COMMENTARY: Is our MPP tone deaf to the crisis?

Cornwall City Council received a stark warning from the CEO of the Cornwall Community Hospital during a special meeting Thursday about how dire the COVID-19 situation is in the region.

The hospital has been maxed out on critical care beds and has even been transferring patients to Brockville and Kemptville just to make space. The medical experts on the call believe – without a doubt – Cornwall is a COVID hot spot and should be labelled as such, opening the door to a more targeted approach. They all said it’s not a Toronto issue.

With health care falling to Ontario, more concerning are the questions raised by MPP Jim McDonell during that meeting which give a revealing look into just how plugged in he may be to the situation.

“The situation is dire but when you hear what’s happening in places like Toronto are we as bad as they are with shuffling patients around?” McDonell asked.

More puzzling was the exploratory questions. How many COVID-19 patients are at Cornwall Community Hospital? What is your catchment area?

This is rudimentary information any politician who is plugged into the biggest crisis facing this riding – and the world for that matter – should have known heading into the meeting.

It just makes Jim McDonell look bad, even though he says he’s lobbying for the area, including getting AstraZeneca vaccines in a Cornwall drug store, which word finally came on Sunday.

It’s time for our MPP to get engaged and be more involved at the grass roots – maybe start by producing a home-grown statement about the situation facing us all, instead of copying and pasting the Queen’s Park manifesto.

I’m Bill Kingston.