“The residents, their families and their loved ones, and long-term care staff who met with the Commissioners provided a first-hand oral history of the loneliness, anguish and fear that, for them, forever marked this time in Ontario’s history. Their willingness to relive their experiences humanizes the dry world of policies, directives and statistics. The Commissioners were indelibly marked by what we heard.” – from the Final Report of Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, April 30th, 2021
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted May 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large
So we are almost finished the third year of a four-year (what will hopefully be the last) term for Ontario’s Ford government.
How do you like this so-called government “for the people” so far?
It was bad enough that in the first year of good ol’ boy Doug Ford’s rule, he came out with a “one buck beer’ tasting like – how did one LCBO employee I talked to at the time put it? Oh yes, “carbonated mule piss.”
The ongoing war Ford and his Conservatives are waging on programs and rulings for protecting and preserving what is left of our province’s natural heritage has been bad enough for present and future generations of Ontarians.
Yet not even that assault on Mother Nature might be as disgusting as the pass that Doug Ford and the “pro-life” phonies in his Conservative caucus have granted to former Tory premier Mike Harris and others in the long-term care home industry where so many of our senior citizens have suffered COVID-19-related deaths over the past 14 months.
In a highly disturbing report, released late this Friday, April 30th, an Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission that held hearings for nine months and received testimonials from more than 700 relatives of seniors in the province’s long-term care facilities, from staff who work in these homes and others, came to some of the following blunt conclusions.
The Commission concluded that while previous Ontario Conservative and Liberal governments over the past two and a half decades both contributed to and ignored weaknesses in our long-term care homes for our seniors, the current Ford government made things catastrophically worse.
The Ford government allowed the cutting and gutting of programs, including regular outside inspections of Long-Term Care (LTC) homes, and of regulations and funding resources, making these homes were many of our elders spend the final months and years of their lives easy targets for a pandemic like SARs or COVID-19.
Furthermore, the Ford government went out of its way to pass legislation last year making operators of LTC homes immune from any legal liability or lawsuits that might be launched by Ontario residents who have reason to believe loved ones in these operations are not getting the care they deserve.
In other words, Doug Ford and his Tory MPPs, including his minister for long-term care, Merrilee Fullerton, were more interested in immunizing the operators of these homes from possible legal accountability than they were about immunizing the residents of possible sickness and death.
One of those LTC operators is Mike Harris, a former Ontario Conservative premier and now chair of a board for one of province’s largest for-profit, privately operated LTC chains, Chartwell Homes.
In a report it circulated after the pandemic swept over Ontario in 2020, the public interest group Council for Canadians, wrote this about the likes of Mike Harris –
“How Ontario cared for seniors did not escape the cuts. Harris’ government reduced the public role in long-term care, relaxing regulations and lessening public oversight. This wasn’t the start of privatization, but it certainly opened the doors much wider, reads the Council of Canadians report.
“Under the Harris government, the growing corporate business of caring for seniors flourished and corporate players such as Sienna Senior Living, Revera, Extendicare and Chartwell expanded their reach, providing seniors with independent living, assisted living and long-term care housing – for a price.”
Now we have Doug Ford and his government “honouring” Mike Harris with one of this province’s highest citizen awards, the Order of Ontario.
Enough fake tears about the toll this virus is taking from Doug Ford!
I urge you to watch the following CBC report on the Commission’s report, then open the link below and read the report itself
If they are not enough to convince you that this Ford government and everyone in it should be consigned to the dust bin of history as soon as possible, I don’t know what is.
To watch the CBC report, broadcast on the network’s flagship news program, The National, this April 30th, click on the screen immediately below –
To read the full Commission report on Ontario’s Long-Term Care home crisis, click on – http://www.ltccommission-commissionsld.ca/report/pdf/Ontarios_Long-Term_Care_COVID-19_Commission_Final_Report.pdf .
To read the full Council of Canadians report referenced above, click on – https://canadians.org/analysis/mike-harris-raking-profits-long-term-care-system-he-helped-create
Here is the cover letter the Commission for the report, sent to the Ford government this April 30th – .
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