Too important to fail?

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heinzleamingtonfeature

“Too Big to Fail” was a book and later a movie about how the American government bailed out U.S. banks because not to do so would have caused even more damage to the economy.

Last week’s closure of Heinz in Leamington and dismantling of Sydenham District Hospital carry similar implications in that locally they’re “too important to fail.”

Heinz’ move to end its century-long presence in Leamington was a corporate decision with no concern whatsoever for local employees, farmers or the community. Tens of millions of dollars are at stake locally.

Even as the shockwaves reverberated across the area, they met the echoes of the auctioneer’s gavel at the former Navistar plant. We’re no strangers locally to being sacrificed at the corporate altar.

Perhaps it’s time we took matters into our own hands.

The Heinz plant has undergone millions in upgrades, has an experienced workforce, and most of all, the finest crop grown in Canada. It’s the ingredients that make the product, not the other way around.

That spells opportunity.

With politicians of every stripe and level offering to help, let’s see them develop a plan to either bring in another operator or help develop a co-operative which has local interests (and profits) in mind.

It’s not difficult to imagine customers lining up to buy products made from the best ingredients in Canada.

We need exactly the opposite type of government help in health care, but it won’t happen until the next election.

This provincial government has turned the delivery of basic health care into a bureaucratic mess of epic proportions and tragic consequences.

From the ORNGE air ambulance mess, to the millions wasted in adding levels of health-care bureaucracy, to the billion-dollar eHealth scandal, Ontarians have been victimized by unending incompetence.

Recently the bullying took on a whole new level as the little-known bureaucratic empire Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) actually withheld funding while trying to make Windsor hospitals toe the line and eliminate some treatments.

If the health-care system in Ontario were a patient, we’d be gathering the family for our final goodbyes.

Unlike their counterparts in Windsor who told CCO to take a hike (and now have funding restored) locally we once again cover reduced service with soothing verbiage about patient care. We do what we’re told.

What we need in health care is fewer people telling us what to do and more people actually doing it.

If we have such talented administrators that can make a difference, let’s release them from bureaucratic control and let them do just that.

Being a health-care bureaucrat must be frustrating (although the quarter-million-dollar annual salaries are soothing) but do we really need high-priced help if the job is to figuratively determine which lights to turn out to meet budget in a broken system?

Colin Patey, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, briefs the media on the 2013-14 operating plan. He was joined by Sarah Padfield (left), vice president and CFO.
Colin Patey, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, briefs the media on the 2013-14 operating plan. He was joined by Sarah Padfield (left), vice president and CFO.

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