“Nishtown” for Christie Pits?

Toronto, the ancestral territory of the Ojibway, the Anishnawbe and the Mississaugas of the New Credit, is often touted as one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with dozens of ethnically evocative neighbourhoods. Yet none are dedicated to our first residents.

City councillors and community organizations want to change that by creating an Indigenous business district, but perspectives differ on how and where.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam explains that the Indigenous business district would not only be a destination similar to other cultural neighbourhoods. Rather, an “Indigenous Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship” could be the seed that helps grow the area by offering programming, mentorship and co-op space to nascent businesses. Wong-Tam believes she’s found the prime location, at 200 Dundas East, a space the city will take over in 2019.

“The main thing we want to see is a community that’s safe for Indigenous people of the GTA,” says Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, a spokesperson for TIBA and the owner and chef of the Annex’s NishDish restaurant.

Read the rest in NOW Magazine.

Cyber safety laws bullied into submission

Court ruling calls law inspired by the Rehtaeh Parsons suicide a “colossal failure,” raising new questions about policing online conduct

Cyberbullies returned to their keyboard crusades with a vengeance just days after the Nova Scotia Supreme Court struck down the province’s anti-cyberbullying law back in December, raising questions as to what extent the legal system should deal with cyberbullying, if at all.

Passed after the death of teen cyberbullying victim Rehtaeh Parsons, the 2013 Cyber-safety Act allowed judges to issue protection orders against online bullies and established CyberSCAN, an investigative unit working under the aegis of the province’s Department of Justice. The act offered a civil law option to handle cyberbullying.

In the wake of the Nova Scotia decision, and recent Ontario court rulings, the federal government is calling for proposals to evaluate cyberbullying – and possible intervention methods – across the country.

Read the rest in NOW Magazine.

Will Canada turn on or tune out to psychedelics as medicine?

Current studies on addiction, anxiety and depression are exploring the benefits of psilocybin and a variety of popular party drugs as possible therapies

Experimental research on psilocybin, the active compound responsible for the “magic” in magic mushrooms, suggests it has potential for treating alcohol and tobacco addictions, obsessive-compulsive disorder and end-of-life anxiety.

While these studies may signal good news for people who are resistant to other forms of treatment, most trials involve only 10 to 20 participants, which means that their clinical significance remains unproven until more research can corroborate their findings. That’s easier said than done.

UBC professor Mark Haden chairs the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is currently conducting a study administering MDMA to PTSD patients during psychotherapy sessions. Its hypothesis is that MDMA’s efficacy in treating PTSD may be due in part to its ability “to produce a sense of calming empowerment, not painful stress, as the individual reflects on the traumatic experience,” Haden says.

He explains that the study required “four years of back-and-forth with Health Canada” in order to receive approval. The research is subject to frequent government inspections, and the MDMA used in the study costs $75 per dose.

Read the rest at NOW Magazine.