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HEALTHCARE: CRAPPY?

We Canadians are not unknown to fancy ourselves to be a little more awesome
than we may actually be in reality, and this especially seems true when it
comes to how we perceive our healthcare system. According to a survey
conducted as part of the Canadian Medical Association’s fifth annual
report card on healthcare, while Canadians are generally quite pleased with
the way our system works for us, we nonetheless consistently overestimated
its actual quality when compared to the rest of the world.

The report, released by the association at the beginning of its annual
meeting in Edmonton on Monday, showed that Canadians were indeed pleased with
the system, with nearly two thirds of the 1,000 people surveyed giving the
quality of healthcare a grade of A or B. But when asked to rate how they
thought Canada’s healthcare system stacked up against those of 29 other
countries from the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development,
Canadians proved to be more than just a little optimistic. On the subject of
the government’s portion of all national healthcare spending,
respondents rated Canada’s as tenth-highest in the world; the actual
rank was 21st. In terms of the availability of doctors, Canadians felt we
ranked 13th, where in actuality we hold down the number 26 spot. And when it
came to infant mortality rates, respondents guessed Canada ranked 10th out of
29, though the facts show a dismal 22nd.

According to association president Dr. Albert Schumacher, the report card
shows just how protected from the truth about our healthcare system Canadians
may be, and he hopes the report illustrates how dire the need to open a
discussion about healthcare alternatives may be. “There’s a gap
between how well we’re actually doing and what Canadians think,”
Schumacher told the Canadian Press. “Canadians have been shielded for
too long about what the real facts are in the rest of the world. If
we’re going to use our healthcare as a national identifier and take
some pride in it, then I think we need to examine it more carefully to make
sure it actually is as good as we think.

“We have to look at our peer nations,” he continued. “But I
don’t think we should look at American stuff.”

Because, no matter what happens, we’ll always be better than those
guys.

 

WATER: GROSS?

Despite years of political wrangling between Canada and the United States,
the government of North Dakota has begun a controversial drainage project
that will sees the state pump some of its gross-ass American lake water into
a perfectly good river that eventually flows into Canada.

According to a report on ctv.ca, in order to alleviate chronic flooding
concerns surrounding North Dakota’s Devils Lake, two pumping stations
starting pulling water out of the lake on Monday at a rate of 25 cubic feet
per second and dumping it into the Sheyenne River, which joins the Red River
and eventually empties into Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg, home of a $25
million fishery and the world’s 10th-largest source of fresh water.
Some Canadians have expressed concerns that the drainage project could
contaminate Canadian water resources with undetected pollutants, foreign fish
and organisms. Earlier this year, the Manitoba government failed to be
convincing enough to stop the project in the legal arena, though they did
succeed in forcing the North Dakota government to install a gravel filter at
the outlet to keep foreign organisms out of Manitoban waterways. Still,
results of tests as to whether the filter actually works aren’t yet
available, and Manitoba premier Gary Doer is saying U.S. officials should
have at least waited until they knew it was safe.

“Really, what we are doing in my view is taking an unnecessary
gamble,” Doer told CKY News. “If there is a risk that is
identified after the fact, then I believe the Americans have broken the
International Joint Commission Treaty.”

If nothing else, here’s hoping Manitobans don’t end up catching
whatever the fuck made North Dakota vote for Bush. One crazy asshole
right-wing province is more than enough, thanks.

 

AMERICANS: JERKS?

Saying he was “very disturbed” by the U.S. government’s
response to a recent NAFTA ruling that dismissed Washington’s claims
that Canadian softwood exports were subsidized and damaging the American
lumber industry, federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale is reportedly
weighing his options as to how exactly we’re going to get back the over
$5 billion the U.S. collected in anti-dumping duties from Canadian
companies.

According to the Canadian Press, despite NAFTA’s ruling, the American
government insists they are not in the wrong, stating that the decision
failed to take into account an opposing 2004 decision made by the U.S.-based
International Trade Commission. As such, Goodale stated that International
Trade Minister Jim Peterson is considering its debt-collection options, which
could include litigation, trade sanctions, or, hopefully, good old-fashioned
hired goons. V

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