Municipal reform in New Brunswick, having been discussed and debated for 40 years, has finally gotten off the ground! The Finn Report, published in 2008 and prepared by Jean Guy Finn, one of the outstanding minds in New Brunswick in public policy, finally got some traction with government. Is everyone happy? Not entirely. Will the initiatives underway yield serious improvements in local government? Undoubtedly so. Are there major hurdles to be worked out? Of Course. That is the challenging process of changing structures that touch on the lives of New Brunswickers.
Are everyday New Brunswickers attentive to the issues that remain outstanding? Not really because life goes on, the sun has been shining and moose season is upon us. But the people most impacted, the mayors, councilors and officials of local government remain concerned about the details of funding, cash flow. Their concerns, as I hear them expressed, are a repeat of the major, sometimes explosive, concerns of implementing health care reform in 1992.
So, everyone wanted major change in health care, or so we thought! People express disgust with long waits for finding a family doctor, for long term care, for treatment in emergency and ever so much more. They say they resonate to the government’s promise for reform and government gets accolades for seemingly moving in that direction.
But not so fast! In every attempt at even insignificant reforms in the last 20 years, resistance has come from interest groups, politicians of a different hue, advocacy groups, and more. That’s the problem with health care….it is the third rail of Canadian politics! Everyone wants to complain, to demand change, to express disgust, chide government for not doing more; and many of them say they are supportive of major reforms.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.