Strategic voting has long-term costs for progressives

National Post Fri Oct 16 2015 By: Daniel Westlake

Strategic voting has long-term consequences, argues Daniel Westlake, a PhD candidate in political science at UBC, in a new National Post op-ed.

“New Democrats voting Liberal to keep the Conservatives out of power (or Liberals voting NDP to do the same), hurt their party’s ability to compete for government in the long term,” wrote Westlake.

Babies move tongues to learn new tongues

Scientific American Thu Oct 15 2015 By: Christopher Intagliata

Babies use their tongues to distinguish speech sounds, according to a new UBC study.

Researchers tested whether babies could distinguish alternating D sounds in Hindi. The babies could tell the sounds apart when they could move their tongues, which a teether prevents.

“At this point I don’t think that these data suggest parents should be taking away teethers or soothers. The majority of infants are chewing on something semi-regularly most of the day. And most of these infants do go on to develop speech normally,” said lead author Alison Bruderer, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences at UBC.

A similar story appeared CBC BC.

Will Trudeau’s attempt to woo soft Conservatives work?

News 1130 Tue Oct 13 2015 By: Martin MacMahon

Justin Trudeau’s campaign to win over the soft Conservatives in the last few days of the election campaign could work, according to UBC political scientist David Moscrop.

“It seems like the logical end of a long-term shift in momentum in [the Liberals’] favour,” Moscrop said. “The question is do they have enough time to really capitalize on it.”

Latest polls show swing in support toward the Liberals

News 1130 Mon Oct 12 2015 By: Mike Lloyd

Support is swinging to the Liberals, including in metro Vancouver, in the final days of the campaign.

“We’ve seen the fortunes of the NDP slide a little bit, maybe having something to do with what’s going on around the country with the niqab debate, but also I think the NDP simply peaked early,” UBC political science professor Max Cameron said.

Conservatives absent from B.C. ‘all-candidates’ debates

The Vancouver Sun Wed Oct 14 2015 By: Matthew Robinson, Peter O'Neil

Political opponents are accusing Tory B.C. candidates of avoiding all-candidates’ meetings and local media.

UBC political scientist Gerald Baier said the Conservatives have a point in trying to save time by passing up certain events, but they owe it to their constituents to participate in the discussion.

Controversial Chinatown proposal rejigged

The Vancouver Sun Wed Oct 14 2015 By: John Mackie

A proposed 12-storey, 137-unit condo at Columbia and Keefer in Chinatown is meeting criticism. Says UBC history professor Henry Yu: “I have nothing against the Beedie Group wanting to build a building that is condos, it’s just not here. This is an anchor site, it’s crucial for Chinatown as a heritage conservation area.”

Conservative attack ad raising eyebrows in Vancouver

CTV News Wed Oct 14 2015

UBC political scientist Max Cameron commented on a controversial Conservative attack ad in Vancouver that claims Liberal leader Justin Trudeau will allow brothels in communities and make marijuana easily accessible to children. The ad was placed in the Chinese-language daily paper Ming Pao.

Cameron said the Conservatives would probably not place such an ad in an English-speaking newspaper, since it would provoke a backlash.

In the event of a minority government, don’t panic

National Observer Wed Oct 14 2015 By: Charles Mandel

UBC political science professor Maxwell Cameron’s new paper proposes that a minority government could be stable and productive, and would be better for Canada than a “false majority.” The latter is the result of a party winning the majority of seats in the House of Commons, but garnering less than 50 per cent of the popular vote.

“In majority governments, leaders and parties have strong incentives to act in the interest of their support base, ignoring Canadians who did not vote for them,” Cameron said.

Overlooked campaign issues include assisted suicide, inequality

Yahoo Wed Oct 14 2015 By: Dene Moore

The election is coming up in a few days but subjects such as the environment, poverty and inequality have not received enough attention during the campaign, says UBC political science professor Maxwell Cameron.

“We’re seeing such a high level of inequality and the persistence of poverty and I’m not sure that any of the parties have really articulated a strategy for addressing it,” Cameron said.

Up-for-grabs B.C. has attention of all parties with election closing in

The Province Tue Oct 13 2015 By: Dan Fumano, Sam Cooper

B.C. has turned into a critical battleground in the election campaign with the three major parties enjoying very thin margins. UBC political science professor Richard Johnston says about half the province’s ridings will still be up for grabs right down to the end.

A similar article appeared on MSN.

Immigration fades as election issue weeks after Alan Kurdi tragedy

CBC Wed Oct 14 2015

Immigration is fading as a key election issue weeks after a young Syrian boy drowned trying to reach safety. Experts aren’t surprised.

Historically, immigration policy questions rarely determine the outcome of an election, according to UBC political science professor Richard Price.

“It just doesn’t tend to get nearly the amount of traction ultimately for a voter that typical domestic issues like the economy do,” Price said.

A similar article appeared on Yahoo.

Strategic voting campaigns building momentum

Yahoo Tue Oct 13 2015 By: Sherry Noik

The “anyone but Harper” cry is being heard this time around, some observers say. Unlike those of previous elections, this year’s strategic voting campaign is gaining momentum.

UBC political scientist Richard Johnston says the campaign has a chance of succeeding.

“I think the conditions are, on the one hand, favourable in the sense that there are a number of ridings where a small shift in voting can make a difference in seats,” said Johnston.

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.