We have a problem in Canada and I may have the answer to it. We have a scarcity of medical personnel who are willing to work in Baffin Island and places further north. (Above the tree line.) I have nothing against Baffin Island. It may be a nice place to live if you’ve been pushed around on a subway all your life. They tell me that you have to snowshoe a considerable distance before you can get in a fight with your neighbour.

I was noting the big media coverage of Motola, an 38-year-old elephant in Thailand who, out foraging for food, was felled a month ago by a land mine and lost part of her foot. She was recovering nicely after a complex operation, thanks to the efforts of 30 veterinarians including five surgeons.

Would you believe that they actually have an elephant hospital in Thailand called the Hang Chat Elephant Hospital in the northern town of Lampang? It treats strictly elephants for snake bites and broken limbs. You just try getting in there if you’re not an elephant. And I’d hate to meet the snake that can bite an elephant!

Now this is something the Canadian Medical Association, (CMA), has never even thought of providing – a decent hospital for our elephants. It could be a new plank in the NDP platform.

Millions tuned in

Thailand is a poor nation but millions of Thais tuned in for regular updates on Motola’s condition on national television. Public donations topped $150,000. Motola was given enough anesthetic to knock out 70 human beings for the three hour operation. Motola woke up several hours after the team of surgeons had repaired her front left foot in an open air operating room in the hospital compound.

Motola was manoeuvred in a huge sling held by a crane onto a specially built operating table. Have our Canadian surgeons ever considered doing open air surgery in a hospital compound? No, I bet they haven’t. There is certainly a cost factor that’s worth considering. I’m sure a Canadian hospital could afford a crane and sling – and ear muffs.

The medical team estimated that she will need mechanical support for at least two weeks. When Motola’s wound is healed and the shape of her repaired leg is clear, medics will consider fitting her with a prosthetic. For you non-medical readers that means an artificial elephants’s leg. And I bet you can’t get that in any store.

When I read how interested the CMA, along with the government, was in encouraging doctors to go to remote places in Ontario to practice (Sudbury is considered “south”) and even thinking of accepting foreign doctors who could be re-qualified, it occurred to me some of the Thais vet surgeons might easily qualify. Any vet who was willing to give a patient 70 times what a human would get is got to be a brave man. (I would have feared not giving the elephant enough anesthetic and in the middle of the operation have her struggle to her feet in a daze and level the compound.)

Strongly pro-elephant

I took it on myself to help solve the doctor shortage in the north by informing the Thai veterinarians the income scale for Ontario doctors. At once 170 of them volunteered to come! They were willing to take re-qualifying examinations and upgrade their qualifications in order to practise medicine on humans. The good news is that they are all pro-life and also strongly pro-elephant. I told them they must memorize the secret pro-life oath: “I will always vote for the Family Coalition Party or Christian Heritage Party until the day I die.” I told them about how generous our immigration laws were and they are now on a steamship heading here.

The only thing I had to give in on was that they be allowed to bring 200 elephants with them. They felt that they would be homesick without them. Unfortunately the elephants are so crowded on the boat that they have to take turns swimming along side of it. The ship will be landing very shortly off the coast of British Columbia.

Unfortunately, I will be unable to greet them because I am taking my vacation in Europe at an undisclosed destination.