Still an idealist but…

Last week I had no Internet access for days.

I also experienced a few setbacks that chipped away at my idealist heart.

In a nutshell:

  • Visited Montreal’s recycling sorting centre seven years after my first visit. But unlike that last visit when I was invited to walk around inside the recycling sorting centre, this time our group wasn’t allowed to see anything unless you count looking through a window to see sorted recycling materials being moved by forklifts into square bales. We weren’t allowed to take any photos. We did spend some time in a room where we were shown products recycled from materials collected at the centre but we could not enter the warehouse floor and see the workers, see the magnet, the scanners or the vacuum-type technology used to make sorting quicker. I understand the concerns about not wanting to expose citizens to moulds or bother the workers but a few more windows letting you see something of the sorting process would be nice. I would even settle for a video of the whole thing though I think that would be pathetic. Apparently the private company running the sorting centre for the City of Montreal is concerned about corporate espionage if we see the technology. Even the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa shows you more. To be fair, the guide for the recycling centre, who does double duty giving tours of the TOHU, did tell us quite a bit. On the eco side the highlight for me was an interactive screen showing the Miron Quarry’s past and the site’s (contested) future as a park. It wasn’t the greatest tour  for me because I wanted to see inside that sorting centre. But at least the interactive screen had documentary footage of citizens taking on city hall to get the Miron Quarry and landfill site closed down. Our guide was very open about controversy surrounding the site, known today as the Complexe Environnemental de Saint-Michel.
  • I have been trying for months to find a family doctor. One clinic posted on their Facebook page that they were taking new patients and they had a walk-in clinic. When I got there I was told one of the doctors was taking new patients for gynecology only and since I need a gynecologist I could go with her but if I wanted a family doctor I would have to choose this other doctor except he wasn’t in that day. So I chose the walk-in clinic doctor/gynecologist. They did an exam and test but told me I would have to pay $20 to have the sample delivered to a lab. I didn’t have $20 on me and I was shocked. I’ve never been billed at a walk-in clinic for anything. I called the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec and apparently these “administrative” fees are legal. I’m puzzled as to why it costs $20 per person to deliver groups of samples to a lab but anyway…
  • My Internet provider is known as an underdog company that fiercely advocates for the consumer when the bigger players aim to hike Internet rates. It has a great reputation. But last week after I asked the phone company in charge of my landline to remove a feature from our phone line, our DSL Internet went down. And my underdog Internet company did not initially believe me. We spent days last week on the phone with different tech support staff telling us how to test our equipment when all along it was the phone company that switched off our Internet connection.

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