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Mar 21, 2002

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vol. 23, no. 6

Canada: will it become the 51st state?
Globe and Mail, March 16

The immediate crisis that grew from Sept. 11 attacks has passed, but the Bush administration is still at war with terrorism and preoccupied with border safety. More and more forward-thinking Canadians have begun to look at the border and wonder, if it causes so many problems and can so easily become an economic bottleneck, do we really need it? Some say the free flow of labour, for example, would benefit workers on both sides of the border. “More labour mobility enhances efficiency and income growth,” says Richard Harris, an economics professor who has studied the implications of a single labour market for the federal government. “The benefit to Canada is the benefit of specialization. You can't think in terms of one country anymore. It's simply not big enough.”

Population growth shifts country's fabric
Canadian Press, March 12

To gaze back a hundred years to Canada at the edge of the 20th century is to see a strange country in which the shape of today is dimly visible. As Statistics Canada begins to release the findings of the 2001 census, a glance back to 1900 reveals an alien nation. Socially, the Canada of 1901 would be unrecognizable, suggests Allen Seager, of the centre for Canadian studies at SFU. People probably had as many multiple marriages as they do today, but they were caused by death, not divorce. “There was a good chance of either John or Jane Canuck losing a spouse and finding another,” says Seager. Most Canadians of today would likely be shocked by the way parents of the time kept a stern eye on dating teens. “Parental supervision of courtship was almost ubiquitous among the middle class and the respectable layer, as it was called, of the working classes and certainly the respectable classes on the farm,” Seager says.

Target Bullying
CTV News, March 11

Bullying is an all too-common problem across the country. SFU criminologist Ray Corrado doesn't think it's such a good idea to lock up youths who bully others. “It just doesn't work,” says Corrado. “We've done research on over 700 seriously violent young offenders in our prison systems. These young people don't understand punishment the way adults do. They are impulsive, they are frightened, they are ignorant of certain values in how to behave.” Corrado says a lot of young bullies lack verbal abilities, and instead of talking and thinking their way out of situations, they respond with violence. “So, it's one thing to say, ‘does punishment give you a sense of justice?' I think it does. Does it solve the problem? Absolutely not.”

City unlikely to gain from redistribution
Vancouver Sun, March 9

British Columbians living in densely populated urban areas will have another reason to feel stressed as Elections Canada kicks off another costly and time-consuming process to redistribute House of Commons seats. As a result, areas such as Vancouver, Port Moody and Surrey will remain under-represented in Parliament. Surrey Central is typical of the ridings swarming with new residents, according to Russell Williams, a graduate student who is studying Canada's redistribution laws at SFU. He says newcomers are predominantly ethnic minorities who go to urban areas where there are family contacts, access to jobs, and some cultural familiarity. “So while farmers in Saskatchewan are protected and in effect over-represented, visible-minority Canadians living in and around major cities are electorally disadvantaged.”

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