“In preparing for a potential outbreak here in Canada, it is vital that we do not repeat the mistakes that were made in response to the H1N2 flu virus, particularly when it comes to the First Nations living on reserve. To date, we have seen little evidence to indicate the federal government has learned from these mistakes,” the MPs wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.
By excluding the Minister of Indigenous Services, Trudeau’s coronavirus cabinet committee lacks focus on the health and well-being of First Nations and Inuit.
“Public health officials have advised individuals to avoid transmission of the novel coronavirus through measures such as frequent hand washing, self-isolation, and social distancing. This is sound, evidence-based guidance,” says the letter to the Prime Minister. “Unfortunately, it is of little assistance to First Nations communities without running water or adequate housing.”
The NDP urges the Prime Minister to do the right thing and appoint the Minister of Indigenous Services to the new Cabinet Committee on COVID-19, and work in full partnership with Indigenous communities to prepare for a potential outbreak.