To the Keyboard

I turned 69 a few days ago and had been thinking it was time to return to the keyboard and now here I am.  The plan is to write about a lot of things concerning Canada (first) and the world (second).  So much needs to be talked about that I have some difficulty deciding where to start.  There is certainly no excuse for writer’s block with the level of idiocy (insanity?) roaming the land.

Being a touch reticent to express my opinions to the world, I am starting by sending my output to family and friends that comprise my mailing list for the adventures of CrossCountry Bob and Paintin’ Peggie.  That way, if I fail utterly, my embarrassment is a limited circle.  On the other hand, if there is any interest at all (for or against), I may expand where I post – but that is for a future time.

To move forward, your feedback would be very helpful.  Please do take the time to give feedback – both positive (I hope) and negative (I hope also as this is how one grows as a writer).  As I am posting to the web page that CrossCountry Bob uses, you need only click the “Comment” button and typeaway.  A good bargain?  I hope so (the price is right).  My aim is to engage you and keep you coming back for more.  There is a lot that needs to be talked about (and done) in Canada so let’s get started.

There are times I read the news and I am simply astounded at the decay.  What happened to thinking things through?  Virtue signaling is rampant, sometimes completely trumping the pragmatic middle of the road Canadian type politics that once allowed Canada to have a respectable place in the world.  There is the assumption that our prosperity is all for the distributing with seldom a thought given to the production of that prosperity.  We steal from the future (that is, we steal from our children and grandchildren) with a debt fueled profligacy that would have staggered the imagination only a few years ago.

Having turned 69, as I mentioned, I thought it apropos to use healthcare as my starting point.  The system is broken.  Any denial labels the denier a fool, perhaps a blind fool.  Among those that can see, the commotion is all about why it is broken and how to fix it.  And the broken was there well before Covid burst on the scene like an evil, incandescent star, overwhelming an already faltering public funded system and creating a frightening health authoritarianism that pounced upon our democratic freedoms like a polar bear onto an unsuspecting seal (and we are the seals).

And now, in the Omicron ebb tide, the politicians and the health bureaucracy (meaning the upper echelons of administration and NOT the doctors, nurses, and myriad support staff who mostly labour diligently) are busy with occasional declarations of doing “something”, all the while doing nothing – while people die.  The horrid tragedies that unfolded in our long term care facilities have been swept into the backroom, falling prey to the funding of virtuous climate signaling or to the suppression of our natural resource wealth that could help fund our health needs.  Emergency rooms barely function, people DIE waiting for surgery, and even more people WILL DIE because early diagnosis and treatment by specialists is so limited it might as well not exist for many. 

So why is this?  A clue perhaps – when the virtue signalers (being our political bosses and the entrenched senior bureaucracy) fall sick, there is not for them an overcrowded emergency room or an interminable wait of months to consult a specialist.  Rather, they and their families enter directly through the VIP door – there is a line for you (long) and no line for them.  Get the wrong kind of sick and you may be on your own personal “death march”. 

If Justin and friends applied to health care just a sliver of the zeal with which they approach pretending to fix the climate, well then, our health care system would improve rather quickly.  But a long term fix needs more than government attention and dollars.  After all, depending on the government to fix things is seldom a winning proposition (Canadian airports anyone?).  And dumping in truckloads of money would not be a long term fix anymore than dumping truck loads of money into the economy (more accurately, into the pockets of Liberal supporters and cheerleaders) fixed the economy. Printing too much money (stealing from future generations) simply givesus the privilege of saying hello to an old friend, Inflation, who appears to be back for an extended visit after a forty year absence.  And Inflation loves to steal as well – from YOU (but not so much from Justin and friends with their comfy, inflation-indexed pensions).

I digressed, sorry, now back on the healthcare track – I must say that I have always wanted and continue to want universal health care in Canada.  Some years ago, I was traveling in Chile and one day found myself in an expatriate American community of well-off conservatives.  Invited to dinner at one of their homes, a wide-ranging discussion eventually touched on health care and they absolutely did not like Canada’s system.  Cost, inefficiency socialism etc. etc. etc.  My response?  I don’t want to live in a country where people die under bridges or anywhere else due to lack of medical care and I will pay higher taxes to achieve that end.  There is more to a country than money.

But there are many ways to achieve no one dying under a bridge.  Right now, we also have them dying in hospital hallways, so universality is, well, not universal.  Pretending otherwise changes nothing.

So where to start?  The sacred altar of the Canada Health Act would be a good place with its prohibition on private health care?!  This is Canada and our so pure public health system – so, so perfect – the best in the world some Canadians say time and again.  I am not sure if that was ever true but today, a quick check of countries such as Sweden that mix public and private care puts the lie to Canadian public purity being the best in the world (and by the way, the oft made comparison of having a better, more humane healthcare system that the United States is a low bar and nothing to gloat about).

But no matter the clear evidence to the contrary, those in charge (remember, those in charge are the ones that don’t line up for health services as you must) care more about their virtuous public “system” than they do about you.  Sounds preposterous?  Well, the British Columbia Court of Appeal just decided that although the medical system couldn’t provide timely and sufficient care (obvious), that in essence entitled the deprived patients to NOTHING.  Wait in the public line with the other peons is the result.  And if you die, that is your tragedy.

When the day arrives that I see Justin and friends in a medical line, I will maybe think that our Charter of Rights is more than a grand illusion.  Meanwhile, here is an idea.  Let private clinics do procedures such as hip and knee replacements and just require that, for each one done privately, one must be done for free for the public system.  Win, win. Short term fix but a lot of grateful people that right now are waiting months and months in pain.

And finally, I am happy that Premier Horgan was successfully treated for throat cancer.  I only hope that someone else did not go without or get bumped down the line.

With the virtuous firmly in control (I’m also looking at you, Jasmeet Singh), it is no surprise that Justin Trudeau can jet about the country (carbon restrictions don’t apply to him), issuing edict after edict about this and that with nary a fear of backlash (and if there is any backlash against Trudeau there is the CBC at the ready to call that “hateful”).  This is what you get from a national broadcaster that long ago traded journalism for expounding the “preferred” narrative of the day (more on the so called “media” in future articles).

Well, that was a long warmup by a writer who just turned 69.  Maybe I am feeling there is a lot to deal with and time is shorter than it used to be.  But I am wading in even if there is a drop off ahead and I am excommunicated by the virtuous.  So please stay tuned and don’t forget the Comments button should you feel so inclined (and I hope you will).  This country needs engagement in productive discussion and debate.  I am going to contribute my slim dime worth.

Thanks for reading!

CrossCountry Bob.

August 3, 2022.