Volume 45 Issue No. 1 Summer, 2012 www.fsu.ca/interrobang/
The Brighton to London Eco-Run crossed the final checkpoint atFanshawe College on May 10 atthe Centre for AppliedTransportation Technologies(CATT) building. The cross-Ontario trek included stops at theUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology, Centennial Collegeand McMaster University.Powered by the AutomobileJournalists Association of Canada(AJAC), Schneider Electric, theCanadian Automobile Association(CAA) and Natural ResourcesCanada, the 350-kilometre cam- paign showed Ontario the impor-tance of environmentally friendlydriving. About 20 cars dubbed“fuel-efficient” by AJAC, such asthe Nissan Leaf and PorschePanamera Hybrid, were showcasedfor viewing.Rob Gorrie, Fanshawe’s chair of Transportation Technology, saidthe Eco-Run benefits Fanshawe as“it’s good exposure for the stu-dents to see … what CAA is doingand also the AutomobileJournalists Association (of Canada) is doing as far as educat-ing the public and how the studentsfit into that equation. And thesestudents will be graduating andworking on these vehicles with thistechnology in not too long a time.”The year-old Centre for AppliedTransportation Technologies,which received $15.9 million ingrants from the government, ishome to a number of automotive,aviation and motive power pro-grams. The 148,000 square-foot building also features a green roof.AJAC president Clare Dear was present, and he explained theimportance of fuel-efficiency incars and what people can do toimprove their vehicles’ gas emis-sions. He noted that althoughnewer cars are built to be moreeconomical, there are ways that people can improve the efficiencyof a current vehicle. “By simplychanging your driving habits, whata dramatic increase it made in fuelefficiency,” Dear stated.“Smoothness; keeping a steadyspeed as opposed to speeding upand then having to slow down …staying the speed limit, which noone does, but it makes a huge dif-ference.”Dear also stressed the impor-tance of proper vehicle mainte-nance. “If you (have) dirty air fil-ters,” he said, “and things thatimpact the efficiency of the vehi-cle, people tend to let it go. Tire pressure (has a) huge impact;everybody can keep an eye on their tire pressure … These are thingsthat you can do regardless whether you’ve got an old car or new car.”Dear added that because fuelefficiency is becoming increasing-ly important to people, car manu-facturers are meeting demandswith excellent “green” technology.“Things that are just coming innow like direct fuel injection; get-ting into the turbo charger aspectof it, where you can get V8 per-formance out of a four-cylinder simply by adding a turbo charger and some other tweaks to it, thosesorts of things that even five yearsago we weren’t really doing.”But private industry isn’t theonly one trying to help save theenvironment. Politicians were present at the press conference andexplained the role the governmentis taking to educate the public. EdHolder, MP of London West, isalso a member of the Committee of Transport and Infrastructure, andhe introduced the government’slatest plan to educate the public onfuel efficiency: a new version of the Auto$mart Driver’s EducationKit, which includes a studentworkbook, video and CD-ROM.Auto$mart is a program used bydriving instructors all acrossCanada that teaches Canadiansabout safe, fuel-efficient driving practices to help decrease fuelcosts and greenhouse gas emis-sions.
Ed Holder, MP of London West, poses beside a Porsche Panamera S Hybrid in Fanshawe’s Centre for AppliedTransportation Technologies building.
With recent hospital bed cutsand supposed longer wait times,it’s no surprise that advocacygroups like Ontario HealthCoalition are calling foul on theOntario government’s recent cutsto the heath care system budget.The OHC is against provincialhealth care budget cuts and isadvocating for improved healthcare.Journalist Philip McLeod grewup during the infancy of theCanadian public health care sys-tem. There was almost no publichealth care when he was a child, but by the time he was having kidsof his own, health care was univer-sal. He is now asking if health carehas come full circle. Has it becometoo social, commercial and, mostimportantly, too expensive?“Suddenly a system that hassaved so many lives, both medical-ly and financially, is under attack,”McLeod said at a mid-May townhall meeting in London hosted byOntario Health Coalition on healthcare cuts in the provincial budget.Ontario ranks eighth out of the10 provinces for health care spend-ing, yet the 2012 provincial budgetsuggests major funding cuts in thehealth care system.On March 27, the provincial budget was released, and with itcame cuts adding up to $17.7 bil-lion over the next three years. A lotof these cuts can be found inOntario’s health care system.Spending increases have beencapped at 2.1 per cent, which isway down from the 6.1 per centannual increases since 2003. While Natalie Mehra, director of OntarioHealth Coalition, said she believesthat doctors’ salaries are out of control, salaries and overall hospi-tal operating costs have beenfrozen. These freezes have forcedsimple, routine procedures to shiftfrom hospital care to communityclinics and family doctors.“We are in a situation wherehospital spending in Ontario has been declining ever since I canremember,” said Mehra. She talkedabout the province’s plan to move people from hospitals to communi-ty-based care. Even with a four per cent increase in funding for com-munity-based health care, Mehrawarned that there is still too littlemoney and manpower in the com-munity-based system to accommo-datethe shift. “The truth is thathome care funding has been declin-ing as a share of health care spend-ing for the last decade, as well.”The OHC is looking to increasethe level of care provided by theMinistry of Health. A raise intaxes, educational programs andoverall awareness are ideas thecoalition proposed to stop the budget cuts.On the other hand, provincialhealth minister Deb Matthews hasstressed in the past that health carefunding has not been cut but hasseen a 2.1 per cent increase. Andwhile that is still lower than previ-ous annual increases, it still meansthere is money being put into thehealth system.“The Ontario Health Coalition isa coalition of unions. They have along history of being highly criticalof the health care system,”Matthews said. “I agree with theOntario Health Coalition thatthere’s more to be done, but we’retaking all the right steps to ensurethe highest degree of patient safety possible. Is there more to do? Yes.But have we come a long way?Absolutely.”The OHC is spreading its mes-sage to 15 of Ontario’s large citiesin May and June. The coalitionwill visit another 20 smaller townsand communities after its larger scale meetings are finished in mid-June.
Fanshawe last stop for Eco-Run
Ontario Health Coalition sparkshealth care debate