Honourable Sandy Silver, Premier of Yukon Government of Yukon Box 2703 Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6

November 15th, 2021

Dear Premier Silver:

My name is J.D. Caudle and I am a high school mathematics, science, philosophy, and technology teacher in Whitehorse. I am double-vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Moderna vaccine, however I will not be providing proof of vaccination, as demanded by your government.

How will this affect me and others?

• On December 1st, if nothing changes in government policy, I will be placed on leave without pay. As I am the sole income-earner in my household, my family will be without income until I am allowed back. The federal Liberal government has also clearly indicated that my family will not be permitted to access EI benefits during that time.

• My school principal will be stuck trying to fill a specialized teaching role (among others) mid-semester, with the covering teacher having to deal with the complexity of taking over another teacher’s courses.

• My ~90 students (among others) will have their education seriously disrupted and compromised.

• Your government will have ignored reasonable suggestions for concessions from two vaccine-supporting employee unions, indicating disregard and disrespect for employee relations.

• If enough of my colleagues – whether YTA or YEU members – also choose not to submit proof of vaccination by December 1st your government will create a profoundly disruptive operational crisis for the Yukon. Dismissing even a relatively small number of non-submitting staff (even if proof is only temporarily withheld) in the midst of a staffing shortage is unworkable. It would drastically exacerbate the problems your government faces in the need to increase school staff support in light of the recent commitments made to inclusive education as well to address the student safety problems made very visible in the events at Hidden Valley, such as explained by the letter from the YTA to the Minister of Education, dated October 19th.

Please note that I do not wish for any of this to happen – I care deeply for all of those affected. I simply can not, in good conscience, knowingly comply with injustice. For your government to reply that “nobody is being forced to get vaccinated” is disingenuous gaslighting. These results are the consequence of your government’s policy.

Why am I doing this?

• Because I wish to express solidarity with my colleagues. I will not comfortably stand by while my unvaccinated colleagues are stripped of their livelihood for a personal medical choice that has
obviously been sincerely and firmly made despite months of constant pressure, media advocacy, and social ridicule. • Because I’ve read enough history to recognize where this goes. Yes, this is only a vaccine. However, the precedents being set have disturbing ramifications for future governance.

• Because a government that claims to support inclusive education (versus exclusive or segregationist), bodily autonomy, and anti-colonial attitudes needs to be called to task when its actions manifest the opposite.

• Because the violation of rights is grossly disproportionate to the risk. The difference in threat to public health between vaccinated and unvaccinated is much less significant after the spread of COVID-19 variants, with widespread transmission among vaccinated people. “Public safety” is not a viable defense for stepping over privacy and bodily autonomy rights while so many problematic areas (building ventilation and air circulation, or distancing in classrooms as two specific examples) remain unresolved.

I have faith in the “long-run” and trust that, in time, clear unfiltered light will shine on the actions, choices, and policies made in this time. I write this letter, first of all, to support my colleagues who will suffer, secondly to explain my actions to those who are affected by them and who work alongside me, and finally, in hope of a possibility that your government might recognize injustice and poor judgement before making a serious mistake. Good policy is reasoned, careful, and supported by evidence. Rhetoric is not a substitute for reason, fear is not a substitute for care, and appeal to authority is not a substitute for evidence.

Government has a tremendous and heavy responsibility to fulfill in this time – one I do not envy. I thank you for your service to our territory and call on you to do what is prudent and just – not just what is expedient.

With sincerity, resolve, and hope,

signed James Caudle

J.D. Caudle

CC: Nils Clark, MLA for Riverdale North

Ted Hupe, President of the YAEP

Steve Geick, President of the YEU

Kate White, Leader of the Third Party

Currie Dixon, Leader of the Official Opposition

My colleagues