Long Term Care is Doug Ford’s Walkerton

Remember back to the previous Tory government here in Ontario? They were a scrappy bunch intent on reforming government through privatisation. Why should government do it, when we can just pay someone to do it for us instead? This line of thinking ended up in one of the most tragic cases of government failure in Ontario history. Namely the Walkerton crisis.

In the end, Premier Mike Harris ended up resigning his position rather than face re-election by the public over the apparent failures of his privatisation priorities.

Currently, the Doug Ford government is sitting on a far more urgent and devastating crisis of their own making. Our current long term care homes in Ontario. Privatisation of LTC Homes began under Harris, and continued under the Liberal McGuinty and Wynne governments. COVID-19 has shown how far the system has failed our elders and has been incompetent and incapable of taking care of our most vulnerable. The fact that this is the sole reason why the system exists, just underscores the complete ineptitude of the model. We see this in the recent stories coming out of Hamilton of the Grace Villa Home. If you’re unaware click here to read the story in The Spec.

Which brings us back to Doug Ford. At the beginning of this pandemic the faults of the system were exposed as the military was forced to intervene to bring in basic services to these homes. The reports coming out shocked and appalled all of us as to the decrepitude and horrific conditions that were allowed to perpetuate for decades in this province. Doug Ford stood at the microphone and declared he’d create an “Iron Ring’ around the homes:

We are coming up on a year since this pandemic started. To date no conditions have improved in our LTC homes. As seen by the story above regarding Grace Villa. COVID-19 has been allowed to remain unchecked and unstopped in our LTC homes. Vaccinations are proceeding however, the implementation is spotty and uncertain at best. Despite reports we are sitting on vaccines in storage in this province. Finger wagging is far easier than working out logistics. In the meantime our elders sit in deplorable conditions.

Doug Ford promised to Ontarians he would fix this. He hasn’t. We are almost a year since he made his promise. As a result he wears this problem. The failures of our LTC homes are his. I don’t have any expectation that he will implement the necessary legislation and spending to ensure our elders live with the dignity and respect they deserve. Quite frankly because, there is no real profit in that. We are expensive investments in terms of physical upkeep. Which is why it’s also so easy to make a buck off people, by skimping on basic necessities it seems.

Will Doug Ford take a note from Mike Harris’ playbook and resign as Premier prior to the next election so as to not face the wrath of the electorate? I don’t know. I will say that I expect a great many people will want accountability for this failure. And Doug, you’re the guy in charge right now.

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