Naming names, pointing fingers, seven years later


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Almost seven years to the day, (Sept. 22, 2003 to be exact) municipal council unanimously approved a motion calling for an independent review of council and its working relationships at city hall.

The damning overview, known as the McCarthy Tetrault report, was delivered just prior to the municipal election. It held back little, naming names and pointing fingers.

The report concluded all those interviewed agreed “this past term of council has been extremely troubled.”

Flipping through the pages, you can’t help but dwell on those players still in the running, or hoping to make a comeback, and the brush they were painted with.
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LHIN consultation guidelines can’t come soon enough


As posted on opseudiablogue

The province has promised to provide community engagement guidelines to the Local Health Integration Networks following this summer’s Ombudsman’s Report.

In that report, the Ombudsman noted a board member of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN considered conversations on golf courses and grocery store line-ups as public consultation.

The guidelines, expected in October, can’t arrive soon enough.

At Wednesday’s board meeting of the South West LHIN, Dr. Murray Bryant said an integration proposal from St. Joseph’s Health Care and London Health Sciences “failed the most cursory test” when it came to public engagement.
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Stop bed cuts and assess mental health needs in St. Thomas and London – OPSEU report


LONDON, Sept. 20 /CNW/ – Its time to stop cutting beds and do an updated mental health care needs assessment in the London area says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union in a new report released today.

OPSEU is releasing “No Place To Go” following a summer of confusion over bed transfers from Regional Mental Health Care – London and St. Thomas.

Bed counts at the mental health hospital will drop to nearly half over the next four years, 138 beds transferring away from the RMHC, as many as 80 beds disappearing entirely.

The union argues that while the target bed counts come from the 13-year old recommendations of the provincial Health Services Restructuring Commission, the province has failed to provide promised replacement care in the community.

“The Health Restructuring Commission was very clear that none of these beds should be lost before services are replaced in the community,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “They cut the beds, but they never even came close to replacing those services elsewhere.”

The union argues the costs of only taking half of the HSRC’s recommendations have been high. The government’s own discussion paper admits that mental health and addictions costs the Ontario economy $39 billion per year, and that for every dollar spent on mental health, $7 is saved in health costs and $30 saved in lost productivity.

The union is also concerned that relying on a planning document that is 13-years old may not take into consideration more recent demographic projections. For example, the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario has projected the number of Ontarians with dementia to double within the next 25 years. With half the available beds, this could put London’s mental health services under incredible stress.

The union is recommending the plans for the new RMHC be placed on hold until a needs assessment can be completed, one that takes into account the 10-year provincial mental health plan that is expected to be completed later this year.

“You don’t make major changes to services first, then plan later,” says Thomas. “With private consortiums bidding on the new RMHC in London and St. Thomas, it’s important we get this right.”

Copies of the full report can be downloaded: here

‘People in a wheelchair don’t have the ability to cheat’


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“I can’t do this without cheating.”

That was the honest assessment from Ald. Dave Warden this past Monday as he attempted to navigate a wheelchair into the downstairs washroom at St. Thomas Public Library.

This corner and accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan invited Warden to revisit the route taken four years ago when he agreed to participate in our initial accessibility challenge.

Backing into a stall was virtually impossible.


He was humbled when it came time to answer nature’s call.

“People in a wheelchair don’t have the ability to cheat,” stressed Warden, has he attempted to back into a stall and then wash his hands at the sink.

“Even if you could use those washrooms, what really concerns me is you cannot use those sinks. You can’t wash your hands and that is a major concern.”
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Ald. Terry Shackelton 1951 – 2010


“He was honest, that’s the greatest epitaph a politician can have: he was an honest guy.” – Mayor Cliff Barwick

“He really cared about the citizens and the best way to represent them.” – long-time friend and labour movement colleague Bev Wright

“He really had the interest of the community at heart.” – Ald. Gord Campbell

Kyle Rea
Times-Journal

He was a politician, a champion of accessibility and a voice for organized labour who always gave of himself and fought for the average citizen.
But on Tuesday, that voice fell silent when St. Thomas Ald. Terry Shackelton, 59, died after a lengthy illness.
He leaves behind three children — Terry Jr., Barb and Laura– as well as partner Lesley Buchanan.
“He always truly believed in giving of himself to make the world a better place for all,” Shackelton’s death notice reads.
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Few Ontario mayors and city councillors support banning municipal election campaign contributions from corporations and unions


Fair Vote Canada to launch campaign for a province-wide ban and expects strong public support

A recent survey of 474 city councillors and mayors in Ontario’s 42 largest cities (other than Toronto) found only 35 city councillors and two mayors willing to support a ban on corporate and union campaign contributions in municipal elections see list here a ban already instituted in many jurisdictions in Canada.

“Frankly, we were surprised and very disappointed at the low level of support for such a reform to campaign financing,” said Bronwen Bruch, President of Fair Vote Canada. “It looks like this issue could provide voters with a real point of differentiation between incumbents who support the status quo and those challengers, along with some incumbents, who want to see a fresh approach to municipal campaign financing.”
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Incurring the wrath of those who post three-legged signs


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The electoral tide just may have turned this week after the disturbing display of tag-team thuggery at Tuesday’s council meeting.

A crimson-faced Ald. Tom Johnston and a trying-hard-to-remain-detached Mayor Cliff Barwick partnered in a highly-orchestrated attempt to pummel Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman over last month’s boil water advisory.

If you remember, while the city and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health stuck to protocol (a procedure that seems to evolve on a continual basis) Jackson-Chapman utilized cyberspace to tweet the information hours in advance of officialdom.

Boy, was that a social faux pas on her part.
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