Posts Tagged ‘doer government’

While the official story is that Manitoba Hydro will “step back”, there is no admission on the part of Hydro that its plan is completely unacceptable.  Here’s a quote from Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider:

We’re taking a step back from this particular proposal and saying let’s take a step back and look at all the options that are available to us and see if this is still the best way to go forward.

Some people may view this as a retreat, but I don’t see it as such.  This is the preamble of a corporation’s attempt to turn three historic properties into lifeless façades, calling the result a reasonable compromise.

The citizens of Winnipeg need to be clear on this matter: there is no room for compromise with historic buildings within our National Historic Site.  Preservation of the buildings is acceptable.  Redevelopment of the buildings is acceptable.  But destroying these buildings for a substation expansion while leaving only the fronts will never be acceptable.

I see three options available to Manitoba Hydro that can be put forward to the community:

  1. Expand the substation as needed using the adjacent surface lots (or the lots across King Street), with any overflow being handled by a separate new or existing substation placed away from the Princess – Albert corridor.  This expansion could be done under existing surface lots.
  2. Find an alternative delivery method for substations, such as creating a close network of smaller, indoor substations in downtown buildings.
  3. Create a new underground substation in an alternative location, such as the surface lots at Hargrave and Notre Dame or the CityPlace parking lot.  An innovative electric utility might want to look at creating Manitoba’s first Smart Park lot, with future parking spaces created underneath solar carports for charging electric vehicles.
Google's Solar Carport

Google's Solar Carport

There are viable options available.  If Premier Doer can route a hydro line for hundreds of extra kilometres and millions of dollars, we can certainly have a substation expansion plan that makes our city better, not worse.

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Health care needs to be fixed, and I don’t think there’s a single Manitoban who would say that the Doer government is anywhere close to fixing it.

Here are some things we need right now:

1.    A Manitoba Patients’ Bill of Rights that establishes a legally enforceable guarantee of timely access to quality care.

2.    A Medical Standards Quality Council to establish provincial standards for wait times based on the best medical and scientific evidence available.

3.    An Enforcement Office which will have the authority to send patients for immediate care if they have not been treated within the mandated time, whether they be sent somewhere within Manitoba, or to another province.

4.    Eliminate the rationing of health care for Manitobans.  Quotas and global budgets are not meeting the needs of patients, and far too much funding is flowing to the bureaucracy instead of to the frontline health care providers.

5.    Reduce medical errors in the health care system with a blame-free reporting system and a Medical Procedure Improvement Team to ensure that action is taken to prevent the errors from occurring again.

6.    Improve aboriginal health care, beginning with the often overlooked basics of access to care, milk, and clean drinking water.

7.    Improve mental health care by focusing on community mental health care.

8.    Build new long-term care spaces to move patients with chronic care needs out of hospital sooner.

9.    Implement an electronic health care system that standardizes patients’ records.  This is a critical component of amodern health care system, allowing proper reporting to be done on outcomes and wait times.

These items aren’t part of an idealistic wish list; the fact that these things aren’t in place are failures of the current government.

There has been quite a bit of window dressing regarding health care, but the NDP government has continued to get it wrong in that they aren’t willing to guarantee these nine items for our province.  There has been no leadership from the government on these issues.

Several people who have worked at Concordia hospital have told me that the only time they ever saw that facility free of hallway medicine was from an hour before to an hour after any of the Premier’s visits.  We have patients waiting for 18 months for rotator cuff (shoulder) surgery, and by far the highest ovarian cancer mortality rate in the country.

Cancer Mortality by Province/Territory

Cancer of the Ovary, Females, All Ages, 2004

To better illustrate the current sentiments of Doer’s goverment, here’s an example of the NDP government’s approach to Aboriginal health care:

Flor Marcelino, MLA for Wellington: … However, I noticed that if you can be creative and practical, there are other alternatives to milk if you just want calcium. I saw in Gods Lake Narrows this school where supplies are delivered. They have several boxes of Cheez Whiz which is also a derivative of milk product containing calcium. I saw lots of bread. I thought without even thinking about this bill that this is a good alternative for milk.
So these children and adults from remote communities who, with this product which could be stored for a long time, these people from the northern communities are not without calcium in their diet. They may not have the actual fresh, chilled milk in the morning, but they have Cheez Whiz and other milk-derivative products that could be stored.

(Hansard except posted at The Great Canadian Talk Show blog.)

I think it’s pretty clear that we have a serious problem with health care in Manitoba.  And it’s on this platform that Bill Blaikie wants to join government.  Our provincial government’s approach to health is an embarrassment, and The Honourable Mr. Blaikie had better stand up and admit the crisis if he expects to show any leadership on the issue.

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