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November-December 2017

The best and worst of Canadian happenings: November/December 2017

Abortion pills, aging populations, and more

Carine Abouseif

THE GOOD NEWS

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A First Nations-led initiative in Manitoba will receive $19 million from the federal government to set up much-needed diabetes-related foot care services in the communities. The initiative is vital considering numbers showing that First Nations experience diabetes at a rate 4.2 times higher than the general population, but 34 of the 63 nations in the province had no diabetes service.

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Yet another province has joined New Brunswick and Alberta to give women free access to the abortion pill. Women with a valid health card and prescription in Nova Scotia will be able to get the $350 Mifegymiso pill at no charge at pharmacies. The announcement is admittedly a happy relief in comparison to the attack on women’s reproductive rights happening south of the border.

THE BAD NEWS

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The Supreme Court has ruled that 38,000 accounts pertaining to abuses at Indigenous residential schools are confidential and should be destroyed. Survivors will have a 15-year period to choose to have their records preserved, but those that aren’t claimed will be lost, effectively creating a tremendous gap in the nation’s understanding of the weight of these abuses.

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Ottawa is sounding the alarm about Newfoundland and Labrador’s demographic issues. While many of these have already been documented, a new report provides a glimpse of an aging population’s impact on the province’s finances, implying that it might be facing a serious long-term debt problem.

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