Old News

Friday, January 23, 2015   by: Bill Walton

I was thinking about a couple of topics for a column on current events around the city and across the country however after five tries I gave up. I started writing these columns in 2003 and so I was not surprised that what I wanted to say today, I had already commented on. The scary thing is that as old as some of those columns were, they still applied today.

The idea of another PPP to build an ice pad for the College sounded all too familiar. The article on the subject by Henri Giroux touched all the right buttons in his ‘not so fast’ warning about the partnership idea. I covered much of the same ground in my column ‘Pea, Pea, Pea’ article years ago. It’s still in the archives for reference.

Then I thought the story of our falling Loonie would be worth a few comments, but once again, I had already covered that when the Loonie dropped from a high of 1.08 to a low of .80. I ended that column on a hopeful note that the Loonie would fly back north in the spring. I’m not so certain this year, but a number of elements in that story are here again. I called that column ‘Snowbird’. It is great to see the real Snowbirds coming to the City this year for Armed Forces Day.

The closing of beds at the hospital was in need of a review especially since beds are closing in the Soo and Sudbury as well. Our funding from Queen’s Park has stalled. No doubt this is due to Steve in Ottawa, but lo and behold I covered a very similar story in “Bedlam”, a poor pun on our beds going on the lam like a gang of scoundrels. Nothing new there it seems. The budget climate has changed very little and everything I once said still repeats with annoying regularity. Do we never learn? The City bureaucrats are still running out the ‘level of service’ flag, police and fire cost a whole lot and the people at Queens’ Park have overspent again. It is a good thing taxpayers have deep pockets but if you need a refresher, just look for any of my old columns about budgets and money. It is discouraging.

Then we need to talk about the unfortunate shooting of the police officers in Alberta. What in heaven’s name are we to do to get these miscreants off the streets? Education doesn’t seem to work for people not interested in behaving in a socially acceptable manner. We don’t have the money, space or the will to incarcerate them so our prosecutors plea bargain and judges use probation as their only tool. The bad people continue to walk among us. I re-read my Broken Windows column and that may be part of the solution.

The pipeline / drinking water debate is lively and needs our attention but I wish we could stick to some basic facts and kill the hyperbola. Every time I read the anti-pipeline verbiage about an oil spill affecting Chippewa Creek and it running into our water supply in Trout Lake, I shake my head. I am fairly certain that Chippewa flows into Lake Nipissing – not that we want any more oil in that lake, but please. And the idea of a spill flowing into Four Mile Bay flooding all the way back to our intake at the head of the lake in a matter of hours is absurd. It might flow down the lake to the Mattawa River but it will hardly go the other way – even against the prevailing wind if it does get out of Four Mile Bay. Please make your arguments with a little logic to them so you will have some credibility at any hearings. That was the only new news

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