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Homes, Roads and Fears

Steve Campbell

Steve Campbell

There’s No Place For Homes.

Thanks to Rick Conroy for bringing attention to the plight of retirement homes in Ontario. I’ve been engaged in conversation with local owners for two years, but couldn’t find a way to tackle the problem.
He’s right: Government bureaucracy is driving retirement homes out of existence. And I know why.
It did indeed start with the tragedy in Montreal. But government agencies have no way of singling out problems as singular occurrences … in this case, neglect. Instead, they resort to building new ‘regulatory authorities’ which pound out blanket rules – painting offenders and honest compassionate caregivers with the same brush.
This is what I call ‘knee-jerk politics’. One incident of negligence creates an army of rules, regulations and enforcement staff. This is the New Ontario, in which a child gets a sliver on a wooden playground slide, and every playground in the province must now go plastic.
This knee-jerk reaction stems from the fact that the ‘compliance’ inspection staff is not allowed to use common sense, or their eyeballs, or their brains, to determine if a retirement home is a safe, healthy, professionally-run operation in which the operators care deeply about the welfare of all the individuals in their care. No, they just enforce the edicts of the ‘authority’, blindly. Because, “It says here you must …”

This is not only a horrible disservice to the heart and skills that our retirement home owners and staff exert, but it flies in the face of our Council’s commitment to affordable housing, especially for seniors.
One owner read between the lines and, like Bernadette in Rick’s story, saw the tidal wave coming … increasing in intensity as it approached. The owner I talked to said: “Nursing homes are an entirely different thing. They receive funding from the provincial government, and the province controls their every move.”
“Frankly, the government does not like independents, because the province isn’t in charge. They want us all to be nursing homes, but that doesn’t make any sense. My people don’t need nursing care, they just need a place to be with friends. A place that’s comfortable and safe, and meets their needs.”

To me, it’s odd that this whole thing started in the interest of ‘safety’ – a banner which allows bureaucrats to do what they damn well please, because only a fool would stand in the way of ‘safety’ – but ends up destroying the quality of life they intended to preserve. Some irony there.
It reminds me of a true quote from an American commander in Vietnam, reporting to Congress: “Unfortunately, in order to save the village, we had to destroy it.”
Bernadette alluded to the fact that the government’s push is doing more harm than good: Removing seniors from a safe, caring environment and forcing them to find accommodation, on their own, often alone, and without supervision is akin to sending your ‘old people’ out on a government-mandated iceberg.
Who’s going to check to make sure they’re eating, or taking their own medications? (According to regulations, God forbid you should administer it to them …the government feels that taking a pill from a bottle and handing it to a person needs a trained professional. No kidding.)

When it’s said and done, many more retirement homes will close, and many more people will be ejected from the comfort of their homes, and the support and camaraderie of their ‘family’. And the government will pat themselves on the back. To me, it’s like firing your mother.

Budget Blues
I know putting together the County Council budget is a tough and thankless job. But I have to ask: “Why is Bloomfield Main Street on the reconstruction list?” It’s one of the best roads in the County, and certainly not in need of repair. Plus, as a village business owner: Who wants to go through Picton’s recent open-heart surgery? Not me!
If it’s just to take advantage of a possible provincial government handout (which is apparently a condition on the project), I would much rather pass the millions over to Closson Road, which makes Highway 49 look like a polished landing strip at Pearson Airport. Priorities, man, priorities.
Closson now hosts buses and BMWs in swarms, yet is too narrow and has a road surface that qualifies it as a bonafide replica of the surface of the moon. Yet it doesn’t seem to be on the radar for improvement. Can any councillor explain it to me?

The Wild Card is Trump
Everybody’s got something to say about the new President-Elect, and I’ve read a lot of brilliant editorials, plus some merciless tear-downs on the late night comedy shows.
Joe Klein in Time magazine pointed out a few things that I feel capsulize the surprising victory.
First, Trump played the ‘fear card’ and somehow convinced the entire middle class that their country had been taken away from them, and played it card by card. The military has been horribly weakened, crime is up, blacks are killing whites in enormous numbers, Mexicans are raping, illegal immigrants were eating up jobs. All of these untrue, according to unbiased sources, but still the list grew. Once the ‘belief system’ had been established, as we saw, the most ridiculous claims were absorbed without question. Like some kind of warped religion.
Unlike Canadians, as Klein points out: “Americans look for simplistic solutions to complex problems.”
He also noted: “The middle class believes that American workers with union jobs, health care, job security and pensions can manufacture jeans that sell for $15 at Wal-Mart.”
Though the pot is still boiling, my prediction is: Americans have always been protectionist. Now they’re about to become isolationist.

I suspect this is why our PM is out there building new trade deals. I was against NAFTA from the beginning, and referred to it as a ‘deal with the devil’. For some reason, I still pay duty on items I am forced to buy from the U.S., which aren’t available in Canada. And the NAFTA overseers have found the U.S. guilty of violating the agreement when it comes to importing Canadian goods.
I think it’s hilarious that the devil thought he got the worst of the deal.

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  1. Dennis Bond says:

    seniors homes- county roads scary to think they are comparable
    sadly, small senior environments will be put out of business due to regulations without financial backing. One ex. fire suppression systems- a great idea- government mandated for 2019-no finances to make it happen- closure if you don’t comply- period. The cost of this is prohibitive to most if not all small providers.Kiss the human touch good bye.
    Ask yourself-When will this service apply to me,how will I feel about it then and will it be to late to act.
    County roads- never has it been more important to provide visitors with access- the goal is the county and its future.
    Where is the need to meet this obligation not where do we need to look good. I travel hwy 49 regularly. I travel hwy 33 periodically. I travel Closson and other roads in the county for pleasure…
    Folks… its not rocket science. Canvas for the whole county not just where you live or drive or play

  2. Chris Keen says:

    And who provides the money the provincial government is “chipping in”? Waste is waste no matter what level of government is doing it. Bloomfield Main Street is one of the County’s best roads! By all means get the “grant” for a road that could use work – Hillier springs to mind.

    And while the County looks for additional revenue, I hope they’ve ordered pay and display parking dispensers for Bloomfield and Wellington, along with the ones Picton is getting. No point continuing to miss out on that revenue stream.

  3. Jason says:

    According the the budget document, the Bloomfield Main St. project shows the provincial government chipping in most of the cash…the County only has to shell out 10% of the 1.4 million dollar project. Also, the document shows the project as a resurfacing, a much less involved process than a “reconstruction”, which is a scary word to be sure.

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