Can First Nations truly be autonomous in all things?

Ensuring access to safe drinking water isn’t simple. It may require guidance and even intervention by the federal government

Can First Nations truly be autonomous in all things?Self-determination for Indigenous communities can prevent meeting certain standards or goals, especially if the federal government takes a hands-off approach. This can be the problem when it comes to ensuring all First Nations have access to safe drinking water, which isn’t a simple matter. It has never been only about providing the necessary funds (whatever…

Canada’s drug screening process falls dangerously short

A cure should never be worse than the disease and when regulators don’t do due diligence, that’s the very thing that can happen

Canada’s drug screening process falls dangerously shortCan we trust our government and medical establishment? Not entirely. Some glimpses of Health Canada’s approach to prescription drug safety are less than assuring. Public policy should be guided towards more drug safety, not less. Health Canada was solely funded by taxpayers until 1994 when it began to issue user fees to companies that wanted…

Think Canada’s gun registry is dead? Think again

We have reason to doubt Trudeau's word

Think Canada’s gun registry is dead? Think againPrime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he would never reinstate the gun registry, nor would any Canadian government disarm the people. His legislative track record says otherwise. On Sept. 22, 2010, Trudeau – then just a backbencher MP in opposition – voted against a private member’s bill to remove rifles from the federal gun registry.…

Researchers warn of unintended poisonings from hand sanitizer

There has been a 73 per cent increase in calls to Alberta Poison and Drug Information Service in 2020

Researchers warn of unintended poisonings from hand sanitizerOur obsession with killing germs during the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unintended and dangerous consequence, according to the University of Alberta’s Injury Prevention Centre: a sharp increase in unintentional poisonings due to hand sanitizers, disinfectants and household cleaners. Calls to Alberta’s Poison and Drug Information Service (PADIS) related to these products have increased by 73 per cent…

Failure to use rapid tests in pandemic points to deeper problems

We still have time to act by approving and quickly producing rapid tests in Canada by the tens of millions

Failure to use rapid tests in pandemic points to deeper problemsBy John Adams and Kashif Pirzada Macdonald-Laurier Institute Canada’s ongoing failure to effectively control the spread of COVID-19 reflects increasing failures by governments to coordinate with one another and to respond quickly and effectively to new developments and scientific advances. This is abundantly clear in the self-harm inflicted by our original difficulties in sourcing of…

Twenty per cent hike in flu vaccinations ambitious but attainable

U of A professor says COVID-19 crisis has provided much-needed public education in how vaccines can prevent deadly viruses

Twenty per cent hike in flu vaccinations ambitious but attainableA pharmacy researcher predicts more of us will roll up our sleeves for the influenza vaccine this fall thanks to the crash course we’ve all had recently on viruses and how to prevent them. “Because of COVID-19, people are becoming a lot more aware of how susceptible they are to viruses and virus-caused infections, especially…

Lockdown hysteria defies COVID-19 reality

Given that infections don’t by a long shot equal hospitalizations, civil libertarians are rightly sounding warning bells

Lockdown hysteria defies COVID-19 realityOn Sept. 18, Israel became the first developed country to launch a second COVID-19 lockdown. It came four months after the first lockdown – instituted in March – ended. How Israeli citizens have reacted to the unsustainable nature of renewed lockdowns is instructive for the Canadian jurisdictions that have increased a rhetoric of fear about…

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policing

Demystifying police work is needed to increase public support for major reforms, argues U of A sociologist

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policingTwo contrasting perspectives have emerged in response to recent calls to “defund” police. One perspective – espoused by some activists on the political left – holds that policing is fatally broken, can’t be fixed through any reforms and ought to be cancelled outright through financial asphyxiation. The second perspective argues that policing takes an outsized…

To mask or not to mask?

It really comes down to your comfort level, belief system and what you want to do until instructed otherwise

To mask or not to mask?Toronto Mayor John Tory announced on June 30 that face masks would become mandatory inside enclosed public spaces in the city. This would include grocery stores, shops, malls and on public transit. Children under the age of two and people with medical conditions that make it difficult to wear a mask would be the only…

Public acceptance of protective masks growing in Canada

Rapid shift in perception shows people are heeding public health advice

Public acceptance of protective masks growing in CanadaPublic acceptance of protective face masks has evolved dramatically in Canada since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new psychology research from the University of Alberta. It’s a sign people are heeding the advice of public health officials. But many in the Asian-Canadian community see it as confirmation of what they knew all…

Indigenous communities offer pandemic lessons

The resilience of remote First Nations in the face of outbreaks may encourage changes in how we plan and manage living spaces

Indigenous communities offer pandemic lessonsIndigenous communities have so far been spared from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. So Indigenous communities may provide some insights to other Canadian communities on how to avoid the worst of these outbreaks. As of June 2, Indigenous Services Canada reported there were 219 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indigenous communities across Canada. Official…

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19

Mistrust, fear and rumours helped the virus spread in 2018, but training trusted local leaders helped stop it, U of A researchers find

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19Multiple factors led people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to resist public health messages during the 2018 outbreak of Ebola virus. University of Alberta researchers fear the situation could be repeated with COVID-19 unless lessons are learned from the earlier epidemic. “Mistrust, fear and rumours were complete obstacles to the efforts of the…

Abject failure in U.S., India in face of COVID-19 crisis

India has failed its citizens, especially the vulnerable. The U.S. has hobbled from one makeshift policy fiasco to another

Abject failure in U.S., India in face of COVID-19 crisisThe largest democracy and the most powerful nation in the world have both been left disrobed of their pageantry and power by COVID-19, shamefully failing their citizens and revealing their disintegrating moral façade. It’s said that the measure of a person is not what they do when things are going well, but rather how they…

A dose of COVID-19 reality

We need to put the numbers in context, take a close look at Germany's health-care system and be prepared to exit the lockdown

A dose of COVID-19 realityLast week’s column was my first on COVID-19. Here are some further thoughts. Numbers in context A perpetual peeve relates to raw numbers being headlined without reference to the relevant denominator. If you don’t have that context, you get a potentially misleading story. COVID-19 deaths are a striking example. There’s been much focus on the…

We need clarity in this time of crisis

Politicians and commentators have an important role during COVID-19: deliver simple, effective messaging

We need clarity in this time of crisisDuring the COVID-19 pandemic, medical and health experts have provided us with important statistics, charts and analysis on a near-daily basis. At the same time, politicians and governments have introduced everything from wage subsidies to warnings about social distancing. Some information has been easy to understand. But most of it has been difficult for average…