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.

While 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.

(Translated from original French by Workers' Forum.)

This article was published in

Number 61 - September 15, 2020

Article Link:
Letters to the Editor: Letter from a Person Living in a Private Seniors' Residence in Montérégie, Quebec


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