A celebration of life organized by NDP MLA and House Leader Nahanni Fontaine over the weekend in memory of her uncle, musician Vince Fontaine, is now being investigated by the province.
The Juno award-winning Fontaine died suddenly last week following a heart attack, and on Sunday Manitobans came out to pay their respects.
The celebration was held at Winnipeg’s Oodena Circle in The Forks.
Now, provincial officials are looking into the outing for COVID-19 protocols.
“Manitoba Justice was aware of the event and as with previous events, officials were monitoring and gathering evidence,” said a spokesperson from Manitoba Justice.
Manitoba’s current health restrictions state the maximum number of people outdoors is 50 if there is one or more unvaccinated people, or 250 if everyone is fully immunized.
It’s not clear if vaccination status was being checked by organizers.
Manitoba’s current numbers show over 40,000 active cases and 588 hospitalizations, 46 of which are in ICU.
Fontaine recently called for Manitoba’s Premier Heather Stefanson to recall the legislature given the seriousness of the Omicron surge.
The statement says in part, “We’re at a tenuous point in this wave for Manitoba families. School has been delayed, testing and isolation norms have been dropped to deal with staffing shortages and community transmission of the virus is the highest we’ve ever seen.”
APTN News reached out to Nahanni Fontaine and the Manitoba NDP but they did not make themselves available to answer questions about the gathering.
On Jan. 13, four days before the gathering and as word was getting out about the celebration, APTN asked NDP leader Wab if he thought the calling for the gathering was appropriate given the current Covid situation in the province.
“I support my dear colleague Nahanni Fontaine and her dear family who are grieving at this time and I know Vince is somebody who’s life and legacy had a tremendous reach in the community and that will live on and it’s important that the family and the community have an outlet for the grief that they feel,” he said in a Jan. 13 press conference.
Vince Fontaine was a Juno-award-winning artist from Sagkeeng First Nation.
A GoFundMe has been created and has raised over $18,000 to help Vince’s wife and three children with burial costs.