In the news…Tuesday March 27, 2007

I keep getting the feeling that we, here in Canada, are in a state of transition. There seems to be an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, unrest, and even some urgency. I don’t think I can point to any one particular event or thing as a definitive “sign”, but I get a sense that change is imminent.

  • Last night, Quebec held a provincial election and the results were noteworthy. We have a minority government in Quebec, the first in over 125 years. What was interesting was how an “upstart” political party (Action Democratique du Quebec or “ADQ” for short) created by a 36 yr. old managed to win 41 of 125 possible seats. While the Liberals will form the minority government, I think the traditional political parties should be worried. Is this a sign that people want change, or are they simply upset with the status quo? Needless to say, the political landscape in Quebec is changing.
  • Related to politics, the Ontario Medical Association is moving forward with their “Campaign for Healthier Care” and announced their six principles of healthier care (read document here). The six principles are: 1) Keep patients front and centre; 2) Focus on the future; 3) Be specific; 4) Think investment, not cost; 5) Apply what we know faster; and 6) Start now. Honestly, I’m not sure what I think about these six ideas. I’ll think about them and share my thoughts in a future post.

On a somewhat non-sequitur note, I’m somewhat astounded (and not necessarily in a positive way) that the general public is now expected to pay to hear senior government officials and other experts report on the progress of government initiatives. I received an email “invitation” to attend a healthcare roundtable titled “Wait Time Strategy: Is the strategy working?”. I checked out the web-site to learn more about the event and register, but was (perhaps naively) shocked to find out that I had to fork over $95 to attend this event. Okay, this specific event may be facilitated by a private organization (Direct Engagement Inc.) so in that regard, I can understand the profit motivation. But, since when (and why) are the governments abdicating its responsibilities to provide access to information and to report on its activities? Am I completely naive about this? In a few years, will we need to play $5 to speak to our Member of Parliament? Or, perhaps in a way to raise more funds for healthcare, we will need to pay $50 to view the contents of our health record and another $250 to get a copy of it. Perhaps in some crazy way, election campaigns will become television shows funded by advertisements available only on pay-per-view stations. If these speakers are being paid to attend, then shouldn’t there be at least some other forums and opportunities to facilitate public discourse? Neil Postman’s writings seem particularly prescient in light of these occurrences.