Election strategists ‘at wit’s end’

A May 15 Canadian Press story previewed Conservative Ontario Premier Ernie Eves’ promises to voters in a 60-page campaign document called “The Road Ahead,” including a ban on teacher strikes and a capped tax break on mortgage interest. However, polls have cast doubt on the Tories’ ability to win a third straight majority. “Every time they seem to have a plan, it’s upset,” said Bob MacDermid, York political science professor. “The election strategists who are trying to clear some space of good news for a launch must be at their wit’s end.”

Marijuana measure would give police too much discretion

The Globe and Mail said planned federal legislation decriminalizing marijuana would provide for adult fines of $150 for possession of less than 15 grams. But Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, warned that the law would leave the police with too much discretion in deciding whether to impose fines or lay criminal charges in cases where the accused possesses between 15 and 30 grams. “It is wrong to simply bestow discretion upon police to determine which mode of enforcement will be chosen,” he said. “History tells us that the disadvantaged and minorities will disproportionately suffer under a regime of that nature.”

Did Phillion do it? Innocence Project says no

York’s Innocence Project, comprising more than 20 students from Osgoode Hall Law School, and prominent criminal lawyer James Lockyer, founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, say they have proof that Romeo Phillion is an innocent man – not the murderer of Ottawa firefighter Leopold Roy, said The Ottawa Sun May 16. In 1971, Romeo Phillion confessed to the 1967 murder but recanted within hours. Convicted in 1972, Phillion has languished in jail for 31 years. Lockyer, whose association is connected with the Innocence Project, and his colleagues delivered a brief to Justice Minister Martin Cauchon May 15, asking for Phillion’s immediate release and a review of his case.

Harry Arthurs appointed to Immigration and Refugee Board

Professor Harry Arthurs, former York University president and former dean of the University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, was one of three York-related people to be appointed to the Immigration & Refugee Board (IRB), said Canada News-Wire May 15. George P. Manios, a member of the Toronto Licensing Tribunal who received his bachelor of arts in political science and history from York, and barrister James Victor Railton, a director with Legal Aid Ontario who received a bachelor of laws degree at Osgoode, were also appointed to the board. The IRB is an independent administrative tribunal overseeing immigration and refugee cases.

Age gracefully – live life of harmony

She’s 91, still doing workouts and moving with vigour and ease – that’s former York music professor Peggy Sampson, said the Toronto Star May 16. If there are secrets to growing old gracefully, Sampson has discovered the key, said the Star. Her advice if you want to have a long life? Find your passion, know who you’re not. Walk a lot. Eat sparingly. Learn to canoe. Enjoy the pleasures of life as you find them. Take what comes. Move on. Don’t let what you don’t have get you down. Since she left York at age 65, Sampson has taken up studying geography and history, is involved in local politics and joined the Task Force to Bring Back the Don. Retirement enabled her to stop feeling she had to practise her music every day, said the Star. “I had been a slave – a happy slave to my music. It’s wonderful to take an interest in other things, to live more.” Sampson’s final advice: “People should do what comes naturally. Don’t force yourself into things.”