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Well a historic election has just taken place in Canada. The Bloc was decimated in Quebec, and almost wiped off the map. Newfoundland told Conservatives what to do with themselves. The Greater Toronto Area is painted blue and Toronto has gone NDP Orange. Also, it looks like we have our very first Green member of Parliament. So what went wrong for the Liberals? They took their support for granted. Canadians were looking for change and they did not see it in the Liberals, in Ontario. Yes, there was a lot of vote splitting, however lets be honest. Ontario has been red for a long time. This is a breakthrough for the Conservatives in Ontario. The question is, can they live up to that support?
The G.T.A is an important battleground and they better take note. As for the NDP, they better not take their Quebec support for granted. The Bloc imploded, Liberals were yesterdays news and they did not like the Conservatives. So we are left with the NDP. Jack the time to start working is now. As for the Liberals, there is a lot of soul searching.
However I will offer this advice to all parties. (1) Liberals, you need to go back to your roots. Your party is not dead. I’d rather say that it is in hibernation and healing. Canadian’s have not forgotten you, rather the opposite happened. You forgot them. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Otherwise, what is the point of the Liberal Party. It is time for you to reconnect. (2) NDP you have been given the chance to prove your worth, so do not disappoint. From the people I have spoken to many parked their vote with the NDP. Also, in Ontario, people simply love and trust Jack Layton. It will be important, despite a majority Conservative government, that the NDP choose their battles well and fight for those who voted for them. Less we forget, as often Canadians do! (3) Conservatives fought a simple and straight-forward campaign. You delivered your message and Canadians listened. We are concerned about the economy and trust in that has been given to you. However, do not take that trust for granted. A lot of Canadians still do not trust the Conservative Party and a lot of seats were gained from vote splitting. Be careful how you govern. Canadians are watching. Do not slip to the right with arrogance. As Harper said, keep a steady ship. If you can prove your worth maybe your quality will be remembered. (4) Finally, to Elizabeth May and the Green Party. You have made Canadian history! Despite the media ignoring you, thank you for running and not giving up. The Green Party should be a wake up call to ALL parties. People voted for Elizabeth May and the Greens across Canada. Their ideas and policies should not be ignored! Summed up in Elizabeth May’s own words “amateurs built the ark and professionals built the Titanic”. People are wary in Canada and if the status-quo parties cannot deliver, Canadians may decide someone else can.
Congrats to Prime Minister Harper, who has finally gotten a majority government for the Conservative Party. We will all watch, wait and see what policies are implemented and what happens in the next Parliament. See you in 2015!
By Mannee Jay
My sincere congratulations goes out to Rahul Singh, who is now one of the most influential people in the world. Truly an Angel walks among us!
Indo—Canadian paramedic Rahul Singh has joined US president Barack Obama, talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and Apple boss Steve Job in Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010.
The Toronto—based paramedic, who founded GlobalMedic in 1998 to help disaster—hit people, has been the face of Canadian relief efforts around the world, including the quake—hit Haiti, in the past 10 years. Calling his on—going relief work in Haiti “a shining example” of “selfless effort”, the magazine said, “Singh and his group of volunteers wasted no time in arriving in Port—au—Prince and setting about providing clean drinking water and medical aid wherever it was needed.
“Over an eight—week period, his team distributed 2.4 million gallons of clean water, while GlobalMedic’s two inflatable field hospitals brought medical assistance to more than 7,000 people. They also trained a local team of Haitians to take over the work, and right now that is just what they are doing.”
Speaking to IANS, Montreal—born Rahul Singh said, “I am excited to get on Time’s list. But this recognition is not about me, it is about our volunteers.”
Singh, whose parents migrated to Canada from Delhi’s Maharani Bagh, said he founded GlobalMedic after seeing the ravage caused by mudslides in Nepal in 1998.
You can’t do your job as Leader of the Opposition. I don’t know what you’re doing running for Prime Minister. It’s a very unusual political situation when every voter knows even before the federal election that Canada’s next prime minister will be Stephen Harper. Like or loathe it, the Conservatives will be returned to power on October 14.
But two other important questions are far from decided – who will be Opposition leader and whether it will be a minority or majority government.
After last week’s debate and two years of Harper government one thing is very clear – the only real federal opposition in the House of Commons is the New Democratic Party. And the only real choice for Opposition leader is Jack Layton.
Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a smart, decent man. But Dion and the Liberals don’t stand up to Stephen Harper – they prop him up.
On 43 separate occasions in Parliament, Dion’s Liberals voted to keep Harper in power and accept his very conservative legislation.
By continually abstaining, the “Official Opposition” has abdicated its important role of serving the majority of Canadians who reject Conservative ideology.
But it wasn’t just fear of losing an election that led to the Liberals becoming Conservative Lite – they actually agree with Harper’s wrong-headed positions on many key political issues.
Dion and the Liberals support Harper’s massive $50 billion corporate tax cuts that reward companies which have eliminated more than 400,000 manufacturing and forest industry jobs since 2000.
And the Liberals and Conservatives want huge tax cuts despite the fact that Canada’s tax rates are already lower than many industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan.
And Canada also has a much lower Goods and Services Tax than most countries.
Dion and the Liberals joined with Conservatives to vote to extend till 2011 the deadly mission that sent brave Canadian troops into a hopeless situation in Afghanistan.
Dion and the Liberals say they want a “Green Shift” and carbon tax to protect the environment but oppose a proposed NDP moratorium on new Alberta tar sands oil projects – Canada’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Cheese produced at an Ontario plant has been added to the long list of products feared tainted with the potentially deadly Listeria bacteria. The latest addition comes just one day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to launch an independent investigation designed to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.
Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health reported today that two additional deaths have been confirmed to be directly caused by the listeriosis outbreak. This brings the total number of deaths to three.Outbreak associated cases of Listeriosis have also been reported in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Quebec.
“We will continue to monitor the situation very closely,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “I would like to remind the public, especially those at high risk for Listeriosis, such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with weak immune systems, to avoid consuming any meats connected with the CFIA recall. If in doubt – throw it out.”
* Listeriosis is a reportable disease under Ontario Regulation 569 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act;
* The incubation period for Listeriosis is from three to seventy days with an average incubation period of three weeks.
August 25, 2008
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s listeriosis update, as of Monday, August 25, 2008.
The local public health units have been asked to check their local hospitals, long-term care homes and daycares to ensure that any products from the Toronto Maple Leaf plant have been removed and are not being consumed. In addition, they have also been advised to check for recalled products at key retail outlet locations.
Last Friday, the public health units were asked to check the smaller stores, mom-and-pop shops that may not have heard of the recall.
“I would like to remind the public to check their refrigerators and ensure that any products related to the food recall are thrown out,” said Dr David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
For an up-to-date list on this recall and other CFIA consumer food recalls online
Find out more about Listeriosis online
Contact your local public health unit.
For public inquires call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only) Members of the media :
Mark Nesbitt, 416-314-6197
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
PREMIER DALTON MCGUINTY ON THE PASSING OF DR. SHEELA BASRUR
“I was deeply saddened when I heard today of the passing of Dr. Sheela Basrur. She was a remarkable woman and her passion for public service is what made her such an extraordinary Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario. “
Dr. Sheela Basrur, a public health figure whose skilful leadership and communications expertise helped guide Canada through Toronto’s SARS crisis in 2003, died Monday after a 17-month battle with a rare form of cancer.
Basrur, 51, had stepped down as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health in December 2006 when she learned she was suffering from leiomyosarcoma, a diagnosis for which the prognosis was poor.
Many of her friends, colleagues and admirers fought back tears as they paid tribute to a diminutive woman with a big brain, a big heart and a quick smile.
“It was obviously at one level expected and inevitable, given what she was dealing with. But it’s too soon, too young and a huge loss, not just to public health but far much more in the country,” Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer, said from Halifax.
Born in 1956, Basrur was raised in a professional family.
Her father is a radiation oncologist at the Kitchener, Ont., hospital where Basrur died. Her mother is a professor at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.
Divorced, she had one child – a daughter, Simone Koves, who is now 17.
A private funeral will be held, according to family spokesperson Sujit Choudry. A public memorial to mark Basrur’s life and professional contribution will follow.
But some of that recognition started to flow before her death. In April, at a ceremony Basrur was well enough to attend, the provincial government announced it would name Ontario’s new arms-length public health agency the Sheela Basrur Centre.
People for whom she worked and who worked for and with her described a woman able to quickly grasp the big picture, a leader who easily marshalled and motivated troops, and a person whose keen sense of humour was ever at the ready.
“She was one of those people who can take the information and understand the implications of it and be able to convey that to people in a way that they understand,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, a friend who also served as an associate medical officer of health in Toronto during Basrur’s tenure as medical officer of health for the city.
“To me, her greatest skill was being a passionate and very good communicator with people.”
Henry, who now works at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, often marvelled at Basrur’s easy turns of phrase.
“I used to ask her if she practised those – ‘We’re fighting the fire while we’re building the bucket,”‘ Henry chuckled, quoting a famous Basrur description of what it was like trying to contain SARS with antiquated disease surveillance tools. “She’d just come up with these things.”
After Basrur emerged as a rising star of public health during the 2003 SARS crisis, Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman lured her from Toronto Public Health to serve as Ontario’s chief medical officer of health.
“The day that Sheela Basrur said she was going to come to the province of Ontario and help to champion the renewal of public health, the bounce was the kind that only a very, very small group of leaders is able to accomplish,” Smitherman said in an interview.
That move, in 2004, sent a message to public health professionals throughout the province that things were looking up for their long-neglected field, Smitherman said. “That’s the Sheela Basrur effect.”
The two worked closely together as Ontario moved to enact the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which banned smoking in enclosed work places and public spaces across the province.
“Her determination and always a sense of joyfulness even when the sledding was really very difficult – that’s what I’ll remember the most. That woman was determined and forceful and powerful, in such a tiny little package,” he said.
Getting people to do what was necessary was another of Basrur’s highly honed skills. Saying no to Sheela Basrur just wasn’t something people in public health wanted to do.
“You can’t. It was impossible,” said Dr. Donald Low, who along with Basrur became a household name during the SARS crisis.
After taking on the job with the province, Basrur called Low, head of microbiology at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, to a meeting to talk about the problems plaguing the provincial public health laboratory network, which was perennially short of staff and unable to attract a medical director.
“I was telling her what the problems were and by the time I left the office I took the job,” Low said. “You really couldn’t say no.”
Liz Janzen, who worked under Basrur as a director of healthy living at Toronto Public Health, knows that feeling.
“She would kind of look at you with those big eyes and you’d go ‘OK, all right, yes, I think I can do that,”‘ an emotional Janzen said.
Basrur championed health promotion, Janzen said, going to bat for parts of public health that typically get little attention.
“So although she had her hands full with DineSafe (a restaurant inspection program) and TB outbreaks and communicable disease outbreaks, she also was a very strong proponent of health promotion in general and in particular working with children and women and vulnerable populations in the community,” Janzen said.
“She was very much there.”
But it was her role in the SARS crisis which showed the world the steel in Sheela Basrur’s spine.
Calm and composed in a time of chaos, she earned the respect of all those who worked with her or watched her on TV.
“Her unique ability to distill complex medical issues at a time of distress brought much needed reassurance to the Canadian and international communities,” Federal Health Minister Tony Clement – who was the provincial health minister at the time – said in a statement.
Dr. Jim Young was Ontario’s head of emergency preparedness when SARS hit. Working with people during a crisis really shows you what they are made of, said Young, who has worked through many in his career.
“You get to assess people as they really are. And they didn’t come any better than Sheela.”
University of Kentucky researchers have created a cancer-resistant mouse by introducing a tumor-suppressor gene called ‘Par-4′ into an egg. The ‘Par-4′ gene, discovered in 1993, kills cancer cells, but not normal cells. It was originally found in the prostate, but this gene also can lead to the death of a broad range of cancer cells. In their new experiments, the scientists discovered that the ‘Par-4′ gene was transmitted to new generations of mice. The next step will to use this gene in humans through bone marrow transplantation, but there is still work to be done before that. Anyway, this sounds like good news for people affected with cancers.
This research project was led by Vivek Rangnekar, professor of radiation medicine at the University of Kentucky. You can see a picture of him on the left. He worked on this project with other researchers from the universities of Kentucky and Nebraska.
So what makes mice possessing this gene so interesting? “Rangnekar’s study is unique in that mice born with this gene are not developing tumors. The mice grow normally and have no defects. In fact, the mice possessing Par-4 actually live a few months longer than the control animals, indicating that they have no toxic side effects.”
The fact that there are no toxic side effects is a potential good news from all the people affected by a cancer. “The implications for humans could be that through bone marrow transplantation, the Par-4 molecule could potentially be used to fight cancer cells in patients without the toxic and damaging side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”
I still say “NO”! The main argument for permitting a two tier private alternative system is that this would cause better overall access to care and relieve pressure on the public system. The problem with this argument is that there is no data to truly support this, especially for a country like Canada. Albeit I am open to a discussion on the matter. There are a lot of ethical questions on both sides that need to be answered. The obvious advantage would be to those who could afford to pay or to purchase additional private health care insurance. In reality the major effect of allowing a private option would be to move resources from the public system into the private system, causing weakening of public system access. No matter how much advocates try to say otherwise, the result is clear. There is no doubt that there are issues surrounding access to public health care in general, however, going down the line of privatization will not help the majority of Canadians. There must be a better way!