Jeers: to much ado about nothing. In an editorial last week (“Cue the outrage,” March 1), we commented on provincial Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne’s indignation at not having been offered a seat at the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat meeting on Atlantic salmon. “Who exactly is ‘invited’ to attend DFO NL Atlantic salmon advisory table? Never in 22 years of public life before!” he posted on social media. But as Ashley Fitzpatrick reported in The Telegram Friday, DFO said Byrne was offered a chance to participate in a stakeholder technical briefing or a private meeting with DFO’s Science branch. DFO also noted that provincial fisheries ministers have never attended secretariat meetings in the past. So why all the fuss? Byrne’s claim to have been slighted seems out of whack, in this instance.
Cheers: to scientific research. A new study released last week by Harvard Medical School has pinpointed the time of year during which there are 20 per cent fewer gun injuries in the United States — the days when the annual National Rifle Association convention is held. The thinking is that fewer people with guns are using them on those days. On Feb. 28, the Boston Globe quoted the senior author of the study, Anupam Jena. “Fewer people using guns means fewer gun injuries, which in some ways is not surprising,” said Jena, who’s the Ruth L. Newhouse associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School. “But the drop in gun injuries during these large meetings attended by thousands of well-trained gun owners seems to refute the idea that gun injuries stem solely from lack of experience and training in gun use.” Someone should tell that to U.S. President Donald Trump. In case you’re wondering, this year’s NRA convention is being held in Dallas, Texas, May 3-6.
Cheers: to consequences. A bride in British Columbia has found out the hard way that you can’t just trash a person and their professional reputation online and get away with it. Emily Liao has to pay Amara Wedding and its owner Kitty Chan $115,000 after conducting a nearly year-long online attack on Chan and her business because she was dissatisfied with the photography services provided. After Liao carried out her long social media tirade, Amara Wedding was forced to close and lay off its employees. In court, Liao tried a “fair comment” defence, but B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Weatherill said Liao failed to prove her comments were true and her displeasure justified. In fact, he said, evidence was overwhelming that her remarks were not true. “(Liao,) and others who think it is acceptable to use the internet as a vehicle to vent their frustrations, must be given the message that there will be consequences if their publications are defamatory,” Weatherill says. That’s advice worth heeding.