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Ontario premier apologizes to Indigenous MPP after queue-jumping claim amid calls for public apology

Click to play video: 'Premier Doug Ford apologizes after COVID-19 queue-jumping accusation made against MPP Sol Mamakwa' Premier Doug Ford apologizes after COVID-19 queue-jumping accusation made against MPP Sol Mamakwa
WATCH ABOVE: Premier Doug Ford made a private apology to NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa on Friday after accusing him during Question Period on Thursday of jumping the COVID-19 vaccination queue. Mamakwa was invited by First Nations leaders in his riding to get his vaccine at a clinic there to help encourage other community members to get their shots. Travis Dhanraj has more – Mar 12, 2021

An Indigenous NDP MPP accused by Ontario’s premier of jumping the line for his COVID-19 vaccine says he received an apology, but is calling for a broader apology to the province’s Indigenous community instead.

“I didn’t say I accepted his [Doug Ford’s] apology but that I appreciated the call and that it came from him,” Sol Mamakwa, who represents the riding of Kiiwetinoong, said at a press conference on Friday.

“I think we need to be able to look at, it’s not me he needs to apologize to but Indigenous people across Ontario to undo the damage that was done of the vaccination strategy that we were working towards,” he continued.

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Read more: Ontario premier under fire for suggesting Indigenous MPP jumped queue to get vaccine

Mamakwa said they did not talk about whether Ford would be making a public apology.

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“It’s the Indigenous people across Ontario that need a public apology from him,” he said. “An attack on me is an attack on Indigenous people and he needs to publicly apologize for that.”

Ford came under fire on Thursday for suggesting Indigenous chiefs were upset Mamakwa flew in to a remote community to receive his vaccine.

Mamakwa disputed Ford’s claim the same day saying it was community elders who invited him to take the vaccine to help combat vaccine hesitancy among Indigenous residents in Ontario.

He did not attempt to hide his vaccination, posting a video to his Twitter on Feb. 1 about his experience, while the NDP also released a statement announcing his plans.

“[Mamakwa] did what all of us are called to do. He stepped up, he led by example and he continues to be a big part of the efforts to show the vaccine is safe,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Thursday.
Click to play video: 'Premier Ford suggests Indigenous MPP skipped line to get vaccine' Premier Ford suggests Indigenous MPP skipped line to get vaccine
Premier Ford suggests Indigenous MPP skipped line to get vaccine – Mar 11, 2021

The phone call Friday was only about a minute to a minute-and-a-half, Mamakwa said, adding Ford invited him to continue the conversation at his office.

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“I would rather see him in the fly-in communities where there is a housing crisis, where there is a water crisis … and I think that’s the invite I would have [liked],” he said.

Mamakwa said he would rather see action than hear words, mentioning he’d like to see the province working towards vaccine clinics for Indigenous residents living in urban areas like Toronto and Thunder Bay.

It was that exact topic that Mamakwa was pressing Ford on during Question Period that led to the premier’s remarks.

“He [Ford] went on to say he didn’t have Minister [Greg] Rickford to answer the question that I was trying to ask, so he felt that I was going after him on the issue itself of an urban Indigenous vaccine plan and he felt that I was attacking him, I guess, but I was just asking a question,” Mamakwa said.

 

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