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July 7, 2020
The Honourable Cliff Cullen
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
110 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Re: Resolution #2019-08-01: Termination of Airport Searches by Northern Airport and Marine Operations, Manitoba Infrastructure
Dear Minister Cullen,
As the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc., I am writing on behalf of the First Nations of Northern Manitoba to follow up on an issue I had first raised with you in October 2019. Last year, MKO Chiefs passed Resolution #2019-08-01: Termination of Airport Searches by Northern Airport and Marine Operations, Manitoba Infrastructure.
In this resolution, which I have attached to this letter, the MKO Chiefs-in-Assembly call upon the Province of Manitoba to reinstate body and baggage searches at Northern Airports and Marino Operations airports by First Nation Safety Officers and/or RCMP Officers. I am asking for the Province of Manitoba to reinstate body and baggage searches or other measures consistent with the enforcement of First Nation alcohol and drug by-laws.
This issue has become especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the impact of various public health measures, addictions and bootlegging issues have come to the forefront for many MKO First Nations. I have a mandate to follow up on the resolution regarding body and baggage searches to help increase the safety and well-being of Northern citizens.
Provincial policy changes to support searches at the airports of remote First Nations need to be reinstated to combat the alcohol, drug, and opioid crisis. I am requesting we meet to discuss this issue. To arrange the meeting, please contact my assistant Clyde Flett by phone at (204) 390-2702 or by email at [email protected].
Grand Chief Garrison Settee
cc: MKO First Nations
The Honourable Eileen Clarke, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations, Manitoba