February 26th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 2/26/2014 7:31:00 AM


Who could forget those runaway Toyota's....that unnerving story about cars screaming down the highway the throttle wide open. That was scary.

Now General Motors seems to have its own nightmare to contend with and if you drive a GM vehicle I'd suggest you listen.

There's a problem with the ignition switch on at least 1.6-million GM cars and SUV's sold in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico from model years 2-thousand-3 to 2-thousand-7.

The vehicles are Chevrolet Cobalts and HHR SUV's, Pontiac's Solstice and the G5 plus the Saturn Ion and Saturn Sky.

"Essentially what happens here is the ignition can for some reason go into the 'accessory' or 'off' position while the car is running. That means the car no longer has engine power. There is no power steering there is no power brakes and if the crash then happens the airbags will not deploy," says CBS reporter Jeff Glor.

He says it has been linked to 31 crashes and 13 deaths.

All of the deaths occurred in the front seat when the airbags didn't deploy because there was no power.

At the Center for Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow says this could be one of the worst defect-recalls ever because it was covered up. GM apparently knew about this years ago and it admits it didn't do a very good job getting to the bottom of it the problem.

"They knew exactly what the problem was by 2006. They knew how to fix the problem, they knew what vehicles it was in, they just didn't do a safety recall and they were counting on the government not catching up to them."

Here's the unnerving thing. Take a look at your key ring. Do you have a lot of keys on it. GM says the weight of the keys could be enough to causing the ignition switch to slip out of the run position and shutoff the engine and electrical power. It could also happen while you are driving down a bumpy road and what road in the GTA isn't bumpy right now with all the potholes.

What are you supposed to do between now and when GM gets enough new ignition switches to fix your vehicle.

Clarence Ditlow, the auto safety expert says "I would advise consumers if they have a second car, not to drive a Cobalt or one of the Saturn's or Pontiac's that have the same defect and as soon as they can take it in to a dealer and have it fixed. This is not a safe car to drive."

Ditlow says GM is facing millions of dollars in fines and some of the corporate execs could face criminal charges and of course there will be a myriad of lawsuits.


Have you seen those TV commercials from the Ontario Nurses Association talking about the Wynne Government cutting back on the number of nurses in the province.

Now stack this along side it.

A study published in the British medical journal Lancet about the biggest study of its kind ever conducted. The conclusion...fewer nurses means more hospital deaths.

The study examined more than 4-hundred-20-thousand surgical patients in 3-hundred hospitals in Europe. For every surgical patient added to the average workload of a nurse, the risk of a patient dying within 30 days of being admitted jumps 7 percent.

Here in Canada the number of nurses per patient has gone up slightly over a 4-year span. In Ontario....it has gone down.

In fact, the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario says just to catch up to the national average Ontario would have to hire 17-thousand-6-hundred RN's. The head of that group recently warned Queen's Park that near misses in our hospitals "are becoming common" because of fewer nurses providing care.

Rob Ford

Rob Ford was back on the whine train last night...as in whine, whine, whine.

As you may know he was on NBC's Today Show yesterday morning fielding all the personal questions from Matt Lauer about whether he's still doing drugs, still getting blotto drunk...to wit he said, no..no...no...just the odd drink now and then and I do not do drugs said the Mayor.

You may have noticed that whenever the city hall reporters try to ask him about these things he walks away.

Same thing happened yesterday. He spoke to Lauer from home, then went to city hall where he refused to discuss his personal failings with Toronto reporters. Then he went on with NewsTalk 1010 Late Shift with host and Sun columnist Joe Warmington last night to complain about the Toronto media

"They obviously have a bias towards me, I think that's obvious to everybody. They want to attack my personal life. I said I'm going to Ottawa to build subways and to infrastructure money and they just went on another course. If you want to talk about my personal life that's fine. I've made mistakes in the past and I'm moving on."

Incidentally Forum Research did some robo-calling yesterday about the mayor's race.

I don't put much stock in the results because they're likely skewed because it was less than 24 hours after John Tory and Karen Stintz jumped into the race and they were still getting heavy media coverage. any way...The poll shows Tory leading at 39 percent, Ford at 33, Stintz at 15.

More important...the numbers showing half of the respondents say they will never vote for Rob Ford. while only 6 percent said they would never vote for John Tory. He obviously has the greatest ability to grow...at least compared to Ford.

But of course all of this is about as useful as newspaper at the bottom of a bird cage.

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