Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper

By Irene Ogrizek

Dear Prime Minister,

Irene Ogrizek

Irene Ogrizek

For the first time in my 54 years, I am thinking of leaving Canada. It won’t happen soon – I still work at a job I love – but my future no longer feels secure and I am thinking of retiring elsewhere. My concern, since 2008, has been the state of our provincial healthcare systems.

My mother’s life almost ended in a St. Catharines hospital. It wasn’t an error; it wasn’t because she waited too long to be seen; rather she was the victim of a collective attitude, an attitude of profound disrespect for the elderly.

Perhaps I am naive, but I have always felt bad things couldn’t happen in Canada. I’ve lived overseas and know how good we have it here. However, my faith in our systems of governance has been deeply shaken.

After my mother’s experience, I wrote unanswered letters of complaint to her hospital, tried to get information from her GP, and also told my family’s story to the media. It was my belief that classism and ageism were at least secondary causes of my mother’s poor outcome; it was a story that in my activist youth would have been considered important and newsworthy.

I was disappointed because my efforts went nowhere. However, something even worse is happening now. Many of our nation’s journalists, and especially those with the CBC, are promoting assisted suicide, a procedure I know firsthand will endanger the vulnerable in Canada.

Link to the full letter