Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

treating refugees in the Emergency Room

Friday, March 25th, 2016

The Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Ottawa (Canada) has a blog that might be of general interest. The latest post is on treatment of refugees.

In our current political and social climate, refugee health is undoubtedly going to become an increasingly prevalent Emergency Department (ED) issue. In the past few years, Canada has been accepting an average of 25 000 refugees from all over the world each year; now we have taken the same number of refugees from Syria alone in a span of just a few months. So the need right now is huge! Yet, as ER physicians, we get almost no formal training on the subject, and most available resources are targeted at primary care providers, and don’t apply to our practice setting.

Here we will attempt to filter the existing information into a practical framework that is actually applicable to your ER practice. This is intended for refugees in the ED in general, but includes some specific recommendations for the Syrian refugee population.


Thara Kumar, “Refugee Health: A Framework for Emergency Physicians“, EMOttawa, 24 March 2016.

The blog continues at the link above. Dr. Thara Kumar is a 3rd year Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Ottawa.

cultural genocide and Aboriginal health

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Large-scale immigration can have profound effects on the physical and mental health of natives. Canada’s Aboriginals are painfully aware of this. (more…)

sex crimes and sex ratios

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

FT columnist Roula Khalaf wonders if the preponderance of young males among Europe’s newest Muslim refugees might account for the horrific crimes committed recently against women in Cologne and other cities of northern Europe.

There were reasons men sought refuge first: the arduous journeys, the pressing need for work before applying for family reunification and, above all, escape from recruitment by the army or militias. ….

Yet the impact of this gender imbalance was a largely overlooked aspect of the migration crisis. ….

Much has been made of the demeaning attitude towards women that some of Europe’s newest Muslim migrants may have grown up with. But Valerie Hudson, a professor of political science at Texas A&M University who has researched migrant issues in Asia, says the sex ratio is far more important than different interpretations of female modesty.

“The literature I’ve contributed to shows a pattern: the higher the sex ratio, the higher the crime rate and crimes against women,” she tells me. “When you get a surplus of young men in a society — and they are marginalised, disadvantaged, and they live together and socialise together — you have the beginnings of collective activity in which they take what society has denied them. And they are, collectively, willing to take risks.” ….

The one country that has taken gender into account is Canada, where the government said last year that it would take only Syrian women, children and families. The policy was probably prompted by concerns over terrorism — and it drew its share of critics who warned that young men faced the greatest risk in Syria. [Emphasis added.]

There are no easy answers to the mass migration dilemma …. But taking into account the long-term implications for the host society should be an integral part of any policy. As Prof Hudson says: “A normal sex ratio is a public good.”

Roula Khalaf, “Cologne and the immigration sex-ratio dilemma“, Financial Times, 14 January 2016 (metered paywall).

Justin Trudeau’s remarkable victory

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Ravi Mattu, deputy editor of the Financial Times Weekend Magazine, writes that Justin Trudeau’s “success was built on two things: being able to come out of the shadow of his father, the former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, and good timing.”

The new prime minister wisely came to politics late. As the son of Canada’s most influential premier, that was understandable. Not only was Pierre Trudeau the country’s defining political figure but he bequeathed a complicated legacy. He was the architect of some of the country’s most important institutions, but in his native Quebec he was despised by many for opposing special constitutional status for the majority francophone province.

Yet when Mr Trudeau first ran for parliament in 2007, later than some had expected, he did it the hard way. Instead of being parachuted into an easy seat, he chose a Montreal riding that was far from a shoo-in for a Liberal federalist.

Ravi Mattu, “Justin Trudeau won thanks to good timing and Canadians’ dislike for Stephen Harper“, FT blog, 22 October 2015.

Access to this blog, and all FT blogs, is not metered. (Free registration is required.)

a call for universal pensions in Canada

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Canadian Conservative MP Dave Van Kesteren (born 1955) would like to see the federal government introduce a universal pension of CA$24,000 (US$19,000) a year for every Canadian from age 65.

Very simply, it means that everybody is going to get the same pension,” he said.

The MP said 65% of Canadians rely solely on CPP [contributory public pension] payments of approximately $12,000 a year.

He noted that a universal system would be more fair than the current system, which he believes is unsustainable.

Blair Andrews, “Local MP suggesting $24,000 pension for every Canadian“, Chatham This Week, 10 April 2015.

Mr Van Kesteren failed to mention that Canada had a universal pension from 1951 until 1989, when benefits were suddenly ‘clawed back’ – at the rate of 15% – from older residents with substantial income from other sources. If the MP did mention this in his talk, the journalist who wrote this report failed to mention it.

TdJ has covered the history of social pensions in Canada in earlier posts. Of particular relevance are three posts from 2011. They can be viewed here, here and here.

banking in crisis-prone USA and dull Canada

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, is rightly admired for his handling of the global financial crisis. But perhaps the key fact is not that he is Mr Carney, but that he is Canadian, and the bank of which he was previously governor was the Bank of Canada. ….

The US had a uniquely fragmented and fragile retail banking structure, the product of a long-term alliance between community bankers and agrarian populists, made possible by a system jealous of states’ rights. This was replaced towards the end of the 20th century by a network of financial conglomerates controlled by deal makers and traders, who had a decisive hand in stimulating the subprime mortgage boom; a new, bizarre and disastrous play in the game of bank bargains.

Profs [Charles] Calomiris and [Stephen] Haber describe Canada’s mortgage market as displaying “enviable dullness”: but they might have applied the phrase to Canada’s financial system and some might extend it to the country itself.

Capital markets, regulatory institutions and the behaviour of people employed in the financial sector are neither predetermined nor universal, but rather the product of culture, history and the political system. That is a perspective developed effectively by Profs Calomiris and Haber.

John Kay, “Why banking crises happen in America but not in Canada“, Financial Times, 4 June 2014 (ungated link).

Mr Kay is reviewing Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit, by Charles W. Calomiris and Stephen H. Haber (Princeton University Press, 2014).

US Senator grills Canadian doctor

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

This brief exchange will be of interest to anyone interested in health-care reform, especially if you reside in the United States. Click on the link below to listen to a short podcast, then read the comments it provoked. Feel free to join the discussion!

American Senators are a curious bunch — in a highly partisan sort of way. So when Canadian doctor Danielle Martin testified before a U.S. Senate hearing on single-payer public heath care yesterday, Republican Senator Richard Burr did not ask things like, “What makes your system work so well?” or “How can we Americans be more like you?” Here is how it went instead, for the record.

Carol Off and Jeff Douglas, “Canadian doctor schools U.S. Senator on public health care“, As it Happens, CBC Radio One, 12 March 2014.

Dr Martin works at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Richard Burr has served as United States Senator from North Carolina since January 2005. Mr Burr worked as sales manager for a distributor of lawn equipment prior to entering politics.

HT Andrew Willmore, MD, University of Ottawa, Canada.

inequality and growth

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A high-level official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports research findings that add to the growing evidence that growth is faster in more equal societies, and redistribution has little adverse effect on economic growth. In brief, spreading the wealth around is not a drag on growth. On balance, redistribution can even spur growth. Those who abhor the welfare state will have to look for other reasons to oppose government spending on anything other than defence and corporate welfare. (more…)

words of wisdom for the unemployed

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Do what you like doing. If you’re successful at a job you don’t care about or don’t like, or if you make money from a job you don’t care about, it won’t mean anything to you – in fact, you’ll be contemptuous of your “success”. But at that point you’re old and it’s too late to relive your life … so you become bitter. Ask anyone over 50 which is more important, “time or money”, and they’ll always tell you, “time”. While you can sometimes make more money, you can’t make more time. It’s gone. [….]

I went to art school, which is about as close to not caring about getting a job as you can be while still technically being in a school. I was in a good year with lots of really great, talented people. In the decade following art school, one by one, people fell away and took jobs for the money. But the thing about taking a job for the money is that you never go back to doing what it was that defined your core being. If you’re going to take a job for the money, remember it’s going to be almost impossible to go back.

“Douglas Coupland: unemployed”, FT Magazine, 8 February 2014 (metered paywall: ten downloads per month, free registration required).

This column is a good read, and also contains good advice.

Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland (born 1961) lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia. His many works of fiction include Microserfs: A Novel (HarperCollins Canada, 1995) and Worst. Person. Ever. (Random House Canada, 2013).


the coming retirement revolution

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Carleton University economist Nick Rowe has initiated a very interesting discussion on what he calls “the retirement revolution”. Clicking on the link will take you to some ‘worthwhile reading’ at WCI.

The first big macro shock was the invention of agriculture. Productivity rose, then fell again for Malthusian reasons. The second big macro shock was the agricultural/industrial revolution. Productivity started growing so quickly it outran those Malthusian reasons.I think the third big macro shock will be the retirement revolution. Poor people, on the Malthusian margin, retire when they die (or die when they retire). Rich people retire before they die. The world population is ageing. But age per se has no macroeconomic implications. Retirement does have macroeconomic implications.  The fact that there will be a greater percentage of old people doesn’t matter. The fact that there will be a greater percentage of retired people does matter.

Nick Rowe, “Asset prices and the retirement revolution“, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, 29 October 2013.

I posted a comment at WCI on Nick’s post. Briefly, my view is that an increasing percentage of retired people matters only if per capita income is low and/or falling. With high and rising per capita incomes, it is possible to provide decent pensions for the elderly, on a pay-as-you-go basis, with some left over for workers to also enjoy rising incomes. After all, ‘per capita’ refers to the entire population: children, wage workers, non-wage workers (including caregivers), the disabled and the unemployed (including retirees).