Dispatches from Digby by Shawnalynn Cromwell
Ontario has jumped from the frying pan into the fire! The premier is asking the Atlantic Provinces for help. I feel that we are definitely in the Twilight Zone… a larger province is asking smaller regions for assistance? I need a minute for this to sink in. Plus, we have a doctor shortage!
This desperate plea comes from a government who ignored the warnings of the Ontario COVID-19 science advisory table members in January… after a significant discovery from the presentation given by a table of science advisors to adhere to the “stay-at-home” order to prevent exactly what is occurring now in the province, the government is panicking and is suddenly realizing they should have listened to the science over two months ago! The director of the board almost stepped down Friday, April 16th, 2021, from his disappointment with politics getting in the way of the science and the tone-deaf response of the province’s government.
The government’s main focus was the economy, which now is in more trouble. This single-mindedness has put the province in a crisis of unimaginable circumstance. So now the Ontario government is appealing to our Atlantic provinces to pull the area out of the fire. The pandemic is not a political football that you can casually throw around and hope for the best. The lives, well-being, and livelihoods of our front line essential workers: HEALTH CARE WORKERS OF ALL DISCIPLINES, CUSTODIAL WORKERS, TEACHERS, GROCERY STORE WORKERS!
Give the front-line workers paid sick leave! The Ontario government does not realize that they are in a war with an invisible enemy, one that does not plan to surrender in the name of political rule.
Money talks, but money cannot talk and walk if there is no one around to earn and spend it! This concept blows my mind. How can an economy flourish in wartime? How can we, as citizens, go about our daily routines while knowing that there is this invisible enemy out there waiting to invade our minds, bodies and souls.
Families in marginalized communities are in the worst plight. The last to be vaccinated, even though they are in many cases, our front line essential workforce. The whole situation makes one want to scream, “Hey, wake up, and look past the political jargon! Embrace and follow the science now, before it gets even worse!”
Nova Scotia and the Atlantic provinces are not large centres. Ontario asks that the Atlantic provinces and other provinces and territories distribute any available nurses to their region. If we can spare any of our nurses, we should do it, mainly if it will lessen the burden of the crushing demand on their system. But… will it come back on us down the road? Vancouver and Saskatchewan are getting ready to be in a similar battle in the weeks to come.
I pray that Ontario, as well as the other governments, those who are inching closer to being in the same position, will finally listen to the SCIENCE. Take a page from Nova Scotia’s book: work hand-in-hand with your Health and Science advisors. Listen the first time. They know the enemy better than you do.
Shawnalynn Cromwell is a community ambassador with Inspiring Communities’ nested initiative Turning the Tide in Digby. Shawnalynn is a writer, changemaker and active community member in Weymouth Falls.