Category Archives: Ontario Politics

A 3rd Rate Speech from the Throne

How many of you listened to Governor General Payette read the speech from the throne?  Could you hear the cash register go ching, ching and ching?  While no dollar amounts were mentioned you just must know that at least another $250 billion is going to be spent.  

How many of you watched the Prime Minister and the other Party Leaders later the same day?  I imagine many of you watched, it was a condensed and straight to the point of the hour-long throne speech a few hours earlier.  

Parliament was prorogued in August to prepare for a new session and a reset from the last throne speech delivered less that 10 months earlier.  We all know what the government and parliament has had to do since March 13th, the economic impacts of COVID-19 have been intense and immense..

In the five weeks from proroguing to the throne speech Canada was turned upside down.  The biggest concern we faced was the return of our children to the classroom.  There was a shaky optimism, but families were moving forward (with fingers crossed). Without warning COVID case numbers started rising in BC, then Ontario and then Quebec; the roof was caving in on Trudeau government’s plan to announce a recovery plan and its intentions to take a hard left to a green economy and an election. 

The government’s messaging slowly changed over the course of a couple of days from a new economy to a cautious approach to recovery to a full defense against COVID-19.  What the GG delivered was a rushed third or fourth version of the speech.  It could have been written by any parliamentary staff who is given the instructions to’ mention this, that, more of this and more of that and don’t forget to state the how bad a second wave of COVID is going to be’.

In 2014 I was campaigning in Ottawa Centre as the Ontario PC Candidate and we were out the day after it was announced one million jobs would be created by a new PC government.  We were mocked at the doors and in the media for promising such a huge number of jobs (along with reducing the government workforce by 100,000 positions).  Ontario Liberals said that was a number that could never be proven as being achieved.

From 2014 jump to last year when Trudeau announced 1 billion trees would be planted to fight climate change, 100 million tress a year for 10 years.  Now jump to this week’s throne speech, Trudeau promised 1 million jobs.  There was no indication they would be new jobs or recovered jobs.  The problem with these promises is that the numbers are unrealistic for us to understand.    Could Hudak have created those jobs?  How many of the 1 billion trees have been planted?  Will Trudeau deliver 1 million jobs?  Anything less will be a broken promise.  These are big numbers and most Canadians don’t think in terms of numbers that big; this will be lost.  Most Canadians that are out of work only know of a single number, one, the job they need.

Listening to the throne speech and watching the Prime Minister the thought going through my head must have been ‘he’s thinking about what this speech should or could have been about’.  Rather, the Governor General outlined the four pillars for the governments next moves; Fighting the Pandemic, Supporting Canadians and Canadian Businesses; A stronger and more resilient Canada and Standing Up for who Canada is.  All these pillars made perfect sense.

Money and more money was announced for current programs, new programs. Missing was the idea that there will be a recovery plan and there can’t be a recovery until we beat this second wave.  What did happen though was the threat of an election was pulled off the table, for now.  Elections are fought on what should take place in the future, people want a vision.  Trying to protect the “now” is not an election campaign theme.  

With the Prime Minister telling Canadians the second wave is here now, he’s telling us he’s prepared to stand put until next summer and then he’ll hope that the opposition will have had enough of him.  His expectations of a bad fall and winter is not prime election time and Trudeau is lamenting his lost opportunity, for now.

Five weeks of committee work, five weeks of asking the hard questions to the government and their accountability have been lost and all we got out of was a third rate speech.

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day reading this, please leave a comment and if you like what you’ve read please click the follow button.  Let me know what you’re watching and hearing, what is making you excited or anxious.

Cheers,

Rob

—Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Derek Sloan

This is the last of four posts looking at the candidates running to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  The previous post was a glance at the campaign of Erin O’Toole.  In the last of our candidates I focus on Derek Sloan.  

Derek Sloan

I had no idea who Derek Sloan was when the announcement was made that he was going to run for the leadership of the party, I knew he had won back the riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington for the Conservatives from the Liberals.  Here is what I knew about Sloan, he is a lawyer and has run several small businesses – all this from his website.  He won the Conservative nomination over three others.  His riding association has asked the Conservative Party to strip Sloan from the party because of statements he has made about gender identity.  He had only sat in the House of Commons seven days before he became a candidate for the leadership of the party.

In an interview with Tony Clement on the podcast “And another thing”, Sloan told Clement his reason for running was all about not apologizing for being a conservative.  He has stuck to that mantra; his campaign slogan is ‘Conservative. Without apology.” According Sloan, party members want a conservative, not a ‘liberal lite’, as their next leader.

Now, he has not had the smoothest sailing through the campaign.  He’s hit a few rough spots and hit some controversy.  Issues of conversion therapy, family values, marijuana and his criticism of Dr. Theresa Tam make him different from the other three candidates – from what I can see, he welcomes the stage to stand apart from Leslyn Lewis, Peter Mackay and Erin O’Toole.  It was that criticism of Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer that gave him headlines; it was the call from some members of the Conservative Caucus to have him removed as a member of the caucus and a leadership candidate that gave his campaign life from the section of the party that supported him with emails of support to the Conservative MPs and donations to his campaign. But for all the controversy Sloan may generate, he stands behind every word and policy his is presenting in his campaign, without apology.

Each of the candidates know their target audience, what I found interesting in the Sloan campaign is that it is the only campaign that is working hard to attract the Chinese vote with a translation of his website in Chinese.  

Sloan’s campaign touches on similar themes as the others; Carbon Tax, Freedom of Speech and Canada’s international duties.  It is on this last theme he veers away from the other three with a ‘Canada’ theme of pulling out support for the WHO, withdrawing our signature from the Paris Agreement and slashing Canada’s immigration by 200,000 people/year. There are Canadians on the (extreme) right and left who will agree with Sloan’s sovereigntist approach.

Does Derek Sloan have a chance to win the leadership?  Of, course there is always a path to victory; but will a path to the leadership of the Conservative also take Derek Sloan to the Prime Minister’s Office?  Derek Sloan is not who I think should be leading the party, the divisions in the party would be too great and the swing voter would swing away from a Derek Sloan led Conservative Party. 

To learn more about Derek and his platform visit www.dereksloan.ca.

Thank you for taking to time to read this post and the entire series of posts with the candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. 

Stay safe, wash your hands and if you have a ballot for the CPC Leadership make sure you get it to the party before August 21st.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Erin O’Toole

This is the third of four posts looking into the candidates running to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Last post I looked at Peter Mackay and in today’s post I’ll take a peak at former Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole.

Erin O’Toole

Three years ago, Erin O’Toole finished third to Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier for the party leadership.  Three years ago, was also a completely different campaign. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot.  Erin O’Toole was also my #1 choice on the ballot and like so many more my decision to place Andrew Scheer above Maxime Bernier on my ballot helped elect Scheer as the leader of the party.

What a different three years, one election and a pandemic make.  Erin O’Toole is back in the race to win the leadership.  This campaign seems so much different than in 2017.  In 2017 candidates were fighting a campaign on multiple – twelve – fronts, and the Conservative right was aligned with three solid candidates. You didn’t know where the next attack was coming from.  In 2020 the field is much smaller, and campaigns can focus on fewer fronts and target messages with greater accuracy.  

Because of these changes, the Erin O’Toole running in 2020 is different from the 2017 candidate.  The 2017 O’Toole campaign was a kinder and gentler candidate that candidate in 2020, but It makes sense.  O’Toole knows where he needs to focus his campaign, and it is focused right on Peter Mackay.

On the issues, O’Toole has been aggressive on China, Huawei and recently has taken on the United Nations wanting to reform the world institution. O’Toole says he will make sure Canada is a leader in global affairs, again not a country that comes third in a three-country race for two seats on the UN Security Council.  He’ll begin with the creation of CANZUK, an economic alliance with the UK, New Zealand and Australia.  O’Toole has also laid out an economic plan for Canada he’ll implement if elected as PM in the next election.

In 2020 it’s not a given that a right leading candidate will lead the party again.  Where does the values base of the party go?  O’Toole has been courting the supporters of Leslyn Lewis and Derek Sloan asking them to make him their number two selection on the ranked ballot.  He’s been talking about protecting rights and values that the Liberals want to have removed.  Being loyal to Andrew Scheer as a valued member of the Scheer Shadow Cabinet certainly will score points for Scheer supporters.

One requirement that could make him the winner is if party members want a sitting MP to become the next leader and to be able to join the Opposition as Leader in the House of Commons from day one of their leadership.  In this area the choices are O’Toole or rookie MP Derek Sloan – most party members would choose O’Toole if that were the number one criterion, however there is much more to consider. 

O’Toole has the knowledge, experience and the leadership for the party, he also has the support of 37 caucus members, but is that enough to make him look like the leader that party members want that will upend Trudeau in the next election?

To learn more about Erin and his plans for Canada and the Party if elected Leader visit www.erinotoole.ca.

Thank you for taking to time to read this post, next and last in the series of four on the Party Leadership Candidates is Derek Sloan.

Stay safe, wash your hands and if you have a ballot for the CPC Leadership make sure you get it to the party before August 21st.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Peter Mackay

This is the second of two posts looking into the candidates running to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.  Last post I looked at Dr. Lewis and in today’s post I’ll look at former Minister and last Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada Peter Mackay.

Photo from Wounded Warriors

In 2017, Peter Mackay watched from the sidelines as 13 Conservatives vied for the leadership of the party he helped create, the Conservative Party of Canada.  In the years between deciding not to run in the 2015 election Peter Mackay has set his sights on Bay Street in Toronto and his family.  

As a co-founder of the present-day Conservative Party of Canada, Mackay did not run for the leadership and he did not endorse any candidate for the party leadership.

What is memorable about Mackay in this leadership race is what was said leading up to it, not during it.  In a post-election panel event, he spoke the words ‘stinking albatross’ when referring to the election results of October 21, 2019.  Was he wrong or was he right with those words? Perhaps that is what this leadership campaign is all about; the ability of the Conservative Party of Canada to form government and how the beliefs of a strong portion of the party base reflect the values and how Canadian voters see that.

As a co-founder of the present-day Conservative Party of Canada, Mackay did not run for the leadership and he did not endorse any candidate for the party leadership.

What is memorable about Mackay in this leadership race is what was said leading up to it, not during it.  In a post-election panel event, he spoke the words ‘stinking albatross’ when referring to the election results of October 21, 2019.  Was he wrong or was he right with those words? Perhaps that is what this leadership campaign is all about; the ability of the Conservative Party of Canada to form government and how the beliefs of a strong portion of the party base reflect the values and how Canadian voters see that.

Peter’s platform is conservative voter friendly, there isn’t a lot of controversy and it could be seen as something that swing voters could accept.  What his and other platforms lack would be a clearer environmental plan.  Voters rejected the Scheer environmental plan in the last election, I don’t know if Mackay thinks he could win a general election without a more substantial plan on the environment and climate change.  I would suspect Canadians and more importantly Liberals would emphasize that Conservatives haven’t learned from 2019 on this issue.  

He has one candidate he is focused on, former Cabinet colleague Erin O’Toole.  While he doesn’t appear to have reached out to the supporters (that I have noticed) of Leslyn Lewis or Derek Sloan, he does mention issues like the conscience right of medical practitioners not to assist in medically assisted deaths on his website. 

What Mackay should be worried about is second and third ballot support if he doesn’t have the numbers to win on a first ballot.  Mackay seems to have unwittingly taken on the burden that Maxime Bernier had in 2017, of not having enough down ballot support to take it all.

Unlike Bernier, Mackay does have something that perhaps Party members and Canadians want; a Leader they can support to defeat Justin Trudeau, a Conservative Leader that can earn the support centre-left voters that are tired of Trudeau his mistakes, his leaning into NDP policy and his personal ethics violations.

With Peter Mackay, Conservatives know who they may have as a leader of the party, it will be up to the members to decide if they like what they see.  I encourage you to visit www.petermackay.ca before you complete your ballot and send it back to the party to make sure it arrives in Ottawa before August 21st

Thank you for taking a few minutes of your day for reading RHBS Post #293. Stay safe and healthy.  I will feature the next leadership candidate in this series with Erin O’Toole. 

Rob

Profiles of a possible (Conservative) Leader: Dr. Leslyn Lewis

I have been pondering these posts for a long time before putting fingers to the keyboard.  Now that ballots have been mailed, this seems like the appropriate time to talk about the campaign to replace Andrew Scheer as the Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

This race has been on since October 2019 and the Leadership race was launched early 2020 with the original date to have a new leader selected was last weekend.  COVID-19 came and took two candidates, Marilyn Gladu and Rudy Husny, out of the race.  One candidate was booted out, reinstated by the courts and then booted out of the race again.  After all the dust settled there are four candidates vying to be the next Leader of the Opposition, and hopefully the next Prime Minister of Canada.  

The final four to appear on the ranked ballot are (alphabetically): Leslyn Lewis, Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan.  I Have voted for Peter for Leader in 2003, for the Progressive Party of Canada and Erin for CPC leader in 2017.  Both have qualities I need to see in a leader, but only one name will be in my number one spot.  

For the this and the three next posts I’ll take a dive into the candidates for the party leadership, alphabetically.  Today I’ll look at Dr. Leslyn Lewis, followed by the Hon. Peter Mackay, the Hon. Erin O’Toole and rookie MP Derek Sloan

I find Leslyn Lewis to be the most interesting of all the leadership contestants. I also have respect for her campaign; of the four campaigns, she is the least mistake prone and appears true to the message she is communicating.  

I liked how Lewis performed in the English debate. I liked her responses to the post-debate scrum on Canada’s systemic racism.  If I was prepared to wait a two-term election cycle before seeing a Conservative Prime Minister I might be willing to put Lewis number on my ballot.  Serving as a Minister in a Conservative government will prepare Lewis to be a successful Prime Minister in her own right.  We’ll have to see if either MacKay or Lewis will be brave enough give Lewis in a role that allows her to shine.  

I listened to former MP and a previous leadership contestant Tony Clement interview Dr. Lewis on his podcast; And Another Thing Podcast, I was duly impressed with the clarity of her answers and honestly the last spin she gave – it was very refreshing.  In the interview she noted that she does a lot of the policy, speech and video writing herself, she does know that will change to a degree if she becomes leader, but I doubt she’ll be completely hands off – making sure her message is HER message will be a constant focus, and possible challenge for the staff in the Office of  the Leader of the Opposition.  Lewis’ background and education are interesting.  What was most interesting is how she and her team have been able level the playing field, meet and exceed the criteria of the Conservative Party leadership organizing committee.

I am intrigued by her Masters in Environmental Studies from York University; has the Conservative Party ever had someone that might be as qualified as Dr. Lewis to talk about the environment?  Though her platform on the environment mirrors most of what was talked about in the 2019 election and what other leadership candidates have been saying in this leadership contest.

Unlike one other candidate, Dr. Lewis’s personal values, the ones she was brought up on, these values about family values and qualities of generosity, hard work and equal opportunity may those that Canadians, of every political stripe.   It’s not beyond belief that Lewis’ values would challenge those of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party that a Conservative Leader could stir a self-confidence in voters that recently may have belonged to Liberal voters. 

To learn more about Dr. Lewis, her policies and background please visit her website www.leslynlewis.ca.  

Thank you for taking a few minutes of your day for reading RHBS Post #292. Stay safe (and healthy)

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/rob.dekker.54.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Great Expectations

April showers were once expected to bring May flowers but in 2020, April showers were to bring about May existence and expectations. 

We had expectations to be on our way out of COVID-19, we would be getting to thinking about getting back to work, planning summer camps and vacations.  For all the complications of the coronavirus, we had simple hopes – we wanted to get back to life.  As April became May and now May becomes June, do we really want to get back to normal?

The news of the last week and the actions of a few, have made the expectations we thought about for weeks erase pale to the important expectations that never went away.

The week started with the Canadian Parliament being ‘shuttered’ for another month, then the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) releasing a report on the state of Long-Term Care homes in Ontario and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter protest because of another needless death of a black American.

Thankfully the week ended with hope.

The COVID pandemic gives hope that we will finally act on the care we give our seniors in LTC residences. The report from the CAF was scathing in the treatment seniors are receiving, the report also created the chain reaction of a call for action.  All It took was for the army to come in to make governments sit up and notice. Ontario Premier Ford promised action; he acted quickly by taking provincial control of several private LTC homes and launching first a government inquiry and then an independent commission into the care and operations in LTC homes – finally, the action that families, unions and experts had wanted. Successive governments have responsibility for the state of these facilities, so now we have action that might bring hope the true expectations will come about in Ontario.  

In Minneapolis on the third Thursday in May, George Floyd died after being held down to the ground by a police officer; it was a needless death and once again put the spotlight on police and race relations.  In the case of death of George Floyd four white officers raised the voices of millions across the US and Canada.  Expectations that improvements would ever take place in how coloured Americans and Canadians are treated might have been exhausted had it not been for a 20 something Black American state that it was his generation that had to act now.  The generation of his parents tried and couldn’t affect change and the generation of young black Americans that will follow him deserve a better life and a chance at equality.   

I wonder how as a society we cannot find a way to erase the hatred towards our neighbours, co-workers and fellow citizens?

I’ll finish with an expectation of hope; Space Ex successfully launched after a weather delay stalled the count a few days earlier.  It marked the first launch of a spacecraft from American soil since 2011 when the Space Shuttle program ended.  Space Ex this weekend launched and docked with the International Space Station.  It will return to the earth and then the craft, amazingly will be used again.  The Falcon 9 Space Ex rocket heralds a new age of space travel for the USA which has announced a return to the moon by 2024.

What makes this so exciting is that it could start a new generation of technology for space travel that will make its way back to earth.  What we consider everyday at one time started as needed technology designed and made for space travel.  Some of these products include the Laptop Computer and Mouse; the ear thermometer, foil blankets and wireless headphones.  A list of 20 items is here on this NASA website: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/infographic.view.php?id=11358.  Based on this list, I can’t wait to see what NASA (and Space Ex) come up with next!  The expectations are as far as going to the moon and back!

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @RedHrtBlueSign and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

40 Days

ronnie hawkins

discogs.com

This past weekend marked 40 days since we arrived back in Ottawa from Vancouver and voluntarily self-isolated based on requests from the federal & provincial government and to protect our family and freinds.  Originally the request was for international travellers to settle in for 14 days after landing in Canada came mid-March, but the move to self-isolate soon swept across the country and all Canadians started to protect themselves in their own homes.

 

 

While I mark 40 days, many Canadians have been home for 50 days. This seems like a perfect milestone to reflect on life since March 23rd.

There have been new phone appointments with doctors, canceled appointments for haircuts, eye check-ups.  We’ve had video calls with friends and family.  I miss a good handshake, sharing a dinner table with friends and hugs from family.  I long for a haircut but loath to be unshaven for more than 3 days.

Our last meal out took place at Pearson International Airport, at a Tim Hortons while waiting to catch our connection to Ottawa.  Since them we’ve had take-out pizza twice and ordered from a local restaurant.  Besides that, it’s been cooking at home.  Because we’ve been home the amount I drink has also reduced to once a week, those four cans of beer I bought weeks ago are in the fridge are pretty cold.  I did take part in a virtual whiskey tasting.  As a member of the Ottawa Whiskey Guild we recently we met on a Friday evening. Another is booked for next weekend; two whiskeys will be dropped off and will shared it will 15 others in a video meeting.

Knowing I would be working from home when I was back in Ottawa I had plans to visit the gym in our building every day, but I didn’t consider the Condo Board shutting down the building and it’s common areas.  Today my exercise is our (mostly) daily walks for an hour getting 5k.  With warmer weather, I should get the bike out and log a few kilometres around the city, especially on weekends.  I will miss BBQing as the condo BBQ will be locked away until restrictions advised by the Ottawa Public Health Officer are lifted.

It is safe to say that my reading will not suffer, it certainly hasn’t in the last forty days.  If I take into consideration the 10 days in BC and the last forty, I have been a tear, with 5 books completed.  I took this time to open some books that require a bit more of a time investment.  I’ve decided to read Margaret MacMillan’s two books that look at the periods before and after WW1, The War that Ended Peace and 1919.  The page turning has slowed significantly, but its been worthwhile.  I’ve set a few books up to be recreational reads.  After reading Mark Burnell’s “The Rhythm Section” I’ve purchased three other books in the series of Stephanie Patrick novels.  It is my balance between non-fiction and fiction reading.  I count on weekends to be able to get through large chunks of reading.

The one thing I haven’t done is unzip my guitar case and play (a better description is re-learn to play) Red, I am sure that I could find a friend or two to video play along with.  There are no excuses for this – none!

I don’t like the feeling of being overwhelmed and I’ve felt that too many times the last 40 days.  Working from home has highlighted two things, first if given the opportunity I could work 12 hours a day – there is that much to do. Second, I need to separate the workday from the rest of the day.  Through work, I know just how much COVID-19 is affecting everyone in this country.  There are 37.5 million different COVID-19 experiences in Canada.  For everything the government does to help one Canadian, it doesn’t help another; that’s overwhelming but make no mistake, I appreciate the opportunity I have to help others through a very complicated time.

Most of all in the last 40 days I’m glad I have a partner to do this with and for who knows the how many days ahead.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Caring for Seniors post-COVID

 

Originally, I had planned to have a section on seniors as part of my previous post on a post-COVID world. There was just too much to say and it was important enough to make this topic a separate post.

If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s demonstrated how fragile our senior care sector is in Canada. Massive outbreaks of the coronavirus have caused thousands of deaths, deaths that have not had any family members present when they pass. Reduced care in the name of cost cutting in private care homes left seniors uncared for, unattended.  Actions by the government towards children (daycare, school and student aid) have been generous; the same care to Seniors is almost non-existent.  Ontario and Quebec have called in the army medics to care for the elderly and sick in the worst hit long-term care homes.  Workers in Private care homes are severely underpaid and over worked.  COVID-19 has shown that some workers would rather not show up for work than risk going through a day in poor working conditions.

COVID-19 2

COVID has opened the eyes of government to see that more oversight and regulation in the care of seniors is a must.  Yes, this will have a huge cost to the public purse. The Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care should have a budget reflects this urgency.  Private care providers are not 100% to blame; previous governments have left the sector short of beds, with less accountability and those that cannot pay, live out their last days in less than adequate accommodations.

Like the economy, life after COVID is an opportunity for government to make a statement.  A statement that says ‘our seniors will receive the care they need and where they want to receive it’ is needed by the government.  Greater accommodation to those that care for their parents is needed.  In the same manner parents receive benefits to care for children, those that look after their parents require the same consideration.

For six weeks now, everyone is experiencing what many seniors do every day, social isolation from family and loved ones.  Younger adults have weathered this better than seniors, we have the ability to move around our homes and don’t need the level of care of seniors.  What COVID has created is ‘disiting’*, visiting our elderly parents and grandparents while practicing physical distancing. Window visits.

As governments after COVID study and react to what’s happened, those who campaigned on more beds (all political parties have done this in Ontario) will comprehend that this is no longer the answer – better care and more recognition of the caregivers is the urgent matter.  Questions, like how we make it possible to keep seniors in their homes and how can virtual care help those seniors that live in their own homes.  Proper financial compensation for Personal Care Workers should be the first action taken, Ontario’s decision to create Pandemic Pay is proof of that.

The first act of government in an eased COVID restrictions world should examine the practice of how these care facilities are run, both the private and public. The practice of paying less to make a care home more profitable, reducing staff to part-time and contract staff have proven ineffective and has been part of the collapse of long-term care in Canada these past 6 weeks.  That these frontline workers are forced to work in more than one facility needs to be addressed.  Nursing and caring for seniors is not an easy job, it should not be compensated like it is either.

Unlike the decisions to be made about the economy and Parliament in a post-COVID world, changing how we care for seniors she old be easy.   Governments, federal and provincial, must lead in the change in caring for seniors.  Creating ministerial departments for seniors should be more than token representation on both Federal and Provincial levels.  The health, care and well-being of our seniors and the entire healthcare sector should be reviewed critically.

Past governments should accept the blame, along with current governments, for the crisis that came out of COVID.  It is the current governments that will be judged on how they come out of COVID and the actions they took.  There are very high expectations.

Rob

*I did not create the word disiting, I have seen it several times online and in print.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

A possible post-COVID Canada, Part 1

By now I hope that many people have figured this out, when restrictions are lifted, when we’re not physically distancing on purpose and when we are no longer making our kitchen tables do double duty as a workspace life will be different; way more different than we expect. Here are two aspects of our lives that could be part of major shifts after COVID-19. The next #redheartbluesign will tackle the care of our seniors,

Just like the renovations on Centre Block on Parliament Hill, there will be change coming to Canada post-COVID-19

The Economy

The phrase “it’s the economy stupid” comes to mind when I consider the actions take to date. For Justin Trudeau, it will be “it’s the green economy stupid”.  An economic shift will take place as we move out of the isolation and restrictive guidelines. The federal government has signalled that they will use this economic recovery to shift to a green economy. The Liberal government has indicated in the past its desire to do this. They introduced the Pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change in 2016. Provincial Environment Ministers met in October of that year, it was at that meeting Minister Catherine McKenna told her provincial counterparts that there were only two options to meet federal regulations in the framework; a carbon tax or cap and trade policy.

As we look to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, this would be the perfect time to restructure our economy in a green direction. The budget Bill Morneau must have been ready to deliver months ago surely has been fed to shredder by now. The economic needs of the country are completely out of whack from they were at the start of March. It is not going to be just about minor adjustments, it will be about shocking the economy to a full restart. The federal government recently announced 1$1.7 billion to clean up orphan oil wells. While the focus of this is might be to get energy workers back to work, it’s a green clean up that has been demanded by environmentalists for years. It is one step that Ottawa has taken to their green economic shift.

There is no doubt that Trudeau will take this road, but how he’ll do it is still the big question. He has the chance to merge from fossil fuels to green energy but don’t discount that he’ll use the end of the COVID lock-up to make a drastic left turn and leave the oil industry scrambling to catch up.

Parliament

Parliament has met thrice since it adjourned on March 13th because of COVID-19. Two sittings were emergency sitting to pass COVID aid packages and Parliament met again as scheduled on Monday April 20th. On each of these occasions’ Parliament met with 32 Members, a proportional representation of the minority parliament. Before sitting on April 20th, the debate leading up to the return was how many times MPs would meet in the House of Commons. Reading the news, or if you believe the Prime Minister, the question was about every 338 MPs return. Negotiations did not go well; the left (The Government + Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Green Party) was facing off against the Conservatives on this. One side wanted fewer live sittings, the other more. The heart of this matter is, does a virtual sitting benefit Canadians and ensure effective governing is on place. The Conservatives final offer was on three in person sessions. The left won out and now Parliament has to figure out how to do it.

There is more to Parliament than sitting in the House; Members of Parliament come to Ottawa for a number of purposes, yes MPs are required to sit in the House for Questions Periods everyday then one full day a week as ‘house duty’. Much of an MP’s time is spent in committee, at stakeholder meetings, meeting with other MPs, meetings with constituents and meeting up with groups that come to Ottawa for a tour of the parliamentary buildings. Informal gatherings are a huge part of life on the Hill, cultural and political worlds collide for informal discussions and introductions on many topics of interest. Does moving to a virtual parliament benefit how parliamentarians meet and listen to Canadians? What is the balance and how does Parliament come up with it?

When COVID restrictions are lifted, what becomes of the work taken to establish virtual House sittings? Will virtual be the way of the future, will Parliament make having 338 MP’s in the House the exception rather than the rule? As has happened recently, the government may make votes on economic measures as the only reason for bringing MPs to Ottawa. All other votes, debates and motions could be done remotely. The question is, does this benefit Canadians? Is there a will to have government become less or more accountable? Would a virtual parliament ‘close’ the brick and mortar of our government to Canadians?

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and wash your hands. Part 2 will be posted Wednesday.

Rob

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Y2KXX – a new normal

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COVID-19 2

I almost can’t recall what our lives were like three months ago.

No one I know thought what we are experiencing now would take place on the last day of 2019 when the first cases of an unknown flu were confirmed in China. When the Coronavirus (COVOD-19) was first identified the first week of January we didn’t know what to expect. It may have been the end of January when we started to pay attention to COVID-19, cases were discovered in Toronto and Vancouver. Perhaps we REALLY took notice when cruise ships were held in quarantine, thousands of people held in a confined space at sea. Here is when life changed, slowly but not to the extent it should have. Hindsight will probably show Canada and other countries should have responded faster to the coronavirus.

Our normal in December was evolving in January through February, but the new normal really hit Ontarians in March when schools were closed with the school march break in Ontario being extended by two weeks. Students were now not returning until April 6th (maybe). The school break staying at home was a prelude to how we would be asked to live. Stay home, stay inside and wash your hands.

wedding

Photo by christhornphotography

Today Liz and I are self-isolating after being in BC for a wedding, a wedding that looked to be a victim of COVID-19, but eventually was a demonstration of how we can still celebrate happy days in times of crisis. The wedding made it to the front page of the Toronto Star, the story was written by Sportswriter turned COVID-19 writer Bruce Arthur (and best friend of the groom). I’ll provide the link here – https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2020/03/22/a-pandemic-swallowed-the-wedding-plans-of-my-oldest-friend-but-matt-and-christa-got-married-anyway.html (but be advised the story is behind a pay wall).

We’ve been back in Ontario now since Monday March 23rd and upon our arrival home we’ve been inside. I’ve been reading and working from home, Liz has been knitting, colouring and having twice daily Facetime calls with her daughters and granddaughters. We’ve also tried to limit just how much news I watch, too much COVID-19 can add way too much stress. For Liz it’s not the same she is so used to being busy and outside, virtual hugs are good, but they are no replacement to feeling those little arms around you.

We’ve changed how we shop – which is not shopping except for a few groceries and other needs. I have been the one who goes into the stores armed with a list and phone for shopping list text updates. Anyone who know Liz knows that this is a HUGE adjustment.

We’re staying in touch with family, loved ones and good friends through text and phone calls. We’re taking walks every day – getting an hourly does of fresh air, physically distancing from others. Empty streets allow for crossing to stay 2 metres from others. Hands shakes and hugs are replaced with smiles, nods and waves.

Our condo building held a balcony sing-a-long to raise spirits of those that are inside and to thanks essential workers (https://youtu.be/dDVgDDus-q4?list=PLPAsYk7F_qsdtTKyjX0DQuWCd4XQMlScy )

We’ll be out of self-isolation on Tuesday April 6th.

Even though we’ll be able to go out I doubt our routines will alter much. There will be more indoor time, daily walks outside will be ongoing and physical distancing will be the new norm. I may be able sit in my office for work, there may be changes to how we work. Will we rotate who is in the office and who works from home? How will public interaction change? As businesses adjusted to having customers in the store during self-isolation how many of those measures stay in place after the crisis has ended?

Individually, have you considered how your lives and routines will change? We all have to work our national economy deems it essential we get back to work as millions have been impacted by not being able to work. Employers ensure their employees will be safe and establish new procedures while finding the balance to getting business “back to the way it was”. I’d be interested in knowing what your new normal will include. What changes are you prepared to make post COVID-19?

Twenty years ago, we worried about life after Y2K; the year 2000 came without a glitch. December 31, 2019 may have become the demarcation point for a new normal.

Y2KXX will define Canada and Canadians actions many years into the future.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net