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Handling of industrial work camps unsatisfactory

Letter writer says it is time to shut down the camps altogether
LtE bug

I want to express my dissatisfaction with the way Public Health has been handling the risks of COVID contamination from work camps putting our communities at great risk.

In March 2020, when the pandemic was declared, it was pointed out that such large concentrations of people, many of them commuting from out of BC, represented a risk to those living in the Northern Health area of jurisdiction.

It is questionable that Northern Health conceded to the “essential workers” designation for those camps. It was a political decision that had nothing to do with health protection, in fact quite the opposite.

Northern Health reassured us they were satisfied with the camps’ protection measures and were monitoring the situation. Obvious signs of contamination started over a month ago and it is sad to note that Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order only came Jan. 3, way too late and is only a feeble attempt to deal with the issue. Reducing work camps to 400 can hardly be seen as a valid protection measure. No data is given to support this magic number and even less for the six week duration of the order.

If we really care for our health and everybody’s health, we need to stand up to those political pressures and demand a complete closure of those camps.

Politicians look at the north as an industrial sacrificial zone. Let us show them we have no intention of being the sacrificial people of those senseless projects which do not even make economical sense.

Let us create the new local, sustainable, diversified economy that will ensure that all of us will benefit and none will be left behind. Let us close the work camps and this dystopic vision of our future, which threatens not only our lives but the lives of those around us.

We need to create a future that heeds all those good wishes we sent for the New Year. We can turn COVID into the opportunity it truly is, but this will take courage. Let us tell Northern Health what we want, not what the political masters impose on us.

Josette Weir