Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day, if you prefer, is here again. For many of us, it is a day of formality, but not feeling. We wear the poppies because it is the thing decent people do. We pause for a moment, out of respect, or to give thanks, to those people who fought for our freedoms when other nations began to lose their own. Some of us may even remember these people as individuals who in many cases did not want to be there, but would rather be nowhere else if it meant endangering loved ones back home.
The Governor General has released a message (http://www.gg.ca/media/doc.asp?lang=e&DocID=4304) for Remembrance Day, and many of the Provinces will have their own ceremonies (http://www.gov.ab.ca/home/index.cfm?Page=935). Yet each year, there are fewer of us who know what it means. The days of our own freedom being threatened by foreign oppressors have long since passed. These days it seems that the oppressors are increasingly local and increasingly numerous. War no longer is just the good fight of defending freedom against the oppressors, and when the fighters are mercenaries, do they deserve a moment of silence?
However, there is still a place for a remembrance day in our modern world. Instead of attaching Remembrance Day to particular events, we should take the day to remember those defenders of freedom, whether they are soldiers or not. For that is really what Remembrance Day is about. It really isn’t the people, as most of us never knew them, and never will. It’s about the cause.
Remember the defence of freedom in all its forms. From standing in a fox-hole to sitting on a bus, if we remember why people would risk themselves for freedom, we go a long way to respecting those who already have.
Money for Health but not Care
The Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health, announced funding (http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/25196.html) of over 15 million dollars to create seven centres for research development across Canada. These centres will be expected to explore the effects that physical and social environments have on health in the hope of perhaps leading to something that might be able to benefit the population in how health-care is delivered.
While perhaps a good step, I have to question the funding to create seven of these centres in an age where distance technology is becoming so prevalent. Doesn’t it make more sense to create a single centre to do research using distance technology to get results from different areas if that’s what they need?
More to the point, Statistics Canada already found that one of the best correlations for overall health and medical use is education. So we already know that some of the research these centres will be doing has been accomplished by Statistics Canada. Perhaps it didn’t cost enough for our Minister of Health. After all, money makes a study authoritative, right?
BC Builds Big Building
Once more, the British Columbia Government is proud to announce (http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/nrm_news_releases/2004MAE0054-000916.htm) that it has spent over 124 million dollars putting together a building for education, rather than actually spending the money on giving its citizens the ability to get an education.
Perhaps I’m spoiled by Athabasca University. To me the idea of a program being full is simply archaic. It speaks of poor planning and limited vision. So, having to spend over twice AU’s annual budget to simply provide room for the training seems nonsensical. However, to their credit, this building actually contains medical research labs, something that cannot easily be provided by teleconference, so there’s some thought going on here after all. This will allow the UBC to double the number of graduates coming from the school. Unfortunately, it does nothing to actually increase the number of graduates in and of itself. That can only be done by encouraging more students to take the program.
It’s too bad they already used that 124 million dollars. I can see a lot of scholarships being offered for that.