PRESS RELEASE: The Manitoulin COVID-19 leadership coordination committee

The Manitoulin Covid-19 Leadership Coordination Committee met for its third session today and is pleased to report that ten community leaders comprising of four First Nations (including the UCCMM Tribal Council) and six Municipalities participated in the Committee’s deliberations.  Based on the Committee’s rotating Chair format, Mayor Al MacNevin chaired the meeting following Tribal Chair Chief Patsy Corbiere’s leadership last week. 

Committee members all agreed that, anecdotally, it was clear that the May long-weekend traffic of people and vessels was significantly down from historic patterns.  Leadership is grateful to see that both Island residents and non-residents alike are heeding cautions concerning non-essential travel and activities. Local traffic is significantly reduced as people are respecting requests not to travel and adhering to shelter-in-place guidelines. 

On a very concerning note, Committee members wish to express their joint and unanimous condemnation of the racist statements that have increasingly appeared on social media and elsewhere.  Manitoulin Island leadership is dedicated to understanding our respective communities and, even where agreement cannot be reached, are committed to debate in a respectful and constructive way.  How we, on Manitoulin Island, handle our differences measures our character both as communities and as individuals.  We can and must do better to promote harmony amongst all of us on Manitoulin Island.

All leadership expresses their gratitude for the selfless work of front-line health care and social workers who support the Island’s population.  Committee members also wish to recognize the very significant public service contributions of Municipal and First Nation administration staff.

Local businesses are struggling and so rather than engaging in non-essential travel to off-island businesses, we encourage that everyone, where possible, support our local businesses and keep purchases at home on the Island.

Our next committee meeting will occur on Tuesday, May 26th, and we look forward to continuing to coordinate our efforts.