Sunday, August 14, 2022

BIG Exclusives

Rule of law wins in pastor’s successful appeal against pandemic protest contempt charges

On Friday, July 22, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned Calgary Pastor Artur Pawlowski’s conviction for contempt of court after he held church services in alleged violation of a court injunction prohibiting public gatherings that contravene Alberta Health Services’ public health orders. I mentioned Pawlowski earlier this year in an article about protests and the rule of law in the context of pandemic restrictions: Restrictions, rights, and the rule of law. I have not seen...

The demise of Roe v. Wade – breaking down the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case

The Supreme Court of the United States recently released its much-anticipated decision (anticipated due in no small part to the leak of a draft opinion in early May) in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The decision generated elation among pro-life advocates and outrage from abortion supporters because it overruled the Supreme Court’s earlier decisions in the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern...

Diving beneath the surface of the energy transition discussion

A few weeks ago in BIG Media, I talked about the “Energy Transition” of the 21st century - Examining the real meaning of ‘energy transition’ in the face of undeniable historic trends. I concluded that we are not departing on a new journey to modify humanity’s energy sources, but instead that we are 200 years into a series of rapid and dramatic shifts in our energy supplies. Until recently, energy transition has been driven by the...

Man dies from vehicle collision with parasite

This freak accident is just one of the more than 500 causes of death that are catalogued in the Alberta death database. There are 94 different types of cancer alone, causing death in Alberta. In fact, “non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” and “non-Hodg-kins lymphoma” are two separate causes. Any source of data that is entered manually by different people at different times with different perspectives, guidelines, judgments, attention to detail, and typing ability has this problem. It is...

Examining the real meaning of ‘energy transition’ in the face of undeniable historic trends

I have written a lot in the last year on the so-called “Energy Transition”. In fact, it is one of my favourite subjects, and I am working with the University of Alberta Future Energy Systems Signature Area and the Canadian Society for Evolving Energy (formerly Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources) to create a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called “The 21st Century Energy Transition – How do we make it work?”. Watch for it late...

How many of us are doing drugs – and what is the connection to crime?

The first of this two-part series examining the repercussions of the May 13 Supreme Court of Canada acquittal of Matthew Winston Brownleft us with some understanding of the new uncertainty regarding violent crimes committed under intoxication. Part 2 investigates the number of crimes in Canada that are undertaken by intoxicated persons, what the intoxicating substances are, and the prevalence of such substance use in our population. What are magic mushrooms? This particular case involved the hallucinogen magic mushrooms,...

Analysis of excess deaths in 2020 reveals surprising deviations

The eruption of SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, in 2020 changed the world in many ways. There was an understandable amount of fear in those early days. One of the concerns was the alarming number of people dying of the disease, resulting in the hasty implementation of well-intentioned measures to prevent as many of those deaths as possible. Alberta, Canada, was no different, mandating masks, lockdowns, and restrictions of all kinds. Measures such as these probably saved...

Responsibility, jurisprudence, and the magic mushroom decision – Part 1

On May 13, the Supreme Court of Canada acquitted Matthew Winston Brown of aggravated assault on professor Janet Hamnett while reportedly intoxicated with hallucinogen “magic mushrooms” and alcohol, striking Section 33.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which prevents self-induced intoxication from being used as a defence in assault cases.This section of the Criminal Code was created with the purpose of protecting individuals – particularly women and children – from violent crimes at the hands of intoxicated individuals, and...

Coffee cup quandary is catalyst for recycling research

At the end of an enlightening conversation over coffee with a friend, I found myself in a quandary, facing four refuse and recycling bins. Where was my coffee cup to go? There is an opening for trash, for refundable containers, for mixed recyclables, and for compostables. Is this cup recyclable? If so, which recycling bin does it go into? Or is it trash? Or is it compostable? If it should go into the recycling bin,...

Policies that took energy security for granted have put much of the world in a tough spot

Not too many years ago in the late 20th century, governments were really focused on energy security. They realized that cheap, abundant, and reliable energy supplies were essential to support industry, housing, transportation – and, indeed, our very lives. Resource-rich countries such as Canada and the United States restricted the amount of oil and natural gas that could be exported, ensuring that decades of reserves remained for domestic consumption. Resource-poor countries including Japan scrambled...