Fontaine doomed to compromise, says prof

“I believe the election of Phil Fontaine as the national chief [of the Assembly of First Nations] will prove to be a pyrrhic victory for the federal government,” wrote economics Professor Fred Lazar, of York’s Schulich School of Business, in a National Post opinion piece July 26. “National Chief Fontaine sincerely believes an approach built on compromise and partnership will succeed, and undoubtedly he will pursue this approach with great commitment. Unfortunately, it is doomed. Compromise for Ottawa is a one-way street, and partnership involves the federal government as the senior partner intent on pursuing its policy of extinguishing aboriginal title and rights. The resulting failure to move the First Nations closer to their goals will fuel the rising fires of their frustration.”

Innocence Project in the spotlight

The Toronto Star published a detailed account July 27 of the argument built by students in York University’s Innocence Project that Romeo Phillion was wrongly convicted of murder. Phillion was recently freed after 31 years in jail for killing an Ottawa firefighter, pending a review of his case by the federal justice minister. The London Free Press also mentioned the Innocence Project in a July 28 editorial on the possibility of yet another wrongly convicted man in Canada.

Need more, not fewer, city councillors

Most citizens seem barely aware of Toronto’s community councils, reported the Toronto Star July 26. Now that the number of such councils is being reduced, people like retired York University political science Professor Edmund Fowler are concerned about citizen participation and representation, reported the Toronto Star July 26. Fowler said the “perverse” way the councils were set up, with the severely limited powers they’ve been given (stop signs, speed bumps, parking lots and new parks), was “a recipe to devalue them so they will eventually be phased out.” On the province’s proposal to cut the number of municipal politicians, Fowler said, “We went from over 104 to 44 for over two million people, and it’s not even nearly enough.” Fowler, who is with York’s Glendon College, also said the city should create neat and coherent community councils with significant local powers, representing no more than 200,000 residents each. As for regional municipal concerns, an overarching body resembling the old Metro would do nicely, he suggested.

She’s got wind in her sails

Brenda Poole, a history student at York, was profiled in The Winnipeg Free Press July 26. Diagnosed with an extremely rare form of bone cancer when she was 17, Poole was told she had a 20 per cent chance of survival. She lost the lower two-thirds of her tibia, had bones removed from her pelvis, underwent surgeries to graft skin and muscle from her stomach to her leg and faced the prospect of never walking again. She did survive and went on to win the international Mobility Cup in sailing. This summer she is teaching sailing to disabled children in Winnipeg. “You can sail against just regular people and be as good as anyone else,” she says. “We’re all the same on water.”

Canadian professional women less likely to ‘altar’ their names

Anecdotal evidence suggests professional women in Canada are more likely than American women to keep their names, said York VP Academic Sheila Embleton, a linguistics expert and a past-president of the Canadian Society for the Study of Names. Canadian women don’t seem to like hyphenating their names either, said Embleton. She was quoted by The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo) July 26 in a story citing studies that show 90 per cent of American women take their husband’s names. “We either keep it or decide to change,” she said.

Photos of obstacle race and hoops at York

A photo of two girls wearing a canoe like a tutu appeared on the front page of The North York Mirror July 27. They were participating in Heart and Stroke’s Adventure Challenge obstacle race at York University’s Track and Field Centre July 24. In the same issue, The Mirror also published a photo of the NBA Hoop-It-Up basketball action at York.

Museum exhibits professor’s bike collection

The Fieldcote Museum in Hamilton is hosting a bicycle exhibit featuring bicycles from York University geography Professor Glen Norcliffe’s personal collection, reported the Ancaster News July 16.

On air

  • CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” interviewed a participant at the conference on urban sprawl, commuting and congestion, at York University July 25.
  • Dianne Martin, law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and director of the school’s Innocence Project, was interviewed on Vancouver radio station CKNW’s “The Rafe Mair Show” July 25 about the possible wrongful conviction of Romeo Phillion who was charged with murder and spent 31 years behind bars.