Category Archives: Columns

Bringing Health Care Off the Highway: Jackman-Atkinson

Bringing Health Care Off the Highway: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Measles
A woman receives a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., on June 5, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Seth Wenig)

This week, the provincial government announced a new plan to make health care more accessible to Manitobans. Manitoba’s Clinical and Preventative Services Plan was developed over 18 months and included the input of thousands of frontline health care providers and about 300 clinical leaders. The goal is to decentralize health care from Winnipeg, putting it closer to the province’s residents.

Along with the announcement, the province said they’ll invest $2 billion into the health care system in the next four years. This includes $250 million for initiatives identified by clinical leaders.

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Authentic Farm Stories Diminishing: Jackman-Atkinson

Authentic Farm Stories Diminishing: Jackman-Atkinson

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Editor, myWestman.ca

Farm Equipment

Canada is becoming increasingly urban and it’s having an unexpected impact on the agricultural community. The 2016 Census of Agriculture found that there were 271,935 farm operators across Canada in that year. For comparison’s sake, there are three times as many people who live in the City of Winnipeg. It’s not hard to see why Canadians are so poorly informed about agriculture, they have lost their first-hand connection.

For years, the number of Canadian farmers has been falling. In 2015, there were just over 193,000 farms, six percent less than recorded in the 2011 Census of Agriculture. From the 481,000 farms in 1961, this number has been falling each census cycle. The problem is compounded — not only are the majority of Canadians disconnected from the farm, but specialization has also meant that even among farmers, knowledge about other sectors beyond their own can be limited.

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Jackman-Atkinson: Are Manitobans Spending Money?

Jackman-Atkinson: Are Manitobans Spending Money?

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Money
Canadian $100 bills are counted in Toronto, Feb. 2, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

NEEPAWA, Man. — I heard a couple of concerning stories over the last week. It started with a large Westman supply place, the kind of place that sells to commercial customers and farmers and all the sorts of people that drive economic activity in the region. The staff there were talking about how quiet it had been lately. No one was spending money.

The next story was from an employee at a large commercial contractor. Most of their crew had been laid off, and those that weren’t were expecting to be as soon as their current project was over. There were no new jobs lined up, the work they usually kept busy with over the winter wouldn’t be happening this winter. Not that they weren’t doing it, no one was. No one was spending money.

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Stop and Restart: High-Speed Internet Still Lacking in Rural Canada

Stop and Restart: High-Speed Internet Still Lacking in Rural Canada

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, Neepawa Banner & Press

Internet - Tablet

Reset the modem. Reset the router. Reset them again. Wonder why your video still isn’t playing and contemplate whether you want to spend an estimated wait time of 20-30 minutes for your internet to work? If this sounds familiar, chances are you also have rural internet.

I feel like I write about this too much, but the reality is, slow and expensive broadband is one of the major factors holding back rural development. In most of the farms and acreages within the Banner’s coverage area, options are limited and expensive.

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Canada Must Consider War with Great Caution

Canada Must Consider War with Great Caution

By Ken Waddell, myWestman.ca

Military Member
A Canadian flag is shown on the uniform of a member of the military in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg)

It’s been a long time since the guns of WWI fell silent. One hundred and one years ago, in fact. Some of us are old enough to have known some WWI veterans. Most of us know WWII vets but, there are very few left with us. The Korean War was a much smaller conflict and it was almost 70 years ago. My brother was a Korean War vet, but he is gone now too. We have a number of military veterans with us who have served our country well in other places, in peacekeeping efforts, mostly in the Middle East.

The irony of the opening sentence is that the guns have never actually fallen silent. Diminished yes, but silent, no.

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Urban Versus Rural: Examining Canada’s Electoral Divide

Urban Versus Rural: Examining Canada’s Electoral Divide

By Kate Jackman-Atkinson, myWestman.ca

Election - Vote
Voters enter the polling station at St. Luigi Catholic School during election day in Toronto on Monday, October 21, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin)

NEEPAWA, Man. — We hear a lot about the east-west divide in federal politics, but that might not be the whole story. I read a column in a recent edition of the Moosomin World-Spectator about the urban-rural divide in Canadian politics and it got me thinking — what if that’s the cause of much of the divisiveness we see today?

338Canada, which refers to the 338 seats in Canada’s parliament, is a website created and run by P.J. Fournier. Fournier is an astronomy and physics professor and a political commentator. The site features statistics and analysis, including compiling various polls, and an interactive map coloured to represent the party each riding is expected to elect. In the lead up to the election, except for the northern parts, the prairies were coloured dark blue and on October 21, they overwhelmingly elected Conservative MPs. Is this a case of east versus west? I always thought maybe so, but when you look at rural Ontario, it’s also trending blue. Maybe it is something else.

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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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