Anything less than a public inquiry would be an injustice to the loved ones of the 53 people who died at Northwood, and to the staff and residents who were impacted by the COVID-19 virus, says PC Leader Tim Houston.
Houston says that a public inquiry is needed to compel the government to have binding recommendations that come from the inquiry. He says that the government has to take a serious look at staffing levels, room sizes, funding plans, COVID-19 preparations and the decisions made throughout the pandemic.
“A public inquiry is the only form of review that will ensure we have the right people at the table, compelling testimonies, and binding recommendations,” says Houston. “This review should be about saving lives - not about saving the Premier's reputation.”
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at Northwood, Nova Scotians have learned that the McNeil Liberal government had previously denied multiple requests by the long-term care provider for additional funding to reduce its number of shared rooms.
Early in the outbreak, front line workers made clear that they did not have access to enough personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves. Instead of acknowledging these healthcare professionals faced unsafe working conditions and were understaffed, they were accused of fear-mongering by the government.
“There are lessons to be learned on how to better manage a second outbreak. That can’t happen if the goal is to for the McNeil Liberals to sweep this under the rug,” says Houston. “Our caucus has heard difficult stories from many frontline care workers at Northwood and we owe it to them and to all the Northwood residents to continue to call for a public inquiry into the outbreak at their home.”