Canadian Fedwatch! News Across the Nation

Shoot Your Mouth Off

The Government of Canada is beginning a consultation process (http://www.cfc-ccaf.gc.ca/en/consultation/default.asp) on the new Firearms Program. So, if you have a yearning to tell the government just what you think should be done about firearms, this would be the opportunity. The consultation covers everything from gun shows and firearm import/export laws to things such ammunition control, fees, and shooting ranges.

My opinion is fairly normal among Canadians, I think. I see the regulation and control of firearm sales and especially importation as a good thing. But there are still some strange restrictions that I do not understand, such as tasers being on the prohibited weapons list.

The argument I’ve heard for this is that since tasers are non-fatal, if they were not prohibited, we’d see much higher use of them. My thinking is that I’d rather see five stores robbed using a taser than one robbery that ends in a fatal gunshot wound.

For those of you who are like me, and prefer firearms be strictly regulated, before dismissing the site, remember that gun advocates have some very strong organizations behind them – organizations that will no doubt suggest to their members that their comments could help their cause. It’s up to us to provide some balance for that.

Another Round of Research

The Provincial Government of Ontario is announcing an investment (http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2003/08/11/c9362.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html) of 8.7 million into cancer research. The money is being divided up into 19 research projects, with typically about half a million dollars being invested in each one. When looking through the list of projects however, it seems that something isn’t quite right.

As an example, the project that will receive the most money, $848,644, is described as the following:

William Mackillop, Queen’s University

Clinical trials have demonstrated that radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy is the most effective treatment for certain locally advanced cancers arising in the lungs, and the head and neck region. This research project will determine whether these findings are routinely applied in the treatment of patients in Ontario today, and lead to strategies to ensure that research discoveries benefit the maximum number of patients in the future.

When the largest single chunk of money isn’t going to research a new cure, but rather just to see if the ways we already know are effective are actually being used we really have to wonder about how effective this research is likely to be.

I find this hard to understand. Don’t the various hospitals and such keep records of the treatments they do? Surely so, because they have to bill the government. And if they do, what more would this research project take than a few phone calls?

At the same time, one of the smallest research grants ($387,792) goes to a project described as the following:

Jean Gariepy, University Health Network / University of Toronto

By modifying a powerful bacterial toxin, Dr. Gariepy will create new proteins that can bind and selectively destroy cancer cells. This protein template can be modified to create millions of similar, but distinctive, proteins that will function as “mini-toxins.” This research will determine what functions can be added to this protein template in order to create powerful guided agents that can target cancer cells.

Now, I have absolutely no idea when it comes to fighting cancer what the best tactic is, but it certainly seems to me that research actually looking for a new means of fighting cancer should be given more money than research on an administrative issue with current procedures.

A native Calgarian, Karl is perpetually nearing the completion of his Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Information Studies. He also works for the Computer Sciences Virtual Helpdesk for Athabasca University and plans to eventually go on to tutor and obtain his Master’s Degree.

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