Open Minds with Christopher Balkaran

Christopher Balkaran

Imagine if you could explore, with genuine curiosity, the most controversial and divisive topics of our time. The conversations would push you to explore new areas and uncover insightful ‘a-ha’ moments that pique your interest. These talks could help answer the questions you may have, like: why would anyone support capital punishment? Or, what are the pros and cons to tobacco control, or public healthcare, or legalizing sex work? I’m Christopher, and I have created engaging Podcast discussions since 2018 to do exactly this. I invite guests involved in these areas to share with me their opinions. My hope is that through this natural exploration, I can craft a Podcast experience that attempts to build bridges during a time when we need it the most. Join me as I attempt to uncover these issues with true, genuine curiosity. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

#206: Instagram Debates with Open Minds: Christopher and Isidora on Respectful Disagreement
5d ago
#206: Instagram Debates with Open Minds: Christopher and Isidora on Respectful Disagreement
Send us a Text Message.Christopher and Isidora discuss their unique approach to engaging in respectful conversations despite their differing perspectives. They explore the reasons behind political polarization, the use of violent lexicon in political discourse, and the challenges of gender-affirming care. They also discuss the need for more open conversations in Canada and the importance of providing psychological support for individuals considering gender-affirming surgeries. The conversation explores the differences in perspectives and experiences between men and women when it comes to decision-making, political ideologies, and workplace dynamics. It delves into the complexities of gender identity and how it does not necessarily align with political beliefs. The discussion also touches on the importance of understanding and respecting each other's emotions and experiences, as well as the need for men to have spaces for their own healing and self-care. The conversation highlights the value of diverse perspectives and the need for open and respectful dialogue. The conversation explores the gender dynamics in mental health and the impact of societal pressures on men's mental well-being. It delves into the concept of patriarchy and its residual effects on gender roles and expectations. The discussion also touches on the division between leftists and liberals, highlighting the differences in their perspectives on social justice and collective liberation. The conversation explores the blurring lines between right and left politics, cancel culture, and the complexities of punishment and accountability. It delves into the impact of shame and the potential for restorative justice. The discussion also touches on the challenges of reforming individuals with certain conditions and the trade-offs of punitive measures. Overall, the conversation highlights the need for mutual respect, understanding, and a new approach to societal issues.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#205: Echo Chambers and Media Consumption, Dr. Alison Dagnes
Jul 4 2024
#205: Echo Chambers and Media Consumption, Dr. Alison Dagnes
Send us a Text Message.Subscribe to Curious Mondays, My Weekly Newsletter!I sit down with Dr. Alison Dagnes, a political science professor at Shippensburg University and author of insightful books on political media. Dr. Dagnes shares her unique experiences, starting with her time as a producer for C-SPAN, and delves into the evolution of political media into today's charged and polarized spectacle. We explore the significant benefits of media consumption, such as increased public access to information and enhanced civic engagement, highlighting findings from Pew Research Center and Deloitte Digital Media Trends.However, the discussion also covers the substantial challenges posed by media consumption, including the spread of misinformation and heightened polarization, as evidenced by studies from Stanford and Pew Research. We also address the mental health impacts of media overload, supported by research from the American Psychological Association, and privacy concerns highlighted in a study from SpringerLink. Dr. Dagnes offers practical advice on managing media consumption to balance its benefits and drawbacks, emphasizing the importance of critical evaluation and mindful engagement with media sources. This episode provides valuable insights and strategies for navigating the complex media landscape.Links:Pew Research Center: Global views of social media and its impacts on societyDeloitte Digital Media Trends: Digital Media Trends 2024Stanford Graduate School of Business: Social Media and News ConsumptionAmerican Psychological Association: Managing media overloadSpringerLink: Digital Technology and Changes in Media ConsumptionBuzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!Start for FREEDisclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#203: Why Safe Injection Sites Matter: An Interview with Professor Mark Tyndall
Jun 20 2024
#203: Why Safe Injection Sites Matter: An Interview with Professor Mark Tyndall
Send us a Text Message.00:00 - Introduction and Background of Dr. Mark Tyndall03:25 - The Importance of Harm Reduction in Treating Substance Use05:58 - The Impact of Drug Use on Brain Rewiring12:03 - Evaluating the Effectiveness of Supervised Injection Sites16:02 - Challenges in Engaging Substance Users in Harm Reduction24:07 - The Impact of Safe Injection Sites on Overdose Deaths and HIV Transmission28:31 - The Political Aspect and Misunderstandings of Safe Injection Sites34:09 - Shifting Societal Attitudes44:54 - Dispelling Misconceptions48:49 - The Cost-Effectiveness of Harm Reduction53:35 - Engaging with Individuals and Offering HopeCheck out Mark Tyndall's work: https://www.ted.com/speakers/mark_tyndallDr. Mark Tyndall, a professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health, discusses harm reduction and its importance in addressing drug use. Harm reduction is about making potentially risky behaviors less risky, and it is a key principle in public health. However, there is a stigma associated with harm reduction when it comes to illegal drug use. Dr. Tyndall emphasizes that harm reduction is the first step towards treatment and recovery, and that compassion and empathy are crucial in engaging people in the process. He also highlights the impact of drugs on the brain and the potential for healing and recovery. In this conversation, Mark Tyndall discusses the importance of harm reduction strategies in addressing drug addiction and the opioid crisis. He emphasizes that harm reduction is not about encouraging drug use, but rather about providing support, compassion, and safe environments for individuals struggling with addiction. Tyndall highlights the need for a shift in societal attitudes towards addiction, recognizing it as a disease that requires treatment and support rather than punishment. He also addresses the misconception that harm reduction strategies increase drug use, stating that there is no evidence to support this claim. Tyndall emphasizes the cost-effectiveness of harm reduction approaches compared to the criminal justice system and the importance of engaging with individuals and offering them hope and opportunities for recovery.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#202: Dr. Julian Somers - Harm Reduction as a Public Policy Response?
Jun 17 2024
#202: Dr. Julian Somers - Harm Reduction as a Public Policy Response?
Send us a Text Message.00:00 -Understanding Opiate Use Disorder03:15 - The Link Between Opiate Use Disorder and Theft06:12 - The Impact of Crime on Community Upheaval and Safety30:29 - The High Cost of Supporting Individuals with Opiate Use Disorder36:43 - The Importance of Stable Housing and Community Connections46:44 - Types of Housing and Their Impact53:23 - Social Isolation and Stigma57:23 - Limitations of Harm Reduction as a Public Policy ResponseSummaryOpiate use disorder is a diagnosed syndrome characterized by engaging in a behavior with detrimental consequences and a loss of control. It often leads to physiological dependence and a need for increasing doses. Theft is a common form of crime among those with opiate use disorder, as they struggle to support their drug habits. The impact of crime in a community goes beyond the act itself and can erode the social fabric and sense of safety. Harm reduction is a public health approach that aims to reduce the harms associated with drug use, including the provision of safe injection sites. However, the focus on harm reduction has shifted from a comprehensive approach to primarily focusing on consumption sites, which can attract criminal activity. The government of British Columbia spends up to $100,000 per year per opiate use disorder addict, with the majority of the money being spent on support services. The conversation explores the high costs associated with homelessness and addiction, the importance of stable housing and community connections, and the limitations of harm reduction as a public policy response. It emphasizes the need for decentralized, highly supported, choice-based housing options and comprehensive support services. The conversation also highlights the impact of social isolation and stigma on individuals recovering from substance use disorders. The research conducted by Julian Somers and his team demonstrates the effectiveness of providing housing and support services in improving the well-being and stability of individuals experiencing homelessness and addiction.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#201: Dr. Ramona Coelho: The Dangers Of Medical Assistance in Dying
Jun 4 2024
#201: Dr. Ramona Coelho: The Dangers Of Medical Assistance in Dying
Send us a Text Message.00:00Introduction and Dr. Coelho's Work with Marginalized Patients03:23The Importance of Community and Non-Medical Factors in Recovery05:14Examples of Recovery Without Medical Improvement08:13The Intersection of Medical Assistance in Dying and Recovery10:17The Messaging and Impact of Medical Assistance in Dying11:41The Role of Mental Health and Suicidality in Medical Assistance in Dying14:47The Complexity of Recovery and the Dangers of Medical Assistance in Dying21:21Accessibility and Barriers to Medical Assistance in Dying24:37Gaps in Mental Health Services and the Need for Accessibility30:21Stigma Surrounding Mental Health and its Impact on Accessing Care32:20The Influence of Thoughts on Mental Health33:14Legislative Safeguards and Waiting Periods34:51Issues with the Current Legislation36:36The Ethical Question of the Right to Die37:23The False Claim of Made as a Solution to Suicides41:17Motivations for Suicide and Made42:13The Rationality of Made and the False Claim of Distinction from Suicide44:53The Co-option of the Made Conversation48:24Quebec's Approach to Made and Accessibility for Different Age Groups53:54The Importance of Holistic Healthcare and the Failures of the System58:41The Government's Role in Legitimizing HopelessnessTakeawaysRecovery from severe mental health issues often involves non-medical factors such as community support and a sense of purpose.The messaging around medical assistance in dying can undermine resilience and suicide prevention efforts.The definition and interpretation of irremediable illness in medical assistance in dying are broad and open to different interpretations.There are barriers to accessing mental health services and chronic care in Canada, which can contribute to the desire for medical assistance in dying.Stigma surrounding mental health can prevent individuals from seeking care and contribute to prolonged suffering.SummaryDr. Coelho discusses her work with marginalized patients and the importance of community and non-medical factors in recovery. She shares examples of patients who have experienced recovery without medical improvement. The conversation then shifts to the intersection of medical assistance in dying and recovery, highlighting the dangers of messaging that suggests suicide is an appropriate response to suffering. The definition and interpretation of irremediable illness in medical assistance in dying are explored, along with the accessibility and barriers to accessing this option. The conversation concludes with a discussion on the gaps in mental health services and the stigma surrounding mental health. This conversation explores various themes related to medical assistance in dying (MAID) and its implications. The chapters cover topics such as the influence of thoughts on mental health, legislative safeguards and waiting periods, issues with the current legislation, the ethical question of the right to die, the false claim of MAID as a solution to suicides, motivations for suicide and MAID, the rationality of MAID, the co-option of the MAID conversation, Quebec's approach to MAID and accessibility for different age groups, the importance of holistic healthcare, and the government's role in legitimiSupport the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#200: Dr. Karen Neufeld and Dr. Jack Haggerty, Beyond the Verdict: Navigating MAID and Mental Health
Apr 23 2024
#200: Dr. Karen Neufeld and Dr. Jack Haggerty, Beyond the Verdict: Navigating MAID and Mental Health
Send us a Text Message.SummaryDr. Jack Haggerty and Dr. Karen Neufeld  discuss the inclusion of irremediability in Bill C-7, which allows for medical assistance in dying (MAID) even if natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. They explain that this inclusion was compelled by case law, specifically the Truchon case. However, they express concerns about the challenges of implementing this provision, particularly in the field of psychiatry. They highlight the difficulty of determining irremediability in mental illnesses and the potential overlap between requests for MAID and suicidal intent. They also emphasize the need for a deeper conversation and more careful consideration of the implications of expanding MAID to include mental disorders. Finally, they discuss the evidence of psychiatric recovery and the importance of providing hope and support to individuals experiencing mental illness. The conversation explores the importance of hope and treatment options in psychiatry, the stigma surrounding mental illness, the ability to adapt to traumatic events, the therapeutics of hope and consistency, the barriers to accessing mental health care, and the public perception of MAiD.Chapters00:00Introduction and Overview00:29Bill C-7 and Medical Assistance in Dying01:12Compelled by Case Law05:29Concerns about Irremediability07:39Challenges in Distinguishing Suicidality from Made Requests12:00Evidence of Psychiatric Recovery33:42The Stigma of Mental Illness and Conveying Hope36:22Adapting to Traumatic Events and the Long-Term Effects38:36The Therapeutics of Hope and Consistency42:11Access to Mental Health Care and Barriers48:12The Public Perception and Support for MAiDTakeawaysBill C-7 allows for medical assistance in dying (MAID) even if natural death is not reasonably foreseeable.The inclusion of irremediability in MAID has raised concerns about implementation, particularly in the field of psychiatry.Determining irremediability in mental illnesses is challenging, and there is potential overlap between requests for MAID and suicidal intent.Expanding MAID to include mental disorders requires a deeper conversation and careful consideration of the implications. Hope is a crucial component of psychiatric treatment and should be instilled in patients to provide them with a sense of purpose, meaning, and belonging.The stigma surrounding mental illness makes it challenging to convey hope and educate the public about the effectiveness of psychiatric interventions.People have the ability to adapt to traumatic events and find hope for the future, even in the face of severe disabilities.Consistency in providing evidence-based care and support is essential for long-term mental health outcomes.Access to mental health care is a significant barrier, both in underserved areas and highly resourced regions, and more investment and systemic improvements are needed.Public support for medical assistance in dying (MADE) for severe treatment-resistant mental disorders is high, but there are concerns about defining treatment resistance and ensuring adequate access to other treatment options.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#199: Susan Desjardins, Dying with Dignity Canada and the Misinformation on MAiD
Mar 23 2024
#199: Susan Desjardins, Dying with Dignity Canada and the Misinformation on MAiD
Send us a Text Message.Subscribe to my Newsletter:https://substack.com/@openminds?utm_source=profile-pageSubscribe to my Insta: @openmindspodThe conversation explores the misinformation and mischaracterization surrounding medical assistance in dying (MAID). It highlights the need for accurate data and nuanced discussions to counteract the sensationalism often associated with MAID. The chapters cover topics such as the two tracks for MAID approval, the assessment of choice made under duress, the consideration of mature minors for MAID, and the importance of informed dialogue.TakeawaysMisinformation about MAID can lead to misconceptions and mischaracterizations of the practice.Nuanced discussions and accurate data are essential to counteract sensationalism and promote understanding of MAID.The two tracks for MAID approval provide safeguards and ensure careful consideration of each individual's circumstances.The assessment of choice made under duress is a crucial aspect of MAID eligibility.The consideration of mature minors for MAID requires careful evaluation and involvement of parents or guardians.Public awareness and shifting perceptions contribute to a more informed and compassionate approach to MAID.Chapters00:00Misinformation about medical assistance in dying04:04Mischaracterization of medical assistance in dying08:58Bringing nuance to the conversation09:26Recognizing the humanity and importance of choice11:50Assessing the choice made under duress25:02Desire for death as a symptom of mental illness32:35Shifting perceptions and public awareness41:18Considering mature minors for medical assistance in dying50:21Informing and having dialogue51:35The cruel choice and the importance of not forcing itSupport the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#198: Jane Katkova, Navigating Canada's Immigration Maze
Mar 16 2024
#198: Jane Katkova, Navigating Canada's Immigration Maze
Send us a Text Message.I'm Back!!Subscribe to my Newsletter:https://substack.com/@openminds?utm_source=profile-pageSubscribe to my Insta: @openmindspodIn this conversation, Jane discusses the process for international students who want to study in Canada. She highlights the financial considerations and challenges they face, including the high cost of tuition and living expenses. Jane also shares examples of study permit refusals and the biases that can be present in the immigration system. She emphasizes the importance of seeking justice through the judicial system when facing unfair decisions. This conversation explores various challenges and issues within the Canadian immigration system. It highlights the financial burden faced by immigration applicants and the frequent need to appeal government decisions. The conversation also touches on potential political motives in immigration policies and the impact of international students on the housing market. Inspiring success stories of immigrants who have overcome adversity are shared. The conversation concludes by acknowledging the discombobulated nature of the immigration system and the need for reform.TakeawaysInternational students face significant financial challenges when studying in Canada, including high tuition fees and living expenses.Study permit applications for international students have a high refusal rate, and the process can be complex and costly.Prejudice and bias can be present in the immigration system, leading to unfair decisions and refusals.Seeking justice through the judicial system can be a recourse for individuals facing biased or unfair treatment in the immigration process. The Canadian immigration system poses financial challenges for applicants, who must have significant funds to support themselves and pay for services.Many immigration applicants face the need to appeal government decisions, indicating flaws in the system and the importance of hiring knowledgeable professionals.Political motives may influence immigration policies, with special programs being offered to individuals from specific regions affected by conflicts or disasters.International students contribute to the housing market pressure, but their living conditions often involve shared accommodations and lower rental costs.Inspiring success stories demonstrate the determination and resilience of immigrants who come to Canada seeking a better life.The Canadian immigration system is discombobulated and in need of reform to address issues such as inconsistent decision-making and lack of communication.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#196: Anti-LGBTQ Hate? Dean Lobo, Reenita V, The 519
Oct 12 2023
#196: Anti-LGBTQ Hate? Dean Lobo, Reenita V, The 519
Send us a Text Message.LGBTQ issues have been in the news, particularly with more parents and concerned citizens worried about school curricula including discussions on gender fluidity and sexual orientation. I chat with Dean Lobo and Reenita V of the 519, a local non-profit in Toronto that works with the LGBTQ2+ community on these issues.Connect with the 519: https://www.the519.org/The 519's Media Guide: https://the519mediaguide.org/-SUPPORT THE OPEN MINDS PODCAST-🛒 Support and EngageNow, you have a chance to be part of my massive endeavour of changing the world with each conversation!. Whether you're a listener who yearns for balanced conversations or a business looking to make a positive impact, consider supporting the podcast. Sponsor an episode or explore the curated items on Chris's Amazon store, where your purchase directly contributes to the podcast's growth and continued engagement. Here’s how:Buy a book from my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.ca/shop/openmindspodSupport the Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1428583/su...Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched! Start for FREEDisclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the showVisit my NEW Website! https://openmindspodcast.com/Check out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcastSupport the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#195: Glenn Blackett, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms - Wokeism
Sep 28 2023
#195: Glenn Blackett, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms - Wokeism
Send us a Text Message.Petition to the Law Society of Alberta: https://www.change.org/p/get-politics-out-of-the-law-society-of-alberta?recruiter=1292735136&recruited_by_id=c75c5010-9907-11ed-b6c6-876123ba9012&utm_source=share_petition&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uADVRwAEAAAAAZLCEO0uX024yZjE2NDM1OQ%3D%3D&utm_content=cl_sharecopy_36827011_en-CA%3A5Check out the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms - https://www.jccf.ca/Glenn Blackett - Law Society Going Woke - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHVevT4fy_k-SUPPORT THE OPEN MINDS PODCAST-🛒 Support and EngageNow, you have a chance to be part of my massive endeavour of changing the world with each conversation!. Whether you're a listener who yearns for balanced conversations or a business looking to make a positive impact, consider supporting the podcast. Sponsor an episode or explore the curated items on Chris's Amazon store, where your purchase directly contributes to the podcast's growth and continued engagement. Here’s how:Buy a book from my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.ca/shop/openmindspodSupport the Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1428583/su...Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!Start for FREEDisclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast
#194: Why Young Men and Remixed Racism with Jamil Jivani
Sep 5 2023
#194: Why Young Men and Remixed Racism with Jamil Jivani
Send us a Text Message.-WATCH THIS INTERVIEW ON YOUTUBE-My conversation with Jamil Jivani is available on YouTube - https://youtu.be/kCxLOvJFZHU?si=BwZ_EpUNLOgeUlW4-SUPPORT THE OPEN MINDS PODCAST-🛒 Support and EngageNow, you have a chance to be part of my massive endeavour of changing the world with each conversation!. Whether you're a listener who yearns for balanced conversations or a business looking to make a positive impact, consider supporting the podcast. Sponsor an episode or explore the curated items on Chris's Amazon store, where your purchase directly contributes to the podcast's growth and continued engagement. Here’s how:Buy a book from my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.ca/shop/openmindspodSupport the Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1428583/su...-JAMIL JIVANI-Listen to Jamil's story:    • Jamil Jivani speaks at Coalition of C...  Jamil Jivani's Interview on Why Young Men:    • Author Jamil Jivani on why young men ...  Purchase Why Young Men: https://amzn.to/45GYzw3Learn more about Jamil: https://www.votejamil.ca/abouthttps://www.votejamil.ca/Support the showVisit my NEW Website! https://openmindspodcast.com/Check out my Instagram/Tik Tok fBuzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!Start for FREEDisclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.Support the Show.Visit my NEW Website! https://www.christopherbalkaran.comCheck out my Instagram/Tik Tok for daily posts: Instagram @openmindspodTiktok @openmindspodcast