John Scott Cowan, Principal Emeritus, The RMC of Canada

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A middle ground on affirmative action.

A middle ground on affirmative action.

Affirmative action programs are a somewhat varied group of social policy initiatives that aim to correct the underrepresentation in parts of the workforce of groups that have historically been discriminated against in hiring. In principle, they are simply a range of policy devices to promote the hiring [...]

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Delusions of adequacy: How Russia and Pakistan lie to themselves in similar ways

Delusions of adequacy: How Russia and Pakistan lie to themselves in similar ways

The ongoing assault on Ukraine by Russia has drawn plenty of comment, with the focus primarily on those aspects that are now apparent at a glance, and are particularly troubling. They are easy to list. The Russian action is evil. Its justification was absurd. Its conduct has been incompetent beyond measure. [...]

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Memo to Canada: Pay your insurance premiums

Memo to Canada: Pay your insurance premiums

Most Canadians are pretty prudent. They pay the insurance premiums on their homes and their cars. If they have dependents, they probably buy life insurance. It is a logical risk mitigation strategy. However, the country that is Canada has consistently failed to purchase high-quality insurance on the [...]

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Anti-elitism ain’t what it used to be

Anti-elitism ain’t what it used to be

Photo by Jean-Marc Carisse My parents were adults during the Great Depression. While solidly middle-class, they had a deep appreciation and sympathy for the plight of the less fortunate and the dispossessed. I was born in Toronto during the Second World War, and I have strong memories from the 1950’s [...]

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Risks from biocontainment labs: A puzzling lack of realism about human fallibility prevails

Risks from biocontainment labs: A puzzling lack of realism about human fallibility prevails

ABOVE: A scientist in sterile coveralls cleans a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) in a cleanroom facility. (PHOTO: iSTOCK) We will never know whether SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, began to spread in Wuhan in late 2019 because of a lab leak. Was there some small handling mistake with a [...]

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The Privacy Paradox: We have both too little and too much privacy

The Privacy Paradox: We have both too little and too much privacy

Privacy was never an easy matter. Most humans want a reasonable degree of privacy, but want to be nosy too. It has always been a tricky balance. Privacy is intimately connected to rights, and, in our society, there is a constant swinging of the pendulum back and forth between emphasis upon individual [...]

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Unspoken causes of vaccine avoidance and public health noncompliance

Unspoken causes of vaccine avoidance and public health noncompliance

In Canada we are fortunate, in that a vast majority of our population take public health rules and guidance very much to heart. Most of us have availed ourselves of the offered vaccines, and most make a pretty decent effort to comply with distancing, masking rules, and gathering sizes. Nonetheless, [...]

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The spectacularly awful leaders’ debates: causes and a remedy

The spectacularly awful leaders’ debates: causes and a remedy

Photo via CBC NEWS Now that a discrete interval has passed since our recent federal election, it is an opportune time to try a bit of dispassionate analysis to explain to ourselves why it felt like such a shambles. It launched amidst some controversy over whether it was needed at all, but it seems to [...]

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Covidiots, and their cure

Covidiots, and their cure

Author’s Note: I wrote this on June 27, 2021, as Canada’s drive to get second doses of Covid-19 vaccines distributed was picking up steam. And first doses continued to roll out, but not quite as fast as hoped. While we have had uptake from much higher percentages than in most countries, there [...]

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Canada and China: neither seems to get what makes the other tick

Canada and China: neither seems to get what makes the other tick

Op-ed: Relations between Canada and China are currently rather strained, in part because of the long-running court proceedings over the US request to Canada to extradite Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of Huawei and the daughter of its founder, to which the response of China was, among other things, [...]

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