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March 24, 2005

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Impact of demographic change
Vancouver Sun, Mar. 23

By the time Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017, B.C. will have the largest proportion of visible minorities of any province in the country, according to a new Statistics Canada study. By then, one in three people living in B.C. will be a member of a visible minority. Not everyone agreed with all of the projections laid out by Statistics Canada, however. Don DeVoretz, director of the centre for research on immigration in the metropolis at SFU, said he was skeptical of the projections and that it will likely be increasingly difficult to define members of visible minorities as immigration to Canada rises and different races in Canada intermarry. “A lot of this stuff is in the labelling,” he said. “I see a blending in Canadian society. What's a visible minority from a mixed marriage? A lot of this depends on the definitions used.”


Prostitution laws under review
Fast Forward Weekly, Mar. 17

A House of Commons subcommittee is holding public hearings across the country to look at whether Canada's prostituion laws are leading to prostitutes getting murdered and assaulted. John Lowman, a professor at SFU who is an expert on prostitution, says there has been a “vast increase” in violence against prostitutes since the law was enacted in 1985. He adds that the reason there's been no movement on changing legislation is the deep divide between Canadians on the issue. Lowman advocates decriminalization and says the government should determine where prostitution can occur. He also says the underlying causes of prostitution have to be addressed, such as drug addiction, poverty and “200 years of colonization against aboriginal women.”


Couples get better as they get older
Hamilton Spectator, Mar. 9

A new Statistics Canada survey has found that most couples aged 50 to 74 are happy in their marriages- but not if their children still live at home. Barbara Mitchell, a sociology professor at SFU and the country's leading expert on the so-called boomerang children phenomenon, concurs: “If one parent says ‘Don't worry, Johnny is really going to get that job,' and the other parent isn't so optimistic, you can see how that can cause problems in the marriage.” These tensions are most pronounced when children return home multiple times or show no signs of moving toward independence, Mitchell said. In Canada, the number of 20- to 24-year-olds living with their parents rose to 58 per cent in 2001 from 42 per cent in 1981. The transition into adulthood has been delayed, Mitchell said, pointing to a mix of economic and social factors.


Violence cited in pot crusade
Calgary Herald, Mar. 5

The recent deaths of four RCMP officers at a marijuana grow operation north of Edmonton has sparked a national debate about Canada's pot laws. Alberta Premier Ralph Klein says Ottawa should scrap any move to decriminalize pot possession. Pot activists argue that legalizing the drug could have prevented the deaths. Ottawa is proposing marijuana legislation that seeks to increase jail sentences for growers. Criminologists said the RCMP deaths have triggered a strong emotional reaction. “It would be really inappropriate to create policy on this basis,” says Neil Boyd, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University. Deputy prime minister Anne McLellan pledged not to rush to “quick judgment” on any legislative changes.











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