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The Truth Be Told: The Pandemic is Still with Us



I was going to visit an ill friend this past Saturday, but St. Michaels Hospitals’ 9th Floor was isolated with a COVID-19 outbreak. This also has happened on the first floor of La Verendrye Hospital(Riverside) in Fort Francis and also the West Wing of Rainycrest was added to a large list of COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the nation.

The usual precautions are taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but are not limited to:

General visitors will be restricted to the bottom floors of hospitals.
Palliative patients can have up to 4 visitors, two at a time, plus 1 essential caregiver.
Cohorts of staff (those exposed will be separated from non-exposed medical staff).
N95 masks are essential for staff and visitors in all designated areas.

Emergency Units in many hospitals are closing down for periods of a few days to a week and beyond throughout the nation, especially in medical centers and hospitals in rural and small-town locations. Lacking needed staff and the overall staff personnel fatigue are reasons for this continual action. Staff are often taking vacations or just not returning to their employers. Lack of professional assistance, better pay and overall lacking working conditions seem to persist in our medical facilities.

Bill 124 has brought about controversy within the Health Ministry, various public sector unions and hospital staff members. Limiting pay increases to 1% annually, the medical and nursing staff of Ontario’s hospitals are calling for both legal and labour action. They have been staffing our hospitals all this while, and the pandemic continues to spread its viral tentacles with no end in sight.

All the weaknesses our health system had before the pandemic came upon us, have been and continue to show themselves. Various governments seem unwilling to spend the needed funds to not only fight this virus but also to strengthen the health system we rely upon. Better wages, training more replacement workers in mass, extending COVID protocols within the system, and investigating those senior homes that failed their patients in 2020-2021.

For many of our national and regional governments, the health portfolio has been and continues to be seen as a money pit, sucking up funds that many administrations could use elsewhere. Working in a hospital is a profession and not charity. Paying our experienced staff will keep them here where they are needed, not just now but in the near future too. Many hospitals are receiving newbie staff, without the necessary experience essential to carry on. Experienced medical staff are very much like essential managers who show their new associates how it gets done. Many of our governments are at fault, putting budgetary concerns before the welfare of our neighbours. This is a global issue. Statistics place the need for new nurses within the region of the Caribbean at 7,500+, and in Latin- Central  America at a further 18,330+.  Image how many skilled medical professionals passed away due to the pandemic. Tens of thousands and growing daily. All our hospitals are full, and medical professionals, namely family doctors are still unprepared to deal with this pandemic, sending many of their patients to emergency centers. A true sh*t show, while many administrations pretend the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario


Iran protests: Canada sanctioning 'morality police' – CTV News



Canada will be imposing new sanctions on Iran as a result of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The sanctions will be levelled on “dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called morality police,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve seen Iran disregarding human rights time and time again, and now we see with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau said, referencing the death of a 22-year-old who was detained for allegedly violating the country’s forced veiling laws. Her death has sparked outrage and has prompted a wave of international demonstrations, seeing some women cut their hair or burn their hijabs in revolt.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you, we stand with you. We join our voices, the voices of all Canadians, to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully,” Trudeau said.

While no official notice of the new sanctions has been published by Global Affairs Canada, the prime minister noted they come in addition to outstanding measures Canada has taken against Iran.

In an email to CTV News, Adrien Blanchard, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Trudeau “announced Canada’s intention” to issue these sanctions, pledging more details “in due course.” 

Joly, as well as MPs from all parties, have spoken out about the escalating tensions and use of force against civilians in Iran, with the House of Commons unanimously passing a motion last week offering “solidarity to the women of Iran who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.”

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee 

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Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia



OTTAWA — Nova Scotia Power says there were no issues delaying American power crews from crossing the border to help repair the electrical grid from the devastation of hurricane Fiona.

On Sunday, the utility company and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had both said an issue related to the controversial ArriveCan app was delaying power crews from crossing into Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said this morning that the order making the app mandatory and requiring that foreign citizens be vaccinated to come to Canada will expire on Friday.

Power crews helping to restore electricity are considered essential workers and are exempt from the border measures.

In a new statement Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster says there was some confusion about the app but it is now confirmed there were no problems.

Versant Power says 15 line workers and two mechanics left Bangor, Maine, for Canada early Monday morning without issue, and Central Maine Power reports more than a dozen two-person crews and 10 support workers crossed the border without incident at around 7 a.m. Monday.

“We now know there were not any issues with ArriveCan,” said Foster. “Our contractor crews have made their way over the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.”

The Canada Border Services Agency reported that it cleared 19 power trucks at the Third Bridge border crossing in St. Stephen, N.B., just after 7 a.m. Monday. The CBSA said the average processing time was between 30 and 60 seconds per vehicle.

The ArriveCan app has been fodder for heated political debates for months and Conservatives have repeatedly demanded that the government shut it down.

During question period on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre cited the allegations that ArriveCan delayed power crews to demand that the app be scrapped ahead of schedule.

He asked, “Will the prime minister suspend the ArriveCan app today, not Saturday, so that no more holdups happen at the border for those who are trying to help those in desperate need?”

Trudeau said he can “confirm that there were no delays at any border because of ArriveCan or otherwise.”

The utility company had said Sunday that crews were physically stuck at the border, but confirmed a few hours after question period on Monday that this had never been the case.

Foster suggested the error was a result of “confusion” after a concern arose Friday — before the storm actually hit — that crews from Maine might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

No New Brunswick border crossings reported issues over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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Former top civil servant, medical association president appointed as senators



OTTAWA — Ian Shugart, a longtime bureaucrat and the country’s top civil servant during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped for a seat in the Senate.

Dr. Gigi Osler, a Winnipeg surgeon, University of Manitoba professor and president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada, is also set to become a senator.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the picks today after the two were recommended to him by the independent advisory board for appointments to the upper chamber.

Shugart, who will represent Ontario, stepped down as the clerk of the Privy Council in early 2021 to undergo cancer treatments and formally retired in May after a long public service career.

Trudeau also appointed him to the King’s Privy Council today, adding his name to a list that includes past and present cabinet ministers and people “honoured for their contributions to Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Osler, who will represent Manitoba, became the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to hold the presidency at the Canadian Medical Association in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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