The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

January 23, 2009


Following the past Liberal Government’s trend, the Canadian Federal Conservative Government, Stephen Harper PM, November economic update was again projecting surpluses for the next few years. Suddenly immediately next rather we’re facing multi-year, massive deficits. How did we get to that point? Tax relief, economic stimulus and  measures to stabilize the financial markets are the supposed  hallmarks of next week’s Federal government’s budget that will drive Canada into deep but short-term deficit, under the Conservative  Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
“Interim Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is right to oppose across-the-board tax cuts. At a time when Canadians are leveraged to excess, they are not likely to go out and spend the added income on capital goods or even added consumption goods. More likely, the money will go to pay down debt, which is good for the individual, but does little for the economy in the short run. With a huge deficit planned, the money should be used on targeted areas in infrastructure projects, roads, bridges and urban transit – capital projects that will have benefits for a long time to come. With the demand destruction we are going to have in our economy, cutting taxes and even reducing interest rates, is like pushing on a rope – a wrong approach to the current situation.

Stephen Harper is a monetarist of the Friedman/Chicago school, and while monetary policy has its place, in particular where inflation is a problem, lowering interest rates when they are already close to zero will have little effect, at least in the short run. Cutting taxes for people who face job losses is also rather moot, and the recent U.S. experience with a general tax cut was rather dismal.

Of course, tax cuts are popular, especially for the selfish and short-sighted, and will likely play well in an election campaign. Could it be that Mr. Harper is, again, planning a political stand-off in the parliamentary OK Corral, in order to face off with Ignatieff in an election and dangle the carrot of tax cuts for the voters?  Sigmund Roseth, Mississauga”

PS: NDP Leader Jack Layton says it was “absolutely inappropriate” for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to allow details to be released on the federal budget deficit. Layton says it’s a move that seems to suggest Harper is trying to build a political case because he’s worried about losing his job. The NDP has already stated it won’t support Tuesday’s budget. A senior government official said Thursday the Harper government will run deficits totalling $64 billion over the next two years – $34 billion this year, and $30 billion next year. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who was also speaking in Toronto, accused Harper of playing political games when it comes to the budget. Ignatieff says the information leak was “irresponsible and costly to our economy.”

“Mandate for listeriosis investigation: insufficient OTTAWA – The mandate given to former Edmonton Health Authority President Sheila Weatherill as investigator of last year’s listeriosis outbreak is insufficient to provide transparency to Canadians, Liberal Agriculture Critic Wayne Easter and Health Critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett said today.“Canadians deserve the truth,” said Mr. Easter. “We have no doubt that Ms. Weatherill will do what she can given her mandate, but the fact is, this Conservative government has not been transparent with Canadians with regards to this tragedy. Ms. Weatherill’s resources and powers are too limited to reveal what actually happened. ” Dr. Bennett said the only way Canadians can know the full truth of how the crisis came about is to have a full judicial inquiry with the power to compel witnesses to testify and evidence to be produced.  “But, as we know, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has refused repeated calls for this,” said Dr. Bennett. “It is only through a full judicial inquiry that all of the facts will be known – and only then can the families of the victims move forward and Canadians can be assured it won’t happen again.” Mr. Easter agreed that only a judicial inquiry would fully expose the information needed to truly address any shortcomings in Canada’s food safety system.  “This is not about assigning blame,” he pointed out. “It is about giving Canadians certainty that their food is safe. The Conservative government and the Prime Minister owe that much to Canadians, but this investigation falls far too short of that obligation.”” 

” the fact that there is increased speculation about the Prime Minister’s job reflects growing concern in Conservative ranks that the party has to start planning for succession. The combination of a credible alternative, in the form of new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, and a support-sapping recession has already hit the Prime Minister’s approval ratings. The suspicion is that this is only a distant early warning of ever-worsening poll numbers. Mr. Harper retains strong support in caucus. Many Conservatives recognize that they are taken seriously only because they have the letters “MP” after their name, a happy circumstance for which thanks must go to the Prime Minister. But, unlike former Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, Mr. Harper has failed to establish a personal rapport with many caucus members. Their loyalty would be strained to a breaking point if Conservative support dropped into the 20s range– thus jeopardizing their cushy sinecures. Many Tories found themselves questioning their political faith during the general election and found it tested further by the Fall Fiscal Update. “The ace the Prime Minister always had was that he was the master tactician. But our guy doesn’t have the ace anymore,” said one self-professed Harper supporter. “Ministers now whisper under their breath that they think we will lose the next election.” In this circumstance, it is not surprising that the volume of chatter about a potential successor has risen. But it’s also true that if the Prime Minister is discredited by his handling of the economic crisis, his Cabinet is tarnished too.  The same applies to other potential front-bench candidates such as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who may emerge as the strongest candidate from the old Reform Party; James Moore, the young Heritage Minister who despite being a former Reform MP is most often viewed as a Red Tory; and, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who is said to be more likely to encourage his wife Christine Elliott, an Ontario MPP, to take a run at a senior job at Queen’s Park. Some Conservatives believe that a saviour will emerge from the East, in the form of Jean Charest, the Quebec Premier, or Bernard Lord, the former premier of New Brunswick. What is clear is that Mr. Harper’s authority has been dented so severely that the race to succeed him is on and cannot be cancelled by PMO decree. On the upside, the Prime Minister shouldn’t have any trouble empathizing with Canadians worried about losing their jobs in the coming months. ”  But all that won’t stop the fools from trying to  take bad Harper’s place.

Follow Obama’s lead on transparency, PM told Saying ‘the fog is thickening’ in Canada, Information Commissioner pounces on U.S. President’s decision to have more official documents released to the public  Globe and Mail  January 21, 2009 at 5:32 PM EST  OTTAWA — The Harper government should follow U.S. President Barack Obama’s lead in shunning secrecy and releasing more official documents to the public, Canada’s Information Commissioner says. In his first full day in office, Mr. Obama ordered the American government to release more documents under its Freedom of Information Act.  “Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday.  The announcement did not go unnoticed in Ottawa, where the Canadian government has moved in the opposite direction.  Canada’s Information Commissioner Robert Marleau   said that unreleased figures show more and more users of the Access to Information Act are hitting a wall in Canada. He added that his ATI report cards, to be released next month, will show a number of departments and agencies are failing in their legal duties. “The fog is thickening,” Mr. Marleau said. “Things are clearly going backwards in the amount of information that is being released, and there is a clear increase in the use of time extensions and exemptions. The numbers should be of concern to Canadian citizens.”In its current form, the act calls on the government to release requested documents within 30 days. But a number of officials who administer the Access to Information Act regularly complain that the Privy Council Office is playing an increasing role in vetting documents before they are released, causing delays that commonly reach six months and sometimes drag on for more than a year. In addition, the government relies increasingly on exemptions to censor information on contentious matters, such as the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan. In the United States, Mr. Obama said he still wants his government to protect national security and personal information, but that the rules should favour those who are seeking information. “The mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does mean you should always use it,” he said.”The Freedom of Information Act is perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent, and of holding it accountable. And I expect members of my administration not simply to live up to the letter but also the spirit of this law.” Mr. Obama said “transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” That message is similar to the Conservative Party’s promise in the 2006 election. However, the Harper government has failed to live up to its promise to “implement the Information Commissioner’s recommendations for reform of the Access to Information Act.”

Ad scandal isn’t dead yet  The Telegram  It may seem like it died quietly, but an interesting Elections Canada investigation into the conduct of the Conservative party in the 2006 federal election is still chugging along.  Wednesday, there was a court hearing in Toronto over material obtained by search warrant by Canada’s chief electoral officer when his office raided Conservative offices in Ottawa last year.  The Tories are vigorously fighting Elections Canada over the seized records.  The elections officer is investigating “in and out” financing. It’s a dodge by which the federal wing of the Conservative party transferred money to individual riding associations, ostensibly for riding advertising, and then had the money sent back to the party again where it was used to buy more national advertising.  The Conservatives allegedly moved $1.3 million to 67 riding offices, and then used that money to buy national ad space, even though they had already reached their limit of $18.3 million in national advertising. The Tories argue they are being singled out, and that they haven’t done anything that other parties haven’t done in the past. What complicates the story is that the national ads were booked long before party officials could have had any idea how much local ridings were going to spend on advertising, suggesting an orchestrated attempt to get around election spending rules. Beyond the Elections Canada investigation, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs held hearings, but many Conservative party officials refused to attend, even though the committee issued 31 summonses.  Before the issue could come to a head, Stephen Harper called a snap election, stopping the committee in its tracks.  In fact, that committee, and other fractious groups with similar issues, played a role in the “dysfunctional Parliament” that Harper said he needed to replace via an election.  You can understand the Conservatives’ position – to a point. House of Commons committees can be a bit of a “Gong Show,” and are regularly overtaken by partisan posturing. The problem is that they are also a legitimate part of the Parliamentary process, and ignoring them shows clear contempt for that process. Now, there are suggestions that the committee will regroup and call witnesses all over again, should Parliament sit next week. But there’s a fly in the ointment: one key witness is Irving Gerstein, head of fundraising for the Tories and their official agent for the 2006 federal election. But Gerstein was appointed to the Senate shortly before Christmas and, as a senator, he can no longer be compelled to appear before a House of Commons committee. Wheels within wheels within wheels. If members of a political party are willing to thumb their noses at a legislative committee – to the point of ignoring legally issued summonses – what other rules are they willing to flout?  Certainly it’s about time we knew whether or not the party with the most seats in the House of Commons played by the rules, or whether it has decided it is above such things. 

Drinking alcohol cause permanent brain damage, it also causes a significant deterioration of one’s mental capabilities, inter personal relationship skills, it also causes more car accidents than speeding or not having adequate winter tires, it also reduces significantly one’s work productivity as well undeniably too.  So  tell us all now:
– How much money did the Prime Minister, the Premiers themselves now spend on Alcoholic consumption entertainment last year,
– How Much money did the federal, provincial cabinet ministers now spend on Alcoholic consumption entertainment last year
– How much money did the civil and public servants now spend on Alcoholic consumption entertainment last year
I trust you all can readily supply us all with the answers

Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Pat Hoy is stepping on the toes of his federal counterpart in his call for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government make changes to Employment Insurance.  Hoy issued media release calling the EI program unfair to unemployed workers in Ontario and demanding changes to the program in Tuesday’s federal budget.  “An unemployed worker in Ontario gets $4,630 less in EI benefits each year than someone in any other province,” Hoy said, adding Ontario is being short-changed $2.1 billion annually in EI benefits. ”

January 12, 2009

Conservative Myths

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s inaction on a promised investigation of the death confirms that that the government is not particularly interested in identifying the problems that led to the listeriosis outbreak. Harper ruled out a public inquiry into the outbreak, which was traced to a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto. Days before the last election, he did promise an “arms-length investigation” to establish whether there were problems with the food inspection system. The day before the vote was called, Harper announced the terms of reference and set a reporting deadline of March 15. But four months later, Harper has still not named a lead investigator to conduct the investigation. The March reporting deadline will not be met; at the current rate of progress, it’s reasonable to wonder if there will ever be an investigation of any kind. The government’s inaction will raise concerns — that it has something to hide, or simply doesn’t believe in the importance of appropriate regulation, even in such a critical area. That is especially true given the large number of questions about the government’s general handling of food inspection and this specific case. Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors, for example, say a system introduced last year left them overloaded with paperwork, responsible for too many different facilities and unable to ensure safety. The government has also moved toward shifting responsibility for inspections to industry, arguing companies have an interest in safety. The outbreak is estimated to have cost Maple Leaf Foods about $75 million. Questions remain about the response to the problem between June, when Ontario public health units began to notice an unusual number of listeriosis cases, and eventual product recalls in mid-August. Similarly, Health Canada had warned in 2005 about the risk of listeriosis from sliced lunch meats and advised that pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems should not eat the products. Yet hospitals and seniors’ care facilities in B.C. and other provinces were serving the deli meats to patients at the time of this outbreak. And a Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial charged that “government policy errors” contributed to disaster and called for a full public inquiry into Canada’s food inspection system. Those are among the serious, credible questions about Canada’s food safety that Harper appears uninterested in seeing answered.”
I remember hearing about that great Conservative myth on promised full accountability, governmental transparency, a better form of governing, and the Harper- Conservative government  lies go on and on, fooling only the Conservatives as to who they really are still, liars..

January 7, 2009

Hospital administrators

All Hospital  administrators really still do need to do a much better job at administrating the cost effectiveness of all subordinates, dealing continually with the adequacy of the   hospital hygiene,  as well as managing, supervising  the Doctors better now too..

The dirty hands that I’ve seen
The Gazette (Montreal) – It does not surprise me to learn that the latest MUHC study found that in some situations only one in four doctors wash their hands between seeing patients.
Some Montreal doctors treat patients without washing hands: audit
Hand washing an issue in Montreal hospital Vancouver Sun
all 19 news articles »
Winnipeg hospital review finds 27 deaths due to medical errors
National Post, Canada – 7 hours ago
WINNIPEG — Winnipeg health officials have disclosed scant details of a special investigation that uncovered an additional 27 patients who died of medical

CP ‘Unintended events’ found in 32 deaths at Winnipeg hospitals last year: review

“WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says 32 deaths in city hospitals last year had nothing to do with the underlying health condition of the patients. The authority says the deaths were due to “unintended events” resulting from treatment. The health authority reviewed more than 2,500 deaths last year. Dr. Brian Postl, president and CEO of the authority, says it’s a big step for health professionals to say they made a mistake. Postl says the reviews will make the health-care system safer. ” and only if they are ebforced, not neglected again rather..

do see also

December 30, 2008

Death in Hospitals



California law requires hospitals to come clean on germs . The strain of a once-innocuous staph infection methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA  that has next become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics kills and more people each year than the AIDS virus which  in most cases is contracted in hospitals. Beginning Thursday, legislation will be phased in requiring all 400 California hospitals to implement tougher infection-control practices to stem outbreaks.   The US federal centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 2 million patients contract an infection in hospitals every year and nearly 100,000 of them die.  As many as 9,600 of those deaths occur in California, according to the state Department of Health Services. Senate Bill 1058 will require hospitals to publicly disclose their infection rates and screen certain high-risk patients for MRSA.  “The heartbreaking thing is this is something than can be prevented with something as simple as hand-washing,”  “Hospitals ought to be safe places to go — you shouldn’t go in and then die from something else.” Senate Bill 158   gives the Department of Health Services additional authority to investigate infection outbreaks and complaints about lax infection control practices. “These important measures will help save lives and health care dollars by reducing the number of infections that people are exposed to while staying in the hospital,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared when he signed the bills.  20 states have passed public disclosure laws.  According to supporters of the legislation, hospital infections add a staggering $3 billion to health care bills in California each year. Preventing MRSA infections in hospitals can be as simple as conscientious hand-washing, isolating infected patients and using disposable gowns and gloves in their rooms. Some hospitals do a better job than others at stopping them. But according to the National Quality Forum, hand-washing compliance rates at hospitals are generally less than 50 percent. SB 1058 will require hospitals to report infections such as MRSA to the Department of Health Services, effective Jan. 1. The information will be made available to the public through the department’s Web site beginning in 2011. Screening of at-risk patients for MRSA will begin with the new year. Beginning in 2011, these patients will be screened prior to discharge to determine whether they were infected while in the hospital. SB 158 will require hospitals to provide continuing education and training for workers, including conducting hand-washing campaigns. ”  Sacramento Bee

“This is the untold secret of hospitals. People can come in for some reason and then end up dying from something they caught in the hospital.” Every room and corridor should be equipped with dispensers of foamy hand sanitizer. Blood pressure cuffs should be discarded after use, and each room assigned its own stethoscope to prevent the transfer of microorganisms. Using these and other relatively inexpensive measures, the hospital can be significantly reduced the number of patients who develop deadly drug-resistant infections, long an unaddressed problem in American hospitals.The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projected this year that one of every 22 patients would get an infection while hospitalized — 1.7 million cases a year — and that 99,000 would die, often from what began as a routine procedure. The cost of treating the infections amounts to tens of billions of dollars, experts say. MRSA infections are often contracted by patients who are already in the hospitals. Much more needs to be done to fight MRSA in hospitals and in the community.

Many persons had never even heard of MRSA, shit diseases,  or that there was a risk of becoming infected with it in a hospital and thy now are  surprised by the sometime poor infection control practices  observed during their  hospital stays.  Hospital  hygiene Costs saving measures are one of the man reasons the diseases spread so easily. Hopefully Canadian provinces and the Canadian federal government will follow with similar laws.    

How to get better medical services
Now many of us already do now about the all too-common Medical  PATIENT killers like:
-MEDICATION MISTAKES. Wrong pills! Wrong blood transfusions! Wrong intravenous drips! Don’t bother even  to guessing how often this happens.  It’s worse than your wildest nightmares. Unsupervised Doctors and Hospitals make many mistakes like these every hour. 
-DOCTORS’ DIRTY HANDS. Incredibly, recent surveys show that doctors wash their hands between patients only half the time… and nearly 90% of stethoscopes harbor staph bacteria. 
-UNNEEDED SURGERY.  Surgeons could have used many less costly approaches THAT WOULD HAVE LESS NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS AND QUICKER HEALING TOO   choose instead to do the costly surgery
– DOCTORS FAIL TO PRESCRIBE PROPER MEDICAL TEST . Medical Technicians have to be told what specific blood tests also have to be done first.. they do not automatically check for every possible sickness or diseases thus.

HOSPITALS are filled with infection-causing bacteria that cannot be found anywhere else. Hospitals, which often house very large numbers of sick people, are the ideal breeding environment for the sometimes deadly bugs. Hospital patients generally have a lower level of immunity and offer little or no resistance to them. The hospital staff, due to constant exposure to the bugs, are fairly immune to them, but may pass them on to patients by touching them or their food, bedding, clothing, or medications.* Contrary to common belief, hospitals are among the most contaminated places in the world. In fact  it does not take much dirt to become a breeding place for billions of deadly infectious bacteria.

* Doctors can be the worst transmitters of disease in hospitals. Most doctors do not wash their hands except before an operation, when they wear sterilized gloves and gowns anyway. They may sometimes touch many dozens of patients within several hours, one after the other, without washing their hands even once. Even the doctor’s white gown is not as clean as it looks. It is only clean if it is washed every single day, which rarely happens. .

* Bed sheets may be clean, but mattresses and pillows are not. The chance of being infected by bugs living in them is 1 in 20.

* A hospital patient may receive up to 12 different kinds of medication, all of which produce side effects, SOME  that can lead to serious complications and even death. AND SOME MEDICATIONS GIVEN ARE GIVEN IN ERROR AS WELL

* NOT SURPRISING TO MANY PERSONS hospitals PATIENTS OFTEN  are suffering from malnutrition due to a poor hospital diet OR BUDGET CONSTRAINTS. Malnutrition, even starvation was found to be the major cause of death among older people in hospitals.

Add the toxic side effects of the drugs, the presence of deadly bugs, as well as the stress and anxiety that accompany an illness and a stay in a hospital, and a poorly nourished elderly person NOW EVEN has very little chance of surviving

Anxiety stress relief vitamins and minerals work in different ways by providing nutrients which control the metabolism rate and the hormone levels within our bodies. By keeping these two things stable we can provide a better mechanism to cope with stress and anxiety inducing situations. Most of the recommended anxiety stress relief vitamins and minerals can be found in the foods that we eat and can simply be attained by eating a healthy and balanced diet covering all the major food groups. And that is why eating proper foods is important.

This also offers a Canadian window into the state’s overwrought preoccupation with making money at all costs, disregarding the citizens concerns too. Sadly Like too many political parties it seems the citizens mainly do not count, their views or needs, desires. they only count on election days. I was once talking to deputy Minister Ken Kowalski of Alberta about this as to why and he replied cause in Alberta they do not pay the taxes. But rather the real reason is the too often lack of respect for the all of citizens still by our leaders, civil and public servants most political parties Canada wide.. Police, RCMP’s unacceptable, poor attitudes towards most of the citizens now as well


A potentially deadly strain of fungus is spreading among animals and people in the northwestern United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia. The airborne fungus, called Cryptococcus gattii,   “This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people,” The new strain appears to be unusually deadly, with a mortality rate of about 25 percent among the 21 U.S. cases analyzed,  “Between 2003 and 2006, the outbreak expanded into neighboring mainland British Columbia and then into Washington and Oregon from 2005 to 2009. The spore-forming fungus can cause symptoms in people and animals two weeks or more after exposure. They include a cough that lasts for weeks, sharp chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, fever, nighttime sweats and weight loss. It will likley soon hit all of Canada too.

 Heart Care. Traditionally, strategies for managing cardiovascular disease have focused mainly on the modification of risk factors (poor diet/nutrition, lack of exercise, smoking), medication, and surgical procedures such as angioplasty and bypass surgery, which in reality treat the illness as a major plugged “plumbing problem” and focus on opening or bypassing blockages in the vessels of the heart. Despite these interventions, 20% of patients who receive stents, 54% of patients who receive angioplasty, and 8% of patients who receive bypass surgery require repeat surgeries/procedures within a few years, and a significant number of people continue to suffer from frequent, severe, and disabling angina. And we will continue to fail these people.

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