In the News

UBC Reports | Vol. 53 | No. 1 | Jan. 4, 2007

Highlights of UBC Media Coverage in November / December 2006

Compiled by Basil Waugh

State-Subsidized Destruction at Sea, Fish Feelings

UBC Fisheries Centre researchers featured prominently in international news in November. Prof. Rashid Sumaila was cited in coverage of a defeated United Nations proposal to ban environmentally harmful deep-sea bottom-trawl fishing, and Prof. Daniel Pauly was quoted in reports of U.K.-based New Scientist magazine’s survey of the biggest anticipated scientific breakthroughs over the next 50 years.

Opinion pieces in France’s International Herald Tribune, the Vancouver Sun and Montreal’s the Gazette cited research led by Sumaila that found that international high seas bottom-trawling fleets would be unprofitable without some $152 million a year in subsidies, mainly in the form of cut-price fuel, from countries including Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Spain. Without these subsidies, Sumaila estimates that the fleet would not be able to continue fishing.

Media in the U.K. and Australia, including the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Times and the Australian reported Pauly’s statement that the most important development for the oceans would be a device that could detect, amplify and transmit the “thoughts” of animals in a way that would evoke empathy in humans.

“This would first work with primates, then mammals in general, then the other vertebrates including fish,” said Pauly. “This would cause, obviously, a global revulsion at eating flesh of all kinds, and we would all become vegetarians.”

Prof. Considers New Liberal Party Leader

UBC political scientist Allan Tupper featured prominently in media coverage of the federal Liberals’ choice of Stéphane Dion as party leader in early December.

In an interview with U.S.-based Bloomberg, Tupper said that the environment — an issue Dion campaigned heavily on — “is more important to voters in Quebec than people in other parts of the country.” He added: “the Liberals [may] be able to reconstitute themselves quickly [in Quebec].”

In a Globe and Mail article, Tupper said: “Dion developed a considerable presence in Western Canada through his work on intergovernmental relations … I think people in the major resource industries of Calgary would say they regard him as a straight shooter.”

Tupper also appeared in the Vancouver Sun’s Dion coverage.

Sex and the Oilpatch

The Alaska Highway News reports on a UBC study that examines the barriers for youth to sexual health services in Fort St. John.

UBC graduate student Shira Goldenberg says the busy bar scene and culture of “binge partying” when oilpatch workers are on short- and long-term breaks have contributed to a rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Northeastern B.C.

Goldenberg says that issues like work schedules, clinic hours, availability of appointments, and even bus access are affecting the ability of youth to get tested for STIs.

Campus Radio Station Crowns City’s Best New Band, Launches Podcasts

National music media reported on the 2006 edition of SHiNDiG!, the annual Vancouver battle-of-the-bands competition organized by CiTR 101.9 FM, UBC’s student-led campus / community radio station.

CBC Radio 3 and Chart Attack magazine reported on the 13-week competition that concluded Dec. 5 at the Railway Club with Victoria, Victoria! being named the city’s best new band. In total, 27 bands duked it out for recording, mastering and promotion prizes this year.

“Cheers to UBC campus station CiTR for putting on this battle of rock royale all these years … you must be doing something very right,” said CBC Radio 3 personality Grant Lawrence, adding that the finals featured “three very fitting and accomplished young bands.” 

CiTR, which recently introduced CiTR on Demand podcasts, has helped to launch some of the some of the biggest names in the Canadian independent music scene, including alt-country crooner Neko Case, a former SHiNDiG! winner; Lawrence, a former feature writer for CiTR’s Discorder magazine; and Nardwuar The Human Serviette, CiTR DJ and MuchMusic “guerilla” interviewer.

Why Canada Works

In op-eds in both the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun, UBC Philosophy Prof. Andrew Irvine argues that Canada is one of the longest-lasting, most resilient nation-states in the world — a fact he says is often lost in the debate over Quebec’s status within Canada.

“It’s one thing to recognize the existence of a fundamentally important social or cultural group, quite another to confuse this — as Quebec separatists typically do – with the kind of resilient, constitutional structure that allows such groups to flourish and to live in peace alongside each other,” writes Irvine.

“Canada’s founders were among the first in the world to recognize the importance of putting responsible government ahead of cultural hegemony, of emphasizing civil society over tribalism,” he writes.