I am not going to mince words.
Shame on Premier Doug Ford. Shame on Minister of Health Christine Elliot. Shame on Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. Shame on all of them. Shame on these supposed conservatives. Shame on the fraudulent “Conservative” Party of Ontario.
But worse of all — shame on us.
When conservative Ontarians voted for Doug Ford and the Conservative Party to lead our province four years ago, we never imagined we were electing what has become probably the most incompetent and disastrous provincial government in Ontario’s history.
Sure, no one predicted a virus would disrupt Doug Ford’s agenda two years into his term. However, considering his campaign promises — no one could have predicted the cure would become worse than the disease.
A couple of days ago, Doug Ford announced he will be enforcing a fourth lockdown in Ontario starting today.
All indoor events and activities are banned: including indoor dining, concerts, movie theatres, and gyms. All public and private schools are also closed for at least two weeks.
Social gatherings that exceed 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors are also banned. And church services, weddings, and funerals that exceed 50% capacity remain banned.
Premier Doug Ford claims the latest severe restrictions are necessary in order to protect hospitals from becoming impossibly overburdened by Omicron hospitalizations. He suggested in a worst-case scenario, Ontario could have Omicron cases that could lead to up to 1,000 more hospitalizations.
Ford suggests Ontario doesn’t have enough ICU beds to maintain 1,000 more Omicron hospitalizations. That is, supposedly, the basis for the latest lockdown.
There are 15 million people in Ontario. If 1,000 hospitalizations from Omicron would cripple Ontario hospitals, our government should be held responsible for that — not us. Ontarians shouldn’t be burdened with the consequences of Doug Ford’s poor leadership.
We Canadians tend to boast about our socialist healthcare system, but we remain silent over its inevitable problems. No one seemingly wants to admit this: but one of the reasons why Americans have only suffered one lockdown instead of four is because America’s privatized healthcare system is significantly better prepared to maintain COVID than a completely government-controlled or socialist healthcare system.
When the government removes competition and alternative healthcare options through a socialist healthcare system, why are we surprised when we’re forced to live under the tyranny of public health officials? If the government controls your healthcare, they control your life.
Nevertheless during his election campaign, knowing Ontario has the fewest hospital beds per capita in Canada — Doug Ford promised he would end Ontario’s hospital overcrowding.
But as it’s become the norm, he didn’t keep his promise. Therefore, COVID didn’t introduce new problems to our healthcare system. It simply exacerbated lingering problems.
For that reason, most Ontarians aren’t necessarily suffering from Omicron or COVID. We’re suffering from the consequences of our government’s incompetent leadership.
Omicron isn’t a threat to most of us, but the government has become a threat to us all.
Ontarians and Canadians have some of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Yet, we also have some of the most severe restrictions in the world.
Social distancing restrictions and mask mandates have been enforced throughout the province without cessation since the beginning of COVID. Then just a few months ago — after he promised otherwise — Premier Doug Ford implemented a vaccine mandate for Ontario residents from 12 years or older.
The mandates banned all unvaccinated people from restaurants, gyms, movie theatres, post-secondary schools, and in some cases: churches.
Doug Ford promised compliance to vaccine mandates would eventually put an end to COVID and more lockdowns. Predictably, however, after he announced the latest lockdown on Monday — Ford said it is impossible to stop Omicron.
Still, despite two years of failure — he maintains the latest lockdown will “slow the spread.” He suggested that would protect frontline workers from becoming overwhelmed.
That was probably the most frustrating thing about the press conference. If the lockdowns are really about protecting frontline workers from becoming overwhelmed, why didn’t they care about overwhelming them with vaccine mandates just a few months ago? Why didn’t they care about overwhelming them with threats of job loss and unemployment for refusing the vaccine just a few months ago?
And especially, why is it wrong to overwhelm frontline workers — but it’s okay to overwhelm everybody else?
Why isn’t it wrong to overwhelm the rest of Ontarians with a lockdown? Why doesn’t the government care about people becoming overwhelmed with anxiety over their COVID policies?
Why doesn’t the government care about their COVID policies creating an increase in suicides and opioid deaths?
Why doesn’t the government care about people becoming overwhelmed by job loss or unemployment because of lockdowns and vaccine mandates?
Why doesn’t the government care about overwhelming children with school closures? Why doesn’t the government care about overwhelming parents — especially single mothers — with school closures?
Because of school closures, many single mothers are forced between providing for their children or protecting their children. Are these single mothers and children less important than frontline workers?
Ontario’s COVID policies are filled with partiality and discrimination. They’re evil and shameful. Shame on the Ontario government.
However, most of all, shame on us.
Last month, a poll revealed that 55% of Canadians supported new restrictions and new lockdowns because of Omicron.
In some ways, we are just as responsible for the authoritarian and oppressive COVID policies. If we didn’t support or remain largely silent on these policies, our government would be too afraid of their political future to enforce them.
So shame on the government, and shame on us for continuing to allow them to do this.
Originally published in Slow to Write.
Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.