A communication problem


Following a meeting of Huron-Bruce mayors Friday morning, I chatted with MPP Carol Mitchell and Huron-Kinloss mayor Mitch Twolan.

One of the subjects that came up was the Friday afternoon meeting to discuss the future of health care in Kincardine.

Mitchell mentioned that there are eight hospitals in Huron-Bruce, but all the complaints seem to come from here.

She believes there is a communication problem.

She’s correct in that assessment.

At that meeting Friday afternoon, the doctors asked the hospital board for CEO Paul Davies’ head, on a platter no doubt.

Under attack, Davies and the board representatives left the meeting after making their presentation.

I doubt if the meeting was the time and place to call for Davies’ head. However, the doctors made one thing very clear - there is a communication problem.

Twolan mused about Friday’s announcement that the province will take on the cost of social assistance over the next 10 years.

This area is fortunate in that there is no shortage of work and few people are on social assistance, said Twolan. It’s another story in many other parts of the province.

Because of the economic slow down, some out-of-town construction companies might look at Kincardine as an opportunity to put in an affordable housing development, he said. The municipality could waive development fees and create water and tax breaks for a certain length of time to get a development or two started.

At the end of the day, there is still a housing need here, Twolan said.

Without more affordable housing, companies may have to bus workers in to fill the job vacancies.

Also heard at that meeting – the emerald ash borer has made it as far north as Bayfield. The borer, another "benefit" of globalization, comes from Asia. Two or three years ago, the province was trying to keep it confined to the Essex County area.

That strategy has obviously failed and now the pest, which destroys ash trees, is headed our way.

Not good news.

Federal politicians on both sides of the border strike me as deranged.

Two election campaigns – and it’s the same old rhetoric. "We won’t raise taxes!"

Isn’t that exciting.

South of the border, where the government debt is more than a trillion dollars, the candidates last week were still talking about cutting taxes.

In Canada last week, it was revealed auto parts manufacturers are asking the federal government for a billion dollar loan guarantee. Another group of large companies is asking Ottawa to help fund pension plans.

Meanwhile, our school system is in crisis because of a lack of money; the town of Norwich lost its battle last week to save its high school. Across the province, hospitals are falling into debt, forcing them to reduce services and staff; Kincardine just recently lost its physiotherapy department.

In this area, thousands are without a doctor.

Ottawa has had a habit of reducing transfer payments to the provinces which then don’t have enough money for health , education, roads, you name it. Of course provincial politicians preach the same mantra as their federal counterparts. "We won’t raise taxes."

Well, if we want such basics as decent health care, education and transportation systems, we have to pay for them.

That extra $100 in tax savings in your pocket doesn’t do you much good if your health fails for a lack of a doctor or you can’t get a job because you read at a Grade 5 level.

And while you might not have a doctor, I’ll bet those big businesses asking for help from the feds are the same ones who also beg for lower taxes.

Perhaps I’m being hard on the politicians by calling them deranged – we vote for them.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a reader resident who wanted to know what kind of bird was driving her neighbourhood to distraction.

Well, it wasn’t a bird at all – it was a katydid, a large grasshopper. That’s why no one could discover the source of the sound coming from a certain tree.

The reader who complained about the noise recently received a phone call from another resident who told her to turn on CBC Radio where a discussion on katydids in the Ottawa area was underway.

The true katydids of eastern North America, says one of those internet encyclopedias, are considered great singers. Each species has its own repetitive song, which is produced only at night. We had a katydid in our neighbourhood a couple of years ago and the sound is irritating.

The grasshoppers are 3-12.5 cm in length and their mating song sounds like "katy did, katy didn’t".

Last week’s frost likely put an end to this season’s singing.

The World Series ended last week which reminds me that it was only 99 years after the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

After the powerful Chicago White Sox lost the World Series to Cincinatti in 1919, there were whispers that the "fix" was in – but no one would say so in print. That’s because the owner of the White Sox was a powerful man and the gangs of the day had infiltrated the sporting world.

If you read The Beaver, Canada’s history magazine, this month you’ll find a story on the scandal. The man brave enough to publish the story in 1919 was born in Durham and raised in Guelph.

Bert Collyer published the story in Collyer’s Eye, "a fearless little weekly gambling newspaper."

Eight members of White Sox were suspended, never to play pro ball again.