Right in the centre - Good intentions or actions, it's time to choose


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

At long last, Manitoba has opened up a lot as we hopefully skid to the end of COVID-19. On Tuesday, Premier Pallister and Dr. Roussin announced the long awaited changes to public health orders. The changes are covered elsewhere in the paper and do represent some long awaited relief for Manitobans’ lifestyle.

The biggest visible change will be that masks, as of Saturday. Aug. 7, will be “recommended” for non-vaccinated people in indoor public places. No one will be required to wear a mask but non-vaccinated people are being encouraged to do so indoors.

Manitoba has taken a long time to get to this point and a sense of relief has come to the province. There remains some questions. As of print deadline, regulations for weddings, funerals and other public gatherings both indoors and outdoors including larger capacity limits for worship and cultural events like pow wows were yet to be announced.

The bigger question is, “How did Manitoba do throughout COVID-19? “Overall; pretty good in comparison with other countries and other provinces. Many would debate that, especially the opposition parties and many in the media.

As an aside, I strongly feel that many media outlets did a terrible job of covering C-19. They asked some of the dumbest questions and, often as not, the questions at the press conferences had nothing to do with C-19. But the media’s greatest failure was to research solutions. There were very few scouted out and brought to light. The public still doesn’t know what treatments are being used for people who are really sick with C-19. Neither Manitoba Health nor the media have really let that be known.

The place that we really fell down is care of the elderly. While many care homes did a fantastic job of combining diligence and good luck to keep C-19 at bay, some care homes were a never ending death sentence. Every care home that had larger numbers or larger percentages of deaths should be subject to a public inquiry.

It is well documented that care homes in Manitoba have been under funded, many have been under staffed and most have been under trained. That said, we all need to acknowledge that for the most part, day in, day out, care home staff perform great service to our seniors.

In preparation for the next pandemic, and there will be another one, we need to have clear guidelines for care homes and hospitals. We have to figure out how to keep families and volunteers coming in on a regular basis to provide the extra care and comfort that staff cannot fulfil. Families and volunteers should never have been subject to long term lockouts. It caused great anxiety and deaths in many cases.

Care homes need more equipment and better guidelines and as usual, more money. Care home funding shortages crosses all levels of government and all political parties.We must never repeat the mistakes that were made with C-19.

When I says care home funding shortages crosses all levels of government and all political parties, it’s a lot like the lack of clean water in communities. Everybody says it’s important to have clean drinking water but at all levels of government, all levels of citizenry and all levels of media, we are lying to ourselves until it really happens. People of the older generation used to say, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” The theology might be little sketchy on that statement but we get the point. We don’t need more speeches, promises or press releases. We need action on both clean water and better senior care. I challenged governments at the highest levels, both in written word, in speeches and private conversations to quit spending billions of dollars on useless efforts (such as the Manitoba Museum of Human Rights) and look after the drinking water, health care and elderly housing.

It’s time to pave the road, away from Hell and towards proper care, with actions and not just hollow intentions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.