Thunder Bay – LEADER’s Ledger – Since the beginning of the pandemic, over 300 people in the Thunder Bay District have contracted COVID-19. As I write this, there are almost 80 illnesses in the community. As COVID-19 cases grow in our country, of course our neck of the woods is not immune. It only takes one case to begin an outbreak, and once the virus is in our communities, it’s very hard to stamp out.
That’s why since the very beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has been there for families and businesses. We knew early on that controlling the spread of COVID-19 would be really hard on people financially. The very things that keep people safer, like staying home, reducing our social interactions, and avoiding the places that are crowded and contained are also really limiting for workers and businesses. Since the beginning, we’ve been there for people who have lost income and struggled with additional expenses. With the CERB to replace lost wages, higher child benefit payments for parents, and increased supports for seniors and people with disabilities. And we’ve made sure to help students with more flexible student jobs and waiving interest on student loans.
We’ve been there to support hard-hit businesses, making sure they can pay wages to their staff, access low and no-interest loans, and help with paying their rent.
In fact, we will be there for Northwestern Ontario, for you and your family, for as long as it takes, and with whatever it takes, for us to get through this public health crisis of our lifetime.
I know it’s hard, but more cases means more responsibility for all of us. It doesn’t take long for a few cases to turn into 100 cases, and then 1000 cases. And new cases means the likelihood of more deaths: of our loved ones, our elders and the people in our community. It also means even more exhausted front line workers, the deeply dedicated health care workers that are working so hard to keep us safe and well.
So let’s keep pulling together to get through this very difficult time. Keep physical distancing, keep wearing a mask, put off our gatherings, stay at home as much as possible. We must work extra hard together to protect our friends, families and the workers that have no choice to work from home. Together, we can do this. We can save lives. But we have to work as a team. Here in Northwestern Ontario, that’s something we deeply understand and know how to do well. Stay healthy, my friends. And stay kind.
Patty Hajdu MP
Patty Hajdu is the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North and Canada’s federal Minister of Health.