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HEALTH CARE WORKERS

 

Honourable Senators, I rise today to pay tribute to our health care workers on the front lines of Canada's massive program to immunize Canadians against the H1N1 virus. Right across the country, these dedicated personnel are breaking new ground as we work together to fight this disease.

We have never done this before, and most Canadians understand there will be bumps along the way; but each day, the clinics get smoother, more people are vaccinated and wait times are shortening as we learn and adapt.

I have nothing but praise for these front-line workers who deserve our unqualified support. They do not deserve politicians who discredit our expert public health officials and who promote confusion and fear.

As a former health care worker, I found myself critiquing the program as it got started. I certainly knew how to do it better. Then I realized how those on the front lines and those waiting for shots must feel when politicians questioned everything, from wait times to vaccine availability, and even which or when to administer the vaccine. I would have been devastated, confused and upset. I would not have known whom to trust.

Honourable senators, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Our front-line workers do not deserve armchair quarterbacks in Ottawa who undermine their efforts. What they do deserve is our trust, our gratitude and our support.

It is passing strange that we have all levels of government — federal, provincial and municipal — working together to get the job done, and then we have federal opposition parties who are not able to put politics aside and work together for all Canadians.

I urge all politicians to join in the efforts to fight H1N1. The public needs to know we trust our public health officials and experts. We must not be in the business of second-guessing the World Health Organization and our officials.

Please join me in supporting the efforts of all those at the forefront of this massive initiative.