Indigenous evacuees frustrated as Scheer campaign crosses their path
TORONTO -- Frustration among Manitobans evacuated from their homes after a brutal snowstorm spilled into the campaign trail Monday as Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer arrived at a hotel housing a group of Indigenous evacuees.
Hundreds of people from Lake Manitoba First Nation, about 180 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, were evacuated from their homes Saturday after the wintry weather knocked down power lines across the region.
Margaret Missyabit said the group spent eight hours waiting at a hotel before they were sent to the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
“We’re being shuffled back and forth, walking from here and there, it’s very frustrating,” Missyabit said. “We’re not animals to be shuffled around like this.”
As the group was being relocated, Scheer’s campaign arrived at the same hotel. Scheer said his campaign is not the reason that the evacuees were relocated and offered “best wishes” to first responders and those affected.
“We certainly hope that people are able to go back to their homes as quickly as possible,” Scheer said, adding that he made a personal donation to the Red Cross.
Scheer did not answer when asked when he made the donation, or how much he donated.
The Conservative leader spent Monday campaigning in Winnipeg, but some of the evacuees said he should take a break from politics and come see what they’re going through.
“He should be helping out. If he wants to campaign – you should help the people. There are 35,000 that were evacuated without Hydro. Thirty-five thousand – can you imagine that? No food, no water, can’t even use our own washrooms,” Missyabit said.
“I would like to see him help us out properly. Give us our funding and quit shuffling us around.”
Lydia Joyce Daniels was evacuated by ambulance Sunday from Long Plain First Nation, about 130 kilometres west of Winnipeg, on Sunday. She said she’s seen babies sleeping on tables and children in distress due to the emergency.
“And it’s just so sad to see that and heartbreaking, frustrating,” she said.
She added that she was upset to see Scheer campaigning while so many people are struggling.
“I know one thing for sure, that he’s not going to be getting any of our votes, as far as my family is concerned. And I think a lot of other people feel that way. I wish he could’ve came and seen right there what we were going through,” she said.
At least 20,000 customers were still without power Monday, according to Manitoba Hydro.