We’re at a Fork in the Road

January 18, 2021 (Letter & Video Link)

While checking in on clients and members to see how they are holding up we found that overall people are “ok” but still express they’re struggling one way or another. This would be financial stress, online school frustrations, loneliness and not having the ability to interact with others, missing their routine, feeling like they are going crazy, trapped, hopelessness and admission of suicidal thoughts.

This last point should not come as a surprise since the Canadian Mental Health Association is reporting recent “thoughts or feelings of suicide” in Canadians at 10% (x4 normal) for adults and 20% for those in the 19-35 age range. In Essex there have been 3 confirmed and 5 suspected suicides this past week alone. Healthcare professionals are also saying substance abuse issues in Essex are the worst they’ve ever been. This is terrible as well as avoidable – these are OUR people and they have a name. Why is it that the health and wellness of these human beings are not given any consideration or taken into account?

Since when did public health officials start ignoring overall wellness? When did they decide to toss out their own research and statistics regarding physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being from over the past few decades? If I had to pick the date all reason went out the window, it would be March 23 of this past year when we were first mandated to close our doors. At the very least, the WECHU should be sharing information on how people can keep themselves healthy and boost their immune systems… and if they decide not to do that – they need not call to “warn” gym owners who post the importance of getting sunshine and proper sleep on their social media pages. And yes, this happened.

Keep in mind the direct correlation of fitness and stress-reduction… and don’t tell me “people can just go outside or exercise at home”. Quite frankly that is an ignorant statement and does not take into account ones personal accommodations, injuries, therapeutics of being at the gym or with a trainer, potential risk of injury, and so on.

It’s interesting to point out that while the government defends its claim to be relying on data. I would argue that this is simply not true. To date our fitness facility has 0 cases, and the industry as a whole makes up .001% of all transmissions CANADA-wide as reported by the Fitness Industry of Canada… let me clarify we are not talking death rate but rather transmission rate. To further my argument, even if you live under a rock, it’s understood by the general population and professionals a-like, that the services we offer help people build upon their health – which in turn combats co-morbidities. We ARE essential – especially in a time like this.

Individuals coming up with these arbitrary rules (which are NOT laws, btw) are so single-focus that they are neglecting public health as a whole. So in their efforts to save lives they have removed everything that makes life worth living.

Seems politicians are more concerned about their career coming to an end and so choose to remain silent or turn a blind eye to the reality of the situation. You’re probably aware as recent as last week MPP Roman Baber was removed from the PC caucus for publicly speaking the truth – and while doing so he stated that many of his colleagues agree with him on the matters he addressed. Even today the former Ontario Chief Medical Officer sent a letter to Doug Ford saying Mr. Baber “was correct”. What is going on here?

According to CFIB, one-third of businesses report they will not survive the second lockdown. Important to note: these numbers do not include businesses lost as a result of the first lockdown. Additionally, there will be a long-term trickle effect… restaurants for example… while curbside seems to be working well for some – what is going to happen when the people who are currently supporting them no longer have funds to do so.

In a media release on December 21st 2020, CFIB President, Dan Kelly said “Regardless of whether one thinks the government’s gone too far or not far enough, I would hope we could all agree that the decision today will essentially kill thousands and thousands of businesses,”

“We certainly know it will mean that tens of thousands of Ontarians will be losing their jobs, thousands of entrepreneurs will be losing their life’s work, their business, and many, many are going to be losing their home as a result because the house is often mortgaged in order to get the business going.”

And again on January 12th of this year Mr. Kelly stated “No other province has locked down small retailers while handing huge competitive advantages to big-box stores.”

Even in curfew-Quebec, small businesses and schools are open. Again, what is going on here!?

No consistency anywhere… and double-standards everywhere. From health advisors to mayors and the Premier himself, it’s certainly a “do what I say, not what I do” policy. For time sake I am unable to continue on this point.

Finally, and maybe a little closer to home for the Essex council members here, I ask:

Where do you think this town and its staff will be long term?

What businesses will be left to pay the taxes that help line the pockets of every person I am in front of right now?

Have any of you considered how much money the town will lose and base your fight on that realization alone?

Are you willing to take a stand for people (not just businesses) in your community?

During a phone conversation a couple months ago, I was asked by the Mayor “what is it you would like me to do?” Well, I’d like you to do the same thing I am doing… I’m advocating for all small businesses and people in the community that have had to deal with the inconsistencies and lack of common sense. If each of you could apply pressure higher up, we could start getting somewhere. We are after all sitting here tonight.

Whatever the case, it’s been said– you’ve gotta keep fighting like you’re the third monkey trying to get onto Noah’s Ark – and that’s exactly it.

Thank you.

Kim Dennison (Owner at Onyx Fitness Solutions / Advocate for the people of Essex)

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