Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In praise of folly: budget cuts cost more than saving

         This is folly, of course: budget cuts for ideological reasons that end up costing more than they saved! Yet the Harper government may have arrived at this point of absurdity. Except that there is now a moral issue concerned: human lives may be put at risk so that Harper can grandstand to his populist - reactionary hardcore.. which is starting to get a bit scary.. this is no longer "just" a question of political buffoonery but of human safety and wellbeing.

            When Newfoundland fisher Shang Rideout's father took ill at sea, he called the Coast Guard. Unfortunately, Harper's budget-cutters had previously passed and, in the interest of "saving money",  medical emergency calls formerly handled by a regional (Atlantic Canada) company are now handled by CIRM Roma, an ITALIAN company. As might be expected, this resulted in a few hiccups: ideological budget cutters, like all ideologues, are not at all interested in practical details like efficiency, competence, relevance, safety or even - curiously!- cost. The person handling Rideout's call could hardly understand English, for starters. They did not know where Newfoundland was or with what country it is affiliated, either. Definitely not a good start for a medical emergency.. not..

              A former employee of an axed Marine Rescue Sub-centre, Merv Wiseman said "We thought we would see things fall through the cracks. We just didn't think it would happen this quickly." "Just didn't think it would happen so quickly"! Indeed, Mr Wiseman, life is barrel of surprises with the Harperite ideologues, ain't it now? LOL, what NEXT??

              Frustrated with the lack of communication or useful medical assistance, Rideout decided to return to shore to seek medical assistance for his father, a trip that took 10 hours. A similar emergency six years ago happened to the Rideout crew. Then a medical chopper was sent out to ferry the sick person ashore. Fortunately, this time, the patient survived the 10 hour trip by boat. (Lucky for him)

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