Almost 7 years ago, while going through some personal issues, I made a terrible mistake and ended up being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of California. It was a dark period in my life, but I have moved on and learned my lesson. This spring, however, my intoxicated driving conviction […]
I’m very glad to see that Canadian authorities are taking these scams seriously: A Burnaby, B.C., man has been identified as a suspect in an RCMP investigation into organized crime groups;accused of scamming Canadians by posing as Canada Revenue Agency…
Now to be clear, I’m not a journalist, though I have written my fair share of articles for various publications (including the Ottawa Citizen).
What I would never have submitted, let alone gotten away with, would be an 83 word (truly, that pic above is all there is), byline free, advertorial replete with a large photo promoting milk consumption in the name of Vitamin D and calcium citing a “report” that urged Canadians to drink milk, and mentioning “experts” three times, without actually naming the report or the experts.
Though I’m not sure which report the 83 words is referring to, my friend and PhD/RD Dr. Kevin Klatt (who you should absolutely be following on Twitter) was able to steer me to this study looking at non-dairy milk consumption and vitamin D levels in Canadian children which clearly demonstrates drinking non-cow’s milk leads to lower, but still fine, vitamin D status markers.
He noted, as actually cited experts should, that vitamin D’s daily recommended intake (DRI) levels were derived from intake studies performed in very high northern latitudes so as to remove the confounding issue of sunlight, and that consequently daily recommended intake levels are far more than are necessary to maintain safe vitamin D levels for everywhere but the far north. He also pointed out,
“there’s not very strong evidence to suggest that not consuming milk places one at risk of having Vitamin D status in the range of insufficiency.“
And though it may surprise you given the certainty of the 83 words up above, the data on dietary intake and Vitamin D are so limited that anyone who has concerns about their vitamin D status, regardless of whether they drink milk or not, should have their levels checked and not simply assume milk will be magical. Or better yet, not try to drink their way to higher levels of Vitamin D if they’re concerned and simply take supplements (with meals if this is your plan as Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin)
Given the full court press the Canadian dairy industry has been making since our new Food Guide rightfully relegated dairy to simply a source of protein rather than suggest it is a unique food group, I can’t help but wonder if this published seeming advertorial is consequent to their efforts and overtures, and while it might play to at least 50 years of Canadian dairy marketing, the Ottawa Citizen should know better than to simply pass along uncritical food takes suggesting magic benefits to specific foods to a population primed to believe them.
(Thanks to my friend and colleague Andrew Kujavsky for sending the photo of the article my way)
Stephen Daisley, in The Spectator, on the shame Britain’s liberal Labour supporters should feel.
Pauline Bock, in Wired, on how Notre Dame is being reconstructed by way of 50 billion scraps of data.
Phil Plaitt, in ScFy Wire, on the star-making winds emanating from supermassive black holes.
And finally, today is the last day of #Movember, thanks to those who have already donated, and if you haven’t, you still can by clicking here. You can give anonymously, and of course, your donation will come with a charitable receipt.
Because of course they are.
SickKids hospital has never shied away from junk food fundraising and their latest campaign sees them working with food giant Mondelez to promote the sale of Oreo cookies.
Mondelez of course is thrilled and sees this partnership as,
“a first step in a long-term partnership that will “allow for even more collaborative opportunities across portfolios and brands“
The partnership also benefits Dairy Farmers of Canada who are likely running damage control following the release of a Food Guide that rightly de-emphasized milk’s unique importance in our diets and removed our prior Guide’s explicit recommendations around its consumption and instead simply included dairy in the protein foods grouping.
Dairy Farmers are likely worried about the impact the Food Guide’s changes will have on their lucrative school milk programs and perhaps that’s what underlying their stated campaign rationale of “helping kids reach their full potential”, which no doubt will have more weight with SickKids’ push.
Apparently the campaign will include, “TV, cinema, digital, social media and public relations“, and there’s zero doubt that industry’s expectations are despite the campaigns likely huge costs, they’ll enjoy a return on their investment, either by way of direct sales, or by protecting current initiatives (like school milk programs).
As to what’s in it for Sick Kids, of course it’s just money. No doubt too that the amount of money SickKids is likely to get by way of fundraising with cookies, will be a fraction of what will be spent on the campaign to which they’re lending their name and integrity to market them.
No doubt too, if this were about altruism for the Mondelez and Dairy Farmers, they’d just cut cheques.
Some great animal tweets:
Snowplow for hire pic.twitter.com/bdYu09XNhO
— Aussies Doing Things (@aussiesdointhgs) November 26, 2019
I like this video pic.twitter.com/dCTk2tZ68F
— Attractive Nature 🌿 (@NatureAttracts) November 26, 2019
Tom and Jerry
Maybe the cat should leave this rat alone 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/pFD6Uar2jx
— ༻⋆≺ Martin 🏳️🌈 ≻⋆༺ (@KlatuBaradaNiko) November 23, 2019
I really do enjoy twitter for all the wit that people share.
If there is a Trump Library, it will be at Leavenworth.
— David Neiwert (@DavidNeiwert) November 20, 2019
SUMMARY OF THE DAY SO FAR:
“It’s like every five minutes a new warhead lands on Trump’s dick.”
— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) November 16, 2019
Sometimes I miss being young, when the only monsters were the ones I imagined living in the closet or hiding under the bed, rather than sitting in the Oval Office and walking the halls of our nation’s Congress.
— Abraxsys (@Abraxsys) November 23, 2019
My sister is training one of our dogs for rally obedience and things are going pretty well, I think. Our Molly is a bit of a handful, but my sister really knows her stuff.
Me: wow these meat chunks are a great tool to finally train my dog to come back
My dog: wow coming back is a great tool to finally train this idiot to give me chunks of meat
— Jimmy Thomson (@jwsthomson) November 23, 2019
Matt Wilstein, in The Daily Beast, on comedian Sascha Baron Cohen’s must see/read (really, watch it, the video’s in the link) award acceptance speech where he explains why he thinks Facebook is the greatest propaganda machine in history (and he isn’t complementing them).
From the Forward Staff, in The Forward, with 27 Jews very briefly sharing their fears of being Jewish – fears I can honestly say I have at times felt myself. It’s a short read. And it’s heartbreaking to me.
Tianna Bee, on her own blog, on Mary Cain, Nike, abuse, abusers, and elite sport. Do read this. It’s great.
What a day for the impeachment inquiry! I’m biased of course, but I don’t think Devin Nunes got anywhere with his stupid “boooooring!” comments. Of course the narrative is complicated and the questions and testimony got into the weeds sometimes, but it was fascinating all the same.
I’ve written before how as human beings, if you serve it to us, we will eat it, with examples from medical conferences, medical resident events, and dietetic conferences, and published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine is it’s corollary, if you don’t serve it, we won’t eat it, or at least we’ll eat it less.
The paper, Association of a Workplace Sales Ban on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages With Employee Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Health explores what happened to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in the 10 months after the University of California at San Francisco banned their sale from campus and medical centre venues (including in their cafeterias, vending machines and retail outlets). People were of course still free to bring whatever beverages they wanted to work or school. Specifically researchers were interested in the impact the sales ban would have on those with heavy SSB intake (defined as a pre-intervention consumption of more than 12 fl oz daily for the prior 3 months).
For two months prior to the intervention, they canvassed for heavy intake participants, and once the SSB sales ban was enacted, half were randomly assigned to receive a 15 minute motivational intervention targeting SSB reduction, half were not, and 10 months later, all of their intakes were again explored.
The findings weren’t particularly surprising. When SSBs aren’t sold, fewer are consumed.
How much fewer?
Half as much overall, with those receiving the brief motivational intervention seeing their consumption decrease by roughly 75%, and those who didn’t by 25% (though it should be noted, especially among those who received the motivational intervention, social desirability bias may have influenced their self-reported consumption reductions).
Bottom line though, it certainly stands to reason that if you don’t serve or sell it, we won’t eat or drink it, or at the very least, we’ll eat or drink much less of it, and so as far as public health interventions go, likely wiser to reduce access to hyperpalatable and indulgent fare rather than simply encouraging people to just eat less of them.
Blake Flayton, in The New York Times, on his experiences being a young, gay, left-wing Jew, and how University’s progressive spaces are for non-Jews only.
Jane Coaston, in Vox, on the “Groyper Army” and the war over college campus conservatism
Yair Rosenberg, in Tablet, on whether Bernie Sanders is the man to fix antisemitism and the left?
Photo By Lorie Shaull – https://www.flickr.com/photos/number7cloud/30924024642/, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
Beluga Whale playing some rugby pic.twitter.com/OhRINNfYoq
— Animal Life (@animalIife) November 9, 2019
Any hope of getting my prowl on today is #BuriedUnderTheSnow. #CatsOfTwitter pic.twitter.com/nwk2mcxru5
— 🐾Beware of Dogma🐾 (@ellelljaytoo) November 16, 2019
SUMMARY OF THE DAY SO FAR:
“It’s like every five minutes a new warhead lands on Trump’s dick.”
— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) November 16, 2019
Those of you calling for Stephen Miller to be fired by the White House because he has been revealed (again) to be a white supremacist do not understand that’s the reason why he was hired.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) November 12, 2019
Employers favor men not because they are prejudiced against women, but because they have the perception that men perform better on average at certain tasks. https://t.co/RRcBSRCQfA
— Quartz (@qz) November 12, 2019
There’s something bizarre about the way some people define “racism” (and sexism, and homophobia, etc, but I’ll just use “racism” as a shorthand to mean all of these things.)
From the Journal I Can’t Believe This Ever Got Published (ok, in this case from Obesity Reviews) comes The challenge of keeping it off, a descriptive systematic review of high-quality, follow-up studies of obesity treatments.
The paper apparently is meant to be a counterpoint to other systematic reviews of long term weight loss where,
“conclusions are generally positive and give the impression that weight loss interventions work and that weight loss can be maintained“
Well we can’t have that now can we?
It appears these authors sure couldn’t because here are the criteria they used in selecting papers for their systematic review that concluded long term weight loss is impossible:
So what they ended up with were 8 studies of varied protocols being administered temporarily for a chronic medical condition. But guess what, chronic medical conditions require ongoing treatment, and what happens when you actually provide it? Well you get studies that would spoil the impossible narrative as noted by the authors of this paper,
“several of the non-included studies report a majority of participants achieving satisfactory weight loss and little regain, especially among studies with continued interventions during the follow-up period.”
Imagine that! Appropriately treating a chronic medical condition with continued interventions works!
And this notwithstanding the fact that many (most? all?) of those studies that provided ongoing interventions likely did not include the appropriate prescription of medications to either help with losses or to prevent regain (just as we would with any other chronic condition) because weight loss medications are almost always excluded from use in weight loss diet studies. Which is odd by the way. Consider hypertension for instance. Sure some people might be able to resolve theirs by way of such things as lower sodium diets, increased exercise, and weight loss, but there’s zero doubt that patients with hypertension will receive regular ongoing follow up visits with their physicians, and where appropriate, will be prescribed medications to help. Why? Because that’s how chronic condition are managed! Which is why we’ll never see a systematic review of hypertension treatments demonstrating that brief lifestyle counselling and the explicit exclusion of medications didn’t lead to lower blood pressure 3 years later.
Leaving me to wonder, why publish a paper with the literal conclusion,
“that the majority of high-quality follow-up treatment studies of individuals with obesity are not successful in maintaining weight loss over time“
when really all your systematic review (of just 8 papers all with different dietary/lifestyle interventions) has proven is that delimited, lifestyle counselling doesn’t miraculously cure a chronic medical problem, and where you admit in your paper that the appropriate provision of ongoing care might well in fact lead to sustained treatment benefits?
But I don’t really need to wonder. Because the only reason that this paper was conceived and published is because of weight bias, whereby obesity has different rules applied to it, in this case, the notion that unlike so many other chronic medical conditions that are impacted strongly by lifestyle changes (eg. hypertension, type 2 diabetes, GERD, heart disease, COPD, gout, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and many more) people believe that for obesity some brief counselling should be enough to do the job, because that in turn plays into the trope of obesity being a disease of willpower and a deficiency of personal responsibility.
(Thanks to Dr. Andrew Dickson for sending my way)
Thanks to your generosity I’m over 2/3s of the way to my $3,000 Movember fundraising goal. While I’ll never monetize this blog, this is my annual fundraiser and if you find value here, consider a donation! Remember, every dollar counts, it’s tax deductible, and you can give anonymously! To donate, simply click here
Chief Petty Officer Margaret Louise Byam — my mother. I have often wondered now why she did it, but she died before I thought to ask her. A small-town Prairie girl, the youngest of four daughters, she joined the Wrens during World War…
We just saw it here, and now its happening in the States as well.Its the perception by journalists and opinion pundits that they “know” where the general public is at, and therefore that they can just pull voting predictions out of their ass — instead…
Boy, people are really getting pissed off these days! Its very entertaining, really:
Clocks going back 57 minutes in Alberta after 5% cut by UCP government. #AbLeg https://t.co/ABqMWF6yg5
— Alan T Perry (@AlanTPerry) November 3, 2019
And he’s an Anglican priest!
You’re an idiot. Truly.
— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) November 2, 2019
And he used to be the Director of the CIA
In the Star Phoenix, Doug Cuthand talks sense about Western separatism:
Kenny and Moe remind me of the two cartoon dogs, Spike and Chester. Remember them? Spike was a mean bulldog and Chester was his little sidekick who pranced around saying that Spike was his hero because he was so big and strong … I’ll leave it to you to determine which one is which.
It’s time both premiers got real and faced the fact that the economy is changing and the demand for oil is peaking. The United States is now energy self-sufficient and within a decade about half the new vehicles sold will be electric. Dirty oil, like the tarsands, will go the way of coal mines. These commodities are expensive to extract and refine and not economically viable in a world with declining demand.
Economics trump politics and there is little or nothing politicians can do about it.
One of the other things that Western Canadian separatists are also forgetting is that it isn’t their land to bargain away – its treaty land. Cuthand continues:
Our leaders made a treaty to share the land and build a future together. Of course, the equality and cooperation didn’t happen, but we’re still working on it.
At no time did our elders envision a future without the treaty and the protection of the Crown. Also, there is no groundswell of support for separation within the Indigenous community. Through Treaty we chose Canada.
When Quebec was going through its separation anxiety, my friend Billy Two Rivers from the Kahnawake Mohawk Nation commented that the only land the separatists could take with them was the dirt under their fingernails.
I agree. If the separatists want to leave Western Canada, go ahead, but the land remains with us.
The LA Times fire coverage is free today. Very scary fires all over the state.
Here’s every fire burning in Southern California today: https://t.co/FZXtgcKvLc pic.twitter.com/ll3JoeUzQI
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) October 31, 2019
Omg omg 😭🥰🐎 RT @LoganHallNews: Video of the day from the #EasyFire. A horse goes back into the blaze to get his family. pic.twitter.com/kTP48pt9sg
— Sarah (@MissSarah_2) October 30, 2019
A wildfire ignited on a Sacramento-area highway, forcing drivers off-road to escape the flames. Experts say the climate crisis has made California’s fire season longer and more intense. pic.twitter.com/PfSGyVPrS1
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 30, 2019
“We’re going to die.” Nursing facility patients had minutes to flee a California wildfire. Quick work by the staff got all the patients to safety and firefighters saved the facility. https://t.co/MI3Q3RMkRH
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) October 31, 2019
Goats help save California’s Reagan library from wildfire https://t.co/rhjgFSx9Xv pic.twitter.com/GvAkpqnCWS
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 31, 2019
As California fires rage, Lebron James, José Andrés, and local chefs gift meals to first responders https://t.co/APQ7JyXlA9
— Daily Kos (@dailykos) October 31, 2019
Let me be clear: when it comes to Meghan Murphy and her followers at the Toronto Public Library versus the protesters outside, I stand with the protesters. Now, let me be less clear. At this point, I’m beginning to…
Just in time for Halloween, the recent Liberal expulsion from the West has injected new life into Western Separatism, one of Canada’s favourite political zombies, now lurching back to life under the catchy Brexit-inspired trademark “Wexit”. Because who can’t look…
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New plastic tea-bags shed billions of tiny particles into the cup; Venus is a hellscape now, but might once have been blue like Earth; Lethal memo…
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The glass obstacle course: Why so few women hold the top spots in STEM disciplines; Women’s brains ARE built for science. Modern neuroscience explodes an old myth; Women and science suffer when medical research doesn’t study females.
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Rocks recovered from ground zero reveal how the dinosaurs died; Archaeology from space – discovering history from a few hundred kilometres up; A jumbo jet lost an engine over Greenland — these researchers found it; The toes of foot painters are mapped in the brain as if they were fingers; Why are right whales roaming into danger off the East coast?; Why are the Tablelands of Gros Morne National Park barren?
By Eric Cline
Former Saskatchewan New Democrat Minister of Justice
Erin Weir is not well-known outside of Canada. Even many Canadian readers won’t recognize the politician’s name. But the story of how he was smeared and excommunicated by his own political party presents a stunning indictment of political cowardice in the age of #MeToo. And what happened to him could happen to virtually anyone who runs for office.
Weir is a federal Member of Parliament (MP), having been elected in 2015 to represent the Saskatchewan riding of Regina-Lewvan. He ran in that election as a candidate for the New Democratic Party (NDP), which sits to the political left of Justin Trudeau’s governing Liberals, and constitutes the third-largest party in the Canadian parliament. His downfall began on January 30, 2018, the day he announced his candidacy for NDP caucus chair by sending an email to other NDP MPs, and to the leader of the federal NDP, Jagmeet Singh (who, at the time, had not yet become a Member of Parliament). The email set off a chain of events that eventually led to his expulsion from the NDP caucus, and stripped him of the opportunity to stand as a candidate for the party in the upcoming Fall, 2019, federal election. Under the Canadian political system, party leaders are free to unilaterally block candidates, no matter the views of voters or the rank-and-file. Without party affiliation, Weir’s political career is effectively over.
Weir’s undoing was the work of Christine Moore, an NDP MP for the Quebec riding of Abitibi-Temiscamingue. In a reply-all email responding to Weir’s expressed interest in becoming caucus chair, she wrote that she could never support him because “there are too many women (mostly employee[s]) who complained to me that you were harassing to them.” She then added: “As a woman, I would not feel comfortable to meet with you alone.”
Like Weir, Moore was not well-known—except insofar as she already had helped ruin the career of two MPs in Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party after advancing claims that they, too, were sexual harassers (a subject discussed in more detail below). And her new accusation would have come as a surprise (and still does) to anyone who knows Weir, a 37-year-old economist who once worked for the Canadian section of the United Steelworkers union.
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Dodging venomous vipers and plant poachers to study how climate change impacts insects; Searching for dinosaurs in BC’s rockies — and finding grizzly bears instead; When the desert doesn’t bloom fake flowers are a scientist’s solution; A moment of distraction leads to near disaster while studying insects in a tropical paradise; Projectile vomiting birds are among the challenges in studying arctic lakes.
BOOYAH! JOB DONE! The Natty Post corrects in response to this story:
Editor’s note: In the original article, Michael Rogers intended to say “early evolutionary ancestors” instead of Neanderthals when speaking about the agricultural revolution. As well, he intended to say there’s no anthropological evidence of Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1. All changes have been made in his quotes.
Not even sure the phrase “early evolutionary ancestors” cuts it science-wise in this context but fuck it I’m in a good mood. We’ll let it go. Kudos to Bianca Bharti for fixing things and being a good sport about it. As for Doc Rogers, well they say he is from the University of Guelph. I had a friend who went there. When I asked him what it was like he said Guelph is the sound a whale makes when it swallows. I don’t know what that means but I don’t think its a compliment.
The absolute bullshit is this bit:
“For the last million years, we’ve evolved with a very specific diet that’s been based on whole foods,” [Michael] Rogers said. “There hasn’t been a change in our diets this drastic in all of human evolution with the exception of one event in human history: when the Neanderthals ventured from forests into pastoral land and started … agricultural practices,” more than 12,000 years ago.
I don’t know who Michael Rogers is, but this kind of quote is the kind of thing that makes you think he isn’t much of an expert. I mean, the timing of wheat domestication is about right, a couple thousand years too early, maybe. But the species is wrong. The last Neanderthals walked maybe 40,000 years before crops were domesticated, unless Mr. Rogers knows something nobody else does.
Seriously, this is a big fat fucking boner of a mistake: Neanderthals invented agriculture. BULLSHIT!!! That the NP published it without fact checking is embarrassing. And if you are trying to criticize alt-meat, making this kind of claim isn’t going to help.
PS. I have never tried a Beyond Meat product nor do I have an opinion on the company.
Podcast placeholder #2 leading up to September
Many years ago, I was reading a blog post by a blogger I’d been following for a while. She wrote about a recent struggle with depression and her honest words made such an impact on me. I remember thinking how brave it was for her to tell her story. While I hated that she was […]
It’s been been a while since I checked in on my favourite “fearless source of news, opinion, and activism that you can’t find anywhere else”. I was therefore shocked – shocked! – to discover that the Rebel appears in the…
…but far from built. I’ve talked about this before. My opinion is that Trudeau did the right thing by approving the pipeline. You can’t really rule this country if the entire middle bit hates your guts because you took away the…
I’ve been asked a few times, “Have I read anything you’ve written?” My first smart-ass instinct is to reply, “I don’t know, what do you read?” But I don’t. Because for some people, meeting a writer is surprising. They don’t know what to say and that’s …
Congratulations to Dr. Michael Mann for successfully putting the boots to Winnipeg’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy. They defamed him; he fought back and won. See their grovelling apology below. Bask in their tears. &nbs…
Following every natural disaster, we see television news and online videos of destruction. Images of destroyed homes, cars and trucks flipped over, and boats well inland instead of in the water, show us the massive damage nature can cause. But for the thousands who are living through the seemingly unprecedented number of tornadoes, serious storms, and flooding, it’s not a video. It’s very real. The disasters are leaving thousands of families uprooted, with some losing loved ones.
But after the storms have passed over and the waters have receded, after the news cameras leave and people stop taking videos, the residents are left with not only putting their lives back together, but with the potential of serious illness or injury, after the fact.
While the emergency is occurring, the most important issue is survival. This means taking cover or evacuating. But once the imminent threat has left, other dangers may lurk. From broken water and sewage systems to terrified wild animals, survivors may be exposed to dangers they’ve never faced before.
Infection following a natural disaster is common in many areas. Infections can spread quickly in crowded shelters. People who walk around the disaster area can injure themselves by tripping on debris. They can cut themselves while trying to move things or be hit by material that may still be falling. Frightened pets and wild animals may be driven into unfamiliar territory and may bite.
With so many tornadoes touching down in North America this spring, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the topic. A while ago, I wrote about the connection between national disasters for Sepsis Alliance, an organization I work with. If you would like to read more about the types of infections that could follow a natural disaster, visit Sepsis and Natural Disasters, found on the Sepsis Alliance website.
The Erin Weir debacle continues to haunt the federal New Democrats. It underscores party leader Jagmeet Singh’s seeming policy confusion and calls into question his political judgment.
It just won’t go away.
Weir is the Regina MP who was expelled from the NDP caucus last year and barred from running again for the party. His sin? He had dared to defend himself against charges of sexual harassment.
This week, the 37-year-old, lifelong New Democrat conceded that he won’t run under his party’s banner in the fall election. Nor will he run as an independent. He will sit this one out.
The Weir saga began with a 2018 email from NDP MP Christine Moore to fellow caucus members claiming that he had harassed not her but other, unnamed women. Singh almost immediately suspended Weir from caucus, while his office began a search for women willing to complain. Eventually, four were found. Three said Weir stood too close to them when talking and didn’t know when to shut up. The fourth said he had twice yelled at her over the issue of carbon tariffs — once during a policy debate and again later in an elevator.
At another time, these complaints might have been kept in perspective. But in the #MeToo frenzy of 2018, they were viewed as unforgivable political crimes. Weir was ordered to apologize to the “survivors” and take sensitivity training. He readily agreed, but with one exception. He didn’t see why he should apologize to someone for having heated words over a policy issue — even if that someone were female.
When his accuser was quoted anonymously on CBC, Weir responded to media requests for his side of the story. That, it seemed, was truly unpardonable. Singh expelled him from caucus and barred him from running for the NDP in the fall federal election.
In particular, Singh faulted him “for diminishing the finding of harassment by claiming that this was in fact a policy disagreement.” “It’s a bit Orwellian,” Weir told me in telephone interview this week. “If you try to defend yourself, it only proves that you’re guilty.”
In January, the Regina-Lewvan NDP constituency association asked Singh to reconsider and let Weir contest the nomination. Singh refused. Earlier, 68 prominent Saskatchewan New Democrats, including 13 former MPs, made a similar pitch. Singh dismissed that plea as coming from “people in a position of privilege.”
It was a comment that didn’t go over well in Saskatchewan.
The NDP will rue its treatment of Weir. It has been not only unfair but unproductive. A former economist for the Steelworkers Union, Weir has a keen understanding of the political economy of his home province.
On the issue of energy pipelines, for instance, he understands both the need to combat global warming and the dollars-and-cents reality of his constituents.
He favours construction of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Alberta’s tarsands to the Pacific Coast. In part that’s because the pipes for such a project are manufactured in Regina. In part, it’s because “to the extent that we continue to use oil,” pipelines are the safest way to move petroleum.
He says he is baffled that “the current leadership” of his party has taken no position on carbon pricing, given that this issue promises to be central to the October election.
He’s equally baffled that Singh opposes all oil pipelines but appears to favour building new natural gas pipelines in British Columbia. (In fact, the NDP leader has suggested, at different times, that he both supports and opposes a plan to pipe B.C. natural gas to the Pacific Coast for liquefaction and export to Asia.)
Many New Democrats will disagree with Weir on the pipeline question. But he’s right that the party needs to clarify its muddled position.
He’s also right that vigorous debate between those who happen to be men and those who happen to be women shouldn’t automatically be treated as sexual harassment. Such an approach does no sex any favours.
Thomas Walkom is a Toronto-based columnist covering politics. Follow him on Twitter: @tomwalkom