Mar 20

Political brain trust

The photo adorning this post is a screenshot of our political brain trust, sitting at a table yesterday fielding question after question about their handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Lots of talk about flattening the curve, about aggressive social distancing, etc.

Yet there they were, sitting side by side (!), speaking to a crowd of reporters, in a classic example of "Do as I say, not as I do".

Is it any wonder that many Canadians don't get it? Is it any wonder that many Canadians are confused?

We closed schools and daycares on Sunday in Alberta. The following day (yesterday) was a glorious, warm sunny day, a welcome respite after a nasty cold snap.

We took our kids out for a walk late in the afternoon to get them out of the house after their first day of "online learning".

And it was awesome.

What ISN'T awesome is kids congregating at malls and organizing playdates now that they've been loosed from the confines of school.



Yet this sort of behaviour is hardly surprising, given the example set by our top political leaders: "Monkey see, monkey do" is a phenomenon as old as our planet.

And what to make of our PM closing Canada to all visitors from abroad while leaving our southern border wide open?

The coronavirus has spread like wildfire throughout America.

When the history books are written about Pandemic 2020, the U.S. handling of CoVID-19 will be held up as the most obvious example of what NOT to do.

Yet we've banned visitors from everywhere but not from the 330 million-strong viral inferno to the south.

We're trying to save the Canadian house from burning down by stamping out embers on the front lawn while ignoring the five-alarm fire on our back porch.

Wouldn't it make sense to control our southern border? To admit only those who are essential to maintaining our supply chains and those who are critical to keeping our infrastructure functioning through this crisis?

It would be make sense, all right.

But to expect common sense from a PM who allows his top five cabinet ministers to blather on about "aggressive social distancing" and "flattening the curve" while sitting side by side at a table for an hour in public is to expect night to turn into day.

And we have a very long night ahead, as Canadians begin to fill our intensive care units in coming weeks; as doctors are forced to choose who gets a ventilator and who doesn't, who lives and who dies.

These will be very difficult times.

But you can help, my fellow Canadians.

We CAN "flatten the curve".

We CAN reduce the stress on our health care system.

We CAN reduce the number of people who die.

We can make a HUGE difference NOW by staying home with our families, by staying 6 feet away from others, by properly practicing social distancing.

That doesn't mean we can't go outside, to hike and bike and take car rides and discover the great Canadian outdoors.

Many of us have gallivanted around the world without ever exploring the jaw-dropping beauty of our very own country.

Now is the time.

We will get through this, together.

The world will not end.

The sun will rise on the other side of this darkness.

But today we must all do our part:

For the sake of our families.

For the sake of our friends.

For the sake of our neighbours.

For the sake of our nurses.

For the sake of our doctors.

And for the sake of our country.





Jan 20

Weather 4Dear Climate,

I hate to bother you: I know you’re busy, what with all your “changing” and what not.   But this is important.

Folks talk about you incessantly these days.  Your ears must be burning, even if the planet is not.

We humans are in deep doo-doo because we’ve messed you up so badly, at least according to your best friends Greta, Al, Barack, Leonardo, David, AOC and Justin. (At least they claim to be your besties.  I doubt you pay them any attention as you quietly go about your business, but I’m just speculating).

According to the Saintly Seven we’re doomed either to drown in catastrophically rising seas or to fry to a crisp like overdone onion rings.  Whether we have eight years left, or twelve, or only five minutes, it’s Apocalypse Soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 20

expertI wasn’t going to write about this.

I don’t know enough about it to offer anything close to a properly informed opinion.

But after wading through the umpteenth piece excoriating U.S. President Donald Trump for eliminating Quassem Soileimani - the murderous Iranian general who was second-in command to dictator Ayatollah Ali Khameini - I can’t suppress my irritation.

There aren’t enough armchairs on the planet to accommodate all the Monday morning quarterbacks that sprung up in the aftermath of Soilemani’s death - all of them “experts” on the political, sectarian quagmire of the Middle East, a region almost impossible to decipher.

Rarely have so many people claimed to know so much about something they can’t possibly know anything about. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 19

GuaranteeDecember 18, 2019

Attention:  Tyler Shandro, Alberta Minister of Health


Dear Minister Shandro,

I’ve writing to you today from my vantage point as a 15-year veteran of emergency medicine at Alberta Children’s Hospital.

When you were sworn in last spring as the new Minister of Health for Alberta, I was optimistic that this challenging and complex portfolio would be handled with skill and sensitivity.

You are an accomplished lawyer, not a physician.  But you are the scion of a medical family: I knew you would be endowed with insights beyond those displayed by many of your predecessors.

Hence I was dismayed by your ministry’s sudden broadside against doctors. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 19

not equal parties

On the face of it, the fact that a middle-aged white heterosexual male of Roman Catholic persuasion is making a credible run in 2019 at becoming Prime Minister of Canada (the most insistently “woke” country in the world) is patently absurd.

Absurd, that is, until you consider that his opponent, the incumbent, is also a middle-aged white heterosexual Roman Catholic male.

One of these men, however, is truly scary – a regressive, intolerant, misogynistic, homophobic reprobate.  Or so we are told.

The other is the ultra-hip, feminist-extraordinaire Justin Trudeau, our current Prime Minister and grand-master of the Liberal Party smear machine that is ruthlessly (and with some success) painting Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer as a dimpled menace. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 19

censorshipI have no plans to see Unplanned.

With two busy medical practices and four non-passive kids between us, the odds of my wife and I carving out time to take in the anti-abortion film - or any other movie for that matter – are roughly on par with Donald Trump resigning his presidency to take up knitting.

It’s not that I have no interest in the abortion debate.  Like many Canadians, I do, and as I have explained elsewhere, one doesn’t have to be religious to entertain moral misgivings about ending unborn life. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 19

“Twitter will ruin us, and we should stop.”

So said Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times last Wednesday, in his opinion piece entitled “Never Tweet”.

He’s right.

And I’m stopping - as I said I would.  I’ve deleted my account permanently.  And I won’t miss what Manjoo rightly calls “the world’s most damaging social network”.

After getting chased off the platform last week, I returned briefly to Twitter on Monday to circulate my “Bitter-tweet” retort to the swarming I endured.

The response to my new post was overwhelming, and almost entirely positive – welcome proof that not everyone has gone stark raving mad.

It didn’t stay positive, of course: that’s not the Twitter way.  Twenty-four hours later the incessant natter of the trans-activist jungle had resumed its Chinese-water-torture cadence, its intellectual depth summed up nicely by a pungent “breathe in all my farts” dismissal of my essay. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 19

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes,” Mark Twain is supposed to have said.

He was right, but he wasn’t saying anything new, as anyone familiar with the Bible can attest.

In Ecclesiastes you will find, as ancient precursor to Twain’s observation, this axiom from King Solomon:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Solomon’s words surfaced in my mind on New Year's Eve as the last hours of 2018 bled away.  I stared glumly into the bathroom mirror at yet another volcanic eruption studding my 51-year-old mug, echoes of my pimply-faced adolescence ping-ponging in my brain.  Zits don’t ordinarily occupy the same territory as hard-won wrinkles - nor should one ever need reading glasses to properly inspect them.

I have my oncologist to thank for this acned absurdity.  One year ago, as 2018 rose unsteadily from the ashes of 2017, the stubborn beast of a cancer in my head reincarnated itself alongside the new year, thumbing its nose at all previous efforts to slay it.  I wasn’t keen to risk another craniotomy after four mighty kicks at that can; I’m all for being “open-minded”, but preferably not surgically.  So, after lengthy discussion with my cancer specialist, I took a flyer on a novel drug, armed with lotions and potions to keep the inevitable side effects at bay. Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 18

* names and some details of clinical cases changed to protect privacy

Act One

 A Crisis of Identity

The number leapt out at me.  One hundred and three!

An incandescent flash of comprehension flooded my brain.

It was fourteen years ago.  I was standing beside the trauma bay bed, holding one of Jack’s tiny clenched fists in my hand as I gazed at his contorted face, his tongue thrusting rhythmically and his eyes rolled insistently upward.

His spasming body was submerged in a beehive of activity.  Medical personnel supplied critically needed oxygen, readied resuscitation equipment, and delivered intravenous medications and fluids.

Paramedics had crashed through the doors ten minutes earlier, wheeling Jack on a stretcher.  It had been a sleepy Monday morning in the ED to that point, the mundane chit-chat of nursing staff disturbed only by the raspy breathing and occasional seal-bark cough of a young boy with croup.  After dosing the young lad with dexamethasone and settling a misty mask of epinephrine over his face to ease his breathing, I sat in the doctors’ cubicle with my resident, killing time by quizzing her on the case we had just seen. Read the rest of this entry »