Premier Wade MacLauchlan, in a sound studio, voices a commercial for Trout River Industries in Coleman. Questions are being raised about the P.E.I. premier’s decision to voice the commercial for the for-profit company.
The proverbial chickens have come home to roost, Mr. Premier. There was disbelief when Premier Wade MacLauchlan voiced a commercial for Trout River Industries of Coleman back in the early fall. Questions were raised then about possible conflicts if Trout River Industries should come calling for loans or seek help with its business operations. The news broke in early October and by late December, cabinet had approved a loan request for $540,000 from Trout River.
We had the premier lending his audio support to a unique P.E.I. manufacturer of live bottom trailers. Both company and premier defended the decision because it supported an Island business and the premier was happy to do it for free. It created a buzz for Trout River — a business success story for the province.
The company sells trailers around the world and it needed to expand and purchase new equipment. There is no reason to say no because the company received help in the past, is successful and repays its debts. The loan decision was based on the company’s business plan and prospects.
But on the downside is the poor optics of a cosy relationship between premier, government and a P.E.I. business. There is the view that government must keep loaning money to Trout River since the premier now has a personal stake in the matter. The company will always be under extra scrutiny because of that commercial.
It’s unfortunate that questions will always be raised. It didn’t have to be this way. There were good intentions by all sides but in the future, let Trout River find another voice for its ad campaign and let the premier save his voice for government business on behalf of all citizens.
Opposition MLA Steven Myers raised concerns about last fall. As Mr. Myers said, the premier should have known better and predicted “he’s going to find himself in a jam over this.” That prediction has come true.
Trout River deserves support for being a good corporate citizen. But is the premier promoting a particular business and showing favouritism? It just doesn’t look right.
Premier MacLauchlan put himself in an awkward position and now the company is in the same situation.
A citizen’s CPR brigade?
The Biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” takes on a different slant after two recent guest opinion articles in The Guardian. The writers noted the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest on P.E.I. are poor. The odds are perhaps 10 per cent that people who suffer a full-blown cardiac arrest will survive because we are too dependent on the 911 ambulance, first-responder system.
Some jurisdictions include not only ambulances and fire departments as first responders but off duty nurses, police and other volunteers who are linked to 911 dispatches by smartphone and social media. They can respond quickly to the scene of a nearby heart attack where each minute is critical to survival, especially when it comes to restarting the heart with a defibrillator (AED).
For rural Islanders, a full-blown cardiac arrest is a death sentence since the average response time for an ambulance is 22 minutes.
In many cases, a neighbour, an anonymous bystander on the street or a family member are your best chances of surviving a heart attack if they know basic resuscitation techniques and an AED arrives within several minutes to restart the heart.
We have to increase the numbers of CPR-trained adults and improve notification systems. More defibrillators are needed in multiple public locations. Targeted CPR training is essential in rural areas of the province. Women’s Institute members, arena staffers, librarians, gas station attendants and store managers are all possible members of a citizen’s CPR brigade.
We need to have a directory of where these defibrillators are located and make that information public. Not even 911 dispatchers have a list of where AEDs are located.
Neighbours or bystanders are often the keys to surviving a cardiac arrest. We can’t just stand around and wait for an ambulance to arrive. By then it’s usually too late.