Canada’s provinces must do their part to help Nunavut during the pandemic
“Your good management of the virus in your provinces is an act of love and care for us”
To the premiers of southern Canada,
I hope this letter finds you and your citizens well. Unfortunately, I’m aware that this is a faint hope. More and more of your citizens are contracting the coronavirus, becoming ill with COVID-19, and dying.
I watch heartbroken, anxious and fearful for the safety and well-being of family and friends in southern Canada, and now sadly, for northerners, too.
After many months of keeping the virus out of Nunavut, we got word of a first case on Nov. 6. Not long after, we would hear of our second and third and fourth and fifth. By Nov. 24, we heard of our 133rd to 142nd cases.
I know that shouldering the weight of managing your provinces’ coronavirus outbreak is a heavy burden to bear. Yet your obligation to control the outbreak does not stop with the citizens of your provinces. As Nunavummiut, we depend on southern Canada for essential goods and services.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. recently published a report on the infrastructure gap in Nunavut. We have the fewest staffed hospital beds per capita in Canada. We have the highest rates of overcrowded housing. Approximately half of the children born to Nunavut mothers are born in southern hospitals.
Just as wearing a mask is an act of love and care for fellow citizens in your immediate surroundings, your good management of the virus in your provinces is an act of love and care for us.
Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq and his public health team led by Dr. Michael Patterson have shown exemplary leadership in prioritizing the health and safety of Nunavummiut above all else. It is because of their leadership that we have enjoyed one of the longest stretches on Earth of coronavirus-free life.
Now, as cases rise in your provinces, the risk of further outbreaks in Nunavut’s communities increases. It is on you to do all you can to get your province’s numbers under control, not only for your own citizens, but for your northern neighbours in confederation.
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