Commentary

The most recent round of polarized discourse over water fluoridation, among other health issues, does little to help develop rational, evidence-informed health policy.

13
October
2017

Increasingly, it feels like there is no middle ground. There is no space for a reasoned discussion. No matter what the topic, you need to be either for it or against it. And this polarized posturing seems particularly common in the realm of health-science controversies.

Whether we are debating the potential harms of e-cigarettes, the value of organic food, flu vaccine policy or even the fitness merits of yoga, you are now expected to take a definitive and unwavering position. Any hesitation to consider the merits of the available science is pounced on as a sign of weakness and evidence that you are clearly in the pocket of Big Tobacco, Big Ag, Big Pharma or Big Yoga.

In this age of polarized discourse, we can't talk about stuff. And this is a problem.

Fluoride hyperbole

Last week, a study was published that found an associa...

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23
November
2017

COMMENTARY || With Ratko Mladic’s conviction, justice for Bosnia

War crimes sentence should motivate early Canadian advocates of Bosnian Serbs’ cause to reconsider their positions.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague (ICTY) yesterday convicted the former military commander of the Bosnian Serbs, retired general Ratko Mladic, of genocide,
23
November
2017

COMMENTARY || Cheerful American cookbook memorializes 1948 Berlin Blockade

How a group of American women created recipes for hope in the war-torn German city.

In the summer of 1948, nearly 1,000 American women, wives of military and civilian occupation personnel, found themselves in the middle of what would become the first major crisis of the new Cold
21
November
2017

COMMENTARY || Addressing 'alternative facts' about Lyme disease

For-profit labs and misleading information online are creating confusion about diagnosis and treatment of the tick-borne illness.

Lyme disease has recently gained much attention in the media and has become politicized in the United States and also in Canada. Vocal individuals and groups have implied&n
20
November
2017

COMMENTARY || We need minimum safety standards on the Trans Canada Trail

With more than 15,000 km on roads or in waterways, Canada's 'Great Trail' is neither safe nor accessible.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians—including elementary schools, youth clubs, health agencies, grieving families, fraternal organizations, religious institutions, small businesses, sports
18
November
2017

COMMENTARY || Edmonton Eskimos is a racial slur and it’s time to stop using it

'Eskimo' signals archaic stereotype and is considered a racial slur by most Inuit, argues PhD student.

The Edmonton Eskimos have a big football game Sunday and thousands of people in my hometown will be cheering them on in the hope the team makes it to next weekend’s championship Grey
15
November
2017

COMMENTARY || Why Alberta should commit to a Keystone XL contract

Long-term commitment would lessen business risk of pipeline and help ensure value of Alberta bitumen, says energy economist.

When news broke earlier this month that TransCanada was looking to the Alberta government to sign on to the Keystone XL pipeline as a long-term, contract shipper, my hope was that the
15
November
2017

COMMENTARY || The debate over what constitutes terrorism

Failure to clearly define terrorism creates insidious double standard when it comes to mass shootings, argues UAlberta PhD student.

Earlier this month, a group of innocent people were praying in a small church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., when a gunman carrying a semiautomatic rifle opened fire and killed 25
10
November
2017

COMMENTARY || How Bill 24 may hurt the NDP and help Jason Kenney

UCP leader's opposition to gay-straight alliance bill taps into powerful populist undercurrent in Alberta, says political scientist.

In a move that several pundits are suggesting plays right into the hands of Rachel Notley and the NDP, UCP Leader Jason Kenney announced that his party would oppose Bill 24 (an Act to Support
06
November
2017

COMMENTARY || Excellence in research, undergrad education can coexist

Alberta satellite shows the kind of extraordinary things undergrads can achieve at a major research university.

About six years ago, a group of undergraduate students came to the University of Alberta looking for an aerospace program. Immediately, they discovered a problem—the U of A doesn't have
26
October
2017

COMMENTARY || Becoming Indigenous: The rise of Eastern Métis in Canada

Native studies researchers argue the curious proliferation of self-identified 'Métis' communities in Eastern Canada helps erase actual Indigenous communities.

Since the early 2000s, there has been a meteoric rise in the number of people self-identifying as Métis in Eastern Canada. New census data shows the highest increases in self-reported
25
October
2017

COMMENTARY || Government should expand student placements into social sector

If the government expanded the new $73-million Student Work-Integrated Learning program to all students it could help tackle Canada’s most intractable social problems.

Employment and Social Development Canada is spending $73 million over the next four years to create 10,000 paid work-placements for university, college and polytechnic students from across the