Report From Parliament Hill:
Eric Melillo, MP, Kenora Riding
An outbreak of COVID-19 in Bearskin Lake First Nation has forced hundreds of residents into isolation, and the small number of community members not under quarantine are struggling to keep up with demand for essential items like food, medicine, and firewood.
This problem is compounded by Bearskin Lake’s already limited resources. The First Nation does not have adequate access to healthcare under the best of times, nor are there appropriate accommodations for visiting healthcare workers.
The housing crisis on the First Nation is likely a major cause of community spread, as residents do not have adequate space to self-isolate.
I have spoken with Chief Kamenawatamin and joined him in calling for faster action from the government to mobilize support.
It’s also clear that, in the longer term, work needs to be done to ensure that Bearskin Lake and other remote communities have adequate housing and resources. The pandemic has shown us how dire this need is; we cannot let communities be unprepared for future emergencies.
My thoughts are with the people of Bearskin Lake. I’d also like to extend my appreciation to those who have offered assistance to affected community members.
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Member of Parliament