Crosscountry Canada at a glance — June/July 2016

Dogs should be patted, not hugged, according to a UBC psychologist. Plus, Canada is one of the countries where the national broadcaster is given the least public funding.


Pat, don’t hug

Has your dog ever bitten you? Chances are you were showing affection with a big hug. But dogs don’t like to be hugged, according to Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia.

“Dogs are technically cursorial animals, which ... indicates that they are designed for swift running,” Coren wrote on a Psychology Today post. “That implies that in times of stress or threat the first line of defence that a dog uses is not his teeth, but rather his ability to run away.”

If you block their escape, most dogs will exhibit signs of stress by looking away, lowering their ears, even licking the hugger’s face. And if they get too stressed out, they won’t lick. They’ll bite.

So what do you do if hugs are a no-no? According to Coren, a pat, a kind word or maybe a treat should do the trick.


Fireworks at Zymeworks

Drug discovery 

Vancouver-based drug developer Zymeworks is on a roll. It just entered into a new licensing agreement with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that will bring in US$36 million up front, and could also lead to a further US$152 million in development and clinical milestone payments, reports Business in Vancouver. The agreement is related to the company’s Azymetric drug discovery platform, which helps the process of “super-charging” the body’s immune system in dealing with cancer.

This new deal with GSK follows on the heels of a prior licence agreement made last December to advance another of Zymeworks’ developmental platforms. In January, the company also obtained US$61.5 million in venture capital financing from BDC Capital and Lumira Capital.


Mixed media

Canada is one of the countries that gives the least financial support to its national public broadcaster (the CBC), reports Montreal daily Le Devoir, citing a study by MCE Conseils.

Although the CBC is considered a producer of quality content, it receives only about $30 annually per capita, compared with $118 for the BBC and $163 for Norway’s public broadcaster.

The report finds it troubling that sites such as Facebook and Google, which are intermediaries that do not produce content per se, are capturing a growing share of advertising revenues.


Gamble, gamble

Online gambling 

Almost 10% of Canadian teens gamble online — three times as many as previously thought, reports The Record, citing a study from the University of Waterloo and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In fact, it is estimated that 58,000 teens gambled online in the past three months. That’s not a big surprise, since online gambling is easily accessible and advertising is everywhere.

“It’s pervasive,” says Scott Leatherdale, a professor in UW’s school of public health and co-lead of the study. He thinks youth gambling should be considered a public-health issue, especially since such problems in youth can lead to greater problems in adulthood.