Last week in Grand Falls-Windsor, a man who was seriously injured in a fall down over a cliff was in need of a search and rescue unit to save his life.
That unit ended up being from a private company in St. John’s called Cougar. The big deal about all of that is it wasn’t the public company in Gander called Department of National Defense. See the difference?
All of the helicopters in Gander’s DND office apparently were down for maintenance – an unfortunate timing predicament since the guy laying on the cliff couldn’t really wait for the b’ys to figure out which screw went where when putting the life-saving bird back together.
The whole situation has some people calling for someone’s head. Probably most notably, Peter McKay – the Minister responsible for DND, and the one who seems to be taking the brunt of the heat for everything from Burton Winters to a Fishing Trip a few months back. Then Kathy Dunderdale is getting a bit of flack as well, but what else is new?
My question amidst all of it, though, is who’s paying the bill to Cougar for making the rescue? Us? Well, I should say so, aren’t we? After all – don’t we still live in Canada?
With that said, though, for some reason I’d be extremely interested to know how much that bill from Cougar is for. And then, in the same breath, I’d like to know how much it would have cost had a DND helicopter made the trip.
See the argument that a lot of people are making is that many services offered by the Government should be privatized and not be actually run by the Government at all. People say we should be more Americanized and have the option to go to a hospital and pay 50 bucks for an x-ray, rather than wait six weeks and let the Government give us one.
I think the argument there has some merit, because it’s a lot bigger motivation for people to do better at their job if they know they aren’t getting paid unless they do something, then when people know they’re going to get paid regardless.
By way of example, if a doctor is going to get 500 bucks for seeing five patients or a hundred patients, then he’s probably going to see the five. If he’s going to get 500 bucks for a hundred patients and 10 bucks for five patients, then he’ll probably see the hundred.
There are a couple problems with that ideology, though; in the fact that people feel quality of care would decrease if the motivation shifts to money. We hear horror stories out of the States about that all the time – and to say the least, they’re far from pleasant.
On the other hand, though, we also have a few of our own horror stories, that some of you could probably share yourselves.
So what’s the solution?
Well, personally, I think the instance in Grand Falls-Windsor is a good example of how private met public, and made a good thing happen. A private company provided a service – motivated by whatever they were motivated by – and the public purse flipped the bill.
If nothing happened, then the company didn’t get paid, and we wouldn’t have had to pay for anything. Meanwhile, the whole while nothing is happening, we’re still chucking out cash to keep Gander running and only to be met with it being ‘down of maintenance.’
I don’t agree with charging citizens for some of the things we’ve come to rely on as a people. But I also don’t agree with paying for something, and getting nothing out of it.
There has to be a middle ground – and I think we may have found it.
– Rudy Norman