Disaster management is the preparation for, mitigation of, response to, and recovery from adverse events that transcend 'regular' emergencies while political philosophy asks the 'big' questions about power in society -- who gets what, and why? And when a fatal disease without a known cure moves rapidly from human to human it's not just about food supplies and First Aid Kits -- the question of who gets what, and why, becomes central.
My point is simply this: Many want change in Toronto politics, but unless we start changing the way that media covers local council races, the same style of candidates will continue to be elected, we can no longer be allergic to the potential of something better, unlikely or fear something different in such a diverse city.
In September, I was granted my request for an emergency debate in the House of Commons to address the Ebola crisis. Unfortunately the Canadian government's response to date has been scattered and slow. Only a fraction of the protective equipment donation announced a month ago has actually made it to Africa, while health workers there are at risk because they have run out of face masks and gloves. What was heralded as a promising Ebola vaccine developed in Canada has taken too long to get to clinical trials and it will be months before it is available in affected communities.
Beyond Quebec, despite the endorsement of the public health and policy community, a Health in All Policies approach has not found the political will necessary for meaningful change. But the past year offers signs of hope, with governments in Canada from across the political spectrum beginning to see the potential.
The need for a harmonized communication system is paramount or infection will spread. A lack of smooth channels between departments within the hospital led to a combination of confusion and misguidance. Thanks to the whistleblowers, other secondary factors such as lack of proper equipment and disposal of medical waste appeared to be mishandled. Then there was the overall morale of those working inside, which seemed to be poor at best. While this could be expected, there was little questioning of the hospital when it apologized for its handling of the situation.
Statistically, when it comes to more Ebola cases arriving in North America, the question is not if, but when. While I still believe there is no cause for a general panic over Ebola, I feel that the approach being taken at present by our public health authorities is overconfident, dogmatic, and inflexible, with an unwillingness to consider that current containment measures may not be adequate. As a front line health care worker, I feel that my own safety is already at risk.
In this continuing dialogue about whether the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will help or hurt the work force, I've always been of the opinion that technical advancement is good, and creates new opportunities, even if it kills off existing ones. This robotic work force strikes fear in many. But what if these advances in technology serve to improve human leadership rather than replace it? It's already happening.
Outside the neighbourhood, there is one country leading the response. It is not Canada, despite statements from our ministers that the Canadian refugee response constitutes "more than any of our allies have done." This is deliberately misleading and a slight to what our allies are actually doing. Greater leadership can be found in a country with a quarter of Canada's population.
While it's always good practice to stop and celebrate our achievements and accomplishments, we still have a long way to go to truly empower girls. The non-profit organization, Girls' Inc. coined the term "supergirl dilemma" in a 2006 report to describe the pressure on girls to be everything to everyone, all the time.
Diplomatically, we are losing much of the "bench strength" we once possessed, as senior and able diplomats transition out of public service due to the lack of government engagement in the more vital files. The Canadian government denies all this repeatedly, as governments are prone to do, but those many areas where this country once was a steady player are increasingly being recognizing for our absence.
There's the reality that not everyone has a network of friends and family they can call on who are able, capable or willing to handle sometimes complex care needs -- in many cases, for care needs required over long periods of time. In 2012, nearly 461,000 Canadians 15 years of age and older suffering from a chronic condition needed homecare but had none -- formal or informal.
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