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View Marcus Powlowski Profile
Lib. (ON)
I don't know if I like this, Bob. It was bad enough to begin with. Now I'm looking at a bunch of names and hoping someone is out there.
Thanks to all the witnesses for coming.
In my recent lifetime—now it's changed and I'm a parliamentarian—I used to be a doctor and work in a number of fly-in communities: Nain, Labrador; Iqaluit; and Norway House for a few years, which isn't exactly fly-in but it's a very long road. I see Ms. Anderson-Pyrz shaking her head. I don't know if she's from there. I know Anderson is a really common name in Norway House.
I really enjoyed working in those places, but I can see that if you have family problems, an abusive spouse, it's particularly difficult in isolated communities, partly because a lot of people are related, partly because everyone knows everyone. Maybe you have an abusive spouse but your spouse's cousin or brother is on the police force or in the band council, so it makes it that much more difficult. Maybe you could comment on that.
Before you do, let me go on to something I really wanted to get to. I think if you're in a difficult situation, in an abusive relationship, in those kinds of communities it's hard enough to begin with, partly because getting out of the community can be really hard. The cost of a plane ticket is beyond a lot of people's means. In my experience as a doctor, I've seen people so driven to despair that they've actually attempted suicide because at least then you get a flight out of the community. Even at the best of times, getting out of these communities when you're in a difficult situation is hard. It's that much harder now because of COVID-19 and the attempts to block off the communities for the sake of the safety of people in those communities, but once you block them off, it's harder to get out as well.
Maybe I could ask a bunch of the witnesses to comment on the problems faced under COVID-19, in particular by those isolated communities.
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