|Posted by royscott0514 on November 11, 2016 at 3:15 PM||comments (2)|
Canadians have a fascination with conspiracy theories, starting, it seems, with the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Many of us have trouble with the official version of events regarding the deaths of Robert Kennedy and Diana, Princess of Wales. Some also wonder if men actually did walk on the moon, and if the American government could somehow have been involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Occasionally someone will say that there is a conspiracy preventing medical cures from being discovered… or at least publicized. On the surface it seems a preposterous theory, but consider two points. When was the last cure for any major disease announced, and second, how significant would the impact be on companies doing business providing medications, supplies, and services to those inflicted with serious illnesses?
My daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of twelve. At that time we were told to be positive since a cure was imminent. Thirty years later, researchers are working on the same strategy of transplanting pancreatic islets, and that a cure is “just around the corner".
The last significant treatment for diabetics was Dr Banting’s discovery that insulin from animals could be processed for use in the human body. That development occurred in 1921, nearly a century ago.
Penicillin was discovered in that era as well. Has there been a cure for any major disease since?
Tremendous amounts of money have been raised for every disease imaginable, including Aids, Alzheimer’s, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, and of course Cancer. Funds have been used to help patients with treatments, transportation, and medical equipment etc. But billions have gone into research, and not one major disease has been eradicated.
Technology has allowed scientists and medical practitioners to develop amazing diagnostic equipment and treatment devices, and many diseases are being combated with a variety of new drugs. Impressive, but don’t all of these advancements seem to play right into the hands of the companies that benefit from long term illnesses?
I am old enough to remember outdoor toilets, delivery men who came to the house with coal for the furnace and ice for the ice-box, telephones with party-lines, and black and white televisions with only one station.
Since then we have wireless phones that record photos, videos, and music; global positioning sensors that can find someone anywhere in the world; computers that allow surgeons to operate on someone in another country, yet not one cure.
Could anyone be so ruthless as to interfere with the development of lifesaving cures?
Criminals are devoid of morals or a conscience. They deal in human suffering to make money. Millions of lives have been lost due to ruthless political leaders thirsty for power. So are we naïve enough to think individuals who run multi-billion dollar companies can’t be motivated by power and greed?
For examples of corporate corruption just look at WorldCom, Tyco, and Adelphia Cable, executives from all of these companies are serving prison terms for fraudulent practices.
Let’s not forget Enron. A recent article in the National Post refers to Enron as the “poster child of corporate greed”. When Enron collapsed in bankruptcy, in 2001, it wiped out 5,000 jobs, $2 billion in employee retirement funds and $30 billion of investors money.
An announcement in early December that the world’s largest drug maker abandoned development of an important pill caused this company to lose, at one point, $31 billion of its market value. This company has annual sales of over $12 billion, and they had spent an estimated $800 million developing this pill before giving up due to too many apparently related deaths.
I have no proof of any wrongdoing by this particular company, nor am I suggesting they are anything but honest.
The facts simply cause one to wonder. If the loss of one pill by one company could have such an effect, what would a cure to a major disease do to the viability of most pharmaceutical organizations?
Crazy? Then consider this:Tobacco companies have been successfully sued in the United States because they knowingly hid the truth about the disastrous effects tobacco has on people’s health.
In 1998 tobacco companies in the U.S. reached a settlement with various states’ attorneys general to pay a whopping $246 billion.
In the three years following, tobacco companies shamelessly increased marketing expenditures by 66.6 percent to a record $11.2 billion. Much of that marketing was aimed at children, causing a California judge to fine R.J. Reynolds another $20 million in 2002 for this violation of the earlier agreement.
So, would one need to be overly cynical to even contemplate executives in other industries could be this callous?
|Posted by royscott0514 on October 25, 2016 at 11:55 AM||comments (0)|
Politicians Need to Be Accountable
Many think democracy is the best system there is and, although it’s not perfect, no one has come up with a better alternative; having said that, voters are becoming disenchanted with the first-past-the-post method of electing people to office. When a candidate, or a government, gets elected with less than a majority, citizens feel cheated. Consequently, the topic of electoral reform has garnered much attention in recent years.
Perhaps Canadians should be more concerned with the "Who", and less about the "How". Shouldn’t we all, as taxpayers, give more consideration to the qualifications of our elected officials than the method by which they got there? To vie for public office what qualifications do you need to throw your hat in the ring? Simply put, if you are eligible to vote, then you can run for office.
When Canada first became a nation and people felt they needed representatives to look after the affairs of their towns and villages, qualifications probably were not as important. After all, major decisions might have had to do with having some sort of law enforcement, and whether it was legal to park your horse in front of the saloon.
A century and a half later we have municipal, regional, provincial, and federal governments, all with large budgets and major responsibilities. Canadians recently elected a new prime minister and gave him the purse strings to a budget in the $300 billion range. What are Prime Minister Trudeau’s qualifications?
His education includes a BA in English Literature, and a Bachelor of Education. He taught school for a while, before resuming his studies in engineering and environmental geography. A stint as an actor followed—that’s good training for a prime minister. His political career has been seven years as an opposition member with responsibilities as the critic for youth and multiculturalism. He has no business background and hasn’t even held a cabinet portfolio.
The conservatives ran a campaign that repeatedly commented on Trudeau’s nice hair. Unfortunately, his nice hair, his handsome looks, and his famous father, got him elected; along with the age old tradition of Time for a Change. He certainly offered no qualifications for the job.
In the private sector, it’s unlikely that there would be any corporation with a budget of even a fraction of the federal government’s, which would hire a CEO without an MBA and a proven record of success in managing a business. Yet we elect inexperienced people, give them an open ended budget, and carte blanch to run the show.
These comments are not partisan, nor are they intended to highlight Trudeau as the only mistake voters have ever made. We can look right here in Ontario for another inept leader playing with our money as if it were her own monopoly game. There is no end to the list of other examples of people, from all political parties, getting elected with improper qualifications and for the wrong reasons.
With the federal debt at about $600 billion, and annual deficits adding to that, it’s taking approximately $25 billion annually to pay the interest. Imagine what that money could buy. Similar situations exist in most provinces as well, albeit in somewhat smaller amounts, while no one seems concerned about the mounting debt. Imagine a company that ran deficits every year. They wouldn’t be in business for long.
Canadians work hard and it’s estimated that about fifty per cent of incomes eventually find a way into government coffers. We need to be more responsible with the people we choose to mange that money, and our affairs. It’s critical that, collectively, we start making better choices and demanding accountability.
|Posted by royscott0514 on October 12, 2016 at 12:10 AM||comments (1)|
The Metric System - Let's Go All In
As a result of some recent issues at the grocery store, this blog was going to begin with a trivia question: On what date did Canada officially convert to being totally metric? Unfortunately, my research showed that there was no drop dead date for total conversion. Moreover, implementation of metrics has been as confusing as actually using the system.
Change was implemented gradually, and the only specific date I could locate was April 1, 1975. That was the mandated date for temperatures to be reported in Celsius. As of September, that same year, millimeters and centimeters had to be used when reporting rain and snow falls. Subsequently, in 1977 road signs changed to reflect speeds and distances in metric, and in 1979, service stations had to begin selling fuel in litres.
Along with making Canada bilingual—another move that still has unnecessary costs and ramifications—going metric was the brainchild of Prime Minister Trudeau . . . no, the other one.
Some of the most vocal opposition to the change occurred around 1980 when grocery stores tried to switch over to the new system of weights and measures. With the Liberal government recently ousted, newly elected Prime Minister, Joe Clark, postponed total national conversion. That was short lived with Trudeau regaining power, and in 1982 he quickly reinstated full conversion. To that point, it had now been more than a decade since the changes were first put forward.
So Canadians had been asked to gradually assimilate this new system of weights and measures into their everyday lives, and try to forget a system ingrained since childhood. Needless to say, this created anxiety, frustration, and plenty of confusion. One of the most glaring examples opponents used to argue their case, was in 1983, when an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Edmonton had to make an emergency landing in Manitoba, because it ran out of fuel. The cause: a miscalculation when converting the fuel to metric only gave the plane half of the fuel it needed.
Going metric was supposed to put us in step with the global market, however, our neighbour and biggest trading partner isn’t metric. If you are taking a trip south and trying to calculate your fuel costs, good luck. We use kilometers, they use miles. We use litres, they use gallons. Oh, and by the way, a U.S. gallon is different than an imperial gallon.
Canadians love pints of beer, ten yard football, and building with two by fours, but almost a half century after the metric idea was hatched, there’s still confusion and frustration. If you’re looking for a farm, it’ll be in hectares. The lot for a residential home is measured in feet, so are the dimensions of the rooms and the square footage of the house.
Fabric is sold in meters, gas in litres, and medicine doses in millimeters. Recipes still use ounces, lumber is sold by inches and feet, and ask anybody how much they weigh or how tall they are.
You might want to take a calculator and a conversion chart when you go to the supermarket for groceries. Produce and meats are still advertised by the pound, yet the cash terminals only calculate prices in metric. The few weigh scales for public use have both measurements, but good luck reading it.
Understanding the metric system is confusing enough for most of us, but dealing with the inconsistent and ambiguous methods of marketing products is worse.
Isn’t it time to go all in?