VIU News & Experts: Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Climate action signs and a loudspeaker on pavement

September 20, 2023 - 5:00pm

Housing crisis, grocery store prices and Trump ✅

Looking for experts this week? In this issue: 

  • Solutions to skyrocketing grocery prices
  • Rising diplomatic tensions between Canada and India and Canadians' trust in Prime Minister Trudeau
  • A research project that could move the needle on the housing crisis
  • Climate Action Fair: tomorrow

Featured experts

Helping to solve the housing crisis

VIU’s Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute presented at the Union of BC Municipalities’ Convention this week on ways to improve the development application and approval process. Both developers and local governments agree that municipalities need to do better at processing applications, says Dr. Pam Shaw, MABRRI Director. Improvements could help solve the housing crisis, she adds, as part of the issue lies with approvals of new developments. The Town of Qualicum Beach partnered with VIU to apply for a UBCM grant to fund the work. The end result will be a toolkit of best practices for municipalities that ensures development proposals meet certain standards and are appropriate for the region. Learn more.

Rising diplomatic tensions between Canada and India and Canadians' trust in Prime Minister Trudeau

The latest round of devastating poll results indicate that Trudeau's Liberal  government has lost the support of many Canadians. Does this mean that he has also lost their trust? Maybe. But not necessarily. Trudeau’s handling of the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar could be turning this around. Dr. Michael MacKenzie, VIU’s Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership, is available to share some thoughts.

Grappling with grocery store prices

CEOs of Loblaw, Sobeys, Metro, Costco and Walmart have agreed to work with the federal government on stabilizing food prices in Canada. Dr. Charles Schell, Acting Associate Dean in the Faculty of Management, says governments have enabled a competition policy that allows a small number of competitors. Modernization of supply chains is the spoken rationale for this concentration, he adds, but when the promised synergies fail to materialize, increased consumer costs, decreased producer prices are the result. Reach out to him through this email for a deeper discussion.

Climate Action Fair

The negative impacts of climate change, which were once thought to take place far in the future and in other parts of the world, are happening in the here and now. VIU Geography Professor Michele Patterson and VIU Eco-Club member Simon Hazel Maguire are organizing a Climate Action Fair on campus on September 21, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in the quad next to the library. Members of the VIU community will speak on everything from the impact we’ve already made (and what’s left to do), to future-proofing the shellfish industry, to a unique plant restoration project on the Nanaimo campus. Learn more.

Trump and the end of democracy

Dr. Michael MacKenzie, VIU’s Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership, is watching what is happening south of Canada’s borders closely. He’s thinking about what happens if the Republicans win with Trump as their leader. The impact could be the dismantling of the democratic system, he argues, setting the Republicans up to lose the next election – possibly by winning it. Reply to this email if you’re interested in having a chat with him on this topic.

VIU in the news

A community-engaged approach to the toxic drug crisis

In the midst of BC’s ongoing, toxic drug crisis, a researcher at VIU is using an arts-based, community-engaged approach to help people “come together in new ways to imagine and create change.” Dr. Sharon Karsten, an Adjunct Professor in the Recreation and Tourism Management department, is the director of Walk With Me, a project that uses the power of art to create connections and put a human face on the toxic drug crisis. She received a Michael Smith Health Research BC Scholar award to support this work. Read more.

Chemical compounds in artificial turf? 

Erik Krogh, Co-Director of VIU’s Applied Environmental Research Lab, recently spoke with CBC about a Victoria group’s concern that an artificial turf field made out of recycled tires could harm a nearby creek. A chemical compound in tires was found to be toxic to salmon and Krogh is collecting data on this compound. Read the article.  

VIU events

Colloquium Series

VIU’s Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series returns this fall with an engaging lineup. Colloquium lectures are free to attend and are from 10 to 11:30 am in VIU’s Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) at the Nanaimo campus. Or people can watch the livestream on the VIU Media Studies’ YouTube channel. The lecture lineup includes:

  • September 22: Christina Mansueti, a VIU English Instructor, presents Laughing Women: Unruly Women, Trainwrecks and the Carnivalesque.  Mansueti explores how TV comedies Chewing Gum and Fleabag negotiate contemporary feminisms.
  • October 20: Leon Potter, VIU’s Theatre Program Chair, presents Spectacular Spectacle: A Brief Look at the History of Special Effects on Stage. He takes audience members behind the curtain to discover how special effects were created before electricity and cameras.
  • November 24: Mike Roberson, a VIU English Professor, presents “There Must Be Some Mistake”: Three Perspectives on the Value of Failure. Roberson’s talk explores the personal, pedagogical and poetic perspectives of failure.

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