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Hurry Up and Wait

Does it really come as a surprise that attempting to shorten medical wait times in the Fab Five areas without increasing the federal investment in health care would make the other services slower?

It’s finally coming to light that this entire effort has been a political exercise, divorced from any reality existing in the overstressed system. As anyone on the ground will tell you, the wait time problem is considerably more complex that has been discussed.

The single most effective method of decreasing wait times in Canada would be to reduce waste and inefficiency within the system, but that would mean admitting that a lot of people on the front lines are not doing their jobs. The price of political support is not pointing the finger at those most responsible. The entire system, including the labour unions contained within, are consuming resources at a frightening pace with no apparent regard for what patients need. The deciding factor for any decision aimed at increasing efficiency is “what will cause the least friction with unions”. It’s decisions that are made without the political will to actually make hard choices that leads to situations like this.

Until what we have is addressed without regard for political pandering, no progress will be made, and our system will continue the long spiral downward.

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And Don’t Stab Nobody, Neither…

Is a reminder to politicians in Nova Scotia necessary at this point?

Way to go, Ernie, you ruined it for everyone. Take your bottle and go home.

While I understand the optics of wanting to demonstrate to the people of the Halifax Regional Municipality that city councillors are responsible representatives of the public, I can’t say I’m impressed at the transparently ham-fisted manner in which the Mayor has done it. What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in blatant showmanship.

I wonder, if you were a closet arsonist, would you be crossing your fingers that the Mayor didn’t list that one as ‘taboo’?

The best and most effective way of proving you are a responsible representative is not to fuck up in the first place. Mayor Kelly has just placed his City Council under close scrutiny, and even a minor mistake is now likely to be blown out of proportion.

It’s not enough to say you’re good, you actually have to be good. Eventually.

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OK, So What Now?

Growing up in Cape Breton, it was easy to be cynical about the Tar Ponds. Time after time someone would shout, “Someone should do something!”

A chorus of voices would reply, “Yeah!”

And then nothing would happen.

Finally, the cleanup is actually looking like it might happen. A method for ensuring the toxic soil, and the surrounding cocktail of chemicals, will not bother anyone again has been devised, after years upon years of debate. Solidification and Stabilization, the mixing of the chemicals in the soil with concrete, the covering of the concrete with an impermeable barrier, and the laying of sod over the top to remediate the land, is soon to begin. Finally, this will be dealt with, so of course everyone is happy and content.

Or not.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, insists that this method is “A joke”, and insists it won’t work. Citizens and environmentalists do not want this to happen (but fail to provide acceptable alternatives). The Tar Ponds Agency (TPA) insists that this is proven technology.

As near as I can tell, without an environmental background, the TPA is telling the truth – The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the use of this technology in what is referred to as ‘Brownfield Remediation’, and the method has been used successfully in places like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The CMHC also supports its use in reclaiming land for affordable housing, among other things.

So, are the environmentalists yelling for no reason? Maybe not. The EPA, in relation to another site in Pennsylvania, indicates that when petroleum content is high, the application of this method is problematic, as Ms. May indicates. Anyone who has seen the Tar Ponds has seen that petroleum products constitute a significant percentage of the toxins present. So, she is also telling the truth.

Where does that leave the people living nearby? The public has now risen against encapsulation, along with incineration, and removing the soil would be mind-bogglingly complex. I have no idea what washing the soil would entail, but it sounds even more difficult.

No answer will please everyone, and doing nothing will please no one. So, what now?

I think that now, after decades of living with a toxic legacy, we have to admit that no solution is perfect, and, rather than try to find a fix that will please everyone and make the area pristine, we have to admit the mistakes of the past, and just pick a solution that will do the least harm.

Just get on with it, whatever it is. Cap it off, wrap it up, lay some sod over it and play ball.

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Actions Speak Louder…

As a (hopefully) final reference to the Jared Taylor incident, I present the following tidbit of information.

As readers will recall, I decried the use of violence against the self-proclaimed ‘white separatist’, even though I disagreed strongly with his views. (Despite the transposition of the piece to Stormfront.org, which incorrectly implied support)

I am pleased, amused and humbled by the fact that the person who literally pulled Taylor’s fat out of the fire that evening was…

The Executive Director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.

This has just made my day.

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Mr. Deity

Halden Johnson posted a link today to this brilliant YouTube series called Mr. Deity. Halden, I can’t thank you enough! The Mr. Deity home page has links to the four episodes currently available, but I’ll toss the link up to the right so you can peek in now and then and see what’s new.

For convenience, here are the four videos currently available. Trust me, your boss will understand, take a few minutes and make yourself a better employee for the rest of the afternoon. Hang in to the end of Episode 1; if you feel as I do about Celine Dion, you won’t be disappointed.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4