Archive for the ‘ONTARIO GOVERNMENT’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TORONTO’S SELF-INFLICTED TRANSIT WOES – A MAYOR WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING – THE HIGH COST OF SUBWAYS VERSUS LRT   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Toronto has become a laughing stock with this whole long transit fiasco.

A guaranteed project with funding from the province (the Scarborough LRT), a project suitable to the real needs of Scarborough, is allowed to lapse.

Meanwhile, the Mayor and his followers, bellow about a subway being what people want.

But there are no means of financing a subway.

And when you ask people: “Would you rather have a new Chevy or a new Rolls?” without any reference to what it will cost them, you are asking a pretty stupid question, but that is Mayor Ford’s approach to transit.

Costless wants are nothing but childish fantasy, not serious political mandates.

Further, given the nature of the Scarborough route, a subway this far out makes no economic sense.

Previously, Toronto built the Spadina Subway – in effect, a subway to nowhere – and that line never reached the capacity required to justify it.

At that time, the Yonge Subway was already at capacity.

Subways are the most expensive public transportation you can build, and they make no sense in semi-suburban locations.

Years ago, we should have built a Queen Street subway, for that is the kind of location that would warrant the huge cost.

Today, with costs having risen hugely, subways are so terribly expensive to build that many cities in the world are going with light-rail.

It does seem that Toronto’s situation would be best served by a good light-rail system combined with restrictions on private car access downtown, at least during rush hours.

It is well to remember, too, that Toronto proper has a great stock of extremely modest homes. They will not bear great increases in tax.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ONTARIO TEACHERS’ UNION TAKES THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO COURT WITH THE IDEA THAT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED – A HUMBUG CLAIM   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I can’t see this claim at all.

Constitutional rights are fundamental and apply to all and in all circumstances, no matter what the situation.

Being able to form a union and bargain is not of quite the same nature.

It is a right in law, but not in Constitutional law which takes precedence over other laws.

The teachers’ union is making a bigger fool of itself in this than it already is.

From those to whom so very much has been given, comparatively little is being asked now.

To try making that a Constitutional issue the same as free speech or freedom of religion demonstrates a complete lack of reality and invites scorn from the public.

The fact is teachers are free to have their union still (free association), but the government, owing to financial exigencies, could not accommodate their demands.

This is not tyranny in any possible sense of the word, but represents only the realities of governing at times.

When I hear representatives of the union say babyish things like the financial mess is the government’s own problem, I want to puke. The government is us, not some third party out there in space. That fact too is an essential part of democratic values.

The teachers’ union of course is a form of monopoly, a monopoly in the supply of labor to a large and important institution in society, and we all know monopolies do not think like competitive firms.

Monopolies in the economic realm themselves share some of the very characteristics of tyrannies in the political realm.

In all of this, the public would do well to remember that the union basically refused to come to the table when the government asked them.

And why was that?

It was a cheap trick to buy time so that the automatic salary increases could go into effect before the government could act. Hardly heroic or brave or having to do with any right.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ONTARIO ANNOUNCES PHARMACISTS WILL BE ABLE TO RENEW NON-NARCOTIC PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS – THEY WILL ALSO GIVE FLU SHOTS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Please tell me why I went to school for 10 years if I can be so easily be replaced by someone with so little training in diagnosis.”

Sorry, but the comment’s author, a doctor, misses the point.

Pharmacists, under the policy, can renew only, and only for a limited time.

No diagnosis is involved with established conditions.

As you may know, many doctors have seriously abused the renewal of prescriptions in recent years, some demanding people return to the office every three months to renew something they’ve taken for years.

When the patient gets there, he waits and then his blood pressure is taken and the doctor writes a script (still usually paper, and barely legible) – a total effort of 3 to 4 minutes.

No diagnosis, no investigation, no effort – just a quick fee, a fair amount of inconvenience, and inefficiency of a high order.

For that he collects a generous fee from OHIP, which were it an hourly rate for most working people would put them fairly high into the middle class.

But it not an hourly fee, it is a four-minute fee.

On top of everything else, with the serious shortage of doctors, such behavior simply clogs the pipeline for those without a doctor.

This behavior in the view of many borders on the unethical, and it is at least certainly poor use of resources.

If our system is to become efficient, many changes are required.

This is a step in the right direction.

It is the doctors who in fact block many genuine innovations.

When I lived in Maine, more than a decade ago, the system made extensive use of physicians’ assistants, highly trained people based on the model of the military’s medics.

They all worked under doctors – so that, if there was uncertainty in a case, the doctor would be called in – but they had considerable leeway and could prescribe a limited range of drugs.

The system worked beautifully, and the PAs took a great deal of pressure off the system. It was a happy innovation.

But more than a decade later in Ontario, PAs are almost unheard of. Why is that? The pressure of the medical profession.

Foreign-trained doctors, too, are given a hard time to establish themselves here, again a result of pressure from existing doctors.

Of the several Ontario doctors I’ve experienced over the last decade, only one even made use of a computer for prescriptions. Hand-writing these important documents is 19th century. It leads to errors, corrections, and it is just plain inefficient.

Further on the pharmacists: these people use sophisticated computer programs that advise of things like interactions and lay before them a well-organized view of a patient’s history.

Pharmacists are likely more knowledgeable in chemistry than most general practitioners, too, although the point is not essential to this policy.

Any big system needs constant improvements and new efficiencies to prevent its tumbling into economic backwardness, and OHIP has been unbelievably slow to implement and promote these to a meaningful extent.

The average doctor, I’m sure, is quite happy with things as they are. And why not? A line-up of patients, many for trivial purposes, but that situation is stagnant and does not contribute to best use of human and physical resources. Meanwhile, many cannot even get a family doctor.