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Thomas in the Toronto Sun: Feds need to put money in health care instead of endless lockdowns


In a Toronto Sun Opinion Editorial, OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas discusses the need for the federal government to proactively plan ahead and invest in healthcare as the long-term solution to enduring the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article here:

As we enter month nine of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government and public health officials are singing the same old tune of this past spring, perhaps taking the country on the path to full lockdown once more. But we can do better than this.

Instead of replaying our past playbook, this is the time to proactively prepare for what lies ahead by investing in frontline health care. That means public money into hospitals, home care, long-term care, and people.

This is the time to finally end hallway health care. Canadians aren’t getting any younger. Our needs won’t be diminishing anytime soon. By building capacity, we’ll take care of needs in the near, immediate, and long-term.

Canadians are at their wit’s end. We need solutions, not just stop-gap instructions to stay home, to stay apart, and wash our hands. Livelihoods and lives are crumbling. It’s time to pony up.

On Tuesday, the nationwide COVID-19 death toll surpassed 10,000. A few provinces, Ontario included, have hit record-high COVID-19 case numbers, and these numbers are only going to increase as we get into winter and the peak of the flu season.

We’re now in the second wave of this virus, with no end in sight. But we’ve come a long way since this pandemic started. We’ve learned more about this virus, how it spreads, and how it can affect our health. And we have learned it isn’t going away anytime soon.

When this pandemic arrived back in March, a lockdown was justifiable until we knew more about what we were dealing with. Canadians went through a lot physically, emotionally and mentally in those early months of the pandemic. We did our part. We listened and we flattened the curve. But we are fatigued. There is pushback. And now is the time to face facts and make the investments needed in health-care infrastructure so we can at least co-exist with the virus.

It’s easier to digest the lockdown for those of us who are able to work remotely, but that’s not everybody. If we are all in this together, let’s come together and demand the investments that will get us out of this quagmire. And it starts with supply that meets the health-care demand, now and in the future.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action. Governments have proven that money is no object to save lives and the economy. What better way than to invest in the care we all need and will need to get us back on track.

Let’s address our health-care deficit now. An ounce of prevention is surely worth a pound of cure.