Is there too much focus on petty scandals in the election?

CBC News Sun Sept 27 2015

This election’s slew of social media scandals has had little effect on candidates’ fortunes, but that’s partly because the candidates affected don’t have much chance of winning anyway, UBC political scientist David Moscrop told CBC’s Cross-Country Checkup.

Moscrop added that the media, the parties and political institutions have a responsibility to elevate political discussion.

Segment starts at 1:05:00 mark.

UBC Symphony Orchestra starts off with a bang

The Vancouver Sun Wed Sept 30 2015 By: David Gordon Duke

On Oct. 8, a series of music-related events begins at UBC, which is celebrating 100 years of research and teaching. The UBC Symphony Orchestra, directed by conductor Jonathan Girard, will give a performance at the Chan Centre.

The event includes the world premiere of Soundscape for a Century Past by UBC alum Jared Miller.

The Chinese Communist Party and legitimacy

The Diplomat Wed Sept 30 2015 By: Lotus Yang Ruan

Lotus Yang Ruan, an MA candidate in Asia Pacific Policy Studies at UBC, assesses the public mention of the Chinese Communist Party’s legitimacy issue by a party official in early September.

“While it may be a first for a CCP’s high-ranking official to publicly discuss the legitimacy issue, there is no reason to become excited about any hidden meanings behind Wang’s move,” Ruan wrote in an op-ed.

How the party leaders could cool the housing market

Canadian Business Wed Sept 30 2015 By: Michael McCullough

The solution to affordability crisis in Canada’s largest housing markets is “political poison” and would meet strong resistance from Canadian homeowners, according to a new article in Canadian Business.

The article mentions UBC geographer David Ley, whose research showed that purchases by wealthy immigrants and foreign real estate investors affected prices across the housing spectrum; and Thomas Davidoff, an economist at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, who recommends shifting the tax burden from personal income to real estate to fix the power gap between homeowners and non-homeowners.

Xi’s UN speech full of vision, says Canadian expert

The Vancouver Sun Wed Sept 30 2015 By: Jiang Yaping, Kuang Cong

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the UN General Assembly had a lot of new ideas and vision for international relations, says Yves Tiberghien, director of the Institute of Asian Research at UBC. He praised Xi’s intergovernmental focus and understanding of shared global challenges.

“Xi is taking a very long-term vision, reminding countries that we can’t just focus on short term and self interest, that the interests of each nation depend on the interests of the whole,” Tiberghien said.

The politics of fear

The Vancouver Sun Tue Sept 29 2015 By: Pete McMartin

The Conservatives have been accused of fear-mongering in the election campaign–a practice that UBC political scientist Chris Erickson says is “as old as history.”

“I think the public response to this — which, from what I’ve been reading, is one of outrage — is an appropriate response,” Erickson said. “People are not stupid. And for whatever reason, (voters) are being treated as if they were at the level of children. If we are aware of it, it can have a lot less effect on us.”

Academics denounce retroactive long gun legislation

Washington Post Wed Sept 30 2015 By: Aritz Parra

A number of academics, including a few from UBC, signed an open letter to Stephen Harper to express concern about the retroactive amendments to the Elimination of the Long Gun Registry Act (ELRA). The letter went, in part: “A government should not decriminalize its own actions if they were illegal at the time they were committed. This requirement precludes laws that are retroactive as they would re-write history. The insertion of clauses to effect retroactive changes to the ELRA is a dangerous precedent which will have far-reaching and disturbing consequences.”

China micromanages Tibet, floods it with money to woo locals

Washington Post Wed Sept 30 2015 By: Aritz Parra

UBC Tibet researcher Tsering Shakya is quoted in a Washington Post article on China’s new strategy in Tibet.

“The strategy for Tibet is now shifting from the overall kind of repression that we have seen in the past to actually moving toward luring sections of the community and trying to work with those who cooperate with the authorities,” Shakya said, while admitting that China’s intervention is helping reduce some of the disparity between the development in Tibet and in China.

Similar articles appeared on Fox News, ABC News, Yahoo, Huffington Post,, US News & World Report and other publications.

Use of social media in China a complex issue

Vancouver Sun Tue Sept 29 2015 By: Chuck Chiang

Three UBC academics took part in a public discussion in Vancouver about social media use in China.

Lotus Ruan, a graduate student at UBC, said that while there is censorship of social media in China, Chinese Internet users have developed ways to get around it.

Chinese people have a history of using social media in innovative ways, partly to contest authority but also to work with it, according to UBC Institute of Asian Research professor Paul Evans.

Niqab debate underscores dearth of female candidates

Ottawa Citizen Mon Sept 28 2015 By: Nancy Peckford, Grace Lore

Nancy Peckford, national spokesperson for Equal Voice, and Grace Lore, a UBC political scientist and Equal Voice researcher wrote about Muslim women’s lack of a formal political voice in Canada.

“The furor and anxiety [the ban on niqab, a scarf worn by some Muslim women] has created appear to be partly fueled by the fact that very few Muslim woman in Canada have a formal political voice,” they wrote. “While there is no doubt that the debate about the niqab is nowhere near settled within the Muslim community, the conversation would be significantly enriched by the voices of more Muslim women who are part of a very heterogeneous and evolving faith.”

Universal childcare could have a negative effect on their children

National Post Mon Sept 28 2015 By: Molly Bangs

National Post columnist Stephen Gordon says the universal childcare model needs to be reexamined, citing the results of a recent study by UBC economist Kevin Milligan with colleagues from the University of Toronto and MIT.

Future of Cantonese in Canada

Fairchild TV Mon Sept 21 2015

UBC faculty members Ross King, head of the Asian studies department, linguistics researcher Zoe Lam, and Cantonese lecturer Raymond Pai discussed the future of the Cantonese language on Fairchild TV.

Even if Cantonese is still being spoken by large numbers of adult speakers, a language shift will happen in 50 years if the children don’t pick up the language, Lam said.

View part 1 and part 2.

Watts campaign flyer in Surrey

News 1130 Wed Sept 23 2015 By: Simon Druker

UBC political scientist Stewart Prest commented on a Conservative flyer showing up in Surrey that featured an ISIS-related theme.

Prest said the party seems to have ramped up its message.

“It is increasing the rhetoric, not just saying that Canadians in general are threatened or there is the potential for a lone-wolf type attack,” Prest said. “But to suggest that essentially, once you get to the bedroom, if you’re not safe there, the implication is you’re not safe anywhere.”

Thousands of Metro Vancouver mansion owners avoiding taxes

The Vancouver Sun Sat Sept 26 2015 By: Douglas Todd

Statistics Canada data show that the expensive Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods where more than 30 per cent of adults are claiming poverty have high proportions of immigrants, according to a study by UBC geographer Dan Hiebert.

The article added that this reported-earnings anomaly is linked to the scenario of wealthy immigrant households that do not declare global income and whose school-age children live in Vancouver while the husbands work offshore.

Similar articles appeared in Calgary Herald and The Province.

Liberals reveal cost of election platform

660 News Sat Sept 26 2015

The Liberals’ plan to add $146.5 billion in new spending and still balance the budget isn’t far-fetched, UBC economics professor Kevin Milligan said.

“There is going to be more expenditures on things like infrastructure in the first two years and then they kind of ramp them down in years three and four of the plan,” said Milligan. “On the revenue side they have some plans to raise some additional revenue in years three and four of the plan which will again help pull us towards a balanced budget.”

A similar article appeared on News 1130.