TORONTO — Premier Doug Ford defended his minister of long-term care on Wednesday, amid requires her resignation after a scathing report discovered Ontario’s nursing properties have been uncared for and unprepared for a pandemic.
Ford instructed the legislature that he takes final accountability for the tragedies in long-term care and promised to repair the system.
“The buck stops with me; that’s who it stops with. It stops with me and I’ll take accountability,” Ford stated throughout a debate on his first day again at Queen’s Park after isolating from a COVID-19 publicity.
He stated he had “full confidence” in Lengthy-Time period Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton, saying she “confirmed management” through the pandemic, which has killed 3,761 long-term care residents as of Wednesday.
“It was an absolute tragedy that occurred not simply right here in Ontario, (however) all over the world,” Ford stated. “It was a tragedy … however we’re going to repair it. We’re going to ensure we repair it.”
His feedback got here almost every week after the Ontario Lengthy-Time period Care COVID-19 Fee issued its report calling for an overhaul of the sector.
That report and the federal government’s response to the pandemic that devastated nursing properties dominated query interval with opposition politicians repeatedly calling for Fullerton to step down.
The report laid blame on the ft of the previous Liberal authorities and Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, who have been sluggish to reply within the early weeks of the pandemic.
It stated the federal government hadn’t but formalized its response construction when outbreaks first set in at long-term care properties, and it was making up emergency measures because it went alongside.
It additionally known as for the federal government to contemplate how nursing properties are managed, specializing in high quality care, and took situation with care properties which can be owned by traders.
On Wednesday, Fullerton additionally reiterated a dedication to enhance situations within the province’s long-term care properties, pointing to authorities plans to extend staffing and create extra beds.
She stopped in need of committing to a everlasting wage enhance for private service staff and indicated room for “mission-driven,” for-profit care properties in the way forward for long-term care in Ontario.
“The fee report was very clear about that, that it was much less about for revenue versus revenue versus municipal, and extra concerning the mission, by way of caring,” she stated.
In her first media look since she briskly ended a Monday information convention on the report, Fullerton spoke about her want to enhance the system and to proceed in politics on the long-term care file, regardless of the pressures of the final 12 months.
“I believe you need to persist via one thing longer than you suppose you may, till it will get higher,” she instructed reporters. “This job must be executed by somebody who cares and I care.”
However opposition politicians expressed doubts on whether or not Ford or Fullerton have dedicated to vital strikes that might enhance the system.
They famous that the federal government hasn’t dedicated to adjustments like everlasting wage will increase for private help staff or promised to implement different suggestions within the report.
Mike Schreiner of the Inexperienced occasion and John Fraser of the Liberals each expressed concern that the federal government wouldn’t implement the report’s suggestions.
Queen’s Park on defensive following Ontario long-term care report
NDP Opposition Chief Andrea Horwath, who known as for Fullerton’s resignation earlier this week, stated it was disappointing to listen to Ford defend the minister.
“He’s (Ford) defending his failed minister, he’s placing out platitudes, however that’s not what individuals deserve,” she stated.
Horwath additionally criticized the premier for “deflecting” by pointing to worldwide journey as a supply of circumstances, and criticized the federal government for not committing to completely elevating wages for private service staff.
“I believe what it actually does is present very clearly that this Ford authorities, and this minister of long-term care haven’t any intention of fixing long-term care system,” she stated.
© 2021 The Canadian Press