Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Sunday that he “got a little personal” when suggesting last week that an Indigenous MPP jumped the line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Ford said he called NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa, who represents the riding of Kiiwetinoong, and apologized but wants people to remember that “we’re from two separate political parties.”
“A lot of stuff goes on in the legislature. Sometimes it gets personal. I apologize that I got a little personal there,” Ford said.
“My job is to defend our party, defend my minister when he’s not there.”
Ford came under fire on Thursday for suggesting Indigenous chiefs were upset Mamakwa flew into a remote community to receive his vaccine.
Mamakwa disputed Ford’s claim the same day, saying it was community elders who invited him to take the vaccine to help combat vaccine hesitancy among Indigenous residents in Ontario.
Mamakwa said Friday that he received an apology from Ford.
“I didn’t say I accepted his [Doug Ford’s] apology but that I appreciated the call and that it came from him,” Mamakwa said at the time.
“It’s not me he needs to apologize to, but Indigenous people across Ontario to undo the damage that was done of the vaccination strategy that we were working towards.”
In his remarks Sunday, Ford didn’t apologize directly for his comment, only for the fact that it got “personal.”
“I get along well with Sol,” Ford added.
“Things are said, we move forward, I apologized and let’s move forward. And the thing is, with Sol and I, we both want the same thing. We want to make sure the First Nations community, Indigenous community is represented and we want to make sure everyone gets vaccines. So, on that note, we’re on the same page.”
Ford said, in reference to his government: “We have an incredible relationship with the Indigenous community.”
Premier Ford suggests Indigenous MPP skipped line to get vaccine
Ford said he will invite Mamakwa to his office and work with him to support Indigenous communities.
Mamakwa said last week that he received an invite to Ford’s office, but would rather see action on Indigenous issues.
“I would rather see him in the fly-in communities where there is a housing crisis, where there is a water crisis … and I think that’s the invite I would have [liked],” he said.
Mamakwa was asking about COVID-19 vaccination clinics for urban Indigenous residents in the legislature when Ford made the comments.
“[Ford] went on to say he didn’t have Minister [Greg] Rickford to answer the question that I was trying to ask, so he felt that I was going after him on the issue itself,” Mamakwa said.
Global News reached out to Mamakwa for a response to Ford’s comments Sunday but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
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