SCOI Continues to Support SFN’s State of Emergency

A number of cottage owners have correctly pointed out that cottagers in other municipalities are only being asked to stay away from their cottages. There is nothing that legally requires them to stay away. However, this request to stay home comes from the Premier, the Medical Officers of Health for three levels of government and for us, from the Saugeen First Nation Chief and Council. The Saugeen First Nation, being a Federal jurisdiction, has made it mandatory that we stay away. But regardless of whether we are asked or told to stay home, the expert advice is the same – stay home.

With more extensive testing for Covid19 beyond those who exhibit symptoms, it is becoming evident that those testing positive for the virus but who are not showing symptoms can be as high as 40%. That is alot of people who do not think they have the virus and whose behaviour (like insisting they should be able to go to the cottage) will contribute to spread of the virus. Of course this will only make it longer before we all get to go back.

Yesterday we received an e-mail from a cottage owner who had made a”quick” trip to the cottage to pick up bicycles. She said they were there for only 15 minutes. As they were leaving, Cancom stopped them and gave them a ticket for $500. She was complaining that this was unfair. But what if she or her husband are asymptomatic carriers of Covid 19 and don’t even know it? Did the two Band members who are CanCom officers get infected when they gave out the ticket? What if the winter patroller came along shortly after and contracted the virus because it is his job to check the doors every time he visits their cottage?

We have had quite a few cottage owners say that if they went to their cottage, they would take everything they needed with them and quarantine for 14 days. So how long would it be before they needed something from the grocery store or the pharmacy? Would they think to call the winter patrol to tell him to stay away? Likely not. There is really no way you can go to your cottage and not put others at risk.

From the beginning, SCOI has been supportive of the actions taken by the Band to protect the SFN community. SCOI did advocate for cottagers returning to Canada who do not have another Canadian residence. To their credit, Band Council has allowed these people to return to their cottages. However, SCOI has not and will not advocate for cottage owners to be able to go to their cottages when such action is contrary to the formal advice we are getting from expert authority and when it would not be in the best interest of the SFN community.

Rob McLaughlin
SCOI secretary/treasurer