Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Wrangling my recalcitrant mind back into a firefighting theme has proven more difficult than expected. It has been two and a half weeks since I wrote my last meaningful firefighting post . . . assuming that my rant about Upsala being Canada's new firefighting Mecca was "meaningful." Since two and a half weeks of inaction is enough to dull even the most razor-witted blogger-mind, perhaps I can be forgiven for fighting a life-and-death battle with writer's block while trying to get back into the groove.

Among my multitudinous reasons for not blogging (which would interest you as much as the minutes from an Accountants Anonymous meeting), is the fact that I'm having some kind of weird problem that makes me feel like I'm perpetually in the early stages of motion sickness. I recommend the malady for anyone that wants to lose weight fast, and doesn't need to work for a living. My particular case is accompanied - or possibly caused - by tension in my neck, and regular headaches. I get similar symptoms after long, stressful calls, but they usually don't last more than a week. This has been going on for about ten days.

Now that you're convinced I'm a hypochondriac, I'll move on to the "meaningful firefighting post" that I was going to write.

Ontario heads into a provincial election in about two months, which is enough to give anyone a headache. I am still in the throes of my pseudo-success at the federal level last winter, and am now trying my hand at provincial politicking. That's in spite of the fact that our negotiations with Queen's Park last year were about as successful as Don Quixote jousting with windmills. After laying out the plight of volunteer firefighters in several meetings, and through a number of letters and resolutions, things stayed pretty much exactly the same.

Now that the end (or beginning, depending on your perspective) is facing politicians, however, they may be more inclined to benevolence. Or at least they may be more willing to promise the moon, if it will bring them votes.

Here's the strategy: send every candidate a survey asking specific questions about what their party would do for the fire service, if elected. It may not produce action, but it might at least generate promises. I will post the survey once it's been sent out, and will post any answers that I receive as well (thanks MP Rafferty for the suggestion). 

Speaking of support, or lack thereof, for the fire service, Toronto Fire  is still grappling with a possible budget reduction. Chief Stewart says that cutting 400 staff is a bad idea.  The alternative, which is to close some libraries and cut other social services, seems like a bad idea as well. As an aside, that's one choice Upsala will never have to face. We don't have a library.

Here's the strange thing about public service though. Many people receive direct help from librarians on a regular basis (even Upsalanians, when we visit Thunder Bay). Comparatively few people need the service of firefighters . . . but when they do need them, they really need them. Without going into a boring speech about how fire service cuts endanger lives, let me say that Toronto's dilemma is a snapshot of that faced by the rest of the country, even though many of us don't have libraries.

Another perspective on the issue: many library services can be accessed online now. Try calling a virtual firefighter the next time your house catches fire.

I think this headache is getting to me.

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