No way to treat a friend

There’s nothing like a wall, real or virtual, to make a point about the promise to “Make America Great Again” even if it means offending an entire nation on its southern border, or hitting your best friend and ally to the north with a sucker punch.

Even the giant U.S. aircraft maker, Boeing, was surprised by the 220 percent “anti-dumping” tariff the U.S. Commerce department recently inflicted on the prospective sale of Bombardier’s new C-Series passenger jets to Delta Airlines.

bombardier

Two, beautiful, Canadian-made Bombardier C-Series passenger jets

Bombardier is a Canadian company that has signed a deal with Delta Airlines in the U.S. for the sale of 75 of Bombardier’s new C-series, 100-passenger jets. Delivery was supposed to begin in 2018. But Boeing said the jets were being sold below cost with the help of Canadian and Quebec government subsidies, and asked the U.S. Commerce department to investigate. The protectionist administration of President Donald Trump was only too happy to oblige, and then some. Continue reading

Sickening

chickens

Anyone who says that life matters less to animals than it does to us has not held in his hands an animal fighting for its life. The whole of the being of the animal is thrown into that fight, without reserve.” (Elisabeth Costello, in J. M. Coetzee’s The Lives of Animals)

I had just left Owen Sound and was on my way home after the weekly trip to run a few errands and do some shopping when I first heard the news about an animal rights group having released a video of alleged abuse of chickens at a poultry factory-farm near Chilliwack, B.C.

The radio-news report said the alleged abuse involved people hired as “chicken catchers” to gather up chickens, and pack them in shelves of plastic cages for shipment by truck to plants for slaughtering and further processing.

Before he continued the CBC reporter warned the description of the details might be difficult for some people to hear. And so they were. Continue reading

On growing old, and the health care crisis

aging

First, full disclosure: I am a senior. I have been for more than a few years. I am also the main caregiver of a much older, beloved family member. For some months now we have appreciated the help of the Community Care Access Center (CCAC) in Owen Sound, and the Personal Support Workers (PSWs), visiting nurses and other medical professionals who come to our home. Their genuinely caring attitude has been an important part of the homecare help they provide.

This first-hand experience with the homecare services offered by the Ontario government has been a continuing learning experience. I have, for example, noted with interest that in difficult negotiations with the federal government the provinces and territories have asked for more health care money, in large part to help cover the increasing costs of homecare. Continue reading

Seniors’ and children’s use of food banks rising

A set of shelves near the entrance to the village grocery store caught my eye this week as I stood in line at the check-out. It was filled on several levels with ready-packed bags of non-perishable food customers could purchase to donate to the local food bank.

That image alone said a lot about the need in and around the small Bruce Peninsula village, a need reflected elsewhere in the Grey-Bruce, Owen Sound area, throughout Ontario, and across Canada.

Coincidentally, just the day before I had heard one of the leading stories of that day, about the continuing high number of people in Ontario and across Canada who have to go to food banks because they can’t afford the cost of such a basic need as food.

Not to diminish the pain of hunger anyone on their own is suffering through, but that there are thousands of children in Canada who would be going hungry without vital access to a local food bank is surely a national disgrace. Continue reading

Bucket challenge good for ALS awareness

I’m technically challenged. I don’t tweet on twitter. I also don’t upload personal videos onto YouTube though we often joke about the humorous opportunities to “go viral” that have been missed in recent years. The talking dogs, for example.

So, it’s unlikely I’ll ever take the Ice Bucket Challenge and join the multi-millions of people doing it, or not doing it, to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research.

How the Challenge works is a bit confusing. After all, the phenomenon just sort of took off on social media earlier this summer without any clear organizational structure. An article about it on Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, says the “rules” are that anyone challenged to pour a bucket of ice water poured over their head has the option to decline and donate $100 to charitable organizations funding research to learn more about the fatal, degenerative, neurological disorder; or they can accept the challenge, have themselves videotaped doing it, and donate $10. But most people are donating $100 or more regardless.

Continue reading