Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm

Couple seeking refuge in Old Crow are told to leave

A Quebec couple who arrived in Old Crow on Friday were isolated upon their arrival and then sent back to Whitehorse on Sunday, the RCMP confirmed today.

By Chuck Tobin on March 30, 2020

A Quebec couple who arrived in Old Crow on Friday were isolated upon their arrival and then sent back to Whitehorse on Sunday, the RCMP confirmed today.

“We can confirm that the RCMP were notified by the local Emergency Management Officer about the couple’s arrival on Saturday,” says an RCMP press release.

“We were then requested to assist in ensuring their departure on Sunday, which was carried out safely.”

Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation was in meetings today and unavailable for comment.

The chief did speak to a national online publication about what he described as a bizarre and unwelcome event.

Tizya-Tramm said the couple are likely in their mid-30s. They had arrived in the community on an Air North flight, after having driven across Canada to Whitehorse.

They had not completed the 14-day self-isolation required of all those arriving in the Yukon.

They were seeking refuge from the threat of COVID-19 but they were not welcome in the community, Tizya-Tramm said.

The couple was met at the airport by the community’s emergency management co-ordinator, who has been meeting all aircraft to distribute information on the virus.

“As you’re likely aware, the Yukon Chief Health Officer (CHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic as a Public Health Emergency on March 18th under section 4.3 of the Public Health and Safety Act,” reads the RCMP release.

“For clarity on police enforcement, the Public Health Act does outline a number of powers and authorities, and the CHO can request assistance of a peace officer to enforce an order or carry out an inspection. As police officers, the RCMP can be called upon to assist with enforcement under the Public Health Act, as can a number of other regulatory agencies, inspectors or other law enforcement partners.

“The extent of our police officers’ involvement with the couple was limited to ensuring they, in fact, got on the flight arranged by the EMO.”

The release indicated the Department of Health and Social Services would have to be contacted to find out what happened to the couple upon their arrival in Whitehorse, and if charges are contemplated under the Public Health Act.

A communications officer from the department would only say at mid-day that Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Yukon’s chief medical officer, would be holding a media update later this afternoon.

The department is the primary service provider, and the RCMP will continue to liaise with them and provide assistance where and when required, says the release.

“We want to emphasize that public and frontline personnel safety is a priority for the RCMP, and we encourage everyone to adhere to the orders which are being done to keep everyone safe and reduce the risks. All our police officers and personnel carry out their duties everyday using proper safety measures and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when interacting with individuals at greater risk or suspected of being infected.”

Comments (37)

Up 6 Down 3

Josey Wales on Apr 5, 2020 at 6:06 am

Well since we now have established how borders are awesome, communities can arbitrarily shut out folks they deem a danger to the public...FANTASTIC!

Now when we have the bushings worn in the court turnstiles due to frequent recidivism, after their Whitehorse court appearance, theatrical victim roles coached, heart string pulled like a harp...
We can simply tell them, you are not welcome here, leave.
Lotta Trevor the human types up here, now we know the CCofR&F’s has less value than a alleged “Canadian” tire flyer.
Should be some interesting times ahead...”comrades” clic clic.

The bigotry of lower expectations creates more of a public safety crisis, than any virus can.
B.O.L.E. has been a LPC policy since the early 1970s.
Factor in that and their epic failed multiculturalism policy, and you get a huuuuuge pile of corpses called dead Canadians.

Yes there has been a deadly virus in Canada...incubated and fed well by parasitic politicians, the LPC P.E.T. virus.
Engineered and mainlined into a decaying community near you.
...stay tuned folks

Up 22 Down 5

Expat on Apr 3, 2020 at 5:29 pm

@Jonathan Colby, We’ve all paid enough, I’m just going to start taking the land I want just like has happened throughout history. Might is right and you’re welcome to try and stop me just say the time and place. I get a kick out of how a month ago natives across southern Canada were blockading roads and railways to try and disrupt Canadian people and our livelihoods and now they’re asking the same people they were protesting to help them. Some FN’s have even requested that the ‘colonizers’ send the colonizer army in to help them with this because well you know when the s—— hits the fan suddenly they’re singing a completely different story.

Up 29 Down 4

drum on Apr 3, 2020 at 3:34 pm

I think if the Chief in Old Crow is concerned about people bringing COVID-19 into his remote community - he should stop all people coming or going from his community - that should ensure no spread. (Complete lock down)

Up 23 Down 4

drum on Apr 3, 2020 at 3:27 pm

Jonathan Colby
A trust? and where do you think the money for the Trust came from - from Canadian Taxpayers - or do you think the Canadian Mint just prints money.

Up 17 Down 17

Max Mack on Apr 3, 2020 at 9:59 am

These "orders" were not even signed into law until April 02. Orders can't and should not be made into law through a daily briefing. Government officials and politicians need to stop playing fast and loose with the law. We are not children.

1. How could the couple have violated an "order" that did not legally exist at the time?

2. We have not heard the couple's side of the story. The only version we have heard is from government officials and politicians. However, I'm sure the couple does not want the additional embarassment of providing their version. Undoubtedly, they probably also feel very unwelcome in the Yukon right now and are simply anxious to get back home. Or, maybe they no longer have a home?

3. I see nothing in the now-published "order" that prohibits travel to Old Crow or any other community. I repeat: there is no legal basis for banning travel to any community.

4. YTG is doing a terrible job of managing and communicating the legal aspects of this so-called "emergency". Their website is simply terrible. Orders should be one of the first things listed and the legal documents (regulations) should be readily available through that site.

Up 16 Down 2

NS Plate on Apr 3, 2020 at 9:18 am

The Nova Scotia plate could be a student living at the College who has been here since September.

Up 9 Down 21

Jonathan Colby on Apr 2, 2020 at 6:35 pm

You don't pay tax dollars for First Nations. A gigantic trust that the federal government controls pays first nation money, for the land you're allowed to live on. Don't like it? Feel free to challenge the treaty, and be prepared to give the land back.

It's like people don't even bother to learn the law, all I know is, "money goes to people, therefore bad"

Up 15 Down 4

Anie on Apr 2, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Apr 2 article in the Star: "A government spokesperson confirmed to the Star that the Quebec couple who attempted to seek refuge from the virus in Old Crow last Friday is now self-isolating at the hotel, as per government instruction."

Up 25 Down 3

martin on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:55 pm

These two are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, eh? Looking for work in OC?
I can't stop laughing! It must be genetics.

Up 20 Down 7

Miles Epanhauser on Apr 2, 2020 at 1:09 pm

I saw a Nova Scotia license plate in a parking area yesterday.
Why are they here, did they recently drive here with coronavirus from Nova Scotia or along the way, did they self screen for 14 days?

I saw the driver and was parked close by and I did nothing because this shaming and judging of others is messed up.

Up 33 Down 2

Anie on Apr 2, 2020 at 9:04 am

TMyhre, I don't understand your point. They drove across Canada. When they got to Whitehorse, they parked the car and caught the next flight to Old Crow, possibly staying somewhere during the wait for the flight. So what am I missing?

Up 7 Down 15

Capitan on Apr 1, 2020 at 10:59 pm

Hey Max Mack, Good for you for pointing some essentials out. That couple must have felt pretty desperate to go that far. I get the concern of the Chief, but you do have to wonder about the whole process. I'm not sure anyone acted above the law, though, since the Emergency Measures may relieve them all of the obligation for the next three months. I don't really know, but I'm not holding my breath to get an explanation. I'm glad to see someone else cares, though.

As a story, it's almost as wild as those two teenage fugitives trying to get up to York Factory.

Up 16 Down 6

Political Animal on Apr 1, 2020 at 8:30 pm

I fully understand that we are all alittle grumpy being cooped up and all. This is a very stressful time for all and we should be making a bit of an extra effort to be understandable of measures that our leaders are taking under very difficult circumstances.
Let's all try to be nice during this difficult time and temper our comments as we work our way through this together.

Up 35 Down 13

Connie Hare on Apr 1, 2020 at 6:03 am

I'm surprised that they didn't get some funding and start some obscure program like so many others have.

Up 53 Down 6

Bert H. on Apr 1, 2020 at 2:36 am

I live in Toronto. I was appalled when I first heard this story on CBC. This virus is bad. It was VERY irresponsible of the couple to go up to and travel through remote communities while possibly infected (and not quarantine on top of that) when northern communities do not have the healthcare infrastructure to cope with this virus. Their actions could very well have completely wiped out Old Crow. I agree with the measures that the community took in sending the couple back. All over the world, people from urban centers have been fleeing to remote communities and it has contributed to the virus' spread globally. Chief Dana did the right thing to protect his community.

Up 3 Down 63

T. Myhre on Mar 31, 2020 at 8:26 pm

Okay, going to point out the most obvious question after reading this comment...
Tizya-Tramm said the couple are likely in their mid-30s. They had arrived in the community on an Air North flight, after having driven across Canada to Whitehorse.
So how is it possible to fly into the community if they drove across Canada? Does not compute and it doesn't seem anyone else caught that either, they just jumped to judgment.

Up 36 Down 31

drum on Mar 31, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Max Mack - you gave me things to really think about. This is Canada. We have the right to go anywhere we like - we pay taxes to support all places. We especially pay big tax dollars to First Nations towns and villages. The residents of Old Crow are in Whitehorse all the time - including going on flights out of Whitehorse to Calgary and Vancouver etc. Is he going to have a lockdown on Old Crow?

Up 25 Down 10

SheepChaser on Mar 31, 2020 at 4:23 pm

Reply to 'Max Mack on Mar 31, 2020 at 12:32 pm'

Please read the Supreme Court of Canada decisions regarding reasonable curtailment of mobility rights for the purpose of broader public safety. Mostly having to do with the legality of impaired driving check stops, but applicable to pandemics, surely.

If your device can post on this site, it can also help you research complex topics before posting. Just a thought.

Up 26 Down 5

SheepChaser on Mar 31, 2020 at 4:16 pm

Reply to 'Dave on Mar 30, 2020 at 6:20 pm'

Actually, like any real Yukoner, I use a backcountry bidet in my outhouse. As to your other point... Yup, that's pretty much what I'm saying.

We have a small population with a significant portion of almost guaranteed government incomes. Now the feds are also covering all private sector, NGO and charity salaries to 75% *nation-wide*. Precisely so that everyone can keep to themselves (we'll leave it to you to give out the fingers). That's the whole point of the money.

So Dave, your idea is to ignore that and say 'come on up, we're open for business!' Your self-important view of your own morality is the problem here.
This is a society altering (not destroying) cataclysm that is just getting started. The question is not 'when will this be over,' it's more like 'what is the new normal going to look like?' Some of us are just a little quicker on the uptake, that's all.

Up 25 Down 13

joe on Mar 31, 2020 at 2:54 pm

But its ok for you to come to Whitehorse?

Up 48 Down 13

Rob on Mar 31, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Max Mack:
Give your head shake. Why don't you let them move in with you then! There's such things as morals and respecting other people and these two don't have either the respect or morals. "let's drive across Canada, to a remote Yukon town, where it's isolated and full of elders, when we are suppose to self isolate " stupid of them and stupid of you to agree.

Up 67 Down 54

Max Mack on Mar 31, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Judging by previous posts and thumbs, I'm going to be odd man out here. But, this needs to be said.

There is no prohibition on travelling to communities. There has been no ban imposed under the declared "emergency". The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms still stands and it is unconstitutional to restrict freedom of movement in Canada. The leadership in Old Crow have acted above the law. The RCMP have acted outside the law. Hanley and Silver's accomplices have acted above the law.

I understand people's concerns. However, rule of law must be followed or the Yukon will descend into anarchy. How many other communities are going to unilaterally impose their own "bans"? Let mob rule prevail?

The irony is that residents of Old Crow are in Whitehorse as we speak and will be returning to their community shortly or in the coming weeks. Residents of Old Crow will be travelling to Whitehorse in the coming days and weeks for medical treatment, grocery trips, conducting business . . . you name it.

Is Tizya-Tramm going to ban those folks from travel? Or, is this selective treatment only for the "other"?

Up 60 Down 3

Christina on Mar 31, 2020 at 4:34 am

I wonder if they are still in Whitehorse? I hope not but if they are I hope they are in strict self isolation. Who knows if they’ve been exposed to COVID 19 in the days they were travelling across the country? An outbreak in Whitehorse would devastate the city. I have family there and I am afraid for them. Members of the Old Crow community acted quickly in response to this and I hope they stay safe.

Up 15 Down 56

Paulette Tremblay on Mar 30, 2020 at 9:27 pm

Regardless of this situation....I believe they are just a scared couple who want to live in spite of this adversity like the rest of us. Wash your hands and keep your 2 metre or more distance. Better yet, stay home if you don’t have to work.
Imagine. Moses leading the people of Israel out of Egypt back then! None of these diseases befell them. Pray for forgiveness each of us.

Up 49 Down 14

Myrna Allum on Mar 30, 2020 at 8:44 pm

I truly believe that this is a serious situation and they be charged young or old. To protect the community of Old Crow thank you for all your great work to the Chief and the Resource people Mussi Cho.

Up 66 Down 4

Not just OC but everybody on Mar 30, 2020 at 7:03 pm

They drove across Canada from the province with the most cases right now. So they took a chance on infecting everybody on their way (gas stations, restaurants, hotels, etc), and anybody they dealt with in Whs. and OC (and Air North). And no charges? Why have the act if they are not going to be punished for this selfish, destructive act?

Up 49 Down 7

Anonymous on Mar 30, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Go away, we're full.

Up 19 Down 29

Dave on Mar 30, 2020 at 6:20 pm

@Sheepchaser, so your message to the rest of Canada is give us the money and we’ll give you the finger huh? But oh by the way Canadians you can keep sending your much needed food, fuel, and other supplies up here by truck as well so the Yukon don’t starve and freeze out and we’ll let the ROC back in when we want you to come spend money again. Does the term self centred come to mind? If the rest of the country thought like you did you’d still be out trying to chase down a roll of tp.

Up 51 Down 22

North_of_60 on Mar 30, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Why didn't the agent at the Air North counter in Whitehorse make it clear to them that ALL travel between Yukon communities is restricted to essential services only and inquired as to what their business was in Old Crow, and not given them boarding passes without valid confirmation of their need to fly there?
"Taking it seriously" isn't good enough Air North. We deserve an explanation, an apology and assurance of what measures are in place to ensure this never happens again.

Up 39 Down 20

BnR on Mar 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm

Juniper, we're not keeping them here on our dime, we're keeping them here on Canadians dimes, because if it wasn't for the largesse of Canada re transfer payments, we'd be in a world of hurt. Yeah, they were silly, but stop being so smug everyone, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and given that Yukoners are happily hoarding away food stuffs etc, many Yukoners are being just as thoughtless.

Up 55 Down 9

JC on Mar 30, 2020 at 5:41 pm

Are there no remote FN villages in northern Quebec? Sounds to me like these two may just be trying to take advantage of Master JT's generous financial Covid19 progam. Deport them. Quickly.

Up 48 Down 6

Matt on Mar 30, 2020 at 5:32 pm

Chief, Ya made us all proud with that thoughtful control. No welcome mats out anywhere in the world right now.

Up 25 Down 2

Anie on Mar 30, 2020 at 5:04 pm

Juniper, excellent questions. I read this story last night in another news source. The star has had lots of time to do some actual reporting - finding answers to those obvious questions.

Up 106 Down 16

SheepChaser on Mar 30, 2020 at 4:03 pm

These two knuckleheads are just the beginning. Plenty of RVs with front plates from Outside showing up a little early on the Alaska Highway. Just have a quick look at Scotland and Northern England having to send Londoners home, close campgrounds and beaches.

Now that wages are being guaranteed at 75% by the feds, why not close the Yukon's borders to people? Keep freight open. Everyone goes on the dole for a summer and we don't have to compete for resources with rich refugees from the South. Open the economy and schools back up in September when there's a better handle on things. The Yukon's strength is its remoteness. Let's not squander that just to keep a handful of mines open with infected Outside workers.

The way government is printing money right now, the easiest way to protect such a small but vulnerable population is to hand them cash and tell them to stay home for six months.
Gah, forget it. Probably makes too much sense for anyone in authority to really think about it.

Up 113 Down 12

Juniper Jackson on Mar 30, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Are we keeping the idiots here on our dime? They drove to Whitehorse, they can drive right on out again. Check their food supplies for tide pods.

Up 149 Down 5

Rob on Mar 30, 2020 at 3:33 pm

How inconsiderate and disrespectful! First class on the way Old Crow handled this situation though!

Up 133 Down 4

Jonathan Colby on Mar 30, 2020 at 3:14 pm

Selfish and stupid.
Through and through.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.