NDP demands Liberals commit to First Nations-run health delivery

Today during Question Period, Gilles Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay, demanded the Wynne government meet the health needs of First Nations communities like Attawapiskat, by supporting First Nations-led health care delivery.

“The real issue here is that we do not have the type of services that we need in First Nations communities that is permanent and organized in a way that is consistent with the values of First Nations people, and able to make sure that those systems meet the needs of community,” Bisson said.

“Is there a commitment on the part of your government in order to change the way that we deliver health services when it comes to mental health services, when it comes to addiction services and others, so it falls under an organization that is run and led by First Nations, so they themselves can be part of the solution?”

Bisson questioned the Minister of Health who visited Attawapiskat last week.

“I think you will agree with me, Minister, and you’ve seen it first-hand along with your colleague, that the system that’s designed by Queen’s Park, designed by the Ministry of Health and led by LHINs out of Sudbury is not responding to the needs of that community,” Bisson said.

“What the community is asking for—and not just Attawapiskat, but the entire James Bay—is that we change the way that we deliver health services on the James Bay, so that we actually have an aboriginal organization that is funded by the Ministry of Health and follows their regulations, but is designed in such a way to be able to be respectful of who the Mushkegowuk Cree people are, so that they have some control about how we deal with these issues within our community. Are you prepared to engage in that process?