The Senate at its best – and worst – in the fight to protect children

How Canada's upper house can work across party lines and stop the marketing of junk food to kids

The Senate at its best – and worst – in the fight to protect childrenBy Tom Warshawski and Yves Savoie The crops grown by Canadian farmers and the livestock they raise are of the highest quality. In many cases, however, when these healthy foods are industrially processed, harmful amounts of salt, sugar and saturated fat are added. Consumption of excessive quantities of these nutrients of concern are known to…

The ‘A’ words – autism and advocacy – go hand in hand

With early intervention and the right supports, children with autism can learn and thrive. But too many doors are closed to these children

The ‘A’ words – autism and advocacy – go hand in hand“As soon as I mentioned the ‘A’ word, I knew she would not be calling me back.” This was what one of the parents I met at my preschool told me it was like trying to register her son with autism in a non-specialized local community program. Once the registrar heard the word autism, they…

Opioids are killing Canadians in the thousands

Abstinence-based treatment is ineffective. We need to invest heavily in harm reduction strategies

Opioids are killing Canadians in the thousandsBy Sen. Jane Cordy and Sen. Raymonde Gagné “I wasn’t born to be a drug addict,” said a brave member of the audience at our recent open caucus meeting in the Senate on the Opioid Crisis in Canada. He told us of his struggle with drug addiction over two decades. His closing words hung in…

Steer clear of the Big Money Club when crafting national pharmacare

Prescription drug policy in Canada ought to be decided in the interest of Canadians, not based on the power of industry sector lobbies

Steer clear of the Big Money Club when crafting national pharmacare“Canadians face some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world,” admitted the federal government when announcing the interim report from its Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. If Canadians hoped this report would provide details on how a national pharmacare program might be implemented and funded, they only got a taste.…

Oil tanker moratorium drives a deep wedge

Bill C-48 divides Canadians and betrays the promise of Confederation

Oil tanker moratorium drives a deep wedgeMembers of the Canadian Senate, myself included, have heard from thousands of Canadians for and against Bill C-69, which promises to modernize the National Energy Board and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. That response is a good thing. But an eerie silence prevails around Bill C-48. And that’s odd because C-48 is far more dangerous…

Don’t let the Senate kill the food labelling bill

Let’s make industry’s job of marketing to kids easier by not letting them do it in the first place

Don’t let the Senate kill the food labelling billI was as happy as anyone with the release of the revised Canada’s Food Guide last month. There wasn’t much to complain about and, in fact, much to praise. This is as true for what was in the guide – sensible guidance around cooking more and consuming less processed food – as well as what…

It’s time the Senate worked efficiently, for all Canadians

The health of our children is at stake. Bill S-228 should be brought to a vote in the upper chamber

It’s time the Senate worked efficiently, for all CanadiansThe Senate of Canada has several key roles and makes important contributions to the development of the country’s most pivotal public policy initiatives. But lately, several key government and private members’ bills have suffered the consequences of political theatre as we enter into the throes of an election year. In recent months, we’ve seen a…

New breast screening guidelines fail Canadian women

Outdated material used by the task force could result in the deaths of far too many women. A new set of guidelines must be drawn up

New breast screening guidelines fail Canadian womenChanges to breast cancer screening guidelines have been big news since the release of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care’s updated guidelines in December. Women aged 50 to 74 are now recommended to undergo screening mammography every two to three years, while women 40 to 49 are advised not to undergo screening and…

Food Guide falls short for those with frailty and chronic illness

Malnutrition is too common in vulnerable populations. We need to remedy this by adapting the new guide

Food Guide falls short for those with frailty and chronic illness“What do you think of the new Canada’s Food Guide?” is a question I’ve been asked a lot since Health Canada launched new guidance on how the nation should eat. I have reservations, particularly when it comes to the diets of those living with frailty and chronic illness. The guide recommends a plant-focused diet but…

Address your fear of dying, express end-of-life care wishes

As physicians, we see death made worse and more painful every day by poor advance care planning

Address your fear of dying, express end-of-life care wishesBy Paul Hébert and George Heckman Canadian Frailty Network Are you or a loved one aging, perhaps with a chronic heart or lung condition that limits daily activities? Do you have an older parent in a nursing home or who needs assistance with daily living activities? If so, read on and make the pledge. As…

Using big data analytics for social good and broader perspectives

Gender Gap Tracker makes big data public to motivate media to achieve gender parity among experts

Using big data analytics for social good and broader perspectivesAn Iranian big data engineer, a Spanish computational linguist and a Canadian social activist walk into a research lab. They don’t miss the drinks they could order if they’d gone to the bar, because they’re on a mission to change the world. We hear a lot about how artificial intelligence is taking away jobs and…

Quoting more female sources can help engage audiences

New online tool gives fitness tracker-style incentive for media to achieve gender parity in their sources

Quoting more female sources can help engage audiencesCould the incentivizing power of a fitness tracker be adapted to help achieve gender equality in the media, enhancing Canadian democracy in the process? After a year of collaboration with a team of big data scientists, we’re about to find out.  Despite the increasing attention paid to the importance of women’s voices, in news media…

Canada’s Food Guide is a good first step but more must be done

We need clear warning labels on the front of unhealthy food products and legislation that protects children from marketing

Canada’s Food Guide is a good first step but more must be doneBy Andrew Pipe and Yves Savoie Heart & Stroke The new Canada’s Food Guide has the potential to help challenge the impact of diet on Canadians’ health. But more must be done to realize that potential. The updated version of this vital document, the first such major change to the Food Guide since 2007, has been…

Colleges and polytechnics key to business innovation

Let’s unlock their full potential with greater and more consistent government funding

Colleges and polytechnics key to business innovationBy Sarah Watts-Rynard and Denise Amyot Canada is at an innovation crossroads. Productivity measures have long lagged our international counterparts and our small businesses often lack the internal resources to fulfil their potential. Developing new prototypes, adopting new technologies and designing new processes takes time, money and human resources. As Canada’s economic engines, small and mid-sized…

Canada’s most vulnerable children deserve far better

First Nations children are denied the same funding for health care, social services and education as non-Indigenous kids

Canada’s most vulnerable children deserve far betterBy Jane Cordy and Raymonde Gagné National Child Day, which commemorates the adoption of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, has come and gone for another year, but Canada cannot celebrate much progress. Yes, the federal government has established a Poverty Reduction Strategy; there is a Youth Council to advise the prime…