Truckers converge on Ottawa, radical hangers-on see the parade and fight to get in front so they do stupid things that were, no doubt, far from the vision of those people who conceived of a demonstration. Defacing the statue of the iconic Terry Fox is sacrilege in the eyes of most New Brunswickers. Using swastikas and the symbols of the holocaust really go over the edge with most Canadians.
But then the majority of Canadians would endorse, no doubt, the drive to move more quickly on racial equality but would abhor the violence that was seen worldwide a year ago in many US cities. And in my generation, we all wanted the Viet Nam War to go away and many demonstrated in a variety of ways, notably the Kent State University activity. But the vast majority were demonstrating against war and violence and would have no part of some of the nastiness that mob-psychology brought with it. Strange things happen when self-control is not visible and anger is!
The thing that students of public policy and politics need to be attentive to is how do you measure when the body politic says it has had enough, that government has gone too far? Revolutions spring from seemingly widespread anger and analysts use a technique labelled the Overton Window to explain the mood of the public and how much change the public can handle at any point in time.
Far too many New Brunswick residents do not have access to effective primary care services; over 43,000 of them and growing, not getting better. Just when you think it could not get worse, it does. My Facebook timeline had a post describing the tragedy presented to good, hard-working people when they got a letter, as did nearly 2000 others, that said the doctor “is retiring, no replacement in sight, you will have to get your name on the provincial wait list for a doctor.” She expressed in that same letter her disappointment with the state of primary care services in New Brunswick. The doctor is a highly respected practitioner but based on the trends in recent years with medical education and the profile of graduates, it would take two physicians to manage this practice. And the traditional practice of a new doctor “buying a practice” is long gone. Why buy a practice when there are so many other options to earn professional income without the expense and burden of an office practice.
The Minister of Health, feeling some of the distress of the thousands of taxpayers who are disgusted with the current status of Primary Care in New Brunswick, did issue a press release outlining some options and relatively minor changes to primary care service. To this, I say it is a noble baby step in fixing a much larger problem that has been on the radar for a decade.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.