1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar


City to air Maclean’s town hall with Justin Trudeau today

Maclean's | posted Wednesday, Dec 16th, 2015

Maclean’s year-end interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will take place in a live town hall broadcast to Canadians live on City and streaming on CityNews.ca.

“The last time Justin Trudeau visited Maclean’s, five months ago, his party was in third place in the polls and I asked all the questions,” says Paul Wells, Maclean’s political editor. “Now he’s the Prime Minister and we’re inviting Canadians to ask their own questions, on the issues they’re concerned about.”

The Maclean’s Town Hall with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be held at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. ET in front of a live audience.

The one-hour event will begin with questions for the PM from journalists Paul Wells (Maclean’s), Rachel Giese (Chatelaine) and Alec Castonguay (L’actualité). Then the Prime Minister will take questions from a live studio audience, from Facebook and from Twitter. See details below for how to submit a question.

Neither the Prime Minister nor his staff will not see any of the questions in advance.

The town hall will be carried live, commercial free, on City, Macleans.ca, OMNI 1 in Italian, OMNI 2 in Mandarin, Rogers TV (in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland), CPAC, and CPAC.ca at 2 p.m. ET. Later that evening, City, OMNI 1 in Italian, OMNI 2 in Mandarin, Rogers TV and CPAC will broadcast an encore presentation of the Town Hall, commercial free, at 7 p.m. ET/PT (check local listings).

Send your questions on Twitter using the hashtag #mactownhall, or find us on Facebook.


Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Dec 15th, 2015


It’s the time of year when visiting relatives can’t wait to meet the new baby. But it’s also RSV season. RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. University of Calgary Pediatrics Professor, Dr. Ian Mitchell explains RSV is one of the commonest viruses in the world. We get it many times throughout our lives because we develop poor immunity to it. It’s a common cold in adults but in infants, babies 6 months of age and younger, RSV can cause serious respiratory illness. Dr. Mitchell says early symptoms include a runny nose and then after a couple of days a cough, and most infants will recover from here. But others, will go on to have difficulty breathing and feeding and will require extra oxygen in hospital. In fact, every RSV season, 200 to 400 infants are hospitalized here in Calgary with the virus. And 10 percent of those babies hospitalized will be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

Furthermore, once the baby has recovered from RSV, half of them will go on to develop serious lung infections over the next several years and some of these children will then go on to develop asthma. So RSV infection is a very serious illness that we want to try and prevent in the first place.

Dr. Mitchell says it’s very important parents do not hand off their infant to any adult who has the slightest sign of a cold. He says the parent’s duty is to protect the child, not to pass along their baby to Auntie Judy who feels fine but just has a little sniffle. Dr. Mitchell admits even hand washing is not good enough to keep baby safe.

There is no vaccine yet to protect against RSV infection but researchers are working on one. Dr. Mitchell says the vaccine would not be straight forward like the vaccines in the current immunization program. He says researchers are currently looking into a vaccine that would protect toddlers from the virus. The idea is to prevent the two year old child in daycare who will inevitably get RSV from giving it to their infant sibling. Researchers are also exploring a vaccine for pregnant women set to deliver in the fall or winter. These women would transfer some immunity to their unborn child and protect them when they are born during RSV season.

In the meantime, sick Auntie Judy will have to wait until she’s feeling better to hold the new baby.

For more information on RSV visit this website. 

Holiday Stress

Leah Sarich | posted Friday, Dec 11th, 2015


This time of year can be both filled with joy and filled with stress. So I spoke with Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Trew about how to know when your stress is becoming too much and what to do about it.

Dr. Trew says if you’re all of sudden not sleeping well, you are angry or irritable in ways you are not usually or if you’re more emotional or anxious than normal, there’s a good chance you’re stressed. You may also have physical symptoms like stomach troubles, headaches, tight shoulders or a tense neck. Dr. Trew says it’s really important to ask yourself, “What is my body telling me?” And if it’s stress, then there are a few things you can do.

First off, Dr. Trew recommends lowering expectations and recognize that good enough is better than exceptional. For example, he says no one really cares if you spend 6 hours in the kitchen instead of 3, of if you buy dessert instead of make it by hand. Dr. Trew says it’s also important to take care of yourself. He encourages people to maintain their exercise routine even though it’s a busy time of year. He recommends building in time to do things you enjoy like seeing a movie, or sledding with the kids or simply taking a walk. And he suggests trying as best as you can to maintain the family’s sleep schedule, including the kids naps!

And if you’re stressed about getting together with family members with whom you may not always get along, Dr. Trew recommends avoiding the longstanding argument and scheduling another time to address the issue. It’s also helpful to avoid having that extra cocktail to get through dinner. He says alcohol can lower filters that you have in place for a reason.

As for travelling with young children, Dr. Trew again recommends keeping your expectations in check and recognizing that any travel is a challenge with a child. He suggests parents pay as much attention as they can to their child while they’re travelling and forget trying to do anything else until you’ve arrived at your destination.

Finally, Dr. Trew recommends saying “no.” For example, he says it’s impossible to see everyone on Christmas Day so explain that you need some downtime with your family and that you’ll see others on Boxing Day.

For more information about stress management visit this website. 

Should kids write thank-you cards for holiday gifts?

Sasha Emmons and Chad Sapieha | posted Thursday, Dec 10th, 2015

Sasha Emmons, Mom of two

Ah, the holidays. A time of peace on Earth, good will toward men…and total, unmitigated greed. I love hanging with family and having an excuse to eat cookies, but I could do without the raging case of the gimmes my kids, Chloe, 10, and Julian, 6, come down with every single year, as toy catalogues and TV ads convince them the big guy in red’s there to shower them with whatever their hearts desire. And that’s just the Santa gifts. As the only little kids on my husband’s side of the family, by Christmas morning they’re drowning in packages from relatives.

The antidote to all this stuff-itis is to make them write thank-you notes. Shopping for, wrapping and delivering a present requires effort, and I think it should be acknowledged with a little effort in return. My family is spread across the US, and in some cases this gift and note exchange is the kids’ only tangible touch point with far-flung relatives. I know it’s a bit schoolmarmish of me to cling to this old-fashioned custom, but in this screen-centric world, where it’s hard to get kids to look up long enough to even have a conversation, I worry about my kids losing old-school manners. And recognizing thoughtfulness never goes out of style.

Now before you let years of unwritten thank-you notes haunt you, know that I’m right there with you. We start strong, ticking names off the list and signing adorably scrawly signatures. But a few notes in, the kids and I start to butt heads. They hate sitting and thinking of what to say, and I hate sitting and making them do it. Before long, we’ve lost the list of who gave what, and too much time has passed for my feeble mom brain to piece it back together. (To anyone reading this who’s owed a thank-you note, I want you to know we loved the gift and appreciate you thinking of us.)

So should kids write thank-you notes? Yes. Do mine? A few make it into the post and hopefully make someone’s day. And this year I’ll be asking Santa to give me and them the perseverance to finish them all.

Chad Sapieha, Dad of one

My wife, Kristy, is a wonderful woman with boundless social grace and the best of intentions. So it came as no surprise when she decided a few years ago that our daughter, then around four or five, ought to send a thank-you card for every Christmas gift she received. Kristy purchased multiple packages of cute cards upon which our little girl was to scrawl her name and whatever semblance of gratefulness she might manage.

This proved challenging. We have a ton of friends and family, so our daughter receives a lot of gifts. Writing notes of thanks for all of them is time-consuming. Getting our daughter to do it required multiple sessions over several days, each one an exercise in frustration.

It hasn’t gotten any easier. Turns out fourth graders have as little interest in sitting down for an hour to write polite missives as kindergartners do. Go figure.

But Kristy refuses to give up. Each year she buys more cards. And each spring, I reach to the bottom of our overflowing stationary basket, grab the oldest cards and dump them into the recycling bin. It’s like tossing last week’s produce to make room for the new: expensive and wasteful.

Look, thank-you cards are wonderful in principle. They teach kids to express gratitude and they help improve their penmanship. But they’re just not practical. Why not just text the gift giver a picture of your kid opening the present? Better still, Skype or FaceTime the moment. These alternatives are quicker, cheaper and more memorable.

The simple truth is that you can’t dictate gratitude. When you receive a thank-you card from a kid, you have no idea if he was actually grateful. Reading the note, you probably don’t think, What a thoughtful and considerate child! You think, What thoughtful and considerate parents.

I’m not into these social shenanigans. I’d rather spend the time wasted on thank-you cards building a Boxing Day snowman with my daughter.

A version of this article appeared in our December 2015 issue with the headline “Should kids write thank-you cards for holiday gifts?” p. 104.

Read more:
How to raise an appreciative child>
Teach your kids to appear grateful (even if they aren’t)>
How to avoid spoiling kids at Christmas>

Man Up YYC

Leah Sarich | posted Tuesday, Dec 8th, 2015


December is a crazy month for students. They’re dealing with final exams as well as the holiday season. University of Calgary Psychology Professor Keith Dobson says some students cope with stress better than others. Some students just buckle down and do the work and get through the season okay, but others resort to binge drinking, binge eating or isolating themselves from their support systems. But over the last 15 to 20 years, Professor Dobson says support programs have been developed to help students. However, these programs are primarily focused on female students. That’s why, thanks to some funding from Movember, a new program called Man Up For Mental Health is aimed at helping male students cope with stress.

Kiran Grant is one of the peer supporters volunteering with the ManUp program. He says students these days are under a tremendous amount of pressure because they feel they have to excel in order to get ahead in the difficult job market. And he says guys still experience the stigma that comes with seeking help for mental health issues. But Grant really wants male students to reach out and take that first step. He says all the peer supporters are eager to help and they know that just talking to someone else can make a huge difference.

For more information about the Man Up YYC programs around campus and the peer support programs, visit their website.


Long QTS

Leah Sarich | posted Thursday, Dec 3rd, 2015


Curtis Rosenau was 14 years old doing a drill during basketball practice when he fell to the ground. His dad, the basketball coach, rushed to his side and started doing CPR. He yelled for someone to call 911 and to get the AED in the facility. The machine determined Curtis’ heart had stopped beating and shocked him twice. By the time the paramedics arrived during a snowstorm and got him to the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Curtis was put into a medically induced coma for 10 days to let his brain and body recover. His parents were warned he could have brain damage, be unable to walk or function normally, but Curtis was lucky he made a full recovery.

Curtis has Long QT Syndrome, and electrical disorder of the heart. Since that episode, Curtis has had an implantable device in his chest called an ICD which acts as a pacemaker and a defibrillator. And Curtis, now 23, still gets shocked sometimes. His device had to shock his heart just this past spring while Curtis was working out. Curtis says that episode is always in the back of his mind.

Long QTS can be a genetic disorder and it can also be caused by certain medications that disrupt the electrical rhythm of the heart. Cardiologist Dr. Henry Duff of the Heart and Stroke Foundation says people should talk to their families about any potential heart problems. He recommends they ask about things like recurring fainting spells or epilepsy. Curtis’ family has had genetic testing done to see if anyone else has Long QTS. So far, no definitive diagnosis. But Dr. Duff says it’s good to talk to your family about their medical history because many heart problems are genetic. The discussions are also useful because people can then ask their doctor if genetic testing might be a good option for them. Dr. Duff also recommends asking your doctor about getting an ECG done. This test is very inexpensive and has no side effects and might help determine any risk.

With the holidays approaching, many families are getting together. Perhaps it’s a good time to talk about the family medical history.

For more information on Long QTS, genetic testing or any other heart issues visit this website.




Holiday calendar: 31 festive activities

Laura Grande | posted Thursday, Dec 3rd, 2015

December 1: Bring out your advent calendars and deck the halls of your house!

December 2: Have a “crafternoon” making our winter wreath and holiday garland.

December 3: Mail letters to Santa nice and early to ensure he has enough time to respond!

December 4: Start making (and freezing) those early batches of holiday cookies.

December 5: Find a local toy drive and make a holiday donation!

December 6: Today marks the start of Hanukkah. Make our easy DIY menorah.

December 7: Decorate the outside of your house and warm up afterwards with hot chocolate.

December 8: Bake (and decorate!) a gingerbread house!

December 9: Choose the perfect Christmas tree and decorate it!

December 10: Watch a holiday flick with the family.

December 11: Stay on budget! Make sure you’re tracking all your holiday purchases.

December 12: After dinner, bundle up the family and go for a mini-hike.

December 13: Get your Christmas cards written and stamped.

December 14: Hop in the car or go for a walk and take a Christmas-light tour with your family. Hanukkah ends.

December 15: Get your kids feeling festive by making your own holiday wrapping paper.

December 16: Schedule a date night with your partner before the holiday madness kicks in.

December 17: Today is the cut-off for out-of-province holiday mail delivery.

December 18: Go skating!

December 19: Take some “me time” today, even if just for an hour.

December 20: Have a screen-free evening. Read your family’s favourite holiday books.

December 21: Today is the cut-off for local holiday mail delivery.

December 22: Schedule a date night with your partner before the holiday madness kicks in.

December 23: Take a deep breath (and avoid the mall!). The Christmas madness is about to begin!

December 24: Put on a holiday playlist, hang up those stockings and listen for Santa’s sleigh.

December 25: Merry Christmas!

December 26: Boxing Day. Kwanzaa begins.

December 27: Play your favourite board game!

December 28: Declare today National Pajama Day. Play games, watch movies and stay cozy in your PJs!

December 29: For those eager to get their house back to normal, set some time aside to start taking down Christmas decor.

December 30: Make your New Year’s resolution and stock up on anything you need, the stores will be crazy tomorrow.

December 31: Prepare to ring in the new year! Host a family-style NYE bash.

Read more:
10 tips for baking with kids
Craft: No-sew Advent calendar
3 tips to getting a great picture with Santa

Page 1 of 212