”
Frontline workers ‘deserve more credit’
Moe said Trudeau left Saskatchewan high and dry by calling the election, which temporarily stopped the federal government from making ministers available to work with the provinces.
“Our northern and indigenous communities are running at a vaccination rate of less than 50 percent – some less than 23 percent,” Moe said.
“This is the area with the highest COVID shipments in our province and this is the area of exclusive federal jurisdiction.”
The Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority and the Athabasca Health Authority, which covers the response to CWED 19 in the north, are funded by both the federal and provincial governments.
Alan Adam, CEO of the Athabasca Health Authority, called on the Prime Minister to praise the Northern Health Care Workers.
“Instead of trying to divide the prime minister, we need to focus on other real issues,” Adam said.
Frontline workers who have been around for a long time, with patients who are struggling for their lives, need to be told through Premier Scott Moe that they are doing a great job.
Tara Campbell, executive director of the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA), also said that frontline workers “deserved more credit” for their role in fighting Kovid 19.
Campbell said: “They are working tirelessly to deliver the vaccine to the weapons, using a variety of methods, such as door-to-door vaccinations, pop-up clinics in places like grocery stores and even through vaccination sites. Are driving. “
“These methods have been successful in ensuring the availability and accessibility of vaccines.”
The province ignored the proposed solution
Richard Bean, tribal chief of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, emphasized co-operation and “strong leadership” rather than divisiveness.
“The first nations have provided practical solutions that work for our communities, but all recommendations have been ignored,” Ben said.
“We are in the midst of an epidemic that has claimed many lives, put a huge strain on the health system, and affected mental health, which has probably contributed to many suicides.”
In response to a clip of Tuesday’s conference posted on the prime minister’s Twitter account, Local Services Minister Mark Miller criticized Mo.
Miller tweeted, “Prime Minister’s misunderstanding of his own healthcare system and the role played by the Itabasca Health Authority and the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority is worrying and inconclusive.”
Explaining that all this work is a “special” federal jurisdiction is not only wrong but also undermines the spirit of indigenous sovereignty that has guided our cooperative approach and must continue to overcome this current wave. ۔
The Federation of Independent Indigenous Peoples (FSIN) also resorted to social media platforms in response to Mo’s remarks.
“There are many communities and areas, not just First Nation communities with low vaccination rates,” FSIN tweeted.
“We urge everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible. We must all work together to eradicate this epidemic for every community.”
For his part, Moe said Tuesday that he “suspects” that the federal government has misinterpreted its approach to epidemics in northern and indigenous communities across Canada.
To achieve that goal, Saskatchewan needs “the full cooperation of the entire federal government” to bring lower vaccination rates across the north and in local communities, Mo said.
“I suspect the federal government has been aware of this epidemic – during their decision to call an election while we as Canadians are still making our way through this epidemic.”