Wednesday, April 26, 2017 

 

Opinion

What's Your Platform?

Macdonald offers parties advice on issues

Myrtle Macdonald, M. Sc., Author 

 

1. The Environment:

Fossil fuels to be used less and quickly replaced by alternate energy production (Solar, geothermal, etc.)

 

-Education of public on the comparative costs of production by fossil fuel, or alternate energy.

 

- Total costs are underestimated by omitting capital and maintenance costs of roads, highways, bridges, seaports, coast guards, etc. and by ignoring the vast amount of damage to water, soil, air and health.

- Fracking must be discontinued.

2. Kinder Morgan Pipe line enlargement through BC is wrong because:
- There have been more broken pipes and spills than is generally known.

- Sacred burial places must be honored.

- Increased sale of oil to China is wrong because their air pollution damages health globally.

- The tripling of Chinese oil tankers in Canadian waters will multiply danger of oil spills, pollution of oceans and beaches, and kill endangered species of fish and mammals.

- Coast guard services are already slow and underfunded.

3. A pipeline from Alberta to Mexico as a temporary measure until fossil fuels are no longer needed.
- So that imports of fossil fuels from the Middle East will be phased out quickly.

- The route chosen must be altered to respect indigenous peoples.

4. High health care costs and overcrowding of hospitals are due to:
- Air pollution from fossil fuel causes/aggravates eye, ear, sinus, heart, lungs, arthritic and cancerous diseases.

- CEOs and administrators get high salaries and even a bonus. They lack knowledge of current grass roots skills and concerns. I do not believe that a high salary will draw the best people. Instead corruption-free, clear philosophy, professional skill and operational goals will attract wise leaders.

- Cut down on the many layers of a hierarchy of administrators/ supervisors/ foremen. Change to leadership by professional and para professional employees, voted in by employees, for two years, in rotation, and continuing in their profession part time.

- In that way grass roots realities will be better honored and funds increased for direct, adequate care.

- Pharmacare and Medicare to give better coverage.

- Add dental, visual, foot care and hearing aids costs and follow-up to Medicare.

- Many poor people unable to pay the extra amounts charged for prescriptions not covered by BC, go without. My 92 year old sister, who is too poor to pay income tax had to pay nearly $500 on her prescriptions in 2016.

- There are too many new Pharmacies. That adds to costs. In Chilliwack with a population of 80,000, there are eight or more pharmacies plus six in grocery stores. Several should be forced to close. Too much of the work is done by pharmacy assistants. More well qualified pharmacists should be hired.

- Grocery stores ruin nutrition and resistance to disease by selling processed foods. “Purifying” removes about 35 nutrients. “Enriching” adds only six, and they are synthetic. Vegetables/fruit are ruined by pesticides/herbicides/genetic modification. Labeling omits GMO.

5. Similarly all government ministries and private corporations must be reformed as in point 4.

This means more skilled people employed for direct service and few as administrators.

- Workers to receive shares and have votes in their industry of employment.

6. All provinces should cooperate for fairness and uniformity in medicare, pharmacare, childcare, nutrition and education:
- Transfer of credentials of professionals and paraprofessionals should be easy between provinces.

- Vigorously promote selling of fruit, potatoes, meat and other produce between provinces.

- Tax foreign imports and long distance truck owners (not the drivers).

7. Increase funding for mental illness especially of youth & seniors.
- A case manager, group therapy and home visits are essential for all. Many middle aged and senior patients who are somewhat recovered, are transferred to a GP for treatment. They need continued care by psychiatrists and Case Managers who do home visits. Patients are on their best behavior when seen in an office for five minutes. They have not recovered as assumed. The burden and fear of their aged parents is serious.

- At 18 years of age youth are transferred to a different Ministry where their psychiatrist and case manager are strangers. No wonder most stop keeping appointments for therapy. Then many self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.

- When mentally ill people are psychotic (out of touch with reality with hallucinations, delusions and paranoia) they should not have the right to refuse psychiatric treatment. Human Rights legislation needs to be revised for people with Schizophrenia. People with Mood Disorders demand human rights. They should not advocate for people with Schizophrenia.

- All family members, not just one, should be included in the Treatment Team and in Discharge Planning. They are still often excluded, belittled and blamed.


8. Volunteers in lodges, alumni, service clubs and churches do outstanding service for the well-being of Canada.
- The Senate is necessary for sobre second thoughts and also for the present Senate Committees that conduct valuable studies: MPs and MLAs do not have perspective, time and broad experience for in depth investigation.

- Senators should not get a salary. Since they are pensioners they should work as volunteers. They do however need modest stipends for housing and travel, when on Senate work.

- Our Senate is very different from the USA Senate. We can be proud that it is more functional and effective.

9. I am a Royalist because the Regal Role lessens the heavy burdens on the Prime Minister.
-The Governor General hosts red carpet functions in honor of foreign dignitaries and Canadian citizens who have been brave, or have made outstanding contributions. The provincial Lieutenant Governors have a similar role in each province. It was embarrassing that the Prime Minister and his wife and Premier Christy Clarke were much involved for several days in the recent visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, while heavy legislative duties were neglected. To be present for the arrival and one function with the children of prince and prime minister was enough.

10. Farmers of vegetables, fruit, grain, dairy, beef, hogs and poultry are seriously neglected as follows:
- Large refrigerated trucks carry fruit and vegetables from California and Mexico. They ruin air and highways.

- Mega grocery stores sell imported fruit and vegetables at less cost than locally grown. Meanwhile locally grown strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, peaches and cherries rot in the fields and go extinct. this year apricots were very expensive, sour, and hard to find. When I lived in Saskatchewan in 1984-86 I often bought an abundance of inexpensive Okanagan apricots. Why not here in the Fraser Valley?

- Farmers markets have a short season and charge high prices, so the poor stay away and are malnourished.

- Public transport is lacking for small farmers so that wife and/or husband have to take second jobs. They need to own two or three cars or light trucks to get to work, and for teenagers to get to high school or university.

- Farm youth like farming but cannot make a living on the farm. 4H and agricultural fairs have dwindled/died.

11. Most funding for transportation goes to the cities. Rural infrastructure is seriously underfunded.
- Rural people are poorly serviced with education, transportation, health care and industrial development.

- A network of standard gauge light railways cum tram lines, could solve these problems. 100 km of railway will cost less than 4 km of sky-train to install and maintain. www.Railforthevalley.com. Leewood Proposal - 85 pages.

- A refrigerated railway car could be a mobile farmers' market, serving six locations, one day a week all year. Snow is easily removed from railway tracks.

- The Fraser Vale Frozen Food factory on Yale Road was a great success story for many years. When I lived in Quebec 1968-74 I bought some of their frozen fruit and vegetables. About 1999 it was sold to Pillsbury. They sold it to a contractor who filled the space with Condos.

12. Indigenous and hinterland communities should be promoted and well serviced:
- Furniture factories to use wood damaged by pine beetles.

- Subsidize refugees from the middle and far east to remove rubble from valleys, terrace and compost hillsides and develop orchards and gardens. Subsidize un/underemployed poor in Vancouver east side to move inland for this work. Some homeless people would do well and develop initiative. Refugees from eastern countries who have lived on or near terraced hillsides would have know how, but would need funding.

- Keep communities multicultural and avoid ghettoes. Provide facilities for schools, colleges, sports, music and cultural activities.

- Provide well staffed and funded rural schools and hospitals to attract professionals and their families. I got a good education attending a one room school from grades one to 8. I drove a horse and buggy 5 1/2 miles to town to attend a 4 room high school, graduating in 1937. We learned French in the attic and chemistry in the basement.

- It is wrong to close small schools. In large schools children form cliques and gangs.

- The busing of children, has ruined the quality of education and destroyed multiculturalism. Children no longer walk and explore nature.

- The medical faculty at Prince George has helped train doctors who like rural life.

- When I lived in Saskatchewan I visited several of the many fine community hospitals built by Tommy Douglas. Most have since closed as towns and schools died.

- It was absentee one crop mega farmers or ruined rural life in western Canada.

- Agribusiness cannot understand and speak for small mixed farms, and family farmers.

13. Seniors need much more funding for Better at Home.

My income is so low that I do not have to pay income tax, yet to get a subsidy for a cleaning woman for two hours once a month I have to pay $27.56. For a handyman I have to pay for two hours, but they may not do plumbing or electrical repairs. I have only the yellow pages.

- My two disabled siblings live in Assisted Living. They wear expensive hearing aids but staff do not do maintenance. There are many shapes and varieties. Hearing Aid companies do not do home visits. Most older people give up and stop using their hearing aids. Even doctors and nurses do not know how to maintain them. Their purchase and servicing should be covered by Medicare.

- My siblings both need incontinence supplies but Assisted Living does not supply them. I have no car, but hunt for varieties they like, using my walker. There are many kinds that are too narrow and get lumpy. I hunt for sales, because the full cost is over $250 per month, each. Pharmacy shelves are cluttered and lack space for the best varieties.

- In Assisted Living and in Home Care there is staff funding for only one bath a week. It is a come down when older people can no longer take a daily shower. The golden years!!

14. Fish Farming with open pens infects and destroys wild fish.
- There is open sewage from homes and ships.

15. Compromise to accept wrong practices to find and keep employment is corruption.
- Arms length involvement is right and the source of real hope and good government.

- Whistle blowers are silenced, demoted and shamed. They should be respected and protected.

- Freedom of speech should be allowed by employers for employees.

16. Election Reform:

The way people vote needs change. Some years ago in BC, when the NDP got 38% of the votes only two constituencies had enough votes for an MLA. 38% of the MLAs should have been NDP, not just two. That is shocking injustice.

- I suggest voting for first and second choices. Might that help make voting results more fair?

- I am not in favor of a referendum on the voting system. We had one in BC some years ago, but because of complexities, that just added to the confusion, discontent and inconclusive result.

- MLAs should not be required to vote in loyalty to a party, but with freedom of conscience.

17. Missing women.

A fact finding referendum would not help. A network of light railways would help.

- Regular bus service would help too, but trains are less expensive. A bus lasts 8 years and carries 50 passengers. A train lasts 20 years or more.

- Trains carry more passengers and enable industry.

18. Justice in Incomes and the Economy:
- High salaries for a few and Tax Havens must be broken down.

- Taxes should not go down, but up as in Scandinavian countries.

- College tuition fees should go down.

- Our pension income has not increased, but our cost of living and food has doubled in the past three years.

- MLAs, City Councils and school trustees should not have got a raise. Raises made the past two years should be cut back.

- The minimum wage and child care subsidies and the housing stipend of disabled people should all go up.

- New Housing for the poor and the middle class should be together, not in segregated neighbourhoods.

- To lower the cost of housing, yet improve family relationships: combine the dining, family and living rooms, but have more bedrooms and two bath rooms.

- All rooms should be smaller to cut down construction costs.

 

 


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