‘I know where the issues are’: Merrick would tackle CFS, addictions, homelessness as next AMC Grand Chief

Cathy Merrick says her experience as councillor and chief of Pimicikamak Cree Nation (PCN) makes her the ideal person to become the new Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

“I’ve been a chief for five years for my community, and I’ve been a councillor for 12 years,” said Merrick. “I have a lot of knowledge I can bring forth to be able to talk about issues that affect our First Nation communities.”

Merrick said some of those issues include CFS legislation, drugs and addiction affecting Indigenous people, and the homelessness crisis in Winnipeg.

“They’re displaced, and we should find the means and ways to take them home,” she said. “In our First Nation communities we need more housing, we need more support services, especially mental health services.”

Merrick said she has already worked to improve health care in Cross Lake, having ushered through a $55 million health care centre project there last year.

“I’ve been there, I’ve been a chief, I’m able to speak to front line issues that affect all our First Nations,” she said.

She added she has also fought for First Nations rights in terms of the Manitoba Hydro Northern Flood Agreement.

“So I know where the issues are,” said Merrick.

Merrick wants to represent the interests of all Indigenous people in Manitoba, no matter where they live.

“We should be able to speak for our people both on and off reserve,” she said. “A lot of our people live off reserve, and the commonalities of our issues on First Nations are to be able to talk to them, to be able to implement policies for our people.”

The new Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will be elected Oct. 26.

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