Sometimes we have to get up on our soapbox and scream our frustration at the world. Often all we hear is the echo of our own voice being bounced back at us but, with that said, we should never stop raising our voice when we see injustices that are important to us. Ignoring it just leads us into complacency and it is through complacency that we lose our hard fought for democracy.
One thing I learnt really early was the old adage “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. I am not the type of person to be fooled twice, although it has been known to happen.
So tell me something, do you believe in law and justice? After all we elected a government based on a strong platform around law and order but then they also ran on a platform of a more open and transparent government. We haven’t seen that and now have one of the most secretive governments that I can ever remember seeing in my 40+ years of casting a ballot. But I will leave that one alone for now.
It’s the law and order one that has me. The crime rate in Canada has been on a continual decline since 1972 so I am not even sure how it became such a big election issue. I can tell you why. FEAR. Since 911 FEAR has become the central theme for almost any government initiative in North America but I refuse to live my life in fear from outside forces. I do, however, live in fear of what this government is stripping away from Canadians. And I point my finger directly at the federal government. Our federal government’s idea of good fiscal management is to download costs to their provincial counterparts and the tax payer continues to pick up the tab. This is particularly true of health care.
And how is this related to law and order you ask? For an answer lets look at two separate cases but same issue at two ends of the country. That issue is the treatment of our seniors and in particular those seniors with dementia. First the case in Vernon, BC. A 95 year old gentleman with severe dementia in a very disoriented state attacked his roommate which resulted in his death. This is a tragedy and difficult to believe it could actually happen in a country like Canada.
However this is not an isolated case. More recently a case in Halifax resulted in the death of a 74 year old women who was struck by a gentleman with dementia and the resulting head injury suffered during the fall resulted in her death. Both of these events were tragedies and I believe they were preventable. People under the care of the government should not be paying the price for inadequate funding especially when that cost is death. And health care funding continues to drop as demand increases.
There was a time when the feds matched the provincial health costs dollar for dollar. Today it is about thirty cents on the dollar and, as announced by Minister Flaherty, that is going to continue to drop. As those transfers drop so will the level of care.
Now back to the law and order. The case of the 95 year old in Vernon has resulted in manslaughter charges. Now am I the only one who sees how ridiculous this is. The gentleman has dementia and I am pretty sure this will go no where in a court of law however there will be a lot of lost resources going into this case. Does law and order mean absence of common sense? Will we see the same thing happen in Halifax?
It is my opinion, and only my opinion, that the guilty party here is the government. As we get caught up in their smoke and mirrors, our seniors as well as our health care system is suffering. Having just relocated to BC I see this happening. My mother’s husband is currently in a “private” facility reportedly there for persons with dementia. From what I have seen of it, it is nothing but a boarding home for 12 people with a locked door.
One of the other residence goes into his room daily and takes the fresh fruit that my mother takes there regularly. When you can find the one or two staff that are on duty, and I use that term loosely, they’ve never seen it happen. From what I have been able to find out there are really no staff with a medical background except maybe house keeping. Now I am not denigrating the staff because I also believe they are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have. The issue here is lack of financial resources because the government was able to fund it as cheaply as possible.
I find myself asking, “how many dementia beds could be adequately funded if we weren’t wasting tax dollars charging 95 year olds for actions beyond their control”. If you understand dementia you will realize that the person there is not the same person that you knew all of your life. As long as the federal government continues to download costs to the province just to demonstrate in their own twisted way that they are “good fiscal managers” we will continue to see these kind of tragedies. What really concerns me is the very good chance of an increase in these types of stories.
I just hope the government doesn’t waste anymore resources on foolish legal cases in their desire to push their law and order agenda!
Just one man’s opinion
3 thoughts on “What is Justice?”
Sadly, as governments continue to misallocate financial resources, we likely continue to be witness to tragedies, such as you have highlighted. We will also see further misallocation of taxpayers dollars, as the buffoons at the helm, give the populace the impression that all is well as long as they serve up costly litigation in a case that should never go to court.
Quite frankly, I believe you should send this post to the media in B.C. Oh…they’re on the payroll, I guess.
Hi Twiens: long time no see! I sure miss you on the CBC comments board but can’t blame you for not wanting to post under such sringent (and stupid) restrictions).
Great column…thanks for caring so much about this very serious issue.