Racial profiling not new, says York Osgoode Hall Law School prof

Toni Williams, a York University Osgoode Hall Law School professor, told a University of Toronto racism conference that a proven fact – blacks are treated unequally in the justice system – has been transformed into a debatable issue with this current surge in interest in racial profiling, reported The Globe and Mail Nov. 30. Williams served on a 1996 Ontario inquiry that produced data showing unequal treatment for blacks in police random checks, the granting of bail and sentencing. The 350-page report virtually was ignored by the province and the news media, said The Globe. “This current controversy is being treated as if it were new, as if it were open to debate,” said Williams. “There is a lot of evidence of systemic racism. What we don’t need is to reopen the question of whether this thing exists. The [news] coverage has been very damaging. I think it is a terrible shame that 10 years and one month after our commission began its work, we are sitting here discussing this.” She said that police silence their critics by “morphing” the public debate into one of Jamaican crime and by precipitating journeys by several journalists in search of “the roots of Jamaican crime”. The police attitude is: “We deny there is racial profiling, but even if there is, there are predatory black males out there, so that justifies racial profiling,” Williams said.

On the roots of Miss World riots

“If anybody had asked me if it was a good idea to hold anything like this [the Miss World contest] in the middle of Ramadan, I could have told them,” said Paul Lovejoy, a York University historian in the Faculty of Arts, who has lived and worked in Nigeria and  has written extensively about the country and its past, reports The Toronto Star Dec. 1 in a story on Moslem-Christian violence in the West African country.

Pharmacare a solution, says prof

On Nov. 25 CTV Online quoted Dr. Joel Lexchin, a physician and an Atkinson health policy and management professor, about the Romanow report’s anticipated support for a national pharmacare program. “People who are on minimum wage, with salaries of $15,000 a year, drug bills that are $500 or $1,000, that’s still a considerable part of their income. And we know that these people will forego buying drugs that may be essential to their health because they have to buy food and pay rent,” said Lexchin. “In the case of Australia, the federal government pays for most of the costs of drugs and because they have a national plan, they are able to keep costs down. Their costs tend to be 20 or 30 per cent lower than here in Canada. And they cover the entire population. Think of it as this: here in Canada we cover hospital costs and doctors bills and we’re able to keep the costs down because we do it through a national plan.”

How lies grow and multiply

In a Nov. 30 story on lies and moral quicksand, the Toronto Star interviewed Wes Cragg of York University’s Centre for Practical Ethics and director of Schulich’s Business Ethics Program. Cragg said we begin with little white innocent lies, are quickly engulfed by big black bold ones and ultimately are no longer able to differentiate the two.

Public input good for judges, says dean

Patrick Monahan, associate dean at Osgoode Hall Law School, praises the Canadian Judicial Council for deciding to create an advisory group and seek public input on issues that affect the judiciary, reported the National Post Nov. 30. It would not make an “earth-shattering” change to the way judges go about their business, he says. “I suspect it would give the chief justice and other members of the council insight into the views that Canadians have on some of these important issues [judicial ethics, courtroom TVs] that the judiciary is grappling with. I think probably anything that provides a greater sense of accountability or responsiveness on the part of the judiciary is probably a desirable thing.”

No relief from TV ads

Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York and executive director of Schulich’s Executive Development Division, says he isn’t sure that TV ads above men’s urinals in downtown bars will work, reports the Toronto Star Dec. 2. “The question is, can you get enough advertising message in the time it takes a gentleman to complete his business?” he asked. “This is absolutely part of an overall trend. And that is the advertisers need not only to be in more and more places, but to be in places that will be remembered.”

New annuity may change retirement planning

Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University and one of the country’s leading experts on retirement-income concepts, says the variable-payout annuity is “certain to revolutionize retirement planning in Canada,” reports The Gazette in Montreal Dec. 2. Recently introduced by two major life-insurance companies, variable-payout annuities provide income for life at a starting level tied to the annuitant’s life expectancy.

Commander heckled for Afghan action

The officer who led Canadian ground troops in Afghanistan this year was branded a “killer” and “a tool of Canadian big business” by some York University students during a heated question-and-answer session at York, reported The Ottawa Citizen Nov. 30. Lt.-Col. Pat Stogran…was taken off guard by the verbal attack, reported the newspaper. It came after his speech to about 30 students for the York Centre for International and Security Studies last week during which he heaped praise on the professionalism of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, said the Citizen.