Tuesday November 25, 2014

Weather experts needed


It wasn’t that long ago, okay maybe about thirty years ago, that Environment Canada was considered to be over-staffed and the federal government took the chopping block to it. I’d suggest the time has come to recognize that weather should be a real priority for us and staffing weather specialists needs to be re-examined. In light of the vicious water storms we have received in the last two weeks, we need more scientists on the case of weather in this country. I can cite many examples of extreme weather in the last handful of years, but let’s just look across Canada since last Fall. The entire country endured a bitter, long, cold winter and the prairies weren’t the only geographical area hit this month with a severe rain storm. The Maritimes are dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane and some communities are going to be without power for more than a week. More weather experts won’t prevent these disasters from occurring, but it may help us understand them better and be a little better prepared for them. I felt on the weekend that Environment Canada had to play it safe by issuing tornado warnings for Yorkton and the forecast did call for close to 20mm of rain. Instead, we got a light shower. I’m not complaining. We don’t need more rain. But, I do wonder if a little less staff in Ottawa to handle spam email and a few more people scattered about the ten provinces to analyze weather may not be a good idea.

If you are one of these people who do not believe that climate change is happening, then I’d also like to talk to you about the planet Earth being flat. Climate change is inevitable. Look at the airplanes in the sky on a daily basis.  Look at the various factories and chemical plants that spout pollution into the atmosphere each and every day. I’m not a tree hugger and saying everyone should ride a donkey to work every day, because a lot of what we pollute is simply the way we live and we really can’t live without doing it; however it’s time to take weather more seriously.

A phrase I use a lot when it comes to the state of affairs in Canada is ‘the system is broke’.  Well, another example of that came to light on the weekend when the Calgary Herald published a story about a person of interest in the disappearance of a five year old boy and his grandparents. The person, Doug Garland, has a history with police. What I found astounding was a tidbit regarding Garland using a stolen identity and claiming employment insurance benefits after getting fired from his job in 1997. The government ruled his earnings weren’t insurable because he worked under a false identity. Well, Garland appealed and won! He won! Someone who shouldn’t be sitting in a judge’s chair decided Garland was, simply, a ‘troubled man’ who had attention deficit disorder and because he performed legitimate work, he was entitled to the benefits.

Here’s another example: a Saint John, New Brunswick business owner got nowhere with city officials when it came to fixing massive potholes on the street that leads to his business (some were a foot deep), so after a tire blowout and then watching a hearse navigate around the craters, he decided to take matters into his own hands and filled in the potholes. He spent 3 ½ hours and paid for the material himself.  The city ordered him to unfix the potholes, citing a bylaw that says private citizens cannot modify city roads.

A surprising study from the University of Virginia published last week suggests people who were asked to spend no more than 15 minutes alone in a room doing nothing but sitting and thinking found the task to be onerous. Further to that, there was one experiment where some preferred to administer mild electrical shocks to themselves rather than sit and do nothing.

Competitive Eating champion Joey Chestnut is getting married to a fellow Competitive Eating competitor. Main course at the reception will be hot dogs.

Remember when National Hockey League owners said they were losing their shirts over a salary cap of $39 million per team? Well, this year the cap is $69 million and there is lots of money being made. Yet another reason to never trust ownership in professional sports. If you want one more, take into account the Canadian Football League cried poor to their players during collective bargaining and then as soon as the deal was signed, so too was a contract with ESPN to have games shown in the States. Players may be greedy, but they are seldom dishonest. Owners are both.

Nice person mentions this week to all the hard working people who are doing their best to get life back to whatever is normal for the citizens of Saskatchewan (and southwest Manitoba) as a result of torrential rain storms and a tornado.  And, my heart goes out to those who have lost their homes. An unimaginable loss.



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