Wednesday, April 1, 2009

About Health Care

The paramedics are on strike.

Give them what they want. They deserve it. And more.

There is much in our health care system to improve and change.

We spend too much on administrators and middle men, on pharmaceuticals and shrinks. We have failed to track in even the most basic ways what some supplies cost us; learn from retail about inventory.

We have way too many over-seers and boards and groups. We need to simplify and localize.

But having said all that, we must have one of the greatest health care systems on earth.

This is my second experience with paramedics, for example. The first was 25 years ago in Winnipeg in aid of my mother. Again, these folks are amazing. Knowledgeable, efficient, re-assuring, kind, and professional.

Whatever they are being paid, it's not enough.

The nurses at VGH in Emergency and Cardiac Care are astounding. Knowledgeable, efficient, re-assuring, kind and professional. This was my second visit to these wonderful people. If you should have the misfortune to be in need of their services, you will have the good fortune to be in their care.

The doctors and attendant technicians are equally laudable. Knowledgeable, efficient, re-assuring, kind and professional.

Twenty some years ago, people with angina died. Not always and not right away, but the mortality rate was high. Today, it barely measurable.

Even the technique of entering through the femoral artery to perform an angiogram and angioplasty has dramatically improved in the four years since my first experience. This time, thanks to a collagen plug in the wound, almost no post-op bleeding and certainly no post pain.

We can and must continue our vigilance in trying to bring down costs and improve our system every day in every way.

But simultaneously let us remember how lucky we are to have what we have.

About You

So many thanks to so many lovely people for those kind thoughts and good wishes.

I am walking every day in the 'hood and feeling stronger as we go. Hope to be back at work in the coming week or so.

Your comments have been great comfort and encouragement.

Wally's Worst Ever

Of all the egregious, duplicitous low acts offered our way by Wall Opaque, the man who poses as Attorney-General, nothing can come close to his latest.

The BC Supreme Court has rightly declared key elements in Campbell's election gag law unconstitutional.

People can now spend basically what they want arguing their political points of view in public.

We call that free speech.

Bill 42 was a clear attack on that democratic privilege and it deserved to be hit with a shovel.

But Wally will not rest.

He has attempted - and as of this morning's news, failed, we are happy to report - to ask for a stay of proceedings.

His transparently dubious excuse for this blatant political creepery is that the government needs time to react.

How does this man sleep at night?

How has he so completely failed to understand and respect the basics tenets of the very social order his sworn to protect?

Massive shame on him.


For years, the corner of Willingdon and Canada Way has housed one corrections or mental health facility or another. Without, as far as I can recollect, a single untoward incident.

Now the provincial government wants to build a prison there, a pre-trial holding joint.

There is little that I like about the Campbell Liberal administration, but this plan seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

Of course, I don't live in Burnaby.

Moreover, I am not the Mayor of Burnaby; nor do I have a wife who is running on May 12th for the NDP.

My name isn't Corrigan.

The good burghers of Burnaby have cried long and loud - just like you and me - about the current wave of gang violence and the felt need for some old fashioned Law and Order.

Like prisons for bad guys, for instance.


Not in my neighbourhood.

We want lock-ups for pistol-packing mothers alright, but we want them somewhere on the left side of the moon...say, Lac La Hache.

The Good Mayor, knowing well the limits of his constituents thinking powers and tolerance and seeing a good opportunity to further the political aims of his spouse jumped all over this one.

There will be no pre-trail centre at Willingdon and Canada Way in the foreseeable future.

And all because of down and dirty politics.


* In a current story about a murderer who pleads guilty to "an additional" 27 murders, we get this gem:

Mr. Gallant isn't even the most lethal Quebec hit man. In 1985, the Hells Angel Yves (Apache) Trudeau confessed to 43 contract killings.

Mr. Trudeau plea-bargained it down to 43 manslaughter counts and was paroled after seven years.

43 murders down to 43 manslaughters = parole after seven years.

Only in Canada, you say? Pity.

President Obama may or may not be on the right track in basically assuming control of GM for the time being. Certainly having the federal government micro-managing one of the great stalwarts and symbols of The American Success Story does not sit will in a great many craws.

He may also be right or wrong in bailing out the banks and AIG and tabling an enormous budget.

He may be right or wrong about his troop commitments in Afghanistan.

Only time till tell.

But we can say this. It is refreshing, after 8 years of Mr. Wafflehead, to see someone boldly doing something.

Will it be disaster or reclamation? I have no idea. Do you?