Open Letter to Prem. Doug Ford: Re-Open Ontario, Build Capacity & Innovate-Stop Lockdowns

Open Letter to Prem. Doug Ford: Re-Open Ontario, Build Capacity & Innovate-Stop Lockdowns

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Petition to
Legislative Assembly of Ontario and

Why this petition matters

Started by John Harvey

Multiple lockdowns, small business and school closures over the past 2 years have created an economic, social and mental health crisis in the province of Ontario.  

January 7, 2022
Open letter To the Honorable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario,
Dear Premier Ford,
I am writing to you today as a concerned citizen, Father of four children and business owner. 
The suggested solutions in this letter take into consideration both of your primary reasons for returning to phase 2.
That is:
1.    The introduction of a new variant (this is inevitable, there will always be a new variant or new virus)
2.    A threat to our healthcare system (this is also inevitable if we continue with the status quo system)
This letter is an attempt to present you with an alternative strategy for approaching the current covid situation in Ontario by considering 3 important pillars that I expand on later:
1.    Build more capacity
2.    Consultative approach
3.    Private-public collaboration
I realize some of these tactics may have already been considered, which is why I look forward to your thoughtful and thorough response to each of them.  As the leader of the largest province in the country, I hope you can implement a new strategy that is a beacon of hope and a fresh way forward that other provinces can follow.
Sadly, this pandemic has hit all of us hard, not just medically, but physically, psychologically, mentally, spiritually, and clearly economically.  
I'm sure it has taken a toll on you as well; and I hope you and your family are coping with the stress and burden that comes with your position - I mean that sincerely and I pray for you and your family.  Along with millions of other Ontarians I've also personally experienced my own burden on all these fronts along with watching my children be robbed of 2 years of proper schooling, their childhood and critical development stages, experiences, and relationships.   
Doug, I appeal to you not just as a politician but as a fellow human being and family man.  In my 42 years on this earth, I have never seen a single issue as divisive as the covid response, it has created division within families, workplaces, schools and other social groups.  
The permanent and long-standing impact this is having on our children and society demands our time and attention. 
In the last two years I have been appalled by the dismissive attitude towards anyone who offers their opinion that is not a medical doctor.  As long as we still have freedom of speech and a democratic system with charter rights, I will continue to express my opinions, engage in the political process and pursue thoughtful dialogue with elected officials as I am doing right now.  And I hope my fellow citizens will do the same - pandemic or no pandemic we do not live in a society where only one class of citizen has a voice - we are all Canadians and that makes us all equal, even if we disagree.  Our country and our province are unraveling Doug, I hope you can see this and I'm sure you feel it too.
I'm sure there are many days where you feel like there is no decision that will make everyone happy and that may often be true.  In this case, I submit, there is one thing that I hope unites all Ontarians and that is our desire for freedom and some semblance of normalcy.  We are all capable of making our own decisions.  We are also capable of protecting the vulnerable, elderly, and sick among us as any functioning society must.  Doug, we can protect the most vulnerable without doing more harm to families and society.
Doug, as leader of the largest province in Canada you can change history for the good.  Historically great nations and great leaders have one attribute in common.  That is courage; yes, great leaders always have courage! 
What do courageous leaders do?  Courageous leaders do things differently, courageous leaders build, unite and innovate.  Most of all courageous leaders challenge the status quo.
All the ingredients for success are here at your fingertips; you have an abundance of talent and resources in this province!  Not to mention we are so fortunate to have two years of empirical data; evidence of what works and what has failed.  Great leaders also recognize their failures and are not afraid of them and use them to make even stronger decisions; I’m sure you try to practice this every day.  
The rest of this letter will be about action and solutions, not conjecture or my subjective opinion because none of us have time for platitudes or verbal diarrhea.  
Below are three pillars to examine further:
1.    Build more capacity
2.    Consultative approach
3.    Private-public collaboration
1. Build more capacity and stop the perpetual cycle of lockdowns

· Work with the medical colleges to lift or relax restrictions on immigrant doctors and medical professionals who are already qualified to treat ICU patients
· Allow all current medically qualified Ontario doctors and medical professionals to continue practicing following the same safety guidance and protocols set by their colleges for their scope of practice (we cannot afford to place any new restrictions on those willing and able to work; especially those who have been on the front line since day one of the pandemic)
· Build COVID ICU centres and triage appropriate cases directly to these centres to avoid overwhelming hospitals 
· Work with the private sector to build and fund these centres and to build new hospitals (yes let the private sector in)
· Place more emphasis on early treatment and outpatient care to avoid hospital visits in the first place 
· Embrace more therapeutic treatments that have a proven track record and consult with the medical community domestically and abroad to embrace new solutions
· Correct the public case reporting standards currently used - segmenting cases, deaths, hospitalizations as a result of covid vs. incidental asymptomatic cases (conflating these leads to mass hysteria as we've seen)
· Stop reporting daily stats - this leads to nothing but fear and hysteria (we don't report on daily cardiac, cancer, car accident fatalities, the flu or other illness)

2. Consult constituent and stakeholder groups before enacting new measures
· Remove emergency orders and restore provincial legislature - our elected officials need to speak and vote freely on all matters
· Remove all discriminatory practices that violate charter rights such as medical passports.  Passports did not stop transmission or infection; now that this has proven to be a failure it should be abolished immediately
· A consultative approach to decision making will lead to better outcomes for all 
· Engage with the specific sectors that are impacted the most such as small retail, gym, restaurant owners, churches and the like - these groups have fantastic ideas and methods they can deploy to keep people safe
· Move away from making decisions by fiat based on the Chief Medical Officer alone
· Re-engage with professional associations for consultation on major decisions 
· Create a private sector advisory committee that can offer alternative strategies to mitigating the spread while allowing businesses to remain open
· Do not dismiss opposing views as "dissenting voices", censorship is not scientific, the scientific method demands rigorous hypothesis testing; we are still too early to assume we know everything
· Conduct private surveys with educational professionals (while you continue working with their unions)

3. More private-public sector collaboration
· Listen to the over 500 doctors urging you in their open letter[1] to keep schools open
· Meet with groups like CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business)
· Education/Schools: Remove all mandatory school lockdowns as the vast majority of children are not at risk (see attached open letter and references).
o   Reopen all school and resume regular in person classes
o   Make remote/online learning optional for those who wish to exercise this option
o   Provide additional options and support for at-risk children or those requiring addition resources 
o   Partner with private tutoring schools to subsidize supplemental learning for those who need it

Doug, in closing I'll restate one of my original points. It is clear to me and I think it is clear to all of us that we will not see an end to covid and covid variants.  It is time to enact a concrete plan that acknowledges we must learn to coexist with this virus and the many virus variants to come.  We cannot be ruled by the threat of another variant for another day.  We must build and innovate and stop hiding.
After 2 years of a lockdown, re-open, lockdown, re-open cycle this will not end unless we do something drastically different.  I implore you to have the courage to try something new and engage new voices and new stakeholder groups who want to be part of the solution.  As a human race we've learned to coexist with other threats and we must do the same here, otherwise we will continue this vicious cycle of insanity and even worse I fear society will begin to unravel.
I thank you for your time and I look forward to a thoughtful and action-oriented response.
John A. Harvey
Milton, Ontario

[1] Open Letter to Premier Ford, Minister Lecce and Dr. Kieran Moore, Dec 27, 2021,



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