Canadian Science News

Cannabis Risk Guidelines Released
“Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines, released with the endorsement of key medical and public health organizations,” ScienceDaily reported, “provide 10 science-based recommendations to enable cannabis users to reduce their health risks. The guidelines, based on a scientific review by an international team of experts, are published in the American Journal of Public Health.”

Even with the risks associated with cannabis, the guidelines indicate that Canada has one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world. Over 10% of adults have used marijuana in the past year. More than 25% of adolescents used cannabis in the same time frame.

Some of the reported consequences of cannabis use are problems with physical coordination and memory problems, as well as problems associated with mental health issues and motor vehicle accidents. Canada is moving forward with the federal Cannabis Act. It is an opportunity to “not only to regulate the use and supply, but also to educate and inform cannabis users to prevent or reduce cannabis-related health problems.”

Alberta youth brings cow view to global conference
“The 24-year-old from Rocky View, is one of four Canadian agricultural leaders participating in Bayer’s Youth Ag Summit in Brussels in October,” Alberta Farm Express stated. The young male from Rocky View, Cameron Olson, said, “My intent?is to make sure animal agriculture is represented as well as crop.”

Borin in Calgary, Alberta, Olson is completing a master’s degree in animal science at Texas A&M, near Houston, Texas.

The youth summit will be used to discuss potential solutions for feeding a global population of 9 billion people, which is expected to be reached by 2050. This summit is not a first for Olson, who has used his expertise to discuss and work on these problems before.

Kirsty Duncan speaks on sexism in science
Maclean’s reports that, “During her time in academia, Kirsty Duncan—now the Liberals’ science minister—says she endured constant sexism; she witnessed many more instances of it in the research field.” Duncan relayed stories from women scientists about sexism they face too, in 2017.

She reports on this, too, in a The Globe and Mail article. Barriers faced by women in STEM fields are a problem that is a “well-documented one with significant consequences to our country and our ability to innovate.” It is stated by Maclean’s that the federal government has failed to meet its promise of a “science-based value system to guide its agenda.”

One example given is the lack of appointment of the chief scientific advisor. This person is important for “evidence-based policy decisions and science communication, offering impartial advice to the government as it passes legislation that affects our health and well-being,” among other things.

Canada Under-Performing in Innovation
“Nations need to have well-articulated strategies addressing science, innovation, competitiveness and productivity. Confusing or conflating these distinct but complementary goals is a recipe for under-performance,” The Huffington Post stated.

Canada is under-performing in innovation. While the government has given funding for science excellence, this funding has not been general enough to spill over into the innovation sector for the country, primarily being focussed on graduate and post-graduate students. In the innovation ecosystem, Canada is reported to have a weak collaboration with colleges, polytechnics, and private enterprise that converts ideas into product and service innovations.

Canadian focus has been on input of ideas rather than on an innovation economy and the associated demand for ideas and solutions. Even with the new funds for innovation, there is renewed pressure on the Canadian federal government to support fundamental science.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the AUSU VPFA. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.

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