Scenarios for Indigenous COVID 19 response include calling in the army: Miller

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller addressing the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in December  2019 (Photo: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

OTTAWA- Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the federal government might call in the army to help First Nations, Inuit or Metis communities contend with COVID-19.

He said he does not believe Canada has yet seen the worst of the novel-coronavirus pandemic and that the country needs to take all measures to prepare for it.

Indigenous leaders from across Canada are raising alarms about COVID-19, worried that supports promised by the federal government to help First Nations, Inuit and Metis might not do enough to prevent the most vulnerable people from falling through the cracks.

Last week, the Assembly of First Nations declared a state of emergency for its members, saying the money Ottawa has committed will not go far enough to meet the unique needs of Indigenous populations.

Miller said he considers these “very legitimate concerns” and that more money will be available if needed.

If a surge of cases does happen in an Indigenous or remote community and things get dire, he said plans are being developed that would see multiple resources deployed to help, including the Armed Forces.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2020.



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