Posts Tagged Jack Layton

About Jack

Hearing about Jack Layton’s death from cancer driving home yesterday was like a hard punch in the head, and I nearly went off the road. My American readers may not appreciate the genuine respect and affection most Canadians had for the new Leader of the Opposition, even if they vehemently disagreed with his politics. I don’t think I have anything to add to the many, many tributes and obituaries, except this: though I was severely critical of Layton’s stance on the gun registry, he convinced me to vote for the New Democrats this spring for the first time in a federal election since ’93.

Here’s Layton at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton for the television program Make the Politician Work.



A Politician in the Emergency Department

From the CBC television show Make the Politician Work. For my American readers, it features New Democrat party leader Jack Layton, a Torontonian, who spent some time hanging with the nurses in a pretty typical-looking Ontario ED at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario — where, incidentally, I was born.

Aside from this historic significance, the video segment itself is pretty unique in that it’s one of the few produced by conventional media related to any emergency department which doesn’t fall over itself pandering to physicians. Nearly all of the people shown are nurses — yes, nurses — doing what we all do in the ED.

(The code blue sequences are obviously staged — holy pathetic chest compressions! — but not maybe not so obviously to the general public.)

[Big thanks to RN Luke for sending this to me!]

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More on the Gun Registry, and Some Other Unrelated Observations [UPDATED]

Someone the other day on Twitter referred to my post on the long gun registry (and by implication, me) as being “emotional” and “posturing” (as opposed to actually presenting argument.) I actually found this rather amusing: as I stated in the post, I was being a “little emotional” on the subject, and of course, it’s a time-worn tactic to minimize someone’s point of view by calling them “emotional”. (O, how many marriages have collapsed because one spouse called the other “emotional”?) But it is an emotional topic. At the end it all, when Parliament, the Conservative Party, and the twelve dissenting New Democrat MPs finally vote to abolish the long gun registry, people will die. As an Emergency Department nurse, I think you might grant me leave to be a little emotional, because it’s going to be me and my nursing and medical colleagues cleaning up the blood. Is this posturing? Perhaps not: it seems to me that particular term is applied whenever someone disagrees with you, but can’t exactly articulate why. As a label, it’s meaningless.

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On a completely different and happier matter: sometime overnight my stats meter rolled over 50,000 hits. Somewhat uncoincidentally this Friday is the first anniversary of this weblog. In September 2009 I had 28 hits, most of which, I assume, were accidental. I have a few more now. Again, thanks to all my readers for your support. Also thanks to my long suffering husband who has put up with my obsession with much grace and humour and has readily supplied synonyms on demand. It’s meant more than you can know.

Incidentally, I’m thinking of doing some renovations around here. Freshen the place up a bit, new coat of paint, wash the windows. I’m actually getting tired of my current WordPress template, and may well change it altogether in the interest of clarity and readability. I’d be interested in your opinion on this: should I change my template or not?

[UPDATED: Commenter ADHR, below, notes I neglected to make an appropriate link. So I did: I linked the main Twitter page instead. This has been corrected.]

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A Personal Message for Jack Layton on the Gun Registry

Dear Jack

I’ve written a couple of times on the proposed abolition of the long gun registry, now before Parliament. I have argued gun control is very much a health care issue, and that real lives are at stake. From my perspective as a Registered Nurse, working in an urban Emergency Department, the issue is not about rights or rural culture, but about protecting the vulnerable from harm.

You’ll have to forgive me, Jack, if I am a little emotional on this issue. You see, unlike you and probably all anti-gun-registry MPs — Conservatives and New Democrats alike — I have actually seen gunshot wounds, up close and personal. I have the seen the devastating trauma they have on individuals, families and communities, the lasting scars they leave which never can be repaired. For you, I think, it’s an issue you can debate with Olympian remoteness. It’s all an abstraction, a game of politics played with the lives of your constituents, not a reality of death and mutilation. “Ah,” you say, “It’s a matter of conscience, MPs should vote as they like: who knows the rights and the wrongs.” You know better than this, Jack. You know there is a direct correlation between the gun registry and deaths from firearms. You know the death rate from shotguns and rifles declined an astonishing 44% from 1995 when the Firearms Act was proclaimed to 2008.

From down here in the trenches, your “freedom of conscience” looks a lot like cant and hypocrisy.

Expert opinion, ranging from nurses to police chiefs to Emergency Department physicians have all spoken in favour of retaining the gun registry. They — and I — don’t have any dogs in this fight. I doubt at this point any appeals to reason or even common sense will change your mind, Jack, or get you or your caucus to do the right thing. But when I’m busy getting the trauma room ready for the next gunshot victim — and I know the numbers will increase, as sure as stupidity reigns in Ottawa — I’ll be thinking of you, Jack, and shaking my head. You guys just don’t get it.



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New Democrats Bail on the Gun Registry

Between my musings on G20 health care stupidity, and managing the complexities of being a charge nurse in a busy Emergency Department, this really makes me cranky:

Yet Another MP Who Has Never Seen a Gunshot Wound to the Face

The fate of the gun registry rests with a dozen New Democrats, who are in the position to cast the deciding votes after the party signalled Friday it will not crack the whip by forcing the caucus to support the federal database.

A final vote on a Conservative backbencher’s bill to scrap the registry is expected in the House of Commons as early as this month and New Democrat Joe Comartin said Friday that leader Jack Layton would maintain a long-standing party tradition of allowing MPs to vote with their conscience.


Hmmm, let’s see. Risking the possible loss of a handful of New Democrat MPs by forcing a whipped vote, or definitely saving lives. Let me say it again, slowly, for you, Jack, Our Champion of Public Health Care: gun control is a health care issue.

Okay, I’m not so naïve as to believe that Doing the Right Thing trumps political expediency. But dressing up craven pandering as a matter of conscience makes even jaded, crusty me want to puke.

And of course, the obvious irony: Layton was Chair of the Toronto Board of Health during the ’90s.

[via Big City Liberal Strikes Back]

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