Hansard March 29, 2021
Mr. Peter Tabuns: I appreciate the opportunity to address this issue this afternoon.
Speaker, my colleagues have already spoken about the deep commitments made by the Premier to put an iron ring around seniors and preserve them, protect them, do whatever it takes to make sure their lives were protected. I have to say to everyone in this chamber—because many of us had the same experience in the spring of 2020, when we had constituents come to us and say, “I have an aunt,” or “I have a father,” or “I have a grandfather who’s in that nursing home. People are dying, and I can’t get anything from this government to protect those people. I can’t get anything to happen. How can my parents, my aunts, my uncles be abandoned this way? Why on earth aren’t they sending in the army?” To say that people felt betrayed by a promise of an iron ring and doing whatever it took is to grossly understate what was going on.
We found out why the army didn’t go in earlier—because when the army went in and reported on the conditions in those homes, it was a scandal across this province. That was a terrible, terrible spring. We all remember that. We thought, maybe naively, that those who had the authority to protect lives over the summer would take the steps necessary to ensure that we didn’t go through it again, but we did. More people died in the second wave than in the first in those homes. Was nothing learned?
Did people listen to or read what Allison McGeer had to say to the long-term-care commission about the proposals they brought forward to protect lives, to save our parents, our grandparents? They were turned down time after time after time. Finally, they realized, “No money is going to be put forward. This is not going to happen. These people are going to be left to their fate,” and that is indeed what happened.
Speaker, an apology is a small thing—but recognizing that you allowed people to die, that you betrayed your word, an apology is the very least that can be done.