By Rosalind Russell –
Flu epidemic is here
The federal government’s Flu-Watch service confirms we’re now in an influenza epidemic.
Its report says both infection numbers and hospitalizations are way above normal for this time of year.
And flu season doesn’t peak until January or February.
More than half the cases reported have been in children under 17.
The combination of the flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses has overloaded children’s hospitals across the country.
Economic look at Ontario
The opposition New Democrats says the Ford government should have put more money into health care and education.
The government’s latest update shows help for businesses with income tax relief, an increase in the amount of money that Ontario Disability Support Program recipients can earn before benefits are clawed back, and a doubling of the guaranteed income supplement for seniors through next year.
But NDP Finance critic Catherine Fife says we should be able to count on first-class health care and education in Ontario, and financial investments are necessary to reach that goal.
The government will be running a deficit of almost 13-billion dollars this fiscal year, and Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy is warning that the threat of an economic slowdown in the near future is very real.
Back to the bargaining table
It took all of 20 minutes for the government to repeal Bill 28 yesterday.
That’s the legislation that compelled striking educational support staff back to their jobs, forced them to accept a new contract, and ruled out any court challenges by the use of the notwithstanding clause.
The move was part of the deal that saw the government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees return to the bargaining table.
The union’s president, Laura Walton, says she’s pleased that their rights have been restored.
But she warns the two sides are still far apart.
The G20 and Ukraine
The G-20 appears ready to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, but admit there are differences of opinion over the issue.
The leaders of the 20 most powerful economies in the world are meeting in Indonesia and a draft of their final communique takes Russia to task, and calls for a complete withdrawal.
But it also admits that some members have other views, and adds the meeting is not the place to solve security issues.
Chinese President Xi (SHE) Jinping did issue a statement say food and energy should not be weapons of war, words that may be a condemnation of Russian actions in the nine-month-long war.
The elections in the U.S.
Donald Trump is to make a major announcement today and it is likely that he’ll be in the running for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
But the former president has come under increasing fire for his contribution to the poor showing of the party in last week’s mid-term elections.
The Republicans may gain a slim majority in the House of Representatives.
But the Democrats have held onto the Senate.
And yesterday, the Republican state of Arizona flipped, with the Democratic contender officially being named winner of the governor’s race.
Photo: Several science organizations are recommending wearing masks while indoors. It is now official that a flu epidemic, especially among children, is underway in Canada. Photo – Kelly Sikkema – unsplash.com