I am a Facebook junkie. I’ll admit it. I check in the morning and in the evening before I go to bed. I’ll check when I have a moment like in the drive thru at Tims. Every once in awhile I find a little gem or something that gets to me that someone has shared. These things that get me fired up and thinking. They get the ol’ neurons firing and the wheels in the noggin’ turning. I’ve had two such instances this weekend.
The first was the Provincial Budget that came down the pipe last week and its effects on the people of our province and the second was a blog I read. It was written by a man who was once a troubled boy. Both of these have got my fur up and me thinking. I want to share my thoughts.

THe first is the provincial budget. The is a shameful mess. I rallied and debated and discussed during this past election. I was NOT a teacher who was bought by Allison Redford’s promises, contrary to popular belief. I am a teacher who thought about the election, who read all of the information possible in order to make a educated decision in the poll booth. I knew enough and read enough that Danielle Smith and her posse of religious right wing nuts were not the answer. Their platforms were scary and some of their ideas were not the best for the province or simply being a Canadian. If I wanted to live in the USA and have the economy, education and health care be ran that way I would live there. I don’t want it that way so I live here and I believe strongly in our Canadian way of doing things. I also knew that it was time for a change. I didn’t vote for either. However, I did breathe a huge sigh of relief when Allison won again. To me-she was the lesser of the two evils. She has brought a budget that is extremely disappointing and what its going to do is create more mess than its helping. She has been a hotmess. I’m quite sure that Danielle Smith wouldn’t be doing much of a better job right now. Its almost too bad Danielle didn’t win and then she could be in this mess and we could be rid of her for good after her term was up. Instead Allison has this mess and its only going to set up a better stage for Danielle come the next election. Sigh.

My first issue with the budget is what it is going to do with health care and care in our province. AHS is a damned mess. This budget is only going to make it worse. The biggest hit is going to be to the frontline. The line that has a direct impact on the the people. That is EMS, Doctors and Nurses that are going to take the hit not the managers who manage managers and thier obscene pay grid and office perks. No no, they’re bravely taking their wage freeze. The offices need the cleanup and downsizing not the hospitals and tightening in the hospitals. It is time to clean out the offices and get rid of the ‘top’. There are way too many chefs in the AHS kitchen and its not Drs. and Nurses. So what will happen…? All of the offices will stay fully staffed, no one there will lose their job. They will continue to have the most cush gov’t job on the planet, complete with two fifteens and a lunch break. I can probably guaruntee that there isn’t a single solitary car in any AHS parking lot past 4:30. The cleaning staffs take the bus! Money will be saved at the frontline by cutting services and staff. Then care will really go to hell in a handbasket. Soon the gov’t will wonder what went wrong and will then add more managers to manage managers to figure out why care went to crap. All these managers will think up great and wonderful ideas to maximize care and make it better, all without adding to and changing the frontline but merely adding to the existing workers workload. A workload that is already obscene, but they can do more because a manager managing managers who makes a fuckload of money thought it up. And that thought was brilliant. So the brutal cycle continues. Until there is some major, I mean major changes in the offices that makeup AHS not the hospitals, it is going to continue to be a sinkhole with no end in site. We have too soon forgotten the CEO of Foothills who got a multi-million dollar servance package when AHS amalgamated who then worked for AHS with an obscene salary who was writing off everything and CBC found out and so he was relieved of his duties with another severance package and thanks to our gov’t is a multimillionaire. I’d like to find a GP or nurse who gets these perks and retires a multimillionaire. Until the stroking circle is broken between the gov’t and AHS this kind of bullshit will continue.

Next in Queen Ally’s plan is to save money by closing Michner Center in Red Deer. She’s all about ‘deinstitionalizing’ the residents who live there. Its going to be so much better for them in homes. We are creating a better quality of life for the special needs people in groups homes. They are going to be included members of the community and blah, blah, blah. This is the biggest load of manure yet. Over the years I have worked at the swimming pool at Michner Center. Here’s what I saw. I saw happy special needs people being cared for by qualified staff. They had access to the recreation facility there. They had organized activities and events. There are facilities there for them to participate in events with their peers, this included dances, bingo, crafts and a plethora of activities. They had a place that they called home. Never once when I was on the Center did I feel like i was in an institution. Right now the gov’t is painting it like its some sort of place from a horror flick or something. That has never been what I saw there-ever. Here’s what I know about group homes. A house is smaller and cheaper to operate than a large campus like facility like Michner Center. A house can be staffed by unqualified people who will work for cheap and will send a large portion of the money back to the country from where they came. A house doesn’t need OT/PT or recreation therapist, or SLP’s or physical therapists or a large laundry facility or recreational places that need maitenence like a swimming pool or the hardwood of a gym. Or bathrooms with walk in tubs for those with physical issues. Or a kitchen with trained cooks and menus planned by nutritionist. Nope a house doesn’t need any of these trained professionals. The people are put into the house with no consideration about how they will interact with one another. One person mentioned that her sister is in a house and when she’s out of the house for the weekend another person (client) goes into the house, into her room and uses it. How nice is that? I’m quite sure the MLA’s wouldn’t be so keen on letting random people move into their bedrooms when they’re not there and use their stuff and get into their things. I feel quite confident in saying that a group home has a higher chance of creating a life for its resident how it used to be thought of- than Michner Center ever has. Currently, there is a movement afoot to make the gov’t change this decision. I hope that this wave will stop the gov’t in its decison to close the Center.

As a teacher I know what’s coming down the pipe for us too. As a member of the union I don’t want to say too much. I just hope that our gov’t will hear our voices and make the changes neceassary.

The second item was a blog posted that was shared by a gal I worked with. It was written by a man for the Huffington Post, but the HP didn’t want to run the blog and so he put it on his and its gone viral. Its a man who is a teacher but reflects on being a wayward, angry youth and the effects of video games on some (not all) boys. He speaks his truth and how becoming a person who spent time in nature put him on the right track. He asks the hard questions. The ones that some will dare not answer. The biggest one being: do we want our youth to practice killing? When they are spending numerous hours of screen time in practising violence what skills are they practising for thier life? It is one of the BEST blogs I’ve read about mass shootings and what is happening to youth. You can read the blog by this link.


I firmly believe that the types of video games that can be played now are not safe for a young boy who is isolated and have mental health concerns. They are a far cry from what we played as kids. Pac Man, Sonic aren’t even close to what the kids are playing today. The can play first person killers. They are playing games that the Military often uses to desensitize its members to death and the act of killing another person in training. I agree that they are not the cause of mass murders in the USA but the fact remains that many of the boys who have gone on killing sprees including NewTown have logged an obscene amount of screen time playing these games. There is a correalation. There needs to be research into the correalation and to a degree its causation. We can point our fingers in all directions of blame. The simple fact is this, kids who are engaged with the world around them not the one on the screen, learn sympathy and empathy, have instilled in them strong morals and values will not do these kinds of horrific acts. Kids who appreciate nature and are in nature and conquer fears and take risks in nature will have esteem. They will learn resilience. This will translate into better abilities to cope with what the world throws at them. He makes the point, you don’t read that these killers enjoyed camping and canoing.

This desensitizing and screen time is important. I have the movie channels. Two of the channels play older movies. One night I was up late with the babe and ‘Silence of the Lambs’ came on. Jodie Foster just won the lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes so I thought why not watch it, there’s nothing else on. I remember seeing it in the theater. I remember all the hoopla over the violience in it. I remember how it was so over the top creepy and violent. Then I thought, ‘my how times have changed’. I can see more gore on a commercial for ‘Bones’. I can see more creepy violent acts on ‘Criminal Minds.’ This is prime time TV. This can’t be good for society. Again, screen time we have to be more diligent on what is on the screen and what the kids are seeing on that screen.

So that’s my pontificating for the day. There are electronic letters regarding Michner Center and other movements online and posted to my FB page. I hope that you read the article from Peter Brown. It is very thoughtful.

Take care out there.