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A Canadian can Dream



Address from Prime Minister(Fictional Letter to The Nation))

My Fellow Canadians. Greetings from My Family to Yours.

There is a great deal of chatter coming from the media and my fellow citizens regarding a lack of accountability and transparency within my administration, referring to the unforeseen damage that has been done to many Canadians, their businesses, and personal lives, because of your government’s policies fighting COVID-19. It is true that the Pandemic has influenced each of us in many ways, both personally and professionally. I have been inflicted with the virus, as have many of my colleagues in and outside of government. My personal freedoms were and are limited to this day because of the pandemics’ continual threats.

There have been many crises these past few years, where Canadians have shown their displeasure at my administration’s policies and decision-making processes. May I assure you that all decisions were based entirely upon the efforts to keep all Canadians safe, healthy, and on their way to continual prosperity? Sometimes we had to play hardball, placing the rights of the many before the rights of the few. That is not an excuse but a lived fact, that “We cannot be all things to all people”.


A significant portion of the Canadian population has challenged our policies regarding wearing of masks and other safety measures. Also allowing the Provinces to close down sectors of their local economies so that the spread of COVID could be isolated and hopefully managed. Safety regulations were directed to the trucking and transportation sectors, as well as border sectors. I can assure you that our intention was always to keep our population safe from the pandemic spread.

Friends, our nation has multiple stress points, challenging its pathway to future economic prosperity. Many Provinces are challenging the Federal Government, its policies and regulations daily both legally and Constitutionally. Common Universal Law that protects all Canadians is being ignored, legally challenged, or simply bypassed by Provinces with their own particular agenda. Canadian commonality is being challenged by short-sighted political opportunism in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta to name a few challengers.

I must admit, the Canadian Government has developed an extremely large national debt along with our Provincial Partners. This debt has placed our nation in a precarious situation, with questions of how we are to financially manage this debt while continuing to finance our national policies present. I must admit our policies have been directly responsible for this future financial crisis, but hopefully, you will understand why it happened.

Canadians are a demanding group of people, impatient and selfish at times. Local, Provincial, and Personal needs often out weight good financial planning. At a time of low-interest rates, we, that is to say, all of Canadians used our credit to achieve our dreams and needs. Keeping a large cash balance seemed to not make sense as cheap borrowed money was available. Canadians went from savers to borrowers-spenders in a few generations. Governments followed the same path, only to be forced to deal with an unforeseen pandemic. Not enough masks, and not enough healthcare personnel. I wish I could have had a crystal ball telling me what the future held for us all. Truly.

The first year of the pandemic held many uncertainties, yet my administration with our national partners did what we could do to protect each and every one of you. Yes, the shutdowns of businesses, restaurants, social clubs, and sporting teams changed our perspective on how we were to live, but we did live on to the best of our abilities. I know Canada lost many of their sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers with children to this pandemic. Many thousands have to cope with health issues brought on by post-COVID-19 Symptoms(Long Haulers).
We lacked enough hospital breathers and beds, hoping for a breather from this continual disaster. I can point my finger at those truly responsible within the provincial sphere, but that will show how much I am like them. Provinces carry out what they determine is good healthcare policy, and then run to Ottawa for continual funding boosts. I have been called a micro-manager by many, yet I manage and spread the responsibility to govern many able professionals.

We have made errors. Yes, we have particularly due to the uncertainties of this pandemic. How could we know that washing your hands, wearing masks, and being diligent with reference to your health and safety was all that was needed? We knew that our hospital capabilities were limited, yet the fear of going full-out purchasing what could be needed, and spending massive amounts of precious funds was challenging, to say the least. I feared making errors that would have made me look politically bad. Yeah, I can be selfish too. Our public collective fear did not allow us to see the situation well, patiently waiting to see what would unfurl globally and nationally. Many Canadians have died or injured themselves because of personal loss. The loss of a loved one, mental illness, business failures, and closures. Not everything worked out as expected. Simply wearing a mask became a cause celeb to many Canadians culminating in the Ottawa Occupation. Our economy is jumping back, but many thousands of businesses closed for good, with the loss of personal savings and future hope. How can I make people understand how much I feel for them, their families, and the loss they have and are experiencing? I am human after all. A cliche, but truly felt.

Am I responsible for the policies that may have harmed Canadians? Did my administration overreact and place some Canadians at risk? Maybe. Am I responsible for someone who kills themselves because they lost a family member or their business? Am I responsible for the loss of the many elderly Canadians who were basically imprisoned in their own senior homes as the virus spread? Am I responsible for the horrors that British and Canadian authorities did to our Aboriginal Population?

I am your leader, a symbol of Canada, a symbol of Canadian Justice who Hoped for and achieved. Shall I fall upon my sword? Many Canadians would like me to simply fade away, but would that answer all your prays, and fulfill all your hopes and dreams for this nation?

As Prime Minister, I am responsible for the Canadian Ship of State, and all it has achieved for Canadians, as well as the unfortunate losses Canada has experienced these past years. The upcoming future election will present you with the ability to vote your confidence or displeasure for my administration. My promise of our diligence and hard work to achieve excellence for Canadians persists and will not waiver. Canadian cooperation, patience, and creativity will certainly rule this day and future generations.

The Prime Minister
Ottawa, Canada (Experience Ottawa this winter).

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario


Those With Rare Diseases Need to Wait, as Usual



Science has developed the ability to research, develop and create functional cures for many of our so-called “incurable diseases”, but having the ability to do something and actually doing it are two different things. Medicine has always suffered from a problem with “knowing-doing”. It is the difference between what a doctor actually does for a patient and what can be done with all that we know. Developmental breakthroughs in medicine are allowing doctors to do things they never could imagine before. Sometimes these break-thoughts don’t fit into businesses/governmental financial or regulatory systems, meaning that it can take a long time for patients to actually benefit, a time many patients may not have.

The National Institutes of Health in America invest more than $40 Billion in biomedical research each year, and the private sector twice as much. The discoveries are valued by all, but why is it so hard to use these discoveries?

Science’s ability to engineer medicines has far outpaced how these medicines are actually built, tested, and put into human beings. Artificial Intelligence has assisted the community by mapping the human genome in efforts to cure various diseases. The US Government defines rare diseases as those that affect fewer than 200,000 people in America. Some affect only a handful of people. There are over 7000 different rare diseases, with more than 30 million people in America diagnosed with one of them. That is 10% of the US population. So improving how society can find and care for these patients could have a great impact. Problem is that the health system is not flagging enough people with these diseases, while many individuals don’t even know what disease they may have, or that they indeed have a disease. A.I. steps up front to assist in the recognition, tracking, analyzing, and identifying of these patients through computer-programmed systems. Put one’s symptoms into the machine, and often voila, a point from which a doctor can begin his medical investigation and treatment. A diagnostic odyssey in each individual case.

Artificial Intelligence has a prominent place within our health system, including helping design new treatments, helping predict which treatment is better for which patient, and screening for rare diseases with suggested diagnoses to boot. Why are many with rare diseases often left out in the cold, to search on their own for a cure? Money! Simple.


Who makes medicines, and invests millions in treatments and research for diseases? Pharmaceutical Firms.
What are they but profit centers for investment bankers, massive corporations, and a financial structure centered upon the shareholder, and not the average joe? Solutions can be found, but the willingness to spend way beyond what a firm can make in profits needs to be there. Sure our DNA is constantly changing, and evolving biologically. Making a drug that cures cancer, may cure some, but certainly not all forms since each person is unique, their biology specific to that person. Many doctors realize that their methods are much like witch Doctors, forever experimenting with the specific individual’s condition.

Our Health system is tied to our financial system. That is the root of it. So long as the doctors, hospitals, and researchers are tied to profit (our financial system) the necessary technology, research, and investment will not be found for those with rare diseases. I have a disease that has no cure. My immune system is attacking the tissue in my mouth. It is sorely painful, personally transformative, and damn if you could find a doctor who is a real expert in the field. Since it is rare, the institutions of the industry will not find proper medicine for its management, let alone its cure. I live with it, and the disease manages the way I eat, what I eat, how I clean my teeth, how I sleep, and interact with my partner too. This disease can transfer to another. Great eh!

For those of you who have or know of someone who has a rare disease, all I can say is to be patient. The present-day financial and healthcare systems need to change drastically, with governmental intervention in all aspects of research, planning, and manufacturing of medicines. Out of the hands who care for themselves, and hopefully into the hands of those who care about you and those you love.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario

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Canada is set for its largest alcohol tax increase yet. Here’s what to know



Canadians could soon be paying around a quarter more for a 24-pack of beer thanks to the largest increase yet to a federal tax on alcohol.

The “escalator tax” is set to increase by 6.4 per cent on April 1 unless a change is announced before then, such as when the federal budget is revealed on March 28, according to food distribution professor at Dalhousie University, Sylvain Charlebois.

Charlebois told Global News that the tax, which was introduced in 2017, was designed to automatically increase over time based on the rate of inflation to avoid renegotiating it too often.


Given the amount of inflation Canada has experienced recently, the tax is now set for its biggest increase ever, he noted. Last year, the tax went up 2.4 per cent.

And while a penny a beer might not sound like much of a hike, industry experts say it’s one more factor pushing up costs for producers and distributors that’s likely to have ripple effects on what consumers pay.


Breaking down the cost increase

Charlebois predicts the tax will increase the price of a single beer by one cent, while the finance ministry told Global News in a statement that the amount would be three-quarters of a cent. Charlebois said that the price increase would be visible immediately after the tax is scheduled to be implemented on April 1.

Beer Canada told Global News in a statement that the tax increase will bring up the price of a 12-pack by 10 cents. For a 750 ml bottle of wine, the price could increase close to three cents, according to figures from the Canadian Revenue Agency.

In a statement to the Canadian Press, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) said that a 750 ml bottle of a spirit of 40 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) may increase 70 cents. Charlebois said that the tax may have a smaller impact on the price of craft beer since it is lower volume and usually at a higher price, but could affect larger manufacturers more.

The tax could have a ripple effect on costs, as well.

Beer Canada said since the tax is a production tax imposed on the brewer at the point and time of production, “it is then magnified by other fees and taxes imposed by distributors, retailers, and provinces, including sales taxes,” making the impact on a 12-pack likely closer to 20 cents.

Along with other inflation factors, beer retail prices are projected to rise 10 per cent in 2023, according to the organization.

Beer Canada notes there has been a 60-per cent increase in barley prices, 40-per cent increase in packaging costs, and a doubling of freight costs.

Industry group Restaurants Canada told Canadian Press it estimates the tax increase will cost Canada’s food-service industry about $750 million a year, with the average casual dining restaurant expected to pay an extra $30,000 towards alcohol.

The carbon tax is also set to increase April 1 to $65 a metric ton of carbon from $50, which Charlebois said could impact alcohol prices as well since most producers do not have completely green supply chains. In addition, provinces individually typically increase their tax on alcohol, as well.

Overall, the escalator tax alone will amount to an extra $125 million a year that Canadians will pay to the government.

“It’s just one tax people don’t need right now,” Charlebois said. “It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s more that the tax burden is only increasing.”

“It’s a lot of pressure,” he added.


Industry calls for no tax increase

There is still the possibility the tax could be scrapped, Sylvain said, as lobbyists are moving against it.

Beer Canada says that Canada has the highest alcohol taxes among G7 nations, with about half the cost of a typical can of beer going to taxes, while up to 80 per cent of a bottle of alcohol is taxed, according to Spirits Canada.

The organization is calling on the federal government to freeze current alcohol taxes until inflation reaches closer to the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target.


“It’s do or die time in terms of action,” CJ Hélie, president of Beer Canada, told Global News. “April 1 is right around the corner and the question will be, does the government’s actions live up to their commitment.”

On March 22, MPs voted 170 to 149 in favour of a motion calling on the government to cancel the alcohol tax increase, sponsored by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

Helie told The Canadian Press that the escalator tax used to be “digestible” when it was around two per cent, but with more than triple the usual increase, it should now be reconsidered.

“When inflation is through the roof, we need to rethink this automatic formula,” Helie said. “The industry is already in dire straits. Using a rigid formula in a time like this is unacceptable.”

— with files from The Canadian Press

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Principal resigns after Florida students shown Michelangelo statue



A picture of Michelangelo's statue of David

A principal of a Florida school has been forced to resign after a parent complained that sixth-grade students were exposed to pornography.

The complaint arose from a Renaissance art lesson where students were shown Michelangelo’s statue of David.

The iconic statue is one of the most famous in Western history.

But one parent complained the material was pornographic and two others said they wanted to know about the class before it was taught.


The 5.17m (17ft) statue depicts an entirely naked David, the Biblical figure who kills the giant Goliath.

The lesson, given to 11 and 12-year-olds, also included references to Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” painting and Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”.

Principal Hope Carrasquilla of Tallahassee Classical School said she resigned after she was given an ultimatum by the school board to resign or be fired.

Local media reported that Ms Carrasquilla did not know the reason she was asked to resign, but believed it was related to the complaints over the lesson.

They also said Ms Carrasquilla had been principal for less than one year.

In an interview with US outlet Slate, the chair of the school’s board, Barney Bishop III, said that last year the principal sent a notice to parents warning them that students were going to see Michelangelo’s David – but that this wasn’t done this year. He called it an “egregious mistake” and said that “parents are entitled to know anytime their child is being taught a controversial topic and picture”.

“We’re not going to show the full statue of David to kindergartners. We’re not going to show him to second graders. Showing the entire statue of David is appropriate at some age. We’re going to figure out when that is,” Mr Bishop said.

On Thursday, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, moved to expand a law that banned public schools from teaching sexual education and gender identity.

Teachers who violate the law face being suspended or losing their teaching licences.

The David was completed by Michelangelo between 1501 and 1504. It was instantly hailed as a masterpiece, with Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari saying the David “surpassed” any statue that had ever existed before.

Queen Victoria gifted a copy of the David to the South Kensington museum – later the V&A – in 1857. When she first saw the cast, she was apparently so shocked by the nudity that a fig leaf was commissioned to cover up the genitalia.

The V&A’s website says that the leaf was kept “in readiness for any royal visits, when it was hung on the figure using two strategically placed hooks.”


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