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Ian's Contemplations
Friday, July 02, 2004
  Election
Well I am finally going to try to put my thoughts down on our recent election results. I have to admit I am dismayed by the PEI voter from the final count. I was very much a part of our local NDP candidate in the riding of Egmont. Our candidate is a bright lawyer, who is active in her community. She is a very credible candidate. Something that the local NDP has been criticized about in the past few years. In the candidates radio phone ins and debates, she showed her full colours by performing head and shoulders above the local Conservative candidate and the incumbent Liberal. However, the challenge that we faced was that the Liberal incumbent is the minister responsible for ACOA.

It is amazing that even though the NDP had a well thought out platform, something the other parties lacked, the local electorate voted Liberal like they have since the early days of our country, no doubt. No matter how screwed over the fishermen, and farmers and seasonal workforce has been under a Liberal government they seem to act like a Charles Dickens story, asking for a second helping of groul, despite how it tasted the first time around. Here we have a good alternative that we have offered to the constituents of the riding against someone who was little more than either a benchwarmer or a walking automated teller machine, passing out money for a new board walk, or high speed internet to rural communities. Both of which are no good to you if you are homeless or hungry.

My hat must go off to the PM PM, with the scare tactics of a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives. How about a vote for the Liberals is a vote for the irresponsible government that continues to promise the same things to the electorate every election such as a pharmacare or home care program, or improving the lives of people dependent on a seasonal economy. I think this is the third election they have promised these things. If nothing else they are consistent!

Now on the topic of healthcare which every party agrees as important. What they are actually talking about is acute care or like I like to call it the sick care system. Hospitals and doctors are not the ones to be throwing money hand over fist at. The traditional system of health is a huge black hole that will be never filled with enough cash. We need to put money into community, preventative services. Here in PEI we are putting new wings on some of the smaller hospitals for long term care. Basically turning them into old age homes. Here's an idea, with the money it cost to build these new hospital wings, how about hiring a myriad of health and social care professionals, whose job it would be to help keep people in their own homes until it is absolutely necessary for them to come into a long term care facility. My guess would be that this would be a much better use of the money than throwing more money into the sick care system.

I guess I got diverted from my election topic. Of course I was hoping the NDP would have a better showing in the country. Something, I'm sure that Jack Layton was also hoping for. With any luck the country will look at Proportional Representation, like PEI has examined here in the past year. Now mind you provincially that study is now sitting on some shelf in the Premiers office. Obviously, I'm being optimistic here that it's actually sitting on a shelf and hasn't been turned in toilet paper yet. Hopefully, we will see that democracy is a work in progress, and it needs to involve as our society has evolved. Afterall, we will probably be having round two of this election before the four years of a typical mandate.
 
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
  Are We Failing The Children
I’m sure most citizens of PEI are unaware of this province’s law that is supposed to protect children from abuse and neglect. I have been told that the new law was drafted after consultation. The legislation passed through the provincial legislation without too many of our politicians even asking a single question about the new statute.
With change we hope there will be improvements to follow. The Child Protection Act has some very powerful measures that social worker’s can weal. Was there any critical analysis by the media or the political opposition? No!! Any discussion occurred in reference to a highly publicized court case of a zealous religious commune. Which is irrelevant to how the law will be applied on a daily basis with hundreds of families in the province.
What I think was missed was how will this new law will effect children whom might be maltreated or families that may be need some help in a difficult time in their lives. One of the outcomes of the new law is that the professional helpers employed by the province can help fewer children, youth and families. This is because the new law has drawn in it’s boundaries to the point of being so narrow that there is no way in intervening unless a child has actually been maltreated or is at “substantial” risk of harm.
We now have a situation were some families cannot receive any help in times of crisis, until that crisis hits a critical mass of children being in imminent risk or in harms way. We have moved from being able to help children and families that were at risk, to where children are actually in need of being protected by the state.
PEI now has a worsening homeless youth situation. Before we may have been able to assist them up to the age of eighteen, but now that ends at the age of sixteen. I don’t know too many sixteen year olds who can make arrangements to find an appropriate and safe place to live, and enter into an agreement with a government agency to provide services to them. Lord knows I couldn’t even imagine such a responsibility when I was that age. We now are no longer involving ourselves in situations where children have left home because of conflict with their parents for whatever reason and are doing the couch surfing thing for weeks on end and getting caught up with all sorts of characters of questionable repute.
I guess these are just a few thoughts I have had recently. I went into social work to help people and I’m afraid that were turning more people away because “that’s not what we do anymore” than those than we can actually help now.
 
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