Letter: Why does our provincial government place a low priority on the most vulnerable?

A call to take up the cause

To the Expositor:

And it begins! Upon reading the article on Page 3 of the June 26, 2019 edition of The Expositor written by Alicia McCutcheon in regards to upcoming provincial funding cuts to long-term care (LTC) facilities, in this case, the Manitoulin Centennial Manor, one must think really long and hard as to why a government would place such low priority on the care of our most vulnerable citizens.

Firstly, Ms. MacDonald, the Manor’s board chair should be commended for being transparent with the public about this situation and also for having the honesty to state “They (the Ford government/Ministry of Health and Long-term Care) talk about improving LTC facilities and then they do this.” It is long past time that we need to hear a lot more statements like this from nursing home boards and administrations to stand up for their residents and their workers against this appalling negative action that the ministry is leveling on the LTC sector!

What does trouble and concern me in the contents of this article is when Ms. MacDonald speaks to the director of care and administrator looking at “reconfiguring” the staff when the funding cuts hit. In similar times when the Mike Harris slash’n’burn government decimated LTC funding, similar sounding action was tried. All it meant was that the ratio of residents to personal support workers (PSWs) was drastically raised, piling on more work for the individual PSW. I hope that with the amount of nursing experience that these two ladies have between them that they realize that trying that, in what is already an LTC crisis, would be to go down a path to disaster!

With transparency and accountability being the cornerstone of nursing home boards and citing Ms. MacDonald’s statement as an example of that, it is just further proof of how reprehensible these puppet agencies of the ministry like AdvantAge Ontario are in their attempts to convince administrations and boards to keep details of the People’s Healthcare Act and the Super Agency away from residents, their families and workers!

Now is also long past time that these boards and administrations should stand up at a higher level and advocate for their residents and front line staff, issue letters to the minister and demand that the government rescind these funding cuts and install a minimum standard of care for all LTC facilities in this province.

Another troubling issue for LTC that I have just recently learned about is that LTC has now been separated from the Ministry of Health and LTC and is now its own sub-ministry with its own new minister. Unfortunately for LTC in Ontario, the new minister is the recently demoted (Colleges and Universities) Merrilee Fullerton. Minister Fullerton is a far right social conservative. Her claims to fame are publically criticizing Muslim women’s right to wear head coverings and stating that second generation Canadian Muslims pose the most significant danger to society. She also shared news from the far right Breibart News site for an anti-Muslim rally organized by the Hate Group Pegida! It was Minister Fullerton who also said that she believed “foreign” doctors in Canada should be surveilled based on foiled plots involving doctors. Having a racist and bigot such as this now serving as the Minister of LTC certainly does not make me “feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”

Only a Tory government would rave on about the proposed creation of thousands of new LTC beds and then cut LTC funding to staff them properly and then have the ultimate gall of trying to convince Ontarians that it all makes sense.

We must all now take up the cause, advocate and lobby for our beloved LTC residents and our valued and dedicated LTC workers. Hopefully we can all find it in our hearts to do so and stop this madness now!

Thank you,

Greg Young