This past week has been a very challenging one for myself and those around me. For myself because I’m trying to do all of harvest’s various tasks with one hand and those around me are having to pick up the slack because I can’t do those tasks by myself but always have to have someone along helping. It certainly gives one a sense of humility to learn to ask for help and it also makes you realize how strong people in our society are who have had to learn to cope with a disability which lasts for lifetime. I have a new respect for those people. I have never been the best person on a keyboard but trying to do something as minor as this commentary and other computer tasks with one hand is almost impossible and without my home-based personal secretary, this wouldn’t be happening this fast.
New reports this past week about the crumbling infrastructure in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region point out once again that the current government’s approach to funding health care infrastructure is not working. Several weeks ago, the PC Party of Saskatchewan proposed that 5% of the health care budget in any health region must be dedicated to infrastructure replacement. If that number is not correct, I would like someone in the Sask Party government or their high-priced minions at the top of the health regions to tell us what the correct number is and how they are going to get there.
It is obvious that health care infrastructure replacement has been a very low priority for a long time and if we don’t do something to mandate a solution to the problem, the problem will only continue to grow. There is not a day that goes by in this province that we do not hear of concerns around senior’s care, lack of senior housing and stories about the deplorable conditions in which some of our senior citizens live out their days. Population demographics tell us that the percentage of our population moving into the senior’s bracket is only going to increase for the next couple of decades. We must come up with a different approach as a society or this will be a provincial and national shame on all of our heads.
Our Premiers all got together last week for their annual retreat and it was pleasing to see their unanimous agreement about trying to address the issues around the disappearance and murder of Aboriginal women. I think they correctly identified that there are issues to be dealt with before a national inquiry is called but ultimately, there must be a coordinated national effort to address this stain on our society. The issues around solving these crimes and preventing them are many but there will be no solution until the effort is driven at the national level and the resources provided to coordinate all facets of society in the prevention of these deaths in the future. Canada is not a 3rd world country and therefore we should not act like one as far as Aboriginal women are concerned.
The same kind of effort and level of cooperation is going to be necessary by the Premiers and the national government in order to solve the issues around senior’s care and housing. Not many months ago we saw the tragic fire in Quebec in a senior’s home where there was only one exit for dozens of people – many of whom were in wheelchairs – and other incapacities. That situation could occur in almost every province in Canada and is unacceptable.
If this problem is beyond the scope of government, then we need to find new ways of involving the private sector which allows people to dedicate part of their taxable income to their own future personal care. There needs to be new approaches to the ways that families can contribute to the care of seniors within their own family unit. I do not have all of the solutions this morning in this commentary but it is absolutely imperative that we begin to address this issue now before the problem becomes totally unmanageable and we continue to simply warehouse the people who built our country in demeaning and unsafe conditions. Don’t our seniors deserve more?
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.