Mentally ill prisoners are cooped up in solitary confinement in Ontario jails because no facilities are available for them.
Solitary for the mentally ill. A curious type of treatment. Has the Ontario government, which made a pledge four years ago to clean up this mess, considered other kinds of cures for mental problems among inmates. Perchance bleeding by applying leeches to the afflicted’s skin. Or burning at the stake to cure them of the devil within.
The veneer of civilization is very thin.
This comes after it was discovered that prisoners in Ontario institutions were being forced to sleep in showers because there were not enough rooms at the inn. Or that the justice system was so slow in Ontario that judges started staying charges of very serious alleged crimes because the waits for trial were unconscionable.
And let’s not leave out the City of Ottawa. In a city-run long-term care home, an elderly patient with dementia is punched out by an employee while two nurses are denied visiting privileges to loved ones because they complained about the accommodations. Then to top it off, the province issues unprecedented orders to clean the homes up.
Do we hear apologies from senior city management? No. We hear excuses.
Surely more detailed explanations exist for these government faux pas, but here is a theory.
Government bureaucrats can get $3.2 billion too much money to build a light-rail system for Ottawa because at the end of construction, a whole gaggle of politicians can make speeches and cut ribbons and pat each other on the back. That wins votes.
You see many politicians get into the field because they want to accomplish something. After a while, for some but not all pols, it becomes more about being re-elected than accomplishing things.
So sure, take all the glory for building the Taj Mahal of light rail. Get your awards. Make pretty unnecessary new stations. Glow in the shadow of a job not especially well done. Win votes.
But you don’t get extra votes for building good prisons or rehabilitating the residents, particularly those with mental problems.
And who cares about the court system? You don’t cut a ribbon for hiring a few more judges.
Long-term care homes? Why people confined to beds can’t vote and the rest of the community doesn’t care.
There was a time when you could trust our governments to provide good services and solid institutions.
Not now. Instead, it’s all about grandiose shows and ceremonies to celebrate this and that. It’s about greed and votes.
As we approach provincial and civic elections, perhaps we should vote for people who appear that they will provide good administration and will treat people everywhere with respect, giving them the services that are necessary.
Those politicians can do that while showing respect as well for our hard-earned tax dollars.
Because for many of our current politicians, it’s all about them.
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