The Prohibition days of the 20's had the government banning the sale, production, importation, and transportation of alcoholic beverages, and it seems the man is at it again. At least the powdered version of it.
Set to hit the market in the coming months, Palcohol is a powdered alcohol product that could potentially revolutionize the way we get buzzed, but several states south of the border, including Colorado, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin, are trying to ban it before anyone even gets the chance to casually bump their favourite cocktail like a line of blow.
Invented and developed initially as an easy way to get crunk while out hiking and kayaking, Palcohol essentially turns your water into wine, thanks to a lightweight, portable format. With a choice of either V powder (quadrupal-distilled vodka), or R powder (premium Puerto Rican rum), making a premium cocktail on the go has never been easier, without the hassle of lugging around any heavy bottles.
Palcohol is obviously scaring the pants of numerous law-makers, with fears such as abuse by minors, ease of concealment into venues, and the overt possibilities of snorting the stuff. Despite the fact that it would be physically unpleasant and impractical to rail a line of Cosmo cocaine as it would take "approximately 60 minutes of painful snorting to get the equivalent of one shot of vodka," according to the Palcohol website, let's be honest, someone is going to try it.
Regardless of whether or not kids are going to abuse the product any more than, say, a six-pack of Bacardi Breezer or a bottle of cough syrup, the makers of Palcohol maintain that banning it will only encourage the risks of it being dealt on the black market. Besides, the ability to magically transform pretty much anything into "adult" candy (think ice cream), pretty much makes you a saint.
Palcohol is slated to hit the market sometime this spring along with four cocktail flavours versions: Cosmopolitan-Mojito-Powderita-Lemon Drop, and, by the way, it's gluten-free.
Since July 1, it has been possible for people who have had to recover from unemployment due to the pandemic and for people who have not been studying full time in the last 12 months to register for one of the training programs of the Program for the requalification and the accompaniment in information technology and communications (PRATIC).
Whether it's a college or university program, a certificate, an attestation of college studies (AEC) or a diploma of specialized graduate studies (DESS), among others, there are 142 training programs waiting for future students.
In Montreal alone, nearly sixty college programs and 20 university programs are available, and a total of 15 in the Capitale-Nationale region.
There are, for example, ACSs in programming, multimedia production, mobile application development or graphic design, to name a few.
The complete list of training courses offered by region can be found on the government website.
Thanks to a budget of some $39.6 million, financial assistance of $650 per week will be offered to 2,500 Quebecers for the duration of their full-time training. A $1,950 bursary will be awarded to graduates.
Who is eligible to enroll in PRATIC?
Two criteria will determine if a person is eligible to register for PRATIC. You must be unemployed and not have been a full-time student in the 12 months prior to applying.
The government suggests that you contact the Services Québec office in your area and an agent will determine with the future student if PRATIC corresponds to his/her needs.
Remember last year when it seemed that every week there were new COVID-19 rules that the Quebec government would spring on us and we all felt really down? Well, it's the same thing this year, but instead of misery, we're feeling optimistic because this summer's new COVID-19 rules have an eye towards a pandemic-freefuture.
One of the major changes coming on Monday is that you no longer have to maintain a two-metre distance between other people.
According to the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), "the distance to be respected between people from different residences will be lowered from two meters to one meter, both outside and inside."
There are still two situations that require two-metre distancing, however: "singing activities" and "high-intensity exercise in gyms," according to the government.
Wearing a face mask is still mandatory in all indoor public spaces.
Let's get flexible
No, not like that!
We're talking about stores, festivals, sporting events, and other activities with potentially large crowds.
As of Monday, there won't be any capacity limits inside retail stores. While you still have to maintain a one-metre distance, there will be no more annoying lineups outside.
Moreover, in venues with fixed seating, people from different households only need to keep one seat between them and other parties. One-metre distancing is still required in common areas.
Finally, "at amateur events where spectators are seated in bleachers, bleachers or fixed seating, the maximum number of spectators permitted per sports venue is 50 indoors and 100 outdoors."
The government has also reminded Quebecers that "since June 25, adequately protected people" — i.e. people with two doses of a vaccine — "no longer have to follow the recommendations on distancing and wearing a face covering during gatherings in private homes."
The bill was first tabled by Quebec's Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, in December 2020, and it was passed following consultations between the government and Indigenous families in Quebec.
The goal was to meet the needs of Indigenous families while respecting their "culture and language, and also their suffering," according to the ministry.
The ministry also said it hopes "to support families in their quest for truth and also in the healing process."
In 2019, a report by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on the Quebec government to provide Indigenous families with information on children who had been apprehended following admission to a hospital or health centre in Quebec.
How does the new law work?
Once it's implemented on September 21, Bill 79 will give Indigenous families access to personal information from "a health and social services institution, an organization or a religious congregation" about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance or death of children admitted to a health and social services institution in Quebec before December 31, 1992.
The government will provide the information through exemptions to Quebec's current laws that prevent disclosing personal information.
Under the new law, Quebec's minister responsible for Indigenous affairs will also have the power to launch an investigation if government information could help Indigenous families, but can't be disclosed because of the province's existing rules on disclosing personal information.
How have Indigenous leaders reacted to the new law?
On June 14, leaders from the Cree Nation said that while the law is an important step to "apologize or begin to compensate for the harm suffered by Indian Residential School survivors," the scope of the law needs to be revised since Indigenous children "were taken and never returned" for reasons beyond medical care in Quebec.
The Cree Nation specified that Quebec's education system was the largest "pretext for the institutionalized abduction of children," and that the school system's absence from Bill 79 means more action is needed.
The Grand Council of the Crees stated that not all Indigenous youth or community members will feel comfortable contacting the Quebec government for help with traumatic events that were associated with "governments they do not feel are their own."
The Council recommended that Quebec put mechanisms in place so Indigenous governments can represent and serve the needs of their own people.
"The Government of Canada is taking the first steps in preparing for the procurement process to build a new train service in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor," Transport Canada announced in a press release on Tuesday.
While there are several steps and consultations with "Indigenous groups and communities" to undertake before accepting proposals in fall 2021, the government plans to build "dedicated passenger rail tracks which would provide many key benefits to travellers."
These include, according to the government:
"shorter travel times and faster trains that would reduce average trip times between Toronto and Ottawa by up to 90 minutes;
"more reliable on-time arrival performance up to 95 percent from a current average of 67 percent;
"more direct routes with improved connectivity between cities and to other modes of transportation;
"new services to certain communities, such as Peterborough, Trois-Rivières, and Laval, and new stations in targeted locations including near Jean Lesage Airport;
"more frequent departures between cities; and"
"a cleaner travel option using electrified technology."
"High Frequency Rail in the Toronto to Quebec City Corridor is a massive transportation project with the potential to transform passenger rail service by offering faster, more reliable, more frequent, and cleaner transportation service," said Canada's Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra.
This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.