Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2022/ Healthcare Protest

Healthcare Protest

Today I attended a healthcare protest against the Ford government's alleged attempts to privatize healthcare by funding "Independent Health Facilities" while underfunding public healthcare (for example, via Bill 124 which caps salary increases for nurses). The protest was at noon on a Monday, which meant that people who had real jobs would not be able to attend. However, I am a worthless unemployable burden on society, so I showed up partly to represent others who might have wanted to attend but couldn't.

I learned about the protest from Reddit. According to the organizer 104 people showed up. Supposedly there were other local protests happening throughout the province.

The protest was really aggravating. As I expected, it was a bunch of union people and old white retired people. There were a smattering of people under retirement age, and a much smaller smattering of people of colour, but that was it. We stood around Waterloo Public Square for a while while organizer Jim Stewart told us how Doug Ford was privatizing everything and was therefore a bad bad person. Here are some of the points I remember:

Next Catherine Fife spoke, but they did not adjust the loudspeaker volume for her so she was too quiet. She had the crowd enraptured, though, and I can see why -- she is really a good politician. She noted that Queen's Park has been toxic lately, and that a lot was happening at once: health care, the Greenbelt, the notwithstanding clause stuff. She said the government would back down if there was enough co-ordinated support.

Then we were supposed to march to Grand River Hospital. Nobody was moving so I started walking, and that means I was near the front of the line, which means (based on the media cameras pointed at us) that I am probably in the media coverage.

People tried to initiate chants along the walk but they kept dying out. The most popular chant was "Hey hey! Ho ho! Doug Ford has got to go!" which infuriated me. What a stupid chant. First of all, Doug Ford has a supermajority government and does not have to go anywhere for four years. Secondly, healthcare is an issue that straddles the political divide, and I want conservatives (not just NDP/union types) to advocate for healthcare reform. I did not participate in this chant.

When we got to the hospital we stood around until Catherine Fife directed us to a better location, and then we chanted some more.

Chants that had some traction were "Patients Before Profits" and "Keep Healthcare Public", which I did participate in, even though I don't fully agree with either. I actually don't have a problem with re-examining the public/private mix for healthcare, and our dogmatic view that healthcare must be public (but it is okay for dentistry and mental health supports to be private) really bugs me.

I tried to initiate a chant "Pay Public Nurses" but it went nowhere. I guess these retirees and union-types don't care enough about paying public nurses to chant for them.

Chants died down unless loud people kept them going, so I tried being a loud person for a while. Eventually I ended up being the only person shouting. At that point I would continue for 4-5 chants and then give up. It was distressing that so few people were willing to join in. Solidarity my foot.

The organizers said the protest would end at 1pm so at around 1:10pm I left. But maybe other people stayed until 1:30pm.

I am pretty disappointed. If Doug Ford looked at this protest he would see it was the same tired group of lefties who always oppose him. He would laugh and laugh. He understands full well that so long as he does not lose the base he cares about (the "hard working people of Ontario" who live in the suburbs, have jobs and care mostly about pocketbook issues) he can do whatever he wants.

It is a shame. Our healthcare system is at the breaking point. When it snaps, people are going to start to care.