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Inequality means we’re not all in this together By Mohammad… Inequality means we’re not all in this together By Mohammad Karamouzian Wed, July 29, 2020 from the Toronto Star  This is the sixth in a series of articles produced by members of the Trudeau Foundation COVID-19 Impact Committee to look at the long-term societal implications of COVID-19.”How a country treats its lowest residents should be judged, not how it treats its highest citizens.” —From Nelson Mandela’s book The Long Walk to Freedom    Many of you reading this post have had days that have gone something like this: a hot shower, breakfast, perhaps some morning exercise, and getting ready to work from home. You may not realize it, but you are part of the world’s most wealthy population if you have enough nutritious food, safe and stable home, hygiene and health care, and secure job. Your daily rituals are luxuries that millions of Canadians cannot afford. Those who are on the margins, in particular. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, one out of every seven Canadians was poor, and one out of every eight Canadian homes struggled to feed their families. This is both startling and awful. The COVID-19 epidemic has only served to highlight a number of previously unrecognized vulnerabilities and injustices in Canada.For example, for some years, Canada has been grappling with epidemics of chronic homelessness and drug overdoses. In any given year, approximately 235,000 Canadians are homeless. A considerable portion of the homeless population suffers from mental illnesses, physical disabilities, or substance abuse problems. Those fleeing domestic violence, those with a criminal record, and Indigenous peoples are all at risk.  Furthermore, the opioid crisis is wreaking havoc on communities across Canada. Overdoses caused by opioids claimed the lives of 15,393 Canadians between January 2016 and December 2019. These figures clearly show that there are public health and policy emergencies, as well as our ineffective responses at many socio-political levels. What type of “emergency” can be permitted to endure for years, I wonder? Would COVID-19 be allowed to continue for several years, wreaking havoc on our communities’ mental and physical health if the government did nothing? Unfortunately, COVID-19 has been particularly dreadful for Canada’s vulnerable populations. It had an undeniable impact on all of us, but it’s crucial to remember that it’s not the “great equalizer,” and we’re not all in this together.    When we consider other major pandemics, such as the Black Death (1347-1351 with over 150 million casualties), Cholera  in the year 1817-1923 killing up to 1 million citizens), the notorious HIV/AIDS (1981-present with a death toll so far of 31 million ), or H1N1 influenza (2009; death toll: 575,000), we can see that we have never been affected in the same way by a pandemic or a health emergency. Poverty, malnutrition, and marginalization have historically been associated with a disproportionately high incidence of diseases and mortality. Conditions have improved after several pandemics, although not as much as planned. We appear to have passively accepted health imbalances among underprivileged Canadians as a society. This is unethical, inhumane, and intolerable.Indeed, we are to blame for enforcing sexism, racism, classism, ageism, xenophobia, and other forms of discrimination at the systemic level through social, economic, and political structures. These kind of constructions are common in widening the gap in employment, education, health and other vital needs for the lower caste in Canadian society.    COVID-19, fortunately, has also provided opportunity for self-reflection and discussion of how we treat marginalized people. The pandemic demonstrated the importance of confronting the status quo in addressing the disparities that exist today in Canada.Certain policies and interventions that have been adopted at various scales throughout North America have proven to be both practicable and practical. For example, providing safe, secure, and affordable housing for the homeless; providing round the clock food bank services to those facing food insecurity, enabling access to safer medication and substance use treatment services for people living with substance use disorders; providing a basic monthly income for low-income households; increasing the minimum wage; and decreasing the flow of “violent” and “low-risk” people into jails while increasing the flow of “non-violent” and “low-risk” persons into jails.Such changes should be adopted as  interventions in the form of  radical measures for unbearable times even after the pandemic disappears.  The works of housing the homeless,  eradicating hunger, improving pay or crime are not one day of actions but rather should be adopted as Canada’s  new normal onwardsWhat will be the summary of this article? Arts & Humanities Writing Creative Writing SSC 212

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