Thursday, October 8, 2009

Newfoundland gets it right!

Newfoundland’s Government Finally Gets It!

The citizens of Buchins NL found out that their town is contaminated. It appears that the old mine wasn’t closed down properly and there could be a lead poisoning problem. Dirty business.

But at least the provincial government did the right thing this time. Two cabinet ministers made public statements about the problem shortly after it was discovered. The town folk are being asked to get blood tests: they’re trying to find out how big this problem really is.

Good for them.

These past few years there was a scandal in Newfoundland because of a cover up in the detection and treatment of breast cancer. Government officials kept secret the fact that there were problems in the diagnostic testing in Newfoundland’s medical labs. Those delays caused unnecessary problems for the women who were improperly diagnosed.

It looks like they learned from their previous mistake. In the previous cover up, they put their shame and embarrassment about the labs’ mistakes ahead of the health of the women who were worried about having cancer. This time the government saw fit to put the health of the Buchinsians ahead of their own political interests.

Good for them.

Politics is a dirty business, isn’t it? Our elected representatives take great pains to insult and blame each other for the most unlikely things. Lab technicians in Newfoundland screwed up in a big way. We don’t know how many women died prematurely because of faulty cancer testing. Then the government, in complete denial of the seriousness of the problem, delayed correcting the error. They would surely have many embarrassing questions to answer in the provincial legislature. Their delay and cover up decisions were all done to protect their own best interest.

Most Canadians are well aware that they are being deceived: they know the representatives they elect will say anything to get elected again. That’s how it works in a modern democracy. It’s all about staying popular: ranking high on the polls. We have learned to live with it.

The same thing is true in the world of commerce. We all know advertising is a form of deception. It’s all about selling your product. Customers expect to be lied to, to be told that this product is better than that one. Modern advertising is not about producing quality products; it’s about selling products. We have learned to live with it.

In my book, Beyond the Bull, I discuss this “deception” component of our lives. The book talks about how deception is a natural part of our lives in modern societies. It offers advice about investing in a world of deceit.

The first important fact we need to know is: deceit is a huge part the typical Canadian’s life. Bull is part of politics, medicine, commerce, advertising and investing. So relax! In today’s Canada, we get lied to. Wake up to it.

My second offering to Canadian investors is to stop being so judgemental about the lying. Relax! Politicians lie. Salesmen lie. People try to cover up their mistakes. So quit complaining about it. Just wake up to it.

By far the most important attitude we need to adopt in this world of bull is responsibility. Who is responsible if we re-elect a liar or buy from a liar or lose our money by trusting a liar? We are! And who is responsible for letting the lies continue? We are!

So, what should the women of Newfoundland have done when their test results said they were OK when they, in fact, had cancer? What should the Buchinsians do now that they realize they’ve lived in contaminated land for thirty years? What should Ontarians do when they see massive corruption in the E-health, Cancer Care and Lottario?

Lets do what Newfoundland’s provincial government just did. Come clean. Tell it like it is. And get it fixed.

Ken Norquay, CMT
Financial Philosopher

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