A coast-to-coast relay aimed at garnering support for the recently axed Katimavik youth volunteer service program will stop in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, North West River and Sheshatshiu Innu First Nations later this summer, if enough people in the area step forward to make it happen.
Andrew Porter, the organizer to save Katimavik, says that the relay scheduled for Happy Valley-Goose Bay, North West River and Sheshatshiu Innu First Nations is in jeopardy because they have been unable to find anyone to be part of the relay.
“The bad news is, we are having challenges getting to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, although Mayor Abbass is trying to help, but unless we can find someone within the next couple days, we may need to cut Labrador completely,” he said.
Porter said he emailed multiple people and only Mayor Abbass has responded.
“In order for us to come to HVGB we need someone on the ground to "sponsor" us, which basically means coordinating any activities that may take place,” he added.
Porter says if they cannot find anyone in the communities here, they will have to change the schedule, flying from Iqaluit to Charlottetown on the 15th, then by car to Halifax for a National Rally on the 21st.
“At that point, if we have support we could go up to HVGB on the evening of July 21 or 22 and would need to be back in Halifax by July 25 so that we can continue to Wolfville and Moncton. It is complex logistics but possible,” Porter.
He said prior to the program being cut, there were two groups in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and North West River, who worked with the following groups,
In Happy Valley-Goose Bay: the Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA, École Boréale, Labrador Friendship Centre, Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club, Fédération des parents HVGB Labrador, NunatuKavut, Happy Valley-Goose Bay Long Term Care Center, Them Days Incorporated, Nunatsiavut Government Department of Health and Social Development and Parks and Recreation.
In North West River; the Labrador Heritage Society, Television Community Recreation – TVCR, Town of North West River, Nunatsiavut Government Department of Health and Social Development, Sivunivut Inuit Community Corporation, Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation School, Charles J. Andrew Youth Treatment Centre, Sheshatshiu Band Council, Community Youth Network, Sheshatshiu Pishum Centre Daycare, NWR Community Centre.
The Crossing Canada for Katimavik relay will attempt to send two packages through different routes starting in Iqaluit and ending on September 17th in Ottawa, where organizers hope to place them into the hands of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages James Moore.
Porter says, he will pick up both packages in Midland, Ontario and take them to Ottawa. He is also hoping to have a march from Midland or some other event to take them to the final distance.
The packages will contain the recognizable green Katimavik volunteer T-shirt, a journal, a map of Canada and a petition to restore funding to the organization that runs the program.
The PC government ending funding of the program earlier this year; the program has run for 35 years.
Anyone who can help out with this cause is asked to contact Andrew Porter at 289-716-0472 or email a firstname.lastname@example.org