According to a new poll, more than half of Canadians think 2019 was a generally bad year for Canada.
Among the results, 75 per cent of Canadians expect an increase in global temperatures in 2020 while over six in 10 Canadians said they believe gender wage equality won’t be reached this year.
Jennifer McLeod, Ipsos vice president of public affairs, said a majority of Canadians are actually still feeling positive for this year — despite their view of 2019 as well as the negative predictions they’ve made for 2020.
“You know, while some things that Canadians are worried about have met these negative predictions … I do think that on the whole, they are feeling positive,” said McLeod.
The poll also found that about three-quarters of Canadians feel that 2020 will be better overall year than 2019, as well as about four in 10 feel that the global economy will be better.
“Though Canada isn’t quite as optimistic about this as some other countries, you know that’s still not a bad number — we’re looking for that silver lining,” she said.
Canada’s outlook on the last year was still not as negative compared to other countries around the world, the poll found.
Almost two-thirds of those polled globally thought of 2019 as a bad year for their country compared to 54 per cent of Canadians.
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When it comes to their personal experience, only 42 per cent of Canadians thought last year was bad for them and their family compared to 50 per cent of those polled everywhere on average.
McLeod said that although she wasn’t surprised by the results, what stood out the most to her were the predictions on both climate change and loneliness.
“It’s turned into the issue of our generation,” McLeod said of climate change.
“We see that this is continuously an important issue for Canadians today and it has been a growing issue over the last (few) months. Environmental responsibility is important to most Canadians.”
One question on the Ipsos poll asked whether or not a person would feel lonely most of the time in 2020, a question Canadians measured 29 per cent in compared to the global average of 33 per cent.
McLeod attributes it to the prevalence of mental health issues.
On a lighter note, Ipsos also asked how likely it would be for aliens to visit Earth in 2020 — a scenario only 1 in 10 Canadians thought was likely.
“Some might see that as a good thing, some might see that as a bad thing but it’s just a minority of Canadians that feel that way,” said McLeod.
This Ipsos poll was an online survey of 22,512 interviews conducted between Nov. 22-Dec.6, 2019. The results were weighted to balance the demographics of the adult population among the countries surveyed. The precision of the Ipsos online poll with an unweighted probability sample and 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for a sample of 1,000, and an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points 19 times out 20 per country of what the results had been if the entire country’s adult population had been polled.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada not immune to the virus of COVID-19 conspiracies – CBC.ca
Like the coronavirus, conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19 are contagious and can spread easily among Canadians.
Is hydroxychloroquine an effective treatment for those infected?
Was the coronavirus genetically engineered in a lab as a biological weapon?
Does regularly rinsing your nose with a saline solution protect you from the coronavirus?
False, unproven and not true, respectively.
Yet recent research suggests Canadians are exposed to a high level of bad information about COVID-19, and many are vulnerable to what some have described as “a pandemic of misinformation” or an “infodemic.”
Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication released a survey last week that showed nearly half of Canadians, 46 per cent, believed at least one of four COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Similar research at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec indicated one in 10 Canadians believes a conspiracy theory.
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Both studies found that young people were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories and false news. That’s not surprising considering that disinformation is most prevalent — and spreads most easily — on social media, which is a primary source of news for younger Canadians.
But all ages are susceptible.
“Everyone has fallen prey at some point to misinformation on social media,” Sarah Everts, an associate professor and co-researcher on the Carleton study, said on the university’s website. “Anyone who thinks that it’s easy to distinguish conspiracy theories and misinformation is at high risk of being fooled.”
Trust in news at record high
While some of the major social media and search platforms are taking measures to limit and reduce the amount of misinformation on their feeds, it is difficult to control the internet. CBC News has found that even discredited stories and bogus claims — such as Plandemic, a 26-minute documentary-style video full of false and misleading claims about COVID-19 — continue to resurface on alternative sites and platforms.
It’s all the more reason why reputable news organizations must devote resources to fact-checking COVID-19 claims.
The good news is that a number of serious media outlets in Canada have done just that by dedicating journalists to this important work.
The better news is that public trust in those traditional news organizations soared to record highs in Canada as the pandemic took hold, according to a new special edition of the “Trust Barometer” report by marketing firm Edelman Canada.
At CBC News, we launched a COVID-19 disinformation unit to fact-check viral COVID-19 claims on social media and other platforms. The goal is to hold platforms to account for the spread of bad information and unverified claims; to provide accurate takes on that information from verified experts; and to try to help Canadians navigate the minefield of false and misleading information. Find links to some of the team’s recent work below.
(CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada has a similar unit, Décrypteurs.)
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Meanwhile, a team of journalists attached to our “Ask CBC News” (COVID@cbc.ca) project has received more than 41,000 questions from our audience on the pandemic, and some of their work addresses misinformation. The team has directly responded to more than 2,200 people, and many user questions have been put to experts on the air or published in one of our more than 40 FAQ articles. These pieces are consistently among the most-read articles on our website.
We recently launched our “Students Ask CBC News” initiative with Curio.ca. Every Tuesday night, CBC News Network produces a live segment dedicated to questions from high school students and expert answers.
And as a member of the Trusted News Initiative, CBC/Radio-Canada joined an industry collaboration of major media and technology companies in March to rapidly identify and stop the spread of harmful coronavirus disinformation.
We view this work as essential public service and are fully committed to it. For as long as there’s an “infodemic,” CBC News aims to be part of the cure.
Some recent fact checks by our COVID-19 disinformation unit:
Statistics Canada to collect data on origins of guns used in crime – CBC.ca
Statistics Canada has started a project to increase the amount of information collected on guns used in crime.
Researchers have said for decades there isn’t enough data about where guns come from and how they are used.
Without that information, it is a greater challenge to stop the flow of illegal guns into Canada or to curb gun violence.
“It’s been a problem for 30 years,” said Wendy Cukier, president of the Coalition for Gun Control.
“The information is quite fragmented. Jurisdictions like Toronto collect and trace and track crime guns, but a lot of others don’t.”
Statistics Canada is working with police services and Public Safety Canada to change that.
Last year, the agency added a variable to its homicide survey allowing police to indicate whether firearms used to commit a homicide were sent for tracing, and to provide the origin if discovered.
Besides that, Statistics Canada hasn’t said how it will increase the amount of information it receives on crime guns, just that it’s working on it.
But that’s a good first step, said Cukier.
More data would help identify hot spots of gun activity in the country, she said.
It’s something law enforcement in the U.S. has done successfully. In the past, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has traced a large number of crime guns back to illegal sales.
“In Canada, we don’t have the mechanisms to make those sorts of determinations because we don’t have the tracing, the tracing data,” said Cukier.
“When it comes to identifying hot spots in Canada — dirty dealers, points of entry and so on — I think the police would say there is less information than they would like to have.”
Collecting that information nationally would allow police to target smuggling rather than discovering illegal firearms by chance when a car crosses the border, she said.
The Canada Border Services Agency seized 647 firearms in the 2019-20 fiscal year. In the last three fiscal years, that number peaked at 751 seizures in 2017-18.
There is no way of knowing how many guns escape detection.
Cukier said the broad pattern of gun crime in the country has been known for years.
Licensed guns like rifles and shotguns are often used in domestic assaults and attacks on police officers in rural communities. Handguns used by gangs are smuggled in from the U.S., stolen or sold illegally, she said.
But the figures used in crimes are elusive.
Even what police refer to as a gun used in a crime isn’t the same across the country, according to an email from Peter Frayne, a Statistics Canada spokesperson.
Some jurisdictions may refer to a ‘crime gun’ as a firearm used to shoot, rob or threaten another person.
But some police services don’t use the term, meaning there is a “barrier to consistent data collection and recording,” according to Frayne.
Statistics Canada says it’s working with police and other groups to come up with a definition.
The lack of standard definition upsets Nova Scotia gun owner Daniel Harrington, who is an award-winning target shooter. He uses a Stag 10 rifle that has now been banned by the federal government.
Harrington said legislators should get all the facts before they create laws that hurt licensed gun owners, especially when guns smuggled into the country could be the problem.
“[It’s] so backwards,” he said.
He said it is important to define what it is that needs to be stopped.
“Like, assault rifle has no legal definition in Canada,” he said. “So define it, find out where it’s coming from, find out what you can do to stop that and then do it,” said Harrington.
Statistics Canada’s work is further complicated by a lack of requests to trace a gun’s ownership history.
Not all crime guns are submitted for tracing by police. There is no legal requirement that firearms be submitted by police for tracing through the RCMP-run Canadian National Firearms Tracing Centre.
The aim of the centre is to help law enforcement figure out the history of a gun connected to a criminal investigation and to use that information as potential evidence in court, said Catherine Fortin, an RCMP spokesperson in an email.
“We are not mandated to collect statistics on illegal firearms,” she said.
That means the centre does not retain the information it gathers.
“Instead, the results are sent back to the police of jurisdiction, and are recorded in various, and inconsistent, formats,” said Frayne.
Not all tracing pans out, meaning the origins of some guns remains a mystery.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is also trying to fill in some of the gaps. The association represents senior police leadership from across the country.
It has been exploring ways to increase data collection on the criminal uses of firearms through Statistics Canada.
The association also wants to “standardize definitions of key firearm-related concepts,” said spokesperson Natalie Wright in an email.
Wright said they are trying to identify possible options for data collection and analysis on firearms.
Despite the difficulties, collecting the information is still worth the effort, according to Jooyoung Lee, a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto. Lee studies the causes and consequences of gun violence.
“It’s important to determine the origin of crime guns because any attempts at legislating the sale and flow of firearms has to recognize that the United States is a global supplier of firearms,” said Lee, “We just simply don’t know how many guns are Canadian in origin versus American in origin.”
Cukier said even without a complete picture of where guns used in crime are coming from, she believes laws like the federal government’s ban on assault-style firearms still have to go ahead.
“I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘There’s no point in banning military-assault weapons because we have a problem with gun smuggling,'” she said.
“That’s like saying we shouldn’t try to treat breast cancer because lung cancer is a big problem. The ban on military-assault weapons is aimed at reducing the risk we will have mass shootings.”
Minds behind pandemic predicting algorithm already thinking about future beyond COVID-19
The Canadian researcher who was among the first to predict the deadly spread of COVID-19 says the world needs to change the way it monitors for and reacts to disease outbreaks.
Dr. Kamran Khan set out to make a “smoke alarm” that would detect disease outbreaks around the world when he created his pandemic-predicting software BlueDot.
Khan and his team of about 50 experts used big data and artificial intelligence to warn the world of a potentially serious viral outbreak three days before the World Health Organization, though they picked up on the signs even earlier.
Waiting for outbreaks to be declared typically takes too long, the University of Toronto professor of medicine and public health says, and the information often takes a long time to make it into the hands of the medical community and the public.
The world is changing, he says, and diseases are emerging with greater frequency and having bigger impacts.
Big data and artificial intelligence can provide a bird’s-eye view of diseases around the globe in real time, letting people move faster to quash new outbreaks.
It’s time we start using them, for the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, Khan says.
By this point, BlueDot’s story is famous around the world.
The software scours hundreds of thousands of sources of information in 65 languages around the world all day, every day, to look for signs of trouble.
Khan received the first indication something was amiss in Wuhan, China, on New Year’s Eve. The algorithm picked up a blog post in Chinese describing a pneumonia outbreak involving about 20 people.
Within seconds, the program was able to sift through anonymized international flight itineraries to predict 20 places the outbreak might spread.
The outbreak the algorithm described bore serious similarities to the 2003 SARS outbreak. Khan and his team submitted their findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal on Jan. 6.
By the time the virus showed up in Bangkok, Thailand, on Jan. 13, the smoke alarm was ringing.
“If you see a case show up outside of Wuhan in another country, it’s telling you that the outbreak is much bigger than a couple dozen cases. Maybe hundreds, maybe thousands,” Khan says.
“That’s the moment we were quite concerned.”
Of the 20 places BlueDot predicted the virus could spread, 12 were among the first destinations to report outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.
The embers landed in Canada, and the house has caught fire.
While Canada’s health-care system has struggled even to count the number of manually confirmed cases across the country due to archaic data gathering systems, Khan’s team in Toronto have used their technology to measure how well people have been sticking to public health advice.
Using anonymized cell phone data, they’ve been tracking how much people have been moving about as health officials urge them to stay home.
Khan refers to this as the “fire extinguisher” function of big data during a pandemic, allowing public health authorities to target their efforts where they’re needed most.
“When there’s only so many people, your human resources in the public health sector are finite, you can’t be everywhere,” he says.
As Canada gets farther from the crest of the first wave of the pandemic, and people begin moving around the country and around the world again, the smoke alarm is going to be important, Khan says.
“We’re going to be thinking about introductions from other parts of the globe and trying to make sure that those embers are kind of snuffed out as quickly as possible,” he says.
This time, he hopes governments, institutions and individuals will be able to take smarter steps more quickly.
“We need to be using the latest in data and digital technologies to our advantage to do that,” he says.
What we do with the information also needs to change, he says.
Typically when a new outbreak is reported, public-health officials find out first. They share the information with governments, which then share it with the medical community and eventually the public and industry become aware.
That cascade of information means delayed reactions.
“If we are going to be able to be successful, we are going to have to empower the whole of society,” Khan says.
And if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that everyone needs to work to extinguish the fire together, he says.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020.
Source: – CTV News
Edited BY Harry Miller
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