Category Archives: Columns

Small Price, Big Payoff in Polio Fight: Jackman-Atkinson

Small Price, Big Payoff in Polio Fight: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Editor, myWestman.ca

Polio Walk
(ENDPOLIO.ORG)

NEEPAWA, Man. — My dad was born in 1931 and as a child, he never learned to swim, his mother wouldn’t let him. She wasn’t afraid he’d drown, she was afraid he’d contract polio. The fearful disease could be spread by infected water and left tens of thousands of Canadians with some degree of paralysis.

The virus permanently damages the nerve cells that control muscles and while it can infect people of any age, it poses the largest risk to children under five years of age. Canada had its first case of polio in 1910 and in the following 60 or so years, public health departments tried unsuccessfully to contain the outbreaks that sprung up each year, usually in summer or fall.

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Farmers Irked by New Agricultural Crown Lands Deal: Jackman-Atkinson

Farmers Irked by New Agricultural Crown Lands Deal: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Farmer
Rod Peterson harvests a field of oats in Waterville, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-The Wenatchee World, Don Seabrook)

After close to two years, Manitoba farmers received the good news that new long-term leases for Agricultural Crown Lands (ACL) would be available for next year. The good spirits were dampened once the details of the revised program were understood.

There are about 1.45 million acres of forage land that the provincial government rents or leases for grazing or hay production and another 11,000 acres leased for cropping. In 2017, the province began the process of modernizing the forage lease program. There were two rounds of consultations, during which the province accepted feedback from the public, as well as holding meetings with key stakeholders.

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Can’t Have It Both Ways: Jackman-Atkinson

Can’t Have It Both Ways: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Climate Change Activists
Climate change activists and students gather for a protest and “die-in” on the steps of the Calgary Municipal Building in Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley)

Across our communities, we wonder why young people aren’t getting more involved. Last week, I saw why. On Friday, youth across the world took part in a climate strike. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t following it very closely, but I was bombarded by examples of adults acting like children. In posts, comments and memes, I saw adults mocking the young participants, telling them they were wasting their time, telling them all the other things they should be doing, accusing them of not being committed to the cause because they own a cell phone or buy new clothes.

It was a pretty depressing weekend on social media.

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The Story That Almost Wasn’t: Jackman-Atkinson

The Story That Almost Wasn’t: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Baby

In July, Toronto Life published a gripping story about the medical malpractice carried out by Dr. Paul Shuen, a respected ob-gyn in the Toronto area. Without his pregnant patients’ knowledge or consent, Shuen was inducing their labour so that they would deliver on the weekend, when he could bill the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) an extra $250 per delivery. It’s unknown how many victims there were, but in the 2015-16 fiscal year, 46 percent of Shuen’s deliveries occurred on the weekend.

The method Shuen used to induce his patients carried many risks, including death. Additionally, the hospital operated with fewer staff on weekends, creating challenges when patients arrived at the hospital with rapid labour, some with signs of fetal distress. Sometimes, emergency C-sections were required.

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Canada’s Federal Election: Sifting Through Fact and Fiction

Canada’s Federal Election: Sifting Through Fact and Fiction

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Justin Trudeau
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau speaks with people in a cafe as he mainstreets in downtown Winnipeg, alongside landscape architect Bob Somers, on Thursday, Sept.19, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

As we close in on next month’s federal election, Canadians are looking to better understand the parties, the candidates and the issues. But it’s not quite as simple as it used to be. Today, with everything they read and see, Canadians need to be asking if the information they’re finding is accurate. Is it even true?

In a campaign that’s evoking strong feelings and in which all sides are using a variety of tactics and mediums to call out their opponents, the average citizen can’t be faulted for having trouble deciphering fact from fiction when it comes to information. Everyone wants to ensure they’re well informed and no one wants to have their opinions influenced by something untrue, so what’s a person to do?

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A Cry for Help: Manitoba Farmers Left Waiting in Limbo

A Cry for Help: Manitoba Farmers Left Waiting in Limbo

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Bruce Stewart - Sunflower Farmer
Farmer Bruce Stewart poses in his sunflower field just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

NEEPAWA, Man. — At the end of last month, 12 municipalities in the Interlake and Parkland regions declared a state of agricultural emergency. After a second dry summer, where rainfalls measured about half of normal, cattle producers are facing feed shortages. The hardest-hit municipalities — Alonsa, Armstrong, Bifrost-Riverton, Coldwell, Ethelbert, Fisher, Grahamdale, Lakeshore, McCreary, Ste. Rose, West Interlake and Woodlands — want to make sure senior levels of government understand the serious situation their residents are facing.

In the Municipality of McCreary, hay yields were a quarter to a fifth of average, and their situation isn’t unique. Not only were hay yields down, but the dry summer meant that many producers ran out of pasture and water, as dugouts and wells dried up.

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Short Term Pain for Safer Manitoba Roads: Jackman-Atkinson

Short Term Pain for Safer Manitoba Roads: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Semi Truck

This week, we put out one of my favourite features, our National Trucking Week issue (page 21). The transportation industry is vital to our area, not just because it brings everything rural residents, their farms and businesses needs, but also because it’s a significant local employer.

Each year, we do an update on the industry and this year, the industry has a bit of a hiccup to work through — mandatory entry-level training (MELT).

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Making Sport Safe for All: Jackman-Atkinson

Making Sport Safe for All: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Gymnastics

In the wake of the Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics scandal, the United States Congress created the U.S. Centre for SafeSport. The euphemistically named organization investigates allegations of abuse in sport, though mostly, it focuses on the sexual abuse of minors.

The organization isn’t associated with any one sport and is funded by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC). While it has faced some criticism (it’s too closely tied to the USOC) it’s underfunded and its caseworkers overworked — it has one important characteristic. It’s independent of any one sports organization.

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