Who is the Walrus?

My family and I visited Ontario recently and one of the things we did while up along was visit Marineland. Our four year-old, who has been able to say anything and everything for quite some time now, just couldn’t wrap her lips and tongue around the word ‘walrus’. ‘Wal-rust’, was one way it came out. Another sounded something like; ‘waltz-struss’. She kept trying. In an attempt to assist, I grabbed the iPad and took to Google, thinking that, if we looked at pictures and said the word often enough, she’d get it.
One of the first internet hits was I am the Walrus by The Beatles. Nothing to see there for her, so we moved on. Later, when my wee one tired of walruses, I took a quick look. The tune, written by John Lennon in 1967, was never intended to make sense. For one thing, Lennon admitted part of the song was written while he was on two separate acid trips. It was also reported that he’d written parts of I am the Walrus simply to confuse those who spent their time trying to interpret his work.
Enough with the walrus stuff. Not only was the word itself hard to say, but the only song ever written about them made absolutely no sense. And it wasn’t supposed to.
I decided to get caught up on the things I’d missed while we were away. Like the news. Now that always makes sense, right?
According to new Conference Board of Canada research, Alberta was the lone province to receive a “B” in Health Care System Performance. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec received “C”s. The lowest grades were awarded to P.E.I. and, oh dear, our very own province.
But that wasn’t the only health care news.
The only two oral surgeons practicing in this province were preparing to resign, meaning that patients from this province may have to be sent to Halifax to receive emergency oral surgery.
Rough stuff for an already struggling board. The CEO of the province’s largest health authority, Vickie Kaminski, already has to find a $7-million cut in the organization’s workings after the latest budget cuts, equating to somewhere between 65 and 75 management jobs.
One of the risks in cutting management positions is a lack of monitoring, which, as anyone who watches the news knows, can’t be good for EH. Under Kaminski’s watch there’s been privacy breaches, including one nurse who looked up the files of 122 patients, there’s been medical waste blowing around St. John’s, patient files have been stolen from cars, plus there’s a significant number of administrative issues that can be filed under “other screw ups”, including one involving 31 patients at the community health office in St. Mary’s where a number of referral requests from the local physician and nurse practitioner were not sent to other departments by the employee responsible.
And don’t forget the Tim Hortons that, because of inefficiencies at EH, lost about $260,000 in one year.
Add to this list the hand washing scandal. OK, maybe it wasn’t a scandal, but it was pretty bummer news when the results of a hand hygiene audit indicated the rate of hand washing had decreased when compared to 2011. Yuck. This was particularly disturbing when it was revealed that three patients with the bacterial infection Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) had died while being treated at the Health Sciences Centre and that hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent transmission.
So, I was caught up. Almost.
In a speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade, Premier Dunderdale revealed the details of a racket she had with the Prime Minister’s office over the Muskrat Falls loan guarantee. She even revealed she made poor (well, $90,000 poorer at least) Nigel Wright’s (Harper’s then-chief of staff) ears ring when she “smacked” the phone down on the bugger.
Why was she so ticked? Dunderdale said Harper pushed hard to get concessions on the fishery, particularly on onshore minimum processing requirements, in exchange for the Muskrat Falls loan guarantee. But our gal wouldn’t agree to a “quid pro quo.”
Interesting. Now we all know why the visit Harper made to Labrador to finalize the loan guarantee took our premier by surprise.
“I haven’t spoken to the Prime Minister’s Office, no,” she told reporters a day before the signing. “Our team is in Ottawa negotiating around the loan guarantee, but we’re not done yet.”
But she was talking to the PMO, at least long enough to hear something that ticked her off enough to give the phone a chuck. Seems had she not done so she might have been advised the deal was done and she needed to get her behind to the Big Land. And take a pen.
In her speech Dunderdale also said her government doesn’t often get the credit it deserves for the work it’s doing, and that was especially clear on the loan guarantee, and, it seems (who knew) the loan guarantee process is now wrapped up. Well, wasn’t it “wrapped up” before? Nope.
Whatever. Now it’s done. Almost.
And now I’m caught up. Confused, but caught up.
So, what about those walruses?

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