Monday, October 04, 2010

Monday Post

Cannabis users twice as likely to suffer mental problems than non-users (surprise, surprise):

Cannabis users suffer mental health problems twice as often as non-users, a study published Monday by Statistics Netherlands said.

"The percentage of people with a less good mental health is two times higher among cannabis users than non-users," CBS said in a statement.

The study, which was carried out between 2007 to 2009 and involved some 18,500 people, found that "20 percent of male cannabis users complained of mental problems, compared to 10 percent among non-users".

The proportion was the same for women, with 28 percent of users complaining of mental problems, compared to 14 percent among non-users, CBS said.

Smokers complained of mental problems such as anxiety, melancholy, sadness and impatience, but CBS said the physical health of users and non-users barely differed.

The study found that four percent of the 15-65 year-olds who took part had smoked cannabis at least once in the last 30 days.

And that was in The Netherlands, too!

Canadians still hold the traditional view of families as opposed to people who call themselves families:

For the first time, there are more unmarried than married people in Canada, according to the most recent census data (2006), and common-law families — particularly those with children — are the fastest-growing family type in Canada. Yet poll results from Ipsos Reid show that while 80% of Canadians believe two married, heterosexual parents and their children constitute a family, just 66% consider a common-law couple and their children to be a family.

Technical and language issues stall David Chen court date:

David Chen awoke on Monday morning at 3 a.m. and drove his truck to the Ontario Food Terminal, a sprawling wholesale produce market. He loaded the truck with, among other vegetables: one skid of tomatoes, one skid of bananas and two skids of cauliflower. Driving back to Chinatown, he unloaded the truck at his store, the Lucky Moose Food Mart.

Then Mr. Chen, 36 and a father of two, left the store and, with his brother-in-law, Qing Li, and a staffer, Jie Chen, walked about 15 minutes to Toronto’s courthouse at Old City Hall. They hoped for a swift end to a legal nightmare that has dragged on for 17 months.

Police laid charges of assault and forcible confinement against the three men in May 2009, after they detained a man caught on the store’s video cameras stealing house plants from the Lucky Moose. The case has captivated Toronto, with most observers demanding to know why an honest grocer, struggling to make a buck and protect his merchandise, has become a target for punishment.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Ricky Chan, an investment banker who is supporting the grocer. “This has put a lot of stress on David and his family and has affected business as well.”

At Old City Hall, dozens of English and Chinese media crammed Room 121, the most august room in the storied courthouse, and it felt like a place where justice would be served. The windows soar the height of mature maple trees, curved oak railings are set with flaming torches cast in brass, and intricate carvings depict the city’s coat of arms: a first nations warrior and Lady Britannia, holding a trident.

But technical and language issues almost immediately snarled the proceedings. The crown attorney, Eugene McDermott, won the first adjournment of the morning when he confessed that, after preparing 17 months for this day, he did not have a video player with the “proprietary software” to play a security video recordings from the Lucky Moose.

After that was resolved, Mr. Justice Ramez Khawly of the Ontario Court of Justice, who presided, dropped a bombshell: there is not a single court-accredited Mandarin interpreter in the Province of Ontario.

“My clients have the right to an acredited interpreter,” Peter Lindsay, Mr. Chen’s towering lawyer (he is 6-foot-9) told the court. Mr. Justice Khawly then declared another recess, seeking at least a conditionally accredited interpreter to get the trial started.

The star of the proceedings did not wait around. Mr. Chen left the court, waded through a forest of television cameras and walked back to the Lucky Moose, to price his produce for the day. He set out tomatoes at 49¢/lb, bananas at 49¢/lb, and cauliflour at $1.39 each. “It’s a very good deal,” he said, his eyes twinkling.

In the afternoon, court resumed. Mr. Chen normally keeps a box-cutter in his pocket, to open crates of merchandise at the store. But after having one box-cutter confiscated by security in the courthouse, he knows now to leave it at the Lucky Moose.

In court, the crown tried to get the trial moving by proving that the defence had agreed to the Mandarin interpreter (despite her lack of accreditation) at a hearing back in June. The court reporter played back an audio cassette tape of the June deliberations. But no one could make out a word of the soft mumbling that trickled into the courtroom. Mr. Justice Khawly adjourned the case until Wednesday, when a conditionally accredited Mandarin interpreter (one of three in the province) is available.

What a joke this all is! A hard-working immigrant is made the criminal by a thief and now no one can replay the video of the incident in question nor is there an approved translator (should I even ask why no one speaks sufficient English?). This isn't a comedy of errors; it's the Canadian justice system!

Anglophones in Quebec need more help (oh really?):

Quebec’s anglophones are not in danger of disappearing, but often feel invisible without flexible government programs and policies to support their growth, says Canada’s language watchdog.

Graham Fraser, commissioner of official languages, told a Senate committee examining the minority English-speaking population of Quebec that the federal government should ensure its recently introduced strategy for official languages has specific components tailored for anglophones. 

He said the measures used need to be different from those promoting minority francophone communities in Canada as a whole.

“A ‘one size fits all’ or ‘what works for the francophone minority communities works for the English-speaking minority of Quebec’ approach is not what we need,” Fraser said Monday. “Government policies and programs should have the ability and the flexibility to respond to the English-speaking community’s specific needs and realities.”

Mr. Fraser noted a recent report from Statistics Canada suggested Quebec anglophones — representing about 13% of the province’s population — earn less than their francophone counterparts with similar credentials, had higher rates of poverty and fewer public-sector jobs.

Anglophones have been marginalised by francophone special-interest groups for years. They have driven a wedge into the citizenry of this country, pitting neighbour against neighbour. How does one say: "Back off!" in French?

Should Canada pay for Muslim advisory panels?

Barbara Kay: The cancellation of the speech by Defence Minister MacKay raises the question of why any government ministry would fund any religious consulting group. Why is there a paid “Muslim Working Group” permanently embedded at Foreign Affairs, whose job it is to advise the government on their foreign policy wherever it touches on areas of Muslim density? Why not a “Christian Working Group” or a “Sikh Working Group”? Can you imagine if there were a “Jewish Working Group” to advise on the Middle East? Don’t make me laugh. To me this is a scandal, and I don’t understand why it has not been addressed. Some of the people in this group hold very insalubrious views or are attached to groups with discomfiting agendas.

Jonathan Kay: If we were at war with people who claimed to be fighting for Sikhism, or Judaism, or Christianity, it would be perfectly legitimate and beneficial for Defence or Foreign Affairs to have working groups that would help them understand how best to wage the battle against those fighting under the banner of those creeds. I don’t know why the DND’s effort in this area is a matter of controversy among Canadian conservatives — unless it were a forum for radicals, which, given MacKay’s action in this case, it clearly is not.

My take: No. Damn. Way. I thought Canada was a secular liberal democracy. Why is it that we cater to special-interest groups and not the general will of our own citizens? We've put the impetus on ALL individuals and groups who've come to this country in years past to conform to established values, customs and laws and this should be no different.


Anonymous said...

"Cannabis users twice as likely to suffer mental problems than non-users (surprise, surprise)"

While in no way do I advocate the use of marijuana, and I believe it should stay illegal, this study vexes me. Where is the control group?

It is no secret that people with mental disorders gravitate towards stimulants to help cope with their issues. I know more than a few people where this is the case.

Did the scientists test these people before hand for dispositions towards these diseases? Did they test them to see if the disease budded and progressed? What problems did they develop?

Until they can meet these controls, this wil remain a "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" logical error. If they really want to properly advocate against marijuana use (as they should) then they will rectify those errors.

~Your Brother~

Anonymous said...

I agree, to some extent, with "your brother", the previous commenter. Some people might gravitate to using marijuana/hashish/cannabis resin because they are LOOKING for a way to "medicate", to make the world and their problems retreat from them a bit. They might, therefore, have had mental issues BEFORE they became users and not developed them BECAUSE they use it.
There is, however, some question as to whether it is a stimulant, a depressant, or both. A lot of things are still unknown about it, which is another good reason to AVOID using it. I doubt that it is any more unhealthy or that it leads to any greater recklessness or lawlessness than alcohol use. The way that users tend to inhale it more deeply than cigarette smoke, hold it in to maximize its effects and smoke it w/o a proper filter likely make it a highly carcinogenic smoke.


Osumashi Kinyobe said...

There have been co-relations between drug use and mental illness but there have also been co-relations between drug use and liberalism (read: laziness).
Just saying.

Anonymous said...

Yes. There are co-relations. Which is all the more reason to properly speak against the use of them.

~Your Brother~