Manitoba Metis Federation will not accept token role in vaccine deployment strategy

January 14, 2021

Winnipeg, MB in the Homeland of Métis Nation - The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is fed up with the province playing political games at a time when lives are at risk from COVID-19 due to a weak vaccine deployment strategy.

Whether by egregious mistake or focused intent, the Government of Manitoba has invited the MMF to participate in discussions of limited scope but has failed to involve the MMF in any meaningful way. There is no information about how the Manitoba Métis Community will receive the lifesaving vaccines, nor has the MMF been engaged in developing priorities or decision-making for allocations and distribution. The MMF has been shut out of critical participation in Manitoba's rollout of the vaccine and will not participate in any kind of token engagement.

Instead of offering solid partnership, Pallister is using smoke and mirrors to imply approval for his plan, without meaningful participation. His plan does not address the lack of priority for the Métis Nation's vulnerable Citizens and Elders. With no tangible plan in place, our people feel as though the Government of Manitoba has yet again abandoned the Métis.

Regarding Pallister's comments to the media suggesting that the delay in vaccine rollout is the fault of engagement with the Manitoba Metis Federation, we can only call it what it is - nonsense. "The Premier of this province continues his attempts to shift blame on others for the incompetent rollout strategy," said President Chartrand. "Why won't he simply own responsibility for poor planning and quit lying?

"Pallister continues to mislead Manitobans with false statements that Métis Citizens are being included in the Indigenous plan. It's like he's letting us believe that there's food for us at the store, knowing we are hungry. But he is not telling us that the groceries at the store are all for other people and we won't even be allowed in the door. He knows when we get there, we'll be stuck outside with our faces pressed up against the glass," stated MMF President David Chartrand.

As a whole, supported by well-documented vulnerability to chronic health issues, the Manitoba Métis are at higher risk of serious complications with COVID - more so than other populations.

"Despite what Pallister's officials suggest, we haven't been engaged in a plan to deliver any vaccines to the Manitoba Métis," said President Chartrand. "How can we provide support to communication and infrastructure for a vaccine rollout to our people, when we don't know the basics? Where are the vaccines for the Métis people? How many are there? When will they be delivered? How will our population be identified? The province has no data on our Citizens and has long refused to sign a data-sharing agreement with us. All we want is to protect our Citizens - why doesn't the province want this, too?"

Despite the provincial government shutting out the Manitoba Métis, the MMF continues to strive to deliver preventative and mitigative support measures in the face of systemic racism and vindictive behaviour towards the Manitoba Métis Community. Because of the care and caution shown by the Manitoba Métis Community, reinforced by regular communication and expansive support services provided by the MMF, there have been no large outbreaks in any Métis villages. The Manitoba Métis Community should be congratulated for the work they have done to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy.

"While I'm very proud of the Métis Community for showing resilience and strength, let's not forget that we have absolutely lost Métis lives to COVID-19," said President Chartrand. "We've lost loved ones, but I know that our community will help us prevail.

"What we are requesting is simple: we want to ensure our most vulnerable Citizens and our Elders are being looked after. We wish to be equal partners with the Government of Manitoba so that we can help bring resources and knowledge to the table, and ensure informed decisions are made. Once equal partners, we will be able to effectively work with the Manitoba and Canadian governments to ensure our people are protected," added President Chartrand.

"The MMF fully supports the plan for front line workers and First Nations to receive the vaccine ahead of other populations. We're prepared to wait for our turn for our vulnerable Citizens," President Chartrand went on to say. "Though we are patient, we won't be misled, and we won't be fooled into misleading our people, many of whom are already frightened and looking for signs of hope for a vaccine rollout.

"We won't give them false hope based on the Premier's vengeful political games," continued President Chartrand. "Instead, we will continue to engage with the federal government, who has agreed that there will need to be an alternative plan if the province continues to disregard the Métis. We will not allow our people to fall between the cracks."


Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the democratic self-governing political representative for the Métis Nation's Manitoba Métis Community. The Manitoba Métis Community is Canada's Partner in Confederation and the Founder of the Province of Manitoba.

For media information, please contact:

Kat Patenaude

Manitoba Metis Federation

Cell: 204-801-7710



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