WINNEWAY, QC, April 8, 2020 – Ten days have passed since the Long Point First Nation Council declared a state of emergency and called for immediate government intervention. Since then, only the Quebec government has responded quickly. The Long Point Council is still waiting for a response from the federal government in order to be able to ensure the lives, health and integrity of all members residing in Winneway.
Long Point First Nation Chief Steeve Mathias directly called on the governments of Quebec and Canada in a letter sent on March 30th, to Premier François Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He asked the governments for public security assistance, as well as support for emergency measures.
The Quebec government then responded by mobilizing a patrol car with two police officers, in order to ensure public safety, as requested by Long Point. A command post was established in the former office of the Council. Social Services (Youth Protection) workers will also be mobilized in the community to maintain essential services to Long Point members.
On the federal side, discussions were held to hire security guards and to provide trailers that would house members who might eventually become infected with the virus and might need to quarantine. Despite the urgency of the situation, the aid promised has still not received the approval of the administrative authorities of the government.
“We are yet again being forced to negotiate with officials who act as if this was business as usual. They do not realize the state of emergency and the immediate and urgent needs that must be met,” said Chief Mathias.
While his Council has ordered total confinement of the community, the Chief implores the federal government to immediately remove the administrative obstacles that are currently preventing the necessary measures to be taken in the current circumstances. “We must not wait for the virus to arrive in our community and not be able to limit its impact. We need to act now,” says Chief Mathias, particularly furious at the attitude of federal public servants who seem more motivated by financial rather than human considerations.
About Long Point
The Long Point First Nation is a community located in the heart of unceded, traditional Anicinabe territory. Most of its members reside in Winneway, on the south shore of the Winneway River.
For further information: Steeve Mathias, Chief, Long Point First Nation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 819-629-7994, 819-722-2875