Inherent Indigenous rights are not a gift from government

Supreme Court: “persons who are not Canadian citizens and who do not reside in Canada can exercise an Aboriginal right”

Inherent Indigenous rights are not a gift from governmentThe Supreme Court of Canada has begun to repair the hundreds of years of friction between Indigenous people and European settlers. The court recently ruled that “persons who are not Canadian citizens and who do not reside in Canada can exercise an Aboriginal right.” Many people are thinking long and hard about the implications. Imagine…

Don’t turn news conferences into Hollywood productions

The camera doesn’t doesn’t lie. The stuffed characters behind the head of government in COVID news conferences are always on

Don’t turn news conferences into Hollywood productionsWho are those people standing behind the newsmaker at press conferences? I see them in the hallways of legislatures when the party leader is making an announcement. I see them in a studio behind the head of government during a COVID-19 news conference. “Oh,” you say, “they’re showing that governing is a team effort and…

Why can’t politicians manage press conferences?

Isn’t it time politicians learned to simulate a real-life encounter with people who have questions?

Why can’t politicians manage press conferences?Head of government: “… and so stay safe.” (Long pause.) Robotic voice: “Our next caller is Scoop Notepad from the Daily Planet.” Scoop: “Hi.” Head of government: “Hi Scoop.” (Pause. Sometimes the greetings are reversed.) Scoop asks a question, head of government responds and then we hear the oddball, robotic voice again. Who is that?…

We need clarity to conquer COVID-19

The mere act of informing the public and mandating certain actions seems to still bedevil politicians and public-policy practitioners

We need clarity to conquer COVID-19By Derek Ng, Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Contributors “Pandemics are a magnifying glass that sheds light on social conditions,” says May-Brith Ohman Nielsen, professor of history at the University of Agder in Norway. Pandemics lay bare the failures of a country’s organization and capacity that went unnoticed during uneventful times. Conflicting policies, staff vacancies,…

Communication mistakes undermine the credibility of scientists

Communication mistakes undermine the credibility of scientists at a time when trust is necessary to effectively combat the pandemic

Communication mistakes undermine the credibility of scientistsBy Derek Ng, Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Contributors Crises make for strange bedfellows. It took the COVID-19 pandemic to forge a bond between journalists and epidemiologists. These two occupations have little in common. Journalist detest jargon and are admonished by editors for wordy prose. Epidemiologists publish in medical and scientific journals using the jargon…

Memo to Joe Biden on how to win U.S. election

You have to run as if you’re fighting for your life. You need a resounding victory to garner public support and confidence

Memo to Joe Biden on how to win U.S. electionM E M O R A N D U M To: U.S. President Joe Biden (if you take my advice) From: Allan Bonner Re: Your strategy Your recent media interviews and commentary about you is the catalyst for this memo. What follows are principles and advice you must recognize and adhere to in order to…

The economic case for tearing down dams

Spending lots of money on hydroelectric projects in the hopes we’ll need the power in the future is a mug’s game, even for big projects

The economic case for tearing down damsLocal journalists are always looking for ways to blow a hometown story into something that might interest the networks, big city dailies or syndication services. For me, it was trying to feed stories to the Canadian Press wire service in Halifax while working in local radio and TV in Fredericton and Saint John. They paid…

Get science out of the lab and onto the street to save lives

We know good safety practices from our grandmother – but are we courageous and persistent enough to follow them?

Get science out of the lab and onto the street to save livesBy Derek Ng, Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Contributors It seems as if everyone is an epidemiologist these days. So it’s worth considering epidemiology’s history and the role it should be playing in public policy, preventing disease and promoting health. When U.S. President Donald Trump and reporters get into arguments about infections, testing and death…

History’s industrial strategy haunts us today

First came 50 years of progress. Then came 50 years of dead fish, stagnant water, methylmercury poisoning, silt buildup and dams collapsing

History’s industrial strategy haunts us todayWhat goes around comes around, they say. The oblique turn of a phrase may apply to the news that a 100-year-old dam will be demolished in Fredericton, N.B. Things fall down and are torn down all the time, so why would this story be of interest? I was a reporter in New Brunswick when the…

Fake news? Every era had its perpetrators

Early newspapers were often more interested in expressing the opinions of the owners than the facts

Fake news? Every era had its perpetratorsFake news is a popular term these days. It’s hard to imagine why. Much more inflammatory and even manufactured ‘news’ has been with us all through history. Pamphleteers of the French and American revolutions may be the most famous. Among the best was Thomas Paine. But the average person with an axe to grind and…