By: David Charbonneau

David will be posting his columns every week on Thursday. He has eclectic interests ranging from social and political issues to science. He is a retired Electronics Instructor from Thompson Rivers University, former president of the Faculty Association, and curriculum writer. He now paints acrylic on canvas for Thompson Studio.

Doctors beware: this opioid is not listed

December 7, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Doctors rely on Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act as a guide in prescribing drugs. Tramadol is not listed there but that could change soon.

Tramadol is a sneaky drug, as Dr. David Juurlink discovered when a patient with a shoulder injury was prescribed tramadol. On the positive side, tramadol relieved the shoulder pain. Then problems starting showing up, says Dr. Juurlink:

No going back on abuse of women

November 30, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — What was once a trickle has become a torrent of reports from women of how they were groped, fondled, molested, assaulted, raped, and verbally abused; how they fought off the unwanted sexual advances of men.

High-profile reports have come out of the entertainment industry. Actress Daryl Hannah told the New Yorker about the consequences of rejecting film director Harvey Weinstein's advances: "We are more than not believed – we are berated and criticized and blamed."

The mysterious Beothuk of Newfoundland

November 23, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Recent DNA tests have only deepened the mystery surrounding the Beothuk people of Newfoundland.

The Beothuk were reclusive compared to other Indigenous Newfoundland people like the Mi’kmaq. Their solitary nature may have contributed to their extinction.

Like all Indigenous people, the Beothuk had good reasons to avoid the settlers. The last Beothuk, Shanawdithit, died on June 6, 1829. Shanawdithit’s aunt died in captivity nine years earlier. Her aunt was captured by settlers in a raid on a Beothuk camp in which the aunt’s husband and infant child were killed.

My beef with Canada’s new food guide

November 16, 2017 - 6:37am

KAMLOOPS — Canada’s new food guide is being influenced by agencies whose chief focus is the consumption of their products, not our health. Food industries and a branch of government, Agri-food Canada, are resisting proposed changes by Health Canada.

Health Canada wants the new food guide to “shift towards more plant-based foods,” less red meats, and to limit “some meats and many cheeses” high in saturated fats.

Facebook tests honest ads in Canada

November 9, 2017 - 5:45am

KAMLOOPS — Facebook hasn’t been completely honest. They haven’t made it clear how we pay for the service.

Facebook is the world’s largest social network with 2 billion active users –I’m one of them. What I get from Facebook is the opportunity to connect with friends and family. What Facebook gets is $52 billion a year in advertising, an average of $80 per North American user annually. I get a valuable service and Facebook gets $80. But what’s troubling me is: just who is trying to influence me? Who have I sold myself to?

B.C. government offers help to opposition in drafting bills

November 2, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — There’s more than practicality and clever politics behind the government’s offer to help the opposition to draft winning bills.

As a practical matter, it’s inevitable that opposition parties will get together and propose legislation that the government disagrees with. Since the Green and BC Liberal members outnumber the NDP, the proposed legislation would pass.

If they’re going to pass, the bills should be well-written. Attorney-General David Eby says:

How to reduce drug overdose deaths

October 26, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — There is no easy way to reduce drug overdose deaths but a simple first step is to provide users with safe opioids. The hard part will take time.

The grim toll of deaths — of community leaders and ordinary citizens — marches on relentlessly. In just eight months of 2017, more British Columbians died of drug overdoses than the whole year before.

Lots of things don’t work. Still, politicians persist in the tried and unproven. B.C. Solicitor-General Mike Farnworth echoed concerns that rose in meetings with federal and provincial public safety ministers:

Tax Netflix but no Netflix tax

October 19, 2017 - 5:29am

KAMLOOPS — Netflix should be taxed but not as earlier proposed with a so-called “Netflix tax.” That proposal would have seen increased costs to access the internet. A more properly named “internet tax” would have targeted more than just Netflix. It would have increased costs to access banking, education, commerce, health, social media, and email, and a myriad of services becoming ever more essential to daily life.