Ford apologizes privately to Indigenous MPP over vax comment

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TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford has privately apologized to an Indigenous NDP legislator he accused of “jumping the line” for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The premier’s office says Ford called Sol Mamakwa, who represents the northern riding of Kiiwetinoong, on Friday to apologize for his comments.

Mamakwa says he asked Ford to apologize publicly to Indigenous people in Ontario for making comments that are damaging to the vaccine strategy.

He says he told Ford he appreciated his call but did not accept the apology when they spoke.

Ford had made his comments in the legislature on Thursday and also alleged that unnamed chiefs were upset Mamakwa was vaccinated in a fly-in community “he doesn’t belong to.”

Mamakwa has said he was invited by community leaders to get the shot to help combat vaccine hesitancy among Indigenous residents, who are currently prioritized for shots in the provincial vaccination plan.