‘Constitutional crisis’ over TV budget

Duelling legal opinions over whether Thursday’s Ontario budget speech should be broadcast on television or presented in the legislature have plunged Ernie Eves’ Conservative government into a “constitutional crisis,” says Michael Bryant, the Liberals’ shadow attorney-general and an instructor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reports the National Post March 25. “We now have, from an expert retained by the Speaker, the opinion that this is unconstitutional. We have the Speaker denouncing it. The Lieutenant-Governor has been called in and it’s now left for the Attorney-General to intervene for the Premier to do the right thing,” Mr. Bryant said. On Monday, March 24, Bryant criticized the government’s choice of corporate lawyer to defend its decision. “I can’t believe that they are, after the fact, trying to clean up this mess by going to a commercial lawyer for a constitutional opinion. It speaks to the desperation that the government is experiencing right now.”

Céline Dion and Chrysler – gone too far?

It’s probably the most ambitious cross-marketing scheme with a musician in recent memory, according to former ad executive Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, reports CP in a story printed in The London Free Press March 25. The opening of singing superstar Céline Dion’s glitzy Las Vegas show Tuesday coincided with the release of her new CD and the airing of a one-hour television special hosted by Justin Timberlake on CBS and CBC. That’s in addition to an ongoing Chrysler advertising blitz, in which the dame de Quebec champions a new line of cars and minivans – including in an ad embedded in the jewel case of her new CD One Heart. “People are used to personalities getting paid to do endorsements, but if it goes to far, it tends, for most people, to set up question marks and a discomfort level,” Middleton said. “With most people, overexposure like this, over connection to a single advertiser like Chrysler, in this case, might begin to cause the Céline image some problems.”

York faculty help plan First Nations cultural education centre

The dream of a Henvey Inlet First Nation summer camp and cultural education centre is another step closer to being realized thanks in part to three York University faculty members, reports The North Bay Nugget March 22. Michael Chomyshyn, a graduate of York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) and a senior associate with the York Centre for Applied Sustainability, is working with FES Professors Dan Longboat and Joe Sheridan to pull together a consortium of institutions sharing the ideal of providing an Indigenous education model never before assembled. Longboat enthusiastically stated, “being able to educate the larger society and understand their relationship to the natural world by using traditional knowledge, by using native perspectives and by being able to work together as academia in the community to create a novel educational opportunity, is very important to us all.”

Corporate links contaminate tenure process?

“What we’re talking about is a conflict of interest as naked as it gets,” said David Noble, a science historian at York University. Noble, a longtime critic of research partnerships between universities and corporations, was referring to a junior professor and critic of the biotech corn industry who fears he won’t get tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, because a member of the tenure review committee has close ties to biotech firm Novartis, reports The San Francisco Chronicle March 23.

Lazar comments in NY Times on former Canadian Airlines chief

Fred Lazar, who teaches business strategy at the Schulich School of Business at York University, said that Canadian Airlines would have had a better chance of survival had the past chief executive Kevin E. Benson not frightened away passengers by warning early on that he would close the airline if the unions did not accept pay cuts, reports The New York Times March 23. The article was about Laidlaw Inc., which Benson is now steering out of bankruptcy. Lazar is an expert on the airlines industry.

York law grad named to immigration board

Shirley R. Wales, who earned her LLM from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, has been appointed assistant deputy Chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board at the Immigration Appeal Division for the region of Toronto for a two-year term, announced Denis Coderre, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, reported Canada News-Wire March 24. Wales has served on the Immigration Appeal Division since 1997, is a former member of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (1995-1997) and served as a part-time deputy judge for small claims court in the Toronto area (1990-1997).

On air

  • Martin Shadwick, defence analyst at York University’s Centre for International and Security Studies, discussed the war on Iraq on “John Gormley Live”, broadcast March 21 on CJME-AM in Regina and CKOM-AM in Saskatoon.
  • Celia-Haig Brown, education professor at York University, comments in the fifth part of a native affairs series on Winnipeg’s “APTN National News” March 21 on the dependency industry, the premise of which is that thousands of jobs in Canada, such as those of jail guards, doctors, researchers, benefit from Aboriginal people’s dysfunction.
  • Dr. Joel Lexchin, health policy professor at York University, discussed how independent medical journalism is on “Medical Hotseat” (DHC-TV), March 23.
  • Arthur Siegel, social science professor at York University, comments on Iraqi TV airing brutal images of dead coalition soldiers, on “Citypulse Tonight” (CITY-TV), March 23.