Jeers: to being de-lighted. Here’s a cautionary tale from a driver returning from Corner Brook to St. John’s on the May 24th weekend: the driver says he was quite surprised by the number of camper-trailers he encountered where, in their haste to return to the big city, other drivers had neglected to connect the taillights of their campers to their vehicles. If you can’t be bothered to even hook up the lights, what about making sure the hitches are properly fastened? No brake lights and no indicators is a clear hazard all on its own. Next time you’re on the road, take the time to do it right. That’s a little bit of enlightenment.
Cheers: to a review worth doing. The provincial government has announced it’s hiring a consultant to do an external review of the province’s ambulance system. That’s a bit of proactive work, for sure. The review will look at everything from current standards and program delivery to making plans for future operational changes. With an aging population and other changes in demographics, (not to mention changing technology) it’s a good step to be making. Health Minister Susan Sullivan, from the release announcing the review: “Our government acknowledges that access to quality ambulance services is particularly important in rural and remote areas of the province. This review will help us collect information, analyze the data and identify areas within the entire ambulance program that can be enhanced or better utilized.” Absolutely true.
Jeers: to changing stories. First, the provincial government said there was no point in having an inquiry into the death of Burton Winters unless the federal government was willing to co-operate. Now the federal government— through Peter Penashue — has said that it is willing to co-operate and the provincial government is now saying there’s no need for an inquiry because the released letters between the federal and provincial governments spell out everything that happened. It is an interesting double-standard: in the past, there have been judicial inquiries on issues as seemingly straightforward as a drowning in a hotel pool. Why? To establish what happened in a particular incident, and to provide recommendations to ensure the same problems don’t reoccur. Here’s how Premier Kathy Dunderdale sees the current situation: “Inquiries have served Newfoundlanders and Labradorians well on very specific issues … But not every issue requires an inquiry.” So why does this issue not require an inquiry, and how do we know that the issues in this case — which the province blames on the feds, and the feds blame on the province — will be properly addressed? Wouldn’t it be a help to have an independent party establish just where the problems actually are? Because the finger-pointers certainly haven’t established that yet.