Daniela Ginta, The Mindful Writer

Freelance Writer and Photographer, Author of the Mindfulness Blog

Tag: ethics

Health And Education Should Come First

Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops.

PupI could delight you this time with some stories about our three-month-old puppy. Her deeds are cute, funny and downright naughty at times but cuteness comes with built-in ‘forgive me’ features and that’s that. Should she happen to need veterinary care because, say, she swallowed some sharp pebbles (true, she did), I have no trouble finding help in one of the clinics here in Kamloops.

That is reassuring. It’s good to get help when you need it and reassuring to know that you are not on your own with an issue that gives a few extra heart beats.

When it comes to my children, well, that’s a different problem. Over the last couple of weeks my youngest has been struggling with asthma on and off. As long as the puffer works, he gets some breathing help at night and I get some peace of mind. But puffers can only last that much and then you need a new prescription.

Unlike the urgent help I can get with our puppy, finding a spot in one of the local walk-in clinics for my son is a different matter. There are line-ups, there are lists, there is luck (or not) and there is the fear that, should he need additional tests done, there will a long waiting time before we can get in and get an answer. When one’s breathing is laboured, that is the farthest thing from reassuring.

This last week the news that the BC Children’s Hospital had to cancel some surgeries (non-emergency ones) because of a shortage of nurses was not only sad but infuriating. Though positive thinking tips include the one that says you should not ask ‘what if’, in this case I have to admit that the dreaded question crossed my mind.

What if? What if my children were among the non-urgent cases whose surgeries would be postponed because of a shortage of nurses? This kind of question becomes severely uncomfortable when it affects one directly. And it does, many people.

It does not cease to amaze me that our province lags when it comes to health, education and general child care issues. There are nurses I talked to who said they are overworked, many work on contract which means they have no benefits and support staff is scarce to make proper medical care a joke at times and their job a lot harder.

At the same time, many schools are closing throughout the province and in Vancouver too, where you’d think the rivers of money brought by real estate and foreign investors could positively impact the school situation.

That sometimes they are the only schools in an area (the case of the highschool in Osoyoos) makes it all the more shocking. Many teachers are being given the slip, many support staff too, so for parents whose life was a struggle at times because their children needed special assistance, life is becoming even more challenging.

Same goes for children struggling with chronic health issues. The families who appeal to the government for help are being told that there are no available funds for their case. To add to an already flammable list… we have the highest rate of child poverty in Canada, and there are communities where environmental pollution affects people’s health (as always, children are most susceptible), not that the latter is in any way a concern of the present provincial government.

Reading a well put together book on virtues with my youngest, we came across issues such honesty, kindness, compassion, and the discussions that ensued are nothing short of wonderful. We all want our children to learn to be honest, kind and compassionate. The world seems better that way. When someone goes the extra mile out of sheer kindness, it gives me hope.

When someone in a leading position makes the choice to remember that many people hope with all their might that vital issues like health, education, minimum wages and affordable daycare or support for people in poverty-ridden communities, are not overlooked but dealt with respectfully, that makes a world of difference. As it should.

Life is so far from perfect at times so our only hope is to stick together, to stand up for what’s right and to remember that though we may be out of harm’s way, some people aren’t, and their needs have to be solved. That a society where health and education are well taken care of sees many of its other issues solved too. It’s a story that could have a happy ending, but all characters, and primarily the ones in leading roles, need to show some good moral and intellectual virtues. Like honesty, kindness, compassion, courage and wisdom. That would do. Truly.

Musings From the Ethical Side of Life

Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops on Friday April 15, 2016. 

There is so much controversial political stuff (ethics pending) happening these days that it becomes hard to know which one to focus on first.

At the same time, the hills around Kamloops are dressing up in their charming albeit short-lived emerald green shimmery coats and that is a daily gift we are greeted by every day. A good reminder of a world worth fighting for.

Which brings me to the first issue that is as hot as the days to come and equally scary (29 degrees predicted for the beginning of next week.) The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal or TPP as we’ve all come to know it. Our premier is once again creating a stir (at least we know of it) with her unflinching desire to see the deal ratified. As if British Columbia and its citizens would benefit so much from it that it would be unethical to not do so. Instead, the opposite is true.

The pink shaded dreams that our premier is selling as she is pressing the federal government to ratify the deal include for example the creation of jobs, a promise that has its pink halo disputed by political analysts who have no corporate interests but are simply looking at the trade deal objectively, and saying Canada needs to return to the table and correct a few things.

Should the deal be ratified, we can see the efforts to address climate change and protect the environment being at the mercy of corporations, which, if history is any lesson, is anything but a good thing.

We can see public health and access to medicine threatened by patents involving big dollars and thus well-guarded by companies that can put a price on human life. Not a good thing at all.

A scary possible reality that concerns British Columbians may involve the multinational corporations gaining control over our natural resources. In short, there could be dispute settlement clauses that could see the province sued if provincial regulations obstruct corporate gain in any way. Enough to make most of us choke, right?

So one could logically wonder about the ethics of all of this. If the provincial government care about the citizens, the land and the future generations, shouldn’t there be a way to actually show it instead of displaying the opposite and with pride.

The LNG projects so garnished with inflated hopes and environmentally devastating are proof of it. Site C too. Much to be destroyed, little to be gained overall, and so, so much to be left to be desired in the realm of ethics. That ethics and leadership should go hand in hand is an understatement. As I said so many times, that should be the premise on which leaders are elected. That and true concern for people and land. Right.

If the provincial government gets a failing grade when it comes to securing an actual good deal for British Columbia, we can hope that the recently elected federal government will see to it. As per the promises during the election campaign, which our collective elephant memory still hangs onto.

Yet when it comes to ethics, it seems that our federal government has a black eye too. Care to guess? The $11 billion Saudi LAV deal. If human rights are not negotiable (they aren’t) then why do they become less important and easy to overlook when big money comes about?

Is it the money? Is it the big shadow that Saudi Arabia casts over some of the western world due to their oil (are we still there?), which makes our officials conveniently overlook all the human rights violations they perpetrate? Double standards are always a bad idea.

It’s the jobs, some would say. Weapons are not made for show and tell, we know that much, yet a country with a reputation like Saudi Arabia… it’s just not looking right for the well-behaved Canadians.

Still in the ethics department, a big one might be coming down the pipe (emphasis on might) should the Canada Revenue Agency answer the most uncomfortable question of why their secret deal with KPMG allowed the latter’s rich customers to avoid paying tax without fearing any future charges. Unethical and too unfair, more so when the Panama Papers delivered their own social injustice blow.

We can only hope that justice will be served. We can only hope that the values most of us talk about such as integrity, honesty, consideration for others and the land that feeds us all, will be the values that our government, federal and provincial, will bring forth when deciding our present and future. If ethics would matter the way it should, we’d have nothing to fear. And yet…

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