Category Archives: Politics

Medical Associations and COVID

It’s evident that there is a problem in supporting health care workers during this pandemic as reflected in the slow vaccination rate and stress reported by doctors and nurses. Quebec doctor Karine Dion has committed suicide. It’s hard to fathom that the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is reporting that five to eight per cent of doctors have contemplated suicide in the last year alone.

I’ve always contended that professional associations have been protectionist in the way they administer their power. In Canada, it’s very challenging to obtain credentials as a doctor. When living in residence at University, I recall two pre-med students on my floor studying excessively in order to score the grades they needed in order to fulfill entry requirements. I recall a story by one of these two students lobbying a professor strenuously for the most infinitesimal amount fearful that one missed mark could break the threshold required.

Naturally, having a limited supply of doctors and refusing to acknowledge credentials from new Canadians arriving from abroad, the profession on behalf of their members casts increased negotiating power with governments. The calamity of a pandemic exposes associations to a particular shortcoming of their inward posture of protectionism.

One might reasonably ask…”how difficult can it be to administer a vaccine shot”? What kind of credentials do you think are necessary? In the very rare event of something going wrong with a vaccination, would it not be reasonable to assign a back up resource who is a professional association member?

You have a tremendous number of Canadian who have studied in the health sciences but are at home cocooning when they could be contributing toward the resolution of this big problem. I suggest that the lack of mobility of deploying more manpower quickly rests with a lack of resolve by governments and potential push back from associations.     

Impeachment Again

Here we go again. At the outset….let’s be clear. Trump should have been removed from office in 2020 due to Trump’s solicitation of an investigation into political opponent Biden’s son by a foreign power in exchange for releasing the withholding of financial aid to Ukraine. It was an abuse of power and there was clear evidence to prove the abuse. Furthermore, when subpoenas were issued and requests for documents, the White House obfuscated. The obfuscation obviously corroborated wrong doing. 

The only Republican senator voting in favour of the articles of impeachment was Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a man of vast financial means. When you think about 51 Republican Senators all having heard testimony of overwhelming evidence with only one Republican Senator voting in favour…..you know there was more than the cerebral evaluation of evidence at play when these men and women cast their vote.

Here we are on January 9, 2021 and five people lost their lives in an assault of the Capitol building incited by Donald Trump, one must ask the question – do these Republican Senators other than Mitt Romney have blood on their hands as a result of the event played out in Washington on January 6, 2021? Would Trump have continued his infantile “tweets” inciting violence had he been removed from office? Would Twitter have come to its senses earlier by banning Trump permanently had he been convicted during the impeachment proceedings thereby preventing the January 6th incident? They are all reasonable questions. I suggest that Trump was as successful at intimidating people in the halls of the Capitol just as he was at extorting money from contractors in business or bribing women of whom he had salacious sexual liaisons. I was not unique in assessing this man of being very weak in character and my regard for the citizenry of our neighbour to the south has been lessened for bestowing upon him a role to administer public policy never mind the Presidency. 

Now what will these Republican Senators do should this second impeachment vote come to pass prior to his scheduled exit? I’ll be watching with interest.       

Capitol Hill Incursion

In the fall of 2013, yours truly was in Washington D.C. and was surprised to get in for a tour of the Capitol building in lieu of a government shut-down at the time. I was standing across the fountain and thought….why not just ask around to see if the tours are still on. I was in luck. I strolled around the back (photo) and entered. There was no line up because everyone else may have been also presuming that tours were off because of the shut down.

I was certainly impressed by the architecture. We were seated in a min-theatre to watch a movie of the construction. There was the “rotunda” which is a picturesque dome of immaculate design and within the circular landing the perimeter is decorated in statues of historic political figures. Although, the House of Representatives was not sitting, the guide still offered us an opportunity to sit in the gallery to stare at the emptiness. I took her up on the offer unlike most of who declined. This required an extra security measure. I had thoughts of my mother (school teacher) who put much attention on things of civility and justice. You’ve all seen the exterior in pictures. Much work has been put into restoring the exterior in recent years. I came away thinking that much care had been placed in developing this material beacon of democracy unlike the care recently displayed by protagonists within its halls to serve its purpose.   

So….as I watched the course of events on ABC news yesterday when Trump loyalist stormed the Capitol building, I was obviously dismayed. I wasn’t outraged because I admit to having grown somewhat impervious to incidents tied to Trump. Even my shock regarding friends / acquaintances support of Trump over the years is wearing off. Is there a final chapter of irony to the Trump debacle to be played out via impeachment at the last hour when Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote their conscience on impeachment during the first go ‘round. It will be interesting to see. 

Trump should be everything that America should not stand for and he became their President. It’s embarrassing to have watched this fiasco unfold. Those idiots who stormed the capitol will still be snivelling about how in their minds life has cheated them and potentially how to execute their next pathetic display of victimhood.         

Leadership Values Gone Rotten

When I headed for an institution of higher learning (University of Alberta) in 1982, I did so with strong values bread from mom and dad along with some confidence derived from scholastic and athletic successes. It was a time of great anticipation having never lived in a big city such as Edmonton which would become the home of my Alma Mater. There was uncertainty in my discipline of choice but I knew that school was the best place for me during a difficult economic era. There were no jobs in Kamloops. I was lucky to acquire door to door sales work between 10th and 11th grade along with a carpenter’s helper post in the summer of 1981 to fill my summers. I knew the economic landscape even at that age.

We were taught the hard work and merit synonymous with success. We believed that everyone had an equal shot. We believed that that law looked upon everyone equally and fairly.  However; we hadn’t been taught free enterprise because the capitalist system wasn’t laid out in an educational system biased with educators whom had for the most part not participated in commerce. Yet still there was a lurking sense that we’d come to know what teachers didn’t know. 

With youth comes a naivety that evil mustn’t lurk readily. It shouldn’t hide right out in the open. Youth brings a healthy sense of hope that what’s right can be actualized. There is a sense that the newness of perspective can impactfully infiltrate evil and excoriate its effect. Never in my wildest nightmare would I have imagined while sitting in Anthropology class in 1985 that the likes of a Donald Trump would become President of the United States of America. I would have believed that the good people of the U.S. would be able to see through his self centred deviousness. I would expect that void from the kinds of “values” which were taught to me by my mother (school teacher) and father (metallurgist) would be vetted. I would have thought that my first world neighbour would have been savvy enough through a well rounded education system to be able to comprehend through its people the importance of “values” when appointing a political leader.

It’s been four years of witnessing unsurprisingly abysmal leadership in the context of this values void. There was the intransigence of congress, the withholding of aid to Ukraine for a political favour, there was the governing by tweet, the criminal indictments of insider associates, the denial of COVID-19 and the delay in implementing protocols and grounding of planes. There was the revolving door of political appointees, and the outright lying. There was insincerity in challenging problems vigorously. Despite claims by women of sexual assault and contractors representing unpaid work, business bankruptcies, and apparent tax fraud….Americans put it all aside in the nomination of Trump. It’s simply mind blowing. 

We’re now nearing the final hours and there is this last item of business for Donald Trump. This is his “pardon list”. You see….you have this system of justice where lawyers go to school for seven years post secondary in order to sharpen their minds for “judgment day” in order to be positioned to deliver justice. Their $500 / hr fee in their minds justifies such esteemed training. Then comes along a deceitful boor with a sordid track record in advance of departing the “White House” (it’s still not certain if he won’t be dragged out kicking and screaming) signing his name to “pardoning” criminal records from those deemed law breakers with past associations to he himself thereby undoing a crafty justice system and whatever credibility it purports. 

What is a generation of high school graduates in 2021 to think? Can they in good conscience believe that the values of hard work and merit will serve them well in the context of witnessing such deviousness? When a government can’t balance its budget, what should a student care about paying his / her student loan? If a countries currency is at the breaking point of collapse through irresponsible spending, why should a student save? If a people can’t elect competence, why should a student aspire toward serving his neighbour? If the year 2020 hasn’t spawned a conversation around “value” – what’s it going to take?        

Macklem’s Word On Over-Leveraged Canadians

Canadians really do face some challenges with their debt. I see it in my practice. There’s plenty of blame to go around and I find the headline today over at BNN quite interesting – “Macklem Puts Dangerously Over-Leveraged Canadians on Notice”.

During the “pandemic” (let’s not be reticent in using the term despite your interpretation of COVID-19) governments have intervened to restrict commerce. There have been consequences and responses. Bankers have been forced to the table with an accommodating disposition. However; they have not been burdened by any new government regulation to restrict interest charged on debt through usury legislation. The federal liberal government has been slap happy at burdening industry with regulation but when it comes to the banking industry they’ve been absent. I should not be processing credit card transactions for my clients right now which have listed interest rates of 19.90 per cent when the Bank of Canada rate is 0.25 per cent irrespective of the credit rating of such taxpayer. Your federal liberal government has been burdening your grandchildren with excessive poorly managed public debt through this pandemic. Canadians want to pay their debt and expect banking sector shareholders to share in the financial pain elicited through economic contraction.   

The Wake Up Call

Bob Woodward exclaimed to MSNBC on Thursday before revelations from the NY Times regarding Trump’s tax returns, “I don’t know Where (when) the wake-up call comes to the country” in response to Trump’s notion of not committing to a peaceful transfer of power.

It’s quite astonishing but as Woodward insinuates through his words, this pitiful man, Donald Trump, could still in fact be awarded the White House via the electorate despite his contemptuous, deceitful, patronizing, and immoral behaviour. I’m aghast and have refrained from writing on the Trump indiscretions as they regularly occur just because it’s become so banal and disheartening.

Among the latest news, we have the New York Times representing “years of tax avoidance” when characterizing Trump’s tax returns. It’s hard to imagine a man who flaunts such wealth as one who wouldn’t be left with some net income to pay tax but this is what’s been revealed by the Times.

At this point, the only nugget of conscionable defence one could muster in casting a vote for Trump would be the “either/ or” argument that the opposing political ideology is so unpalatable that Trump’s behaviour as characterized is tolerable in context.

If the United States of America returns this man to power in spite of everything they’ve learned about him through his words, his manner, his questionable relationships with Russians, his treatment of decorated military officers, his revolving door of staffers, his midnight tweets, his mocking of the disabled, his withholding of aid to Ukraine in exchange for political dirt, his payoffs of women, his bungling of COVID-19 while lying about it, his disrespectful reference to war captured veterans (McCain), his associations with the criminally indicted….all within the backdrop of a national debt advancing, race relations abysmal, and a quality of life in decline then the plight of man in the first world is deserving of whatever fate comes hither.      

Gutless Law Enforcement In Canada

If you want to create some legislation, then you’d best be prepared to enforce it. Otherwise, you have no credibility. This seems to be the case in Canada right now. New pandemic regulations are exemplary of a society wanting to “do good” and then balking when it comes to following through. Doug Ford wants to “throw the book” at the “yahoos” in Brampton, Ontario who flouted regulations by convening a party with two hundred some guests in the face of our pandemic. I’ll be interested to know the fine for the property owner and guests.

Why is there this complacency in heeding new regulation? Is it because our politicians have lost their credibility through morally bankrupt behaviour in the context of managing the public purse and immunizing themselves from conflicts of interest? I suspect this plays a role. There is also simple immaturity at work unfortunately. Factor in an erosion of values in recent years due to a segment of society being raised in single family homes stationed behind computer games apt to be influenced by aberrant opinion online ….and we see minds being led astray. You know it. I know it. 

Finally, apply liberal policies of correction whereby any deviant is exempted of fault due to their sob story and society learns that the coast is clear when it comes to personal conduct in Canada, almost.

Protecting People From Themselves

Are civil liberties infringed upon when a non-physical discipline of therapy whether sanctioned by a professional body or not is restricted by a government? Is thought being regulated? These are the questions I have with respect to “conversion therapy” for those potentially confused by their sexuality who seek out a third party for consultation / therapy. What is a municipality doing in the minds of its citizens? Has psychological harm been perpetrated on an individual who has voluntarily sought conversion therapy sessions and has evidence of such harm been the motive for implementing a regulated restriction? Or, is it a repulsiveness in the minds of sexual minorities which is the motivating factor in leading authorities to take this matter up as an order of business?

Personally, I believe in peoples’ free will. If someone wants to seek out someone who he or she thinks can help them…then I believe they should be able to conduct their affairs in concert with their conscience so long as they are not hurting anybody. Here is the thing…..with this pending law, a government is telling an individual that the government thinks a person would be hurting oneself upon under-going the “therapy”. This puts the government in a position of thinking that it knows what’s best for an individual as opposed to the individual deciding what’s best for oneself.    

When I drive to work in the morning, I am encountering potholes. Next to my office is a fire station hosting firemen whose trucks travel this same road but fail to take up the pothole matter with their fellow civil servants in order to facilitate repair. This is why I pay taxes. I pay taxes for roads to be fixed and not to have politicians who serve me debate philosophy, witchcraft, sexual orientation, or the merits of conversion therapy. I don’t pay my civil servants to be my moral guide or the moral guide of someone who may be lacking in self esteem. Governmental over reach is going to cost me a trip to my auto repair shop to get my car’s front end fixed from unsuccessfully dodging potholes. Now that concerns me and should concern my city council. 

Editorials In Lock Down

Whenever I click an editorial on line and am prompted for a news subscription trial I come away thinking, “fat chance you’re going to get me to pay for this second rate opinion”. I harbour no ill will toward editorials in lock down and news outlets needing to fund their reason for being. I’ve just taken the opinion that since the internet company is taking a material payment from me monthly and I expose myself to the deluge of advertisements, I simply will not subscribe to one news outlet. Have you ever been frustrated by having cancelled a memberships with precise administrative protocol but then see the charge show up the following month? Exactly.

At the same time, it’s important to underscore the contribution which journalists make to society. Journalists ask questions which you don’t have time for because you are at work and tending to kids. Journalists serve you in that they isolate problems with government decision making which impact you. Journalists also expose injustices of humanity which would go otherwise unnoticed by those who can intervene.

There has been a new phrase coined recently – “fake news”. While there are degrees in quality of journalism largely because of the profit motive and stakeholder’s potential for bias, standards in journalism still exist and are being executed. To subjectively paint all journalists as compromised is simply irresponsible.

In fact, there has never been a larger role for journalists during this time in history when democracies are being administered more like “elected dictatorships” with ultra party partisanship and fear of voting ones’ conscience in elected houses as the new norm. Under these conditions in particular, the diligent reporter’s industrious efforts should be emboldened. In this light, I suggest to the journalism industry to lift your lock down of editorials for those of us suspicious of monthly credit card auto charges and appeal to us differently for your funding.   

Globe Reporting Of Flynn’s Exoneration

In spite of the bit being brief, it was balance reporting. The Globe however neglects to mention that Michael Flynn was in the business of deploying his experience and contacts and an ex-military officer to consult / lobby foreign diplomats. Trump hired him during Trump’s campaign for the White House. What did Trump want from this man when he was campaigning for President? Kind of nice to know the context from which he confessed to lying to the American people. Of course, while this investigation of election meddling was going on, you had not only Flynn on the radar of investigators but Paul Mannafort, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen – all indicted. Here you have Trump claiming some kind of witch hunt when this was the company he was keeping.

The matter of deliberation specific to the lie as described by the Globe and Mail was in my opinion unrelated to the investigation of election meddling but must also be put in the context of Flynn pleading the fifth prior to a deal being struck for his cooperation. 

I suspect that Mr. Flynn was leveraging his experience as a decorated military man and didn’t quite know the character of the man who had retained him during a presidential campaign.  Flynn wasn’t doing himself any favours by apparently flirting with Russian women while on assignment and he apparently was administratively deficient in filing paper work associated with receiving pay from foreigners.