Simon Fraser University

Conservatives, firearms, e-mail, writing - Issues, Experts and Ideas

February 07, 2006
Defection overshadows cabinet picks

Former Liberal MP David Emerson's shift to the Conservatives may have caught political pundits off-guard. But SFU political scientist Patrick Smith says Emerson's surprise move, and the naming of Montreal businessman Michael Fortier to the Senate, show Prime Minister Stephen Harper's approach is “looking a lot like the same old politics.” Smith can assess the new Conservative team.
    Patrick Smith, 604.291.1544 (h); (Smith is in Victoria and reachable via email only this week)

Firearms laws questioned

No convincing empirical evidence can be found that Canada's firearm program has improved public safety, says professor Gary Mauser, of SFU's institute for Canadian urban research studies. His studies show the national firearms law has failed to be effective, while BC's provincial firearms legislation has saved lives. Mauser, who has extensively researched firearms legislation and safety issues, will share his most recent evaluation of the effectiveness of Canadian legislation, and his review of public health research on firearms, at an international firearm safety seminar in New Zealand Feb. 21-23.

Postage due - for e-mail

Companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp to ensure their e-mail gets delivered to customers. Yahoo and AOL plan to use a system giving preferential treatment to companies paying 1/4 of a cent for delivery to those who have agreed to receive their messages. It's expected to cut down on junk e-mail and identity-theft scams. SFU's Richard Smith, an associate professor in the school of communication, says access is now the “commodity” element of the internet. “Firms are looking at other ways to raise revenues, and now that we're used to paying for access, we might be willing to pay for the features,” he says. Smith calls it further evidence that the internet is “just another part of the real world.”

The write stuff

Whether you're a timid first-timer or a seasoned pro, if you're a writer looking for feedback on your work, you'll find a willing reader in poet and novelist Larissa Lai, SFU's newest writer-in-residence. To arrange a private consultation with the acclaimed author of When Fox is a Thousand and Salt Fish Girl, call 604.291.3136. Writers must deliver a hard copy sample one week in advance of the meeting; submissions must be limited to 10 pages of poetry, or 15 to 20 pages of fiction or non-fiction.

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