Defunding police requires understanding the role of policing

Demystifying police work is needed to increase public support for major reforms, argues U of A sociologist

Defunding police requires understanding the role of policingTwo contrasting perspectives have emerged in response to recent calls to “defund” police. One perspective – espoused by some activists on the political left – holds that policing is fatally broken, can’t be fixed through any reforms and ought to be cancelled outright through financial asphyxiation. The second perspective argues that policing takes an outsized…

Filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reform

Award-winning documentary by U of A researcher follows family’s tireless efforts to turn grief into advocacy for change

Filmmaker chronicles Boushie family quest for legal reformTasha Hubbard, a filmmaker and Indigenous studies professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, had been filming with Boushie’s family since 2016. She wanted to document their experience as they sought justice for their loved one through the provincial legal system, and hoped to provide historical and personal context on Indigenous…

COVID-19 lessons can improve health, legal systems

Client interfaces in law and medicine are as moribund as they were a century ago. It’s time to use technology to better advantage

COVID-19 lessons can improve health, legal systemsIn the time of the 1918-19 Spanish flu, the world was very different. Of course, there was no Internet, TV or social media. In fact, there wasn’t even any radio until a few years later. All the news was provided by the newspaper and almost all long-distance transportation was by rail or ship. We’ve come…

Where is the willingness to suffer for your beliefs?

Thoreau, Gandhi and King understood that going to jail was a reasonable price to pay for protest. Why don’t we accept that today?

Where is the willingness to suffer for your beliefs?In 1849, American philosopher Henry David Thoreau was angry at his government’s actions in the Mexican-American War and at the continued legality of slavery in the United States. He published an essay entitled Civil Disobedience, in which he stated that that the evils of war and slavery should be confronted by citizens through withholding their…

Just do the right thing – no matter what

You may never know the outcome of your actions. But you can know with certainty the results of doing nothing

Just do the right thing – no matter whatIn studying the history of social change, I’m moved by the number of great people who died never knowing the full extent of their contribution to a better world. Three examples from the 20th century are Raphael Lemkin, Peter Bryce and Viola Desmond. Lemkin was a brilliant lawyer and professor. He was also a Polish…

Wet’suwet’en protests throw us all into chaos

While the project is a win for the province, the country, the environment and B.C.’s First Nations, these hereditary chiefs don’t see it that way

Wet’suwet’en protests throw us all into chaosSupport continues for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation blocking authorized construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia. In spite of court injunctions and government pronouncements telling them to desist, they seem prepared for a long and protracted struggle, “having no intention of allowing Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated.” This…

Wet’suwet’en protests create a national tipping point

Wet’suwet’en protests create a national tipping pointOver the past two weeks, my wife and I have twice encountered Wet’suwet’en protesters in the B.C. Lower Mainland. I wondered what the hell was being accomplished if people like me were getting angry? The first encounter saw us turned away from the 9 a.m. ferry from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay – we had  important…

How politicians manipulate our decision making

The recent federal election offered us a lesson on how the manipulation of a narrative can have dramatic impact on how we think and behave

How politicians manipulate our decision makingLike many Canadians, I was amused and entertained (and appalled) by the recent Canadian election. But beyond the entertainment factor, there was a lesson here about human behaviour which we need to take to heart. The spate of scandals (#MeToo, political interference in the legal system, racism, lapses in ethical behaviour, the Norman Affair)  surrounding…
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