UBC Reports | Vol. 52 | No. 1 | Jan. 9, 2006
In the News
Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in December 2005
Compiled by Basil Waugh
Survey: Peace, Order and Rocky Government
The Economist Magazine’s 14-page survey of Canada, Peace, Order and Rocky Government, features six stories on the country’s regional, political, economic and cultural issues.
In a story on Canadian attitudes toward immigration, foreign editor Peter David writes, “Canadians have happily allowed the inflow to transform the ethnic mix and therefore the colours, flavours and rhythms of its cities. In Vancouver, Canada’s Pacific gateway to China, UBC President Martha Piper reckons that half of her university’s Canadian -- not foreign -- students speak a language other than English at home.”
On Canada’s political landscape, David writes, “If the Liberals are the natural party of government, says Philip Resnick, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, the real opposition is at the provincial level, ‘where you find strong fiefs and strong premiers’.”
Resnick’s book, The European Roots of Canadian Identity, is cited as a source for the series of articles.
The End of Menstruation?
A new oral contraceptive that claims to virtually eliminate periods is raising questions about the benefits, ethics and potential dangers of menstrual suppression.
Anya, created by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, is the first low-dose birth control pill taken 365 days a year. It is pending approval by Health Canada, but expected to hit the Canadian and U.S. markets in 2006.
In an interview with Maclean’s Magazine, the UBC Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research’s Jerilynn Prior says that menstruation is a “carefully crafted cycle, and a vital sign of our health.”
Prior characterizes continuous-use pills as another way for pharmaceutical companies to market a flagging product. “Regulatory bodies are saying, ‘We approved the original pill, so this must be okay.’ But even the original pill probably contains negatives we still don’t really know about.”
In a similar story in the Edmonton Sun, the centre’s Christine Hitchcock expresses concern over the impact of high hormone doses. “You always need to consider what the benefits are against what the costs are.”
Gender and Race in Federal Election Ads
The Globe and Mail suggests that the Conservative Party of Canada is targeting female voters with its current television advertising campaign.
In all three ads, Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper is shown discussing crime, taxes and corruption with an audience of women. In one, Harper states that he would end house arrests, ensure minimum prison terms for serious crimes, and make sure deported criminals leave the country.
UBC political scientist Richard Johnston comments, “it’s pretty tame as far as crime ads go,” but suggests that by evoking deportation the Conservatives “may be priming something out there that has a racial and ethnic subtext.”
UBC Election Stock Market: Betting on Democracy
Forget about polls. If you want to know the outcome of the upcoming federal election, the Ottawa Citizen suggests that you visit UBC’s online election stock market.
The UBC online market, created by the UBC Sauder School of Business, went live at esm.ubc.ca on Dec. 13 for its sixth election campaign. The site lets users buy and sell units that represent the major parties’ popular-vote percentages, their seat counts, and their chances of forming the government.
The Citizen reports that with just 443 people participating in the 2000 federal election, the UBC market predicted the Liberal popular vote to within 1.5 percentage points, the Canadian Alliance to 1.7, the Bloc’s to 0.6, the New Democrats’ to 0.4, and got the Tories bang on.