POLL: Are you happy a federal election has been called?

Disclaimer: Poll results are not scientific. As the informal findings of a survey presented to the readers of this site, they reflect the opinions of those readers who have chosen to participate. The survey is available online to anyone who is interested in taking it.

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Was the Roberta Place outbreak preventable? ‘Absolutely,’ says woman whose mother died there prior to pandemic

When Gale Wood first laid eyes on Roberta Place, she thought it was “heaven, initially.” But the Barrie resident now describes her experience with the Essa Road long-term-care home, the site of the most deadly COVID-19 outbreak in the Simcoe-Muskoka region’s history, as “disgusting” and “foul.” Wood’s mother, 95-year-old Helen Parker, spent nearly two years in the facility before dying there in February 2020, about a week shy of her next birthday and less than a month before the first case of novel coronavirus was reported in the city. “Never having been in a nursing home, I didn’t pay attention to the conditions until my mother went into Roberta Place,” Wood said. “I was happy (when she died). She hated living at Roberta Place. She’s not the only one. Anybody who still has their mind hates living in a nursing home.” Wood visited her mother daily. She said she’d often find the suite dirty and the bathroom toilet covered in dried urine and smeared feces. She watched her mother be served black potatoes and be denied baths. It was clear the facility was short-staffed. Wood lodged multiple complaints, both verbally and through written letters. The conditions never improved, she said. “I did not blame the staff; you can only do so much. I blame it on administration,” said Wood, who was employed as a developmental services worker at Orillia’s Huronia Regional Centre for 30 ye […]

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What’s going on here? Midland public art installation

A new public art installation was erected at the corner of King Street and Bayshore Drive on Aug. 13. JUST THE FACTS • The artwork, titled “Sown”, was conceived by local artists Holly Archer and Camille Myles. • Michael P. Bilyk of Lafontaine Iron Werks Inc. fabricated and installed the piece, and Jonathan Killing of Toque Innovations helped with the technical designs. • Midland’s rich industrial history inspired “Sown”, with elements of the design representing the five fingers that built this community — logging, shipping, the railway, agriculture and manufacturing — as well as the five bays from the foundational Indigenous legend of Kitchikewana. • In contrast to the rough, industrial look of the oxidized steel, the organic seed-like shape made of faceted reflective steel is held solidly by the pillars but gives the appearance of being on unstable footing, acknowledging that our history is flawed. • A portion of a $250,000 grant the Town of Midland received from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, through the Rural Economic Development program was used to fund the art installation project.

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South Simcoe police officer administers naloxone to man suffering overdose

A quick-thinking South Simcoe Police Service officer saved a man’s life by using naloxone.   On March 7, at about 8:30 p.m., police were called to a two-vehicle collision involving a station wagon and a pickup truck in the Saint Johns Road and 7th Line area of Innisfil.  No one was injured in the collision. After an investigation, police say officers arrested the driver of the pickup truck for operation while impaired by drugs, and moments later the driver went into medical distress.   Police realized the man was suffering an overdose and an officer quickly administered naloxone, a medication used to counteract the effects of opioid overdose. Paramedics transported the man to hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. In addition to the charge of impaired driving by drug, the 33-year-old Innisfil man was handed a 90-day licence suspension and had his vehicle impounded for seven-days

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Heather Scoffield: Few are afraid of the ballooning deficit. But do Canada’s leaders know how to turn the economic tide?

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is a cheeky small-c conservative interest group that knows how to get a rise out of people with its gimmicks. Remember the inflatable Mike Duffy they launched to represent Senate largesse, or the giant national debt clock that ticked its way into our national psyche in the 1990s? This week, true to form, the CTF rolled out giant billboards to denounce the debt and deficit, raising the alarm on the $1-trillion federal debt. But it’s a lonely affair this time around. Financial markets have shrugged off Canada’s fiscal path. The federal Liberals focus almost solely on spending, investment and growth. Business and industry groups have come together to push hard on productivity. And even the Conservatives, whose traditional hallmark is to harp relentlessly on the deficit path, are instead prioritizing innovation and boosting industry. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, for example, soft-launched parts of his election platform this week with a promise to put $5 billion into a fund for innovative Canadian companies. “It smells like corporate welfare,” says Franco Terrazzano, CTF’s federal director. Indeed, that was the kind of argument previous Conservative leader Andrew Scheer made repeatedly in the last election campaign, saying he would whittle down the deficit by cancelling such programs for companies. The pandemic has changed all that — and for a good reason. The federal government put more than $200 bil […]

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What are the signs your child may be experiencing depression?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges for Canadians – and children and youth are not immune to the mental health impacts it has caused, including depression. Child and family said that social isolation due to COVID-19 can trigger depressive symptoms in children, especially those who already have a history of depression or who have family members who may be depressed. agreed, adding that it’s important for parents to look for certain changes in their children’s moods and behaviours, and to not be afraid to ask tough questions or seek help when needed. What are the signs of depression in children? Ryzebol and Shulman said when looking for signs of depression in children, parents should be paying attention to the following physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms: • Low energy level (Is your child tired? Is there a lack of energy? Are they sleeping more or less than usual?) • Changes in diet (Is there a change in their weight, or a loss or increase in appetite?) • Prolonged sadness (Is your child’s sadness more persistent and severe?) • Lack of excitement (Are they demonstrating a lack of interest in things they were interested in before?) • Social withdrawal (Are they distancing themselves more?) • Changes in communication (Are they oversharing? Is there a lack of communication? Is there a lot of negative self-talk? Are they more irritable or angry?) Shulman said that while sadness is normal to see in […]

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York Regional Police brings down 10 members of break and enter ring in ‘Project Rise’

A Vaughan resident is among 10 people charged in a break-and-enter ring that operated across York Region and southern Ontario. York Regional Police seized more than $400,000 in cash in multiple currencies, along with property, following Project Rise, an investigation that began in 2020 when investigators became aware of common suspects believed to be involved in break and enters as far away as Windsor. During the investigation, police executed search warrants at 11 locations, including 10 residences and one commercial property in York and Peel Regions, Toronto and Simcoe County. Officers seized approximately $23,000 in Canadian currency, $30,000 US, $85,000 in Bolivian currency and significant amounts of stolen property. Firearms ammunition was also recovered. Photos of the recovered property can be found in the folders Batch 1 to Batch 6, dated Feb. 25, at this web address: . Citizens are urged to contact police if they were a victim of a break and enter and recognize any of their belongings. Paul Nkrumah, 34, of Brampton, is charged with 11 counts of committing break and enter, seven counts of possession of property obtained by crime, and two counts of break and enter intent. Clayton McFarlane, 39, also of Brampton, faces nine counts of break and enter, among other related charges. Kayla Almeida, 26, of Vaughan, is charged with three counts of break and enter. Others facing charges include Dumark Lindsay, 38, Darnyl Campbell, 39, Andrew Dove, 33, and Rennay Harris, 28, all […]

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Ontario to mandate vaccines for hospital workers, give booster shots to the vulnerable, and halt further reopening

Ontario will mandate vaccines for hospital and long-term-care workers and begin targeted booster shots while keeping current pandemic restrictions indefinitely, the Star has learned. Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s fourth wave, Dr. Kieran Moore, the chief medical officer of health, will announce the sweeping measures next Tuesday, including a pause on any further reopening of the economy. “The watchword is caution,” said a senior Progressive Conservative government official, speaking confidentially in order to discuss internal deliberations “We’re trying to be cautious. Nobody wants to lock down the economy again,” the official said as Ontario recorded 510 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the vast majority of which were among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people. To that end, Moore will use his authority to issue a “ mandate directive” for doctors, nurses, and “anyone patient-facing” working in hospitals, long-term-care homes, and in home-care. “You will be asked to get your shots and if you haven’t, you will be asked why not. If you don’t have it, you will need a medical exemption,” said a second high-ranking government official. “There will be a requirement for an education session (on the merits of vaccines) if you refuse to be vaccinated,” the official added. “If you still continue to refuse, you will be required to get regularly tested (for COVID-19) twice […]

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Giving scarce vaccines to those who need it most the moral thing to do

Excitement over the rollout of in Canada is at fever pitch, and understandably so. After a year of lockdown, effective vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel. Other than a small mob of anti-vaxxers, most Canadians are eager to get the jab, and start to put the pandemic behind us. At first, after several manufacturing delays, this yearning sparked public anger. Ottawa had “bungled” the rollout, hoping to damage the federal government’s popularity. But now, as distribution accelerates (and evidence shows the vaccines may be even more effective than hoped), the emotional tide is turning. If the rollout continues smoothly, expect an outbreak of national optimism. Amidst all the excitement, one underappreciated aspect of the rollout says something powerful and positive about Canadian society. Every province and territory has announced a plan to distribute the vaccine, giving it first to those who need it most: older people (especially in long-term-care facilities), health-care and essential service workers, and others at particular risk of infection (variously including Indigenous communities, those with other health challenges, and prison staff and inmates). This explicit goal of vaccinating the most vulnerable first goes completely against the conventional rules of distribution that usually govern capitalism. Normally, when demand for something exceeds its supply, money, not need, determines who gets served first. The price rises, and those who can aff […]

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