Issues

May 2010

Prisons and prisoners are not a subject most of us like to dwell on, and according to our May essayists, that may be what the Harper government is counting on to bring in sweeping changes to Canada’s penal institutions. Michael Jackson, a UBC law professor and rights advocate, and Graham Stewart, ex-head of the John Howard Society, have produced a devastating critique of the federal government’s recent “Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety” which stands poised to eradicate many of the improvements put in place by the Corrections and Conditional Release Act of 1992. By playing on the aging public’s fear of violent crime, Jackson and Stewart say, Ottawa is set to introduce draconian and expensive measures that will be ineffective, counter-productive and costly for generations to come.

The science of climate change is basically no longer in doubt. The question now is who will pay to make the changes our environmental systems require, and how? In Canada, the discussion is moving out of the labs and into the halls of Parliament and, increasingly, of our provincial legislatures. Mark Jaccard, professor of environmental economics at Simon Fraser University and author of award-winning books on the subject, develops in his essay, “The Climate Change Olympics”, three possible models of fairness that need to be employed in various combinations to figure out: who pays?

Edward Shorter is a social historian who has devoted his career to the study of sexuality and desire, gynecology, psychiatry and compelling human impulses. In our May issue he reviews Sex, Bombs and Burgers: How War, Porn and Fast Food Created Technology As We Know It by Peter Nowak. Did everything that’s bad for our health come out of World War II?

And there’s a special feature this month for our web-based readers. Our latest Online Original is “Winter of a Hundred Books” by Brendan de Caires, a savvy new citizen of the Canadian literary world, originally from Guyana, who was asked to serve on the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize jury this year as a regional judge for the Caribbean and Canada and who brings a new and refreshing point of view to this country’s homegrown fiction.

Happy reading! Bronwyn Drainie Editor