Shorted Sighted Sick Leave Policies

I was a bit put off, but not surprised, to read in the G & M this morning that the Alberta government is instructing employees that during this swine flu season, they no longer will have to provide a doctor's note, after being sick for three days or more. They will however have to swear, in front of a commissioner of oaths, that they were indeed sick.

What was clear from the article was that the Alberta Government, has joined several other unenlightened employers, in making it policy that, in normal times, an employee off sick for three days or more must provide a doctor's note.

I used to argue with employers that such a policy really amounted to an abuse of the health care system and served little else that to intimidate employees who were sick, to come to work. The result is that they spread whatever they have around the workplace making more employees sick.

These last few years when governments claim to be struggling to make sure that a proper level of medical service is provided to citizens, that same government is clogging the system by forcing employees to see a doctor who can do very little more than write a note which says "This patient attended my office and has told me that he/she was sick last week."

The policy is very prevelant in the hotel and restaurant industry which as a matter of course has very little paid sick leave available for employees who are ill. They normally come to work in their jobs as cooks or servers in the restaurants we eat in, sick or not, very efficiently spreading the diseases that we are supposed to be trying to contain.

If governments were really interested in containing potential pandemics, they would mandate, an adequate amount of paid sick leave for every employee in their province.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that.


Gun Law Stupidity

OK, let me be up front. I don't like guns!

So, I cannot find words to express how disappointed I was in the fact that several NDP members voted in favour of abolishing the long gun registry. The Liberals, I expected to go both ways on the issue but the NDP. No excuse.

The private member's bill to abolish to long gun registry was put forward by Conservative member Candice Hoeppner, from of all places, Morden Manitoba. That was after years of budget cuts to the department responsible for the registry to assure they couldn't do their job efficiently.

Let's be clear what we are talking about here. The legislation didn't ban long guns. It didn't restrict long guns. It only said that if you were going to own one, you had to register it. We are told that rural Canada was up in arms - ok perhaps a bad choice of words - about the issue and were refusing to comply. That was when Harper and his gang did away with the penalties for non compliance with the registry. When they did comply anyway they were really pissed off about it.

As an urban Canadian, I confess, I cannot, for the life of me, understand why this is an issue;
  • If I own a car, I have to register it with the province where I live.
  • I have to pass a test and buy a driver's license if I want to drive it.
  • We register our marriage and the birth of our children
  • If I want to build a garage on my property, I have to buy a building permit
  • Fishermen need to buy a license before putting a line in the water
So what is it about guns? I know that the Conservatives rely on the rural voters to get elected but how hard can it be to comply?

It make me a bit nervous when I wonder what it is they are trying to hide. Here in Saskatchewan, bumper stickers with the slogan "You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers" are a bit too common here for my liking.

The registry is accessed by police departments in Canada 9000 times a day. Frankly, if I was a cop, as a starting point, I'd like to be able to look up, on line somewhere, if that guy who is having a bad day and is holed up with a gun taking pot shots at his neighbors, has a bunch of weapons in his closet.

I support the gun registry and tougher gun laws 100%. Guns only really serve one purpose and that is to kill things and to be honest killing things isn't part of my cultural experience.

Oh yeah, if you in the NDP are paying attention. I will remember your role in all this election day.


Who Should Carry the Can on Swine Flu

I wonder how long it will be before people really start to get annoyed about how the Harper and his crew are handling the H1N1 flu shot program. They have been lucky so far but a slight turn in direction could probe disastrous for this minority government.

For months Canadians were told, "Don't worry, there will be vaccine for each and every person that wants it." The media were sidetracked by issues such as the shipment of body bags into northern communities, "Just in case" and of course all the anti-vaccine activists got lots of air time and, "Do Canadians really care about this vaccine anyway" and, "What pandemic?"

Even little Stevie can't get the message right. Asked if he intended to get a shot, he answered, "If that is what is recommended." The federal medical people have been saying everyone Canadian should get vaccinated for weeks now. I guess Harper must have other things on his mind.

So here we are

As compared with other countries, Canada is about six weeks late in rolling this vaccine out at least partially because the government didn't order the stuff for several months after the outbreak was labeled a pandemic. (This strain surfaced in April, the government ordered the vaccine in mid August) So, we are, well into flu season and despite all the assurances, by the Feds, that there would be lots of vaccine to go around, the provinces which have to distribute the bloody stuff are just discovering that they will only be shipped a small fraction of what they were promised.

All this will be fine, the federal Government will ride it through as long as this flu outbreak doesn't suddenly blossom into a crisis and they have to shut down schools and businesses. As long as the weather stays nice and as long as the death toll stays low. You know that if things go bad, even Harper's buddies like Brad Wall won't take the blame.

But, you never do know. In Saskatchewan, the weather can turn in a day and we could find ourselves up to our knees in snow with temperatures well below zero. Block long lineups of "at risk" people waiting for flu shots in a blizzard, the rest of us, getting the sniffles and having no idea when we might get ours, people wearing masks and a few more H1N1 deaths could turn even the hardest nosed Saskatchewan Conservative into an NDPer in a flash.

Maybe we'll all get lucky. Then again......