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Reuel S. Amdur Reuel Amdur is a freelance writer based near Ottawa.


  • The Threat, North Korean and The OtherReuel S. Amdur
    March 4, 2018

    North Korea's Kim Jong Un shows no sign of curtailing his nuclear ambitions. His nasty rhetoric displays an attitude that makes him a threat to the whole world. Atomic weapons constitute such a threat. However, we should not overlook where else the threat comes from. Just for starters, there is Donald Trump's equally belligerent rhetoric, noting that his nuclear button is "much bigger" than Kim's.

  • HappinessReuel S. Amdur
    January 28, 2018

    What you do for others produces more happiness for you than what you receive. That was a key message given by psychiatrist Timothy Lau, in a lecture on happiness given at the Royal Ottawa Hospital on January 25.

  • Roadmap into a SwampReuel S. Amdur
    January 9, 2018

    On September 1, a working group headed by Judge George Thomson produced a report for the Ontario government on social assistance reform entitled "Roadmap for Change." While it would take a very long essay to go over the report in detail, I will address a few matters-the proposed increase in Ontario Works rates, changes in the policy regarding so-called dependent and independent adults, and continuation of two programs for social assistance, one for employables, Ontario Works (OW), and the other for the disabled, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

  • Problems with Guaranteed Income ExperimentReuel S. Amdur
    May 22, 2017

    Ontario is set to carry out a guaranteed income experiment with 4,000 people in the Hamilton area, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay. Half will be in the control group.

  • A Smattering of CriminologyReuel S. Amdur
    March 31, 2017

    Lisa Monchalin's book The Colonial Problem (University of Toronto Press, 2016) attempts too much and too little. Her subtitle: "An Indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada." It is intended as a criminology textbook. Let's begin with the "too much."

  • Ontario’s NDP Government: A Sad HistoryReuel S. Amdur
    March 31, 2017

    The current official abandonment by political parties of concern for the poor, in their focus on "the middle class," calls to mind the Ontario NDP's disregard for the poor going back to the days when they were in power, from 1990 to 1995. At the time, I was working first at Seaton House, a men's shelter and residence operated by Toronto's welfare department, and then as a supervisor in Ottawa's welfare department.

  • Ins and Outs of RetirementReuel S. Amdur
    February 21, 2017

    The retirement income system "is complex, with lots of moving parts that intersect with each other and with the tax system." These words, of Bob Baldwin, former Director, Social Economic Policy for the Canadian Labour Congress and member and chairman of the Canada Pension Plan Advisory Board, were echoed in presentations at an Ottawa Council on Aging luncheon session on November 23. He and Richard Shillington, an author, statistician, and researcher who has produced reports for the C.D. Howe and Broadbent institutes, attempted to unpack some of the complexities.

  • Ombudsman in need of an OmbudsmanReuel S. Amdur
    February 21, 2017

    Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé issued a hard-hitting report on his organization's investigation of short-comings of the Ministry of Community and Social Services in its handling of the situations of the mentally deficient. He found "a baffling lack of flexibility from officials at the top." Well, the ancient Romans had a word for it. "De te fabula narrantur." That's your story. Let me explain.

  • Getting inside the BrainReuel S. Amdur
    February 21, 2017

    It is at least in part a question of philosophy and physiology, as well as psychology and medicine. Where is the location of thought, and then of disturbed thought and mood? For Zul Merali, President and CEO of the Royal Institute of Mental Health Research, the answer is the brain.

  • Mental Health Care from Past to PresentReuel S. Amdur
    February 21, 2017

    At a session for the general public held on November 1, the Royal Ottawa Hospital's Psychiatrist in Chief Raj Bhatla gave a brief history of psychiatry, ending with a list of new treatments and trends.

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