Kenora, ON – MP Eric Melillo is calling on the Minister of Public Safety to deploy RCMP officers to Pikangikum First Nation, so 24-hour nursing services can be resumed.
“We need to restore nursing services to Pikangikum as soon as possible, in a way that respects the rights of community members,” said MP Melillo. “Minister Blair needs to step up and make sure this community is protected.”
Pikangikum voted to expel OPP officers from the First Nation last month, following allegations of misconduct. Indigenous Services Canada responded by removing nurses from the community; overnight service at the nursing station will not resume until police presence is re-established.
Melillo has been in contact with Pikangikum Chief Dean Owen. He said that while the community does not wish the OPP to return, Pikangikum would accept the presence of RCMP officers until alternate arrangements can be made.
MP Shannon Stubbs, Conservative Shadow Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, agrees that the government must act to meet the needs of the community. “Minister Blair should listen to the local MP, who has been working with the Chief and provincial representatives to identify solutions,” she stated.
“The people of Pikangikum have a right to healthcare,” Melillo concluded. “The current situation is unacceptable and puts community members at risk. That’s why I’m calling on the federal government to act with haste to deploy RCMP officers and a full contingent of nurses to Pikangikum as soon as possible.”