February 25th, 2024

In the news today: Pharmacare not a priority for most and East Coast outages persist

By The Canadian Press on December 20, 2023.

Prescription drugs are seen on shelves at a pharmacy in Montreal on March 11, 2021. As Liberals and New Democrats negotiate what a future national drug plan should look like, a new survey suggests pharmacare is not at the top of the priority list for most Canadians.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to
bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Pharmacare not a top health priority for most Canadians

As Liberals and New Democrats negotiate what a future national drug plan should look like, a new survey suggests pharmacare is not at the top of the priority list for most Canadians.

The survey shows that when asked to name their top two health-care priorities, only 18 per cent of those surveyed said the government should prioritize creating a new, universal, single-payer drug plan.

More funding toward surgical wait times, building more long-term care homes and expanding mental-health services all garnered significantly more support, at 36 per cent, 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

The Liberals promised to pass pharmacare legislation that would serve as the foundation of a national drug plan by the end of 2023, as part of their political pact with the NDP.

Outages persist in parts of Atlantic Canada

A little more than 50,000 people were still without power in New Brunswick early this morning, following a windstorm that struck Canada’s East Coast this week. Crews have been working around the clock, bringing the overall number down from a high of more than 100,000.

Officials have warned power restoration could take days in some areas.

In Nova Scotia, some 9,200 people were waiting for their electricity to be restored, while a handful of outages remained in Newfoundland.

The storm, which began Monday and lasted into Tuesday, was the result of a low-pressure system meeting a massive high-pressure system in the Atlantic Ocean, which created a slow-moving storm with strong winds.

Parents face terrible conditions in Gaza, son says

A Canadian man with parents in Gaza says he’s worried that even if near-constant Israeli airstrikes don’t kill his loved ones, the respiratory and bacterial infections spreading rapidly among displaced civilians just might.

Ahmed Abudaya, an Alberta resident, said his 78-year-old father and his 68-year-old mother, who is diabetic and has run out of medication, were forced from their home when the Israel-Hamas war began.

This week, Doctors Without Borders said “every other patient” is now arriving at one of Gaza’s last-standing clinics in the south with a respiratory infection after prolonged exposure to cold and rain.

Abudaya ““ who has been appealing to the Canadian government to help get his parents out of Gaza ““ said his mother and father are living in a home with about 30 other people, 20 of whom are younger than 16 years old.

He adds that there is no clean drinking water, or water available for those crammed into the home to wash themselves.

Hamas chief in Cairo for talks

Hamas says its top leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has arrived in Cairo for talks on the war in Gaza.

Haniyeh is believed to be based in Qatar.

Egypt and Qatar have both played a key role as mediators between the militant group and Israel.

Hamas said Haniyeh would discuss the war with Egyptian officials, but did not provide details.

Negotiations are underway on another cease-fire and the release of more hostages held by the militant group, but the two sides are believed to be far apart.

Canadian local news coverage erodes in 2023

A reporter with Kamloops This Week says learning that the newspaper was closing earlier this year was like being in the front row of her own funeral.

Jessica Wallace says the loss of resources in local news means there are fewer people keeping an eye on those in positions of authority and covering events that are important to their community.

It also leaves the community of about 100,000 people in B.C.’s Interior without a newspaper for the first time since 1884.

The loss of the weekly is one example of a flurry of closures of local Canadian newsrooms in 2023 that left municipal governments, non-profits and journalists themselves trying to figure out what’s next.

What to know about electric vehicle chargers

Experts say electric vehicle buyers should be aware of the costs and logistics of installing charging infrastructure before they buy an E-V.

Installing an at-home charger is not typically a do-it-yourself project, with the electrical system being central to the setup.

Mark Marmer, owner of Signature Electric, said the process begins with consulting a licensed electrical contractor, who can offer advice on where to install the charger and whether existing electric panels are adequate.

The overall installation process for a detached home can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000, while the price tag of a level two charger itself can cost between $500 and $1,500. Government rebates can help families offset installation costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec.20, 2023

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