Manitoba

Current, former Manitobans call on premier to enact tougher restrictions

Author and gynecologist Jen Gunter, former Olympian Clara Hughes and kids' entertainer Fred Penner are among a group of 37 well-known Manitobans and expats urging Premier Brian Pallister to take more action to stem the third wave of COVID-19.

Olympian Hughes, gynecologist Gunter and entertainer Penner among 37 signatories

A group of current and former Manitobans have called on Premier Brian Pallister to enact tougher restrictions. (David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press)

Author and gynecologist Jen Gunter, former Olympian Clara Hughes and kids' entertainer Fred Penner are among a group of 37 well-known Manitobans and expats urging Premier Brian Pallister to take more action to stem the third wave of COVID-19.

In an open letter, the signatories urged the premier to enact tougher restrictions now or risk prolonging the pandemic.

"We watch in alarm as our province is led directly towards the same fate as Ontario, where some of us are now living and watching an unfolding humanitarian disaster," the letter states.

"The attempts to stall the inevitable broader scale provincial shutdown for as long as possible appears to amount to a calculated decision to allow an increased number of Manitobans to become sick or die in order to keep a number of non-essential services operational.

"This approach has been shown to prolong the ultimate period of closures and is actually more harmful to our community via virtually every meaningful metric."

The letter states a prolonged pandemic will disproportionately harm Indigenous Manitobans and other people at risk. Virologist Jason Kindrachuk, author and internist Jillian Horton, former MKO Grand Chief Sheila North and former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray are among the other signatories.

"It is clear that there is a final window of opportunity for Manitoba to blunt the impact of what is about to happen. It will only get worse without immediate action," states the latter, which also calls on the province to provide more support for business.

"Every day that the province waits to take extreme action condemns some of our fellow Manitobans to die. We urge you to look into your heart and reflect on your deeper ethical and moral obligations to protect the life of the citizens you serve."

Earlier Thursday, the premier rejected calls for more pandemic restrictions.

A spokesperson for the premier did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.
 

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