Wednesday Night #1723 with Dr. Mark Roper

Written by  //  March 10, 2015  //  Wednesday Nights  //  1 Comment

Dr. Mark Roper plans to join us and is eager to talk about the latest upset in the world of the mega-hospitals, this time it’s not the MUHC (Fourth resignation signals deepening crisis at the CHUM). Interesting that after the persistent opposition of the QCGN to Bill 10, Francophone medical authorities are complaining that Bill 10 would put a dangerous concentration of power in the hands of the minister.
The five members of the Board of the CHUM who have resigned … ont tous claqué la porte pour protester contre les « ingérences » et les « abus de pouvoir » du ministre de la Santé, Gaétan Barrette. (Crise au CHUM : Philippe Couillard appelé à la rescousse)
Meanwhile, back at the MUHC and related matters that seem to never make their neighbors happy, the latest kerfuffle is over the proposed development of that bleak corner of Ste. Catherine and de Maisonneuve. At first glance, it would appear to be an extremely useful and complementary project. The complex is to include a Provigo supermarket and 300-unit seniors’ residence, along with a mezzanine to house offices of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation and provide accommodation for out-of-town families whose children are undergoing treatment at the hospital. We will be watching to see how Mayors Peter Trent and his buddy Denis Coderre handle this one – deftly, no doubt.
On the topic of seniors’ residences, Margaret Wente’s column Who cares for the elderly, if not their kids? raises some profound questions for society, and not only in the developed world. We would add to her concerns that in our globalized world, some of the ‘kids’ who would want to look after their aging parents may be separated from them by thousands of miles. If there are not enough people to give the competent and compassionate care that we all hope for (for ourselves and our loved ones) does the answer lie in an immigration policy that gives priority to caregivers (among others)?

It would be nice to think that Mr. Harper and his government might address some of these issues rather than pursuing their tiresome preoccupation with justifying Bill C-51, mandatory life sentences without parole , and building new unwanted prisons rather than trying to solve the underlying socio-economic problems that contribute to crime and incarceration.

Concern regarding Bill C-51 mounts, but many Liberals were bitterly disappointed that Justin Trudeau’s Toronto speech was long on references to Tory anti-terror rhetoric, while avoiding references to the Bill. This is, presumably, because the bright lights who dictate policy positions have decided that the LPC will support the legislation now and try to amend it if they form the next government. A wishy-washy position that disappoints many erstwhile supporters. In one sentence in the speech Justin Trudeau said that Candians should “shudder” that the government is employing the same kind of rhetoric to raise fears against Muslims that was used to promote a “none is too many” restrictive immigration policy toward Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. Note, that JT referred only to rhetoric, but that was enough to raise verbal eyebrows and ire among some (notably our volatile friend Beryl Wajsman)

The investigation of Boris Nemtsov’s murder has advanced rapidly and to the surprise of no-one, the alleged perpetrators have been identified as Chechens. As the Globe & Mail editorial says, “When in doubt, blame some Chechens.” The Atlantic points out, Identifying Nemtsov’s Killers Brings No Closure to His Murder and Foreign Policy adds succinctly: Court documents said that the killings were “committed for financial gain,” a charge often used in contract killings.

At the end of last month, Marion Canute interviewed Kimon Valaskakis on the situation in Greece and the EU. We have just received the link to Grexit Danger and commend Marion for allowing Kimon time to expand on his ideas – a courtesy that few North American interviewers extend to their guests! Still on the cradle of democracy, Quartz inform us that Greece wants tax spies. The debt-ridden country proposed a series of reforms to euro-zone finance ministers, including an unorthodox plan to enlist students and tourists to root out tax evasion. The country’s creditors were not impressed.
Switching to another of Kimon’s recurrent themes, you may have missed last week’s invitation-only WorldPost conference on “The Future of Work”. Speaking at the London conference, MIT’s Andrew McAfee argues that digital technology is “the best economic news in human history” but says that it poses many challenges to job creation in the future – either the writer is singularly thick, or this is a very disappointing revelation from such an eminent speaker. David Gergen, the long-time presidential adviser, proposes that the best way to adapt to tech disruption is “from the bottom up” instead of waiting for government policy. Other topics reported on from the conference included: why women are winners when it comes to successful petitions, how the myths around meditation and business have been busted and why, according to Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of, none of her peers in the House of Lords understands the Internet. Companion pieces published by WP include: Ian Goldin of the Oxford Martin School writes that technological advance can lead to greater inequality or inclusive prosperity depending on how we govern ourselves. In an interview, futurist Jeremy Rifkin outlines the zero-marginal cost economy he sees coming. XPrize founder Peter Diamandis discusses his new book “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” and how exponential technologies such as 3D manufacturing and synthetic biology are transforming all of our lives for the better. This week’s series from Singularity University looks at Germany’s advanced robotic metal sculpting machines. And WorldPost Associate Editor Peter Mellgard reports that, “artificial intelligence is breaking out of the box,” according to a panel of experts who recently gathered in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Bibi has come and gone from the Washington and as the dust settles, the general feeling seems to be that it was a pretty good stump speech, but in the wrong place at the wrong time. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post wrote in The wound Netanyahu left: “It fell to Isaac Herzog, Benjamin Netanyahu’s leading opponent in Israel’s March 17 election, to make the essential point: that Tuesday’s speech was “a very harsh wound to Israel-U.S. relations” and “will only widen the rift with Israel’s greatest ally and strategic partner.” And some 30,000 people rallied in Tel Aviv against Bibi over the weekend. Just one week until the election which the whole world will be watching with greatest interest.

President Obama, apparently undeterred by Bibi’s insults, was at Selma, Alabama on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. His speech was one of his best. Ever. Even the National Review said so. We had never known who Edmund Pettus was, so looked him up and discovered that he was not only a former Confederate brigadier general and Democratic Senator from Alabama, but also Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. How incredibly poignant that his name is now associated with one of the key events of the struggle for civil rights.

Our friends sojourning in Florida must feel right at home [or at least as though getting a preview of It could happen here] since Rick Scott was sworn in as the new governor. Seems that since then, Florida Officials have banned The Term ‘Climate Change’. In a not-immediately-apparent segue, we read a fine piece recently, Skip the fairy tales, and tell your daughter science bedtime stories, which is excellent advice. Maybe it should not only apply to girls, but to a whole bunch of grown-up (?) men. No, probably wouldn’t do any good.

The celebration of International Women’s Day expands every year. And there is good news to celebrate, despite the many awful things that happen to women around the world and the discouraging report from the Secretary-general. Among the good things is the Lean-In Together campaign initiative from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. We mention this in particular because we are very proud that the project manager is a Sauvé Scholar alumna, Alia Whitney Johnson. What she has accomplished in the six months since she joined the team is simply phenomenal.

Finally, how do you feel about DST? CBC reports that “A movement to abolish daylight saving time is picking up support south of the border, with one more state [Oregon] considering legislation to end the biannual time shift”. Seems it has nothing at all to do with farmers’, or cows’, needs and now that it is being introduced earlier, it makes for darker mornings, which are no fun for commuters. And to go back to our medical theme, did you realize that the semi-annual one hour change has been linked to change in heart attack and traffic fatality rates? Are our hospitals aware of this and do they gear up accordingly?
We will give the final word to John Oliver: Why Daylight Saving Time Makes No Sense.

One Comment on "Wednesday Night #1723 with Dr. Mark Roper"

  1. S.J. Stein March 10, 2015 at 8:55 am ·

    Re the Daylight Savings Time issue, my objection has always been that DST is a big lie. The real high noon is 12:00 pm, not 1:00 pm, and the real midnight is 12:00 am and not 1:00 am. Having people make believe otherwise encourages the denial of reality – i.e. lying. The lie may have official sanction (like many other politically expedient falsehoods) but it is not – in the immortal words of GW Bush – “truthiness”.

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