Right in the centre - Only in Canada


By Ken Waddell

The Neepawa Banner

Canada is a great country, a country only held back by a lack of imagination. The same holds true for Manitoba and yes, it holds true for many rural towns. If we had more imagination and better utilization of our financial, human and intellectual resources, we would be much more than we are. However, we are held back by a lack of those same things. Deep down, everyone knows that.

There are some things we could change and do so almost instantly if we really wanted to.

Why would we spend $20 million in taxpayer dollars to try to find out where $90,000 went when it has already been paid back? That’s what it has cost deciding if Senator Duffy is guilty of breaking some fuzzy rules that may have been broken by many others. Why aren’t we just fixing the rules? Only in Canada.

And only in Canada would we have towns with up to 80 organizations all doing their thing, but rarely talking to each other. You read that correctly, a town like Neepawa has over 80 organizations, all trying to raise money for this project or that project. Some of them have such a small budget that if each board member put in $10 per hour of time spent on meetings and projects, they would be further ahead financially. Canadians have a huge capacity to hold meetings, talk about everything and accomplish nothing. Every town has a large number of groups. Probably way too many. But even if they need all the groups and projects they have going on, they need to sharpen their focus, shorten their meetings and measure their progress. Groups need goals, they need well run meetings, they need accurate financial statements. If any of those things are missing then the meetings will drag on leading nowhere. Without a goal, any destination will do. Only in Canada.

Perhaps not only in Canada but certainly only in First World countries would we cry about a lion being killed in a hunt. The Cecil the lion story caught the developed countries attention to a greater degree than elections or the stock market. The story that was largely missed was that a student in the United States from that area of Zimbabwe wrote that “we don’t cry over dead lions in my country. We cry over the people who have been killed and eaten by the lions.” Also missed was the information that Cecil was outside a park, not lured but eating on the carcass of an elephant that had died of natural causes. Remember folks, animals die every minute of the day of natural causes or are killed by other animals. We should cry less about dead lions and more about people.

Only in a First World country can we get so far removed from reality that we fuss about every little thing and let the big things roll on by. More folks are upset about chickens being kept in cages than the fact that thousands of babies are being aborted every year and at every age and stage of pregnancy. Before all the so-called pro-choice people get all upset, let it be said that in rare situations, abortion may be a necessary. It should not however be a procedure of convenience or birth control. It’s a complex topic that needs a lot more attention than it gets but basically abortion needs to be avoided as much as humanly possible. It says a lot when a society worries more about chickens than it does about babies.

Let’s bring the discussion back home to rural western Manitoba. While we are fixating on chickens or Senate inquiries or Cecil the lion, the bureaucrats are running this part of Manitoba into the ground. Except in a few towns, the recruiting of doctors has been left to bureaucrats, not communities. How’s that working out for us. Most towns are getting fewer and fewer doctors. Neepawa is an exception as it has done the job correctly. Credit is due the community on that front. Lots of room for improvement but unlike many towns that have few or no doctors, Neepawa is ahead of the game. The reason is simple. The community recognized both the need and the potential. They didn’t fixate on long meetings and endless trivia. They waded through all that. They set a goal and pursued it and did so for 15 years.

If people aren’t interested in making actual progress, then maybe they should just go back to crying over Cecil the lion and when they get tired of that, they can wring their hands over senate inquiries. If the activity is pointless, any activity will do to occupy our time. Only in Canada.