Fears of American backlash unfounded

James Laxer, a political science professor at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, said Americans have little to gain from punishing Canada when the two countries’ economies are so closely aligned, reports The Toronto Sun March 24. The article was about business fears of backlash because of Ottawa’s decision not to contribute troops to the war in Iraq. “I don’t see the Americans striking back at us because [their trade with Canada] is too profitable for them,” said Laxer, who specializes in Canada-US trade and foreign policy.

If not smart, then semi-smart bombs

“The Rumsfeld vision of the technological transformation may be a little bit in advance of what the technology can deliver,” said Martin Shadwick, a military analyst at York University’s Centre for International and Security Studies, in a National Post story March 24 on the American arsenal of high-tech weapons. “But if not smart bombs, they’re at least semi-smart.”

UN dissent started in streets, professor says

President George Bush expected strong world support for his country’s war on terrorism, said Howard Adelman, philosophy professor and former director of York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies, in a story in The Edmonton Journal March 24. Instead, France emerged to lead growing opposition, Adelman told a conference on terrorism, security and immigration. “That had not been expected…. That has occurred, I think, because of the huge upsurge of street protests against war.” The new US policy involves striking first to stop terrorism before it can happen, he said, as well as demanding more security at its border with Canada. In response, Canada is monitoring immigrants more closely with tougher immigration rules even though it’s difficult to identify terrorists this way, said Adelman. “It is like looking for a needle in a field of haystacks.”

Iran caught between US and Iraq

Iran is trying to tread a fine line between Iraq, an old foe, and the United States, which considers the Tehran regime part of an “axis of evil”, said Mohammed Hassan, a professor in York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies and faculty associate at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, in a Globe and Mail story following the US bombing of an Iranian refinery close to the Iraq border.

Nia Vardalos helped sister pay for York studies

Together in the same place for the first time since last April, the real-life members of Nia Vardalos’ big fat Greek family – including Marianne, a PhD student in sociology at York University – had big plans for Academy Awards night, reported the Winnipeg Free Press March 23. The Vardalos family of Winnipeg appears to be even tighter than its fictitious on-screen counterpart, says the Free Press. Marianne proudly recalls how Nia raised $7,000 for her studies by bringing her one-woman theatrical version of Greek Wedding to Toronto before the movie was made.

Barry Callaghan revives father’s work

The late Morley Callaghan is back in the limelight, the subject of two new CBC television shows – and not a moment too soon for Barry Callaghan, his son, publisher, literary executor, biggest fan and keeper of the flame, reports The Toronto Star March 23 of the retired York University English professor. “What I’ve been waiting for has transpired; Morley’s name is back in prominence,” Barry Callaghan said. In 2000, before he retired from teaching literature at York University, Callaghan put some of his father’s short stories on the reading list along with stories by Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson and other writers of the 1920s. “I made no special case for Morley yet my students loved those stories,” he says. “They are like prose poems. That confirmed for me that those stories are as fresh as ever.”

Water quality biggest concern on moraine

Architect James McKellar, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, international consultant and member of the steering committee that worked on legislation that limits development on the Oak Ridges Moraine, says maintaining water quality – not stopping development – has always been the goal, reports the Toronto Star March 22. The moraine acts as the headwaters for more than 35 rivers and streams in the GTA, but the water is so contaminated it could take 100 years to be rehabilitated, he says. He notes that cattle, agricultural fertilizers, golf courses and other recreational uses also contribute to its degeneration.

Restructuring not a panacea

While restructuring may be seen as an organization’s panacea, often it’s carried out in a haphazard way, said Rekha Karambayya, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in a story on occupational stress in the National Post March 24. Karambayya found there is frequently a lack of long-range planning, innovation is stifled, infighting develops among groups inside the organization and top management loses credibility. “Put this whole picture together and it looks pretty dysfunctional,” she said.

A new book of Japanese short stories

The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories, edited by Theodore W. Goossen, humanities professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, is listed in Carol Toller’s column “Paperbacks” in The Globe and Mail March 22. The column lists recently published paperback books.

Some sport records stand test of time

“I like to think that sport defines our humanity. When you get a record such as this, it gives more definition to what we’re capable of and what we can become,” said Frank Cosentino, the former star Canadian quarterback and retired sports history professor in York University’s School of Kinesiology and Health Science, in a Globe and Mail story March 22 about the possibility of beating Joe DiMaggio’s unbroken 1941-1956 game-hitting record. “Standards that can’t be broken become another target. We’re basically goal-oriented people. We have to have a goal. It’s embodied in the Olympic motto, Faster, Higher, Stronger.”

On air

  • Martin Shadwick, military analyst with York University’s Centre for International and Security Studies, commented on early developments and Canadian involvement in the American war on Iraq March 20 on CBC’s “The National”, CBC’s “Calgary Eye Opener”, and TVO’s “Studio 2”.
  • Saeed Rahnema, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, discussed the US invasion of Iraq on “Money Day” (CP24-TV), Toronto, March 20.
  • Michael Mandel, international criminal law professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed the war on Iraq, on “Studio Aperto” (CFMT-TV), Toronto, March 20.
  • Dezsö J. Horváth, dean of York University’s Schulich School of Business, discussed internationalization of management education, MBA hiring trends and the rise of global business school rankings, on ROB-TV’s “Point of View” March 21.