Ban on union and corporate funds will hurt Tories more than NDP

Toronto Star columnist Ian Urquhart cited Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts and the province’s leading expert on campaign financing, in a piece June 14 about the effect on the New Democratic Party – and other parties – of a ban on corporate and union donations to political parties. According to MacDermid, from 1995 to 2000, corporations poured $42.6 million into provincial party coffers, three-quarters of it to the Tories. Over the same period, unions contributed just $2.05 million to the parties.

New subdivision at York

North York community council has approved a plan for development that would see 615 new private housing units developed on York University land, reported The North York Mirror June 13. The proposal, which was brought forth by the University and Tribute Communities, would be unique in North York in that it would be the area’s first lane-based development with rear access to houses. The new housing would be located north of Murray Ross Road, on either side of Sentinel Road. The land is currently vacant, though there were plans in the late 1980s to build more than 1,500 housing units on the land, said the paper.

Bats not nature’s control for mosquitoes

A nature columnist in Orillia’s The Packet & Times on June 14 cited bat expert Brock Fenton, a biology professor in York’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, to dispel a myth that bats are a great nature control for mosquitoes. Fenton had told a Muskoka gathering that bats need to eat half their body weight in insects a night and for most bats that would be more than 2,000 mosquitoes. A bat would expend too much energy hunting that many mosquitoes, so instead it captures larger insects such as moths. Studies show that bats captured in the wild and dissected contain no mosquitoes, or only a few, in their stomach contents.

Board member helped select Canada’s CFO of the Year

Fred Gorbet, a member of the Board of Governors of York University and a director of the Institute for Research on Public Policy in Montreal, was a member of the selection committee that named Peter W. Currie, RBC Financial Group vice-chair and chief financial officer, Canada’s CFO of the Year, reported Canada News-Wire June 13.

Nunziata would extend Spadina line to York

John Nunziata, York grad and Toronto mayoral candidate, told The North York Mirror in an interview printed June 15 that he would seek public/private partnerships to extend the Spadina Subway line to York University as one of three transportation priorities for the city.

Fee waivers for seniors

An article in the Toronto Star June 14 about retired people seizing opportunities to learn noted that York University waives tuition fees for Canadians 60 and over.

Ex-student plays role in getting top court to approve gay marriages

A former York University doctoral student played a pivotal role in persuading Ontario’s top court to rule in favour of gay marriage, reported The Hamilton Spectator June 14. Joanne Cohen, a native of Hamilton, a representative to the Canadian Jewish Congress and a former York University PhD student in social and political thought, co-ordinated and presented at Ontario Appeal Court the arguments of the Coalition of Liberal Rabbis for Same-Sex Marriage. The rabbis’ coalition was one of two mainstream religious groups to gain intervener status before the court. Hamilton Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz formed the coalition by contacting liberal rabbis across the country after he heard Cohen warn a group of Toronto-area rabbis that Jews in particular had reason to weigh in on the highly contentious and apparently momentous same-sex marriage case. “Rabbi Zeplowitz is a hero in social-justice movements,” said Cohen. She said Tuesday’s decision proved that “our love is just as good as anybody else’s”. Gay marriage poses no threat to anyone’s religious freedom, Cohen explained. “No minister, no church will be forced to perform a gay marriage against their will.”

On air

  • Canadian tenor Ben Heppner received his second honorary degree in less than three weeks. The first was from Memorial University and the second is from York University, where arts volunteer and philanthropist Joan Goldfarb is also being honoured, reported CBC Radio’s “Arts Report” June 16.