On Thursday, Ryan Meili, Leader of the Official Opposition and Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations, called on the provincial government to provide $10 million in direct financial assistance to Northern municipalities as they struggle to address COVID-19.
“Northern leaders are stepping up in a tremendous way to help lead their communities through this challenging time,” said Meili. “The provincial government needs to do its part to help, and that means stepping up with substantial support to ensure Northern communities have the resources they need to respond to COVID-19 and save lives.”
Meili was joined in his call by Doyle Vermette, Critic for Northern Affairs and MLA for Cumberland, and Buckley Belanger, MLA for Athabasca, along with several Northern mayors.
“We know other municipalities will also need increased support, and we urge the province to be in regular conversations with them about this,” said Vermette. “But Northern communities are isolated, are dealing with an outbreak, and have much less in the way of services than other parts of the province."
Air Ronge Mayor Gordon Stomp said, “we need new provincial funding to meet the new challenges residents and businesses in Northern communities are facing as a result of COVID-19.
“The federal government has responded with support for First Nations and the Métis Nation,” said Île-à-la-Crosse Mayor Duane Favel. “Northern communities have been doing their best to respond to COVID-19, but we’re tapped out. We desperately need provincial resources to help respond to our communities’ needs.”
Beauval Mayor Nick Daigneault said, “we’ve worked to provide food and support to our Elders in our community. We need resources from the provincial government so we can continue to partner in the fight against COVID-19.”