Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hey Harper! A Couple of Darts for You to Consider.

Now that our Prime Minister, Stephen know, the one who is running "the show" like he has a Majority government behind him rather than the Minority reality, AND surprisingly seems to be doing that Harper has almost fulfilled his election mandate, it's time that he and his backyard boys come up with a new gameplan.

Yes, my wallet is starting to buldge with extra pennies because of the GST cut windfall .........ooooweee, the gun violence in Toronto is under control (not), and we've managed to shore up the spirits of men and women in Afghanistan with Tim Horton's Ice Cappucinos. Since the Official Opposition couldn't even get their act together to stay awake for the spring Budget vote, and are obviously engrossed by their own marathon leadership race it looks like the Conservatives can throw the gauntlet down, make some changes, shake their booties and continue to lead this country like they have the majority of seats.

Given that I am an opinionate adirondack chair affectionado of all things political, and have been paying close attention to the Ottawa scene from my back deck, I thought it was high time that I throw a couple of backyard lawn darts into the game of behind the scenes scheming. No doubt Harper's Conservatives could use an injection of estrogen into those blue suited meetings. A little Yin to balance the Yang shall we say?

What to do? Where to start?? OH! I know..............

Lawn dart # 1

Introduce a national fitness program by putting money into the physical education programs in our school system. Yeah, yeah.........I know! This is a provincial matter. It may be, but it needs a National vision. Time and again, we read the stats on how out of shape and overloaded with timbits we are in this country. Time and again, we are inundated with stats on the state of the affairs with kids and sedentary gameboy activities. And yet, the Phys Ed programs are cut to the fact the elementary schools in this province (like most in this country I bet) don't hire specialists to teach in the schools. Albeit, we have a "mentor" who bounces in once a month to crank up the music and pull all the kiddies into the gym for a loudly intrusive "Fit Friday" jumparound.

Not enough! Make it a priority! Set it up like a system similar to the Red Cross swimming program or the Figure Skating program, where a child can achieve goals and attain a badge for a level of skill. Introduce the anklebiters to a slew of different sports. Make it a family thing! Set it up so that the kids are leading the way...........

Lawn dart #2

Privatize Service Canada. These are the people who dole out the Employment insurance cheques and the Canada Pension cheques. These are the people who hold millions of dollars of taxpayers money to oversee labour market related training and career planning options. Yeah, and as I recall, these people had some big problems with their accounting practises a little while back. Time and again we are told that there is a huge skilled trade shortage, particularly western Canada, that unemployment rates are stalled in the east, that the employment insurance program is a deterant to moving from seasonal work to more full-time opportunities. Has anyone thought about a strategic plan............ a long term vision to identify the "realities" of the labour market and then a plan to implement it across the country?

I actually have a bird's eye view of this federal department. The local office is housed in the same building as moi. From what I see and have heard, the majority of the work completed is administrative. In fact, a large portion of the staff have been allowed to "set up shop" in their homes, away from the public, close to their kettles. They drift in every now and then when their computer needs tweaking. As well, lately they Feds have been re-jigging their space.........well actually this is done on an annual basis. New equipment, new signage, new computerized application sites, and new fake walls. This spring, they built a "space comport" in the front lobby. The main function of this comport is to disrupt the flow of people in and out of the building......people who access the Resource Centre, people who have appointments with my provincial colleagues. The other function is to harrass their clientele and confuse them to bits.

Just this week, the bureaucrats decided to move the "frontliners" away from their accessible offices to little cubicles on the second floor, which is inaccessible to clientele. These were the staff who really did meet with the public, who helped people apply for Old Age Security or Canada Pension, the ones who worked with the public who were trying to receive E.I. So, what gives? There seems to be no one left to work with the public. If that's the case, it's time to privatize this work and hire out the supposed employment counselling.

Yesterday, for instance, I was approached by a woman who was confused and disgruntled. She had been told that she could access the application process online from the office. When she arrived, the application computers had been shut down at 4:00 pm (it was 4:05pm) and there was no one around to answer her questions. When I finally found one of the staff who used to field these inquiries (last week), she rudely rolled her eyes at me, huffed and puffed about why this woman would expect to be able to apply so late in the day and then shuffled off to greet the applicant. Meanwhile, the applicant didn't take long to launch into a verbose diatribe about the Harper government and how inefficient they were blah, blah..........................

SO, Stephen, if you're reading this...................junk Service Canada and put it up for tender. It's a big loose noose around your neck and it ain't gonna be fixed with some new signage. You buddyfella are going to take the rap for this monstrosity. Best start anew.

Lawn dart #3

Fly the Accountability flag high!! I'm sure I'm not the only one who is interested in the future Sheila Fraser audits, especially the spending of funds provided to the First Nations by our seemingly bottomless pockets found on our "guilt pants." I realize that there are ongoing issues and health crises connected to many of our First Nations communities. In fact, I can't remember a time when there wasn't. From gas sniffing in Labrador to water issues in northern Manitoba, to high unemployment and school drop-out rates across the country. And yet...... we keep throwing money at the problems and nothing ever seems to get resolved. Where does the money go? Are effective programs in place somewhere in one of the communities that could be implemented in other places? Why are there two separate welfare systems in the provinces that some seem to have access to? Is that not double dipping? If money had been set aside to build a school or new homes, is there follow up to find out if that money was utilized for the reason it was requested? I want to know!

Accountability............ misspending, overspending, programs that work, programs that are bogus................ time to check out ACOA..............time to question other economic development programs in other parts of the country....... time to review spending practises of many different departments.

Three darts to consider............... many more where these came from. No need to rush though...........the summer is just revving up.


Flea said...

I found you on my map! Glad you came over to my blog. Please visit again.
Like your blog, will visit again.

Ellen said...

It seems like you could substitute some of our politicians and leaders names for your Canadian ones... same kind of problems and issues to deal with and no accountability to rationalize it all out. Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, my money goes out while my mouth needs scraping off the floor over a lot of the needless waste of taxes I pay for. And it doesn't look like the future will get any better from where I sit.

awareness said...

Welcome hannelie! I'll be visiting yours too.

I am hoping that our new PM will be able to deal with some ongoing issues that have been neglected, so I do have some hope for the first time in a long time. However, the waste of dollars? Mind blowing. I seem to hear examples of it weekly. Boggles the mind for sure.