VOICE OF THE PEOPLE | June 24
Lack of foresight
I take issue with the headline “Senile patients may be making wait times worse” (June 20).
After all, it is not the patients themselves, already suffering with dementia, who choose to further suffer by occupying these many hospital beds, to be warehoused within a system that does not employ sufficient staff to attend to their needs.
And certainly it is not the choice of the families struggling to find good care for their loved ones, to instead witness the lack of care, the bed sores, increased levels of incontinence and soul-numbing isolation that results within such an ill-prepared and inappropriate environment.
We are each culpable, as members within this democratic society, for having stuck our heads in the sand, seemingly forever surprised by the reality of being an aging society, and equally unprepared for the health care system supports required to meet the evolving needs. We have failed to articulate the needed “heads up” to our government in ways that have generated change.
Never has the saying “fail to plan, plan to fail” made more sense to me.
As a small start, let’s adjust this article’s headline to reflect the fact that “our lack of vision and commitment of resources to meet the needs of an aging population proves costly” and then follow up with a well-considered plan of action.
Shirley Burdock, Dartmouth
Via cuts off track
If all goes as planned by our federal government, the first of many cuts to Via Rail services will be announced now that Parliament has closed for the summer. The cuts have been forced on Via by federal budget cuts in financial support of $6.5 million this year, $15.1 million next year, and held at $19.6 annually starting in 2014-15.
Comparing passenger traffic in 2011 to 2010, the Toronto-Vancouver “Canadian” gained 3,000 passengers, or about three per cent. The Montreal-Halifax “Ocean” traffic grew by about 7,500 riders, or six per cent. In the central Canadian “corridor,” traffic dropped by 12,000 passengers.
However, defying logic, corridor financial support will remain strong in the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto triangle, while the western transcontinental will drop from three to two weekly trips in the off season. The biggest cuts are reserved for the Maritimes’ only remaining train, which is expected to be cut from six to three trips weekly. Cuts are also planned in service southwest of Toronto to Niagara Falls and through Kitchener to London.
At the same time, Amtrak (the U.S. national rail passenger service) has set ridership growth records in nine of the last 10 years, despite a lagging national economy. Excitement is growing in Maine as service from Boston is extended from Portland to Brunswick, Me., this November, giving many economic benefits to our neighbouring state.
In being forced to make these cuts, Via Rail will be artificially choking off growth in passenger numbers which have shown up in the U.S., Europe, and in the past year in eastern and western Canada.
John Pearce, President Emeritus, Transport Action Atlantic
Wages of paperless world
The bottom line for any business is to make enough money to pay its bills, its employees and end up with some profit. When this no longer happens, there are a couple of options. The business can be sold or closed down.
As an observer of the most recent Bowater Mersey closure, let me point out that all Nova Scotians have contributed to the demise of that plant. When we choose to read our newspapers online instead of buying the newspaper, our books on e-readers instead of purchasing the book, to correspond by email instead of using the post office and so on, it all impacts on the plants making newsprint.
Now multiply that by people making those same decisions around the world and the result is closure of paper mills, which ultimately impacts on all those other businesses that utilize that type of product. Technology is wonderful, but it doesn’t come without a cost — loss of business and jobs.
Elizabeth Schurman, South Greenwood
So let me get this straight: The taxpaying public has been given the “honour” of supporting Cooke Aquaculture via Darrell Dexter et al, and open net pen fish feedlots in general.
Glen Cooke states “my family has been farming the ocean for 25 years and the sky hasn’t fallen.” Has Mr. Cooke donned scuba gear and had a look under his fish pens?
A small mountain of scientific information has been presented to the provincial NDP chronicling the negative environmental effects of open net pen feedlots.
Where is the science backing up the claims of our government and the aquaculture industry that this is sustainable? Oh yeah, there is none.
Unless we do what Sterling Belliveau is quite comfortable doing. Getting his info from DFO. What could ever go wrong there? It’s not like DFO ever managed a commercial fishery into oblivion, is it?
The paltry $60,000 earmarked for the closed containment feasibility study is a joke compared to the potential for millions in forgivable loans given to Cooke. Who will be doing this study, a summer student (no offence to summer students)? We have a chance to be leaders. Let’s take it.
Phil Gammon, Quoddy
Re: the Higgins property expropriation.
One should keep in mind that the Higgins land is located in a place called Moose River Gold Mines. The community, like many others such as Goldenville and Goldboro, grew as a result of mining activity over a century ago. While mostly dormant since the 1930s, Moose River and other old gold districts in Nova Scotia have been the focus of renewed exploration over the past 30 years and many projects could become viable producers again.
Without the Higgins land, the Moose River project could not proceed and would cast a bad light on financial investment into similar projects in the province. Expropriation is unfortunate, but I doubt if there are few, if any, cases on record regarding mining situations.
One must also keep in mind the mineral rights are separate from surface rights. Mineral rights are administered by the Department of Natural Resources.
I don’t know the market value of the Higgins land, but the $300,000 offered for the small plot would likely buy 100 acres elsewhere, increasing the Higgins’ land holdings substantially and adding to their Christmas tree operations. Minister Charlie Parker himself indicated he did not see any Christmas tree cultivation on the land in question. Trees grow throughout the province, while gold and other minerals are rarely found in concentrations suitable for extraction.
Bruce Mitchell, Stewiacke
Going for gold: our ethics
I urge the NDP government to strongly reconsider its decision to allocate and allot by expropriation the lands of Mr. Higgins of Moose River Gold Mines.
I protest this expropriation, as do many other Nova Scotians with a sense of moral and ethical conscience. The governing NDP are selling out our birthright and inheritance for a pittance.
The value of the land in question in its present and natural state is priceless. Please don’t sell us out to DDV Gold.
Floyd Porter, Louisdale