US threat over pot plan overblown, says prof

Americans might insist on careful inspection of all Canadians crossing the border, causing long delays and disrupting business, said US drug czar John Walters about Canada’s plan to decriminalize marijuana possession. But, reported the Toronto Star May 10, Daniel Drache, director of York University’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, says the threat of retaliation is overblown. Even if Canada dropped its pot plan, there’s no guarantee the US Congress would approve any exemption from the 2005 security rules, he says. Drache is convinced the Americans will choose trade over punishment. “They’re more interested in doing business. If Canadians are committed to this, it will go through and there will be no repercussions.”

See lunar eclipse from parking structure roof

Experts from York University will be on hand for viewing of the total lunar eclipse on the rooftop of the University’s parking structure #2 after 9pm, wrote Toronto Star astronomy columnist Terence Dickinson May 11. If the sky is clear on Thursday, May 15, after 10pm, southern Ontarians will be able to see the full moon gradually darken as it passes through the Earth’s shadow, producing a total lunar eclipse.

A diva takes her final bow

After a celebrated, 30-year career, mezzo-soprano Catherine Robbin retires from singing, reported The Globe and Mail May 12, the day of her farewell concert. Robbin has been teaching voice in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York for the past three years and told the Globe: “My central passion is now to teach.” She also wants more time with her two teenage daughters and new husband. Still, the primary reason – which she readily admits – is the classic one: “It would be a big fat lie if I said it had nothing to do with the voice. It won’t come as a shock to say that hormonal things happen to women’s voices at a certain age. I’m 52. I promised myself I wouldn’t sing past my sell-by date, and that feels to be right about now.” Robbin told the Toronto Star’s Robert Crew she has absolutely fallen head over heels in love with teaching. “It is my obsession. I go to bed at night thinking about my students and I wake up in the morning thinking about how best to improve the program, how to make performance opportunities for them, how to solve the little technical difficulties that they may have run into.”

Masculinity is hazardous to men’s health

Men are still dying sooner than women and are in poorer health across the board, the American Journal of Public Health reported in its May issue. A story about the findings in The Edmonton Sun May 10 said beliefs about masculinity and the way men cope with stress may be to blame. “We socialize men in our society into being tough guys,” said Joe Levy, director of York University’s Wellness Centre. “It’s that masculinization that’s getting a lot of men into trouble.” Men bottle up their stress because acknowledging their emotions is considered a weakness, he said. As a result, he added, they refrain from asking for help and suffer in silence.

A Mighty Mom started at Osgoode at 50

George Gamester profiled two Mighty Moms, mother and daughter Lyn and Sara Sutherland, May 11 in the Mother’s Day issue of the Toronto Star. Sara, who dropped out of high school at 13, married at 15, was a single mom with three children at 27, enrolled at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School at the age of 50 and graduated in 1992. Gamester related: “She buries herself in the books again and slogs through to become a full-fledged lawyer in the early 1990s.”

York prof advises Calgary inner-city project

An independent external fairness adviser, James McKellar, director of the Real Property Program at York University’s Schulich School of Business, will oversee the selection of companies interested in purchasing land in a Calgary inner-city development, reported The Calgary Herald May 10. The 14.9 hectare site was left vacant after the demolition of the General Hospital in 1998.

A must-read for students of constitutional history

In a Winnipeg Free Press review May 11, constitutional lawyer Bryan Schwartz said The Lawmakers, Judicial Power and the Shaping of Canadian Federalism by historian John T. Saywell, York professor emeritus, “will long be a must-read for any real student of Canadian constitutional history.” The book won the John W. Dafoe Prize for the year’s best Canadian public policy book.

York students to test NHL prospects

In a May 10 story about Eric Staal, currently ranked number one in all the pre-NHL Entry Draft listings, The Peterborough Examiner mentioned that he will join 40 other top prospects in Toronto in two weeks for the NHL’s physical evaluation, conducted by physical education students from York University.