Shocked by Hodgson’s departure

Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, says he is shocked at Municipal Affairs Minister Chris Hodgson’s decision to quit Premier Ernie Eves’s cabinet and not seek re-election, reports the Canadian Press in a wire story Jan. 8. “I’m immediately wondering why he’s going, he’s still a young man. I’m very surprised. It’s not a good sign for Mr. Eves…. [Hodgson] was the golden-haired boy of Mike Harris.”

Hard to sue politicians

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has dropped a challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada over whether politicians can be personally sued for their policy decisions, reports Southam News Jan. 3. Patrick Monahan, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, believes former patients who blamed Klein’s aggressive hospital cuts for medical catastrophes, would have had a hard time convincing the Supreme Court to allow them to sue Klein and former Alberta health minister Shirley McClellan. “Generally, the courts have said they are not going to get involved in negligence actions over policy decisions,” said Monahan. “That’s what elections are for.”

Scaling back retirement goals

Newspapers across Canada have picked up a story on a bank survey that shows Canadians are cutting back on their retirement savings goals. The story, carried Jan. 8 in The Vancouver Sun and The Edmonton Journal, quotes Moshe Milevsky, finance professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, who says it is alarming that “investors are reducing their contributions to equity-based mutual funds at a time when market experience and conventional wisdom would dictate they shouldn’t.”

Communicating a sense of society

For a story Dec. 24 on how immigrants are publishing tabloids and communicating via the Internet, Globe and Mail reporter Jennifer Lewington talked to Prof. Michael Lanphier, deputy director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York. “Canada wins both ways,” he said. “We gain experienced personnel who come here and we win because of their cultural richness.” Lewington added that earlier this year, Lanphier and 12 other researchers across Canada won a $563,000 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to examine the impact of globalization and new technology on multiculturalism. The three-year study will look at how Canadian values are being modified as newcomers, more able to maintain strong ties back home, also put down roots in Canada.

Ottawa likely to overturn pot ruling

“There’s no history and precedent to determine what courts should do when they feel Parliament responded inadequately to a declaration of invalidity,” said Alan Young, professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, in a story in The Windsor Star Jan. 4 on Ottawa’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that the law prohibiting marijuana possession is invalid. He predicts the judge’s ruling will be overturned.