Commentary

A lack of additional disability supports has meant that vulnerable groups have had to look to other means for supporting themselves through the pandemic.

14
August
2020

By MICHELLE MAROTO and DAVID PETTINICCHIO

As Canadians, we like to think we’ve done a far better job responding to COVID-19 than other places, including our neighbour to the south.

Our relative success lies in swift responses to and consistent messaging about the pandemic in non-partisan ways. Nationwide physical distancing measures were done in consultation with public health officials, resulting in a national shutdown beginning in March 2020. Our understanding and approach to the pandemic has also led to a relatively more cautious recovery.

Consistent economic support was also an important pillar of the federal government’s response to COVID-19. Canadian wage earners out of work or at reduced hours received a taxable monthly basic income of $2,000 per month (the Canada Emergency Response Benefit known as the CERB), helping m...

Headlines

06
August
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Defunding the police requires understanding what role policing plays in our society

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

Two 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,
31
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Was Beethoven Black? A Twitter meme reveals more about race and music than the composer’s origins

Social media trend is a new twist on a century-old question about the composer's secret ethnicity.

The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, and in mid-June this year, he started trending on Twitter. Perhaps it wasn’t so strange that Beethoven was popping up on
29
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Tough-on-crime anti-drug moralizing does a disservice to Canadians

Harsh prison sentences don't deter drug use, say sociologists who argue for decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of illicit drugs.

If the idea of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of illicit drugs once sounded radical, the coalition of people who now espouse the idea would certainly seem to be strange bedfellows. On
22
July
2020
| 10:32 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Edmonton finally drops the Eskimos—and may my grandchildren never hear the E-word again

It's been a long time coming, but the CFL team's name change was the right thing to do, says Inuk writer and researcher.

It’s a good day in Edmonton. It’s a good day in Canada. It’s a good day for Inuit. After all the years that I and other Inuit Canadians have been complaining about the name of Edmonton’s team in
20
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Louis Riel’s trial from 135 years ago continues today with competing cultural stories and icons

Riel's transformation from rebel traitor to cultural icon in the public imagination hasn't come without backlash, says U of A English professor.

One hundred thirty-five years ago this July 20, Canada put Louis Riel on trial for high treason for precipitating the North West Resistance (traditionally called the North West Rebellion in
10
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Why some people are immune from scandal—until they’re not

Media play a role in determining whether bad behaviour makes public figures fall from grace, say management experts.

Scandals are violent shocks to social systems in which public figures may “fall from grace.” Societies have long been captivated by scandals embroiling powerful people—film producer Harvey Weinstein
07
July
2020
| 10:30 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || As a Sufi singer, I believe the sounds of world religions can cultivate compassion during COVID-19

Developing an "intercultural ear" can help prevent us from isolating ourselves from diverse communities in our midst, says U of A ethnomusicologist.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has taken us into an era of social distancing. By relying on online digital media, we may be isolating ourselves from more local and diverse communities. As an
07
July
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || As other leagues rethink racist team names, it’s time to rename the Edmonton Eskimos

Team's statement in support of Black Lives Matter movement rings hollow without action, argues Inuk writer and scholar.

In the space of a few hours on July 3, three North American sports teams announced they were going to reassess their racist names. Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins of the
30
June
2020
| 05:45 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Racist cop shows and biased news fuel public fears of crime and love for the police

Portrayals of violent crime in pop culture and media are skewing people's perception of how likely it is to happen to them, says U of A misinformation debunker.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump tweeted that defunding the police would “be good for Robbers & Rapists.” Last week, after signing his tepid executive order on policing, he proffered that
29
June
2020
| 12:08 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || How the pandemic could reshape Edmonton's urban landscape

Encouraging greater density in the city doesn’t mean overcrowding—and could lead to better public health, argue urban planning experts.

Pandemics, infectious diseases and urban planning have a long and intertwined history. Multiple episodes of the Black Death in the 14th century brought parks and open spaces to European cities.
26
June
2020
| 05:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Canadian prisons in the time of COVID-19: Recommendations for the pandemic and beyond

Short-term measures to protect workers and inmates during pandemic could lead to rethinking incarceration more generally, say criminologists.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses distinctive challenges for individuals working and housed in Canada’s prisons. Similar to retirement complexes, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, prisons are