Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 26, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Wednesday, June 26, 2002Opinion
121st Year — No. 156
Palliative care needs attention
It has been nearly two years since Manitoba’s health minister vowed to pay for palliative care necessary for people dying at home.
We have gone on long enough without that promise being fulfilled.
In September 2000, Dave Chomiak told a hospice conference of his commitment and the province provided $2.75 million to expand community-based palliative care services.
But the government didn’t get around to covering drug costs involved.
Today the minister claims he still plans to keep his promise but rising costs have been causing delays.
The irony is that the minister has been passing along these mounting costs to the people who have been helping make his health care system work.
“I promised it as part of an overall package in 2000 and I’ve done everything except that final portion,” says Dave Chomiak.
That final cost is paying for medication — including very expensive prescription opiate pain killers.
Drugs that are free in a hospital may
amount to very expensive hits on the family budget for people dying at home.
Having to arrange care and administer powerful drugs to a dying person is enough of a burden on a family dunng a most difficult time.
These care providers don’t need that added worries about how to pay for drugs.
There is also a practical side to care for the dying in the home and it is a benefit for Chomiak’s department.
Home care frees up much needed space in hospitals and that represents a savings for Chomiak’s budget.
Still the minister says that rising drug costs — about 15 per cent per year — have been the stumbling block for his department.
“Everything that costs is a problem,” the minister notes.
Well, he now knows the effect of the problem he is passing along to people who have been helping reduce hospital costs.
Chomiak says he plans to act on his promise by autumn. We hope that is more than just another promise.
Friday afternoon jab should apply to all
Gord Mackintosh has observed that the wheels of justice seem to grind a little more slowly on Friday afternoons — not unlike legislative process, perhaps.
Tweaking the collective noses of provincial judges, who are currently in fine for significant raises, the justice minister has hinted that courtrooms ought to be a little busier on Friday afternoons. He may have a point, although the Provincial Judges Association notes there are many factors that guide the way judges schedule trials.
Is the minister genuinely concerned about improving efficiency in the courts? Or is he just taking a potshot at judges?
Well, we feel that when there is a question of taxpayers’ money being wasted, the taxpayers should have their say.
Let’s all give Mackintosh a call to discuss this matter. We suggest phoning his office this Fnday afternoon.
No doubt the minister can make a little time for the people of Manitoba ... just before the long weekend.
Borowski crosses floor in fit of moral outrageSIXTY YEARS AGO
The Royal Canadian Air Force strength operating in the Aleutian Islands are in defence of the northwest approaches to North America in several complete squadrons. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill summed the Pacific war council to discuss the Japanese threat. Prime Minister Mackenzie King was to attend the meeting.FIFTY YEARS AGO
Neil Kirkpatrick of Kemnay, was awarded the grand championship ribbon for his calf shown in a district calf club competition held in the Winnipeg Stock Yards
A group of members of the Brandon Flying Club paid a one-day visit to the Lethbridge Flying Club.
Marj McCunn captured the city ladies gold championship for the second straight year.FORTY YEARS AGO
Safeway prices: Campbell’s tomato soup, 8 tins for $1.00; hot house tomatoes, 5 pound basket, $1.89; standing rib roasts, 79 cents/pound; fresh broiler turkeys, 49 cent/pound; Airway instant coffee, 12 oz. jar, 99 cents; chuck steaks, 55 cents/pound.
For the third time in five years and the second successive season, ever-smiling Min Boyd put the clutch on the silverware at the Brandon Ladies City golf tournament.THIRTY YEARS AGO
Declaring that he will no longer support a government that would turn
Manitoba into a moral desert, former NDP cabinet minister Joe Borowski crossed the floor of the provincial legislature to sit as an independent.
One hundred and seventeen persons have been killed and more than 100,000 forced from their homes by the flood-waters of one of the most destructive storms in the history of the eastern seaboard of the United States. Worst hit was the state of Pennsylvania with damages estimated at $1 billion.TWENTY YEARS AGO
Alexander M. Haig, who served as President Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy adviser for 17 months, abruptly resigned yesterday after one policy quarrel too many with this boss.
Hundreds of Lebanese families, skeptical of the new U.S.-arranged ceasefire between Israeli invaders and PLO guemlias, packed their belongmgs and fled war-ravaged West Beirut for safer areas today.
The Western Regional Library will receive a $134,000 operating grant from the province.TEN YEARS AGO
Kim Christianson became the first female to graduate from the three-year autobody repair class at Crocus Plains high school yesterday.
Rick direst, general manager of the Keystone Centre, announced yesterday the ice surface floor in the main arena must be replaced immediately for safety reasons and therefore the main arena will be closed for the summer. This forces several groups to look for new venues to hold their events.
From the files of rIhe Brandon Sun.
Group initiative needed to focus on Africa’s woes
For The Sun
OTTAWA — For a few days this week, Africa will intrude into the consciousness of a comfortable country. By the time Prime Minister Jean Chretien and other G-8 leaders make another in the long series of largely broken promises, the misery of the most troubled continent will be at least temporarily unavoidable. The misery is staggering.
In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 300 million people subsist on less than $1 a day. Infant mortality is pushing IO per cent. AIDS affects almost 25 million people on a continent where average life expectancy is slipping toward 45 years.
Crushed by debt, some of the poorest nations on Earth are net exporters of vital capital. In this African winter, famine is again sweeping across the south, endangenng six million more in six countries that should be able to feed themselves.
In a perverse way familiar to anyone who knows Africa, that’s the good news. Reform comes slowly to the continent’s 53 countries and its only effective catalyst is crisis.
The common denominator in the dozen or so countries successfully bucking continental trends is that each is responding to crisis by implementing innovative, locally appropriate, economic and political policies.
It is those policies that G-8 leaders hope to reinforce by endorsing a plan that would reward movement toward open economies, democracy and the rule of law with aid, investment and access to world markets.
It’s an ambitious plan requiring $64 billion more annually. In many ways, it is a good plan. Among its attributes is that the New Partnership for African Development was born in Africa and raised by Africans.
For the first time, the continent’s most influential leaders are acknowledging that rooting out corruption, recognizing human rights and encouraging Africa’s often exuberant entrepreneurial spirit are prerequisites for a successful assault on poverty.
But changing Africa also requires changing the world. Each of the continent’s many failings finds a corresponding failure in the capricious development policies and trade protectionism of rich northern nations.
Put bluntly, industnalized nations are failing Africa as demonstrably and as dramatically as it is failing itself. Money best measures that failure. Recent donor promises aside, the World Bank reports that in the ‘90s, aid to Africa fell $5 billion to $12.3 billion.
Canada, a country that routinely fails to meet internation
al aid targets, recently committed $500 million more in additional aid for Africa, only slightly more than it will cost hosting Kananaskis and last year’s Quebec City Summit of the Americas.
Even that financial trickle is conditional.
Aid to some of the world’s poorest countnes is often tied less to need and policy reform than to old colonial connections, rewards for United Nations’ voting or the benefits to the donor. The result is an unfocused, ineffectual global development approach that can harm more than it helps.
In some cases, imposed economic restructuring reduces spending on health and education while patent enforcement restricts distribution of affordable generic drugs.
This week, donors and recipients are almost certain to agree on common development goals and strategies.
Unfortunately, there is no sign that the key players, particularly the U.S., will abandon bilateral aid in favour of a more effective group initiative or that other fundamental compromises, including one on patent HIV drugs, will be reached.
Those won’t be the only limitations. There is justifiable concern among African leaders and aid critics that, once again, financial promises will prove to be hot air. They worry that Africa will change only to find that the rewards needed to sustain change will wither under the weight of domestic political initiatives, trade barriers and conditions designed to make compliance impossible.
To help reverse Africa’s death spiral, the developed world must reform its own habits. It must replace its mouth with money. It must stop proselytizing globalization and make it work by lowering trade barriers and applying the same rules to Africa’s crushing debts as sophisticated economies apply to domestic bankruptcies.
Most of all, the wealthy world must recognize that it is an unindicted co-conspirator in the 40-year crime of reducing the hope and expectations of independent Africa to the desperate realities of today.
By abandoning Africa after the Cold War, by failing to keep its promises and by shovelling money into the Swiss bank accounts of friendly tyrants, as the U.S. did in Mobutu’s Zaire, the West exacerbated the already overwhelming problems and worst tendencies of governments new to freedom.
If Kananaskis is to make a difference, it must recognize that helping Africa rescue itself is a lasting priority, not a momentary intrusion into the pnonties and consciousness of those who mean well but are willing to do little and not for long.
James Travers is a national affairs writer.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Peacekeeping is a better way
Canadians willingly and proudly support the participation of our Armed Forces with the multinational force engaged in the war to stamp out terrorism.
Today’s conflict reminds us of our victories in the First and Second World Wars and the high price in human life we paid for peace and freedom.
But simply defeating the enemy rn the field is not our only goal. We believe that by resolving conflict we can create the path to a better way for the world.
We look to the future for a different way of solving the world’s problems and attaining a more compassionate, fairer and peaceful world, for Canada has a passion for peace. This passion has given Canada recognition as the most credible and trusted nation in the entire world and it has reached this position through its peacekeeping activities and ability.
Our late Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson, established the first multinational peacekeeping force to solve disputes by means other than armed conflict. For this leadership, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 and lasting recognition as the father of the multinational peacekeeping forces.
Canada became recognized as the nation of peace. Today, we need to advocate continuation and indeed expansion of our peacekeeping force. Our advocacy should be vociferous -clear, visible and repeated at every opportunity. Canadians give high priority to their participation in international affairs.
We must be in the forefront of the road to peace through the fostering of dialogue between factions, the development of international courts, support of the World Court and the creation of massive peacekeeping forces. Through these actions we will attain the Canadian dream of world peace. And we must, because the alternative — war — is hell.
We have only to look back over the past 2,000 years as illustrated in two dramatic paintings by Canadian artist Albert Chiarandim - Attila and Man’s Inequity. During that span of time, nothing has changed - except the weapons of death and destruction. We have the better way and that is to think of the role and work of our peacekeeping forces around the world and fly the Maple Leaf with pride.
Glenn Johnson: Editor and Director of Readership Development Gordon Wright: City Editor Jim Le wth Waite: News Editor
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