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Elections, vaccines, transit city

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October 29, 2008
Tracking election fever on both sides of the border
Has the recent focus on federal politics dampened election fever provincially? Candidates in today’s two BC by-elections in Vancouver-Burrard and Vancouver-Fairview will soon find out. SFU political science professor Patrick Smith can offer some thoughts on the by-election results.

Patrick Smith, 778.782.3088 (w), 604.291.1544 (h),

America will choose a new president Tuesday, Nov. 4. SFU political science professors Jean-Francois Godbout and Alex Moens specialize in U.S. politics and are standing by to help interpret the election results through a Canadian lens.

Jean-Francois Godbout: 778.782.8408;
Alex Moens: 778.782.4361;

Nicolas Schmitt, an SFU economist whose specialty is international trade issues, is available to comment on the possible impact of the outcome of the U.S. election on the stability of the American and global economy. Schmitt predicts in the short term that a win by Barack Obama will have an immediate positive effect but if John McCain wins it will trigger further economic shivers.

Nicolas Schmitt (fluent in English and French), limited availability by phone and email, 778.782.4582,

Universal flu shot?
Jamie Scott, a Canada Research Chair in molecular immunity and biomedical researcher working on an HIV/AIDS vaccine at SFU, isn’t surprised by the results of an influenza study in Ontario. It says that an eight-year universal flu shot campaign has reduced flu-related deaths in Ontario by 74 per cent, while more tightly targeted campaigns have resulted in a 57 per cent decline in other provinces. Scott can elaborate on how universal free vaccination campaigns help even those who don’t get vaccinated and may offer protection against bird flu, which threatens to become a high-mortality infection.

Fiona Brinkman, as associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry adds, “I’m sure the other provinces will want to look into the results of the Ontario study further. Whether it is publicly funded or not, it is in your best interest to get vaccinated.”

Jamie Scott, 778.782.5658,
Fiona Brinkman, 778.782.5646,

Building sustainable cities
For more than 20 years Hank Dittmar has been telling the world that communities built on the basis of mixed-use, mixed-income and plentiful public transit will result in happier and healthier residents, safer and livelier streets, and more affordable, sustainable housing that will appreciate in value.

Prince Charles listened and now Dittmar, an American, is CEO of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment. He'll be in Vancouver, Nov. 2-7, for public lectures at SFU's Surrey and Vancouver campuses, walk-about seminars with SFU Urban Studies students and meetings with urban development groups.

Co-author of The New Transit Town, Dittmar was head of Reconnecting America, a member of the White House advisory committee on transportation and greenhouse gas emissions and chair of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development’s metropolitan working group.

To arrange interviews: Susan Jamieson-McLarnon, 778.782.5151