• Post published:April 14, 2020
  • Reading time:4 min(s) read
  • Post category:At Home

I wanted to write to you all in these uncertain times to talk about the situation we are facing and some of the impacts associated with it.

I remember when we thought this was comparable to our common illnesses, that business as usual would continue on across Canada and life would be relatively “normal”. It didn’t take long for our status quo to disappear. There have been many stages to this process of realization: denial, fear, sadness- and that’s ok. Covid-19 is like nothing we have ever seen before. Largely these feelings are rooted in grief. We mourn the way things were, we mourn the safety of our pre-pandemic perspectives, and we mourn the casualties across the world. We feel the stress of our healthcare workers, our essential services staff, and the uncertainty of our collective future. I know one thing for sure. We will get through this and we will be stronger on the other side. Our healthcare system, our communities, and our emergency response at all levels of government will have strengthened and matured.

Another source of anxiety for people is their financial security. Canadians have been weighing in on the stimulus and relief efforts from both the federal and provincial governments. Here in Fredericton, my team and I have been working hard to listen to your concerns, answer questions, provide clarity and help to navigate programs and benefits. We are thankful for the correspondence we have received from the community and for the trust you have placed in us to represent your voice. We know there are huge holes. We know the government must do better. And we know we can help them define what ‘better’ looks like. Thank you for your advocacy and input.

While we wait for these programs to evolve, we must also do our part. I’m calling on all New Brunswickers to band together, to link our virtual arms and cast our nets out as wide as we can to help others in need and ensure even the most vulnerable will get through this. Links and contact information for community driven initiatives will continue to be shared on my Facebook page (LINK). If you would like us to share something, please e-mail me (jenica.atwin@parl.gc.ca).

Our biggest collective priority right now must be to protect healthcare workers and other vulnerable members of our communities by staying home and keeping our distance. I know this is hard. We want to hug and high five, share encouragement, affection, and friendship, and I look forward to the day when we can do that again. So far, I am proud of how well we have been doing this in New Brunswick. We must continue.

Another challenge is protecting our wellbeing. For some of us, even in the best of times this can be difficult. A pandemic has side effects that impact our mental and emotional health in ways we never expected. I am also reminded of those who are not digitally savvy, or who do not have access to internet or mobile devices for whom this social isolation proves to be very difficult. We must come together and support one another as we confront this giant.

I have been messaging with family and friends, video conferencing and calling more. I see how society can work with the technology that we have, and I am interested in the conversations moving forward about how Members of Parliament and other travelling professionals can do their work in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way.

I know I have learned many lessons along this journey, and there are certainly more to come. I take comfort knowing that none of us is alone and we will not give up hope.

If I and my team can be of help to you right now, please do not hesitate to reach out: jenica.atwin@parl.gc.ca, 506-452-4110