The Case of the Missing School Bus, Missing Children and Missing Accountability

School started in Nova Scotia this week.

There are all kinds of thoughts and ideas about the school year, depending on who you are. Parents worrying about the adjustment to having no School Board, and wondering how the teachers are feeling about a new school year after two incredibly disruptive years.

Children, excited about or dreading the new year. Teenagers trying to figure out their schedules and how to get from class to class or where to find their friends. The younger kids were just as nervous and excited about the first day, wondering who their teachers would be, anxious to see their friends. Four and five year olds psyched about their first day of school, wide eyed and eager and that little bit of fear.

And for many of these kids, no matter their age, the day starts, and finishes, with the bus ride. Those yellow buses turning corners and winding through neighborhoods collecting and returning young people… that is the most symbolic, most photographed, moment of any first day of school. It is loud and maybe a little terrifying, for the first dayers and the kids who don’t want to go to school. But it is a big moment, and right of passage, a ritual. And every morning that follows is an undeniably important part of every single school day for kids who take the bus to school.

So on Wednesday (Thursday in some parts of this Province) kids lined up at bus stops everywhere, ready to get on the bus for their first day of school….

But then something went terribly wrong. And it got worse for many at the day progressed. And it didn’t get better the next day for many.

I am going to back up a little bit, to provide insight and apply facts to some scenarios that influenced the way our largest school district found themselves held hostage by a complete breakdown of bus service.

Stock Transport operates in Nova Scotia as a school bus service provider in the Halifax Municipality, Annapolis Valley and Acadian Schools. In the Halifax district, the carry approximately 20,000 students. Over the past couple of years, the company has had several controversies stemming from a variety of issues. They were called in front of the Utility and Review Board and were stripped of their Charter License for repeated violations of the laws that prohibited their services carrying passengers across the border, as well as forcingvdruvers to work hours beyond the

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Dear Stephen McNeil, (again)

It has been 16 days since I wrote to you, regarding my health care experience. A lot has happened since then. And I wanted to get back to you about some of what has transpired. I also wonder if your lack of response was due to the fact that you were out of province for a number of days, so I thought maybe you would have time now to learn more about my story, and to be able to put this knowledge to good use. Rather than relying on a department, a board or a Minister who have not been successful at all in dealing with this broken system, maybe some first hand knowledge would help inspire you to think about what can be done. Keep Reading

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Dear Stephen McNeil,

Today, I am sitting here, trying to be calm and trying harder not to cry. I have cried far too much over the past year. First due to constant pain, and then due to horrible consequences I have faced, caused by the Government of Nova Scotia and the mismanagement of the healthcare system in this province. It is important that you read this, and very sincerely consider what I am about to tell you. Keep Reading!

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A letter to my girls

To my girls.

It is Mother’s Day.

And I am overwhelmed with emotions this year, in volumes I have not felt before.

I have always been a bit of an emotional mess on this one day every year, due to the gratitude I have that you are mine. Thankful for the world you opened up for me, through your eyes. The adventures we have had. The love I never felt before. But this year is different. Keep Reading!

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Closures of all sorts opening people’s eyes

Dear Lisa,

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Photo – Pinterest

What do you do when you live in Cape Breton, you have a doctor shortage, two hospitals are slated to close, ERs are almost always closed, there is a chronic shortage of ambulances and the Minister of Health refuses to talk to you and your citizens group? You load into buses and travel 160 kms to close the causeway for an hour and march with 150 of your like minded fellow Capers. In a snow storm.
Keep Reading!

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The Environment Needs its Own Local and Independent Journalism

“I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information.”
Christopher Hitchens

Living in the Maritimes, it is easy to go decades without a complete understanding of a troubling, and perhaps even corrupted system of government and an obvious state of corporate capture. We expect our governments to be transparent and open. We expect them to operate in the best interests of the province and the people who live and work here, pay taxes here and vote here. And we think we have access to facts and details on the high jinks in government, whether it is regulatory work, financial operations or legislative effort, because we have the press out there supposedly living up to the principles by which they are agreed to. We think the media will alert us to inconvenient truths, will pry for minutiae on the deals and agreements being made, and will dig deeper into and follow up on initiatives. It isn’t until you are embroiled in some conflict or disagreement with government on a very specific and personal level, that you start to look more closely and pay deeper attention.

Keep Reading!

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What are we waiting for?

If you have been listening to the discussion around clear cutting and glyphosate spraying in the province, you will know that Prof. Lahey presented a Forestry Review, three months ago, months after its anticipated completion. You will also know that the NS Liberal Government has failed to respond to this review since it was presented. Keep Reading!

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Sticks and stones will break our bones, but name calling should never get you elected

Growing up, we were told not to call people names. It was a rule in life we learned right along with, don’t hit or steal, or lie or bully. Share. Be kind. Don’t stare. Simple little rules to live by that made you a nice person. We learn it from childhood. And when you call people names you don’t get to pretend to be doing it to be funny. You are trying to hurt or demean someone. So in turn, you don’t stand by and allow someone else to do it to you, or others either. Keep Reading!

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Trying to pull one over on me, regarding private healthcare and not-for-profit

I have been trying to free myself up a bit to come back to the Unified Health story since the day I wrote the last blog….

Much has happened or exposed itself, quickly in the days after my blog was posted. I heard from many folks, and received further details from members of the health care system in NS. Like many employees, people are shy about exposing their employers’ (NS Liberals) poor choices, but they did let me in on some really good information.
Keep Reading!

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Trying to pull one over on health care and make a profit in the meantime

Unified Health opened their doors in Nova Scotia a few weeks ago. They will have Nurse Practitioners on staff who for a $35/15 minute or $70/30 minute fee, triage patients and direct them to appropriate medical and other doctors for the care they require. This is the same service we get for free at a hospital, or doctor’s office. Canadians do not pay for health care, so this development is troubling to say the very least.
Keep Reading!

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