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Team Obabikon email response - Walleye Message Central
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  #1  
Old 02-24-2021, 06:06 PM
stjoeguy stjoeguy is offline
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Default Team Obabikon email response

A couple of weeks ago Obabikon posted an email letter to various Canadian government officials that expressed the help needed by resort owners as a result of the closed border. Many W/C members joined in and sent out the emails. Some of the officials replied with canned “thank you” messages. One wanted my Canadian address because he only responded to constituents. Today, however, I got this response. There’s nothing definite there, but it’s the most encouraging thought yet!

Good evening everyone,



Thank you for all the emails you have sent that were prepared by Team Obabikon. I have met with many of the tourism operators in my riding and have had many calls regarding the dire situation facing their businesses. I am fully aware of the economic devastation they are experiencing at the moment and the tough position their families are in.

I agree that we need clarity on the border. If exact assurances cannot be given about what changes will be coming at the border and when, then I believe the Government should provide estimates based on the evidence they have now. Having no information is not fair for tourism businesses. I have made this point repeatedly to my Government and caucus colleagues.

As I’ve mentioned in my calls with some of the business owners who sent these emails, as a doctor and someone who speaks often with infectious disease experts, I have my own views about what may happen with the border this spring and summer. In all, I see three possible scenarios.

One is the complete opening of the border without restrictions for vaccinated and unvaccinated people early on in the season. This seems to me unlikely given the amount of COVID-19 in the US and Canada and the possible risks that COVID-19 variants pose to vaccination efforts (though these risks may be minimal, if the current preliminary data on the effectiveness of the vaccines against preventing severe disease with the variants is correct).

Another is the opening of the border for individuals who have been vaccinated without restrictions. This to me seems a very likely option that Canada and the US will take – though, I have to stress that I do not have any inside information on this that makes me feel this way. I am basing this on the preliminary data I have seen on the ability for the vaccines currently being used in Canada and the US to prevent the ability for a vaccinated person to spread the COVID-19 virus. To put it simply, vaccines can make you immune to a disease – meaning you do not get sick – but you may still carry the virus within you which can then be passed on to other people. It seems that in these early stages of the vaccination campaigns, Pfizer/Biotech and Moderna’s vaccines significantly reduce a person’s ability to spread the COVID-19 virus once they are immune (see https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00450-z). However, this data is very early and not based on large sample sizes. Time is still needed for these findings to be borne out. I think in the next two months or so, we will have a much better idea about this. My educated guess – and that is all it is – is that these findings will likely be correct.

Another reason for my belief in the likelihood of this scenario is the fact that by the summer, most if not all vulnerable groups will be vaccinated in Canada, along with a fair share of rest of population as well.

The third scenario is the worst one – that is, the current border restrictions remain in place either through the season, or at least late into the season. I personally do not think this is a likely scenario – or one that I would advise given the current data. However, with the outside possibility that the vaccines may not be effective at preventing spread of the variants – which as I noted above, seems unlikely given the preliminary data – this could possibly happen.

If this is the case, significant additional government funding is needed to keep tourism operators afloat. There are programs right now that can provide loans to many of these businesses – for example, the $ 1 million Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability loan program (https://www.bdc.ca/en/special-suppor...20flow%20needs.) However, I know that these loans are only forcing businesses into more debt. Grants and explicitly forgivable loans are needed. I have been vocal to my Government about this since last spring and have worked with NDP and Conservatives to advocate for this.

As well, even though I believe the second scenario involving vaccinated travel into Canada is the likely road we will go down, I still recognize that business may not be at 100% or that debt incurred from last year may hinder their ability to start-up this year and receive customers. I have explicitly asked my Government for federal support for businesses to cover their seasonal insurance costs this season regardless if the border opens or closes, as well tax rebates for the next two years to help keep money in the pockets of these businesses as they rebuild.

Everything I have said in here is based on my understanding of the current evidence surrounding the virus and the vaccines. What I want for all of you is to have clarity from the Government about what will happen at the border. That, along with the financial advocacy, is my top priority. Though I am one MP, there are many other MPs in the same boat as myself, and I am working as hard as I can to get my other colleagues to push the Government for an answer on this question.

I apologize for my delay in responding to your emails. I wanted to take the time provide a substantive response to all of you. I would encourage the businesses that have contacted me from outside my riding to also write to their MPs and raise these concerns with them as well.



Sincerely,

Marcus Powlowski

Member of Parliament

Thunder Bay-Rainy River
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  #2  
Old 02-24-2021, 06:19 PM
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7 Mag 7 Mag is offline
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Thanks for posting this, it’s good to see a response.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:22 PM
fergiefish fergiefish is offline
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I had my second vaccine last week. I can only hope to get into Canada this year, and will be cautiously optimistic.
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Old 02-24-2021, 07:41 PM
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RichA$1970 RichA$1970 is offline
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Well at least that guy took the time, did not promise and made his stance. Hope he is right and at least this guy made time.
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2021, 07:42 PM
JAY221 JAY221 is offline
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I received the same email today and have gotten a few of the quick thank yous right after sending the letter. Later, Jay
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  #6  
Old 02-25-2021, 04:47 AM
kettyspanky kettyspanky is offline
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I did the emails and got 3 or 4 responses. I have talked to the guy that owns the resort that I go to, as he resides in wisconsin for the winter. He claims noto is working very hard to come up with a solution. He is leaning towards the end of June. Not sure what restrictions would be but that's what he told me the other day. I told him I'm not holding my breath but hopefully he is on the right track.
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  #7  
Old 02-25-2021, 10:28 AM
Braggart Braggart is offline
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Default Something else to consider...

I don't want to be a Debbie Downer, but another thing to keep in mind is that the border opening is but one piece of the puzzle.

For example, currently a high percentage of covid cases in Manitoba are located in Northern indigenous communities. Something like 60-70% of all Mb covid cases in the province.

Last spring Manitoba closed any discretionary travel above the 53rd parallel.

I expect the same this year, at least for Manitoba. Ontario may be a different kettle of fish, but until we get a large portion of the population vaccinated, it's anybody's guess as to what our access will look like.

Fingers crossed of course.

PS...my guess for large scale vaccinations...November at the earliest, or even into early 2022. The new variants will throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans (which the Govmnt says is "everybody" by September).
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:22 PM
Bill Krejca Bill Krejca is offline
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I, too, received the reply letter from Powlowki. I though the response was well thought out and showed interest and consideration into the plight of the camps. Not sure how what can be done, but maybe there can be some ray of hope in an otherwise dim appearing prospect.

Bill
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:54 PM
Wawajake Wawajake is offline
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Ontario has chosen last week, to delegate the vaccinations to each subsidiary Health unit in Ontario. ( and that's a good thing, because they know how to get to the unique rural or urban type of patients they have. ) My wife and I are 63 years old, we were contacted by our family doctor today that our age group 60 to 65 will be handled by our health centre in July 2021. Extrapolating from that you can see how 10 yr increments per month is best case, and all adults done by winter is maybe feasible. We are being told we will be wearing masks and doing what we are doing now till winter. Federal Gov announced today they are cancelling all the typical July 1st Canada Day events this summer. Looks unfortunately like another summer like last summer No tourists . Canada is 6 months behind all other G7 countries, is what National newspapers are saying.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:25 PM
Obabikon Obabikon is offline
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Marcus is a very intelligent, and thoughtful person. He and I have talked many times regarding this issue. I appreciate him taking the time to form a well thought out response. (to date, he is the only one to take the time to respond in this way).



That said, I am posting simply to say thank you all for the support. We are trying to get things changed, but it is certainly like running in lead boots. It's slow. This is certainly evidence that if enough people come together, they can at least poke the bear. Now we just need the bear to wake up and do something!
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