Canadian News

Canadian woman not allowed attend mother's funeral due to social distancing, while mass protests rage on

Tanya Augustine was barred from being by her mother's side when she passed away.

Collin Jones The Post Millennial
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Tanya Augustine was barred from being by her mother's side when she passed away.

While Augustine lives on Lennox Island First Nation in western Prince Edward Island, her mother, Linda Augustin, stayed in New Brunswick.

Augustine's mother passed away due to complications from lung cancer a few days after going to see her doctor in March, according to CBC. She had been feeling ill and had experienced trouble breathing.

And while Augustine's mother passed away at a time when she could not be there, she had hoped to at least be there for her mother's funeral at the Red Bank First Nation.

She was heartbroken when she learned that New Brunswick denied her travel request.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family was not able to have a wake or funeral at the time she died on March 26.

So they decided to move the funeral to June 5.

Augustine reached out to the officials in New Brunswick's public health and public safety divisions to confirm that she would be able to attend her mother's funeral. She even had a 14-day self-isolation plan in place for when she arrived in N.B. and for when she made it back home in P.E.I.

But within a couple hours, Augustine received a call that said she was barred again.

"That part took me back a bit."

But she said her self-isolation plan within P.E.I was approved, despite being denied in new

"There's got to be some compassion," she said. "She's my mother and I don't know how the government can just say no it's not essential. It is essential."

"I spoke to my brother and my sister and they decided that my mother had to be laid to rest and as heartbreaking as it was that I wasn't going to be there ...  I agreed. I agreed that she should be laid to rest," Augustine said.

"It was just a difficult decision to make, when she gave birth to me. But I understand and I know she understands and I'll be there when I can, when the province opens up, but it was difficult. It's so hard."

This comes as hundreds and thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest over the course of the last week amid the death of George Floyd, not adhering to social distancing protocols or wearing masks, as has been required for the past couple months.

Augustine said that the protocols currently in place need to change, and not just for her but for other families that are experiencing the same thing.

"There's got to be some compassion," she said. "She's my mother and I don't know how the government can just say no it's not essential. It is essential."

Augustine said that although she will not be able to be there, she is going to take a moment to remember her mother on Friday at noon, as she is laid to rest in New Brunswick.

"I just want her to know that I'm sorry," Augustine said as she looked at photos of her and her mother together during a fishing trip.

"The minute the province of New Brunswick and P.E.I. go into a bubble, I am going to be the first one across the Confederation Bridge and I'm going to go straight to her final resting place and I'm going to sit and pray ... that's all I can do."

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