War threatens pro-western governments in Asia

“There are real sensitivities in southeast Asia about major external powers, both China and the United States. If the role played by America is being portrayed as either neo-colonial or neo-imperialist or anti-Islamic, then it plays into those kind of politics,” said David Dewitt, a political science professor and director of York University’s Centre for International & Security Studies, at a recent Ottawa conference on Canada-Asia relations, reports The Niagara Falls Review April 1. Dewitt was commenting on a theory that the war on Iraq threatens to destabilize pro-western governments in southeast Asia and aid the cause of Islamic terrorist groups working together in several countries.

MFP inquiry judge studied law at York

The star of what promises to be the longest-running political serial in Toronto’s history – the computer-leasing inquiry now entering its 13th week of testimony – is turning out to be soft-spoken Ontario Superior Court judge and York graduate Madam Justice Denise Bellamy, writes James Rusk in The Globe and Mail April 1. Bellamy graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1978, and became an assistant Crown attorney in 1980. She rose quickly through the Ontario public service to become director of legal services for the Management Board before her appointment as a judge in 1997.

Iraqis learned from Gulf War mistakes

The Iraqis have learned from their mistakes in the first Gulf War and are keeping their units dispersed, notes Martin Shadwick, defence analyst with the York Centre for International & Security Studies, in an Ottawa Citizen story April 1 on why high-tech or terror weapons have yet to be used on the battlefield of Iraq. He was referring to MOABs, which are designed to kill a large number of soldiers massed together on the ground.

Media not just lap dogs

Arthur Siegel, a social science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, says the military would prefer to keep the media at arm’s length and simply feed them the details, reports The London Free Press April 1 in a Canadian Press story about American media coverage of the war in Iraq. But so far Siegel has found the media are not just absorbing news releases, said the Free Press. He has found their coverage quite analytical and critical, despite the sometimes contrary pressures of patriotism and competition. Siegel said one extreme in the US is the Fox News network, which has been shamelessly waving the flag. The Free Press notes correspondent Geraldo Rivera’s boast that he planned to ride into Baghdad in search of Saddam Hussein, the “Iraqi Hitler”. At the other extreme is ABC-TV, making what it says is a pronounced effort at impartiality. “So much so,” said Siegel, “that they have been criticized, at least by the conservatives in the United States, that they have a Swiss neutrality.”

Aboriginal poverty is Canada’s ugliest social problem

Aboriginal poverty is Canada’s worst social wound and while remedying it will not be easy, ignoring the evidence will make the task impossible, says a C.D. Howe Institute report released March 31, reports Canada News-Wire. In their commentary, authors Helmar Drost, a professor of economics and social and political thought at York University’s Atkinson School of Analytic Studies & Information Technology, and John Richards, Phillips Scholar in Social Policy and Fellow-in-Residence at the C.D. Howe Institute, who teaches in the business faculty at Simon Fraser University, say that even at the highest education levels, Aboriginals earn significantly less than their non-Aboriginal peers.

TV budget undermines legislature

“Members of the legislature act on major policies through a process of public debate in a recognized place – the legislature – and the first minister must hold himself responsible to the legislature on a constant basis,” said Radha Persaud, political science professor at York University’s Glendon College, reports The North York Mirror March 30. “To table the budget in a forum other than the legislature is both to relegate such a public institution to a position of insignificance and inferiority and to undermine the core mechanism of responsible government,” he said referring to the broadcast of Ontario’s budget from a Brampton auto parts training facility.

York grad runs for NDP in Oak Ridges

NDP deputy leader Marilyn Churley was in Richmond Hill recently to endorse Pamela Courtot, acclaimed as the NDP candidate in Oak Ridges and an MBA graduate of York University’s Schulich School of Business, reports The Stouffville Tribune March 29.