Politicians issue warnings ahead of expected hospital protests across Canada
Some high-ranking Ontario politicians and prominent health care organizations are issuing warnings ahead of a number of protests slated to take place in hospitals across Canada today.
An organization called Canadian Frontline Nurses has posted notices of ‘silent vigils’ scheduled to take place in all 10 provinces, saying they are supposed to criticize public health measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 .
Organizers say they want to take a stand against what they call “tyrannical measures and government excesses,” adding that they are not encouraging nurses to quit their posts or abandon patients.
But Ontario Premier Doug Ford, whose province has been targets of similar protests in the past after announcing plans to put in place a proof of vaccination system, condemned the latest round on Sunday in a tweet. describing such events as “selfish, cowardly and reckless”.
The protests we see outside of hospitals are selfish, cowardly and reckless. Our healthcare workers have sacrificed so much to keep us safe during this pandemic. They don’t deserve this kind of treatment, not now or ever. Let’s leave our health care workers alone.
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association issued a joint statement “strongly condemning” the planned disruption and calling for designated safe zones around healthcare facilities to protect staff and patients – a proposal that the New Democrats in the province also launched.
“Nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers have been working around the clock on the front lines of the pandemic for 18 months to help keep our communities safe,” the joint statement read on Sunday.
“These COVID-19 heroes need resources and support to keep the battle going – now in the midst of a fourth wave. They cannot and should not be distracted, or worse, deterred by protests on their doorstep. working. “
At least one emergency nurse in Toronto agrees.
“There has been harassment and bullying,” said Vikky Leung, a nurse at the hospital for sick children, who created a petition this weekend also calling for the creation of safe zones around hospitals.
“There have been emails telling my colleagues not to wear gowns or anything that identifies them as healthcare workers and I think that’s really upsetting and scary.”
Leung is on maternity leave, but said she felt fear and frustration after hearing her colleagues talk about their experiences.
“People [are] stressed and discouraged and feeling really unappreciated, ”she told CBC radio Metro morning Monday.
“It’s hard to see that when you come in and out of work, these people are devoting their time and energy to promoting this kind of propaganda.”
Staff will be protected, says Toronto mayor
Toronto Mayor John Tory also took to social media to condemn the protests planned for some of the city’s hospitals, adding that he had been in contact with the local police chief about the events and had received assurances that staff would be protected and that patients would be able to access the buildings.
“I support the police in taking whatever action is necessary to protect the lives of innocent people seeking medical attention and all of our health heroes,” Tory wrote on Twitter. “We are long past the time when we can see this tyranny of the few interfering with access to health care during a pandemic.”
Toronto police say they will lay charges if necessary.
We respect the right to peaceful and legal protest, but hospital operations and public safety cannot be disrupted in any way. Officers will be present and surveillance and charges will be laid where appropriate. #PublicSafety
Past protests have focused both on public health measures and the prospect of proof of vaccination systems that would limit access to many public places for those who have not been immune to COVID-19.
British Columbia’s system goes into effect Monday, while Ontario’s is slated to launch on September 22.
Quebec was deployed earlier this month, Manitoba began issuing vaccination cards in June, and Nova Scotia and the Yukon said proof of vaccination systems were underway.