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October 20, 2005

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Killer quake largest in area
Canada AM, Oct. 10

SFU earth scientist John Clague explained the forces behind the “cataclysmic” earthquake that devastated northern Pakistan and noted a similar quake could strike Canada's west coast. “There was an earthquake that was larger than this, on the Queen Charlotte Islands about 50 years ago. We have had a series of smaller earthquakes, damaging earthquakes, in the range of magnitude 7. There's no reason to think that we couldn't experience an earthquake in our populated areas on the south coast, of magnitude 6 or 7. We do get even larger earthquakes offshore, but they are some distance from our major population centres.”

Immigrants heavy burden on taxpayers
Toronto Star, Oct. 5

Immigration minister Joe Volpe is dismissing a report that says new immigrants are a burden on taxpayers and lower the standard of living in Canadian society. With Canada poised to dramatically increase immigration rates, sudden increases in newcomers will hurt their chances of succeeding in their new country, says the report written by Herbert Grubel, an emeritus professor of economics at SFU and a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute. The institute argues that only foreigners who had job offers in “specified occupations” should be allowed to enter the country for extended periods and then only on temporary work visas. The paper argues that the current selection system is badly flawed because a large number of immigrants bypass the criteria meant to allow only financially successful newcomers into Canada.

Jailing drops, youth celebrate
Vancouver Province, Oct. 5

Since the Youth Criminal Justice act was introduced two years ago the number of youth in secure custody has fallen dramatically, with most young people now getting probation. Critics claim the new act lets youth off too easy and has led to a lack of respect for authority. A May 2005 federal ministry of justice report looking at sentencing outcomes after the introduction of the act found “significant reductions in the percentage of cases receiving custody in most major offence categories.” Ray Corrado, a youth justice expert at SFU, says that since the Youth Criminal Justice Act was introduced the number of youth at Burnaby's Willingdon youth detention centre alone has dropped from 180 to 40.” There has been a precipitous decline in incarceration,” Corrado says. “Judges and the Crown are following the act and police are aware of their responsibilities within the act.”

Tour to recruit Scots
National Post, Oct. 4

Scotland's top politician will use a tour of Canada this month to target millions of Canadians of Scottish ancestry with an invitation to return home and reverse the centuries-old, westward flow of wealth and talent across the North Atlantic. The campaign to win back Scottish expatriates, as well as Canadians with more distant links to the auld country, includes an Edinburgh-backed research project at SFU, which is compiling a detailed profile of this country's Scottish-Canadian population. “It is not just about the locations and incomes of Scottish-Canadians, but about the history and culture of the Scots in Canada,” says Harry McGrath, of Simon Fraser's centre for Scottish studies. “It is part of a general effort to link modern Scotland to, and inform it about, its diaspora which, in my opinion, is long overdue.”

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