Monday, August 23, 2004

Notes: Martin's waste, violence and women, NDP doom, hearts and grow ops

VICTORIA - Random notes from the front: Another way to waste your money, keeping women safe sensibly, why NDP candidates could be Gordon Campbell's secret weapon.

Remember Paul Martin's Throne Speech last January?
Of course not. No one pays attention to Throne Speeches because they're ceremonial drones that open new sessions of Parliament or provincial legislatures.
But Martin and company approached his first Throne Speech with a great deal of attention and a fine disregard for your money. Martin spent $49,000 to have the Throne Speech tested with four focus groups across the country - none in B.C. - as if it was some megabudget Hollywood blockbuster.
Martin has a coven of advisors and speechwriters. He has a whole caucus to vetr the speech. But that wasn't enough.
What did he learn? The average Canadians in the focus groups found some themes "vague and often trite." Some sections were incomprehensible. Talking about health care, child care and safe food was good; talking about immigration and First Nations treaties bad.
Research is fine. But a government that can't even manage to produce a Throne Speech without nervously spending tax dollars on focus groups is wasteful and lacking basic competence.

Much nervousness over a BC Human Rights Tribunal decision to let a Kamloops man challenge provincial policies on violence against women.
Scott Crockford was charged with assault after an altercation with his common-law spouse. He says she was bigger and stronger and the instigator. And he says Crown prosecutors were guided by discriminatory government policy.
He has a good case. B.C. has a policy designed to ensure that domestic violence is taken seriously. In the past, women have been reluctant to press charges, for a variety of reasons, and cases have often been treated as a private matter.
That allows the violence to continue, so B.C. has guidelines for prosecutors on deciding whether charges are in the public interest. (One of two criteria for deciding on whether to lay charges, along with the likelihood of conviction.)
"Given the incidence of violence against women in relationships in Canada, the prosecution of such offences is almost invariably in the public interest," the policy says. Even minor cases should result in charges.
The government now has two choices. It can fight on, spending more money and putting the policy at risk. Or it can simply change the policy to cover all domestic violence, without reference to gender. Women are the victims in 85 per cent of cases; they will still be well-served by the policy.

Carole James should be having nightmares about some of the emerging prospective NDP candidates. There are faces from the past, like Harry Lali, who complained of a media-RCMP-Liberal conspiracy against Glen Clark, Steve Orcherton, NDP leadership candidate who argued the party was too centrist, and Adrian Dix, Clark's political advisor who drafted an exculpatory memo during the casino scandal and backdated it. And faces from the public sector unions, like former BC Teachers' Federation president David Chudnovsky and former CUPE national head Judy Darcy.
Gordon Campbell must be rooting for every one of them to leap successfully into the race. They would make his campaign speeches much easier to write.

The most striking thing about Campbell's announcement of more money to reduce heart surgery wait times was how easy it would be to eliminate the problem. The government found $3 million to pay for 163 more operations. That's about about five per cent more than last year and enough to reduce the median wait for non-emergency surgery from 15 weeks to 12 weeks. (It was 13 weeks when the Liberals were elected.)
But for just $7 million more everyone waiting could have had their surgery, and the wait time knocked down to a few weeks.
Sure, there are lots of other priorities. But the solutions to some of our concerns about wait times are at hand, and within our ability to pay.

Footnote: It has become a fad for municipalities to pass tough new laws punishing landlords if tenants have a grow op. The province's support for the laws may waver now that the BC Building Corp. - a government agency - has been caught with a 500-plant grow op at a former Riverview Hospital building it manages.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's start and look at the government policies and update them to the real world.

AG's policies create further conflict in the lives of fueding parents.

Police, being male oriented and still over 70% male dominated are not in a position to act as domestic mediators. (This function should be contracted out to an independent source.)

Police officers react often without even reading their policy and the policing policies. I've read are outdated as new legislation has been introduced.

What creates domestic violence?

Often it is lack of communication skills, resources and time.

There was a day when police truly assisted in keeping families together.
This does not happen today, as much of our economy for lawyers, psychologists and social workers. There's little reason to keep a family together when you can expand the economy with two of everything.

Ever think why kids are getting fatter and have diabetes with each parent providing their own birthday cake? Lawyers and psychologists think this is fine, as it keeps them in jobs! Perpetuate the chaos. The kdis will eventually land back at your couch, or in your office as they've never learned to deal with conflict in a manner that doesn't involve litigation.

While I certainly don't have all the answers, I do know that when an officer is called to protect my family and I'm told to wait til next week, when I'm in court, and when I'm still tangled in a mess of years and years of litigation, the system is not working. The Ministry for Children and Family Devlopment are neither protecting children, nor developing family. They refused to protect my children from the self regulating lawyers and psychologists who are allowed to work in collusion to financially extort families. Judges can make bizarre orders as in the case of Darren White and Astrid Literski and never be reviewed nor have their decisions questioned. The Judicial Council needs a new system to review cases when questioned.

How much of our tax dollars are going to fuel custody battles through custody reports by psychologists who sometimes get into the profession to sort our their own dysfunctional families?

How many police officers are trained in domestic mediation to de-escalate confict?

How many lawyers are working in good faith as they enjoy their privileged self-regulation?

With more women keeping their babies, fathers wanting to get involved to riase the child and serial monogamy looking like it is here to stay, how about new government policies to address the 'best interests of the children' without using our family transitioning to generate the economy?

Surely our govenrment can update policies to deal with the new academic knowledge surrounding child care development.

And now we've just had another Speech from the Throne......somethings just never change......same old, same old.