York study gives rare view of boardroom dynamics

Canada’s corporate governance debate is focusing too much on the independence of boards of directors, and not enough on improving the way directors operate inside the boardroom, concludes York University researcher and lecturer Richard Leblanc in a new study, reports The Globe and Mail March 15. Leblanc spent five years gaining unprecedented access to Canadian companies’ board meetings, promising strict confidentiality in exchange for the rare opportunity to observe boards at work. He believes no other academic researcher has ever been granted similar access.

Invasion allowed in self-defence

Craig Scott, professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, agreed that invasion of another country is allowed under international law in self-defence, he told “CBC News and Current Affairs” March 13. “The triggering condition is an armed attack on the state…. The only consensus is that if there’s something imminent and it’s completely clear that unless you move, another state will be attacking you very shortly.”

Workplace tiffs boosting demand for mediators

Paul Emond, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, agrees that the world of work is getting nasty, reports the National Post March 17. He says there has been a huge boom in mediation and dispute resolution training, whether for short seminars, accredited certificates or the full-blown masters program he co-directs. In all, he estimates York trains several hundred people a year through its various offerings. In particular, he notes the masters program has experienced “phenomenal growth” with three times the applicants to spaces.

A fresh take on building personal wealth

Investors looking for a fresh take on the world of finance might want to check out Wealth Logic (Captus Press) by Moshe A. Milevsky, finance professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, writes Maryanna Lewyckyj in The Toronto Sun March 16. Although the title is Wealth Logic, Milevsky’s intriguing theories are often contrary to conventional wisdom. For example, he…argues that a person’s human capital (i.e. skills and earning potential) is worth much more than the same person’s financial capital. Ignoring a long-standing RRSP-season pitch, he contends that you probably shouldn’t bother saving for retirement before age 35.

Politicians not always hindered by criminal records

“If you just bar people with criminal records from running for office there are probably lots of people without integrity who get elected,” says Ian Greene, a political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, in a CP Wire story March 16 about politicians and candidates with criminal records. “They just don’t happen to have a criminal record.” Support from a political party and the public depends largely on the offence and the excuse, he says.

Spring forward a week, maybe two, earlier

“Putting our clocks ahead in March instead of April would ease the burden on our generating system,” writes Kim Innanen, York University professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, and Sandra Innanen, in the Toronto Star March 15. “In 1978, we presented a submission to the Porter Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning in Ontario. The daily fluctuations in electricity demand and the times of sunrise and sunset were optimized for southern Ontario, leading to our conclusion that daylight saving time [DST] should begin on the last Sunday in March. In 1986, Canada followed the US in starting DST on the first Sunday in April…. A week then did not seem to make much difference; now however, an electric power crisis exists where the demand far outstrips the supply…. Advancing the DST by one week would relieve Ontario taxpayers of major expenditures in just one year, and ease somewhat the heavy burden on our own generating system as well as on the environment. Double daylight saving time in the summer would provide even further benefits.”

Campus routes will boom in autumn

The coming double-cohort of university and college-bound students is forcing expanded GO transit service, on the Milton, Hwy. 407 and McMaster University routes, report The Toronto Sun and Toronto Star March 15.

York grad heads new Destination Winnipeg

Stuart Duncan, a former senior economic development official with the province and a York University master’s degree graduate, has been appointed CEO of Destination Winnipeg, reports the Winnipeg Free Press March 15. Duncan, 42, will take on the role of heading the city’s economic and tourism development agency in early April. Duncan is also a graduate of the University of Winnipeg.

Dances of “pedestrianisms”

In a Globe and Mail review March 15 of DanceWorks’ annual double bill at the du Maurier Theatre Centre, Paula Citron says Lesandra Dodson and Shannon Cooney, a York University graduate, are true postmodernists, implementing everyday movement into their choreography, and manipulating and contorting the body as needs fit theme. These are dances of “pedestrianisms”, punctuated by dramatic poses or visual breath stops…. Cooney has a tendency to make her dances overly long, but we’ll attribute that flaw to over-enthusiasm.

Serena Williams plans on tennis at York

Tennis star Serena Williams says her ailing left knee is fine and she plans to play at the $1.3-million US Rogers AT&T Cup tournament to be held at the National Tennis Centre at York University later this summer, reports CP Wire March 14. “Toronto is always on my schedule,” the world’s top-ranked women’s player said during a conference call Friday. “My left knee is doing great.”

Monahan new dean of Osgoode

The Lawyers Weekly announced March 14 that Patrick Monahan has been named the next dean of York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

York grad choreographs Cuban dance

Toronto-based Ballet Creole’s latest work, Orisha Voices (which opened Thursday at Toronto’s Premiere Dance Theatre)…draws on ritual dance forms associated with Cuban Santeria, a fusion of Yoruban religious practice and Catholicism [and] is effective in part because choreographer Patrick Parson (who has an MA in dance ethnology from York University) has done his research thoroughly, writes Rebecca Todd in The Globe and Mail March 17. To create a dance vocabulary based in…Cuban folkloric tradition, Parson worked extensively with Consuelo Herrera Manresa of Cuba’s Ballet Folklorico Raices Profunda, she says.