Protests because US failed to make case

Following a day of anti-war protests around the World, Daniel Drache, director of York University’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, told host Sandie Rinaldo on “CTV News and Current Affairs” Feb. 15: “I think this is what this protest movement is about. I think it’s growing because the Americans have failed to make their case.”

Prison is mostly counterproductive

An Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that systemic racism can be taken into account when sentencing black offenders reflects a move to play down prison as the ultimate response to crime, some legal observers say, reports The Globe and Mail Feb. 17. “There is literally no doubt any more that prison is counterproductive in most cases,” said Dianne Martin, professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “People should know that even in many US jurisdictions known for their harsh approach, prison is being very pragmatically reconsidered.”

Bain coaches York to his 600th victory

Bob Bain, the head coach of the York University men’s basketball team, won his 600th game last night in the Yeomen’s 89-84 victory over the Ryerson Rams, reports Canadian Press Feb. 15. Bain, is one of only two active coaches in Canadian Interuniversity Sport to reach 600 wins. In 29 years with the Yeomen, Bain has a 600-431 record, averaging more than 20 wins a year. A two-time CIS coach of the year, Bain has led York to the Ontario conference playoffs 26 times and his teams have captured 10 Ontario East Division titles, six conference championships and qualified for the national championship six times.

Drug firms’ influence goes beyond drugs to doctors

Dr. Joel Lexchin, a health policy and management professor at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, said drug firms’ influence goes beyond gifts from drug salespeople, reports the Winnipeg Free Press Feb. 15. Lexchin noted that drug companies fund almost half of all medical research currently being conducted. He said research funded by pharmaceutical companies that runs contrary to the drugs they manufacture is often squelched and is never published. Some drug companies have been known to write their own research papers extolling the virtues of their drugs and pay medical doctors to put their names to the study, said Lexchin.

Directorships no longer cozy perk

In the wake of a decision by a Quebec appeal court to absolve directors in a retail bankruptcy comes at a time post-Enron when companies are re-examining directors’ roles, reports The Globe and Mail Feb. 17. “There are changes that suggest directors have serious responsibilities to ensure that company management is doing its job,” agrees Wesley Cragg, director of the George R. Gardiner Program in Business Ethics at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “No longer is a directorship seen as a cozy perk.”

Giving parents child tax benefit

Brigitte Kitchen, social work professor at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, points out in a Toronto Star story Feb. 17 on the child tax benefit that Canada has had some form of support for parents since the mid-1940s with the implementation of the so-called “baby bonus”.

Tales to restore faith in humanity

In his review of The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust by Martin Gilbert in The Globe and Mail Feb. 15, Irving Abella, Shiff Professor of Canadian Jewish History at York University, celebrates the compassion of ordinary men and women who risked their lives to save Jews from the Nazis during the Second World War. “Had there been more righteous Christians, then more Jews would have survived. Still, shunned by their neighbours and hunted down by the Nazis, they nevertheless saved thousands of Jews. This book is a worthy testament to their courage and their humanity.”

Lay participation weakened in justice system

Recently in an amendment buried in an Omnibus Bill, “the federal government has seriously restricted the ability of Canadians to privately prosecute,” writes Alan Young, professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in his ‘Body & Soul’ column in the Toronto Star Feb. 16. “No one noticed that this bill took yet another step to removing all vestiges of lay participation in the criminal justice industrial complex…. We are so accustomed to delegating responsibility for law enforcement to public officials, we often forget we once were averse to turning over responsibility to legal professionals and other public bodies. We worried the police might become a standing army and a corps of public prosecutors would terrorize the vulnerable and protect those in power.”