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Alumna passionate about sharing black history

Judith Brown has been advocating for the African and Caribbean communities on campus and in Kingston for decades.

Judith Brown has been advocating for the African and Caribbean communities on campus and in Kingston for decades.
A tireless supporter of the Kingston and Queen's black communities, Judith Brown this year’s recipient of the Jim Bennett Award from the Kingston Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association. (University Communications)

If there is a Black History Month event in Kingston, odds are Judith Brown (Arts'70) is organizing it, speaking at it, attending it, or all of the above.

She has been an advocate for the African and Caribbean communities, both on campus and in Kingston, for decades. For the past few years, she has been co-organizing the Black History Month Opening Ceremony.

“Black history is Canadian history,” says Ms. Brown, who helped create the Afro-Caribe Community Foundation of Kingston which raises funds for the Robert Sutherland Bursary and Alfie Pierce Admission Award at Queen’s. Now retired after a 40-year career as an educator, she serves as a mentor to members of black student groups. She was also recently elected as a trustee to the Limestone District School Board. “I am passionate about black history because it was never taught in schools. I think many people — blacks and everybody — know very little about it. That’s why I try to spread the stories.”

Her tireless work supporting Kingston’s black community is one of the reasons she was named this year’s recipient of the Jim Bennett Award from the Kingston Branch of the Queen’s University Alumni Association.

The Queen’s Black Alumni Chapter (QBAC) leadership team collectively nominated Ms. Brown for the award in recognition of her decades of mentorship to students. “She has spent years advising a wide range of Queen’s students in their personal and academic lives, directly shaping the next generation of leaders,” says QBAC co-founder Yinka Adegbusi (Artsci’13).

About five years ago, Ms. Brown helped the Queen’s Black Academic Society and the African and Caribbean Students’ Association expand their Black History Month event. It was originally held on campus, but Ms. Brown felt it was important to turn it into a community event. She struck a committee, found space off campus at the Renaissance Event Venue, and started working with the two student groups to create what is now the Black History Month Opening Ceremony.

She has become such a respected mentor that it is not uncommon for students to go to her house for Thanksgiving dinner or to stay overnight when returning to campus for convocation.

Ms. Brown says the Jim Bennett Award is especially meaningful because she has a personal connection to Mr. Bennett, who was a Kingston Township councillor in the 1990s. After the 1998 ice storm, he became chair of the Kingston Area Ice Storm Relief Fund and asked Ms. Brown to serve on the committee.

To Ms. Brown, the appointment was a recognition of her community work, and a small step toward making Kingston a little more inclusive. “I will never forget what Jim Bennett did for me,” says Ms. Brown. “Here is this man recognizing me as a black woman. I was soaring. Jim Bennett was walking the walk (by promoting inclusivity) before it became popular.”

This story originally appeared on the Queen’s Alumni website.

IGniting curiosity

IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will feature talks on oral history and climate change Jan. 31 at The Isabel.  

At its series launch event in November, IGnite captivated its audience with lectures on neutrinos and medical miracles. This Thursday, IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will showcase local history and research into climate change. 

Laura Murray (English Language and Literature) will take us back in time to Kingston’s historical Swamp Ward district with “History at home: Community research in action in Kingston.” Using research of past environments to illuminate evidence of climate change,

IGnite: Research Stories to Inspire Generations will feature talks on oral history and climate change Jan. 31 at The Isabel. Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change John Smol (Biology) will present “Back to the Future: Using the past to inform environmental policy.”

IGnite is a collaboration between the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute and the University Relations portfolio. Each event features two researchers from different fields discussing their projects and research experiences, while also including interactive demonstrations and poster presentations from students and additional researchers. The series offers a public platform where researchers can share what first ignited their curiosity and motivates them to pursue their research.

Dr. Murray explains that for her IGnite offers an opportunity to share her methodology and how it relates to the community.

“My research draws on the knowledge of the community, and it’s a primary goal of mine to give it back,” she says. “Through oral history we discover the real lives of the city, going far beyond names and dates and buildings and accomplishments to what it has meant to live here in the past, and what it might mean to live here in the future. Oral history is also a wonderful research methodology in that non-academics can do it too.”

For Dr. Smol, it is the emphasis on public engagement that motivates him to participate in the series.

“Events such as this provide an important vehicle for knowledge translation to the public – a group of people who, by and large, paid for the research in the first place,” he says. “In universities we search for evidence - we search for truth.  If facts and information are not prized and communicated, then ideology will trump evidence.  And if you don’t value truth, then you don’t value democracy.”

The event, the second in a three-part series for the 2018-2019 academic year, will take place Thursday, Jan. 31, 6:30-9 pm at The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. Registration is free on Eventbrite and light refreshments will be served.

For more information on the series, visit the McDonald Institute’s website

The Conversation: The urgent need for Democrats to embrace progressive policies

The Democratic Party needs a revised image, grounded in a new reality, that will address basic issues of inequality, access, and fairness.
 

[U.S. Capitol Building]
The Democratic Party gained a majority in the House of Representatives following the 2018 midterm elections. (Photo by jomar/Unsplash)

The vigorous agenda of social reform and expanded government services, particularly in health and higher education, promoted by Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries, and now by a new class of Democrats in Congress, has much in common with mainstream European social democracy.

That senior Democratic Party politicians perceive it as radical suggests that a big part of the party’s problems lie in its commitment to an ideology of free markets and deregulation of capital, and a concurrent lack of concern for issues of class and inequality.

This has left the Democratic Party’s liberalism excessively focused on issues of equal access for racial and ethnic minorities, women and sexual minorities.

[The ConversationIt’s all created an opening for Republicans and the political right to denounce the party as led by disconnected “liberal elites” promoting “affirmative action” and “political correctness” while ignoring the interests of ordinary working- and middle-class Americans.

The Democratic Party needs a revised image grounded in a new reality that will address basic issues of inequality, access, and fairness. The central focus of a progressive program of reform must be to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality, and expand opportunities for personal and social mobility.

Real campaign finance reform will be critical in levelling the playing field. Sanders and other politicians have demonstrated that it’s possible to raise substantial funds by accepting only small donations. It is better for the democratic process to raise $150 million from a million citizens than from 50 or fewer millionaires.

Tax corporations

In terms of economic policy, the value of public goods needs to be recognized again. A necessary first step will be to restore the tax on corporate profits to its previous level and refashion genuinely progressive income tax, returning even to the levels of the 1950s, a period marked by vigorous economic growth and increasing real income for most Americans.

This will make possible a significant increase in public revenue for public purposes.

This should be accompanied by a broad-based increase in the minimum wage and a restoration and reaffirmation of collective bargaining rights for public and private sector workers. A revival of anti-trust laws and a closer regulation of finance capital will restore competition, curb risky speculation and help prevent a repeat of the financial crisis of 2008.

Inequality is the underlying problem that is eroding social trust while devastating the well-being of individuals and communities across the country. After declining in the post-Second World War years, inequality since the 1980s has grown to grotesque proportions that have resulted in a tiny plutocracy with a combined wealth equal of more than 90 per cent of Americans.

In their book The Spirit Level, Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson document the heavy toll that persistent and growing inequality is taking on individuals, communities and on society as a whole.

Eroding prosperity

Further, in his book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, author Robert D. Putnam vividly demonstrates how growing inequality and declining public resources have eroded the well-being of children and families in a mid-sized American city.

Renewed progressive policies need to make economic equality, health care and education central. The goal must be to eliminate poverty and discrimination that leave a large part of the population incapable of making the necessary productive contributions to tackle the challenges of the next 30 years.

Instead of access to health and education being rationed by cost, it must be enshrined as a fundamental right of citizenship and a critical foundation of the public interest.

[Woman with placard at protest]
A woman holds up a placard during the Women's March protest in New York City ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. (Photo by Mirah Curzer/Unsplash)

In specific policy terms, a number of initiatives would flow from this commitment.

In addition to minimum wage, tax reforms and the restoration of collective bargaining, an educated population equipped with the skills required for the modern world is obviously of critical importance.

Public education must be reinforced with resources and up-to-date facilities. We need to reverse the trend of declining public support for secondary and higher education.

Policies that divert public resources to private schools managed by community groups and provide tax and financing incentives to profit-making companies across a range of trades — from beauty schools to training for medical assistants, paralegals and mechanics, many of which rely on federal funds for tuition — should be curtailed or eliminated.

Fund public education

Instead, public education must be funded in ways that reduce what has become a ruinous trend of student debt.

In its present form, the American health-care system is financed through a ramshackle mess of private and public funding that’s a laughing stock among other advanced countries.

It should be replaced by a coherent single-payer public health- care insurance system that provides quality levels of care for all citizens and regulates the behaviour and costs of the pharmaceutical industry.

A reformed tax system that distributes individual and corporate responsibilities in a fair and equitable fashion would provide growing resources to meet the individual and collective needs of all Americans.

This is the time to begin implementing the policies to meet these urgent priorities.

Commentators on the right often complain that such ideas are too costly, that they’re unaffordable.

And it’s true — these are not priorities for the right. The right’s solution is to push the costs on to users.

But the result is that health care and higher education have become unaffordable for many Americans. And the institutions of U.S. democracy are the collective property of all citizens. A reformed tax system that distributes burdens in a fair and equitable fashion would provide more than enough resources to put health care and education within reach for American citizens.

The time has come for Democrats to start vigorously pushing these urgent priorities and restore the promise of a secure and decent future for all Americans.

________________________________________________The Conversation

Bruce J. Berman is a professor emeritus of Political Studies and History at Queen's University,and Daniel Levine is a professor emeritus at the University of Michigan.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

The Conversation: Fossil fuel era is ending, but the lawsuits are just beginning

An American coal company is suing the Canadian government over Alberta's plan to combat climate change.

Trucks at a coal mine]
Trucks make their way along a makeshift road at a coal mine in Indonesia. (Photo by Dominik Vanyi/Unsplash)

“Coal is dead.”

These are not the words of a Greenpeace activist or left-wing politician, but of Jim Barry, the global head of the infrastructure investment group at Blackrock — the world’s largest asset manager. Barry made this statement in 2017, but the writing has been on the wall for longer than that.

Banks know it, which is why they are increasingly unwilling to underwrite new coal mines and power plants. Unions and coal workers know it, which is why they are demanding a just transition and new employment opportunities in the clean economy. Even large diversified mining companies are getting out of the business of coal.

The only ones who seem to have remained in denial are President Donald Trump and non-diversified mining companies like Westmoreland Coal. The Denver-based firm made a bad bet in 2013 when it purchased five coal mines in Alberta. Now it wants Canadian taxpayers to pay for its mistake.

Alberta’s coal phaseout

Three years ago, Alberta’s New Democratic Party (NDP) committed to what some have described as “the most ambitious climate plan in North America to date.” In addition to the development of an economy-wide carbon price, the province is phasing out coal-fired power by 2030. Without the infrastructure to export coal, the climate plan has also resulted in a de facto phaseout of local thermal coal mining.

To ensure support for the plan, major utility companies in the province were provided with “transition payments” to facilitate the switch to gas and renewable energy. Westmoreland did not receive a government handout, because coal mining companies have no role to play in the energy transition. The company, which filed for bankruptcy protection for its investments in the United States in October, doesn’t think this is fair.

NAFTA’s investment chapter

Because Westmoreland is an American company, it can rely on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for protection from “unfair” treatment. NAFTA allows a foreign investor to use a process known as “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) when government action harms its business in some way.

ISDS allows foreign investors to bypass local courts and bring claims for monetary compensation to an international tribunal. The system is not unique to NAFTA; it is found in other trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and thousands of bilateral investment treaties (known as Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements in Canada).

ISDS is hugely controversial. Concerns have been raised by a wide range of actors about both the process of ISDS, and the way the system can infringe on the sovereign right of states to regulate to protect public health, human rights and the environment.

More than 900 ISDS cases have been launched by investors since the early 1990s, including 27 against Canada that have so far cost Canadian taxpayers at least $315 million. There is one ongoing dispute that concerns a ban on gas fracking in Québec, but the Westmoreland claim is the first brought in relation to a policy explicitly designed to combat climate change.

Westmoreland argues that part of the reason it invested in Canada in 2013 was to diversify its holdings in response to regulatory risk. At the time, the Obama Administration was taking action under the Clean Power Plan to reduce the reliance of American utilities on coal. The company’s failure to anticipate similar regulatory action by its northern neighbour is remarkable.

A key battleground

If governments respond appropriately to the urgent warning issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October, efforts to phase out fossil fuels will have to ramp up considerably — and quickly. We should expect the industry to fight these efforts through a variety of means. ISDS may become a key battleground.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA or CUSMA, depending on who is talking about it), which may replace NAFTA (it has been signed, but has not been ratified), does not retain the process of ISDS between Canada and the U.S.

While this is good news in the long run, some have suggested that there will be a “rush of filings” before access to ISDS for already established investors expires (three years after USMCA comes into force). Canada will also be exposed to claims from investors under other agreements such as the CPTPP and Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Other countries, particularly poorer nations, face an even higher risk of ISDS claims and have far less resources available to fight them. It is notable that big oil companies have retained some access to ISDS against Mexico in USMCA, after lobbying hard for it.

[Oil rig works as the sun sets]
An oil rig pumps crude oil as the sun sets. (Photo by Zbynek Burival/Unsplash) 

A climate of fear?

If Westmoreland’s case proceeds to arbitration, it will not have direct implications for Alberta’s climate policy. An investment tribunal cannot require the provincial government to reverse the coal phaseout; it can only award the company damages. Westmoreland is asking for US$470 million. It is the federal government, rather than Alberta, that would have to pay compensation to Westmoreland if the company’s claim was successful. However, Ontario did agree to pay the award in a recent NAFTA case.

What is more concerning than any potential payout is that Westmoreland’s suit could hinder efforts to implement similar plans to combat climate change in other jurisdictions.

Regulatory chill” is a phenomenon that has been observed in several jurisdictions around the world. A notable example is the decision of the New Zealand government to delay the introduction of legislation to require plain packaging of tobacco products until Australia won its ISDS case against the tobacco company Philip Morris International. This delay of regulatory action — out of fear of expensive litigation — may have cost lives.

As recent forest fires and floods have demonstrated, delays in action to combat climate change can also be deadly.

____________________________________________________________The Conversation

Kyla Tienhaara is a Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment and an assistant professor in the School of Environmental Studies and the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Three math professors named fellows of the Canadian Mathematical Society

[Math Professors]
Professors Ram Murty, Greg Smith and Peter Taylor have been named Fellows of the Canadian Mathematical Society.

Three professors from the Queen’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics have been named to the inaugural class of Fellows of the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS).

Professors Ram Murty, Greg Smith and Peter Taylor are honoured to have been chosen among the class of 49 inaugural fellows.

The fellowship recognizes CMS members who have made excellent contributions to mathematical research, teaching, or exposition, as well as having distinguished themselves in serve to Canada’s mathematical community.

Founded in 1945, the CMS is the main national organization whose goal is to promote and advance the discovery, learning and application of mathematics. 

Queen’s remembers Gerrit (Gerry) Wilde

[Gerrit Wilde]
Professor Emeritus Gerrit (Gerry) Wilde

The Queen’s community is mourning the death of Professor Emeritus Gerrit (Gerry) Wilde (Psychology), who died Jan. 1 while on vacation in Mexico. He was 86.

Flags on campus will be lowered in his honour on Sunday, Jan. 20.

An internationally-renowned researcher, Dr. Wilde’s research interests were focused on, but not limited to: ergonomic psychology; traffic behaviour and accident causation; and the effect of alcohol and sleep deprivation upon performance; as well as the psychology of risk taking.

Born in Groningen, the Netherlands, in 1932, and obtaining his PhD cum laude in 1962 at the University of Amsterdam. He arrived at Queen's in 1965 and was made a professor emeritus upon his retirement in 1997.

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Wilde on Sunday, Jan. 20, at 3 pm at Sydenham Street United Church. 

His obituary was published in the Globe and Mail.

Virtual exhibit examines the digital future

Showcasing innovative Queen's technology projects that could change the way we live.

Close-up of hands using computer (courtesy of Glenn Cartens Peters, Unsplash)

Last fall, experts and audience members gathered at Queen’s University to discuss the future of research, knowledge sharing, and the student learning experience in the digital age at the first-ever Principal’s Symposium.

Hosted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Daniel Woolf, and emceed by CBC Radio’s Nora Young, the symposium examined advances in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and data governance, as well as how ongoing digital transformation is influencing post-secondary students, Indigenous communities, and people in developed and developing countries.

“The speakers and panelists at our symposium shared a broad and detailed picture of how digital innovation is reshaping learning and discovery both here in Canada and abroad,” says Principal Woolf. “With their insights in mind, as well as those being revealed by researchers and students at Queen’s, we can build upon our institution’s digital framework and take advantage of the opportunities future technologies will surely present.”

The symposium also marked the launch of a supporting virtual exhibit – Imagining Our Digital Future – to highlight digital planning initiatives currently underway at Queen’s and in the Kingston community.

“For decades, Queen’s faculty and students have been leveraging technologies to advance learning and research,” says Principal Woolf. “Technological innovation will continue to change how we live, so our ongoing exploration of this new frontier is not only important, but essential to the future of knowledge, truth, and healthy societal progress. Sharing our ideas and efforts across disciplines will help us stay concerted in our efforts to create an open, inclusive, collaborative, and innovative digital future.”

The virtual exhibit features over 40 digital technology projects happening at Queen’s and in Kingston that have the potential to impact our daily lives, and create previously unimaginable learning and research opportunities across the disciplines – with plans to showcase new projects on an ongoing basis.

Currently, featured projects include everything from “smart” surgical instruments that will help doctors more efficiently remove cancerous tumours and state-of-the-art camera technology used for analyzing human movement, to online database technology used to help preserve Indigenous heritage and art or reunite communities with their history. There are also projects focused on augmented reality and VR simulators, ambient and artificial intelligence, astroparticle physics research, archaeology, surveillance, and more.

Faculty, staff, students, and Kingston community members engaged in interesting digital initiatives are welcomed to submit their project for possible inclusion in the virtual exhibit. Contact the virtual exhibit curators using the online form.

Examining Indigenous rights and the RCMP

New research from Queen’s University examines how the RCMP assess protests.

Queen’s University researcher Miles Howe and co-researcher Jeffrey Monaghan (Carleton University) have revealed in a new report how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) assess individual activists according to political beliefs, personality traits, and even their ability to use social media.

In line with other criminal justice agencies in Canada, the RCMP are now relying on new models of preemptive governance and risk-mitigating strategies.

PhD candidate Miles Howe.

"My initial interest in the RCMP's profiling methodologies stemmed from my involvement, as a journalist, with anti-shale gas protests in New Brunswick, which lasted for much of 2013,” says Howe (Cultural Studies, Global Development Studies). “In a declassified report, known as Project SITKA, the RCMP had determined that 45 Indigenous rights activists in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were meritorious of future surveillance, based upon their involvement in this protest event.”

Howe says that although their names were redacted from the report, he felt sure that many of the people who the RCMP listed had been classified as 'volatile' to state security.

“Having first-hand knowledge of the events of 2013, I was immediately curious as to how the RCMP had ranked these individuals, towards determining their 'volatility',” he added.

When co-author Jeffrey Monaghan and Howe received the RCMP's socio-psychological profiling matrices, for both individuals and events, he says the vast majority of risk ranking factors had to do with an individual or group's ability to use social media, to network, to easily convey their message – even their beliefs surrounding the issue. In short, the potential or reality of criminality was not what determined risk ranking; rather it appeared to mostly surround narrative creation and ability to disseminate.

“Though the RCMP regularly claim to protect and facilitate the right to lawful advocacy, protest, and dissent, my new research shows how these practices of strategic incapacitation exhibit highly antagonistic forms of policing,” Howe says.

The research was recently published in the Canadian Journal of Sociology.

Miles Howe arrived at Queen's University as a 2018 Vanier Scholar.

The Conversation: When pets are family, the benefits extend into society

Studies show that living with a pet has positive outcomes when pets are considered family members and not property.

[Man hugs his golden retriever]
In addition to the health benefits of physical activity, walking your dog has many social and community benefits. (Photo by Eric Ward/Unsplash)

There is a growing global trend to consider pets as part of the family. In fact, millions of people around the world love their pets, enjoying their companionship, going for walks, playing and even talking to them. And there is evidence suggesting that attachment to pets is good for human health and even helps build community.

More and more often, animals are included in family events and become important to all members of the family. This can be particularly significant in single-parent families, where a pet can be an important companion to children. Children with pets may have higher levels of empathy and self-esteem compared to those who do not have pets. Thinking of pets as family members can actually make the chores associated with pet care less stressful than they are for those who consider pets as property. Spending more time caring for a pet increases attachment to that animal which in turn reduces stress in owners.

In the research my colleagues and I have done on aging and social participation, we found considerable analysis showing that interactions involving pets, especially if we care about them, can have a health-protective effect. Zooeyia (pronounced zoo-AY-uh) is the idea that pets, also known as companion animals, can be good for human health. In fact, pet owners in Germany and Australia were found to visit their doctor 15 per cent fewer times annually than non-pet owners.

Healthy, emotional connections

Many health benefits to humans occur when there is an emotional attachment to pets. And we tend to care the most for animals that live with us. For example, a study that looked at attachment to dogs found that people tended to care about their house dogs more than those that lived in the yard. Higher levels of attachment to dogs has been associated with a greater likelihood of walking the dog and spending more time on those walks as compared with those with a weaker bond to their dogs.

Sharing your life with a pet has been associated with a decreased risk of coronary artery disease, a reduction in stress levels and increased physical activity (especially through dog walking). The presence of a pet during stressful activities has been shown to lower the blood pressure of couples taking part in a stressful task. In fact, levels of beta-endorphin, oxytocin and dopamine, among other markers, increased in both humans and their dogs during caring interactions, demonstrating that time spent together is physiologically beneficial for both species. And owning a pet has been associated with an improved cardiovascular disease survival among older adults (aged 65 to 84 years old) being treated for hypertension.

[Cat hiding in a blanket]
Research shows that children who grow up with a pet develop higher levels of empathy and lower stress levels. (Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev/Unsplash)

Pets as family and community members

Because pets are considered family members by many people, the loss of a dog or cat is often a cause for deep grief. A missing or dead pet is hard for many to replace because the relationship between the person and pet was specific to those individuals. The attachment between humans and animals is often so strong that it is common to mourn in a way that is very similar to the feelings and behaviours associated with the loss of a human family member.

The bond between humans and animals is not just good for human health, it can also help build community. People with pets often find that activities with their companion animal creates connections with other people. Social networks that are developed based on shared concern over the welfare of animals can lead to increased human-human interaction, as well as activities involving pets (e.g. dog-walking clubs). Walking a dog gets people out of private spaces, which can be isolating, and into public areas where interactions with neighbors and other walkers are possible.

Protecting pets

Societies create laws and institutions to protect companion animals from cruelty and neglect. In most jurisdictions, regulation of shelters and pounds has not evolved to reflect the beloved status of many pets, and instead consider pets as property. If a lost pet is not reunited with an owner within a few days it can be sold to a new family, to a research lab, or be euthanized. However, some countries, such as India, Italy and Taiwan have legislated against the euthanasia of healthy shelter animals.

But in North America euthanasia is still common. In 2017, Humane Canada found that among the shelters they surveyed, over 70 per cent of lost dogs and cats were unclaimed, and tens of thousands of dogs and cats were euthanized. In 2016, 4,308,921 animals were experimented on in Canadian laboratories. Approximately 17,000 were pet dogs and cats who were provided by shelters to research laboratories and later euthanized.

The strength of the human-animal bond has resulted in the creation of not-for-profit animal rescues whose mission is to ‘pull’ lost and abandoned animals from shelters before they are euthanized or sold for research. For example, Marley’s Hope is a Nova Scotia all-breed rescue organization. The organisation also partners with the Sipekne’katik First Nation to help rehome roaming dogs as well as spay and neuter where possible. The Underdog Railroad in Toronto, Ontario, rescues dogs and cats from high-kill shelters as well as those offered “free to a good home” online. And Elderdog provides older adults with help to care for their pets as well as rescuing abandoned older dogs.

The Humane Society International — Canada assists in spay-neuter programs as well as advocating for and rescuing animals, including in the international dog and cat meat industries. They closed three South Korean dog meat farms and two slaughterhouses in 2018, rescuing 512 dogs, many of whom found homes in Canada and the USA.

Mohandas Ghandi understood the importance of the human animal bond. In his autobiography he said “man’s supremacy over the lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two.” Recognizing the ways that companion animals enrich human lives, and understanding the depth of the affection between many humans and animals, may be the key to not only better health, but to improving the welfare of society as a whole.The Conversation

___________________________________________

Lisa F. Carver is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science and Post Doctoral Fellow, SSHRC-funded ACTproject at Queen’s University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation is seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Queen’s signs new partnership with Chinese university

Beijing Normal University and Queen’s University geography departments develop faculty and student exchange.

  • Representatives from both universities present at the November 2018 Beijing Normal University signing ceremony in China.
    Representatives, including signatories Song Changqing, Executive Dean of Geographical Science at BNU, and Barbara Crow, Dean of Faculty of Arts and Science at Queens, at the Nov. 2018 Beijing Normal University ceremony in China.
  • Queen's representatives add the final signatures to the agreement on Jan. 10, 2019 during a ceremony at Richardson Hall.
    Queen's representatives add the final signatures to the agreement on Jan. 10, 2019 during a ceremony at Richardson Hall. (From left: Warren Mabee, Head of Geography and Planning; Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International); and Dean of Arts and Science, Barbara Crow
  • Signatories Dr. Mabee, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Crow joined by Professor of Geography and Planning Mark Rosenberg, and Director of the Queen's China Liaison Office, Zhiyao Zhang at the Jan. 10, 2019 ceremony at Richardson Hall.
    Signatories Dr. Mabee, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Crow joined by Professor of Geography and Planning Mark Rosenberg, and Director of the Queen's China Liaison Office, Zhiyao Zhang at the Jan. 10, 2019 ceremony at Richardson Hall.

Queen’s and Beijing Normal University (BNU) signed an agreement for a new joint field course, formalizing ongoing ties between the BNU Faculty of Geographical Sciences and Queen’s Department of Geography and Planning. Made official at a signing ceremony at Richardson Hall, the agreement strengthens opportunities for research collaboration, faculty collaboration, and undergraduate and graduate mobility.

“It’s been very exciting to watch the relationship between our two universities grow,” says Mark Rosenberg, the Queen’s professor of geography and planning who spearheaded this initiative. “This formal agreement will result in a growing number of benefits for Queen’s and BNU faculty and students, including chances to work and study in very dynamic research environments, and to work alongside many of the brightest young scholars from both Canada and China.”

In August 2018, Dr. Rosenberg led the two-week field course pilot, during which 15 undergraduate students and two faculty from BNU visited Queen’s to study and learn from planners and industry experts. The course’s itinerary had them visit Ottawa, Toronto, Prince Edward Country, and Niagara to develop an understanding for the varied historical and geographic development of Southeastern Ontario.

Looking ahead, Dr. Rosenberg will host more BNU students for the next iteration of the field course in summer 2019, with Queen’s undergraduate students making their first Beijing visit sometime in 2020. He expects graduate student exchange between the two schools’ geography departments will begin within that period as well.

“I have had an academic relationship with China, and particularly BNU, for many years,” says Dr. Rosenberg, who also holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Development Studies. “I think it is fantastic that students and colleagues will have similar opportunities to collaborate there under this agreement, and believe it presents unique, cross-cultural opportunities to push knowledge in new and exciting directions.”

Present at the Richardson Hall signing were representatives from Queen’s University, including Barbara Crow, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science; Jill Scott, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) and Interim Associate Vice-Principal (International); Warren Mabee, Head, Department of Geography and Planning; Zhiyao Zhang, Director, Queen’s China Liaison Office; and Dr. Rosenberg. Representatives from Beijing Normal University signed the agreement at an earlier ceremony held at BNU in November 2018, during a visit by Dr. Crow.

“Deepening engagement with universities in China is a priority for the Faculty of Arts and Science and this agreement is an excellent example of the type of partnerships we hope to pursue in the future,” says Dr. Crow. “This signing marks a very exciting development in our relationship with Beijing Normal University, and it demonstrates the international capacity and networks of our colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and Science. This will provide wonderful opportunities for our faculty and students.”

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