Thursday, September 17, 2009

Natives Request Medicine Receive Body Bags


Native communities in Northern Manitoba are in shock and feel abandoned by the Canadian government.

Leaders of these remote communities have been hit hard by the H1N1 virus more commonly known as swine flu. Months ago, they asked the government for vaccinations, masks, hand sanitizer and any other assistance they could render. They did not request body bags.

The government delayed sending the medical supplies because the hand sanitizer contains alcohol; and, apparently, there were fears that the sanitizer would be drunk. When the precious supplies finally arrived, the members of the communities were shocked to discover that they included body bags.

Excuse Me!! What a racially prejudiced response to a legitimate crisis. Withholding much-needed medical supplies for months while a potentially deadly strain of flu ravages a remote community because of a fear that the hand sanitizer would be drunk instead of used is inexcusable. And the body bags? According to native culture, sending something like that is like inviting death into the community. Culturally insensitive to say the least. Possibly the government felt that after denying the community the help it required for months, the body bags would be needed.

If you are as outraged by the government's response as I am, you can:

1. Contact Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

e-mail: pm@pm.gc.ca

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa
K1A 0A2

Fax: 613-941-6900


2. Contact The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for M├ętis and Non-Status Indians and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Chilliwack Constituency Office:
102 - 7388 Vedder Road
Chilliwack BC V2R 4E4

Phone: (604) 847-9711, 1-800-667-2808
Fax: (604) 847-9744

E-mail: riding@chuckstrahl.com

Lillooet Constituency Office
657 Main Street, Lillooet, BC

Phone: 250 256-2677
Fax: 250 256-2678
Email: riding@chuckstrahl.com
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday each week from 9.00 a.m. until 12 noon

Ottawa Office:
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Phone: (613) 992-2940
Fax: (613) 944-9376
E-mail: ottawa@chuckstrahl.com

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