Conservative support weak in densely populated ridings

The Globe and Mail Tue Oct 13 2015 By: Frances Bula

Analysis by a Vancouver architecture firm shows that Conservatives didn’t win in the most populous ridings in 2011 — ridings with population densities greater than 50 people a hectare–and this is something that has implications for political representation of people in those areas.

The Tories were rooted in the cities until John Diefenbaker became party leader and made it the party of resource production, one that was anti-metropolitan, says UBC political science professor Richard Johnston.

Babies use their tongues to understand speech

The Atlantic Wed Oct 14 2015 By: Cari Romm

A new study by UBC audiology and psychology researchers found that when babies can’t move their mouths to mimic sounds–something that happens when they’re sucking their thumb or using a teething toy–they find it harder to process them.

The finding suggests a direct link between babies’ oral motor skills and their ability to understand speech.

Election: Calls increase for return of the long-form census

Richmond News Fri Oct 9 2015 By: Graeme Wood

The scrapping of the mandatory long-form census in 2010 was a mistake, according to many organizations and economists. UBC urban geographer David Ley says accurate data is very important, particularly for a city like Richmond, which is experiencing significant demographic changes including aging and immigration. Ley said the voluntary survey drew a response rate of only 68 per cent.

Conservative strategy built to survive, UBC expert says

CKNW Mon Oct 12 2015 By: Simon Little

Early voting has been rising in recent years but overall turnout hasn’t, says UBC politics expert Richard Johnston.

This being the case, the Conservatives could well be positioned for a victory because they have traditionally been good at getting their supporters to vote.

Early student participation could hint at strong turnout

News 1130 Fri Oct 9 2015 By: Martin MacMahon

The impact of increased student voter turnout at advanced polling stations is discussed by News 1130.

“It’s hard to conclude from a few advanced polling days whether or not we’re going to get a better turnout,” said UBC political scientist David Moscrop. “But we can say look — there’s been all this energy poured into this election, which is a close one, and people are trying to get people out in a way that I’ve never seen. That should have some sort of impact.”

Polarized election makes it hard to predict outcome

North Shore News Sun Oct 11 2015 By: Kristin Woodhouse

Record numbers of people are taking advantage of early voting, making it clear they want to see a new government in place, says UBC political scientist Max Cameron.

“The people who are firmer in their opinions who are turning out to the opinion polls early, they have made up their minds,” Cameron said. “What will happen October 19th [will be] more [about] what happens with respect to the undecided vote.”

UBC Museum of Anthropology takes on an Asian focus

The Vancouver Sun Fri Oct 9 2015 By: Chuck Chiang

UBC’s Museum of Anthropology has a new Asian focus, with two Asian-themed exhibits in its lineup and two Asia-focused curators appointed last year. The museum hopes to open an Asian wing in the future.

Election 2015: resource ridings seek economic answers

CBC News Thu Oct 8 2015 By: Betsy Trumpener

UBC political science professor Gerald Baier says some Conservative resource ridings could be vulnerable to the Liberal message, but it depends on the type of resource.

Ridings with mining are likely to have strong unions as well, and this will probably benefit the NDP. In ridings with weaker unions, the Conservatives could see gains.

“Oil and gas [ridings] would be an example of this,” Baier said. “I think there’s more of a willingness to say, ‘Well, we just gotta keep pumping the stuff or dig, dig, dig in order to keep the jobs going. They want to see policies that prioritize resource extraction instead of climate change.”

18 months of parental leave: Would it work?

CBC News Fri Oct 9 2015

Analysts believe only a few will benefit from the Conservatives’ promised 18 months of parental leave. Marina Adshade, a professor in UBC’s School of Economics, says such a program doesn’t cost the government anything but it doesn’t deliver much either. Women, who make less, are unlikely to use the added leave because their benefits are low to begin with. She also doesn’t think the plan will help higher-income parents much since benefits are capped at $350 a week.

Challenges looming for those looking to vote strategically

AM 730 Sun Oct 11 2015 By: Simon Little

The Liberal surge in Ontario is making decisions more difficult for B.C. voters looking to vote strategically, according to UBC political science professor Richard Johnston. This is because the NDP “has historically been stronger here than in Ontario, and historically stronger than the Liberals.”

Party leaders are avoiding some inconvenient truths

The Globe and Mail Fri Oct 9 2015 By: Kathryn Harrison

Conservative, Liberal, and NDP politicians are avoiding talking about necessary changes and hard choices around climate change in the current election campaign, UBC political science professor Kathryn Harrison said.

The parties should discuss oilsands expansion and the lifestyle changes Canadians have to make to address climate change, Harrison said.

This op-ed also appeared in the Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and Regina Leader Post.

Minority government could be good for our democracy

The Globe and Mail Mon Oct 12 2015 By: Maxwell Cameron

A minority Parliament could be good for democracy in Canada, argues UBC political science professor Maxwell Cameron in a Globe and Mail op-ed.

“A minority government might better represent the majority of Canadians,” Cameron said. “It could accomplish substantial progress in the areas where the programs of the parties align: economic measures to strengthen the middle class, a more multilateral and less belligerent foreign policy, action on climate change, and electoral reform, to name a few.”

Giving dummies to babies can slow their ability to talk

Telegraph UK Mon Oct 12 2015

Thumb sucking and using pacifiers can delay babies’ speech development, a new UBC study suggests.

Researchers Alison Bruderer and Janet Werker say their finding calls into question previous assumptions that hearing is the main factor in speech development.

“This study indicates the freedom to make small gestures with their tongue and other articulators when they listen to speech may be an important factor in babies’ perception of the sounds,” Werker said.

Trans-Pacific Partnership deal makes Canada a trade leader

MSN Tue Oct 13 2015 By: Chuck Chiang

UBC Institute of Asian Research professor Paul Evans says that without China, the Trans-Pacific Partnership could economically divide the Asia-Pacific region.

“What I’m really afraid of is a dividing line in Asia, where trade arrangements become the foundation of strategic confrontations, so that the region is divided into a China sphere and a TPP-like Western sphere,” Evans said.

Similar articles appeared in Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen.

Opinion: Comparing climate policies

The Vancouver Sun Wed Oct 7 2015 By: Kathryn Harrison

UBC political science professor Kathryn Harrison compares the four national parties’ election platforms and says the Greens offer the clearest program to fight climate change with the NDP running a close second.

“[T]he Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP each have left the door open to one or more pipelines, though the NDP assessments would include climate impacts,” Harrison wrote in a Vancouver Sun op-ed.