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In The News for Jan. 30 : Debating the privatization of health care

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 30 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with the media during an availability on Parliament Hill on Thursday, January 19, 2023 in Ottawa. Singh says he will call on the House of Commons to hold an emergency debate on the privatization of health care. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 30 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Federal New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will call on the House of Commons to hold an emergency debate on the privatization of health care. 

It’s a top priority for the leader as members of Parliament return to the House Monday following a holiday break. 

Singh spent some of that time away holding roundtable discussions on health care in British Columbia to discuss emergency room overcrowding and worker shortages.

Singh says health care is already understaffed and he believes for-profit facilities will poach doctors and nurses away from hospitals. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government announced earlier this month that it’s moving some procedures to publicly funded, private facilities to address a growing surgery wait-list, which worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan have already made similar moves. 

“Health care is already dramatically understaffed, and for-profit facilities will poach doctors and nurses — cannibalizing hospitals, forcing people to wait longer in pain and wracked with anxiety,” Singh said in a statement to The Canadian Press. 

The NDP say they're also concerned that private facilities will upsell patients for brands and services not covered by the province, and tack on extra fees and services. 

On Saturday, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said his Liberal government will ensure people don’t use their credit cards for health-care services and health care will remain universally public. 

If Singh’s request for an emergency debate is granted, it could go ahead as early as Monday evening. 


Also this ...

The federal government failed to spend tens of billions of dollars in the last fiscal year on promised programs and services, including new military equipment and support for veterans.

Federal departments are blaming a variety of factors for their failure to spend a record total of 38-billion-dollars in the 20-21-22 fiscal year, including delays and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also say much of the money remains available for future years.

The unspent funds also played a big part in the Liberal government posting a smaller-than-expected deficit in the year ending March 31, 20-22.

But the unprecedented amount of lapsed funding is also being seen as a sign of serious and long-standing challenges to delivering on big federal projects for the country.

The amount of lapsed funds by across government is spelled out in the most iteration of public accounts.

The report on federal revenues and spending by every department and agency is tabled in the House of Commons every year.


And this too ...

Economic matters will be top of mind for parliamentarians as they return to Ottawa to kick off a new year in federal politics. 

Members of Parliament will sit in the House of Commons today for the first session of 2023 after retreating with their respective parties to strategize their priorities.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government would be focused on the cost of living and promised more targeted supports during the expected economic slowdown that would not add to inflation.

But the government has several other potentially pricey priorities to balance as it assembles its spring budget and legislative agenda, including several promises the Liberals made in their supply and confidence agreement with the NDP.

Trudeau is also about to launch negotiations with provincial premiers to increase federal health spending. 

The NDP say they plan to push the Liberals to fulfil the terms of their agreement, such as the planned expansion of federal dental care, while the Conservatives led by Pierre Poilievre will focus on trying to get the government to rein in its spending.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

LOS ANGELES _ Three women killed in a weekend shooting at a short-term rental home in an upscale Los Angeles neighbourhood were identified Sunday while police searched for suspects.

Four other people were wounded, two critically, when gunfire erupted around 2:30 a.m. Saturday at the property in the Beverly Crest area, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office identified those killed as: Iyana Hutton, 33, of Chicago; Nenah Davis, 29, of Bolingbrook, Illinois; and Destiny Sims, 26, of Buckeye, Arizona.

Police Sgt. Frank Preciado said Saturday that the three victims were inside a vehicle when they were fatally shot.

The shooting follows a Jan. 21 massacre at a dance hall in a Los Angeles suburb that left 11 dead and nine wounded, and shootings at two Half Moon Bay farms on Jan. 23 that left seven dead and one wounded.

Investigators were trying to determine if there was a party at the rental home or what type of gathering was occurring, officials said.

Police Detective Meghan Aguilar said the search for suspects and evidence was ongoing Sunday. She said further details of the investigation were not expected before Monday.

The ages and genders of the wounded victims were not released and their conditions were not known Sunday.

The mid-century home is in a quiet neighbourhood nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains where houses are large and expensive. The property, estimated at $3 million, is on a cul-de-sac and described in online real estate platforms as modern and private with a pool and outdoor shower.

Police did not immediately know if the house had a history of noise or other party-related complaints.

The early Saturday morning shooting comes on top a massacre at a dance hall in a Los Angeles suburb last week that left 11 dead and nine wounded and shootings at two Half Moon Bay farms that left seven dead and one wounded.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...


On this day in 2020 ...

The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the novel coronavirus, because of the possible spread of the disease to other countries. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added that the decision was not a vote of non-confidence in China, and that the WHO continued to have confidence in China's capacity to control the outbreak.


In entertainment ...

Jesse Ray Ernster was hot off his first Grammy win the night Doja Cat swooped into his life.

Sitting in his Los Angeles home, the Winnipeg-born studio engineer watched the glittery awards show from afar at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2021. A few hours earlier, his work on a Burna Boy record had captured the award for best global music album. But as the main Grammys show got underway, his attention shifted to a newcomer he had never heard of -- Doja Cat, performing her hit "Say So" at the ceremony.

Shortly after the 2021 show, American producer Yeti Beats texted out of the blue to congratulate Ernster on his Grammy win. He also suggested the 31-year-old take a swing at mixing a Doja Cat song for her then-forthcoming album, “Planet Her."

“I hit him back and said, ‘Hell yeah.’”

Two years later, Ernster is heading to the Grammy Awards with a record of the year nomination for “Woman,” an immersive fusion of R&B and Afrobeat energy that clawed its way up the charts.

The team of producers, engineers and mixers behind the song competes with nine other heavyweight tracks including Lizzo's "About Damn Time," Harry Styles' "As It Was" and Beyoncé's "Break My Soul." 

The winner will be announced Sunday at the 65th Grammy Awards, which air on Citytv and CBS.  


Did you see this?

Advocates and business owners in the beverage industry say new guidance for drinking alcohol could speed up changing consumer drinking habits as younger generations drink less and non-alcoholic beverages become more popular. 

A report released earlier this month by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, funded by Health Canada, stirred up widespread attention when it said that consuming more than two drinks per week constituted a moderate health risk due to evidence linking alcohol to cancer — a big change from previous guidance that said men could have up to 15 drinks per week with low risk, and women up to 10. 

Some in the drink and hospitality industry were critical of the new guidelines, though they didn’t dispute the need for moderation in alcohol consumption. 

But the new guidelines aren’t the nail in the coffin for the beverage industry, businesses say — though they may hasten the shift in consumer habits that were already underway. 

Nick Kennedy, the owner of Toronto cocktail bar Civil Liberties, says in recent years, customers have been looking to drink less and explore more non-alcoholic options.

He says he doesn’t think drinking will ever go away because it’s so ingrained in social culture, but he does think attitudes toward alcohol will continue to shift and businesses need to adapt. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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