Thursday, May 27, 2010


It has now been conceded that the government of Canada essentially new everything and did nothing regarding the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. It is argued that facts surrounding the on-going genocide never moved past the African Desk in Ottawa. It is believed the genocide claimed around a million lives. Ottawa has since apologized, but not for the fact that Rwanda was simply not on the government’s agenda. Ottawa had all the information it needed to know something terrible was happening in Rwanda. As a nation we failed in our humanitarian responsibilities. We failed because there was no leadership on this issue in Ottawa. Politicians, bureaucrats and lines of communications all failed. Parliament has since apologized for what has become known as a global indifference to human suffering. Still, Canada’s position on foreign policy matters seems to be more intransigent than it is from a clear policy position supported by the Parliament of Canada.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Seniors and GIS

I have been attempting to research an important matter regarding the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) dating back over fifteen years. It was clear that back then Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) failed to alert some 250 thousand seniors of their eligibility for GIS benefits. If payments had been made retroactive past the required 11 months to correct Ottawa’s failure taxpayers would have been on the hook for an estimated 2.5 billion dollars. Bureaucrats in Ottawa conceded that HRDC knew of the problems as early as 1993. Yet they failed to take responsible corrective measures to compensate impoverished Canadian seniors. This issue was once front-page news across the country and now the government acts like it never happened.

My research on this issue has been met with apparent indifference as the government has simply failed to respond. A public inquiry into this issue would get some answers, but if seniors are not on the government’s agenda then nor would be a public inquiry. At this point I am a one man inquiry going nowhere on this issue. It seems reasonable that the government would simply answer my questions unless they have something to hide or fear the financial consequences. Is that possible!

It seems apparent our government failed Canadian seniors regarding GIS. Their own government once wronged impoverished seniors. Where is their apology and where is their money, including interest on retroactive payments past eleven months?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Health Care

Effective April 1, 2010 the government no longer covers chiropractic services except for certain low-income individuals. I don’t have a huge problem with this, but I do for how the government justifies their decision. There was apparently an agreement in principle reached on March 31, 2010 between the government and Chiropractors’ Association of Canada. I can only assume that both parties agreed that it was prudent to join virtually all other Canadian provinces in limiting coverage for chiropractic services. If that was in fact the case then who am I to question their mutual wisdom?

If you meet the low-income qualifications the government pays for most of your chiropractic services. If you don’t then it costs you forty bucks a pop plus a few tax dollars to pay the costs for the low-income patients. What are patients doing who may be just above the poor line who have decided forty dollars is beyond their budget? It is likely they are making more trips to their family doctor, walk-in clinics and their local pharmacy for additional painkillers and muscle relaxants. This is another cost the taxpayers will share. It will be interesting to see if this new system saves the government their projected ten million annually. If it does then, as a taxpayer, I want my share of the savings.

Finally, the government argues that these cost saving measures were necessary to keep the overall system sustainable. Would reducing the salaries of politicians assist in maintaining the sustainability of the legislature? Not likely and nor does cutting necessary health services sustain the health system. If it does then we may soon be left with no system at all.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Governor General Appointment

The controversy swirls again over Governor General, MichaĆ«lle Jean. Her appointment was controversial and relations between her and Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, have been somewhat strained at times. Now Michael Ignatieff is suggesting the public should have some input as to who should be appointed as Canada’s next Governor General. He is suggesting that her position be extended for a year or so conditional of course on her approval of such an extension. Now just where would be the real harm in that?

There is already a public discussion on Facebook, most notably to promote actor William Shatner. Now that would be a mistake. Then there is the argument that Ignatieff is breaking with tradition. Well, that is not entirely true. There have been two or three times when previous Governor Generals have had their terms extended.

The arguments against Ignatieff’s position are flimsy at best. Further, I don’t believe it throws MichaĆ«lle Jean into a difficult political discussion. She is either done when her term is up or she chooses to stay on for a short while. This would give Canadians an opportunity to have some input on whom should be Canada’s next Governor General. It would also likely give Stephen Harper another headache.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Letter to President Obama

Mr. President,

It is apparent there are insufficient safeguards to protect against the different types of oil spills that may occur. In the case of the problems you are currently facing in the Gulf it seems no one knows how to stop this existing spill.

I understand you are going to inspect the situation on Sunday and that no new leases will be allowed until you receive a report in the next thirty days on what new technologies may be required to prevent this from happening again.  This is all good, but it seems to me that the most important issue is stopping the spill as soon as possible and then assess the damages and what safety regulations may be required to prevent a repeat of this spill in the future.  All resources around the world should be contacted to address this pressing issue.  Drilling in the gulf should be stopped until this current problem is resolved.  Other companies and rigs in the region should be called on to offer solutions.

Attention in the media is about the damage and not about the solution.  The public should be informed as to the nature of this spill as it regards getting it stopped.  There should be a resource center for people to go to on the Internet for information.  Who knows, maybe some person in the general public has an idea, but you will never know unless you inform them.

There is no moving forward until this spill is stopped.  I suggest a website be immediately established so the world can monitor the situation from one single source and offer solutions and assistance where possible.  If the energy industry knows how to stop this spill then they should get on with it and inform the rest of us how they intend to proceed.  Mr. President, if there was ever a time for you to reach out for help that would be now.

Yours truly,

Larry Birkbeck
Regina, SK.