Letters to the editor.

This week’s mailbox: unvaccinated long-term care staff; the Liberals’ financial returns

Unvaccinated Staff and Visitors at Senior Centers

To Decision Makers: We were shocked to learn following a care meeting for our family member that Whistlebend and other long term care facilities are declining to take basic and obvious measures to ensure that the frail and elderly in care there are not involuntarily placed in 1 close contact with unvaccinated staff and/or visitors. We were even more shocked when Shona visited on Sunday, September 26, and saw a video display apparently showing that only 60% of the staff at Whistlebend are fully vaccinated.

This statistic seems to show that at least 34 per cent of the staff at Whistlebend are not vaccinated at all. This makes the long term care facility one of the least well protected places in the territory. The Yukon has an effective tool to blunt the coronavirus outbreak and to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, but the Yukon ministry of health is apparently refusing to employ this tool by declining to require vaccination for health care workers in a senior facility.

Vaccinations are readily available for every person over 12 years of age in Whitehorse. At this point, anybody who chooses not to receive a vaccination should also recognize that their choice bars them from entering a senior citizens’ facility.

We do not invite unvaccinated people into our own homes, and, to the extent possible, we try to ensure that we are never indoors with unvaccinated people. We certainly do not wish to permit unvaccinated people to come near the member of our family who is most likely to have a weak response to the vaccination and to remain vulnerable to the new lambda and delta (and other) variants. We cannot accept that you refuse to exercise the same care while housing the frail elderly members of our community as a reasonable person would exercise in their own home. Furthermore, you render Whistlebend a location where we, the vaccinated and prudent, are made to feel unsafe and uncomfortable visiting. I presume many of the health care workers in the Yukon’s long term care facilities would also enjoy the reassurance of knowing the colleagues they must work with in close quarters are fully vaccinated.

During the summer, Whistlebend staff stated that Whistlebend neither asks staff about their vaccination status nor demands that staff receive vaccinations. We presume this is true of all long term care facilities. There is no conceivable public health interest served by turning a blind eye to anti-vax employees (or visitors, for that matter), so we can only imagine that you refrain from doing this out of fear that the unvaccinated will vocally oppose such requests and/or sue you. The reality is that, for the most part, though many people threaten to quit or sue over vaccination requirements, most people faced with a choice between their job and a free vaccination simply go ahead and take the vaccination. (https://theconversation.com/half-of-unvaccinated-workers-say-theyd-rather- quit-than-get-a-shot-but-real-world-data-suggest-few-are-following-through-168447)

We, the vaccinated, also have rights, and you have a responsibility to us and to the people in your care. We vocally and emphatically object to your refusal to protect the residents of long term care facilities. You are declining to take even the most basic protective action to restrict entry of new, more lethal, and more contagious variants into a facility filled with people whose vaccinations are likely less effective and who are most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID. You must prioritize the rational feelings and fears of the vaccinated over the feelings and fears of vocal and aggressive anti-vaxers. Real and deadly consequences stem from the irresponsibility of any people who refuse the vaccine, and those consequences should not be visited upon the residents of long term care or other “health” facilities.

About a month ago, we received notice that a staff member at Copper Ridge Place has been diagnosed with COVID-19. And STILL, the commitments the Yukon government is making to limit transmission include no mention of ensuring that the staff caring for our loved ones are all vaccinated. If this or any other staff member infects vulnerable adults with waning vaccine immunity, then any further illness and/or death lies squarely on your shoulders.

Anyone is free to refuse the vaccine. Long term care facilities must be free to refuse these people entry and to prevent them from having intimate contact with vulnerable residents. To decline to do this is insane.

Please be braver. Please take responsibility. We cannot continue to be cowed and bullied by irrational anti-vaxers when lives and our economy are at stake.

Very truly yours,

Mary Lang & Shona Armstrong

Dear Chief Electoral Officer – Yukon,

I’m writing to request an explanation as to the absence of financial returns for the federal Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) association in the Yukon. On the Political Financing section of the Elections Canada website publishing financial returns for registered associations, the federal LPC association is missing returns for the 2019 and 2020 years. Their last listed return is 2018 and all other parties have listed returns up to 2020. The Liberal returns would now be 6 months and 18 months overdue respectively.

I have been told that inquiries to Elections Canada 1-800 numbers were unable to provide an explanation. My understanding is that staff initially dismissed the inquiry as “wrong” and “impossible”. They would then log in to demonstrate that the returns were listed and be surprised to see those returns were not available.

I have been told that individuals who inquired were directed to follow up with political financing staff from Elections Canada who also dismissed the claim that the returns were missing. However, when searching, these staff were also unable to either find them, provide an explanation, or indicate where they were. They said they were not able to discuss it anymore and the individual would need to check with the local LPC association.

Extensions are available, but are usually granted for a 6 week period.

Under the Canada Elections Act, failure to file is a violation of the law.

Financial returns are also an important part of transparent democracy and Yukon voters are not able to see who has donated to the federal Liberal Party association for the past two years.

I am requesting that you provide clarity on this matter and examine why these returns are unavailable online during the election period.

Thank you,

Pat McInroy

President – Yukon CPC Association

Letters to the editor