‘Habari gani’ – what’s the news?3 minute read Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
The Congress of Black Women of Winnipeg has hosted Kwanzaa for more than 20 years to the delight of children of all ages and their parents.
This Afrocentric celebration occurs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 each winter and has been around for more than 50 years.
Kwanzaa originated in United States of America. It is a combination of the ancient African celebration of First Fruits or Thanksgiving and an exploration of the continuing freedom struggle of African-Americans. The celebration is designed to celebrate African cultural values, to reaffirm what it means to be of African heritage and to honor the ancestors upon whose shoulder the current generation stands.
Kwanzaa centres on seven principles. They are: unity; self-determination; collective work and responsibility; purpose; co-operative economics; creativity; and faith.
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Health-care improvements are needed in 20223 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
In River Heights and in Manitoba, we are caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a critical time, with the Omicron variant coming at a point when Manitoba’s health-care system is greatly stressed just dealing with the fourth wave. We cannot wait for a report from a task force, which was only appointed a couple weeks ago, when we need action right now.
Nurses are burned out beyond belief, with short staffing levels and high acuity caseloads. This needs to be better acknowledged. There needs to be a major effort to provide better working conditions for nurses, to achieve the staffing levels required for high quality care, and to ensure routine medical and surgical care can happen even during the pandemic.
In the last two weeks, Manitoba Liberals have called for a series of measures to address the current situation. Manitoba needs free rapid covid tests to be made readily available through pharmacies, libraries, liquor marts, malls, and other readily accessible community locations. We need to make vaccines mandatory for workers in long-term care. We must enhance vaccination requirements for children. Businesses and organizations should disclose their vaccination policies for staff and customers so that clients can make informed decisions.
For too long, communication about public health orders have not been clear. A messaging campaign to directly challenge misinformation around vaccines and public health orders would help with misinformation. Last, the approval of monoclonal antibodies (MABS) to reduce symptoms for unvaccinated individuals who fall ill with COVID-19 would likely reduce deaths in the province owing to COVID-19. This would also reduce hospital and ICU needs.
Let’s support one another in this difficult time2 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
I wish to start by wishing everyone the very best of the holiday season, hoping that 2022 brings much happiness, health, prosperity and much needed travel when appropriate.
The Province of Manitoba introduced new health restrictions which came into effect on Dec. 21, 2021. These restrictions are in place until Jan. 11, 2022 with further review as circumstances dictate. The Omicron variant now in every province in Canada has forced the hands of every provincial government to enact enhanced restrictions at this critical time as the transmissibility rate of this strain spreads much quicker than the previous Delta variant.
Although many residents anticipated a relatively normal holiday season, the additional restrictions have placed us where we were at this time last year (although larger family gatherings are allowed this season).
The new restrictions and uncertainty of how they will affect us, as well as when this will all end, impacts our mental health and wellbeing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, there are resources available to help including:
2022 looks to be another tough year3 minute read Preview Friday, Dec. 31, 2021
By the end of this week, another tough year will be behind us. Unfortunately, the outlook for the one ahead is grim.
Our health care system is on the brink of failure. Nearly two full years of periodic lockdowns have left many Canadians fatigued and in a state of economic uncertainty. Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to rise.
The prices of all types of consumer goods are already inflated, but grocery bills in particular are expected to see the biggest annual increase on record in 2022. The affordability of housing in Canada — already at a 31-year low — is also expected to deteriorate even further.
Of course, there are some people and businesses that have thrived under the present conditions. They are generally better-off individuals and bigger businesses into whose hands wealth seems to be consolidating. For the rest, and particularly for small businesses and people with more modest incomes, recovery remains fragile and uneven.
Fill up your holidays with a new hobby3 minute read Preview Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021
’Tis the season to be ______ ?
Obviously, the blank should read “jolly” but if you’re have lost someone special in your life, the holiday season can be a time of sadness. My heart goes out to all those who wish they could be a little jollier at this time of year.
That said, if you need some cheering up during the holiday season, what better reason than to spoil yourself a little. Maybe it’s time to buy yourself a giant TV or make financial plans for that family vacation you’ve been putting off?
If you are looking for some holiday happiness, I recommend that you spend your time with whatever activity that warms your heart and just dive right in.
My experience with excessive police force3 minute read Preview Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021
Are vulnerable citizens more likely to be targeted by police? Here is my experience. I was 13 years old, traveling with my family in the summer of 1972.
We lived on a Saskatchewan farm and were completing a road trip in the south central area. Preparing to overnight in a Moose Jaw hotel, my parents were getting stuff from the car in the parking lot.
Impatient and tired, I grabbed my pillow and walked alone to the hotel entrance. About midway, a car stopped. The passenger window rolled down. A man told me “Hey you, come here.”
This farm girl, unaccustomed to big town life, thought the worst. I ran toward my parents, still in the parking lot.
Notes from the legislature3 minute read Preview Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021
As we are now in the depths of the winter season, it can be difficult to find fun activities to take part in, but here are a few you should know about:
• This year, in lieu of the Breakfast with Santa, Dakota Community Centre will be hosting a Skate with Santa event on Dec. 23. Families can enjoy a great winter activity and get their pictures taken with Santa Claus.
• The St. Norbert Arts Centre is holding Community Sundays in December, featuring activities including an outdoor winter wonderland, featuring a bonfire, snow art, ice sculptures, hot apple cider, and much more.
Government bans conversion therapy3 minute read Preview Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021
The Government of Canada is off to a busy start with the first session of the 44th Canadian Parliament. The government’s first order of business was bill C-4 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy). On Dec.1, the House of Commons unanimously passed the bill. It passed in the Senate and on Dec. 8, it received royal assent. The degrading practise of conversion therapy is now banned. The rights of LGBTQ2+ Canadians are human rights, and the government is committed to building a safer world for everyone.
Respect for human rights and freedoms and the rule of law are essential to the health of democracies around the world. At this month’s Summit for Democracy, the prime minister was emphatic that democracy cannot be taken for granted. The prime minister reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to working with institutions that defend democracy, including governments, journalists, academics, and leaders of civil society to keep authoritarian powers at bay.
Further to this, the prime minister announced Canada’s contribution of $5 million in funding to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Canada also committed $1 million to each of the Global Equality Fund, the International Religious Freedom Fund and the Lifeline Embattled CSO Fund, all of which focus on protecting LGBTQ2+ persons, religious minorities, and civil society organizations.