Our fear of single-use plastics is simply irrational

Any sane person understands that plastic-phobia is irrational and a non-problem

Our fear of single-use plastics is simply irrationalCanadian governments, like many around the world, are once again in the grip of toxic plastic-phobia: an irrational and potentially harmful fear of plastics. Proposals to ban “single-use” plastics (under varying definitions) are all the rage across Canada, where the plastic-phobes, like locusts, have re-emerged from the obscurity imposed on them by the imminent spectre…

Climate simulation models are not reality, nor are they science

Climate simulation models are no more real than your favourite video game

Climate simulation models are not reality, nor are they scienceIn a recent article about climate change, Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein gave us a master class on how to sell the results of a computer model as if it represents reality. In his world, a group of scientists can take a short-term heat wave, crank it through an “ensemble” of theoretical mathematical climate…

Time to make Britain answer for its colonial wrongdoings

Time to make Britain answer for its colonial wrongdoingsI’ve been teaching about Canada’s 2008 apology for residential schools for some time. In discussing the topic, I point out that this isn’t only a Canadian issue. Australia has apologized to its Indigenous peoples, and New Zealand continues to make progress in its reconciliation process. Quite often, I hear these questions from my students: “What…

Why traditional schooling fosters better results

Most students learn best in a structured and orderly school environment that’s directed by a good teacher

Why traditional schooling fosters better resultsPicture a school in an underprivileged part of north London, England.  One-third of nearby families live in poverty, a significant percentage are visible minorities, and the neighbourhood crime rate is twice the national average. What kind of academic results would you expect from this school? If you expected this school to score below average, think…

University of Calgary accused of being racist haven

Be skeptical when claims indiscriminately vilify an entire community of scholars and workers

University of Calgary accused of being racist havenThe University of Calgary has admitted to being a systemically racist institution against Blacks, Indigenous people and other people of colour. The revelation by its executive team has hardly received any attention. The shocking admission was made on June 24, which coincidentally is when John Cabot landed in Newfoundland in 1497. Only three weeks earlier,…

Mainstream media glosses over Indigenous issues

Media need time and resources to understand the issues and seek a range of views within the Indigenous world

Mainstream media glosses over Indigenous issuesYears ago, I was given a great opportunity to be the lead reporter and edit for a national Indigenous newspaper based in Winnipeg, the Drum/First Perspective. The paper no longer exists but the job changed my life in so many ways. I learned much and encountered many Indigenous people across Canada. I profiled many leading…

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues alone

Criticizing Macdonald is fair game but leave statues aloneSince the brutal killing of George Floyd in May, left-wing radicals have been vandalizing and destroying historical buildings, landmarks and statues around the world. U.S. presidents (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Ulysses S. Grant), and Confederate soldiers and leaders (Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Charles Linn and J.E.B. Stuart) were targeted. Statues of…

Canada is not a racist country, nor are its institutions

People want to live here because Canada is a welcoming country where all races and creeds live together without persecution

Canada is not a racist country, nor are its institutionsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau recently publicly contradicted RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki for saying there’s no systemic racism within the RCMP. Actually, Lucki said she didn’t know what “systemic racism” is. In her words, “I have to admit, I really struggle with the term ‘systemic racism.’ I have heard about five or 10 definitions on TV.…

The overblown panic of COVID-19

We trampled, in fear, over memory and institutions, obsessively protective and morally dismissive of dignity and human life

The overblown panic of COVID-19The schizophrenic aspects of Canadian culture and their influence on governments’ behaviour are increasingly evident. The most palpable example lies in how we trampled, in fear, over memory and institutions, obsessively protective and morally dismissive of dignity and human life simultaneously. The COVID-19 lockdown has been a strange time for people who are struggling to…

COVID-19 and scientific fallibility

The pandemic has underlined that we should neither disregard nor worship uncritically at the altar of science

COVID-19 and scientific fallibilityIn addition to upending 21st century normalcy, the COVID-19 pandemic has shone the light on science itself. Just how reliable is it? It’s an interesting question. First, though, let me be open about my default settings. I’m generally very big on medical science, believing that without it I mightn’t be alive today. Ireland, where I…
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