Sunday, March 27, 2011

Five Weeks Until Decision Day

Canadians will go to the polls to elect a federal government on May 2nd. Five weeks is a very short campaign time, especially when compared to the American system. Although, it could be argued that the Conservatives, who formed the now defeated government have been campaigning for at least the last six months. Evidently, the Conservatives, under Harper's banner (and often beneath his feet) will say they are the only ones who can be trusted to guide the economy and will also continue to say that we should all fear "the coalition." As for the Liberals, their approach will be to try to regain their traditional voters, and new ones too of course, by offering new programs (in a new budget) and by pledging there will not be a "coalition". The Liberals would not rule out working with other parties, and, I can assure you, that if they had to, the Conservatives would do the same thing. I have only a couple of points to make, so bear with me. Point Number One: In critical ways, the Conservatives did NOT "guide" the economy. We were saved from the most disastrous financial fallout by more cautious banking system rules (which the Conservatives wanted to change) and partly by sheer luck. The money that was poured out by the government after it denied the situation for months, may have made some difference, but there are economists who think it made only a very minor impact. Point Number Two: "The coalition." In theory, a formal coalition of Harper's Conservatives and the Layton's New Democrats is a possibility. In practice, I don't think it could work. Harper wouldn't bend far enough to the left to suit Layton. The Liberals and the New Democrats could form a coalition but Ignatieff assures us there will be no coalition. And furthermore, the Bloc Quebecois could not be a formal part of any coalition. I don't know which party will win. My biggest concern is that Harper is a stubborn ideologue. We have had pushy Prime Ministers before but no other Prime Minister has channeled so much power and control through the PMO (Prime Minister's Office). That is too unparliamentary to suit me. And when I add in the fact that the Conservatives were found to be - in contempt of parliament- and the leader of the Conservatives stated that "The Canadian public don't care about these manoeuvres in parliament," well, frankly, I become angry. I'm sure I'm not the only one who cares about how parliamentary democracy should work. Do you care? Til next time. (the para breaks have disappeared - sorry - it seems to be a Google problem)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eyes Front! Part Two - And Other Things

The surgery to remove the cataract in my left eye took place on March 2, and so far, the results seem good. It can take up to a month or more after surgery to know just how good. For the first three or four days, the world was quite blurry when viewed through the new lens but things have improved.

I still don't understand why one has to be at the hospital three hours beforehand, but my mission was to obey orders. Eventually; that is, after waiting around in one spot, and then in another spot, a small intravenous gadget was inserted in my left hand and it contained a "relaxing" medication. Then, I had the opportunity to sit around some more and listen to other people's comments about the surgeon and what he was about to do to me. Thank goodness, the comments were positive.The surgery took place on time, almost to the minute. When he started I felt a strong sensation of pressure on my eye but no sharp pain and the sensation did not last long. The whole procedure didn't take more than 15 minutes. That was great because the physical positioning of my head was, well, weird. I was relieved when at last I was allowed to sit up again.

The Viking was waiting for me and I was extremely glad to see him. I'll admit I used the pain killers I'd been given that night. And, I wore my Johnny Depp disguise to bed (an eye patch). Somehow, it just didn't look glamorous on me. And I wasn't thrilled when the top of my hand turned dark brown either. The bruise has disappeared now.

Next week, on April 1, I'll have surgery on my right eye. I'm looking forward to the end result, but not to the first few days after the event. I know my "good' eye will be very blurry for a while. So, I won't be reading the newspaper, or watching TV. It will be radio time at the old hacienda.

Speaking of radio and with reference to the huge events that have occurred in the last several days. I found that CBC radio had the most up-to-date news when the disastrous events in Japan occurred. It's almost impossible to grasp the depth of the calamity and the suffering, Thousands of people have died, thousands more have lost everything, and no one knows yet what the cumulative effects of radiation released from the damaged nuclear facilities will be. Everyone should be thanking the workers who risked/are risking their lives as they attempt to prevent the release of more radiation and stop a potential core melt down. And, Canadians should be thankful that CANDU reactors are designed differently.

CBC radio has also reported extensively on the crisis in Lybia. It's impossible to know what will happen next in that situation. Perhaps the attempt to protect civilians will be successful, but that is by no means certain. I was surprised that the UN participants came to any sort of agreement. That might mean some leaders are learning that this is now an interdependent world.

Til next time.