Editor's Musings

There are 137 operating refineries in United States. A google search for Canada came up with anywhere from 10 to 25. The numbers are not as important as a statement attributed to the Natural Resources Canada website which reported that existing capacity already produces 10% more refined products than we use domestically.
When 10 refineries close in United States because of a hurricane,  and maybe some of that oil comes from Canada, there should have been an excess of crude. We all know that when we have a barrel too much, one can expect a price drop…but that did not happen this past weekend. Instead, prices went up 25% for a product that was already refined, in some cases sitting in tanks at gas stations, maybe already paid for.
Although many may believe in the free enterprise system, this is obviously PRICE GOUGING.
If you are in favour of selling the 407 to a private investor – we now pay some of the highest toll fees in the world I read – think about where we are going with the sale of Ontario Hydro, or any of the other companies owned by our governments.

There are places in Canada in which newspaper circulation is actually stable or growing, and where reader loyalty is as strong as it has ever been. Places where people still pick up the paper and read it front to back to find out what’s going on in their community.
These places are not Canada’s mid-sized to large cities. It is in community newspapers that serve the hundreds of small towns that form the heartland of the country.
Community newspapers have held true for a number of reasons. Unlike other media, these newspapers tells stories about their communities - stories you can’t find on a news wire. Readers cannot find their mix of local news, events, sports and advertising anywhere else. Readers often feel a personal connection, or sense of ownership, with their community newspaper. If they don’t like a story, they can call up and complain. Editors and owners belong to the same social clubs, churches and hockey leagues as their customers.
Local businesses, in turn, view community newspapers as the best bet for effectively reaching consumers in these small markets. Their markets are “captive” - i.e., generally too small for the big guys to try to move in.
Corporations have made inroads in some smaller communities, especially in the Golden Horseshoe area between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Yet those efforts have brought mixed success, at best, and in some cases total failure (leading to the closure of some small papers).
Their cost-saving tactics are often what doom them to failure. Companies try to recover the cost of purchasing a small paper by cutting staff. There are cases, in fact, in which the only reporter left at a “local” paper doesn’t even live in the community the paper represents.
In one Southern Ontario town, the community was so disgusted by what happened to its local paper under company ownership that local advertisers supported the emergence an independent competitor. When a corporate paper puts virtually nothing into a community (and yet expects to take our profits through advertising revenue), it’s not really that hard to provide a better product.
All of this is not to say small papers have an easy ride. Publishers, editors and business managers from Ontario’s community papers gathered in Toronto for its annual conference. They spoke of the many worries that cloud the crystal ball: ongoing trouble attracting national advertisers, the difficulty in retaining talented young staff who get richer offers from bigger markets, and adapting to the digital age in which a solid web presence and social media strategy are an essential part of the mix.
There will be papers, no doubt, that will give up the fight and fold, as some have. Yet for those who stay, strive to adapt and keep their eye on the ball, it’s hard to imagine a future without a community newspaper in some form.
They will survive because nobody else is going to tell the stories they do - about local births and deaths, local heroes and hooligans, the wise and foolish decisions of the local council and prospects for the minor hockey teams. The heartland has shown, time and again, that they will support a local news source that lives and breathes small town Canadian life.
It makes you wonder whether, in that sense at least, the small towns of Canada are so much different from the big ones. The stories that impact us most, whether in Corner Brook, Nfld, or Vancouver, B.C., are the ones about our neighbours.

The Green Climate Fund by 2020 is supposed to be dishing out $100 billion every year to help developing countries to “adapt to climate change”. Firm pledges received so far total just $700 million, leaving $99.3 billion still to go. The only real question that will remain after the failure of the bid for a binding treaty in Paris is how much longer it can be before the most expensive and foolish scare story in history finally falls apart.

The core of the entire climate change agenda is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions — which proponents like to call “air pollution.” It comes from sources we can’t control: volcanoes; sources we can kind-of control: forest fires (better forest management would result in fewer fires) and human beings exhaling (reduce the population, reduce CO2 emissions); and sources we can control: the use of fossil fuels (we can virtually outlaw them as several countries, including the U.S., are trying to do).

My health you ask???
Four weeks ago, I could barely get around with a walker. Today, I may have a cane sometimes but it is only a symbol of security.
My appetite is so-so and I have as yet to gain back any of the 50 plus pounds I lost.
The #5 lumbar is still very much there and I do exercises to alleviate the pain and numbness.
I have a doctor who is diligent and tackling most angles /aspects of my health.
I guesstimate I am not at 50% of where I might have been a few months ago, health wise and strength wise,
But I am not going anyplace.
I am not dying.
I will get better.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information’s annual tracking of wait times for priority procedures is out.
The report focuses primarily on patient wait times for only five “priority procedures,” and in a very limited sense. For example, the report doesn’t include the time it takes to get an appointment with a specialist And it uses remarkably long benchmarks for acceptable time frames (six months for hip and knee replacements, for example).
The report concludes that only three out of four Canadians received treatment within the medically recommended wait time. Worse, the situation has deteriorated since last year when “only” one out of five Canadian patients - 20 per cent - didn’t receive timely treatment.
The Fraser Institute’s most recent annual survey of physicians in Canada found that patients could expect to wait 20 weeks from general practitioner referral to treatment for medically-necessary treatments across 12 specialties (including orthopedics, neurosurgery, urology and otolaryngology). This wait time was the longest ever measured by the survey and more than twice as long as the waits in 1993 (9.3 weeks), when the first national estimate of wait times was produced.
Yet in the face of this failure, patients in Canada have no recourse. They’re often faced with the unhappy choice of waiting in pain while their situation deteriorates or leaving the country to access timely treatment.
Wait times have become the Canadian health-care system’s defining feature.
This despite years of spending increases and continued promises from provincial and federal governments to do something about it.

That’s it Charles - another report in two weeks.