#MLAMonday & #peopleB4politics & #NovaScotiaStrong
There has been little political discussion on Covid-19 and impacts to health and social resources despite increasing rates of illness, hospital overcapacities, and concerns on indoor air quality. Our elected representatives have been mostly silent while over 1 person a day in Nova Scotia loses their life to a preventable infection. It’s impacting education, employment, financial resources, and access to healthcare with an estimated 2.5% of residents currently affected by Long Covid. Covid is now the 2nd leading cause of death in Canada.
And yes, there are many issues of concerns these days, but all of them have been impacted by Covid-19, related business continuity (or lack thereof), and governments refusal to promote our collective resilience by adapting to a New normal. There are few who would argues that kids need to be in school, that normal healthcare operations must be a priority, and that economic stability for both business and families is of critical importance. Frankly MLA’s will discuss all these things without ever pointing to a failure to adapt to Covid-19 as the larger systemic issue.
Instead, fingers are pointed at the Feds on issues that are in provincial jurisdiction (and despite Federal dollars provided to address Covid-19), while launching some excellent PR on the $351,000,000 surplus that was originally a -$585,000,000 deficit. That is almost a Billion dollars that the NS government magically found in 6 months. Where did that even come from? Why has it not been invested in health or social resources for many falling through the gaps? Why can’t we guarantee sick days? Why are people paying out of pocket for healthcare that is supposed to be covered by MSI? Why aren’t we better supporting small business owners that continue to close due to economic hardship?
What is particularly brilliant about this divisive PR and public discourse is that it is causing rifts amongst residents, as if we are somehow competing for resources funded by our own tax dollars. I struggle with the concept that there is so much available surplus while Nova Scotians have been living through the worst wave of Covid-19 in terms of deaths, longer hospitalizations, rates of infections, even more precarious housing, interest rate increases, and inflation. So instead of collectively looking for solutions that address multiple problems or asking our elected reps to lead, we are debating with each other. It sure makes being a politician easier in some troubling times.
But what if these times didn’t have to be so troubling?
What if people had the basic information to make informed choices on what kind of measures were good for their family? What if people could afford to stay home while sick without being afraid of losing their housing? How is better indoor air ever quality a bad thing? How has housing, poverty, and healthcare issue gotten even worst while government claims these billion dollars to be an indication of a better economy? Why aren’t we spending some of this $350,000,000 to help with these issues? What happened to getting through this together and #NovaScotiaStrong?
What no one is saying is that good social health is good public health is good economic health. These are not separate issues: they are all social determinants of health which is supposed to be the underlying premise of public health. And all these important issues have been impacted by the pandemic and current refusal of government to stop testing Einstein’s theory of insanity. The things we have all been doing in the last 6 months are not producing the results that we need to move forward as a community. Our elected leaders need to step up to meet that challenge, and that starts with some hard conversations.
So, are you concerned about the impact Covid-19 has had on any of these issues?
- Housing and food costs
- Interest rate increases
- Hospital overcapacities and backlog of critical health service
- Insecure employment
- Childcare issues
- Lack of sick days
- Air quality in public spaces
- Inclusion and accessibility of services for those at high-risk
- Impacts to mental health services
- Repeated infections in frontline workers
- Long Covid as a disability
- Covid-19 and racial disparities
- Critical issues with supply chains
- The impact of climate change on emerging infectious diseases
Then email or call your MLA as part of #MLAmonday and tell them your concerns. Ask them to start working on the critical issues that matter most to your community. Their job is to put #peopleB4politics.
Or share your concerns and tag us on twitter @Covid19DataNS with the hashtags #MLAmonday and #peopleB4politics. Might as well tag @TimHoustonNS as well!
For anyone interested in how Covid-19 has impacted social determinants of health and health equity, I’ve started a page collecting reports and publications on the this. Feel free to contact our Twitter account if you have a paper to recommend!