Rees' Pieces

 

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January 2023 - Control your own destiny

No matter who you talk to there is a lot of concern about where we are headed politically, economically and will society be able to stop climate change so we don’t cause major environmental and biodiversity changes. Add to that list, inflation and rising interest rates, which could cripple us, before we have a chance to implement our version of how we can help achieve successful outcomes to what faces us.

With those concerns, we are like frogs, which lily pad do I jump to next?

The consequences could be so catastrophic we don’t know where to turn. My assumption, based on the style of life we have grown accustomed, we are most vulnerable with the political direction. The rapid surge of the populist movement is just starting to gain traction and be more visible in Atlantic Canada.

As a comparative, for decades we thought or perceived Albertans as "rednecks" who have openly showed disgust to those provinces who received equalization grants. Even some politicians who served at the federal level carried a similar attitude. Remember the comment "freeze in the dark"?

With Jason Kenny no longer premier, it didn’t take long for his female replacement and her team to show their true colours, by introducing proposed legislation to allow them to ignore federal laws, policies and directives if not totally in Alberta’s interest.

Thankfully, there were enough "true Canadians" within the confines of the oil patch kingdom who created enough blow-back, she was forced to do a hasty make amendments to tone things down.

We are not out of the woods yet. There are pockets of "populism" across Canada and we might have some major battles on our hands. In the nation’s capital there is enough to keep us sitting on the edge of our seats. Although not an Albertan, there’s one political leader who openly wanted to make changes to Bank of Canada; remove the Governor, and put more emphasis on crypto currency.

That leader’s credibility started to drop went massive crypto failures caused many super rich people to lose trillions from their amassed fortunes. One by-election in Ontario’s 905 corridor might not indicate a trend which may lie ahead. However, it may cause many to question the sanity of us going down a similar road. Part of a defense to the election outcome might be, "Don’t blame me. Even as leader, I did not step foot into the riding during the campaign".

Provincially, even though most of us could find reasons to be upset with Nova Scotia Power, and/or Emera, I wonder about the wisdom picking a fight. Over the long term is it viable and still possible to win the war and be assured of a successful outcome? It’s possible to win the occasional "brownie point", but long term success is where we should focus our efforts.

Holding NS Power to a 1.8% regiment might save us for a few months or couple of years, but if the bond rating agencies intercede, we might pay a lot more for a long time. If bonds are downgraded, borrowing costs rise dramatically. Think of it this way. Most of us have hit rough times. It takes a lot more effort and long time to recover.

I’m more concerned about "going with the flow" and not upset the apple cart to the point of destruction. A smoother road, even with a few "potholes" is much preferred.

If we wish to get ahead, there are many things we could do individually and as a society which would bring us to a more comfortable future. We could lower our expectations by buying a used vehicle rather than a shiny new one every few years. We could delay major purchases, or adopt a more gradual plan for upgrading. We could dramatically lower the cost of food, by freezing, preserving, making jam rather than rushing to the grocery store to get a pint of very expensive raspberries in the middle of January.

Want to eliminate inflation?

Adopt an in-the-home and lifestyle of "REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE. Take control of your own destiny. MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR. - Maurice

 


 

Rees Pieces December 2022 - Watching the Brawl from the Sidelines

In Nova Scotia, and I suspect in most provinces, it is not hard to show distain for the provincial electrical utility. In our case Nova Scotia Power and its parent, Emera. A summation of our thoughts is they charge too much; top executives earn too much; they treat us rudely and never show compassion. We feel powerless to mount any opposition.

To most of us it appears they have the government of the day in their hip pockets and the government gives them exactly what the request. Our only hope is the Utility and Review Board (UARB) is permitted to act independently and when decisions are handed down, we want to believe any rulings are in the best interest of all parties.

More times than not, our faith is tested, because we fail to understand how, "it is fair to us". Regardless of the multitude of decisions made by the UARB we’ve never been given a solid reason to think otherwise – "they were acting independently without any external influence".

Instead of jumping all over NS Power and Emera maybe it’s time to do some serious thinking. It appears that in fall of 2022 going forward things may have changed and may not continue to be as we "believed for decades".

I think it’s time to pick a spot on the sidelines and watch the oncoming bloody brawl. It’s not going to be pretty, and definitely not in our best interests. We are still reeling from the savage destruction from Hurricane FIONA. While still fresh in our memory it’s easy to recall all the ways NS Power could have taken action to be better prepared, and following Fiona, how they could have performed better.

With NS Power and UARB almost ready to start hearings on a complex application of rate increases, and other regulatory matters including an increased yield on shareholder capital be increased from 9.25 to 9.5 percent, Premier Houston tossed either a can of gasoline or maybe a larger bomb into the fire. Although it’s more detailed, but Houston is demanding rate increases be limited to 1.8%.

If we watch from the sideline we eventually learn who is David and who is Goliath. Both Premier Tim Houston and Emera CEO, Scot Balfour have been overplaying their respective hands. Houston for jumping the gun by revealing what he wants UARB’s decision to be, thus destroying it’s level of independence.

Balfour is also overplaying is hand by trying to bully UARB into accepting the profit increases and then indicating EMERA may change its mind on many other investments including the Atlantic Loop a multi-$million project which would have seen transmission of electricity from Quebec to Nova Scotia.

Let’s hope Balfour and Houston can bury the hatchet, if there is one; act in a mature professional manner to arrive at decisions in the best interests of province, NS Power/Emera, electrical customers and more importantly , restore UARB to an independent regularity body respected by all.

Now onto a subject far more interesting than watching two highly paid, powerful Nova Scotia executives have a spat in the sandbox.

Couple weeks ago caught a portion of a very interesting interview with Richard Melvin, Melvin Farms Ltd, Canning on CBC Radio. Melvin was talking about approximately 40% of product left in the fields, because it isn’t "#1 grade". He was talking about field crops, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and other vegetables.

He maintained there is nothing wrong with the product other than is might be: off-colour; weird shapes, on not to size to fit nicely into produce section of the your favourite Grocery Store. During the interview he maintained that in one week of harvesting cauliflower, enough product is left in the field to provide a serving for every Nova Scotian. (There’s almost One-million of us).

Feed Nova Scotia could feed a lot more people, and perhaps create a revenue stream. To lessen food insecurity is an entirely different project. What is needed is: funding, governance, and province or region wide program to leave less product in the field and put on dinner plates.

I talked to Richard and we have a very interesting discussion. I’ll develop a separate article which outlines how Feed Nova Scotia could provide 5,000 lbs of cauliflower to its customers every week of the year. - Maurice

 


 

Rees' Pieces - November 2022 - Heavy Lifting for Two

Two of Nova Scotia’s politicians have some very heavy lifting to do as a result of FIONA and the devastation it brought to thousands of acres of prized woodlots. If they succeed they could turn a disaster into a long term economic generator by transforming northern and eastern woodlots to silvicultured and managed forests.

The most damaged woodlots are in the constituencies of Tory Rushton (Cumberland South) and Premier Tim Houston (The Pictou’s). Fiona ravaged Northern Nova Scotia from Oxford easterly to the Canso Causeway and onto Cape Breton. Intensity of damage increased as one travelled east from Oxford.

There are many challenges for Rushton and Houston. I’ll start with Rushton in his role of Minister Natural Resources and Renewables. If the Cumberland South MLA and Natural Resources minister can muster his staff to be creative in their partnership with the forest sector, including hundreds of woodlot owners, he could rightfully claim ownership of turning a disaster into an economic engine. He could also solve problems in other government departments. Program costs for EI, homelessness and some social assistance would be reduced when clients were given fulltime employment in Forestry.

Damaged timber will loose its quality at different rates. At the outmost, the province has approximately three years to get the job done. The province does not have enough experienced forestry personnel, nor the equipment to get the job done. To be successful the first thing is to develop a plan to arrange for the human resources and train them to get the job done.

A reduction in clear cutting and simultaneously embarking on an initiative to become one of the "greenest" provinces, use of large forestry machines should be at last resort. To overcome these challenges, perhaps we need to go back to the way forests were harvested decades ago – chain saws, horses and brute strength.

There are hundreds if not thousands of people who are under employed, or unemployed. Yes, they need training on chainsaw usage and safety of dangerous forestry work. Time needed to develop the proper plan, train an "army" of forest workers could happen in the next three to four months.

The required human resources and infrastructure planning is similar to setting up for a new project in Alberta’s oil patch. Jobs created would have an expected term of three years. People on EI; living in shelters; enrolled in other government programs or underemployed could be offered 35 hours per week at a rate no less than $15.00 - $20.00 per hour. Economic benefits would include: unemployment rate would plummet; pressures on other programs would be reduced and people get trained for ongoing forestry employment.

If we do not find enough local people reach out to rest of Atlantic Canada, or workers could be brought in from other provinces.

Yes, set up mobile workcamps, with bunkhouses, massive kitchens and recreation facilities, with workers working three weeks on and one week off, same as Alberta’s oil patch. Hundreds of additional people would be required to staff the camps and extract the salvaged timber and wood by-products to roadside locations.

The salvaged material will provide sawlogs, studwood, firewood, kindling and byproducts used for chips. It’s too bad we didn’t have a pulpmill, but we don’t.

Some of blowdown inventory will soon loose the quality required by the larger sawmills for export, but would be a fantastic inventory opportunity for those with smaller portable sawmills. Those dealing in firewood, or other uses such as picket fences; decking, or do-it-yourself residential projects would benefit.

Woodlot owners must be part of the entire process, because as blowdown is removed, silviculture treatment is required for proper forest management. The big payday will come decades later when the managed forest is ready for selective harvesting.

What is a FIONA disaster today can be turned into long term success if creativity is the driving force to turn a disaster into an economic success.

Time will tell if Rushton can do the heavy lifting to earn his place in the "disaster turnaround" book. His second heavy lift is to sell it to his boss, Premier Tim Houston, whose heavy lifting is get the program ready for implementation.  - Maurice

 


 

Rees Pieces - October 2022 - Liberal MP’s to blame

History has constantly demonstrated, it is a long road that doesn’t have any turns, also it is inevitable in time things come full circle but not with the same opportunities.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February sent shivers throughout Europe and UK worrying about maintaining a supply of natural gas, which comprises 50% of their purchases which equates to about 40% of Russia’s export portfolio. With winter arriving many of the forty plus membership of NATO are shaking in their boots wondering if they will freeze this winter.

Globally, it is imperative we reduce fossil fuel emissions, and governments, for the most part are implementing changes. However, during the phase out period of aggressive reductions current needs must be met to continue economic activity and avoid freezing to death.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a global scramble for gas. European policymakers are facing a mammoth decision. Do they continue to support NATO’s series of blockades against Russia, and risk not having any gas or cave in to Putin’s demands to ensure he doesn’t shut down the pipelines letting them freeze.

Canada has an abundance of oil and gas reserves. Nearly twenty years ago numerous LNG were speculated Canada-wide. Two prominent ones for Atlantic Canada were Pieridae for Goldboro and Saint John and possibly Belledune for New Brunswick. LNG facilities went out of vogue as prices dropped and it appeared pipeline expansion appeared impossible. Without strong political support the mountain was too steep to climb.

Pieridae LNG Goldboro among the favourites decades ago. It’s still prominent hoping a $3-billion LNG facility will ship gas by 2027. To make it possible then and now requires: TC Energy must expand capacity on an existing pipeline network; Government must be keen to work with all stakeholders to reduce friction in the regulatory process; speed up approvals; get Ontario and Quebec, where opposition was the greatest two decades ago.

As we look back to assess historical decisions or should we say when action should have been taken but wasn’t, 20/20 vision or a Monday morning quarterback reveals the unfortunate lack of action, which would have placed Canada as a global leader, and brought significant benefit to Atlantic Canada.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s Canada’s armed forces proudly wore the reputation as the Peacekeeping experts around the world. Hence the Lester Pearson Peacekeeping Centre was formed at former CFB Cornwallis.

In early 21st Century fifty years later an opportunity equally as important existed, but Canada’s political leaders failed to use their crystal ball to put Canada into a global leadership position that would last for decades.

The political climate was ripe a few years ago to overcome opposition in Ontario and Quebec to permit a new section and expansion of existing pipeline network. If those initiatives became reality Saint John and Goldboro, today, would have fully functioning LNG export facilities and be in a strong position to be a potential new and reliable LNG supplier due to its abundant reserves and proximity to Europe.

Had that happened, thousands of jobs would have been created, new businesses supporting LNG and gas industries would have relocated here or started anew.

It is impossible to confirm for sure, but there is a strong possibility New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would be among the top four provincial economies in a time when NATO and the "free world" continue to battle Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

It is easy to point the finger and accurately determine who is to blame for the lack of LNG export facilities in Atlantic Canada. If you remember, at that time, Atlantic Canada was represented by thirty two (32) Liberal Members of Parliament. The power was within their grasp to "shake-down" Ottawa to have made it happen. By now we would have been the main force to ensure Ukraine continues to exist in a safe and peaceful environment, and have all European members of NATO clamouring to do more business with Canada.

Are you proud our 32 MP’s from that era did not have foresight and a backbone? Now that Canada is needed even more, who will have the intestinal fortitude to make it happen today. Will all Atlantic MP’s work as as a unit of one for betterment of Atlantic Canada and the world?

Even though fossil fuel emissions need significant reductions, Canada could be a global leader to meet current needs and build loyalty around the world.

Maurice

 


 

September 2022 - Root of Troubles: Five Words

There are five words, which, depending how they are used, are the basic cause of our current economic woes. If correct, it demonstrates we, ourselves, are the initial cause of inflation and we have the power to stop it.

In this role of "understanding" let’s look at the dictionary / Wikipedia definition of each word:

DEMAND: In economics, demand is the quantity of a good that consumers are willing and able to purchase at various prices during a given period of time. The relationship between price and quantity demand is also called the demand curve. Wikipedia.

Greed: Greed is an uncontrolled longing for increase in the acquisition or use of material gain; or social value, such as status, or power. Greed has been identified as undesirable throughout known human history because it creates behavior-conflict between personal and social goals. Wikipedia

Need: A need is dissatisfaction at a point of time and in a given context. Needs are distinguished from wants. In the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. Wikipedia

Supply: In economics, supply is the amount of a resource that firms, producers, labourers, providers of financial assets, or other economic agents are willing and able to provide to the marketplace or to an individual. Supply can be in produced goods, labour time, raw materials, or any other scarce or valuable object. Wikipedia.

Want: The idea of want can be examined from many perspectives. In secular societies want might be considered similar to the emotion desire, which can be studied scientifically through the disciplines of psychology or sociology. Wikipedia. (Perhaps consider using – DESIRE: Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitudes towards conceivable states of affairs. Wikipedia).

Already you might feel I am off my "rocker", for suggesting we can control or influence inflation.

As consumers have far more control than we give ourselves credit.

This fight with inflation can be linked to problems caused by CoVid-19. Let’s see what has evolved during CoVid-19. (Applies to all categories of employment: manufacturing, farming, forestry, fishing, restaurants, schools or hospitals).

People got sick or scared - less workers in major manufacturing plants or farmers. Plants shut down and produced less. Ocean Transport (containers), less crew to man cargo ships. When they arrived in port, less teamsters to off load containers. Truckers were restricted, resulting in less trucks available for deliveries, or it took longer. Retail stores were forced to close. General public / consumers were forced to isolate and not permitted to go shopping; became, "Shack Wacky".

People were forced to isolate and keep away from friends. When restrictions were reduced they "went wild".

Semiconductors are in short supply. Wait time for appliances, computers, automobiles and parts is unbelievable. Grocery items are in short supply, or selection is limited. Restaurants can’t get the food selection they want, or workers for kitchen or dining room. As examples: Campbell’s soup used to be on sale for 50 cents. Now it’s $1.49 per can; Kraft dinner is facing similar price increase. With the price of gasoline, be selective on your trips to the store, or car pool with a neighbour.

Now that you have the background. What is the solution to avoid inflation?

When there is a shortage of SUPPLY, GREED causes price increases. When there is a shortage our desire becomes a NEED. When there is a shortage, we permit ourselves to let our WANT anxiety to work us up to a point of DEMAND.

THE SOLUTION: If there is supply shortage, find a substitute or boycott purchasing. Turn want into desire – wait until available at favourable price. Observe patience and avoid demand. When you demand a product or service you are willing to pay higher price, which is greed. When you are greedy, you create inflation.

We alone can control inflation. We must eliminate pressures on Supply and Demand, turning wants into desire, purchase it is available. As a result there may be an oversupply and prices will drop.

Let’s not "Keep up with the Jones’". Let’s change to: "We do it more economically than the Jones".- Maurice

 


 

Aigist 2022 = It’s Broken. Who can Fix it?

Every day we hear horror stories the health care system is broken. Even if it wasn’t broken, we hear it so frequently we think it is true. Example: patient dies in Fredericton Emergency, after waiting several hours to see a doctor.

Over 100,000 Nova Scotians are without a family doctor.

We brag to Americans the Canadian System is far superior, and will not cause a patient’s family to go bankrupt as result of hospital and healthcare costs. We have to ask is "free healthcare" a good trade off to an expensive model if in our "free" system you wait four years for double hip replacement, whereas, by paying large sums the procedure occurs almost instantly.

Just today an orthopaedic surgeon in Moncton voiced his rebuttal to statements "operating rooms are up to speed and operating at capacity". The doctor said only 6 of the 12 operating rooms were working because there were not enough beds or staff for post-surgery care.

The same ortho-surgeon said he has a backlog of over 200 patients, but is allocated only four hours operating room time per week, which is enough time for four procedures. However, in the same interview, he said two of four procedures were cancelled the previous week due to bed and staff shortages for post operative recovery.

A couple weeks ago I was talking to a healthcare professional, who surprised me, by stating, "Our healthcare system is broken. Unfortunately, there is no other way to describe it".

It is shameful our healthcare system is in its current situation. It is very sad, the system which was basically designed by Tommy Douglas and Lester B Pearson has come to this. More money will not solve the problem. A top to bottom overhaul is required. The system will not get fixed until all MP’s in Ottawa and their colleagues at the provincial level (government and opposition) have determined a strategy and agreed to stick with it until the healthcare system is fixed.

MP’s at the federal level have been consulting or negotiating with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) but without much progress. My sources indicate CMA is not budging from its position and so far have refused to identify "how to fix the system". However CMA and College of Family Physicians have a general road map forward. The question is how to get from an idea to implementation.

Another source indicates in Nova Scotia, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Nova Scotia and Doctors Nova Scotia are not showing a willingness to enter into meaningful discussion. One could assume the Nova Scotia groups have become too powerful. They tell the government what to do. With their protectionism the system will never be fixed. It would be much easier to design a new system, rather than spend countless hours trying to renovate or remodel.

Which begs the question. Have Nova Scotia’s groups outlived their usefulness? Should all levels of all governments and opposition MP’s form a pact and get it done? It certainly would be a bloodbath. If done correctly the outcome might be "just what the doctor ordered". Less money and "outside the box solutions" might deliver results.

An entirely separate matter continues to upset me follows:

Have the TRUMPISH antics moved north? A July 5th report on CTV national news indicates they have. Court documents demonstrate former Saskatchewan premier, Brad Wall, had exchanged several text messages and several phone calls with one of the main instigators of the FREEDOM TRUCKER movement. Wall offered various pieces of advice and promised to help promote certain views on social media.

Memory will tell us the interim leader of the Conservative Party was shown meeting with protestors of the Freedom Convoy, while television clips showed a volunteer army carrying "gerry cans" of diesel to truckers in downtown core.

The next item in the same newscast showed leadership candidate, Pierre Poilievre, marching with a well known rebellious protestor. The newscast did not reveal any high-profile politicians from other parties participating or supporting disrupting activities.

Are these instances proof the political winds are changing, and influence from the extreme left is slowly oozing toward us from our neighbour to the south?

I’m not projecting a political view. Just asking. - Maurice

 


 

July 2022 - Is there a double standard – RCMP Vs Average Citizen?

If you probe around and ask the question, "Is there a double standard – RCMP Vs Average Citizen?" Basically the answer is YES.

Without a doubt you could conclude, there are almost as many opinions as there are people on whether or not there is sufficient transparency at the Mass Murder Commission hearings currently underway in Halifax and Truro. If you are a family member or friend of victims, you certainly feel a lot is lacking and the playing field is not level and the general public is supportive of victim’s families.

We’ll examine some of these reasons, in a moment, but there are even more important situations which will determine the "Double Standard" outcome.

Those questions revolve around "Whose reputation is one the line? There are four possible answers: family members, RCMP, provincial and federal governments, or the MCC Commission Commissioners and advisory staff.

Much of the media coverage has followed complaints leveled by surviving family members: feeling marginalized; not being listened to; lack of forthcoming information requested via their legal team; not being assured, their lawyers could cross question certain witnesses; not being provided with list of witnesses who would appear before the commission and the list of dissatisfaction is much longer.

However, two episodes upset families the most and really called into question the reputations of MCC’s three Commissioners. The first was MCC admission they would permit certain RCMP staff (brass or higher ups), fearing being re-traumatized, to appear via Video link, in pre-recorded messages and family member legal team would not be permitted to question them.

Whoa! Full Stop! Let’s Look at this a little deeper.

Are the three commissioners deaf, dumb, stupid, or biased?

Who in their right mind would conclude, certain members of the RCMP management, who are trained and highly paid would be more vulnerable to being re-traumatized than surviving family members who unwillingly have been given a lifelong sentence.

This begs another question. Are the MCC commissioners and their investigative / advisory team blind? Are they not able to see the trauma on the faces of the probably 100 members of the 22 victim family’s? What about the constant heart ache of friends and community numbering into the thousands?

Is it fair for the commission to show leniency toward a few RCMP management members, rather than go for the "greater good" of getting the truth out for family, friends, community and demonstrate every fact of truth has been exposed. Often the truth hurts, but in the long haul knowing the truth has been confirmed is invaluable. Truth is #1 in therapeutic value.

Because shielding certain RCMP members from family member legal teams and open questioning was permitted, the legal teams followed family member instructions and boycotted attending the pre-recorded session. How shameful of the Commissioners to permit their personal reputations to be damaged to that extent, perhaps beyond repair, and questioning the validity of commission findings.

Raises the question are they answerable to truth and the families, or to invisible masters?

Probably several more instances of non-transparency will emerge before the final report is presented.

What really caused this column be written was the revelation two "grief" members were assigned to Cst Heidi Stephenson family, when only one was assigned to members of 22 victim families. Plain and simple showed the true colours. RCMP are protective of members and reputation rather than serving the "greater good" of the Canadians.

PROOF: Yes, there is a double standard, in favour or RCMP organization and members.

When RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki appears before the MCC, I hope she will be questioned: Should RCMP management officers be given preferential treatment by being permitted to appear via pre-recorded messages and not be questioned by family members legal team? Will you ask the MCC to permit those officers to re-appear in person and be questioned if so warranted? Will you publicly state and direct them to appear in person?

REPUTATION: The only way the MCC commissioners can save their own reputations is do an about face, bringing down a final report confirming the request of family members and public for truth and transparency have been achieved. Truth and transparency are paramount. - Maurice

 


 

June 2022 - Rees’ Pieces

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning, wondering where the province is headed. Seems like we are at a cross-roads or an intersection with more options that I wish to consider. Here’s a few of the "key words", which is causing me concern. "Fix" is now changed to "repair"; hold out your hand and someone will fill with money; is 2% CFA property tax, the proper way to go?

I could go on and on with probabilities of significant or severe change in direction for Canada’s Ocean Playground. Since last summer’s provincial election, it seems every time we turned around, Premier Houston or his minister’s were announcing they had given out another large amount of money to another group.

The success of handing out money is to put it where it will do the most good for the largest number of Nova Scotia residents. Currently affordable housing is our most urgent problem. Based on population HRM equates to half the province. It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure the remainder (rural areas) receive an equal amount of money and commitment as was bestowed upon HRM to ease the housing shortage with nine sites designed to provide over 22,000 housing units.

Let’s go back and start at the beginning. Houston’s most frequent election promise was "I/We will fix healthcare". It’s too early to access the success of that promise, but the strategic long term fixing plan announced before the end of the spring session of the legislature seems to be void of specifics and timelines, of what will be fixed, how and when. Now about two weeks (at time of this writing) following the announcement, the most common reaction from residents and pundits is not favourable. The strategic plan as landed similar to a deflated basketball amounting to little more than "splat". Ironically, instead of maintaining, "we will fix", the current terminology has shifted to "we will repair". Only one word difference, but the anticipated outcome is much less and breaks a promise.

In order to fix healthcare, there are three important changes: First to eliminate shortage of nurses local nursing schools must be reestablished at regional hospitals. Perhaps, graduating nurses might not be "Registered Nurses (RN’s)", but what is wrong with designation of "Registered Nurses Assistants (RNA’s)? Being able to get their training closer to home will increase the number of those entering the profession; lower the cost of education, and provide more workers at each facility. After all I remember "candy stripers" when I was in hospital for nearly four months in the mid-60s’.

A similar approach of on-site training, almost as an apprentice, for those whose have become a "doctor" in a foreign country, but don’t meet our qualifications in language, or other training. Those wishing to relocate to Nova Scotia, from a foreign country could receive onsite training by being assigned to medical clinics in rural areas. While serving their apprenticeship, they would fit into the medical system somewhat similar to a Registered Nurse Practitioner role, which is the current fad.

While in training and being mentored by our "favourite rural doctor" the rate of pay could be similar to earnings of a Registered Nurse. The resident doctor would be paid approximately of a RN’s salary for his/her mentoring while receiving the benefit of having an additional professional within the clinic. Maybe it could become a succession plan for when the resident doctor wanted to retire.

There is a vast difference between an automobile and a human, but apprenticeships work well in the automotive industry, and over time, they become "red seal" mechanics. Is there really a difference in approach?

The third area to "fix healthcare" all hospitals must be directed to change their procedures so when an ambulance delivers a patient to a hospital, the ambulance must be released to go on another call within 30 minutes. Perhaps temporary receiving rooms, like "portable classrooms" used for students in school could be established for hospitals. Temporary patient rooms worked well during the pandemic and there was very little complaint.

Think outside the box, but keep the promises, "We will fix…." which caused you to be elected to a majority government.  Maurice


 

May 2022 - Help rescue thousands of Ukrainians

The grass is getting greener, frogs are chirping, birds are building nests, people are raking lawns and working in the garden and it’s getting warm, but we are not out of it yet. Early in the day on April 24th, I heard a weather forecaster mention possibility of snow for parts of Nova Scotia.

Even though the days are getting longer, and in fact we are two months away from the longest day of the year, then it will be two or three less minutes of daylight every day. Didn’t mean to appear negative, anything but. However as time passes by quickly, within a month, farmers will be cutting silage and getting the balers repaired and ready for another hot summer.

As CoVid restrictions continue to be reduced, we are still in the danger zone. CoVid is still with us, and will be for years to come. Even though we are not in shut-down and have more liberties foremost in our mind we want to stay healthy. I, for one, and many others are going to continue to wear a mask, when in public places. It’s not that I enjoy the mask, but I firmly believe I have a better chance of not catching CoVid. Masks serve two purposes. It protects me. But also reminds others what they should be doing for their own protection and being respectful of others, who might be compromised.

Shopping online has become a way of life, and it is amazing to see how many staff ij grocery stores are going around picking products off the shelves to fill orders that have been phoned or sent in. In the retail sector it is obvious what has transpired in two years. Prior to CoVid visibility of staff seemed like a rare commodity. Now customer service and "there to help" is a common occurrence.

It was heartwarming to attend the Lieutenant Governor presenting the 2021 Community Service Award to the community of Portapique. The turnout of Portapiquers was event, and most encouraging for the longevity of the community was the large number of pre-teen youth. I didn’t do a formal count, but easy to guess youth were 50% of the crowd. The Lieutenant Governor showed is true colours by the attention he paid to the youth present. In fact, there is photo in this issue of he and his wife taken including only the youth.

The war in Ukraine continues to dominate the news and every day people are becoming for appalled at the actions of Russian leadership and army. I agree the ongoing murders are war crimes. The Shoreline Journal has developed a Facebook page, in which we are encouraging communities and individuals do their utmost to arrange hosting of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. As the story on Page 1 in this issue outlines our thoughts, we are hopeful Nova Scotia could be the "new home" for 10,000 to 20,000 new residents.

It is a large target, but in addition to showing our high level of care and compassion, think about how these resourceful people would benefit our economy by helping eliminate worker shortages in all sectors including: agriculture, forestry, hospitality, fisheries, retail, food service, home care and much more.

We suggest you get friends and colleagues to canvass your local community to see how many local residents can billet refugees, and how many Ukrainians can be hosted in each community. (For those who escape war and harm by relocating to Nova Scotia one way of success is for them not to feel lonely and alone). If there are several refugees in a community they will be much more comfortable having colleagues close by.

Reach out to family and friends in other communities. Knowing the resiliency of residents from Colchester and Cumberland, we can be the catalyst to take the initiative province-wide. What an honour it would be for local residents to be recognized to providing safe and welcoming accommodation to thousands of Ukrainians who need our help.

Enjoy the coming warm weather, continue to smile and stay CoVid safe. - Maurice

 


 

April 2022 - Did Democracy unexpectedly find two saviors?

If you think back to last fall, leaders of the FREE World were saying democracy was being threatened. In North America, we relished in the fact, political unrest elsewhere and public demonstrations were increasing, but not here.

We were mired getting to the last stages of the pandemic, while thinking, "Thank heavens people in North America" are not as volatile and unrest of that magnitude would never happen in North America". As credit card bills for Christmas 2021 started arriving, Canada suffered the "Freedom Convoy.

At first it was like a joke, people were rushing to donate $20, $50, or more and waving from overpasses as semi’s motored down 100 series highways headed to Ottawa. Remember those instances?

After three weeks of a paralyzed Downtown Ottawa and similar convoys showing up across Canada, it was no longer a joke. People were worried and scared of the outcome. Revelations about $$$$-Millions of convoy funding coming across the border; some Republican congress-people and senators openly voiced approval for Canada’s "Freedom Convoy" woes, providing a base of support for the Federal Governments drastic action of implementing the Emergency Measures Act. Not everyone appreciated the move, and yes some fed moves were questionable, but within a few days, the convoy was all but over. The scars remained and still linger.

What the Freedom Convoy demonstrates is when people are unhappy, a handful of rebellious people with ulterior motives, such as "overthrow" the government can dupe a stellar organization like the Canadian Truckers Association with the promise to coordinate the "Freedom Convoy" to support apprehensions truckers felt about vaccination mandates. Trucker’s woes were forgotten and the mutiny attitudes grew.

Instead of being a "Freedom Convoy" the initiative evolved into a mutiny causing irreparable harm to Canada’s "peacekeeper" image.

No sooner had the convoy fiasco started settling down, the world faced increased threats of Russian leader, Putin, flexing his ego and trying to convince fellow-Russians, he needed to save Ukraine from various facets of society to be united with former homeland patriots in Russia.

As bad as the current onslaught of bombing, destroying entire cities and killing innocent people is Putin, in one way, might single-handedly became the catalyst to "save democracy from destroying itself". Constant attacks on residential areas and committing "war crimes" woke up the Free World causing the commitment to make NATO more united and stronger.

I do not have a glimmer of support for Putin and his activities. But let’s also remember, Putin needed an adversary to make everything happen.

Enter, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a former actor and comedian with no prior political experience who in 2019 became the sixth President of Ukraine, scoring a record 73.22% of the popular vote in the run-off against incumbent Petro Poroshenko. President Zelensky has become the face of Ukraine’s resistance against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invading forces, with impassioned virtual speeches to U.S. Congress and Senate; Canadian Parliament; governments in UK, Germany, France, European Council, NATO and many more.

Putin might have started the jelling, but Zelensky with his impassioned speeches and public appearances is the one who pushed it over the top just as he did in standing up to US President Donald Trump during the infamous taped phone call in 2019-2020.

As a result of individual actions, it might be fair to say the two of them, in their own ways, have quickly united the Free World in ways much faster than leaders of over 30 NATO member countries could conceivably achieve.

I’ll suggest the two of them will go down in history as the "World’s Democracy Savors.

On a separate note, it is interesting to see how the Mass Casualty Commission has somewhat changed its "high handed attitude" and started providing some things family members of victims have been demanding. The jury is still out. If as many allege, will the findings favour the higher ups in government and RCMP, or will it be transparent?

In closing, I would draw your attention to seven feature pages on Renewable Energy in this issue, and our special offer to raise funds for Portapique Community Build-up Project.

Have a great month enjoying April Showers - Maurice  

 


 

March 2022 - Poking head out of "foxhole"

The attitude and aggressiveness some Canadian’s have expressed, one should be weary or afraid to poke their head up out of the foxhole for fear of being criticized, ridiculed or worse. It is catastrophic how we have switched from "peacekeepers" to garnering global attention by holding the capital city, and other parts of this great country hostage for nearly a month.

Yes, even here in Colchester County, I was called onto the mat for a story in the last issue. I have been in this business for nearly 60 years and have seen nothing like the disturbing events which have become more frequent over the last couple of years. Like many Canadians I was proud most of the nearly 38-Million of us maintained our own identity and strived not become overly Americanized.

But not now.

I few empathy for the leadership at the Canadian Truckers Association, whom I feel were "hookwinked" as being the initial purpose of the Freedom Convoy. Yes, truckers did have some reason to complain and demonstrate. A large number of people had empathy for their cause and supported them. As the weeks went by, we learned Freedom Convoy was not organized by the truckers, but by right wing groups who had various objectives including "overthrow the existing government", while attracting $-millions in USA donations. .

I am not saying the existing government does not have flaws, and some big ones, but what evolved is not the Canadian style we are used to. To learn many USA politicians and their followers were supportive of the Freedom Convoy. Many were very visible and open in their support and Millions of USA$$$ were donated to support the cause.

It is embarrassing and very unsettling a large number of Canadian MP’s and some senators were openly supportive of the demonstrators, even meeting publically with them on the demonstration sites. I have many friends who are on the conservative side of the political spectrum and their word to me is "I am very conservative, would never vote Liberal, but I am a Progressive Conservative. I am not supportive of the current Conservative Party".

I am informed from these friends; there is no leadership race for the Conservative Party. It will be a coronation as there does not appear to be anyone who will step forward to take the leadership away from the current leader, who has demonstrated a high level of Trump-like American activities.

I am not taking political sides, but if we keep going down this slippery slope Canadian complacency will destroy democracy and way of life Canada has enjoyed for decades. It is time for all Canadians regardless of political stripe to develop a backbone and wrestle the publicist attitudes away from those who want to make Canada more like the Americans and other "radical rightwing groups" gaining prominence around the world.

Are we going to stand up for democracy and human rights like our forefathers or do we want Canada to go down a slippery slope to be more like the Chinese, Russians and Americans? It will take months if not a couple of years to change the trajectory we are headed. I can’t do it, nor can you, but "we" including all of us can regain control. That is the challenge to you.

Unfortunately, the Mass Casualty Commission has not been gaining support as we had hoped. More and more people are of the belief the Commission’s will not deliver the healing results needed. Even though I have not expressed public opinion on the matter, and have been most supportive of the local people who have had their lives changed forever, but I get calls, nearly every day, from people who are dismayed. Most disturbing to hear them say, "I fear, the commission is looking more and more like a sham.

Essentially it will be a cover-up protecting federal and provincial governments and with results in which the RCMP will be most pleased.

To the deepest feelings of my inner self, I hope all those who are speaking out in dismay are wrong. But the tenacity to deliver different results seems invisible and perhaps non-existent.

Maurice

 


 

 

February 2022 - Are we losing the battle?

The recent surge of CoVid-19 is disturbing, worrisome and causes my blood to boil. Today the 17th, we lost four more great Nova Scotians. The worrisome part is primarily because we have lost our edge, and quickly going downhill as we appear to be losing the battle.

I am not sure who to blame, as there are so many factors to the recent upsurge. To determine why, let’s look at CoVid-19 activity for almost two years, when spring 2020 was the CoVid start on the east coast.

The previous government was adamant what they wanted us to do; expected us to do; directed us to "Stay the Blazes Home". Those few words drive home the point and it stuck with hundreds of t-shirts sporting the message.

For 18 months, most of us did exactly what we were told. It was tough, but we listened. As a result Nova Scotia was the envy across Canada, garnered a lot of attention globally. The prize, we were the leader with less infections, deaths and "long haul" suffers. We were proud being leaders, and appreciated McNeil and Strang seemingly dedicating every moment of their lives to ensure we were as safe as possible.

However, things started to change during the third quarter of 2021. Was it because "just enough" people became anti-vasers; we got tired and took our eye off the ball; were the variants more easily spread causing us to go down a slippery slope, or did health professionals and government leaders take their foot off the pedal?

I am not going to point fingers, nor do I suggest you do, but there are some discouraging facts, or an alignment for a "perfect storm" which was unavoidable.

At this moment my question is "Why has there been a reduction in the emphasis on testing? In the beginning, we were told, testing, testing, testing and more testing is the way to manage CoVid-19.

Most recently, is the lessening of testing, because we do not have the supplies? If that is the case, who dropped the ball? Why weren’t supplies ordered or sourced last August and September?

Was the lack of advance ordering as a result of switching governments? I fear not, or it should not be the onus of elected officials. There are plenty of highly paid professionals in the Health Authority and Department of Health carrying out tasks when new MLA’s were trying to find the office keys.

The lack of testing kits goes back to what was done or not done as far back as September, early October. If a shortage had been anticipated, we should have been then, not mixed in with all the messaging around the holiday season.

This brings to mind another thing which really bothers me. Not once have I heard provincial, federal international government leaders or health professionals explain the correlation between Tuberculosis and CoVid-19.

If you wish to do your own online research simply Google "How many people die of Tuberculosis?" The following are two instant examples, which popped up on my computer screen within seconds:

  1. Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by germs spread person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. A person with TB can die if they do not get treatment.
  2. Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. In 2018, 10.0 million people fell ill with TB and 1.5 million died from the disease (including 251,000 people with HIV). Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

You might not like wearing a mask, or constantly social distancing, but pay attention to my prediction: "CoVid-19 is never going away". If you don’t remember, ask your parents or grandparents their fears of TB and how long it was "Top of Mind". Unborn children may be looking over their shoulder and keeping a mask handy when graduating from high school.

Yet undiscovered or to-be developed drugs will cause CoVid-19 to be treated like "the flu".

Maurice.

 


January 2022 - Stay home, be safe

Unfortunately, this Christmas season is not as enjoyable as we hoped, but we have to take guidance from health authorities and avoid large crowds and do not do any non-essential travel. This past week, Nova Scotia has recorded it’s highest rate of Covid-19 infections four days in a row. Sunday, December 19thwas an all-time high with 476 instances from lab results. 43 of the new cases are in the Northern Zone, while the Central Zone, which includes Halifax-Dartmouth reported 333 cases.

In addition to being asked not to travel unless absolutely we best find a good book, or some board games to keep ourselves amused, because sporting venues are being closed, and if it keeps up at the rate we have experienced recently, Premier Houston and Dr Strang will have to come up with a slogan, similar to McNeil’s "Stay the Blazes Home". If you are eligible you need to get your booster shot as soon as possible.

With Christmas only a couple of days away, there is still time to give a family member, friend, work colleague or neighbour the best Christmas present every. Try to convince the unvaccinated to go get their first needle. In some ways it could be a "life-saving" gift if they follow your advice.

Other than worry about Covid-19, the next most frequent word on people’s tongues is "homeliness". The loss of employment due to Covid has caused a rapid increase in the number of people who don’t have a place to stay warm, safe and comfortable. All levels of government – federal, provincial and municipal are scrambling to develop solutions. It will not happen overnight, but the shame of the situation is nobody treated homeliness as a priority, until it reached crisis proportions.

One immediate way to reduce the instances and to ease the burden would be for unoccupied motel and hotel rooms to be used to house the homeless. Yes, property owners would be hesitant to let their rooms, be used for this purpose, but there are ways to negotiate to a winter 2022 solution while new facilities are renovated or constructed. Operators would have to reduce room rates to become affordable. Proper video, photos and other record keeping can track condition of rooms before and after occupancy.

One item which would need to be replaced is the mattresses, but these could be diverted to the new homeless facilities, enabling fixed roof accommodation operators to ensure pristine condition for tourists, when winter is over.

Wind turbine farms development proposed are taking place across the entire province from Yarmouth extremities of Cape Breton, but local resident aren’t keen on the idea. The Wentworth Valley is a hot-bed or emerging proposals and residents are up in arms. Cumberland is seeking legal opinion on whether or not it would be permitted to place a one year moratorium on approval of new wind turbine farms. Colchester is reviewing its wind turbine by-law as it suspects several permit applications will be received in coming months.

A December 4th public meeting at the Recreation Centre in Wentworth drew a large crowd of concerned residents. The meeting was polite and orderly, but certainly was not a friendly crowd in the hall. Most of the audible opposition came from those in attendance, who strenuously objected to a slide on the screen indicating "10 minutes for Questions". The meeting was scheduled for three hours, and there was nearly two hours of the three hour limit remaining once the three Higgins Mountain Wind Farm representatives finished their presentation throwing the floor open to questions.

As the questions keep coming from concerned citizens, one of the Higgins representative keep looking at his watch as if he was not comfortable with the situation and was hoping "to get out of Dodge" as soon as possible. Additional public meetings will be held once the develop has refined the selection of the turbine and does the scientific work.

Back to Covid, students started the Christmas break early and will enjoy two additional days early in January. Many fear Covid surging might continue forcing education to be delivered on-line.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All - Maurice


 

MMaurice Rees, Publisher
The Shoreline Journal
Box 41, Bass River, NS B0M 1B0
PH: 902-647-2968; Cell: 902-890-9850
E-mail: maurice@theshorelinejournal.com