A disease of low incomes

Dennis Raphael, a professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management in the Faculty of Health, has published numerous studies concluding poverty is the main cause of diabetes, wrote the Toronto Star Nov. 4 in a story about a recent study by the Canadian Diabetes Association of the costs of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Raphael argues the only way to put a dent in the explosive growth of the disease is to focus on social justice – and the jobs that allow people to emerge from poverty. “The better argument is to say that today’s generation will not be as healthy as we are because of growing income inequality, insecure employment and a lack of affordable housing.”

The myth, he says, is that governments can intervene on obesity and “that would make everything fine.” “In Scandinavia, governments recognize that it all has to do with deprivation, so they do everything they can to deal with it at the source.”

Fighting to stay in Canada

Alan Simmons, professor emeritus in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and a fellow of York’s Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean, said he believes criticism [of a drop in the rate of approvals for immigrants from Colombia] by Irene Mathyssen, New Democrat MP for London-Fanshawe, is fair, wrote London, Ont.’s Londoner Nov. 4.

“The timing fits,” he said about the recent decline. “It coincides with (criticism) that Canada was entering a free trade agreement with an abusive government.”

Although Colombia has seen improvement during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe – a politician who used military pressure since he was elected in 2002 to quell guerrilla forces in the country before leaving office in August – Simmons said it can still be a dangerous place for many people. “The people I worry about are not middle class,” Simmons said. “It’s the people who are coming from more humble backgrounds or progressive backgrounds.”

On air

  • Leo Panitch, Distinguished Research Professor in Political Science and Social & Political Thought, and Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy, spoke about mayor-elect Rob Ford’s plans to declare the TTC an essential service, on AM640 Radio Nov. 3.