Friday, May 30, 2008

Then, Now & Now - Safe Injection Sites

Then, November 20, 2006 :

Vancouver's safe injection site is slowing down the spread of HIV and helping drug users quit their habits, a new study finds — but an expert suggested that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government won't want to hear those results.

The study, which appears Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, says the three-year-old Supervised Injection Site in the Downtown Eastside has been a great success.

The injection site, which drew about 5,000 users in its first year of operation, is a place where people can safely go to inject illegal drugs while being supervised by nurses.

[Previously captured, Horror!]

Now [Insite, Research Results]:
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS is conducting the scientific research project, with the goal of assessing whether an injection site will reduce the harm associated with injection drug use to individuals and the community.

...
  • Insite is leading to increased uptake into detoxification programs and addiction treatment. (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Insite has not led to an increase in drug-related crime, rates of arrest for drug trafficking, assaults and robbery were similar after the facility’s opening, and rates of vehicle break-ins/theft declined significantly. (Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy)
  • Insite has reduced the number of people injecting in public and the amount of injection-related litter in the downtown eastside. (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
  • Insite is attracting the highest-risk users – those more likely to be vulnerable to HIV infection and overdose, and who were contributing to problems of public drug use and unsafe syringe disposal. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine)
  • Insite has reduced overall rates of needle sharing in the community, and among those who used the supervised injection site for some, most or all of their injections, 70% were less likely to report syringe sharing. (The Lancet)
  • Nearly one-third of Insite users received information relating to safer injecting practices. Those who received help injecting from fellow injection drug users on the streets were more than twice as likely to have received safer injecting education at Insite. (The International Journal of Drug Policy)
  • Insite is not increasing rates of relapse among former drug users, nor is it a negative influence on those seeking to stop drug use. (British Medical Journal)

...

Over a one-year period, Insite made more than 2,000 referrals, with close to 40 per cent of those to addiction counselling. People using Insite are more likely to enter a detox program, with one in five regular visitors beginning a detox program. The facility also cut down on deaths from overdoses.

Of the 500 overdoses that occurred at the site over a two-year period, none resulted in a fatality. If these overdoses happened on the street, many of these people may have died.

Now, May 29, 2008:

The Bloc’s Christiane Gagnon, who, as you might recall, was thoroughly displeased by the chair’s opening remarks on the non-appearing witness, has a few questions for [Dr. Colin] Mangham. Like, for example, does he have any data to support his contention that the vast quantity of research that supports harm reduction policies is worthless?

Well, no, not exactly. He provided a “second opinion” on research produced by other people, to “critique” it, just like a first year university student would do.

So, what did he find? “Non-findings,” like the fact there hasn’t been a single death at InSite doesn’t actually mean that lives have been saved. Wait, what? Any graduate student in statistics, he says, would come to the same conclusion. What about a graduate student in medicine? Or psychology? Or public health?

[H/T, The Galloping Beaver]

Scientific evidence versus babbling froth. What has the Conservative Party come to?

The Sky is Blue in His World - Now

Scott McClellan has come out and said that U.S. President George Bush used propaganda without any facts to sell the war in Iraq - including getting him to say things as press secretary that were not true or real.

Next, Scott plans to tell us that it isn't pollution that is hurting the environment, it's the impurities in our air and water doing it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What Does it Mean when a Guy Leaves his Stuff at Your Apartment?

I've heard that women wonder what it means when their boyfriend leaves their stuff at their apartment [CBC, Bernier quits cabinet post over security breach]:

The resignation came ahead of Monday night's airing of a French-language television interview of Bernier's former girlfriend, Julie Couillard, in which she revealed the minister had left a secret document in her apartment sometime in April that she later returned to Foreign Affairs.

"Maxime came to my house, and the document stayed there," Couillard said during her interview with private television network TVA, without disclosing the contents of the document.
Well, let's turn to Yahoo! Answers for the answers to that time honoured question, shall we? Here is a snippet [typos copied as written]:

What does it mean when a guy leaves his stuff at your apartment?

When he had his own place, or when he was staying on campus, and he cleaned up, he'd put all my stuff in a small pile and say "here...here's your crap." "Don't forget your crap" or something. Very territorial, I guess.

But when I'm cleaning up my apartment, and I find a pile of his stuff lying aroun (and he's always had a habit of leaving his dirty boxers/undershirts/whatever else around) I'd fold/pile it up and say: "Here, I found some of your stuff, if you want to take it with you."

And he says to me: "No, you can hold on to that for awhile."

Answerer 1: My honest advice is, he has double standards. Especially the term he uses for your stuff when he finds it at his. How would he feel if you called his stuff that?

Answerer 4: he trusts you enough to consider you a friend, and perhaps more. i would consider it a compliment.

Answerer 5: Dogs on fire hydrants, apes pounding their chests. polygamy...definately a control and territorial thing.

Put your foot down and tell him to take his stuff withhim when he leaves or marry you and then he cankeep it there. That ought to do it!

Answerer 10: I think you probably went too far with a guy who is too uncommitted and too unprepared to be in a serious relationship.

Answerer 11: It sounds like he's a real jerk!! I'm sorry. Why are you even putting up with his "crap"?

Answerer 12: It means he wants to lay some claim to your territory, but he doesn't want you to have any in his. He wants others to see that you have a man in your life, but he doesn't want any evidence that there is a female in his.

There you have it. Nothing like taking a serious security breach completely out of context.

I'm totally not going to get accredited now.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Compare & Contrast - Natural Disaster Edition

Compare, May 25, 2008:
The top US diplomat in Burma said that the United States was willing to provide more cyclone aid to the country, but only if the junta allowed foreign disaster experts in to assess the situation.

Speaking at an international donor conference in the main city Yangon, Shari Villarosa said the United States - one of Burma's most vocal critics - wanted outside experts to get full access to the disaster zone.
Contrast, April 29, 2007:
[US diplomats] knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars [in the wake of Hurricane Katrina].

...

Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

The Liberal Party has nominated former Progressive Canadian Party leader, Tracy Parsons, in the riding of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion today congratulated Tracy Parsons on having been nominated to represent the Liberal Party of Canada in the riding of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. Ms. Parsons is the former leader of the Progressive Canadian Party.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Tracy Parsons to our team of progressive Canadians,” said Mr. Dion. “Tracy’s passion for compassionate public policy, and her experience in grassroots politics, make her a natural fit for our slate of talented candidates and MPs across Canada. I look forward to working with Tracy and our Nova Scotia caucus to ensure a richer, fairer and greener Canada.”
Tracy has a record with Progressive Conservative politics and is a worthy candidate for the riding.

There's just one problem. Who is Tracy's main competition in the riding?

Bill Casey - someone else with a background in Progressive Conservative politics - who has indicated in the past he intends to run again as an independent.

“My plan now is to run as an Independent, and I’ve told other parties that I’m going to remain an Independent and they have respected that,” Casey said. “I have friends in all parties, including the Conservatives, but I’m going to remain as an independent and run as an independent. I hope [the people] support me, but if they don’t I’ll understand. I’m glad I did what I did.” – Amherst Daily News
I think it's too bad that the local Liberal riding association could not have convinced Bill to run for them. Bill Casey will more than likely win this riding.

If Bill decides not to run, this one will likely go Liberal.

Then & Now - Surplus Edition

Then, March 23, 2004:

[Stephen] Harper said the only reason the Liberals can achieve a surplus is because they overtax Canadians and spend the money on "pet projects."
Now, May 23, 2008:

The federal government's surplus for its latest fiscal year came in around $10.2 billion, the finance department said Friday.

The government said its budgetary revenues for the year that concluded on March 31 increased by $10.6 billion, or 4.6 per cent, driven by gains in income tax revenues and other revenues.

Spending on government programs grew by $12.5 billion, or 6.8 per cent, because of higher transfer payments and operating expenses of departments and agencies.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thought Experiment : Supporter vs Partisan

Is it possible to be a political party supporter, but not a partisan? Is it possible to be a political party partisan, but not a supporter?

I think everyone would agree that it is possible to be neither or both, but can you be one without the other?

The definition of "partisan" I like is this one from Merriam-Webster:
a firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; especially : one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance
Key in to the part about "unreasoning allegiance".

I think one can be a supporter of a political party, without being partisan - that probably takes little explanation.

I also think one can be a partisan of a political party without supporting it (that is, unreasoning allegiance). In this sense, you may publicly support the political party despite the fact that it seems not to follow your political belief structure.

Could someone realize, for example, that all the time they were a partisan of one party, they actually (perhaps) belonged as a supporter* of another?

* Note supporter vs. partisan.

Residency Requirements for Health Care - Cross Country

In two previous posts, I stated that I thought the residency requirement for receiving coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) was wrong. I noted that the eligibility requirements for voting in the province of Ontario are less restrictive than the requirements for obtaining health care coverage.

In another, I brought your attention to the danger that a residency requirement can have on a patient.

I asked the question, how do we change it?

So, I decided to see what the other provinces residency length requirements are.

Residency requirements for provincial health plans are as follows:

For Newfoundland & Labrador and New Brunswick, I could not find a residency length requirement. However, both provinces exclude "tourists, transients, and visitors" from coverage.

For Nunavut, I could not find the eligibility requirements for health care coverage online.

In short, Ontario is the least restrictive (assuming NL, NB, and NT have a fixed residency requirement) at 5 months(-ish), versus requiring 6 months across the rest of the country. In an extremely hypothetical example, if I happen to reside for 5 months in Alberta, then 5 months in Nova Scotia, then 2 in Ontario - I could conceivably be denied public health care coverage in Canada. I could vote in three provincial elections - but I would not be entitled to health care coverage in any of the three.

That said, there are numerous exemptions to these requirements. Some provinces include an exemption if you leave the province for working, education, or as long as you tell your respective Ministry of Health before you leave and then provided you come back and reside for the required length again upon your return.

At the heart of these residency-length issues, each province is attempting to exclude "tourists, transients, and visitors" from being covered under their provincial plan. It's not an entirely undesirable condition. Contrast this with the Canada Health Act's requirement that health plans must be portable and universal.

All provinces exclude those covered under federal health coverage (for example, military personnel).

Tourists and visitors, I think, fall into the same category. They are, in effect, temporarily in another province and their health care coverage should be covered by their home province. They likely pay income taxes in another province, are eligible to vote in another province's elections, or they receive mail in another province. It's a no brainer for these folks.

The sticky part is "transient". These are people that are in a permanent or permanent-like situation where they may not have "proof of residency" for the province where they are seeking treatment. Or, like the case of the gentleman from Leader, Saskatchewan, his nearest major centre offering the required health care was in another province.

The "simplest" solution seems to be to make health care a federal responsibility. You get a Canada health card - good for medical care at any hospital or doctor's office in Canada.

Is that the right course?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guy Giorno Fact for the Day

The news is swirling that Guy Giorno will be brought in to replace Ian Brodie as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Chief of Staff.

Your Guy Giorno fact-for-today? Fans of the electoral reform referendum held last October here in Ontario may remember him as a supporter of MMP. Now you know - or, should have known.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Returning Shortly

My two week blogcation has turned into nearly a month. I'm not ready to return completely just yet, but I will be back soon.

In the meantime, I've done some tinkering on the blog. I've installed Haloscan for commenting only because there is a lot of craziness going on with comments and stuff.

Secondly, I'm going to join the pile and I've applied for accreditation at the Conservative Party convention. I know me and the Conservatives broke up, but I'm hoping we could remain friends. :)

Thirdly, I'll probably be shutting down my personal blog and move the personal postings over here. Maybe. Not sure yet.

Update: I'm still not back full time. Comment moderation still on.

Update: Maybe comment moderation - if it works.

Update: Maybe Haloscan - if it works.

Update: Ok, switching back to Blogger comments until I can figure the Haloscan thing out.

Update: Go, Obama~! :)

Update: Moderation off. I'm back-ish.