There are more than 700 BC families and hundreds of their relatives and friends now in mourning and planning funerals for victims of BC’s recent brutal heat wave.
BC’s Coroner Service says that’s TRIPLE the normal number of sudden deaths recorded at this time of the year.
And no amount of government excuses or spin will change the truth: many of those could still be alive if Premier John Horgan and his NDP government had kept their 2017 election promise to “invest in more paramedics, so that no one is left waiting for an ambulance in their time of critical need.”
No doubt that is a broken vow … four years later, still not only substantially unfulfilled, but a situation getting even worse.
But that is not why I am calling on Horgan to apologize.
Governments … all governments … fail to keep promises: and if leaders had to apologize each time they did, there would be daily announcements of lists of regrets.
But where Horgan fell short this week went beyond the pale … even for a politician.
““I’ll await the coroner’s determination. As Dr. (Bonnie) Henry said, fatalities are part of life,” the Premier told reporters Tuesday.
“The public was acutely aware that we had a heat problem, but it was apparent to anyone who walked outdoors that we were in an unprecedented heat wave and again there’s a level of personal responsibility.”
Oh … so it was the “responsibility” of people who had heat strokes, suffered accidents etc, and lay there on their beds or floors for hours waiting for ambulances that never came to take care of themselves!
I don’t recall reading THAT in the NDP’s Election Platform … in 2017 or in 2020!
Imagine so many BC families hearing that from BC’s Premier as they are immersed in grief, arranging to bury their dead, arranging funerals, buying caskets or urns, burial plots.
Their elderly, sick heat victims should have taken better care of themselves. Or their surviving family or friends should have done better. Don’t blame the government.
Remember, statistically, there’s a pretty good chance that many of those who died, and their friends and relations, had believed in Horgan and the NDP, had voted for them … and had done their very BEST for the past year and a half to follow all the government’s guidelines, orders and appeals in the fight against Covid.
But, they … like millions of other British Columbians without air conditioning or alternatives … were largely powerless against the brutal record heat that suffocated the province for days, taking a terrible toll on the elderly, frail and sick.
Emergency 911, first responders, police, fire and paramedics were so overwhelmed … and understaffed … they couldn’t even get to some of those dying at all!
And Horgan’s response…
“We were doing our best to break through all of the other noise to encourage people to take steps to protect themselves,” was Horgan’s message.
Ahh… protect yourself.
It’s YOUR fault … especially those of you in your 70s, 80s, 90s … for collapsing, getting sick and needing help from OTHERS when the province was so overwhelmed!
What a horrible reaction from a “leader” when BC is in the midst of a crisis.
Now I know Horgan is a very intense, competitive … and some say ill-tempered … political being.
However, a Premier MUST be capable of differentiating between his political opponents, pestering media, badgering bloggers … and those who are ordinary taxpayers …citizens who LOOK to their Premier for leadership, support … and sympathy during tough times.
Horgan let them down.
And even after Horgan’s remarks hit the fan, the Premier’s response wasn’t much better.
“Nothing can ease the pain of losing a loved one, whether it’s from the unprecedented heat wave or any other cause. Mourning families deserve our compassion, and the wording of my comments didn’t reflect that. Please continue supporting one another & checking on your neighbours,” he tweeted.”
Notice: NO apology for his FAILURE to show/express any REAL sympathy, compassion, understanding.
Horgan’s response is just not good enough.
If he won’t … or can’t … bring himself to admit he was way off track with his remarks, that will reveal a character flaw and forever become part of his permanent political and personal legacy.
Like P.E. Trudeau’s giving the finger to hurting British Columbians in 1982.
Premier Horgan should say “I apologize” OR “I’m sorry” to those people who suffered or lost loved ones during BC’s heat epidemic, when the government services/help they desperately needed did not come.
And are still suffering and grieving.
And to ordinary British Columbians who believed he and his NDP government would solve BC’s paramedic response crisis … but are still being let down, and paying with their lives.
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