Before passing a much-awaited wage subsidy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau affirmed his commitment to protecting the country's senior citizens.
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, countries across the world are struggling to protect their most vulnerable communities: those with compromised immune systems and the elderly. The narrative that we have seen unfold over the past weeks gives us sharp insight into how we particularly treat the latter group. Senior citizens are some of the most overlooked members of our society and rely largely on government assistance just to get by. In the wake of the ongoing public health crisis, the question of whether we should be diverting valuable resources to them has been raised several times. Addressing the House of Commons on Saturday, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau reaffirmed his commitment to protecting the nation's elderly, Canada’s premier current affairs magazine Maclean’s reports.
"We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, of all of those Canadians who saw our nation through difficult, tumultuous times in our history," the Prime Minister asserted, before sharing moving stories about Canada's history. "These were trials that shaped our country and more, our citizens. And now, once again, we’re being tried. But Mr. Speaker, this is not a war. That doesn’t make this fight any less destructive, any less dangerous." Of course, the current global health crisis is unlike any war we have seen. In order to combat the deadly virus, we will need to work together, tighten infrastructure, and foster a sense of hope and community.
Trudeau continued, "The front line is everywhere - in our homes and our hospitals and care centers, in our grocery stores and pharmacies, at our truck stops and gas stations. And the people who work in these places are our modern-day heroes." The Prime Minister was addressing the House of Commons prior to passing a much-awaited wage subsidy that is expected to stimulate Canada's now-sagging economy and provide respite to those who have found themselves unemployed in the wake of the outbreak. While he maintained his commitment to serving the nation's working-class citizens, he also reinstated the government's dedication to protecting the elderly.
"As I stand here today, I think of the young men who died taking Vimy Ridge. I think of the Greatest Generation who grew up during the Depression and fought through WWII," he said. "They showed us how to fight for what we believe in and how to sacrifice for what we hold dear. Today, across this country, the last members of this Greatest Generation live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. They’re in their small apartments and the homes they built so long ago with their own hands. They are the ones most threatened by this disease." As of last week, over 50 percent of those who have tested positive for Coronavirus was above the age of 50. While younger patients have higher chances of recovering from the illness, this is not the case for older patients, the Prime Minister's office explained.
Unfortunately, long-term care and nursing homes have become hotspots for the virus. Some attribute this to major negligence. Therefore, Canada has committed $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services include the home delivery of groceries and medication as well as increased community support. Concluding on a strong note, Prime Minister Trudeau stated, "They fought for us all those years ago. And today we fight for them. We will show ourselves to be worthy of this magnificent country they built. And for them and for their grandchildren, we will endure. We will persevere. And we will prevail."