“Is the glass half empty or half full?”

Life is more enjoyable and significantly easier in many ways if you are a glass-half-full kind of person.  The meaning of the question, “Is the glass half empty or half full?” is a common proverbial phrase that delineates peoples’ outlook to be either optimistic (half full) or pessimistic (half empty).  It is a simplistic description of a person’s worldview.  Optimists look at the glass and think, thank goodness there is still water for us to drink.  Pessimists, on the other hand, look at the half measure and determine that it is insufficient.

If asked, most people say they prefer to be in the company of glass half full people because optimists try to focus on the bright side of things. Such people are preferred because the hopeful optimist experience less overall stress, even when things are not looking up and situations are troublesome.  But that is not to say that optimists don’t face obstacles.  That would be a ludicrous statement.  The advantage they have over pessimists is that since they experience less stress than pessimists, they are better able to cope and respond to obstacles that pop up and find ways to get around or overcome negative situations.  The result is that optimists feel confident they will find a way to improve situations.  Scientists have proven that optimistic people overall experience healthier, happier and more successful lives.

As we all know, however, few things in life are strictly either-or.  Put simply, the key to success is to balance your outlook.

Speaking personally, I endeavour to have a glass half full overall attitude.  I fully admit that I often do see things from a negative perspective – especially in those situations where someone or something is likely to suffer a negative or even dangerous experience.  That’s why I enjoy my role as an MPP so much.  I have the opportunity to bring the voices of the people I represent and try to make things right.  The people of Algoma-Manitoulin would be ill-served if my view was limited to just half full or just half empty.  Balance is the key.

A perfect example of the need for balance can be readily demonstrated by following the lopsided path that Premier Ford has led this province down in handling this ongoing pandemic.

It is clear not only to my NDP colleagues and I, but to an ever-growing list of medical and public health officials, municipal leaders and many others that Doug Ford has walked us into this lockdown with eyes wide open.  While experts were warning him of the explosive growth of more infectious and more deadly variants, he cancelled public health protections.  He marched us right into grave danger.  My heart is with people fearing for their family’s health, and already struggling with isolation or loss of income.  I’m incredibly worried about workers and local businesses that are barely holding on.

It should never have come to this.  The third wave didn’t have to be this horrific.

Despite clear warnings from the government’s own advisors, Premier Doug Ford walked Ontario into the third wave of COVID-19.  Ontario’s Science Table warned Ford to take action in February, but instead, he falsely claimed: “things were looking a little rosy.”

On April 1st, Dr Adalsteinn Brown of Ontario’s Science Table on rising ICU admissions stated that the ICU “is a place where clinicians have to make hard decisions you would never want them to have to make…you will see loss of life.”

Dr. Peter Juni, also a member of Ontario’s Science Table, stated on March 17th, “To make it without a renewed lockdown in the situation we’re in, that’s next to impossible unless a miracle occurs.  This is not about miraclesThis is about biology and epidemiology here.”

And on February 11th Dr. Brown warned Premier Ford that, “The cases will likely rise given the variants of concern.”

These medical specialists were not being pessimistic.  They were instead being realistic.

Doug Ford must have dove into his treasure chest from his younger days to find his rose coloured glasses to wear because his responses clearly indicate he was oblivious of the warnings emanating from his one Science Table professionals.  His responses were:

April 1: “We’re throwing everything we have at the virus.”  (Everything but sick days and the covid-19 reserves from the federal government months ago.)

Feb. 22: “Rather than always looking at doom and gloom, ‘the world is coming to an end’—we must be doing something right, because per 100,000 active cases, Ontario has the lowest outside the Maritime province.  There must be something going in the right direction here.”  (If that were true, why are Ontario’s infection and ICU numbers skyrocketing?)

Feb. 16: “We were able to bring the numbers down.  ICU units are actually going down, the capacity that is there right now.  The numbers are going down.”

The Conservative’s consistent downplay and denial is a key factor in explaining how Ontarians got into this ever growing mess.  It should never have gone off the rails like is has today.    The lockdown which public health officials and Ontarians alike have been calling for has come far too late.  The public health measures fall short of what many experts have been calling for all along.  Doug Ford’s delays and inaction have only served to prolong peoples’ suffering. Premier Ford has donned his rose-coloured glasses for far too long.

The government is providing Ontarians with mixed messages and outright confusing directives.  In a nutshell; there are no financial supports for small businesses; there are no paid sick days, there is no comprehensive testing in essential workplaces; there is no cap on class sizes so kids can social distance in schools.  And there is no comprehensive plan to get the vaccine to essential workers and no paid time off to get the shot.

This approach failed Ontarians before and I am fearful it will fail again.  New Democrats have been desperately trying to help the government grasp the reality of the situation and have been offering as many positive proposals as possible.  Alas, it seems those who play political games turn their backs, not only on workable, detailed plans but as well coldly turn their backs on all Ontarians.

Ontarians deserve a leader who has a positive and confident outlook. But they need a leader who also can balance his glass half full/half empty outlook with stark realities.  We need a leader who listens to professional advisors to help him see things from a balanced and realistic point of view.  A leader who puts the health, safety and needs of the people first and disregards politics and rewarding deep-pocketed supporters.

As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters.

Mike Mantha
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