A simple PR lesson for community police

If police report that all is quiet in a community, does it mean they're overstaffed or does it mean a reporter is asking the wrong questions?

A simple PR lesson for community policeAs a young reporter in a radio and TV newsroom in Saint John, N.B., I had to do police checks every night. I’d call the duty sergeant of the city police and the local detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I’d ask if there were any events I should know about and report on.…

Living frugally won’t improve millennial housing woes

More money to spend on housing could push prices higher if not accompanied by an increase in the housing supply

Living frugally won’t improve millennial housing woesAn Australian real estate developer recently stoked fury on social media by claiming that millennials might be able to afford to buy homes in Australia’s biggest cities if they cut out excesses such as “fancy toast.” Canadian commentators were quick to note that you’d have to forego a lot of avocado toast to scrape together…

The biking tail is wagging the dog

Bikes are the same length as a car and - with saddle bags and elbows - about half as wide and may take up a whole lane, all for one person

The biking tail is wagging the dogIn the old days, an undergraduate at a mid-level university might be criticized for asking the research question: How can people be encouraged to walk or cycle more? Who says we need this activity? Is it safe? Isn’t this like famous builder Robert Moses asking how to get more cars on the road? Was that…

When public safety gets caught in the middle

In time of crisis, should governments rely on non-governmental organizations or should those groups be asked to stand aside for the greater good?

When public safety gets caught in the middleFormer Canadian Finance minister Jim Flaherty was once asked whether the government would be or should be providing a certain service. He cleverly said that if you could find that service in the yellow pages, the government shouldn’t be involved. (For younger readers, the yellow pages were a listing of businesses in your city.) Flaherty’s point…

When lending a helping hand becomes official policy

In emergency circumstances, we often help each other. But what happens when a municipality mandates that citizens need to help strangers?

When lending a helping hand becomes official policyThe great disaster scholar Joe Scanlon told me that individuals perform well and organizations perform poorly in crises. Anyone who has been in a big storm in Montreal has seen individuals and restaurants open their doors to people with a thick layer of snow on their heads. Anyone who has lived on the Prairies has helped…

The truth about wasteful daycare funding

Offer money - not centres or spaces - to families and allow parents to make choices without being told the kind of care they’ll use

The truth about wasteful daycare fundingThe City of Toronto is asking you, Canadian taxpayer, to pay for most of its new, expansive daycare plans. But Toronto actually has a surplus of daycare spaces. Municipal politicians have adopted a plan that calls for the creation of 30,000 daycare spaces over the next decade with funding requirements as high as $2.6 billion. Provincial…

Why public spaces are so important

Lisa Benton-Short's great book about the National Mall in Washington, D.C., helps us understand why we need areas devoted to honouring society's best

Why public spaces are so importantParks and public spaces are often more than meets the eye. For example, the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is no ordinary public space. That’s true – and it's also the title of a great book by Lisa Benton-Short (The National Mall: No Ordinary Public Space). We all can learn a little about our less monumental…
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