Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister called the federal government’s proposed vaccine delivery plan “unfair” because it would hold back a portion of the province’s doses to be distributed in First Nations communities.
The federal government has proposed doling out the vaccine to the provinces based on population, and Manitoba has the highest proportion of Indigenous people out of all the provinces, Pallister said at a news conference Thursday.
“There would be the least amount available in Manitoba after the federal government holds back the portion” for the province’s Indigenous population, he said.
“This puts Manitobans at the back of the line. This hurts Manitobans, to put it mildly.”
Pallister said the health and welfare of Indigenous people is the principal responsibility of the federal government, and wants them to provide an additional amount of vaccines for Manitoba First Nations communities.
“They have to step up and protect our Indigenous communities first … but not punish everyone else who lives in the same jurisdiction as Indigenous folks by short-changing them on their share of vaccines,” he said.
He called on the federal government to come up with a nationally co-ordinated plan, with input from the provinces.
The premier said he plans to meet with Indigenous leaders next week and will seek their input.