Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hodge Podge: Christensen bows Out...

Cabinet minister Christensen will not seek re-election in May

CBC News

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Ah yes, the ubiquitous, "spending time with the kids" excuse for exiting stage right from government. Sounds like a whole bunch of folks running to the exits to me. Wonder what they know that we don't? Yet.

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Tom Christensen becomes seventh Liberal cabinet minister not seeking reelection

Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun. January 13, 2009.

Children's Minister bows out of politics
Victoria Times-Colonist. Tuesday, January 13, 2009.

Christensen, who had earlier announced his plans to see re-election this year, changed his mind during the Christmas holidays, he said in a news release.

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Warning signs, risks often ignored before parents kill

By Janet Bagnall, The Montreal Gazette, January 13, 2009.

Excerpts:

Warning signs were flashing all over the place, if anyone had known to look: Marc Laliberté was bankrupt, jobless and suffering from depression. Cathy Gauthier-Lachance had just lost her job, too, and was described by a former co-worker as someone with "problems."

This troubled couple had three children to care for and a house on which they couldn't afford the rent. They were also socially isolated, having recently moved to Chicoutimi from a smaller Quebec town about 500 kilometres away.

Mental illness, particularly depression, is the key factor in the majority of cases of murder-suicide involving parents and children, research shows.

In the majority of these cases, research found the killers thought they were acting in the best interests of the children, to protect them. "This type of perpetrator is generally the breadwinner of a family and tends to be overly responsible for the family," Yip wrote in a new study to be published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. "We call it delusional altruism," Yip said.

Others kill their children to spare them a life marked by poverty, family breakup, discrimination, exploitation or "other real and imagined social ills."

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Depression is the cost of doing business the way we have over the past couple of
decades. I believe the dramatic increase in mental health issues and disability in the workplace can also be related to downsizing, cutting budgets, staff and increasing stress, workloads and expectations for workers left behind, or those who come into downsized organizations.

For instance, when the BC Liberals came into government in 2001, they made significant budget cuts to every Ministry, got rid of hundreds of staff and have continued to not replace staff leaving certain positions (while exponentially increasing senior managers and bureaucrats). With an aging population and recruitment & retention problems in skilled professions, it leaves fewer and fewer staff, with much more work and increasingly unrealistic workload expectations, which they crack under. Which leads to all kinds of mental health issues.

It's time for some common sense, adequate staffing levels, reasonable workloads, compassionate and enlightened leadership to return to the workplace in light of the severe labour market shortages many fields will be facing over this decade.

Employers could save billions by reducing stigma of mental illness

Economic cost of disorders exceeds $50 billion

By KATHRYN MAY, Canwest News Service, January 7, 2009.

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