Sunday, May 29, 2022

Ford's Privatization Scheme

How privatization of social services and healthcare is moving forward in Ontario from an anonymous ODSP employment provider: (from here with links to articles here and here)

Ford two years ago brought in American companies who have been figuring out what approach / messaging to take that would be ‘acceptable’ to Canadians with the intent of cutting our services. They became non profit agencies in Canada. So they can call themselves “Canadian” non profits. Our tax payer money is paying them to chip away at our healthcare and social service systems. We will wind up being paid huge tax dollars to then have our services be made minimal and virtually nonexistent. They are calling it privatization – but it is privatization with these companies as the decision makers. These companies are really good marketers/sales people and know how to make things “look and feel” good. 

The tip of the iceberg is that they are transferring ODSP employment assistance and supports to help people on ODSP find and maintain employment. They are moving this from from Social Service to the ministry of labour colleges and universities....going from region to region switching these services over to be ‘managed’ by these companies – making huge profits from this with ODSP and OW’s employment supports. They are paying our agencies assisting these clients less than ODSP paid has done and I assume taking the rest of our hard earned tax dollars. They are distracting the job developers and counsellors working with the clients looking for work with at least double the administrative work and have put in place algorithms so one agency cannot share a client with another agency – even though they may have different expertise and ways to support and help the client with obtaining employment. 

So why is Ford doing this??? There is no advantage to the tax payer – there are huge disadvantages – the only conclusion anyone can come to is, He is doing it for the kick backs and that appears to be how he operates. Ford has opened the door for these are American companies coming into Canada, acquiring non-profit status here and making huge amounts from taxpayer’s money and allotting a small stipend of it for us to have our social & health services and to the mentally ill and poverty stricken and ill." 

A bit more in the comments: 

They've gone much farther than most people realize. Ontario Health is a new Crown Corporation that will have total control over the health care budget. We will see more corporations like Telus acting as intermediary. They're already a big player. The majority of the Board are corporate CEOs, including some who spent time in the US corp. There is a physician on the board who used to work with the group that provides physician malpractice insurance. They run up bills so patients can't afford to sue. 

Some people may wonder why US companies? The answer lies with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Under the terms of the FTA, foreign companies can sue the Canadian government in a special trade tribunal for lost anticipated profits -- it's like a one-way street -- services can be privatized, and the terms of the FTA make it very difficult to impossible for any services, once privatized, to be made public once again. This is why the Rae government never introduced public auto insurance, due to the threat of being sued for damages for lost anticipated profits.

ETA: Jean Yoon's post:

"Maybe we should stop using the term privatization; and describe the redistribution of public dollars to commercial interests an restructuring services to lock the people into exploitative commercial contracts in perpetuity as theft - of our safety and the shared savings of the government."

ETA: Ontario Health Coalition's fact sheet on Two-Tier Healthcare and Private Clinics 

Vote like your life depends on it. One day, it will.  

Friday, May 27, 2022

So, Where are We Headed?

I knew what he was going to say as soon as we made eye contact. A bearded shit-eating grin in a pickup-truck stopped at a light while I cycled across the intersection to join a trail packed with university students. I just wanted to clear my head after events of the past couple of days with a nice long ride, but here we go: 

"Take off your mask, sweetheart!" 

It's the new, "Show us your tits!" but it's strikingly more effective if the goal is to provoke fear. I used to write off the horn-dogs on my trips around the city, and welcomed their depletion as I aged out of harassment, but this new group isn't easily deterred or reasoned with, and their actions are overt and condoned. Threatening to film or let their boss or family know about sexual comments was embarrassment enough to stop drive-by creeps. They knew it was wrong, so there was often something we could do. I even called the cops and they listened to me, taking down a license plate number when a gentleman stalker wasn't so easily rebuffed. But if their mum found out they harassed random people about masks, they'd might actually be proud of them. There's absolutely nothing in our social system or legal system that suggests they're doing something wrong when they yell at strangers or stop them in their path, even when they circle the block to do it again. 

I really do think we're in the worst timeline, and that we won't make it out alive. 

CW: policy-driven lunacy and the resultant rambling, rage-fueled, depressing rant

Monday, May 23, 2022

On Optional Grade 13 - aka Breaking the 34-Credit Threshold

When Conservatives Mike Harris and Ernie Eves decided to get rid of grade 13 and the OAC year - Ontario Academic Credit - in 2003, I was opposed to the move even though Ontario was last in Canada to offer it. At the time, everyone had to finish grade 12, but students who wanted to go to university also had to take six OAC credits. This year was typically made up the more academically rigorous courses in most disciplines. When they ditched this fifth year, they also added 10 days to the school year. Remember when exams started nearer the beginning of June and were only for students who got below a 60 in the term?? For many students, they'd end up with between 30 and 40 credits over the five years, with many taking 8/year for 4 years, then 6 in their final year. I remember the excitement of finally being allowed to take a spare, but my school was one of few, it seemed, that forced us to remain silently working in supervised conditions for that period. Going home early or arriving late wasn't an option, and I felt pretty ripped-off for that at the time! 

Then in September 2013, McGuinty's Liberals introduced the 34 credit threshold, which meant schools wouldn't get funding for students taking more than 34 credits as a cost-savings measure. Although there are some exceptions (e.g. kids with IEPs), kids have been typically strongly discouraged from taking more credits. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pandemic Amnesia

Someone told me that we need to adapt to Covid faster, and get used to masks and checking air quality much faster for our own survival. They think our problem is our inability to adapt to this new environment. I said that I think we have adapted quickly, but we've done it in the other direction: we've acclimatized to accept that we will know people who have died at a young age or who haven't been able to get out of bed in months. We've adapted to the turmoil instead of the preventative measures. 

Then I came across a thread by Professor Debra Caplan in the U.S. She commented on the lack of films and books on the Spanish flu relative to all that was written about World War I despite the flu taking about six times as many lives in the United States. There are a couple episodes in Downton Abbey. Then there's this 24 min. NFB film, The Last Days of Okak, but she's got a point: so many post-WWI movies that discuss the ravages of war don't mention a thing about the devastation caused by the flu. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Are We Being Manipulated to Ignore Covid?

Recently @LauraMiers wrote:

"When people finally realize they're being manipulated--that repeated Covid infections cause permanent organ damage and autoimmunity, dramatically shorten life spans, exacerbate all re-existing issues, and lead to a markedly decreased quality of life--they're going to be furious. The "Urgency of Normal' people are running out of arguments so they're attacking those of us who have been disabled by the virus, and accusing us of being on par with anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. Classy. At the same time, articles like this one by an 'Urgency of Normal' representative seeks to convince people their valid concerns about the brain shrinking,  organ destroying, bat virus are overblown. Back to work! This is really sick." 

In an article in The Irish Times, "'Living with Covid' is Empty Sloganeering in Need of a Plan," Anthony Staines and Daniel Carey take a similar stance when writing about the reality of living with few protective measures: many deaths, tandeming infections in families, repeated reinfections despite vaccinations, and a large number of people out of work at any given time, which will effect the economy both within families and in the country.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Harrowing Road for Candidates - and the Rest of Us

I've recently read two articles on the problem and solution to the current nastiness in elections after hearing first hand about serious issues candidates have had at the door. You never know who you're going to get when you knock on someone's door, and most people don't want to buy what you're selling. I've been door-knocking as a volunteer in the past and was fortunate not to run into any conflicts, but people are becoming less civil in their expression of discontent recently. 

In "Why is Politics Getting Nastier," Stephen Maher writes about candidates giving up running because of the reactions at the door, on social media, and extending into their lives.

"[Former MP Scott Simms] remembers a big fellow coming out of one house while he was walking up the driveway. The man began shouting at him about prime minister Justin Trudeau. . . . The man was upset. No problem, Simms said, he would leave, but the man kept coming, furious, getting closer. 'I'm going to grab you,' he said, 'and I'm going to throw you in a ditch.' . . . 'So that's one of those times when you realize, I think my time in this business is done.'" 

Physical assaults and death threats have been reported by candidates from all levels of government and all parties, and in other countries, including police charging a woman "for pinning a Liberal incumbent against a wall with a table,"  an office being lit on fire, candidates receiving packages of chemicals and violent images, and the fatal stabbing of MP David Amess