I was wrong. Canada needs mandatory voting

University Affairs Tue Oct 6 2015 By: David Moscrop

UBC political scientist David Moscrop argues for mandatory voting in a National Post op-ed.

Mandatory voting would ensure that Canadians’ preferences are better reflected in Parliament and in laws and policies, Moscrop said. It would free up resources that are currently spent on getting people to vote. Requiring Canadians to vote would also force the parties to reach out to groups that are less advantaged or currently underrepresented.

A trade deal is no excuse to milk taxpayers

University Affairs Wed Oct 7 2015 By: Yuen Pau Woo

Yuen Pau Woo, a senior fellow at SFU and UBC, believes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement is a missed opportunity to reform Canada’s dairy supply management.

“[I]nstead we have entrenched the system, which already costs the economy about $28-billion a year, according to the Conference Board of Canada,” Woo wrote. “So shed no tears for dairy and poultry farmers in Canada. So far, their industry has emerged as a winner in the TPP outcome, with consumers once again on the other side of the ledger.”

The hot mess of student activism

University Affairs Wed Oct 7 2015 By: Diane Peters

An article on student activism mentions how student groups in the 1970s helped change attitudes toward sexuality, but that nowadays there seems to be nothing left to fight for.

UBC sociology lecturer Rachael Sullivan says the work on the LGBT front has grown more complex and students are now asking for things like all-gender washrooms. “It’s no longer an activist issue, it’s about shifting the culture,” Sullivan said.

Experts refute Harper’s claim pot is more dangerous than tobacco

The Globe and Mail Tue Oct 6 2015 By: Mike Hager

UBC political science professor Richard Johnston believes Stephen Harper’s comparison between tobacco and marijuana was probably designed to appeal to the moral conservatives in his party base, while implying that Justin Trudeau lacks social responsibility.

There is no evidence that moderate, long-term use of marijuana results in significant health costs, says M.J. Milloy, who is studying the therapeutic effects of marijuana at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Listening to the elders

CBC Doc Project Tue Oct 6 2015

CBC reporter Duncan McCue sent his students out into a First Nations community to learn about its elders first-hand as part of a journalism course he teaches at UBC.

Listen to the podcast.

Are election polls trustworthy?

CKNW Mon Oct 5 2015

Serious errors in the polling industry are increasing, a new UBC study found. The last provincial election was just one example.

A similar article appeared in AM 730.

Polls less reliable in age of cellphones and telemarketing

National Post Mon Oct 5 2015 By: Tristin Hopper

The modern era has brought the accuracy of election polls into question, but experts say it’s still possible to discern broad trends by looking at the mass of data.

“The aggregate trends over time tell you that the NDP is in sustained decline, and the Liberals are in a sustained rise and so are the Conservatives,” says UBC political scientist David Moscrop.

Similar articles appeared in the Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Regina Leader Post, Vancouver Sun and The Province.

West Vancouver candidate catches sign vandal in act

North Shore News Fri Oct 2 2015 By: Jane Seyd

UBC political science professor Richard Johnston commented on reports of sign vandalism in West Vancouver, saying that election signs give the impression that the candidate is credible because they cost money to put up and maintain.

“I’ve always got the sense the point of signs is simply to implant the name in voters’ minds,” said Johnston.

How true is it? 1.3 million new jobs by 2020

CKNW Fri Oct 2 2015 By: Charmaine de Silva

The Conservatives have made big promises for job creation during the campaign. CKNW quotes UBC economist Paul Beaudry as saying that infrastructure is important for job creation if unemployment is high.

“When there’s a lot of slack, on top of kind of providing an environment for the future, it might actually keep employment going on the short run, while people are having trouble finding jobs,” Beaudry said.

Vietnam’s boat people: How four families found refuge in B.C.

The Province Sun Oct 4 2015 By: Paul Luke, Dan Fumano

Canada’s resettlement of 69,000 boat people after the fall of Saigon 40 years ago is remembered in an article in The Province.

Welcoming the Vietnamese refugees from 1975 to 1981 was a turning point in Canada’s treatment of refugees, according to UBC history professor Henry Yu, adding that the refugees had language and entrepreneurial skills that helped them succeed in their new country.

Suddenly, marijuana is off the radar

Vancouver Sun Thu Oct 1 2015 By: Bethany Lindsay

UBC political scientist David Moscrop suggests that parties looking for a marijuana policy that appeals to Canadians could focus on fairness.

“By saying this is costing us money in drug enforcement and policing — that people are getting criminal records over this and that’s a waste — that might play well with people, because fairness resonates with Canadians,” Moscrop said.

A similar article appeared in The Province.

Election race gets interesting

Vancouver Sun Fri Oct 2 2015 By: Peter O'Neil

UBC political scientist Richard Johnston questions to what extent the NDP’s fall into third place in the campaign is being driven by Quebec alone, where Tom Mulcair’s stated policy on the niqab is unpopular, and says the party was losing ground even before this issue.

The NDP’s slip could also influence strategic voting in B.C. and give the Liberals a boost in the polls, Johnston says.

Social media scandals point to a bland political future

CBC News Thu Oct 1 2015 By: Jason Proctor

Commenting on political candidates’ social media gaffes, UBC political scientist Max Cameron is concerned that “social media puritanism” may put off otherwise competent people.

“We do need to be, as a public, forgiving of our politicians,” Cameron said.

Who’s winning the foreign policy battle?

Toronto Sun Sat Oct 3 2015 By: Don Peat

UBC political science professor Allen Sens is included in an article on how the parties are talking about foreign policy in the election campaign.

Sens said if the Liberals or NDP were to pull out Canadian forces from the multinational operation against ISIS, the actual impact would be small but “it would cause some concern internationally.”

He added that there’s been little discussion so far about the merits and drawbacks of continuing airstrikes against ISIS.

Do Canadians have opinions?

Macleans Thu Oct 1 2015 By: David Moscrop

UBC political scientist David Moscrop urges voters to be more aware of how their opinions are formed, to be better prepared when it’s time to cast their ballots.

“The more aware we are of what’s going on with our biases and our use of heuristics, the better placed we are to understand our own thought processes and the preferences and opinions they produce,” Moscrop wrote. “We’ll also be better prepared to make good decisions.”