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In the House with Patty Hajdu: Building community in online spaces

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Patty Hajdu
Liberal Patty Hajdu was first elected in 2015 to the House of Commons. (Leith Dunick,
A stay-at-home order has been issued for Ontario to slow the spread of COVID-19. I know how much we’re all missing our friends, our favourite local spots, community events and family gatherings. I feel it too. But these sacrifices you are making are helping Canada and our region get back to normal faster. 
Thankfully we have some tools to stay connected. They can’t replace a hug, or a dinner with grandparents — but connecting online, by phone or even by mail helps everyone feel a bit better. 
Some people are joining online communities, playing new online games, or using one of the many digital meeting tools to connect with friends. These new ways of seeing and talking with the people we love can make a huge difference in our mental health, and theirs!
Even though it feels like this pandemic will last forever, it won’t. We have a powerful new tool to get back to normal faster, with enough vaccines for every Canadian by September 2021.
The provinces are working quickly to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations and save lives. Until then, we know what it takes: a sense of community, and a commitment to working together. 
Reach out across your social networks — make a plan to gather, once a week or more. Stay connected while you stay home, and stay healthy. Think about ways that you can help those folks in our communities who are the loneliest. Drop off a basket, offer to walk a dog, call and check in on an old friend. This is the time where everyone needs a friend to get through the next few months. 
And if you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to my local office for help.
Patty Hajdu is the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North and Canada’s federal Minister of Health.
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