Why Wayne Gretzy is a leader

Wayne Gretzky tops The Globe and Mail’s ninth list of People with Impact in Canadian Sport listed Dec. 6. His feats with a puck will always have a lustre to them, writes James Christie, but taking Canada’s Olympic hockey team to gold this year is what brands him as a leader, says Frank Cosentino, Canadian quarterback now retired professor from York’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science. “He was willing to court failure,” Cosentino said. “Athletes who raise the bar with record-setting performances expand the horizon for others, and Gretzky did that on the ice with his creativity. He’d put himself in a position of vulnerability to accomplish something great.” Likewise, he stuck his neck out at the Olympics. He proclaimed Canada’s identity on the biggest stage available, Cosentino said.

Great One doesn’t fit the bill – yet

Would Wayne Gretzky ever appear on Canada’s currency? asks The Globe and Mail Dec. 6. “Sport doesn’t enter into the general dynamics of what culture is in the minds of many people,” said Frank Cosentino, retired professor, York’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science. “In the general scheme of things, while people who follow sport feel it’s part of culture, a lot of others think it’s low culture, not the arts and music. That probably stops people from giving thought to the notion that an athlete can be a person who can define us as Canada. Canadians have heroes, but they don’t want to glorify them to excess — not until they’re dead, then they talk wistfully of them. Pierre Trudeau died, and then some people started talking well of him and how he made Canada more Canadian. Only then were they able to leave behind the politics.”

Uncle Sam’s Canada Plan

Two recent arms purchases by the Department of National Defence: U.S.-made Paveway II guided bombs for CF-18s and 1,000 bomb kits, will allow the Canadian military to be placed under U.S. command easily, writes NOW Magazine Online. Defence analyst Martin Shadwick, York Centre for International & Security Studies, notes, “The air force is keeping its ground-attack capability credible with this purchase, but because of that it might start getting invitations to coalition operations that the government would rather avoid.”

Annuities don’t make sense

Except for extenuating circumstances, “it makes very little sense for males under the age of 75 or females under the age of 80 to purchase life annuities to annuitize any additional non-pension wealth,” says Prof. Moshe Milevsky, Schulich School of Business, in a National Post story Dec. 6 on making the RRSP-to-RRIF transition. Once in your mid- to late-80s, Milevsky becomes a fan of annuities, by which time the return from annuities may be triple that of interest paid by bonds. But converting at age 69 would be “way too early,” he says.

Innocence Project cited in settlement

On Dec. 5, Gary Staples received a formal apology from the Hamilton police for his wrongful conviction of an undisclosed amount of money in exchange for dropping a $6-million suit, wrote a Spectator columnist the next day. She cited Osgoode Hall Law School’s Innocence Project as key in finding evidence that Staples was wrongfully convicted. In a Dec. 6 story, the National Post also highlighted the Innocence Project’s key role in discovering a memo that pointed to a police cover-up of evidence that could have exonerated Staples.

Martin: a champion for change

In the fourth of a six-part series on former federal finance minister Paul Martin in the National Post, Patrick J. Monahan, associate dean at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, called Martin a catalyst for change. “It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that an individual who has spent most of the past decade at the centre of power in Ottawa is likely to serve as a catalyst for change. But based on my experience working with Paul Martin this past summer and fall on his important Osgoode Hall speech on democratic reform, that is precisely what we can and should expect from a Martin government.”