Sunday 26 April 2020

Tragic failure to employ mobile phone alert.

I always had a special feeling for the RCMP. Perhaps it was because as a boy in Ireland, whose Saturday afternoons were spent at the 'pictures', as we called the movies, the disciplined, elegantly uniformed, well spoken screen Canadian hero was such a contrast to the loosely disciplined vulgar American Cowboy who was his counterpart in the Great country to our south. Don't get me wrong, for years I worshiped Gene Autry. the singing hero and his goofy side kick, Gabby Hayes and a myriad of others. It was just that they were lacking in 'class' in an era when class mattered. Particularly when you had a little yourself - or thought you had! The picture of the debonairly clad officer who always did right and who 'always got his man', even if he had to spend years trekking across the frozen North, is with me yet. He was part of the mystique of Canada!
So when I read recently of the terrible tragedy in Portapique, Nova Scotia when 22 people were murdered (including a RCMP Officer), over a 14 hour period I was curious to read how the case had been managed. The question has been raised over why the Nova Scotia RCMP had not issued a mobile phone emergency alert. Wireless public alerting is specifically to send public safety messages to the public on their cell phones. Cell broadcast is similar to radio broadcast and allows messages to be broadcast to all compatible wireless devices. The object of the calls is to give life-saving information. There were so many trial runs that some folks disabled the facility, tired of getting blaring messages in Walmart or Costco or worse, while driving their car. So it is hard to understand why no alarm was sounded that there was a killer on the loose.
The question has been raised, but not yet answered as to why no warning was given over the system? The Premier of Nova Scotia said the EMO (Provincial Emergency Management Office) contacted the RCMP a number of times about issuing an emergency alert. By the time the RCMP killed the gunman the Police were still deliberating on the wording of a Red Alert Emergency notification. Not too difficult!
I have had a long relationship with the 'Mounties' described elsewhere. It shocked and disappointed me that the renowned RCMP that built a world reputation for efficiency has not as of this writing offered an explanation and perhaps apology for this glaring omission. Surely the first action should have been obvious. To use the very system that had been devised for delivering immediate warning of life-threatening situations to the public. Surely this must be obvious to everyone.
I am waiting for a plausible explanation as to why it wasn't obvious to the RCMP and the Provincial Emergency Management Office and to be informed what measures have been taken to avoid it happening in the future. Let's hope it come quickly.

Thursday 16 April 2020

The Plague - and Easter Sunday 2020.

   While the wiser world  is holding its breath and hoping the 'plague' is starting to subside as a result of the recommended measures, I have from a very reliable source, that in downtown London, Ontario, (the second biggest London in the world) life continues as usual.  Although restaurants are closed, Tim Horton's Drive-thru is blooming and doing more business than ever.  Conscientious citizens are consumed by guilt and living like hermits, while the irresponsible spoiled- brat component of the population are exposing the rest of the  population to coronavirus, disease and death, apparently without concern.  There was no 'two-meter' safety space around individuals and vehicle congested areas sported motor-cycles and convertibles apparently oblivious to the risks that they subjected themselves and others to.  I'm not aware that the 'experts' have yet informed the virus that it cannot journey more than two meters and I note that some experts are suggesting that it has learned to traverse more than that. I also note that many of those who dismissed face masks as being useless are now wearing them.
   I live on  Richmond St., a main thoroughfare and observe the the traffic's irresponsible disregard for the law abiding public.  I've seen, (and certainly heard) the disregard that these folks have for the traffic laws as they congregate and rev up their engines and wonder why I don't see the police force taking appropriate action.  While the legal Cannabis stores are closed as are other non essential service stores, there is a thriving side-walk market, which is almost, but not quite, as efficient as the illegal market.
   It is easy to understand why our government doesn't do the right thing.  They are fearful that enforcement would be politically unpopular and might lose them votes.
  The 'experts' meanwhile have almost as varied opinions as the general public.  The masks that they superciliously derided are becoming universal as increasing numbers of the public have come to the perhaps commonsense view that some possible if dubious protection is better than none.  An article in today's NP headlined "A nation of snitches?" deriding the folks who follow the rules and resent those who cavalierly disregard them (perhaps including the PM and Leader of the opposition) and thereby put not only themselves at risk but  the rest of  the population too.  When those folks report flagrant breaches of appropriate protocol  to the authorities they are doing no wrong.  They are not snitching.  They are behaving in the appropriately recommended way for the good of the general  population.  They are reporting unacceptable behaviour.  
   Too bad if they think they are being snitched on.
Maybe they do require 'Big Brother' keeping an eye on them, as the writer suggests is already happening!

Friday 10 April 2020

Health Care Rationing. Pt 2.


  1. a fixed amount of a commodity officially allowed to each person during a time of shortage, as in wartime.

   Not very long ago I wrote a piece concerning an issue that has troubled me  for a long time. 
  The rationing of health care.
    Presciently,I warned of the situation worsening in the near future.  At that time I  had no idea how close we were to the brink of the cliff.  Only a few months ago when I would voice concerns regarding a looming catastrophe in the availability of health care, my friends would roll their eyes to heaven.   Who knew that things could change in the blink of an eyelid? But they did.  Even at the time when the coronavirus was already evident, our inept government was gifting  sixteen tonnes of critically needed protective equipment to China.  A little foresight on the part of government might have avoided the precarious position health care workers find themselves in now.  But our sanctimonious , virtue signalling PM has his heart set on the hypocritical Security  Counsel seat.  The Chinese, of course seem to be in the business of selling us back some of the equipment at an exorbitant price.             
  Rationing has already become a huge issue as front-line health care providers cannot obtain the vital personal protective equipment that they need to protect their own lives as well as their families.  As one of them said to me recently, "It's like sending a firefighter to put out a fire without protective gear or a hose!"
  Patients are feeling the shortages already.  Virtually all elective procedures have been cancelled and many non-elective surgeries put on indefinite hold.      As scarcity for life preserving equipment (such as respirators) becomes more acute, as it certainly will, who will determine who gets what?   Will they be allocated on a first come first served basis? Will coronavirus patients take precedence over a trauma patient ?  Will corona virus patients who have meticulously followed the guidelines be considered equal to someone who has wantonly ignored them?  Finally, will some violent criminal get the same treatment as the Prime Minister?  You know the answer to that one.  We sanctimonious Canadians like to pretend that everyone is  treated  equally, when we know that they aren't - nor if we are being honest would most  of us want them to be.  
   Canada was slow to respond to the Covid-19 threat.  The Liberal bureaucrats disdained to monitor travelers from China claiming the risk to be low.  Public health officials stated that the risk of transmission in Canada was low as recently as recently as early March.  Two weeks later, the country was on shut-down.  Trudeau warned yesterday that it might be a long time before life returns  to normal in Canada.  Meanwhile, there are still daily flights from China to Canada!  At the end of January the Minister of Health stated, "There is no clear evidence that the virus is easily transmitted between people".   The public were smarter as evidenced by the number of people now using face masks.  
   Before this crisis it was evident that health care in  Canada was deteriorating at an alarming rate.  I hope that this disaster will awaken the public to the fact that rationing of health care in Canada is a growing catastrophe.

I welcome your comments.