Installing insulation can be hazardous to your health

Use of less hazardous materials, personal protective equipment and regular health checkups recommended

Installing insulation can be hazardous to your healthConstruction workers who work with hazardous insulation materials are much more likely to be affected by repeated chest infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to new research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The study followed 990 insulators over six years. Participants underwent regular pulmonary function tests and chest radiography…

The war on drugs is costly and off-target

A report on drug abuse released by police chiefs is less about reducing drug abuse and more about protecting police budgets and jobs

The war on drugs is costly and off-targetThe Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) recently released a 14-page report on the decriminalization of drugs. The report points to a large body of evidence illustrating the efficacy of safe consumption sites in achieving a number of health and social objectives. That’s especially true when clients are offered access to integrated health and…

Cities’ push for new taxes divorced from reality

Alberta’s cities need to first tackle the cost elephant in the room: labour

Cities’ push for new taxes divorced from realityWe hear councillors offer nice platitudes about understanding the hardships Albertans are going through, but actions speak louder than words. And the recent push for new tax powers shows that big city councillors and mayors are divorced from the reality facing Alberta. In June, Red Deer council voted unanimously to back an Edmonton resolution calling…

Is dam removal the wave of the future?

Research suggests it makes more ecological and economic sense to dismantle dams than to restore or maintain them

Is dam removal the wave of the future?Urban studies researcher Richard Florida has made a reputation with a lot of interesting ideas, many of which are controversial. One of his ideas is that people like to live near water, and that leads to prosperity in cities located on rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. My perspective on this theory is that settlers to…

What an Indigenous force can teach us about policing

Adding more weapons, equipment and officers doesn’t provide a straight line to happier and safer communities

What an Indigenous force can teach us about policingPutting more force into our police forces might seem intuitively like a logical way to more effectively fight crime. Real-life experience suggests that’s not necessarily so. Experts say when using force is available, then it’s human nature for a trained police officer to fall back on that option when the going gets rough. Too often,…

Breathing new life into cities post-COVID-19

New guide shows how planners can revive urban centres by shifting focus of vacant spaces from commercial to cultural

Breathing new life into cities post-COVID-19In the wake of economic fallout from COVID-19, urban centres could see a sharp increase in abandoned spaces as some businesses are forced to close. But vacant space doesn’t have to sit idle, according to a research associate with the University of Alberta’s Wirth Institute. If managed properly, it could spark a cultural revival of sorts,…

Half measures won’t solve the problem with police

It’s time to reduce funding to police and reallocate those dollars to more proactive ways to reduce crime

Half measures won’t solve the problem with policeHere’s a couple of questions that might have seemed crazy to many people just a few short years ago but are gaining purchase today. Do we really need as much policing as we have? Or are the ever-growing police budgets actually inadvertently leading to greater violence? A lot of us have believed that police exist…

Toronto has more important priorities right now than a $3.8-billion park

Toronto has more important priorities right now than a $3.8-billion parkToronto Mayor John Tory announced he’d have to make “terrible and devastating” cuts if the federal and provincial governments didn’t pony up cash to help the city fill its $1.5-billion budgetary void left in the wake of COVID-19. Astonishingly, after begging for money, the mayor’s pet project, Rail Deck Park, is still going ahead. Tory’s mega-park scheme is…

Defunding police a movement whose time has come

Reallocating some police funding to social workers, making body cameras mandatory would cut unnecessary violence

Defunding police a movement whose time has comeThe last two weeks have seen an explosion of interest in defunding the police in Canada and around the world. This is not a new idea – governments have long recognized that “the current model … was obsolete, expensive and too often produced dire consequences,” and have sought “alternative, more community-responsive approaches to public safety.” Despite these…
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