Letters to the Editor
Letter from a Person Living in a Private Seniors' Residence in Montérégie, Quebec
Workers' Forum received this letter from a person who
lives in a private seniors' residence. It is written in the form of a
letter to Quebec Premier François Legault.
Premier François Legault,
At the beginning of the containment, you spoke at length about the
health care workers you called "Guardian Angels," about how
essential they were in fighting the COVID-19 virus afflicting Quebec.
At that time, we all believed that the government was wholeheartedly
with them and that it would use all the resources at its disposal to
help them emerge stronger from the pandemic. We, as seniors living in
private residences, CHSLDs [residential and long-term care centres] or
in our family homes, rely enormously on the support from these people
in caring for and taking care of us. This is why we were happy that the
government referred to them as Guardian Angels.
Unfortunately, your words as Premier have not lived up to your
actions and responsibilities. Everyone in Quebec experienced the
tragedy of the large number of deaths in CHSLDs and seniors' residences
and how the virus spread because those Guardian Angels were denied the
right to decide on how both residents and they themselves were to
be protected. Everyone is now aware that what happened was the result
of decades of government cuts and austerity measures. It's an open
secret that the government doesn't want to talk about.
you were calling health care workers Guardian Angels, you referred to
us as the builders of modern Quebec. The COVID-19 virus raging in
CHSLDs and private residences took the lives of thousands of the
builders of modern Quebec. At that time also, we were flattered by the
compliment you paid us, because it was definitely true. We
are the living witnesses of the quiet revolution and important public
institutions such as Hydro-Québec that have shaped Quebec to this day.
We are the children of a period that saw Quebec modernize itself before
our eyes, but we are also the parents of the children who continue to
build our Quebec.
You are right, Mr. Premier, that we are the builders of modern
Quebec. Unfortunately, once again we are being let down. We expected
that this Quebec we helped build would take care of us like the apple of
its eye. That's not what happened. We feel that the only use we have
now is to hand over huge amounts of the money we have
accumulated throughout our lives to private companies so that we can be
housed and taken care of. Our pension funds and personal savings have
built the fortunes of individuals who have built personal mini-empires
for themselves. We're under the impression that not only did we build
Quebec, now we're being asked to pay to be able to continue
to live here, as if the Quebec we built does not belong to us.
Moreover, you've crammed the most vulnerable and sick from amongst
us into public residences without taking care of the Guardian Angels
who care for them. Is this the ultimate reward the Quebec state can
give to the builders of modern Quebec? I don't think so.
During the containment, you treated us like children, as if we had
lost our ability to think. At our residence, we were encouraged to
spend our time making little drawings, as if we were in kindergarten,
rather than being encouraged to participate in ensuring our own safety,
amongst ourselves as well as in collaboration with our Guardian
Angels. That, in my opinion, would have been the best way of fighting
the virus and of emerging from the pandemic as human beings proud of
what we had accomplished.
One thing is for sure, Mr. Premier -- that unfortunately it's too late
for those who have died from COVID-19. However, for those who remain,
we have learned important lessons, such as that it's never too late to
learn and act.
This article was published in
Number 61 - September 15, 2020
Letters to the Editor: Letter from a Person Living in a Private Seniors' Residence in Montérégie, Quebec