The human toll of plant shutdowns

What happens to a community when the major employer leaves town? Unfortunately in Canada, there are scores of towns where this has happened over the last several decades. Today in The Conversation Canada, Steven High of Concordia University comments on the decision by General Motors to shut down its plant in Oshawa, Ont., and how his research into laid off workers reveals the human tragedy of these business moves.

We’ve got another article on how communities are impacted by industry: Sandeep Pai, Hisham Zerriffi and Kathryn Harrison of the University of British Columbia explain how lower oil prices are impacting Alberta. They argue it’s time for governments at all levels to start helping communities transition away from their dependence on the fossil fuel economy.

The initial decision by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to cut French-language services in the province created a ripple of criticism in English-language media (Ford has since backed off to some extent), but David Webster of Bishop’s University points out it’s nothing like the coverage that happens when the rights of anglopones in Québec are under fire.

Philip Loring of the University of Guelph and Ratana Chuenpagdee of Memorial University have done research on small-scale fisheries in Thailand and make the point that fish and other seafood are repeatedly left out of conversations about how to build more sustainable and climate-friendly food systems.

And finally…scientists around the world have been up in arms about the news this week that Chinese researcher Jainkui He has created the world’s first genome-edited twins. Françoise Baylis, Graham Dellaire and Landon Getz of Dalhousie University say the time has come for a global dialogue “to develop broad societal consensus on what to do with genetic technologies.”


Scott White


Today's Featured Articles

Laurie Nickel and her daughter Stephanie hold a protest sign during a union meeting after General Motors announced it would be closing its plant in Oshawa, Ont., that employs 2,500 people. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima

GM closures: Oshawa needs more than ‘thoughts and prayers’

Steven High, Concordia University

General Motors has announced it's closing plants in Canada and the U.S. Many of the towns have built cars for decades or longer. A plant closing shatters people’s sense of belonging and identity.

Protesters are seen outside an event Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was attending in Calgary on Nov. 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Alberta oil communities need a transition plan, not new pipelines

Sandeep Pai, University of British Columbia; Hisham Zerriffi, University of British Columbia; Kathryn Harrison, University of British Columbia

Canada has joined the international community in calling for a transition away from fossil fuels. There is no reason to wait for more painful disruption before planning for that transition.

Québec Premier Francois Legault, left, exchanges hockey jerseys with Ontario Premier Doug Ford at Queens Park, in Toronto on Nov. 19, 2018. Ford’s recent cuts to francophone services in Ontario haven’t spawned nearly the media outrage that Québec language moves have. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

The English-Canadian media’s selective outrage on bilingualism

David Webster, Bishop's University

To read English-Canadian media, you would think that Québec’s anglophones are under greater threat than the rest of the country's minority language communities. Why the selective outrage?

A fisherman on Kwan Phayo. Philip A. Loring

We can eat our fish and fight climate change too

Philip A Loring, University of Guelph; Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Many people focus just on agriculture and new technologies for feeding the world's growing population. Yet, fisheries are the centerpiece of billions of people's diets.

Any children born of genome editing are genetic mosaics with uncertain resistance to disease. (Shutterstock)

Why we are not ready for genetically designed babies

Françoise Baylis, Dalhousie University; Graham Dellaire, Dalhousie University; Landon J Getz, Dalhousie University

Chinese researcher, Jainkui He claims to have created the world's first genome-edited twins. Such action would pose unknown risks to the lives of these children and to humanity as a whole.

Culture + Society

Health + Medicine

  • Could this be a solution for the obesity crisis?

    Samuel Virtue, University of Cambridge; Antonio Vidal-Puig, University of Cambridge; Vanessa Pellegrinelli, University of Cambridge

    Scientists manage to boost brown fat in mice with a molecule called BMP8b. Could this be the future for treating obesity?

Science + Technology