Trellis is no different



Re: “Care homes ground zero,” Editorial, May 1.

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It’s difficult to follow John Gleeson’s logic. He rightly notes that for-profit operators have been the prime culprit in the awful toll that COVID-19 has taken on long-term care homes, but then criticizes public care advocates for our blanket condemnation of for-profit care.

The only basis for Gleeson’s qualified defence of for-profit ownership seems to be that, under community pressure, the NDP forced Trellis to honour the provisions of the existing labour agreement with Totem Lodge and Shorncliffe workers. If he’s followed our letters over the past four years, Mr. Gleeson knows that we regard poverty wages as only one symptom of the systemic weakness of for-profit care, and private care as a whole. Throughout our campaign, we’ve cited a large body of research proving that in general private operators deliver inferior care compared to publicly owned and operated ones. Substandard wages are a factor, but by no means the sole cause of this disparity.

Gleeson also ignores other consequences of privatization, including the fact that families can be faced with thousands of dollars of expenses that are covered in public facilities. The problem would be particularly acute if the Trellis deal were to go ahead, as the immense material contributions of the Healthcare Auxiliary would come to an end. These are realities that supporters of the project, including our MLA, refuse to acknowledge.

So no, Mr. Gleeson, the proposed Trellis facility is not “in a different category” from other private care centres. Consider this: of the 31 B.C. long-term care facilities where COVID-19 has been confirmed, only two are publicly owned and operated. Public care is better, period. We will not allow care of our vulnerable seniors to be turned over to private interests.

Ian McLatchie, Protect Public Health Care Sunshine Coast, Davis Bay

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