Oh Canada. Please Take Heed.
….Holy Sh*t We’re in Trouble….
….Humanity is in Crises….
We cannot, in fact, we dare not, continue with business as usual. The fires in California and many parts of the West are not “freak” weather events. The early September snowstorms in the Midwestern United States are not freak weather events nor is the devastating Typhoon Hagibis, causing the worst flooding in Japan’s history. Climate change is real. It is manmade. It is not only crushing but an existential threat. I haven’t even mentioned COVID-19 and its impact on our health and the economy.
In his words, Trudeau has it right notwithstanding his cute Madison Avenue slogan, “building back, better.” He and his colleagues in Ottawa know what has to be done. He said it himself: ”we have a chance to build a Canada that is safer and healthier, a Canada that is greener and more competitive.”
As they say talk is cheap. It’s critical that politics be taken out of the equation. As theologian and writer James Freeman Clarke wrote in the late 19th Century: “a politician thinks of the next election – a statesman of the next generation.” Our future is screaming for more statesmanship.
Here are four recommendations for our leaders; our politicians and the leaders of our industrial, social and financial institutions.
Make the major investments you intend to make in infrastructure work; not for short term political gains but for the long term health of the nation.
Commit to completing a high speed (300km/hr+) train from Quebec City to Windsor and do it quickly within 5 years. The short term gains in employment will be tremendous and the long term economic competitiveness of the corridor even more so.
Commit to transforming the fossil fuel economy of Alberta and other western provinces. Invest massively in critical research, development and manufacturing in the solar energy industries. Re-invest in nuclear energy, where Canada was once a leader. And do it in Alberta and the other Western provinces which will be hit hardest as the world weans itself off fossil fuels.
Commit to transforming the healthcare system to embrace 21st Century technology. While we have enjoyed incredible advances in individual high tech medicine, much of what is carried out within the healthcare system is mired in 1960-1980 era procedures. We have to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) techniques. We need to ensure that all pertinent health information is available electronically to those who would use it to the benefit of individuals and to the healthcare system at large. We can no longer afford to hide behind the veil of “privacy issues” when the protection of an individual’s privacy is easily achieved.
As an example, an Israeli company Tyto Care is transforming primary care by “putting health in the hands of consumers.” They are using technologies that allow patients to self-monitor a host of different parameters (e.g. ears, longs, heart, throat, temperature, skin, abdomen) and as needed, can connect the patient with a clinician through video-link, making sure that they have the best home examination and diagnosis solutions possible.
Think of the cost savings. Think of the effectiveness. Think of how we would have been able to deal with our current COVID-19 pandemic. Again, spare the politics and show some statesmanship and lead us out of the multiple crises — i.e. our health, the security of our food supply and the health of our environment — that we are currently facing.
. . .
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Image courtesy of Luca Bravo (via Unsplash)