Support Expressed for Federal Budget
MANITOULIN – �Prudent,� and �a new era for Canada� were words and phrases used by local federal and provincial politicians as well as health care representatives to describe the federal budget announced last week by Minister of Finance, Paul Martin.
�Budget 99 marks a passage to a new era for Canada. We are building on the hard work and sacrifices all Canadians made to put our nation�s finances back in order,� said Brent St. Denis, MP for Algoma-Manitoulin. �Now is the time of new investment and new optimism as we devote ourselves to the priorities of Canada.�
This budget makes health the focus of the largest single investment this government has ever made, said St. Denis. Over the next five years, provinces and territories will receive an additional $11.5 billion specifically for health care. This additional funding will help provinces and territories deal with immediate concerns about waiting lists, crowded emergency rooms, and diagnostic services.
The Liberal government has provided targeted relief in each of its previous budgets and in 1999, we begin the process of broadening tax relief to reach more Canadians. Our approach is clear. First, tax reductions must benefit those who need them most, low and middle-income Canadians. Second, tax relief should focus on personal income taxes. Third, tax relief should not be financed with borrowed money, said St. Denis.
Budget 99 builds on the same strategy of sound economic and fiscal management that saw the elimination of a $42 billion deficit in just four years. And last year, for the first time in 28 years, we recorded a surplus of $3.5 billion, continued St. Denis. Together we will continue to strengthen and fortify our quality of life with a strong and productive economy, equal opportunities for all and a safety net for those in need.
St. Denis said, the budget builds on the Liberal government�s commitment to enhance Canadians� quality of life. Since the elimination of the deficit in the 1998 budget, three-quarters of all new federal government spending has focussed on health care and education. Canadians are moving into the next century with optimism, looking forward to a better standard of living and the chance to build a future on the strong foundation of our economy.
�It�s prudent. I think it�s a good budget,� said Mike Brown, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin. �It contains additional money to the provinces for health.� Brown cautioned, �health care and funding is the responsibility of the provincial government, not the federal government.� He pointed out the federal government did a remarkable job in getting the country�s deficit under control to the point there is now a surplus. As well, there has been a dramatic impact in the decline of unemployment and low interest rates.
�I received a copy of the budget Wednesday, and there were no surprises. The main focus of surpluses are going into health care, where everyone wanted them,� said Brown. By cutting the deficit down, Canada is ready economically if there are dramatic changes made in the global economy, said Brown. �The big issue for Ontario is Harris has said the federal government didn�t provide enough funding for health care services or educational transfers in the past. The argument can be made there has been no reduction in health care transfers,� he said pointing to funding having gone into many other areas.
Brown said a recent government report stated the province has lost 10,000 nursing jobs. The government will now have the opportunity to put funding to this and other areas of health care, but he isn�t sure if the province can be trusted to take these measures. �The province hasn�t made an investment in more long term care beds, as promised.� said Brown. It is in this type of area things need to be set in place before the health care system can be repaired. �The money will be coming to the province from the federal government, but I wonder if we can trust Harris to actually spend it on health care. It is our job to make sure the money supposed to be spent on health care,� said Brown.
Brown pointed out all the money in the world will not bring back the 10,000 nurses needed in the province, as suggested by a recent government report. �There are far fewer nurses around available to work, and now comes the crunch of real problems in health care professionals being available.� He added, �we would all like to spend money on tax cuts, but until the province and federal governments are in the position of having sustainable spending and can absorb a little economic problem, we will be into real economic problems.�
In listening to the budget announcement, Bruce Cunningham, executive director of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) said it sounds like a good budget. He pointed out health care funding is the responsibility of the province and it is they who have shortchanged the health care system in Ontario and have caused the �crisis.� Cunningham said the province always uses reductions in transfers from the federal government as an excuse for not having enough money to provide all necessary services.
This latest budget is great, as it is putting back funds to the levels not seen since the mid-1990�s. Provincially the hospital received more money in 1991-92 than it does today. �In 1992-93 we received $8.3 million to run the hospitals and now we are down to $7.59 million. And, many of our staff members haven�t had a wage increase in the past seven years. In case anyone wonders every area of the hospital had to pull in their budget to the point of ridiculousness and there is now a lack of services in some areas,� he added.
Cunningham said Finance Minister Paul Martin understood there has been a reduction in the number of hospitals and wards and there is a lack of beds. These are not just worries, they are reality and have already taken place and everyone should be deeply concerned. The budget is certainly a start in the right direction for health care, said Cunningham. He said at this time it is not clear what the $11.5 over five years will mean for Ontario, but in the front lines of health care this funding is needed.
In the last year the MHC has not had enough dollars to meet all patient care needs, such as chemotherapy, diagnostics and procedures in the Emergency room, said Cunningham. �The province told us these are the dollars you are going to have to live with, and we had to make many tough decisions. We all went in to the health care system to help the sick and improve their quality of life, not to reduce services.� Cunningham continued, explaining last December the Ministry of Health came up with several millions of dollars, which went toward hospitals which were running deficits. Those that were living within reason were provided with none of the dollars.
The provincial government has also been misleading the general public by running advertisements which outline great health care in the province. �There is an absolute crisis in health care provincially and the government knows it and being scared, is trying to fool the public.� He said the province has been dismantling what they know works in health care, hospitals. �The beds are available but there is no money to hire staff. Its� a funding shortage.�
In rural health areas such as the island it has been determined people want obstetrics services. Cunningham pointed out the MHC brought in a wonderful physician to do c-sections but the Island hospitals do not have the funds to provide this although a doctor has the capability of doing it. �Then the province wonders why we can�t recruit more doctors to Northern Ontario.�
Cunningham also expressed concerns with the province�s to put $25 million into a study to determine how to utilize the money, to bring them in and determine their work schedules and needed education. This money, he said could be used instead to put nurses into the health care system right now.
Loyalty – Whatever Became of It???
Loyalty – what does it really mean? One dictionary defines it as a faithfulness to commitments and obligations. In this ever-changing world of today the loyalties of yesteryear seem to have passed by the wayside replaced with greed to fulfill one�s own agenda.
There used to be, and should be still, a certain amount of loyalty one exhibited for a spouse, a place of employment, peers, and co-workers, but where do you find such a virtue in this day and age? Perhaps such a general sweeping with a brush tarring everyone with the same affliction (greed) is too harsh. Admittedly, there are still people who are loyal and if there is any justice and honour in this world they will be rewarded accordingly.
However, be that as it may, disloyalty is becoming more commonplace and carries less a social stygma than it once did. There was a time when disloyalty reared its ugly head there were social ramifications for such behaviour. Today, in many instances there are no consequences. And there should always be! The loyalty of team efforts are often difficult to spot and even harder to maintain with the external forces espousing the importance of self gratification and self-fulfillment as opposed to working together as a team to build a better, stronger future for the whole.
There is indeed strength in numbers and if each member of a team pulls together eventually all will benefit. But if one member of that team loses sight of the goal things begin to deteriorate, or if one member decides their importance to the team outweighs everyone else, problems arise and must be dealt with for the benefit of all involved. No matter how difficult the decision is to make, it must be done to preserve the integrity of each and every member of the team. Disloyalty and deceit hurts everyone and ultimately benefits no-one. Hopefully there is enough justice left in this world to see that those who are disloyal will not come out on top.
The Bank of Montreal is sponsoring one free 2�x2� advertisement for businesses operating over three years in the Canadian Business magazine. The magazine will help you with the layout and for further details you can fax them at 1-877-266-4763. Marilyn�s Convenience Store has opened up on the main street in Manitowaning where the laundromat used to be.
Kiki-Gee�s Woodcrafts out of Little Current has a catalogue out on the products they make. All the items are hand-crafted out of solid pine, oak and cedar. Corner shelves and oak picture frames are just some of the many items listed. For more information, you can contact them at 705-368-1953.
Brad and Debbie Graham of Bridal Veil Esso in Kagawong have expanded their operation and put in a lunch counter. It is self serve and offers hot soups, chili, sandwiches, bagels, hot chocolate, coffee and sweets. They are open daily from seven in the morning until nine in the evening seven days a week.
The new toll-free number to the Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce is 1-800-598-6681. I�m not sure how I goofed that one but I did! Sorry! Ray Pardiac, Elinor Dee and Sandra Larsen of the Chamber went to Sudbury last week to take in a meeting on the Ontario Trillium Foundation as well as to meet and discuss millennium projects in general with Rayside/Balfour.
The Chamber will be hiring a millennium co-ordinator in the near future, and Elinor tells me we have already had submissions for our millennium calendar of events. Gord Ewin, Director of Education, has requested comments by February 24, 1999 from the Manitoulin Tourism Association and the Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce regarding their 1999-2000 School Year Calendar. There are two proposals to review. Proposal One has the first school day start on September 1, 1999 which is before the Labour Day weekend. Proposal Two has the first school day start after the Labour Day holiday on September 7, 1999. Please call the Chamber and the MTA and let them know where you, as a member, stand on this issue.
Rita Gordon�s business column appears Wednesdays in The Manitoulin Recorder. If you have business news of interest to Manitoulin Island and area, write her c/o Gordon�s Park, Hwy. 6, Tehkummah, Ontario P0P 2C0, fax her at (705) 859-2470, or email at [email protected].
WEST BAY – A proposal is being made for funding to improve the snowmobile trail system on Manitoulin Island. Rick Rusk, president of the Manitoulin Tourism Association (MTA) told members a meeting was held earlier this month among such groups as the MTA, Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce, Manitoulin Snowdusters, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown.
The meeting was held in Kagawong to discuss trail grooming assistance for the Snowdusters. There are some concerns with the trails that affect the business community on Manitoulin Island, explained Rusk. �The trail system is not up to standards the Snowdusters wish to have on the Island.�
�When the original funding to create snowmobile trails was given out this funding went to other places in the North, and especially Sudbury, and it seems Manitoulin Island was last on the list to receive funding,� said Rusk. Therefore trails on the Island are not up to the standards of other areas in Northern Ontario.
�Snowmobiling and the trails can�t help the economy and tourism on Manitoulin until there are improvements made and businesses can�t support snowmobiling further until benefits are derived from it. So this is a catch 22 situation,� said Rusk. Rusk said the group agreed government funding will be sought and hopefully there will be financial support provided by Human Resources Development Canada and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. �The proposal has been forwarded which would bring the snowmobile trail system up to date,� he added.
GORE BAY – The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, (through Ontario Northland Transportation Commission) has provided funding to the communities of Gore Bay and Elliot Lake to maintain air services provided by Pem Air. Joyce Foster, clerk for the Town of Gore Bay confirmed the province, �has committed another year of funding of $75,000 for Pem Air to continue.�
A recent study on the air service �was to show the economic benefits of the service here and the affects on the economic environment if the Pem Air service were to no longer run,� said Foster. Robby Colwell, manager of the Gore Bay-Manitoulin Airport was very pleased with the announcement, last week. �I�m pleased to hear the contract has been renewed and that Pem Air which provides a good service that is important to us to have, will continue.�
Colwell said, �the air service usage is on the rise and the benefits it creates to the transportation needs and local economy is immeasurable.� The present contract with Pem Air is to run out at the end of May, 1999. With the renewal, Pem Air will continue to provide air service from June 1, 1999 to June 1, 2000.
- Attention Beef Producers! An information meeting will be held at Manitoulin Secondary School, West Bay on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. This is an important meeting to discuss a project submission to the Northern Ontario Heritage Board. All beef producers interested should attend to hear about the potential project.
- Our local office web site contains information on course, special events, meetings, etc. Please call Betty Lou and inform us of your activities – we need at least three weeks lead time for posting.
- Another Reminder: Please review your status of financial reports for OFMAP. This is a yearly requirement for those participants in recent NOHFC projects.
- Courses! Remember the Introductory Marketing Course on March 23. Please register at the Agricultural Office. Cost of this course is $20.00.
- What is Heterosis? Another term for Heterosis that you may be more familiar with is Hybrid Vigour. Heterosis is actually the recovery from inbreeding depression. For example: Herefords are more related to Hereford than Angus or Charolais. Purebred animals from a single breed originated from the same gene pool, therefore many genes are similar within a breed. In other words, purebreds are actually an inbred population. Crossing different breeds results in new combinations of genes resulting in the performance of the progeny exceeding the average of the parent breeds. Many producers who buy a different breed of bull give the new breed all the credit for the increased performance of the progeny. This is where producers continue to buy purebred females until they have a purebred herd. They have then lost the effect of Heterosis. The bull and the new breed may deserve some of the credit but a large portion of the improved performance will be a result of Heterosis and recovery from inbreeding depression.
Farmer�s Beat is provided by Brian Bell, Manitoulin�s agriculture representative to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). If you have any questions about what you have read, please contact him at 282 – 2043.
As I delve further into the history of quilting I am discovering some very interesting tid bits of information. Women have used their exquisitely made quilts to earn money for themselves and others for several hundred years.
The Women�s Temperance Movement founded in Ohio in 1874 designed a quilt block called the Drunkards Path that had a very tricky pattern with one section being a curve which could be placed in several different positions to create different designs on the quilt tops. These quilts were sewn with the blue curve on a white background and white curves on a blue background ; they were quilted in bees and then auctioned to raise money for the cause. One of these quilts sold for the huge sum of $468.00 on 1879 and can still be seen in a museum in Ohio.
The Suffragettes created quilts in hues of purple and green with messages about equality embroidered on the squares and sold them as a way of promoting their cause. There are quilts from that era in museums which have exquisite embroidery on the blocks as young girls were still taught the fine art of stitchery at their mothers knee.
Young women were rebelling against learning these very worthwhile tasks as they were undervalued at that time but their products are now valued and no longer considered to be women�s work but are seen as an important form of art. In modern times Women�s Auxiliary groups for many organizations follow the footsteps of their ancestors and create and raffle or auction many beautiful quilts to raise money and often to raise awareness of their causes.
In Amish communities when a young couple were to be married a wedding quilt was created by the women of the community to wish the new family a long life, healthy children and a sense of Godliness. The Amish continue this tradition in many of their Orders today and Amish quilts are among the most beautiful and most sought after in the country. At the spring auction in St. Jacobs there are hundreds of these quilts on the block and collectors from all over the country there to bid on these beautifully hand stitched creations.
The Island Quilting Guild has created a quilt which when completed will be donated to the cancer society to raise money for breast cancer research. The Cancer Society will then raffle or auction it. This quilt was created in purples (for healing) and pink (for hope) and has several �ribbons of hope� appliqued on. It seems that the more I learn about the history of quilting, the more I want to know!