Monday, July 15, 2024

Unsung heroes

There’s been a lot of talk recently about heroes, whether it’s been the people in mask and scrubs scrubs toiling away in our hospitals or a store clerk making close to minimum wage while exposing themselves to every manner of customer and their associated pathogens.
As disconcerting as it was to have a faceless, formless entity wreak havoc on our society for more than a month now, it seemed like people were eager to assign hero status to everyone and everyone that was carrying on with their business in spite of the possibility of contamination.
After it came to light that many long term care facilities (known as CHSLDs) in the province, which were understaffed prior to this crisis, were in such desperate need of able bodied workers the federal government agreed to send in military personnel with the requisite experience to homes that needed assistance.
Premier François Legault even offered a mea culpa during his daily briefing on Friday afternoon, stating that he could have done more for the people in the province’s CHSLDs, who now make up around half of the province’s total recorded deaths from COVID-19.
“If I was able to redo one thing, I would have increased the wages of orderlies faster, even without the accord of the unions,” he said. “I assume full responsibility. We entered this crisis ill equipped, and clearly the situation deteriorated for all kinds of reasons.”
It’s a big deal for any politician to admit even partial guilt for anything, let alone a catastrophe of this magnitude, so Quebec’s big wigs should be commended for their candour.
If there’s anyone deserving to be recognized for their contributions to this community, it’s those that take care of our most vulnerable seniors. It’s a selfless job that doesn’t pay nearly enough for what’s required: changing diapers, bathing and feeding residents as well as looking out for their physical and emotional health.
It’s a damn shame that it took a international crisis for the suits in Quebec City to fess up and admit that these troopers in our CHSLDs are worth more that what we’re paying them.
Pontiacers know this intrinsically, since many of our best and brightest have already been lured away to Ottawa and Renfrew with more competitive compensation.
It’s great that the CAQ brass have acknowledged that there’s an issue, let’s see if they actually plan on doing anything in the long term, once the daily news briefings die down. It’s one thing to admit you were wrong, it’s another to try and make things right.
Without diminishing the contributions of the above mentioned health care workers, this column about heroes wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the police officers that responded to the shooting spree in Nova Scotia this weekend, the bloodiest this country has ever seen.
One RCMP officer, Const. Heidi Stevenson, was killed in the line of duty and one of her colleagues was injured. More than a dozen other people were slain by this killer, the total number hasn’t even been calculated at the time of publication.
Just like the the health care system, it seems like we only voice our appreciation for law enforcement personnel after they suit up and throw down with the worst society has to offer.
Whether they’re in scrubs or body armour, the efforts these people make on a daily basis are nothing short of heroic, and it never hurts to show a little gratitude.

Caleb Nickerson


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