Where the tainted buck stops

Michael Orsini, a Glendon political science professor whose doctoral thesis examined the tainted-blood scandal, writes in The Globe and Mail Nov. 22 that the “task of apportioning blame and criminal liability in the tainted-blood case is complex because there were so many – governments, private-sector firms, the non-profits (the Canadian Red Cross Society)…. None of the four individuals charged by the RCMP this week were elected officials during the 1980s. But as any student of Canadian politics knows, ministerial responsibility is intended to shield public servants from being held up to public scrutiny; it was never intended to cloak ministers from blame….”

Daphne Schiff’s flying mission

In an interview on CBC’s “As It Happens” Nov. 21, Glendon Prof. Daphne Schiff, who teaches the science of flight at York, spoke about her annual flying mission to Africa to deliver medical supplies to remote villages: “Air Solidarity believes that if the people are going to make headway, you have to start at the grass roots. And if you can teach them French first of all…because they don’t speak French, they speak an African patois, if you like…and teach them some skills, and give them an opportunity, then they can go ahead in the commercial world.”

Where to try multi-province crimes

The Toronto Star’s “You Asked Us” column Nov. 22 posed the question: If sniper attacks similar to those in Virginia and Maryland occurred in Ottawa and Hull, where would the perpetrators be tried? Dianne Martin, criminal law specialist at Osgoode Hall Law School and head of York’s Innocence Project, responded that the venue might be Ottawa or Hull or both, beginning with where the accused was arrested – unless a deal was arranged to change the venue to Ontario or Quebec first.

An alcoholism gene?

Ellie Tesher — The Toronto Star’s new Ann Landers — asked sociologist Rhonda Lenton, dean of Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, about alcoholism and heredity. “There is some research evidence that there is a biological component to alcoholism. It is not, however, a perfect correlation,” said Lenton.