Tansi!  Since I provided you with an update Wednesday there are now 55 more cases in Manitoba for a total of 182.  There are now 2 cases in northern Manitoba – one in Flin Flon and one in Thompson.   As indicated in my last update, we now have community spread in Manitoba and Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer indicated today that the numbers are climbing and we are seeing more severe outcomes.

We don’t have modelling projections for Manitoba yet, but Ontario released numbers today that show if there were no social distancing measures like we have implemented, there would be up to 100,000 deaths in that province alone.  But with the social distancing measures, depending how successful they are, the death rate for Ontario is projected to be between 3,000 and 15,000 people.

It cannot be stressed enough how critical all the measures we have in place are for the health and safety of our community.   Locking down our community will help to reduce the chances of the virus killing a large number of our people, many of whom have diabetes and other underlying health conditions.

BUT, we are facing a very serious issue as some people do not want to obey the laws we have put in place by following the Constitution and Land Code approved by our people.    Therefore, my Council and I want everyone to know that we will be taking action to cut off benefits, evict and/or banish people who refuse to abide by our laws including the Orders in Council we have issued during this State of Emergency.

It has come to our attention that people, including some of our staff are bootlegging and are acting as runners to camps outside the community to bring booze and drugs back into the community. We know some people are sneaking out of the community to get booze and drugs.  Our safety patrol managed to prevent one of these people from freezing to death.

Every time one of you goes to get a bottle of booze or drugs you are jeopardizing all the rest of us.  You do not know who that bootlegger or drug dealer has been in contact with.  They are travelling from Winnipeg, Thompson, Leaf Rapids, Lynn Lake, and Snow Lake and who knows where else.  You have no idea who those people, or the people they meet, have been in contact with.  This is how the virus spreads.

It is important to understand that if a person has the virus and they interact with two people and if those two people get the virus and are then in contact with two more people, the virus just grows and grows.  But, if we can stop or slow the transmission by not being near people, particularly those we have no idea where they have been or who they have had contact with, then we can save lives in our community.

The Chief Public Health Officer for Manitoba made it very clear that people should remain in their home communities.  We are all to STAY HOME.  He indicated that “this includes limiting travel, even within Manitoba”.  Only essential trips are to be made – things like groceries once a week, medical appointments, nothing else.  No visiting, no getting together at camps.    He indicated that travel to cabins should not be undertaken.

As I said to you Wednesday night, some people are not listening and they are jeopardizing you and me and every single one of us in our community.   Therefore, Chief and Council is putting everyone on notice that effective immediately, if people refuse to follow our laws and State of Emergency Orders to try to keep the virus out of our community, we will be taking action to cut off benefits, to evict and banish people.  We will be naming people publicly.

We cannot take a chance with the lives of people in this community because of the selfish, non-compliant behaviour of a few.  We will not stand by and let people die because drug dealers and bootleggers have no respect for any of our lives.   Starting immediately, anyone who refuses to return from a camp, who leaves the community to go find booze or drugs, or who is found to be selling booze or drugs will be cut off benefits and will face eviction and banishment.

If you want to live in our community, then you must obey our laws.  If you don’t want to then good-bye, find somewhere else to live, as you have absolutely no right to jeopardize the health and safety of the rest of us by your selfish actions.

The choice is yours.  I hope you will make the right choice as it is you and your family that will suffer.