44m43s: Bicycle trip from Kingston to Kitchener, Via Rail concerts, biking in BC. Talking about money, Seedy CDs, and paying the Earth. Support conservation in the Kijabe Forest in Kenya by texting CONSERVE to 20222 to plant five trees. Talking about upcoming events.
Alessio Occhicone and his twin brother Diego make up Man Down, “The Band From Montreal”. We talk about the band, language, and how language influences music, musical composition and inspiration, the meaning of songs, and Alessio’s production and distribution company, Far Eye Studios Production & Publishing.
The white poppy symbolizes peace. It is meant to remind us of the civilians that are killed in war — over 90% of the casualties in recent wars are civilians, not military troops. The white poppy shows us that we embrace a culture of peace, not the glorification of war. And the white poppy honours those people who practice that culture of peace by refusing to participate in military service.
In Canada Peace Poppies Vancouver have been distributing white lapel poppies. You can order from their website, White Poppies.
The book discussed is Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield by Ernie Regehr, not Tom Regehr. My apologies for the error.
The Boys & I are a four-piece band: Marc Reilly on lead guitar, Luke Ducharme on percussion, Adom Postma on bass, and James Blacktop on guitar and vocals. Local to Kitchener, they play an assortment of classic rock, alternative, and lyrically driven original tunes.
Sat, 31 Aug 2019, 10pm — 1am: The Pick and Shovel, 30 Water St. S., Cambridge
Sat, 7 Sep 2019, 2pm — 1am: Harmony Lunch, 90 King St. N., Waterloo. Benefit for OneROOF
Sat, 14 Sep 2019: Bell City Brewing, #9-51 Woodyatt Drive, Brantford
Sat, 21 Sep 2019: StrykerZ Kitchen & Bar, 120 Ottawa St. N., Kitchener
Fri, 27 Sep 2019: Harmony Lunch, 90 King St. N., Waterloo
Today we’re joined by four members of The Arlington Six poetry society: Elizabeth McCallister, Mark Kempf, Lin Geary, and Jim Tomkins.
Here are some of the poems read on the show, along with a few others that we didn’t get to.
“Paintings are like poems, they are thoughts abandoned” Stan J. White
by Stan J. White
Sex is something
God has thrown in to ensure
We do not confuse ourselves
With deities, with angels –
a kind of tether
that never lets us stray too far
from freshly turned earth after rain
and in the pathos of it all
a constant reminder
of vaudeville, of burlesque.
An Ode to Beer
by Jim Tomkins, 7 November 2011
Oh, amber elixir crowned with golden head
whence came your magic mystical mixture
of barley mash, crystalline water and fruity hops?
Brewed hodgepodge in containers from Sumeria to China
through cellared wooden kegs to Pilzen caves
and glistening copper kettles row on row.
Drunk in litres, pints and Aussie schooners,
halves, viertels and even once,
in six ounce ten cent drafts.
Oh, wine where is thy claim?
Full muted by this tasty honest brew
from ancient cloudy ale to new craft sips
past charcoal stout, beach blond lager
hoppy pale, sweet chocolate mild.
All sips tease lips, tempt discerning tongues
foaming moustaches form in the tingling wake
of fermented flavours gliding down.
Quaffed, not guzzled,
savoured, not chugged
each nuanced batch unique.
Taste, robust or delicate,
stirs heightened eloquence,
smooth patter, bravado’s hope.
Enter the intoxicating dreamland
of ambrosial brew
Biere, cervesa, live on!
Oh, amber elixir crowned with gold.
My Wreck Beach Haiku
by Lin Geary
my new raincoat
for Wreck Beach–
by Becky D. Alexander
details from a memoir by Sergeant Jim Alexander (MM) Lincoln and Welland Regiment, Holland, 1945
In the kitchen, from the doorway to the hearth,
lying on the floor like some colossal cigarette –
a log , one end in the fire, burning slowly
as flames surround a bubbling pot.
It mystified the Canadian soldiers, those kept
after the war – troops retained
to rebuild a battered country, one
that refused to be swallowed back into the sea.
The explanation provided to the curious, Because the Nazis took all of our metal:
axes, pitchforks, scythes and hoes, even kitchen knives –
a last ditch effort to build more weapons.
Allied saviours shared meals of boiled tulip bulbs: ‘the most gawd-awful things you ever ate’
along with Red Cross chocolate and rationed tins
of bully beef: bitter meals of freedom.
Under our barn, wrapped in oiled burlap,
We have our tractor and plow – buried bits cloistered away
following the final swoop of the flag of black on red. They never found them. Soon, we will plant.
This poem appeared in the anthology Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21 st Century, edited by James Deahl, Lummox Press, California. This anthology is available through Amazon.ca.
The Muffin Man
by Elizabeth McCallister
At two and a half,
He’s got it all figured out.
How to find his T.V. shows
and how to reach those muffins.
He takes one glance over his shoulder
as he stretches out his fingers.
He’s a bad boy though.
It’s his third,
but Mommy’s talking on the phone
so she can’t stop him.
He fixes sad brown eyes
on her to say
“I need this chocolate chip muffin.”
To peel back the golden skin of enriched white flour
and get to the centre.
Pick out each chocolate chip.
Set it aside on the coffee table
filled with his sticky fingerprints
and the goo of cooked muffin and chips
mixed with his saliva.
Place them there for later.
Make a happy face with
eight chips curved in a smile,
three for the eyes and nose.
He’s got his time alone with Mommy.
His big brother and Daddy are
off at Scout Camp together.
At night, he sleeps on top of her
so she can’t get away and leave him.
Until he goes off to playschool,
and sees his girlfriend Chelsea.
He’s decided his name is Sean.
It sounds better.
One day, he’ll fix
those big brown eyes on another woman.
She’ll melt like those chocolate chips
in his hot little fingers.
That’s the way it works.
Not the least Oedipal.
Just practising on the first woman
who loves him, picks up after him, feeds him.
Poem for Reading in a Bar
by Dave Margoshes
Hey, you, you in the back,
come a little closer. The poem
is warm, but its voice is soft.
And you, you over there,
don’t be afraid, the poem
bites, but only the ones it loves.
And you, yeah, I mean you,
looking so smug, do you really
think you’re immune to poetry?
This poem will get under
your skin, you’ll find yourself
thinking about it tonight
as you’re trying to fall asleep,
your lips moving in the dark,
alone in your bed with a poem
you hardly know. When you wake
the bed will be empty, the sheets
soiled, only the poem’s scent
on your pillow to let you know
it was there, only its footprints
in the snow outside your heart
From his collection Purity of Absence , (2001) Porcepic Books. Still available for purchase.
Six for the Solstice
(haiku from my garden) by Lin Geary
first time for raised beds–
tender lettuce, red chard
chipmunk and sparrow
cirque du soleil–
these endless wire tents
for the seedling peas
I water my shoes
the neighbour’s tom
brings his best invisible act–
doubtful blue jay
what will I serve with
this 64 dollar
stroll under my hammock
lesson in prayer
Worship in the Boreal Forest
by Elizabeth McCallister
Our vespers were whispers to the moon,
and our matins sang the sun awake.
We drank in the summer’s long afternoons.
Began knitting blankets with the first snowflake.
We fell in love to the dance of butterflies.
Their white wings wove a spell of enchantment.
Breezes’ touch on our needles were our lullabies
serenading our young to sleep’s contentment.
We were the high priests within our temple
celebrating rites to our gods’ abundance.
Air, earth, water, light – our needs were simple.
The two-footed fiends stole away our innocence.
There are no songs when each breath is an effort.
All the brown-needled branches are our scars.
Dying, we entwine our roots for comfort,
and sighing send our sorrows to the stars.
These two poems were in the collection Notes from Suburbia, 2013, published by Craigleigh Press, Cambridge, ON. It isn’t in print but you may be able to obtain some of the last copies at the Green Heron bookstore in Paris, ON.
by Jim Tomkins
On his shoulder tilts a rod
pointing the path so often trod.
In this town of Ford and Chevy
he strides determined to the levee.
Dew-dappled Levis, faded cuff
along dusty curbsides scuff.
Runners crunch the pearly gravel
keen to angle migrants’ travel.
Slimy pylons split the stream
hindrance to the caster’s dream.
Breezes push the sightless odor
sulphuric-past the tugboat’s motor.
Through Ambassador’s massive arc
stand unlit towers of the park.
Oriole, Indian, Yankee teams
thwart the Tigers’ pennant schemes.
Today fishing is his only care
minnows splash, striped bodies glare.
The run is over school is out
time to sell the pseudo-trout.
Scale-stained pockets, shiny dimes
magic simple childhood times.
Two-scooper from the inverted cone
Young Santiago trundles home.
by Jim Tomkins, May 9th 2012 Mothers’ day
Her grey ashes sit
in a pressed board box
on an attic shelf
next to light lace doilies
with lavender scent.
Below a trunk’s contents:
sepia family photos known to her
stamps from a bygone era
sleeved in cracking plastic,
crocheted samplers, musty address book
her favourite sherry glass.
I’m happy that is the scene.
No need for flashy urn
to adorn the mantel.
She is far from discarded
her memory’s embedded
a bond from womb to life’s end
Mother to son.
The haiku that won the 2012 International Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: Haiku Invitational, and rode the Vancouver buses for a couple of months:
by Lin Geary
morning tai chi–
all the prams
slowly turning pink
at the cenotaph
by Lin Geary, 2018
on a skinny cold day
bespoke in black
the long lamb coat, the boot-lined comfort…
there, alongside my fellow Canadians
it’s time to jut out my chin
in once-a-year pride
to stand curbside guard
to miscount the endless placing of wreaths
to breathe out the thoughtless mind-frost
into thin, thin air….
and the mic kicks in, then out
as a faultless child sings the Queen’s old anthem
and we all raise out descant and filler voices
not missing a beat…
till Henry calls the Colour Guard to attention…
it is only then the tears begin
cloud my eyes and bite my cheeks
because Henry has led the parade
because Henry is my long-widowed neighbour
because Henry is 92, bent and strong
and I think Happy Birthday, Canada
because it is the 11th of November…
100 years of armistice after a war
that birthed our nation
and here we stand, still firm, still cold
in perpetual grief
still hoping for peace
Jim Tomkins, 2017
Rhythmic patter of sidewalk
slowly droops her eyes
gentle bump of each slab
confirms her comfort
a tiny hand protrudes
retreats returns to rest
wee nose below cap’s brim
contains genes of the stroller
as do tiny ears
peeking under pink flap
instinctual feeling confirms
a generation apart
together strolling in the Annex
a primal confluence
pulses in the air.
by Jim Tomkins, 2013
ebony locks beside miniscule digits
snorfly flared nose, flint coal eyes
endlessly curious in bright moments
one tiny nicked ear, peach-tinted cheeks
insatiable mouth, slight doubling chin
eagerly chomping in maternal moments
fuzzy cute sleeper housing jiggling legs
scrunched like a turtle thrusting out
kicking, declaring the embracing
by Jim Tomkins
Over hunched shoulders
Ancient desk and messy pen
Stands alert in silver halo
Around his warty pate
The lidded eyes closed in reverie
Provoke tugs of mustache
On bristled upper lip
Above careless shaving scar
Lists of grasped images
Written on scraps
And stuffed in random pockets
An endless selection
Of captured memories
That rooted themselves over time like saplings
Whisk him back in time
And force his aging brain
To organize. To prioritize. To choose
Spill forth and write themselves
In haste and fear of loss
Like escaping prisoners
Speak not to another
Not to his audience
But to him alone
As he sits, glasses perched
At ancient desk and quill.
Death of the voice
by Jim Tomkins
For generations they came
first with mouth pieces
mounted on walls with hand held
receiver cones in touch by party line
then with dials and cradles
for decades used to keep in touch
clunky cordless devolved to flip
to ironic smart
dumbed down by texting
muffled by instagram
silenced by Facebook
voices no longer heard
or listened to
the chat castrated
the telephone a eunuch
in the harem of the algorithm
A correction — Mark Kempf writes: “I am so embarrassed to say but happy to report Wendell Berry is not dead as I so confidently mentioned yesterday — I wanted to let you know as soon as I could.
My confusion is completely indefensible, and not sure why I thought it now.”
Write to and call the Minister and Deputy Minister of Immigration Refugees and Citizenships and of Public Safety Canada calling on them to end migrant detention in Canada and to end the Safe Third Party Agreement with the United States.
Donate to an organization in the United States that is working to support migrants and refugees. There are a lot of options including RAICES, Immigrant Families Together, and ACLU.
Share articles on social media about the migrant detention camps in the U.S. and about migrant detention in Canada. Encourage others to take action and help them figure out how.
Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper about some aspect of this work that’s important to you – ending migrant detention; being a welcome community for refugees and immigrants; the racist past and present of immigration policy in the U.S. and Canada, or closing the camps in the United States.
Donate to an organization in Canada that supports immigrants and refugees. There are lots of options including Canadian Council for Refugees, Migrante, No One Is Illegal Toronto, and Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre.
Write to and call your MPP about reversing the Ford government’s cuts to legal aid for refugees and immigrants.
Advocate for a professional association or community organization that you’re a part of to formally call for an end to migrant detention and join relevant coalitions or working groups.
Connect with other participants from the Lights for Liberty event to organize another event – panel discussion on migrant discussion, fundraiser, film festival, demonstration, etc.
Get involved in Provincial and Federal politics – ensuring that migrant detention and services for immigrants and refugees are key election issues.
Join the mailing list for and follow immigrants’ rights groups on social media so that you can continue to learn and take action
The Lights For Liberty vigil was announced on CKMS Community Connections on 8 July 2019.
The playlist today is entirely from Nation of Iron by J.P. Mortier, a singer, song writer and artist from Montreal. It’s a double album consisting of 24 songs clocking in at 2 hours and 19 minutes. On this album, he targets the totalitarian powers that be: governments, corporate power, religion, ideology, technology and other tools of destruction that want to rule our society. It seemed appropriate, given the topic for today’s show.
We dip into the album selections throughout the show, interspersed with talking to our in-studio guests.
Hey, it's Krista Hovsepian creator of Wholesome Foods, I Love You… and you're live with us on CKMS 102.7 FM Radio Waterloo! We'd love to hear from you – send us your questions or comments in the live chat window 🙂
Every year WR Nonviolence invites all community groups, social justice agencies, peace organizations, and everyone else to enjoy a quiet, peaceful, nonviolent Day In The Park. There are kids’ games, music, and information booths along the walkway to enjoy as you learn about a nonviolent way of living.
Sam Nabi wasn’t available today, so we pre-recorded his interview on 3 July 2019. But through the miracle of recorded sound, it’s as though he was right in the studio!
Where is the Gaukel Greenway?
The Tweet that rocked the community:
Closing Gaukel St. hasn’t really affected downtown traffic as far as I can see. How great would it be to turn the entire street into a pedestrian promenade? It would link the park, the Victoria Park ION station, and City Hall. pic.twitter.com/L2DnbjvUU9
On Canada Day we talk about colonialism and settlement in Turtle Island, the students’ School Strike for Climate, and Kitchener-Waterloo VegFest. Our guests are Sophia Kudriavtsev, who’s been leading the School Strikes, Kaiha, an 11-year-old student who’s been speaking at the School Strike rallies in Toronto and the Nation Rising rally in Ottawa, and Mo Markham, organizer of KW Vegfest.
CKMS Community Connections has another two hours of new Canadian music, community events, and an interview on “Women In Politics” withe Surekha Shenoy of the Waterloo Region Women’s Provincial Liberal Association.
On Monday, 3 June 2019 Yenny Stronge and Bob Jonkman interviewed Kate Crozier from Community Justice Initiatives, Charlene Le Duc of the Summer Lights Festival, and Aleksandra Petrovic Graonic, Executive Director of the Social Development Centre Waterloo Region. In between we managed to play some brand new Canadian Content music!
On the way into the Radio Waterloo studio I dropped into the Spectrum Community Space to see if someone would like to talk about the tri-Pride festival. Cait Glasson was there, and KW jazz musician Tim Louis was too! They both joined us in the first hour, and in the second hour we spoke with Riani de Wet and Jim Stewart from the Waterloo Region Health Coalition.
Terry Fox: On The Road is a CD released by the Wilmot Terry Fox Run (WTFR) to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation for cancer research. Information about the CD is available from http://wilmotterryfox.ca/ontheroad. Please contact the Wilmot Terry Fox Run for details or to order a CD. Mail order is not available, but the WTFR will deliver orders in person within Wilmot. Nigel Gordijk (Wilmot Terry Fox Run Co-organizer) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and +1‑519‑569‑9551.
Many thanks to Riani and Jim for the extensive interview. They have provided their briefing notes:
May 23, 2019
List of Cuts, Closures, Restructuring
& Major Health Policy Changes to Date
Cut OHIP+ so families with sick children will have to seek private coverage first and pay deductibles and co-payments. (June 2018)
Cut planned mental health funding by more than $330 million. (July 2018)
Canceled all new planned overdose prevention sites. (autumn 2018)
Cut funding to the College of Midwives of Ontario. (December 2018)
Cut funding for the dementia strategy.
Let surge funding run out for hospital overcrowding. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis. (Fall/Winter 2018/19)
Cut and restructured autism funding. (Winter 2018/19)
Set overall health funding at less than the rate of inflation and population growth, let alone aging. This means service levels cannot keep up with population need. (2019 Budget)
Set public hospital funding at less than the rate of inflation. This means real dollar (inflation adjusted dollar) funding cuts and serious service cuts. (2019 Budget)
Introduced Bill 74, which gives sweeping new powers to the minster and Super Agency to force restructuring of virtually the entire health system. (February/March 2019)
Municipalities revealed Ford government plan to cut and restructure ambulance services, down from 59 to 10. (April 2019)
Leaked document reveals plans to cut half a billion dollars in OHIP services. On the chopping block are sedation for colonoscopies, chronic pain management services and others. Plans will be made this spring/summer. (April 2019)
Cut OHIP funding for residents travelling out of Canada. (May 2019)
Cut 44 positions at the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) –provider of video medical services — which previously employed 265 people. In other words, 1 in every 6 telemedicine staff positions are being cut. The official dollar figure has not yet been released, but, OTN received $42 million in provincial funding 2017-18, nearly all came from the Ministry of Health. (May 2019)
Set 2019 land ambulance grant funding at less than the rate of inflation. This means real dollar cuts to ambulance services. The City of Toronto has calculated the value of these cuts to amount to $4 million for Toronto alone. (April 2019)
Plans to reduce the number of Public Health Units from 35 to 10. Cut 27%, or $200 million, of provincial funding for public health. Toronto Public Health has been particularly hard-hit. The city of Toronto has calculated the cuts to amount will amount to $1 billion over a 5-year period. Ford government disputes these figures. (April 2019)
Cut more than $70 million from eHealth’s budget. (May 2019)
Cut almost $53 million from the Health System Research Fund, a fund dedicated to research relevant to provincial policy and health-care system restructuring. (May 2019)
Cut $5 million in annual funding for stem-cell research at the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine. (May 2019)
Cut $24 million in funding for artificial intelligence research from the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence as well as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. (May 2019)
Serious Threat of Health Privatization
In Bill 74 the Minister of Health has given herself and the Super Agency vast new powers to order and otherwise force the privatization of most of our health care services. Opposition parties have asked direct questions about private surgery clinics bidding to close down and take over our local hospital services and neither the Premier nor Health Minister will say that they will not privatize. In documents being circulated from municipalities, Ford’s plans may include privatization of parts of ambulance services. In the leaked documents from the Ontario civil service in February, plans were revealed to privatize eHealth, laboratories, air ambulance, long-term care inspections and other services. At no time, under questioning by media and opposition parties, will this government clearly promise not to hand over ownership of our public health care services to private for-profit corporations. The signs of impending privatization are serious.
Ford’s plans, revealed by municipalities, include cutting the number of local ambulance services from 59 to 10 as well as the number of local dispatch services. These cuts will be particularly devastating to rural and smaller communities which are already suffering from a shortage of services. The Ford government’s restructuring plan does not address any of the causes of too-long EMS response times; it does not ameliorate services even where there is evidence of significant need. The current EMS system in Ontario was created by Mike Harris’ restructuring in the 1990s. The evidence from that round of restructuring is that costs grew dramatically post-restructuring. Ford’s plans for further centralization of ambulance services and cuts also threaten to deepen inequalities between rural and urban communities: “Cutting and centralizing the ambulance services down to ten giant regions means that smaller rural and northern communities will be lesser priorities and risks their service levels,” warned OHC executive director Natalie Mehra.
An EMS vision-Ontario 2050 Report came out after the 2018 provincial election, penned by owners of a private, for-profit, ambulance company. The report set out a map towards privatization of land ambulance services. It suggested Ontario could “save” $200 million by consolidating over 50 provincial paramedic services into only 10, run by a single Commission. The fact that the government announced that 59 provincial paramedic services will indeed be consolidated into 10 as the report suggested has led to concerns that the privatization of EMS services is part of Ford’s agenda. The report has also mentioned a plan to reduce the number of Public Health Units from 35 to 10 – a plan that is being implemented by the Ford government.
Public Health Cuts/Restructuring
Severe cuts amounting to almost one-third of provincial funding for public health threaten vital local services including food and water safety, infectious disease tracking and prevention, immunizations, prenatal training and safety, overdose prevention, safe needle and biohazard programs and many others.
In the 2019 Provincial Budget it was revealed that the Ford government plans to cut provincial funding for Public Health by 27 per cent and cut the number of local Public Health Units from 35 to 10. In early May, the government made public their plans for the closures/takeovers/mergers of local public health units. There has been no public consultation on this major change even though municipalities match provincial funding for public health, thereby providing half of public health funding. Municipalities were not consulted, public health experts including nurses and doctors who specialize in public health were not consulted, nor were affected communities or Ontarians who fund and rely on Public Health services. The plans that have been revealed to date follow here. In response to pressure, the Ford government is now saying that these are not finalized. However, there is no public process, no written plan that measures or mitigates the impact on the people of Ontario, no plan for consultation, no clear timeline. In fact, no normal processes for public health care planning are being followed whatsoever.
The following will be the results of the planned takeover/mergers/closures of Public Health Units if they are forced through by the Ford government:
Middlesex London Health Unit, Southwestern Public Health Unit, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit and Lambton Public Health Unit will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 1.3 million people.
Bruce Grey Health Unit, Huron County Health Unit and Perth District Health Unit will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 300,000 people.
Public Health Sudbury and Districts, Algoma Public Health, North Bay-Parry Sound District Health Unit, Timiskaming Health Unit, Porcupine Health Unit, and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 625,000 people.
Thunder Bay District Health Unit and Northwestern Health Unit will will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 228,000 people.
Waterloo Public Health Unit, Halton Public Heath Unit, Peel Public Health Unit, and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Units will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 2.94 million people.
Hamilton Public Health Services, Niagara Region Public Health Unit, Brant County Health Unit, and Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering1.4 million people.
Ottawa Public Health Unit, Eastern Ontario Health Unit (Prescott-Russel, Cornwall), Smith Falls Health Unit, and Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 1.6 million people.
Peterborough Public Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit, Hastings Prince Edward Health Unit, and Durham Region Health Unit will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 1.2 million people.
York Region Public Health and Simcoe County District Health Unit will be forced into a single regional Public Health Unit covering 1.7 million people.
Toronto Public Health will serve 2.9 million people.
The Ford government is now clearly embarking on the most aggressive and radical health care restructuring that Ontario has ever seen. Previous large-scale restructuring in Ontario undertaken by the Mike Harris government involved province-wide hospital restructuring, including hospital mergers and closures of dozens of local hospitals. It ultimately did not reduce administrative costs as was promised. In fact, it cost $3.9 billion. That is $3.9 billion, according to the Provincial Auditor General, to cut $800 million from public hospitals. The restructuring costs were made up of laying off staff, moving buildings, renovating and rebuilding, re-hiring staff, renaming services, re-doing letterheads and communications systems and so on. The evidence is indisputable that those cost were lost to health care and were never recouped. Moreover, restructuring led to for-profit privatization and new user fees for an array of services. The costs were never recovered and many of the current problems that we face in health care can be traced back to the last two rounds of restructuring.
Bill 74 – Most Radical Restructuring in our Province’s History
In the last few months plans have been revealed that expose the Ford government’s intent to undertake the most radical health care restructuring in our history. Bill 74, the so-called “People’s Health Care Act” has been passed through the Legislature by the majority Ford MPPs against strong opposition. It does not improve a single health care service. What it does is create one mega-merger of 20 agencies into a Super Agency and give extraordinary restructuring powers to the government. This new law launches restructuring for hospitals, long-term care, home care, community mental health and addictions, community care, cancer care, palliative care, labs, eHealth, air ambulance, community health centres, home care, non-profit primary care and more. The Health Minister has revealed her plan is to restructure 1,800 health service providers down to 30 – 50 conglomerates. That’s not all though. In the Provincial Budget, plans to cut Public Health by almost 1/3 of provincial funding (27%) and reduce Health Units from 35 to 10 were revealed. Then, municipalities revealed the Ford government’s plans to restructure ambulance services from 59 down to 10.
Sweeping new powers to force mega-mergers, transfer services from one community to another, close services, privatize services
The new law gives sweeping powers to the Minister and the government appointees in their new Super Agency to force through mergers, mega-mergers, amalgamations, transfers of services, closures of local services, and entire closures of service providers. In five separate areas in the legislation these restructuring powers enable the government, its appointees, and health service providers to transfer our public and non-profit health care services to for-profit companies. Already for-profit hospital companies are making bids to take over surgeries in London Ontario.
Unfettered powers to force health care providers to restructure, close, privatize
The legislation allows the Minister and the government appointees that run their new Super Agency the power to order, direct and coerce (using their funding power) local providers of service to comply with these restructuring edicts and pressures. It does this in multiple sections of the legislation. In most of these sections there is no fetter on these extraordinary powers and no public process. It takes away any last
vestiges of local control over health care. They can close a hospital with the stroke of a pen, move a service to another town or close it entirely, order the privatization of all labs or all surgeries, for example. It is truly shocking.
No public interest protections, no appeals, no access to information, no clear rulings: worst ever
There are no public interest protections in the legislation. There is no public notice at all for most of the sections that give new restructuring powers. There is minimal public notice in one section. There is no right to appeal anywhere in the legislation. There is no public access to documents anywhere in the legislation. The new Super Agency is not subject even to the conflict of interest rules of the Ontario Public Service. There are no principles to guide restructuring. There is no requirement that any one, not the Minister, not the Super Agency, no one, actually measure and plan to meet population need for health care, protect any local health services at all, ensure that patients have access to care, worry about the workforce that will be subject to massive upheaval. There are no procedural protections whatsoever.
A primer on Doug Ford’s insiders and the pro-privatization forces
Charles Lammam, formerly of the extreme right wing Fraser Institute, is now the Director of Policy (2nd highest staff position) in the Health Minister’s office. The Fraser Institute has spent years trying to dismantle Canada’s social programs and one of their prime targets is health care. The Fraser Institute has been funded by the American Koch brothers (funders of the Tea Party) among others.
Shelly Jamieson, one of Ford’s appointed board members of the new Super Agency, is the former president of Extendicare, a for-profit long-term care home giant. She was on the Mike Harris government’s Restructuring Commission that ordered the closure of >40 hospitals and thousands of hospital beds. After this she moved to Extendicare which gained from the subsequent expansion of long-term care. Now she is on the new Super Agency, this government’s health restructuring board.
Elyse Allan is on the board of Brookfield Assets Management and the right-wing pro-privatization C.D. Howe institute and was recently on the pro-corporate Board of the Conference Board of Canada, the Chamber of Commerce and more.
Other board members include people from banks and private corporations including Real Estate Investment Trusts and others with direct interest in health care privatization.
In July, Doug Ford appointed Rueben Devlin, former president of the Ontario Conservative Party to be the Chair of a new Premier’s Council on Improving Health Care & Ending Hallway Medicine and Special Advisor on Ending Hallway Medicine. The positions come with a $348,000 per year salary for the Conservative stalwart who was president of the party during the Mike Harris era during which the government spent $3.9 billion closing and merging hospitals in an attempt to cut $800 million from their budgets. That was the most radical restructuring of public hospitals in the country’s history at time. Rueben Devlin is also the former CEO of Humber River Hospital where he presided over the closure of three hospitals. The three were replaced with one privatized P3 hospital at an eye-popping $1.76 billion due to the exorbitantly expensive P3 financing and privatization model. In so doing, Devlin closed down a hospital in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the city. The new P3 hospital did not have enough capacity to serve its population and last fall the former Liberal government reopened one of the closed-down sites in order to deal with patients waiting on stretchers in hallways for care.
Gordon Campbell: Not only does he have an abysmal record on financial matters, but the former B.C. Premier, whom Doug Ford appointed to lead Ford’s fiscal inquiry in Ontario, is perhaps the biggest enemy of public health care in Canada. It is now apparent that Campbell’s model of health cuts and privatization may be the model that Ford is copying here. Campbell set the stage for the biggest growth in for-profit privatization of hospital care in Canada, private clinics in BC openly charge patients thousands of dollars in violation of the Canada Health Act as a direct result of his policies, he cut and closed local hospitals, systematically appointed pro-privatization health board people, fired thousands of hospital support staff and privatized their services. He routinely supported private for-profit interests in pharmaceutical policy and health care against the public interest. The extreme right-wing Fraser Institute loves him, but his record on finances is terrible. Not only did he do all these terrible things in health care, he wiped out a $1.5 billion surplus he inherited when he took government, then went on to post the largest deficits in the B.C.’s history up to that time, and added $20 billion to the province’s debt.
On the CKMS Community Connections for Monday, 13 May 2019 Yenny Stronge and Bob Jonkman spoke with Brian Doucet, Canada Research Chair in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo in the first hour, then in the second hour with Matt White, the Artistic Director at Green Light Arts.
Brian Doucet is an Associate Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo, and the Canada Research Chair in Cities. He came to talk to us about gentrification and the LRT, but our conversation wandered a little.
Blog posting in progress! We’re still adding links, show notes, music lists, and media clips. Come back often to see the progress!
On the CKMS Community Connections show for Monday, 6 May 2019 we travelled to the Elvis Freshly Jam Studio and met up with Parallax Error, a Bass & Drums duo from Kitchener, with Kevin Paisley on bass and Sam Hill on drums.
Sad Beach Boys
Parallax Error have released four of the tracks as the Jam Room demos — free downloads!
Crowdsource the show notes! If you’d like to help out you can listen to the show and make a list of events, interviews, other notable conversations, and song titles and artists along with the time they appear. Send it to email@example.com with Show notes for 22 April 2019 in the subject line. You’ll get full credit, with a link to your website.