Friday, July 15, 2011

Toronto the Good (at Taking Stuff from People)

So, as you know if you've been paying attention, I live in Toronto now. And these days that seems to be an exercise in reading the newspaper with a look of horror.

Suddenly, all the horrible things we feared would happen when Rob Ford was elected mayor are coming to pass. As alarmed/angry/frustrated as I am about the bike lane debacle, the threats to public parks and Riverdale Farm, and the willful ignorance of any way besides money to measure the wealth of a city, what I am most flabbergasted about and would like to talk about now is the public health nurse scandal. And yes it is a scandal, and an absolute disgrace.

Basically what happened is this: the province offered the city the funding to hire two public health nurses, who would be working (in part) with marginalized communities that don't generally have access to health care. Can I just repeat: FULLY FUNDED by the province. How can this be anything but good? But Rob Ford and his allies on City Council rejected the funding, and then rejected an opportunity to re-open the vote.

Their argument against FULLY FUNDED PUBLIC HEALTH NURSES remains unclear, except for the fear that we would have to pick up the tab after the provincial money ran out.

Two arguments: one, fine - but isn't having them for a year (or two) before letting time go when the money runs out better than not having them?, and two, maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing even if we have to pay for them! Because they are nurses! Providing a valuable service to our community - particularly chronically underserved sectors of it!

I dunno, sounds like a gravy train to me.

I mean really, how much can two nurses cost - and more importantly, isn't the work they do more than worth the cost (because I have no illusions that we pay nurses what they're worth)?

I kind of get the arguments for smaller government, against "nanny state" whatever, although I don't agree with them. But I will just never understand the nightmare of refusing what basically amounts to free healthcare for the citizens you are supposed to be serving. And when I do understand it, y'all can take me out back and shoot me, because I have no interest in living in a world where that kind of bullshit makes sense.

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