Personal Health and Safety

Make-or-break health summit?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that he has invited premiers to Ottawa for a February 7 “working meeting” he hopes will address country-wide health care funding problems. The federal government also is looking for a national accord on data and health information as well as long-term deals which would include specific metrics relevant to individual provincial and territorial needs. [node:read-more:link]

More private healthcare inevitable?

A move by Ontario to have more surgeries performed in private clinics in a bid to relieve pressure on hospitals is being monitored by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It is one of the primary responsibilities of the federal government . . . to ensure that the Canada Health Act is always respected,” he said January 16, adding that he and the premiers are “very much on the same page” on a broad range of health services. [node:read-more:link]

Mexican violence traps Canadians

Canadian tourists were trapped inside a Mexican hotel January 5 when widespread violence between drug cartels saw the trvellers’ airport transportation set ablaze outside. The upshot was advice from the federal government shelter in place. [node:read-more:link]

Return-to-work for public service

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier insists that the federal government’s return-to-office mandate, which begins taking effect January 16, is not to be decided in collective bargaining with public service unions. “It’s the right of the employer; it’s the management’s right,” she said December 27. At least two public service unions have called on the government to retract its directive. [node:read-more:link]

Enough Fentanyl to kill entire U.S.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says a recent drug bust resulted in the seizure not only of methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin but also 4,500 kilograms of Fentanyl and 50.6 million pills made to resemble different prescription pain-killers. The DEA said December 20 that the highly-addictive substance made by Mexican cartels from Chinese raw materials could have been used to manufacture 379 million fatal doses. [node:read-more:link]

Healthcare ball “in the premiers’ court”

As the federal government continues to wrestle with the province and territories over health transfer payments, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he and his counterparts were willing to make a deal last month but the premiers wanted to talk only about money rather than agree to provide Ottawa with more data the federal government could use to allocate funds. “At the health ministers’ table we all agree,” Duclos says. “The problem is that the premiers don’t want us to speak about those outcomes and those results; they want to maintain a futile fight on dollars.” [node:read-more:link]

Healthcare funding deadlock continues

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes Canadians are fed up with the ongoing federal-provincial healthcare funding dispute, hence his unwillingness yield to premiers’ demands for increased and unconditional transfer payments. “Canadians are right to look at all orders of government and say, ‘this is terrible; you guys really need to solve this’,” he says, “It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to just throw more money at the problem and sit back and watch the problem not get fixed.” [node:read-more:link]

Dominican Republic mystery deepens

The charter clients of Toronto-based Pivot Airlines, whose aircraft was held and its crew detained by the Dominican Republic for seven months after the crew reported finding smuggled cocaine, evidently was a front but police will neither confirm or deny they are investigating. Pivot CEO Eric Edmondson has been unable to contact his “Trust Capital” contact, there is no real postal address or corporate registration, and the phone number and email are not in service. [node:read-more:link]

Veterans Affairs under renewed pressure

Former military and RCMP personal are calling for changes to Veterans Affairs Canada, saying it has been too slow in implementing health service changes announced by the government years ago. “Benefits and services are accessible,” said one vet at a December 8 rally in Nova Scotia, suggesting also that privatization of some services in 2021 is part of the problem. “If you’re in the system already, it’s not hard,” Rollie Lawless said. “It’s those trying to get into the system that seems to be the hiccup.” [node:read-more:link]

Abused spouse shares horrific experience

In October 2020, Helen Naslund was sentenced to 18 years for shooting her husband on their Alberta farm in 2011. Her case sparked widespread outrage and exposed serious issues with how the justice system treats abused women. Her sentence for manslaughter was reduced last January to nine years on appeal and now, through letters and multiple interviews at the Edmonton Institution for women, she is opening up for the first time. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. trailblazes indigenous children’s rights

British Columbia today became the first Canadian jurisdiction to ensure that indigenous communities can provide their own child and family services, passing legislation as part of a general overhaul of child welfare programs. Statistics Canada said that some 68 per cent of children younger than 14 in provincial care programs in B.C. were indigenous in 2021 compared with nearly 54 per cent nationally. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian hospitals struggle with “tripledemic”

With respiratory infections taxing hospitals across Canada, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is pressing more parents to have their children vaccinated. Predicting an increasingly difficult fall”, he said November 23 that a “tripledemic” of coronavirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus means that “pediatric hospitals are overwhelmed” and healthcare workers are “very tired.” [node:read-more:link]

Vaccinations: do the math!

The Public Health Agency of Canada’s latest FluWatch report shows that the Prairie provinces had the worst rate of positive tests for the week of November 6-12 – 28 per cent as healthcare facilities are increasingly overwhelmed. All are reporting below-normal flu shot uptakes and Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alberta, suggests that people got out of the habit of getting shots during the coronavirus pandemic. [node:read-more:link]

Social media has responsibilities as well as rights

The U.S. Administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, Ashish Jha, had some advice for journalists and the social media community today. “You can decide to trust America's physicians, or you can trust some random dude on Twitter – those are your choices,” he said. “You should be thinking about what your personal responsibility is, and do you want to be a source of misinformation and disinformation?” [node:read-more:link]

Public safety a concern in B.C.

Two days after being sworn in as Premier of British Columbia, David Eby announced a package of plans November 20 he said are designed to address growing concerns about public safety. They include proposals expanded emergency mental health resources and the formation of “repeat violent offender response teams” to address what’s been criticized as a “catch and release” justice system. [node:read-more:link]


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