As we enter round four of the provincial government’s attempt to privatize long-term care on the Coast, the battle lines are clearly drawn. With a deal with the Sechelt Indian Band off the table, Trellis supporters can no longer claim that privatization would create opportunities for the Band, or any sector of the community. Instead, it comes down to a single issue: after all this time will the Ministry of Health finally commit to build a publicly funded and operated facility or double-down on an ill-conceived scheme that would reduce the quality of care, load extra costs on families and harm the community as a whole?
Those of us in the anti-privatization campaign hope we can count on the renewed support of a former ally. Following the 2016 announcement of the original Trellis deal, MLA Nicholas Simons explicitly, repeatedly denounced privatization of senior care. He said that privatization hurts communities and families and promised to denounce any attempt to replace Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe with a for-profit facility.
After his party came to power in 2017, Mr. Simons took a different tack. He said that ending the contract with Trellis was “clearly not in the best interests of the public.” He called the proposed Trellis-SIB deal “a definite partial victory” and claimed that opposition to privatization had diminished. He wrongly suggested that his government had ended contract-flipping. He ignored questions of increased costs to families and the effect of privatization on volunteer services.
The courtship of Trellis by the Ministry of Health has gone on almost four years. Whatever Mr. Simons may choose to believe, opposition to for-profit care is stronger than ever. The future of public health care is at stake and thousands of people are girding for a fight.
So which side are you on, sir?
Ian McLatchie, Davis Bay