Talk:Toronto respiratory health crisis

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What's interesting is, here's a place in longstanding defiance of several UN requirements they signed on to many years ago, paying lip service to that, which has clamped down on domestic resistance to these practices for decades, and now is definitely already exporting a disease based on the coronoa virus (same as the common cold, it's everywhere) that kills 1% of healthy people, 15-20% of not healthy people, 4-5% overall, which amounts to 10-15 million deaths in the USA if everyone gets it, and the US is not even *talking* about *invading*...



I updated this. Eves is so stupid it is hard to imagine he was actually trying to spin things himself. For instance the day after the blackout as he was preaching conservation, he was caught cutting the position of Director of Energy Conservation for the Ontario government. It was a public scandal immediately. How could someone so stupid be responsible for pressuring the WHO and etc.?

That was more Lastman (who appeared amazingly on CNN to rant about the advisory) and McLellan. Another fun part of this is Dennis Mills, a Toronto MP, planning the Rolling Stones concert that eventually took place on July 30, 2003, to try to lure tourists back to the city. Most nurses boycotted it as they said nothing was being done about the health system cuts - which continued - so, rock and roll to make up for a respiratory health problem? Yeah right. That's the ultimate spin, and it should probably be in here, since four Western Canada premiers were also there trying to spin BSE by giving away their beef.

No doubt the blackout also was not good for those with respiratory problems who often rely on air conditioners to filter out allergens and dust. But that's a different issue. Cities are increasingly unhealthy - what belongs here is just the way a government cut all the services it could, then stumbled through some predictable disasters while trying to spin them as temporary unusual problems.

Hi, Tim Ransom here: I live in Toronto - I happened to be in the first Hospital during the initial exposure, so I was part of the first quarantine. The quarantine period was 10 days, but by the time they announced it, I had been at large for a week since being in the hospital. I called the emergency numbers provided on the news, full of questions. I got an automated menu treadmill on the first one, so I called the other one, only to be told to call the first one. There was allegedly masks available for those in quarantine, but, after leaving all my details with them, I was never called back. As for the Rolling Stones concert - I was there. I can tell you firsthand that your numbers are way off. There was in the neighbourhood of 500,000 people there! Apparently, there will be a DVD of the event out in the Spring. Not that it wasn't an inane response to a health crisis (let's turn the barn into a thee-atre and put on a show!). At any rate, Health Canada dropped the ball at the airports. They had sandwich boards with unassuming little paper notices informally attached, like they were having a yard sale. Mel Lastman is a complete buffoon (he's no longer mayor) - his inane ranting at the WHO was just another notch in his dunce cap. However, the health care professionals, dealing with the complete uselessness of the Feds and a Provincial infrastructure devastated by years of conservative bloodletting, were nothing short of heroic. I'll go off and write up something proper and bring it here soon. Thanks

I relocated this to the talk page as it is not an article that is really up to standard -- there not a single reference. Nor is there a clear statement of what the evidence is for the title that there is a health crisis in Toronto. Maybe there is a crisis, in which case there must be some evidence to support this.--Bob Burton 21:33, 24 Jan 2005 (EST)

The Toronto respiratory health crisis has several components:

  • the longstanding Toronto smog crisis which increased public vulnerability to all respiratory challenges
  • the Toronto housing crisis which has remained unresolved despite Canada's signing the UN Social and Economic Rights Convention of 1976, which guarantees a right to housing, with these consequences:
    • thousands of very vulnerable individuals in a prime position to be infected, many of whom refuse to use:
    • homeless shelters that do not meet UN High Commission for Refugees standards, and which provide ideal spreading grounds for infectious disease
    • off-loading or "downloading" of these treaty responsibilities on community and volunteer groups, and dedicated professionals overworked in
  • the Toronto hospital crisis characterized by cutbacks, loss of nurses and doctors, strikes even among emergency workers who found their work impossible, and the loss of all slack in the system, forcing operations to be cancelled causing more death during
  • the Toronto SARS crisis characterized by a similar devoted professional community (much of it immigrant), and politicians' dedication to lies and spin, and the spread of disease via the airport given weak monitoring by Health Canada, consisting only of bulletin boards and pamphlets
  • the public relations crisis brought on by open defiance of another UN agency, the World Health Organization, during the Toronto SARS crisis

During this last, Ontario Premier Ernest Eves claimed, incredibly, that the WHO might lift its travel ban early based on some undefined evidence or spin that his office could provide. The WHO flatly refused to consider that, and had done so before his statement:

"If an outbreak is well-managed, you don't export cases." Dr. Richard Thompson, WHO, Geneva

Given the export of cases, some Toronto citizens were urging the WHO to keep its WHO travel advisory in place until the entire respiratory health crisis was resolved and the credibility of Canadian adherence to UN standards it signs, was restored. A few called for outright sacking of the Mayor Mel Lastman and Minister of Health Ann McLellan as in Beijing, China.

Under intense pressure from McLellan and other officials, the WHO removed its advisory eventually. Predictably, a second outbreak began very soon after, and the WHO was forced to re-issue warnings (although not, interestingly, a full travel advisory). See SARS for a full account of other events including the institution of outgoing travellers checks only after the advisory was lifted, leading many to conclude that the WHO was forced to concede on this to achieve compliance with the measures they had always advised McLellan to follow.

The World Health Organization SARS epidemic curve for Canada is frequently updated here, for those who wish to monitor the ongoing events.

Toronto's tourism was devastated by these events: not only was it the only place in North America with a substantial SARS outbreak, but, the choice to "spin" and "fight the travel advisory" rather than simply deal with the health crisis led many to conclude, especially after the second outbreak, that they could not trust Toronto's or Ontario's or Canada's officials to protect their health. Insane advice such as "by all means visit, just don't go near the hospitals" was offered - as if a tourist chooses to go to a hospital.

As the spin disintegrated, desperation set in and projects remniscent of those that the town officials of Flint, Michigan, attempted in Roger and Me were proposed. Among these was the proposal by Toronto MP Dennis Mills to hold a big outdoor Rolling Stones concert to bring tourists back. A lineup of classic rock bands was quickly assembled, the Stones paid Can$5 million, and on July 30, 2003, the 12-hour concert was held on an old air base in North Toronto.

This event was successful, except at attracting actual tourists: of the 150,000 'expected' only about 50,000 arrived. Numbers at the Caribana Festival that immediately followed the concert, which usually attracts hundreds of thousands of black Americans, were nowhere near historical levels.

And of course, no amount of good publicity actually cures a health crisis. Many nurses boycotted it as the health cuts continued and hospitals were reducing services due to exhausted and overworked staff.

In August they would be facing yet another challenge in the 2003 Ontario and US Northeast blackout. Where once again, Ontario would adopt a strategy of using spin while cutting substance: In its wake, Eves called for province-wide water and electricity conservation as Ontario was short on power, as, amazingly, on the same day his own staff called all candidates for the position of Ontario Director of Energy Conservation to tell them that the position had been cut.

Most viewed this position as a critical component of the plan to close all of Ontario's coal fired electrical generating stations by 2007.

Under intense pressure, the Government reinstated the position.