Monthly Archives: July 2008

Easy drugs from weak doctors

Put down the pill bottle and back away slowly. Aha! What’s this? Expired antibiotics? You’re in big trouble, buddy.

Actually we all are. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are everywhere, swarming over hospital towel-racks and bedsteads and heading right for our soft bits when we’re already feeling sick. Nature is, proverbially, short of mercy. But we’re making the problem way worse by misusing what were once “miracle drugs,” but have somehow become “whiny entitlement drugs.”

Look at this new study conducted for the Public Health Agency of Canada. According to Tuesday’s Citizen, the study “found almost one in three Canadians either wrongly believes antibiotics are effective against colds or doesn’t know if they are. Only 44 per cent know antibiotics kill bacteria, but not viruses. Close to half incorrectly think recent use of an antibiotic protects against reinfection or don’t know whether it does … one in 10 Canadians has used leftover antibiotics from old prescriptions belonging to them or someone else.”

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The case of the disappearing scandal

Remember how the old Perry Mason TV program would end with his brilliant interrogation trapping the guilty party into sobbing out a confession? It’s very much unlike watching a parliamentary committee in action. I liked Raymond Burr’s show better.

As a rule, MPs on committees seem to have very hazy goals in questioning witnesses and no coherent strategy for reaching them. But things were far worse at this week’s special meeting of the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee, apparently summoned for the sole purpose of generating silly-season headlines about Tory sleaze based on a supposed election financing scandal. First, opposition members wasted their time trying to get Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, to slam the Tories in ways he had explicitly said at the outset he would not do, because he could not comment on anything currently before the courts or under investigation by the Commissioner of Elections Canada.

Then Pierre Poilievre led off for the Tories. Since he usually reminds me of Mason’s haplessly belligerent TV nemesis, DA Hamilton Burger, I wasn’t expecting things to improve. But he surprised me with not one, nor two, but three of the dramatic moments that habitually marked the climax of the old Mason show.

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A politician who speaks his mind

In politics you’re never sure who to despise. David Cameron seemed a thoroughly safe bet and now look what he’s done.

Mr. Cameron, in case you don’t follow the disintegration of the public sector in Britain as closely as here at home, took over the British Conservative party in December 2005 and, like a classic Canadian Tory, proudly declared himself centrist while articulating uniformly left-wing policies.

Uh, until this week. Speaking in a Glasgow constituency his party wouldn’t win if hell did freeze over, he suddenly unleashed a withering blast against political correctness. For instance he told fat people to eat less and exercise more.

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If you wear the pin, send it back

If I had an Order of Canada I’d return it to protest the appointment of Henry Morgentaler. But of course people like me don’t get that little white snowflake lapel pin. We’re too divisive.

I have to start by laying on the table my most fundamental objection here. Dr. Morgentaler has devoted his life to the killing of unborn babies and I do not think he deserves an award for having been good at it. But I do not produce that statement as a trump card. Rather, I do not want to be accused of dealing off the bottom of the deck in my subsequent arguments.

For while I am pro-life, to add anything to this discussion I need to reach out to people who may be uneasy about at least some abortions but do not share my core position. I must argue that appointments of this sort are wrong without requiring that you endorse my specific objection to it.

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