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Swept under the rug
The Canadian military rose to the challenge of caring for the most vulnerable seniors during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in two poorly functioning long-term care facilities in Ontario: Downsview and Hawthorne Place.
In newspaper reports after the intervention, we heard how military members recorded their experience in detailed daily reports. Military staff risked their own health and well-being in taking on this care role despite facing a lack of personal protective equipment and infection control. There was otherwise little care and support for the seniors who languished in deplorable conditions. Simple human contact was gone. The military filled a desperate need and recorded that experience.
Why, all of a sudden is there a backing away of the report of seniors dying from dehydration, lack of food and no personal hygiene?
Something ugly is afoot here. Is the Ontario government refusing to face the fact it was ill-prepared for a pandemic and allowed for-profit LTC facilities to place profits above elder care? Is it embarrassed that its LTC inspection branch is a self-serving arm of a ministry that has failed seniors in Ontario? Almost 4,000 seniors died in LTC facilities. Lest we forget.
Seniors and families deserve better – not brushing evidence under the proverbial carpet.
Mary Richardson Toronto
How convenient that the Ontario Ministry of Long Term Care also didn’t find that any of the long-term care deaths resulted from the inspectors’ concerns, including malnutrition and dehydration.
In the absence of any coroners’ investigations and reports, the ministry cannot say definitively that residents did not die for these reasons either. And what records were they checking – the facilities’ records? How can this be called a thorough review?
And why has the Canadian Armed Forces dismissed the observations of its own staff who were on-site, risking infection and death themselves to help these residents?
Does the ministry and those in the military who have gone along with this so-called “thorough investigation” really believe the Ontario public and the families of the dead are that gullible? Think again.
Patricia Spindel Ajax, Ont.
Is there any doubt that the military, the government and the operators of these long-term care institutions would disavow any cause of death, besides COVID-19, when they are faced with an abundance of personal and class-action lawsuits?
Reporting by journalists on the harm, hurt and deaths experienced by so many residents over so many years has done nothing to abate the fear of placing people in these facilities. This is just one more failure to investigate and act appropriately. Ontarians have lost confidence in their long-term care system, and with no commitment by the Ford administration to actually enforce standards and regulations, elders are still at extreme risk in these places.
Doug Cartan Mallorytown, Ont.
Where’s the dignity?
I cried when I read André Picard’s column Tuesday (Canadians Aren’t Dying As We Wish, Oct. 26).
My father died, peacefully, in an English hospice and my mother, likewise, under palliative care in an English long-term care home. I was, and remain, so grateful for the care they received.
But what end-of-life prospects do I, and millions of Canadians like me, face? It is time that we stopped being smug about our health care system.
Richard Harris Hamilton
Africa let down
African leaders are right to criticize the failure of the world’s 20 richest countries to come up with US$100-billion a year to assist developing countries in their fight against climate change, despite a decade-long commitment (Africa, Hit Hard By Climate Change, Plans Tougher Stance at Summit, Oct. 26).
Instead, the target date to meet the annual amount has been postponed until 2023.
Canada is to be lauded for trying to rally other rich countries to mobilize the US$100-billion, the minimum needed by developing countries increasingly hit by droughts and cyclones. But Canada is hardly demonstrating leadership. Its commitment of only $1-billion a year over the next five years is one-tenth that of Germany, a country with a bit more than twice Canada’s population. We shall see whether the new Liberal cabinet will turn its words into more significant efforts.
Roy Culpeper, chair, Group of 78 Ottawa
It is truly jaw-dropping that Jean Chrétien claims that he did not know what happened at residential schools during his almost six years as minister of Indian affairs (Chrétien Under Fire For Comparing His Time At Boarding School to Residential Schools, Oct. 26).
This either speaks to willful blindness or incompetence or both during his time as minister. But then to compare Indigenous students’ time at residential schools to his time at boarding school speaks to how out of touch he has been and continues to be during his time in public life.
Moses Wuggenig Toronto
Inflation – the horrors
Re Don’t Be Afraid Of Inflation Horror Stories (Report on Business, Oct. 20): All this talk about inflation returning us to the 1970s, yet nary a word about the Anti-Inflation Board, Jean-Luc Pépin, Beryl Plumtree and, “Zap, you’re frozen!”
Ah, the good old days.
Peter James Vancouver
Housing for newcomers
Re No One Considers Canada’s Immigration Record A Big Deal, And That’s Remarkable (Oct. 23): The federal government is committed to setting immigration at record levels of more than 400,000 each year for the next three years. Yet there has been little discussion of how more than 1.2 million new residents by 2023 will affect the housing market.
Immigration policy is muddled in Canada because the federal government sets immigration numbers – seemingly without consideration of immigrants’ housing needs – while housing is primarily a provincial responsibility.
Constance Smith Victoria
Re PM Announces New Federal Standard For COVID-19 Vaccination Passports (Oct. 22): I have downloaded the latest version of Ontario’s vaccine certificate. I decided to print off a copy to have both an e-version and hard copy to carry on my person.
The instructions say that I must be careful to not crease the QR code. Trying to fold the document to be handily carried in a wallet, without creasing the code, would have been much easier had its designers laid out lines to direct the best way to do so.
Imagine a nice, square, folded paper. I should have taken origami lessons.
Stuart Wright Trenton, Ont.
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