Checking-In: Affordable Dental Care, Medical Marijuana for Kids, Pregnancy Judgement & Spying on Sierra Club Canada

Freelance journalist Denise Balkissoon says as a pregnant woman she feels judged because choices she makes gets criticized and strangers feel like they can tell her what to do since it's for the "good" of the baby. (Kevin Gonsalves)


Unusual dentistry, an unusual epilepsy drug for children and the unusual goings on at Toronto City Hall. Or is the unusual the new normal at city hall? Whatever the case, our listeners weigh in on some of the stories of the week. Plus we look into the National Energy Board spying on anti-oil sands groups and the pressure to be perfect and pregnant.

Our Friday host, Duncan McCue joined Rick from Vancouver to check in on what you had to say about the week that was on The Current.

dentistry-thumbnail.jpgAffordable Dental Care: Dentistry is an expensive business and without extended benefits, many Canadians postpone or ignore their dental care. Tuesday on The Current, we looked at accessibility to affordable dental care in Canada.

The idea that there is no-cost or low-cost dental care out there, was the comment that sent most of you to your keyboards.

Sherri-Lynn Kaiser of Sicamous, BC shared this:

"I have been trying to save up for periodontal surgery. But a fix for my teeth seems impossible. Dental care is SO out of reach for our family. I have serious dental issues that affect my eating and mental health ... and yet we can't do a thing about it. In some ways I can understand why people go to unlicensed dentists."

Lenore Clemens of Vancouver had this to say:

"If you need a root canal and crown, you can't get it unless you have extra money. You can only get your teeth pulled. Why do you think people who are poor are missing teeth?"

Beverly worked in an Ontario dental office for many years and shared this:

"Dentists are not independent business people. Fees are set by a provincial dental college. Dentists are not permitted to constantly undercut their competition. A dental office is not the equivalent to a corner grocery."

And here's one final comment from Bradley Cunnin of Victoria who writes:

"Dentists control the market through monopolistic pricing. They pull from an insurance/employee benefit pool that has become culturally ingrained, so they have almost no incentive to price competitively."

sierra-club-canada-border.jpgNEB & Oil Sands: The Vancouver Observer has reported that the National Energy Board spied on anti-oil sands groups. Through Freedom of Information requests, the Observer says it found evidence the NEB "coordinated the gathering of intelligence on opponents to the oil sands" and reported back to the RCMP, CSIS, and even oil companies.

Among the groups the Observer says were monitored was the Sierra Club. Sierra Club Canada executive director John Bennett was in our Ottawa studio.

We did invite the National Energy Board to comment on this, here is their full statement:

"National Energy Board committed to safety at hearings
The NEB's mandate is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. As part of this mandate, we conduct public hearings to ensure a broad range of perspectives are incorporated into our decisions.
Our top priority is, and always will be, safety. This includes the safety of our staff, our Board Members and the public. In fact, we are required under the Canada Labour Code to provide a safe workplace, including the hearing room.
As part of our focus on safety, we may work with local officials and our federal colleagues, such as the RCMP, to conduct a security assessment before a hearing. We use this information to develop plans to protect the safety of everyone involved.
It is our responsibility to ensure appropriate security provisions are in place based on our assessment of risks. These services are sometimes provided by our staff, sometimes supplemented by local police.
The National Energy Board agrees that healthy debate is an essential component of a vibrant, democratic society. To this end, we are committed to providing a safe and respectful environment where our hearings can occur."

Gaétan Caron
Chair and CEO, National Energy Board

rob-ford-council-thumbnail.jpgMayor Rob Ford: A look back on the week wouldn't be complete without touching on the antics of Toronto's Mayor Rob Ford. Monday, we heard from three former mayors.

Sandra Jean Goodyear lives in Atlantic Canada and shared this view:

"It's interesting that Toronto police Chief Blair was busy helping to bring down one of the largest child porn criminal systems, and all the media can talk about is Rob Ford. I am angry that the fate of hundreds of children is missed because of Ford's lifestyle."

Gordon Delichte of St Alphonse, Manitoba offered this view:

"This is a severe case of bullying. And the victim is Rob Ford. When journalists were pressuring him, the attacks were affecting him deeply. When he said that the media was picking on him, everyone brushed it off. Whether the media was or not, is beside the point. Because he believed it, he acted more and more like a victim. 

Rob Ford may have provided the fuel, but the councillors lit the fire that burned the bridges. And the people from Toronto are no better than kids at school ... circling around, watching and saying nothing."

To that, Phyl tweeted this:

"Doug Ford wails about "overthrowing democracy." As though once you are elected, the law no longer applies to you? No consequences??"

pregnant-addictions-thumbnail.jpgJudging Pregnancy: A pregnant woman who drinks, smokes or takes drugs challenges one of our society's taboos. But juding her doesn't make it easier to stop.

Monday on The Current, we heard why the stigma placed on these women may make it even more difficult to change behaviour.

And then T.J. Shurland of Mississauga, Ontario sent us these thoughts:

"As a poor black man once in peril from addiction, I know the importance of compassion as opposed to moral condemnation. The bottom line here is intolerance and moral condemnation shown by health professionals kill people. Those with addiction issues will steer clear of the much needed benefits of the healthcare system."

Here's another view from Jan Donaldson of Peterborough who writes:

"The mother is an adult and must claim some responsibility. I am all for compassion, but it must be mixed with being sure that our most vulnerable are cared for. As a registered nurse I am responsible to report abuse. Would you want it different?"

And here's a tweet from Kelly Patrick who says:

"Most women in the 50's, 60's and 70's drank. Focus should also be on the role of alcohol in society. Education is best form of prevention. Middle class women drink too."

denise-balkissoon-thumbnail.jpgIt's not just women with addiction issues who feel the pressure to be perfect during pregnancy. Even the rich or notorious feel the pressure. Just ask Kate Middleton or Kim Kardashian ... two women picked apart for every food, fashion and fitness choice they made for nine long months.

Denise Balkissoon is a freelance journalist with a regular column in The Globe and Mail. She is also having a baby in January. Denise Balkissoon was in Toronto.

medical-marijuana-thumbnail.jpgMedical Marijuana for Kids: Barry Pogson's daughter Kaitlyn has a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet's Syndrome. Kaitlyn's parents had tried all the medications offered to them, but it wasn't until they found out about a particular strain of marijuana known as "Charlotte's Web" that they saw some positive changes for their infant daughter. Here is that segment.

Following that conversation, George Dyson of Hall's Harbour, Nova Scotia offered this comment:

"It seems strange that we happily take poppies and extract morphine for medical uses - but cannot extract cannabidiol for similar uses. In a case such as Dravet's, medical trials need to be set up given that other effective treatments are not available. In a way, we seem to have an unauthorized trial in progress in Colorado."

And here are a few tweets. First from Marilyn Sceles who says:

"My sister is an epileptic (grand mal), and in the fifties, the meds were far worse than the affliction. Bring it on!"

Similarly, Maeve Gallagher tweeted this:

"Amazing that many will find this outrageous but will happily give pills with mysterious ingredients to their kids."

And here's one more comment from Devin Pacholik who says:

"As with any medicine, it all depends on the medical need. Some kids could very well benefit from Flintstone vitamins."

There are lots of ways to share your opinion on what you hear on the show.

To join the conversation, tweet us @thecurrentcbc. Follow us on Facebook. Or e-mail us through our website. Call us toll-free at 1 877 287 7366. And as always if you missed anything on The Current, grab a podcast.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar, Shannon Higgins and Carole Ito.

Last Word - Clint Hill on Kennedy Assassination

Tomorrow on The Current, we will speak with Clint Hill, the secret service agent who jumped into the back seat of the President's limo after he saw the bullets hit John F. Kennedy.

Today's Last Word goes to Clint Hill, remembering a rushed and unhappy phone conversation with the President's brother.

Comments are closed.