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Gimaa Toulouse Addresses the Sagamok Community July 23, 2020
Posted: Jul 23, 2020

Gimaa Toulouse Addresses the Sagamok Community

July 23, 2020   4:33pm          [10 minutes, 11 seconds]


In his address, Gimaa Toulouse: 


· Advises that Council has decided that the Sagamok Anishnawbek road access checkpoint station will remain in place, informed by a public opinion poll that saw 64% of an astounding 382 responses received express support for keeping it up.  Traffic will slow down only when leaving the Sagamok community while still having to stop upon entering when they will be asked where they are coming from, who they have been with and their license plate number.  They will also be asked the COVID-19 screening questions. 

· Advises that the “We survived the First Wave” Community Celebration will be postponed until after the August 12 General Election. 


Gimaa says that with much of the province moving forward with stage 3 of its reopening plan, some members of the Sagamok Anishnawbek Council “felt that maybe we should lift all restrictions here is Sagamok as well.”


Some restrictions have already been lifted regarding people who come in now provided they adhere to the health protocols. 


“We thought we should ask you what you thought of that.”


On July 17, 2020, an opinion poll was launched to seek the opinions of Sagamok community members in order inform a decision by the Sagamok Anishnawbek Chief and Council concerning whether it is now time to remove the road access checkpoint that has been in place at the Sagamok Anishnawbek border since early April as a community response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Acknowledging that the COVID-19 virus is still around and remains a risk to the Sagamok community, Sagamok community members were asked a single question, “Do you think it is time for the Sagamok Anishnawbek road access checkpoint to be dismantled?”


Community members were given 5 ways they could express their opinion: through an online survey platform, by hard paper ballot form, email, personal messaging a facebook profile and by phone polling. This is how Sagamok community members responded.



A total of 382 poll responses were received, of which almost two-thirds of responses express a desire to leave the road access checkpoint up.  Of the 382 poll responses that were received, 137 (or 35.9%) of responses indicated support for dismantling the Sagamok Anishnawbek road access checkpoint while 245 (or 64.1%) of responses indicated opposition to dismantling the road access checkpoint.


Polls were received from the online survey platform (64.1%), paper ballot forms (25.1%), phone polls (9.7%), personal message (0.8%) and email submissions (0.3%).


A total of 117 comments were documented with poll responses. This means that of the 382 poll responses received, 30.6% also provided comments as insight to their responses. Of the 117 documented comments, 68.4% were provided along with online survey responses, 25.1% were provided along with paper ballot forms, 4.3% were provided along with phone polls and 2.6% were provided along with personal messages. No comments were provided along with email poll submissions.


On the outcomes of the opinion poll, Gimaa Toulouse says, “to me, those numbers tell us what people want.  The majority of people say keep it up, we feel safe, continue to do that.” 


“It makes me feel good and certainly to Council that we are doing the right thing and I think that reaching out to you is the appropriate thing to do.  … I’m sure you’d agree you feel pretty good having some hand in decision-making or at least giving us some direction in making a good decision.” 


“Read the comments,” he says.  “It’s all about protecting our people.  We suffered a bit, but is was worth the suffering than losing a life.” 


“So we are going to continue to maintain the gate.”


He says that there is now an open lane for traffic leaving the community, though vehicles are asked to go slow. 


Coming into the community, “you’re going to be stopped and asked where you are coming from and they will take down your license plate and ask you the COVID questions and that is it.”


“The reason is, we want to know where you’ve been and who you’re with in the event that we have a positive case so that we can trace.  We have to maintain that data … It’s really to protect our people.” 


Gimaa also announced that the Community Celebration of the end of the first pandemic wave will be postponed until after the General Election to avoid the perception that it might serve as an election platform. 


He says that it will be more of a virtual format, acknowledging those in the community who have helped keep the Sagamok community COVID-free, particularly the front line workers and checkpoint Guardians. 


He also says that food will be delivered to homes and everyone will get a tee-shirt that says, “I survived the first wave!”. 



Watch Gimaa Toulouse' July 23 Address to the Sagamok Community here: