NDP leader Andrea Horwath can keep flogging the idea of a “full public inquiry” into Ontario’s long-term care “system” (although “system” seems a misnomer based on the disaster we have seen during the COVID crisis so far)—but there is not much to gain. The government has commissioned an “independent” enquiry, and why don’t we wait to see what that looks like before leaning on the horn?
There is little to be gained by the political finger-pointing exercise that Horwath envisions, because the problems with Ontario’s long-term care system date back decades—certainly through all of the McGuinty-Wynne years, the Harris years and probably as far back as the Rae Government.
This isn’t a blame issue as much as it is a resource issue. How to we fund a system that has never been properly funded? The inquiry should focus on solutions to problems that are frankly already well-documented. The homes are too crowded to allow for social distancing and personal care workers are underpaid, resulting in staff shortages. There is enough blame to go around for all parties—not just the one that has been in office for slightly under two years. Ford’s cost-cutting has probably contributed to some of the mess we are seeing, but the long-term care issue goes way back. We prefer to see a solutions-based enquiry.