Friday, January 13, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Avian flu fears

Quick writer's note: I've been a little slow in posting last week's London Free Press columns to the blog. The first piece from that week's run was about Dick Clark, and can be found here. I'll get the remaining four onto the site over the next few days. Now, on with the show...

The silliness of those in government and those who work in the related bureaucratic infrastructure never ceases to amaze me.

As we all know from the doomsday headlines, the avian (also known as bird) flu is coming. People are infected and dying in Turkey and other parts of the world, and it's only a matter of time before the bad bird poo somehow makes its way around the globe.

All together now: oooooohhhh (come on, make the big, scary sounds with me!)

So the government of our esteemed province of Ontario (I live in Canada, so it's OK to poke fun at our leaders without running the risk of being branded a traitor and getting thrown in jail) has, in its infinite wisdom, introduced legislation giving the premier "special powers" if the flu descends on our part of the planet.

Essentially, it allows the province's grand poobah and supreme leader to authorize overtime and restrict business travel.

I wrote this column because it struck me as remarkably dumb that a government should have to legislate what comes as natural behavior for the mere mortals who have not chosen a life of cri...oops, public service.

Here's what I wrote.
Is this legislation really necessary
Published Wednesday, January 4, 2006
The London Free Press

I can now sleep at night knowing the Ontario government is introducing legislation granting our premier special powers in the event of an avian flu pandemic.

The bill, which would make it easier for the government to require staffers to work overtime and restrict their travel, is expected to become law by mid-year. It was introduced at the end of the last legislative session by Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter.

Its introduction raises the question of whether we need special legislation at all. I guess government works differently from the rest of us. In my work world, when there’s a big project or a heavy deadline, everyone pitches in to just get it done. No one needs to enforce something as basic as a work ethic.

Even the timing is questionable: Cross your fingers a wave of bird flu doesn’t hit the country before this bill becomes law.

I shudder to think that our government needs legislation to dictate behaviours that are simply common sense to the rest of us.

-30-
Your turn: Should this kind of thing be common sense? What will they legislate next? Government employees washing their hands after using the washroom?

One last thing (for now): This is the first piece I wrote from the fabled coffee shop. I first wrote about the experience here. The place is called the Bad Ass Coffee Co. It's named after a hardworking Hawaiian donkey (yes, you should feel ashamed of yourself!) The grand opening of the Deerfield Beach, FL franchise where I wrote this is Sat. Jan. 14 (tomorrow). I wish I could be there...they're bringing in a real donkey.

32 comments:

Romanduck said...

I think everything should be inforced!!!! hehe. No task too small.

utenzi said...

What a debonair (isn't there a 'u' in that word somwhere?) picture of you in your column, Carmi. You should put that one here in your blog!

Politicians are in the business of appearances. It's no surprise that they have to be seen reacting to any serious problem--but it doesn't follow that they have to actually do anything helpful. Try not to expect to much of them, Carmi.

Michele sent me to kvetch.

srp said...

As has been obvious for a very long time, common sense is in very short supply both in government and in the population in general.

Here from Michele.

Chrixean said...

Hi! Dropped in via Michele's! :-)

jennypenny said...

Jeez.. as a fellow Ontarian coping with the impending election I am feeling a little overwhelmed by all the political issues that face us everyday. I agree with you and will just add that isn't there more important things our government could be spending thier time and resources legislating? Cmon now. Michele sent me tonight, and I always leave here a little more informed than when I arrived so thank you.

Natsthename said...

Bad Ass Coffee Co. I SO want to go there, just because the name is cool!

Michele sent me. And ...great piece you wrote!

margalit said...

Sounds like your government is taking lessons from your neighbor to the south, much to your detriment. As far as I know, only TWO people have died in Turkey from bird flu and there are 18 known cases, two of which were brought to the hospital before they exhibited any symptoms whatsoever. That really doesn't sound like we should all go on orange alert to me. I hate this whole diversionary panic crap.

Michele...

Karen said...

Hiya Carmi! Both of these topics (Dick Clark, bird flu)were very interesting and thought-provoking. In fact, you changed my mind on Dick Clark's appearance. I was very uncomfortable watching him, but it never occurred to me that it would give those who have suffered strokes courage. I guess the same would apply to Kirk Douglas.

Regarding the bird flu, I don't know what to think. Here in the U.S. it's just been lots of scary stories and warnings. They haven't legislated anything, but they haven't really done much either.

What a world.

Michele sent me today!

Killired said...

may babies rule! woo hoo!

hi from michele's! you've already visited me today! thanks! come back and play!

surcie said...

You know, I honestly didn't give much thought to the bird flu until I read Starbucks' annual report. There was a section that mentioned concerns about the impact such a pandemic could have on the company. I imagine few people would want to hang out in coffee shops when there's a contagious disease spreading. Yikes!

scrappintwinmom said...

The words "common sense" and "government" are mutually exclusive. What I want to know is WHY there's shortage of flu shots? I couldn't get shots for the girls this year because once again, the gov't screwed up. Here via Michele as always!

kenju said...

I agree with Utenzi about the photo, Carmi!

We have some foolish laws in the US too. I agree with you; it shouldn't have to be made a law - it is common sense. Couldn't managers require it in case of an epidemic?
Michele sent me.

David said...

I have a Mug from the "Surfin Ass" coffee company, I wonder if the two donkeys were related?
Michele says you make too much sense to be canadian.

Dak-Ind said...

sure it should be common sense, but some folks just dont have any. i think in the event of a serious pandemic travel should be restricted. i dont think the general public is smart enough to stay away from each other. or to keep their illnesses confined to one spot.

but we legislate everything here in the states. it is illegal to ride a motorcycle unless you are wearing a helmet. it is illegal for a person under 18 to ride a bicycle without a helmet. it is illegal (in Portland Oregon) to tie a camel to a lamp post. go figure.

Dak-Ind said...

i, uh, forgot to mention, michele sent me!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Common sense, one would hope, should, or rather could prevail if anyone had any!(lol)..I agree with you Carmi...and...
As far as criticizing the Governmernment and NOT being put in jail...It was ever thus here in The States tilll W. and his lovely henchmen! (Except for a few other Republican Presidents. Hmmmmm.)

Michele sent me tonight but you know I always enjoy coming to see you!

Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

I've struggled with my comment.
I've left and come back.
I think, one-ly, that the media blows things completely out of proportion.
Two-ly people, in general, have the propensity to let one-ly get the best of them.
Three-ly, it absolutely IS common sense to wash your hands frequently, and not just after you go pee.
Four-ly, as I learned with SARS, that every single day, the People Above tell you something new that you need to do in order to protect yourself from contracting this new deadly disease.
Five-ly. They really don't know what they are talking about.
here via Michele's.
(And thanks for stopping by mine!)

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Shouldn't we be more concerned with vaccines and whatnot. Lordy.

Dean said...

You have to laugh, really. Our neighbors to the south are dealing with domestic spying, arrest and detainment without judicial oversight, etc, and in Canada we're passing a law to allow the government to force some people to work overtime.

Our countries in a nutshell, really.

Plumkrazzee said...

You need to borrow my stupid wand!

ribbiticus said...

hi carmi! this post was most definitely thought-provoking. living in such close proximity to countries that have had fatalities due to the avian flu, we still don't seem to be in that much of a panic. although there have been sporadic reports that there may already be a case or two of this in the country, we haven't really made much of a fuss (probably only until it has been confirmed). the government, though, has posted guidelines on how to protect oneself all throughout the metropolis (although i can't tell if they have done the same for provinces nationwide) and have appropriated funds to purchase machines that can supposedly "detect" such instances in the airports and seaports into the country. for now, i can say our government has been adequate in responding to this threat. i just pray the pandemic never becomes a reality.

Tara said...

I have a secret food and water stash in my basement. I'm unemployed. They can't make me go anywhere, lol.

Cori said...

I am not up to date about the Ontario politics...I have a hard enough time keeping up with ours. Its hard because we have Arnold as a govenor and it just seems like a joke!

ribbiticus said...

hey carmi, michele sent me back! about the coffee company, all i can say is that the creators must have had a good time coming up with that name! by the looks of it, it's pretty a hit with a lot of people, too! :)

ms ralph said...

Hi. I am visiting via michele's meet n' greet.

Raehan said...

It could be worse. You could have the Patriot Act that we have here in the U.S.

Coming from Michele's today, Carmi. I come here anyway, though.

lisa said...

Oh, I wish I could be there too. I'm a democrat, I love donkeys.

Chas Ravndal said...

i dunno if i can relate on this post but anyways regarding politics ..don't you just hate them?

Lazy Daisy said...

Common sense and government (not good partners) lets here it for the hard working donkey. Love the picture. Michele sent me

WendyWings said...

We drive past a field with three donkeys in it every day. My daughter thinks they are Shreks donkey lol
Michele sent me back today :)

Peri said...

this is weird, but a few yrs ago, my aunt and I were researching our family history. We found out my great grandmother died at age 19 in 1918 in Chicago....of influenza, leaving her my grandfather without a mother.
If it happens like it did in 1918, yeah..... hopefully we won't need laws in place to figure out what needs to be done.

Michael Manning said...

Yes, Carmi: Or put another way, attempting to wound an elephant with paper darts. When will someone take real measures. As usual you bring common sense to the issues!