TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

August 22, 2017

 

Who goes amid the green wood

By James Joyce

 

Who goes amid the green wood
With springtide all adorning her?
Who goes amid the merry green wood
To make it merrier?

Who passes in the sunlight
By ways that know the light footfall?
Who passes in the sweet sunlight
With mien so virginal?

The ways of all the woodland
Gleam with a soft and golden fire
For whom does all the sunny woodland
Carry so brave attire?

O, it is for my true love
The woods their rich apparel wear
O, it is for my own true love,
That is so young and fair.

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TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

August 15, 2017

PitStop by Neil McKenty

It’s time to clear the air on euthanasia and assisted suicide

This fall the Charest government will consult Quebecers on euthanasia. Is it ever necessary? Is it morally wrong? Is it murder? Should it be a crime? Should doctors assist those who want to die?

These are a few of the knotty questions that must be faced in a discussion of euthanasia. Another involves the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. If another party performs the last act that intentionally causes a patient’s death, that constitutes euthanasia. For example, giving a patient a lethal injection of morphine or suffocating her with a pillow would be considered euthanasia.

On the other hand, assisted suicide has taken place. So it would be assisted suicide if some one swallows an overdose of drugs that has been provided by another person for the purpose of causing death. When a doctor provides the means to die, that is called doctor-assisted suicide.

There is a debate now raging in England on euthanasia and assisted suicide that is a foretaste of what Quebecers can expect this fall. Two cases illustrate some of the major issues.

The first case involved a mother named Kay Gilderdale. She was charged with the murder of her 31-year-old daughter, Lynne, who suffered from myalgic encephalitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Lynn was paralyzed from the waist down, bedridden for 17 years, unable to swallow or speak, and communicated with her family through sign language.

Lynn dreaded losing what little dignity remained to her. She was in constant pain. Over the course of a year, she had written a long letter explaining why, and how much, she wanted to die.

The crisis came on a December night. Lynn tried to kill herself with morphine. She begged her mother to help her. Her mother did, then phoned their doctor to tell what she had done. She was charged with murder, but acquitted by a jury that heard of the countless times Lynn had asked her mother for help to die.

The other case ended differently. Frances Inglis administered a lethal dose of heroin to her son, Tom, who was in a persistent vegetative state after falling out of an ambulance. Inglis was found guilty of murder and sentenced to nine years in prison. One material difference in the two cases was that while Lynn had often expressed her wish to die – Tom had never done so.

These cases played out while the End of Life Assistance Bill was being introduced into Scotland’s parliament. The bill was introduced by Margo MacDonald, a highly respected politician who has Parkinson’s disease and has made it clear she does not want her husband prosecuted should she ask him to help her die.

“Dying is part of living,” she says.“It’ s the last act of your life, and if we accept the responsibility of how we live our lives, then I really fail to see where there is any demarcation of how we should die.” Under MacDonald’s bill, assisted suicide would be available to anyone over 16 who is terminally ill or permanently physically incapacitated. It would not be available to those with dementia or other degenerative mental conditions.

The suicide request must be made to a doctor and approved by a psychiatrist. This approval must be requested and accepted a second time after a “cooling off” period of 15 days. The bill also says the assisted suicide must be supervised by the approving doctor and that no one who stands to gain from the death can be involved. Close friends and family are not allowed to administer the lethal drug. MacDonald believes around 50 people a year would choose to die using this legislation.

Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, a close friend of MacDonald, is opposed to her bill.

“How can Margo think like that?” he asked. “I love and respect her so much. Life is a gift from almighty god. If he can give it, he can take that gift from us. But we can’t say: ‘God, I am finished with it. I can’t cope with cancer or Parkinson’s.’”

The church also argues that such a law would threaten the weakest and most vulnerable in society. The British Medical Society opposes the bill on the ground that resources should be concentrated on palliative medicine and alleviating the suffering of the dying. Peter Saunders, a former surgeon and director of Care Not Killing, says the bill is well intentioned but dangerous, raising the possibility that some elderly or terminally ill people see it as a means of pressuring them to have an “assisted death.” A number of Church of Scotland ministers are supporting the bill. Doctors with religious or moral objections would not be obliged to help any patient take his or her own life.

What is going on in Britain and Scotland indicates some of the issues that will rise when the Quebec government consults the population on this subject next fall.

Morality and public health policy are at the heart of the controversy.

We are getting older, living longer and health care at the end of life is taking a disproportionate number of health care dollars. A full-scale public debate on all these issues will help clear the air.

The senior times march 2010

NEIL’S RADIO SHOW

July 26, 2017

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty.

The Lines Are Still Blazing!

On the program today, Neil chats with Barbara Matuson, author of the book The Evening Stars, and the live callers.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

July 25, 2017

Pit Stop By Neil McKenty

Time is ripe for a new political party in Quebec

Now that hunting season has begun, it behooves most Quebec politicians to head for the hills.

According to all the surveys, the popularity of the province’s politicians is dropping like a wounded duck. And this applies to both Ottawa and Quebec City.

A Léger poll shows the level of satisfaction with the federal Conservatives has dropped a full seven points. Only one in five Quebecers is happy with the political leadership in Ottawa.

The results were similarly dismal for the provincial Liberals. The level of dissatisfaction with Premier Jean Charest’s government is at a record-breaking 77 per cent, with only 28 per cent saying they would vote Liberal in the next provincial election. Support for the Parti Québécois stood at 34 per cent.

These figures must be seen in the context of a provincial scene where most of the news is negative. Whether it is the dirty linen on judge’s appointments being aired at the Bastarache commission, the ever-rising cost of health care, controversial language legislation or the government’s refusal to investigate the construction industry, there is not much for the ordinary voter to be happy about.

All this means that Charest, who must face an election within three years, is in dire straits politically. But the PQ leader, Pauline Marois, is right in there with him.

Let’s face it. Although Marois has been in public life for three decades, she has never really caught on, either with her own party or with the electorate generally. This could become more evident when she faces a leadership review next spring.

Unlike the Liberals who cherish their leaders so long as they are in power, the separatists seem to view their chieftans with considerable suspicion. As Don Macpherson writes in the Gazette: “Liberals are disciplined and remain loyal to a leader, especially when they are in power, until he loses an election. Péquistes, on the other hand, are impatient, nervous and suspicious of any leader not named Jacques Parizeau. Since they last held power in 2003, they’ve already had three leaders.”

What’s more, unlike the Charest Liberals, the PQ has a potential leader prowling around the precincts. That would be Gilles Duceppe, who is getting long in the tooth in federal politics. Duceppe threatened to run against Marois once before. This time, if she really stumbles, he might go through with it.

So what we have now in the province is a Liberal government that is dead in the water and a PQ opposition that is not exactly setting the heather afire. What better time to fly a trial balloon about a new party?

A group of former politicians (Péquistes François Legault and Joseph Facal) and business people think the time is ripe for a new party that would regroup federalists and sovereigntists around a centre-right agenda and leaving the “national question” aside.

A new poll shows that such a new party would win 30 per cent of the votes in a Quebec election, with the PQ at 27 per cent and the Liberals at 25 per cent. If nothing else, these results suggest there is a deep desire in the population to break through the federalist-separatist division to some third force that would concentrate on the economic and social well-being of Quebec.

Such a party would emphasize fiscal restraint and smaller government. But would the Quebec voter buy into such a program? Ironically, this is what Charest wanted to implement when he first took office eight years ago. Charest, a small-c conservative, hoped to cut back on Quebec’s bloated bureaucracy, reduce some services and cut taxes.

But Charest discovered to his chagrin that he could carry neither his cabinet nor his caucus on a program of serious fiscal restraint. The government was even afraid to raise the rates for electricity, something practically all economists urged them to do. Recently all it took was the prospect of a coming by-election for Finance Minister Raymond Bachand to shelve plans to impose user fees for medical visits.

So attractive as a new party might be, especially one that jettisoned the sovereignty question, it is not at all clear that it would be able to sell a policy of fiscal restraint, the very policy that Charest could not sell when he first came into office.

Furthermore, as Lysiane Gagnon has pointed out, the new Legault party looks much like the old Mario Dumont party. The Action démocratique du Quebec was also based on a centre-right agenda and a moderate nationalist approach (for most of its life it did not even take sides in the sovereignty debates). One difference is that Legault’s movement was born in Montreal and might eventually attract more high-profile personalties than the ADQ, whose scope was limited to eastern Quebec.

What this new party does right out of the gate is underline popular dissatisfaction with the two old parties. Another election is not required until 2013. That leaves plenty of time for the Liberals to replace Charest and for the PQ to do a makeover on Marois (or replace her with Duceppe.)

In the meantime, a group that has no leader and no name is more popular than the two other parties who have both. No wonder the politicians are heading for the hills.

Published on Nov.2010

The Senior Times

RADIO SHOW!

July 24, 2017

 

 

Another episode of Exchange on CJAD.

 

 

 

Jean P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLAST FROM THE PAST

July 17, 2017

McKenty Live.

On today’s program, Neil talks about train transportation with Transport 2000 director Guy Chartrand. And the live callers.

Small farmers in Québec

July 13, 2017

9847128

 Photo : Marie-France Coallier, The Gazette

I was lucky enough to have always lived in a first floor apartment in the city of Montreal. So I’ve always have a small garden to grow some lettuce, green onions, basil, tomatoes, pepper and little more. So when someone talked to me about this article, I thought I should share and maybe it could inspire some.

This article was published in the Gazette about small Farmers in Québec, on the May 16, 2014. Today, even big stores like Loblaws and Metro are now carrying free range meat they say is raised with no antibiotics, as well as organic fruit and vegetables, albeit from beyond our borders. But the big story, in lockstep with the farm-to-table movement, is the new life on Quebec’s small farms.

In the article we are introduce to the Ferme Tourne-sol, who started with 5 students who met at McGill University and decided to farm together. They found a piece of land to rent and started their work in Les Cèdres. They started in 2005; they wanted to offer fresh and organic vegetable and fruit for the community. As Pascal Thériault , an agricultural economics expert who teaches at McGill’s MacDonald Campus in Ste-Anne de Bellevue said, “Historically, our particular program has been in place to train farmers, and we usually get sons and daughters of farmers who will themselves take over the farm. This coming year, 23 of the 48 completed applicants did not come from farms or have only a limited knowledge of agriculture.”

We are also meeting Jean-Marie Fortier (in the picture above), from Les Jardins de la Grelinette in St-Armand, who only uses hand held tools to work his field, “People are super stoked hearing that young people make a living on an acre and a half without a tractor,” he says.

The movement toward small, organic farming is so strong, Thériault says, that many farmers can’t accept more customers for their CSAs. But that doesn’t mean all new farmers will be successful.

“Jean-Martin is a great example of being able to make a lot of money,” he said. “Having a sustainable farm is cool but it has to be financially sustainable. Direct sell to consumer is more work and more trouble, and distributors won’t do business with them, since they can’t guarantee the volumes.”

I recommend you to go and check this article :

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Appetite+organic+Quebec+small+farmers+thriving/9847124/story.html

Would you decide to make a change and become a farmer ?

When buying your vegetable, do you know where they came from ?

Are you trying to eat fresh and organic food ?

What do you think of GMO ?

 

Stephanie P.

NEIL’S RADIO SHOW

July 12, 2017

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty.

Dirty Quebec politics is the subject on today’s program. With the live callers.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

July 11, 2017

 

 

Tis The Last Rose Of Summer

 

‘Tis the last rose of summer,

Left blooming alone;

All her lovely companions

Are faded and gone;

No flower of her kindred,

No rose-bud is nigh,

To reflect back her blushes,

Or give sigh for sigh.

 

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!

To pine on the stem;

Since the lovely are sleeping,

Go sleep thou with them.

Thus kindly I scatter

Thy leaves o’er the bed,

Why thy mates of the garden

Lie scentless and dead.

 

So soon may I follow,

When friendships decay,

And from love’s shining circle

The gems drop away.

When true heart lie wither’d,

And fond ones are flown,

Oh! who would inhabit

This bleak world alone?

 

 

By Thomas Moore.

NEIL’S RADIO SHOW

July 10, 2017

 

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty.

The Lines Are Blazing!

On this one, its mostly miscellaneous interviews on different subjects and something special at the end.