History. While news unfolds around us, there has never been a more clear sense that what we are living through is real — and that we are making history in so many ways, day after day.
The public sharing of horror and grief as we learned about how elderly citizens were left helpless, unfed and in filthy conditions in a private long-term care facility in Dorval has only added to our awareness of how vulnerable our elderly citizens are and how they depend on systems and facilities that are not inspected often enough. We have heard for a long time that staffing is inadequate — that people visit several times a day to feed their elderly family members who cannot feed themselves. Although the Dorval facility was privately-owned, we as a society must take responsibility for the lack of oversight.
We need to hold on to this sad event and make changes. Now.
This week, we received a press release advising that “Canada’s Rural & Remote Broadband Conference Series is pleased to announce revised dates for the CRRBC WEST and EAST events. Originally scheduled for May, the WEST and EAST conferences have moved to November 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.”
“Pleased to announce”? A regrettable turn-of-phrase, in our opinion. Indeed, the press release announces a May 10 virtual conference and states that the pandemic has put the focus on the digital divide.
A suggestion: Maybe move the need for reliable broadband internet to an urgent status and conduct the entire series of conferences, scheduled for Huntstville, Ontario, Canmore, Alberta, and Fredericton, New Brunswick in October and November, online. The digital divide has existed for decades. It’s time to take action.
Those are two areas where improvement is needed. We need to hold on to those issues and push our governments to push them forward.
But there are other things that we must hold on to.
As these days unfold, there are phrases that we need to hold on to. We need to hold on to the idea that the actions we take — such as physical distancing and hand-washing — are protecting others.
While editorials such as this have encouraged you to speak out, get involved and make a difference, you are now hearing that message every day. From the Prime Minister to your local mayor, you are hearing this several times per day: What you do makes a difference.
Hold on to that. Forever.
Despite the upsurge in online consumption of well, everything — we are looking for other sources of comfort and relief. We are checking in with our neighbours and sometimes, leaving small offerings of friendship and food. We are reading. We are doing jigsaw puzzles. We are walking. Planning bigger gardens. We are sewing, knitting, building, helping, thinking. Parents are right in there, aware of what their kids are learning.
Performers are singing and sharing their talents freely online. Artists are posting images of their work online. We are listening to music, indulging in silly movies, playing games at home virtually and looking for reasons to laugh. We are baking and cooking and some are taking their solitary cooking online to an audience of friends, livestreaming from their kitchens.
We are thanking everyone we deal with during these times — just for being there. Sincerity, good intentions and kindness abound.
We need to hold on to all of these things.
• By Louise Sproule – [email protected]