President of firefighters union apologizes for separation comments

By | April 9, 2020

WINNIPEG — The president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg is apologizing for comments he made back in March suggesting the city’s emergency services should separate.

Thursday evening, Alex Forrest posted an apology letter on the union’s Facebook page that was addressed to Cameron Friesen, Manitoba’s Health Minister, John Lane, chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic and Dr. Rob Grierson the medical director of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

He was apologizing for a letter he had originally sent to Friesen and Lane saying all emergency services should separate because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Both the UFFW and I also posted the letter on Facebook and Twitter. On reflection, I realize the letter may have given the wrong message,” the letter read.

He was originally asked that halls across the city be designated for either fire/rescue calls or for non-COVID-19-related medical calls.

Forrest also wanted to see all ambulances that responded to instances where there were flu-like symptoms or known COVID-19 cases, moved out of stations and into hospital and assessment centres.

“I regret this and apologize for any misunderstanding. To be clear, my statement did not call for an all-out separation of our integrated services, but rather to give consideration to practices that might minimize unnecessary exposures,” the letter said.

– With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele

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