OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada says that opening campgrounds in Quebec and Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic will endanger First Nations communities.
“We are very worried about First Nations communities being infected with COVID-19 when more visitors travel through their territories on the way to campgrounds,” said Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “To get from Montreal to some Quebec campgrounds, for example, you have to travel through Mohawk territory on Route 138 or 132. We know that the Indigenous populations are particularly vulnerable and we must ensure that they are protected.”
Green Party Deputy Leader Daniel Green is urging local public health officials to consider the risks of COVID-19 transmission in the epidemiological context of high-density campgrounds.
“There are over 2,000 campgrounds in Quebec and Ontario,” said Mr. Green. “The concentration and physical proximity of campers could potentially trigger widespread transmission of COVID-19. The communal use of sanitary and recreational facilities lends itself to such a risk. In addition, the urban clientele of these campgrounds could potentially trigger an increase in rural outbreaks of the disease.”
The Green Party calls on the public health departments of Quebec and Ontario to require campground operators to implement preventative measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at their sites.
“If the provincial public health departments consider it impossible to ensure safety measures are in place for the 2020 season, then we urge the federal government to work with the provinces to provide a compensation package to impacted owners,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “This is urgent. Summer is fast approaching and we must act now before it’s too late.”
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