Towards a more caring society
As the Grim Reaper continues to claim thousands of lives around the word during the current viral pandemic, let us open our eyes and recognize the sobering reality: Canada will never be the quite same after this evil plague leaves us.
Leave us it will even if we do not know exactly when.
But as they say, out of evil cometh good and we should focus our attention on the positive things which have already happened since the outbeak of this crisis and on what could possibly follow when it is over.
“Stay at home” has been the advice of politicians across the country – the kind of advice which, although not heeded by one hundred per cent of the population, has led many in our own Caribbean community to reclaim the pleasures of family life as we find the time to sit and chat around the dinner table and learn more about one another.
And as growing numbers of people now work on their computers at home, instead of at their office desks, they are discovering that home can be a place of new found joy – not just somewhere to sleep, grab a bite and take a shower.
In the not-too-distant future, bosses will no doubt realize that many of their employees can be more productive in a less stressful home environment.
But what about the homeless and the elderly?
It is certainly unfortunate that it had to take this dreaded virus to get the powers that be to more fully recognize the seriousness of the problem of homelessness in Canada and the need to pay more attention to our senior citizens.
As Prime Minister Trudeau noted on Sunday, while the crisis is taking its toll on all Canadians , “staying home” is particularly hard for those who were already struggling – and it’s impossible for those who don’t have a safe home.
As Trudeau correctly pointed out,” tough times fall first and hardest on the most vulnerable in our communities,”
The Canadian government has already announced $157.5 million for homeless shelters and up to $50 million for women’s shelters as part of its federal aid package made public March 18, mainly to help the organizations buy protective gear for workers and find ways to keep clients isolated as necessary.
And Families Minister Ahmed Hussen said on Sunday that $15 million in emergency funding has already gone out and is having an impact, allowing shelters to get hotel rooms for clients who need to be quarantined or isolated and to buy emergency supplies to protect frontline staff.
The Canadian government is also providing $ 9 million for United Way Canada to deliver services to senior citiizens who need practical help with such everyday chores as grocery shopping, filling their prescriptions or getting meals delivered.
And in the province of Ontario where a State of Emergency has been extended by two weeks, Premier Doug Ford has announced that the government is providing $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized delivery of meals, medicine and other necessities to senior citizens living at home.
Clearly, the pandemic has certainly made governments more greatly aware of the problems of homelessness and the elderly.
In a more caring Camadian society, one can expect more help for these vulnerable members of the society after the current crisis is over.
Over the last few weeks we have heard the often repeated message of the importance of washing of hands. Yes, a simple matter but one that is extremely important, as health officials keep reminding us.
But why does it have to take a pandemic for some people to get to the taps and wash their hands?
Many of us were taught from an early age that we should wash our hands regularly and many of us do.Yet there are many others who standards of personal hygiene leave much to be desired and need to be told of the importance of washing one’s hands regularly.
Well, by this time, this message of washing of hands should be well instilled in the minds of all Canadians and this should result in a nation of cleaner hands.
We look forward to a more caring society.