Liberals cry foul as rivals air ads

The Ontario Liberals are demanding an investigation into an apparent breach of the Elections Act by the Tories and NDP after partisan, 30-second ads continued to air on radio stations across the province well after Premier Ernie Eves announced the Oct. 2 election at noon on Tuesday, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 4. The law imposes an advertising blackout for the first chunk of the campaign and again for the last two days. For the current election period, that means no ads can be published or aired before Sept. 10. Robert MacDermid, political scientist in York’s Faculty of Arts, said there are good reasons for blackouts, not the least of which is to give voters a break between pre-campaign government advertising and partisan election ads. He said this is even more important in short campaigns because of the unfair advantage television advertising gives to the wealthiest political party.

Both parties should at the very least have to pay a fine for what they let happen this week, MacDermid added. “We shouldn’t look the other way. We should make them pay. This is not acceptable public procedure,” he said. MacDermid was also cited in a Canadian Press piece printed Sept. 3 in Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune. ”Issues are going to play a larger role than personalities this time around,” he said. And he discussed prospects for the public and politicians during the election campaign on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Sept. 3.

York mathematician explains how SARS-like diseases spread

Disease experts and mathematicians, including from around the world are meeting in Banff on Friday, Sept. 5 to discuss ways to hold back the spread of epidemics such as SARS, reported The Edmonton Journal Sept. 4. Computer simulations may be the only way to comprehend fully the epidemic nature of diseases, said York Professor Jianhong Wu, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics and the leader of the event, which runs until Saturday, Sept. 6.

CBC’s new animated series ‘Chilly Beach’ started life on the Internet

CBC has given the green light to turning a cult Internet cartoon called “Chilly Beach,” created in part by York University film studies grad Doug Sinclair, into one of the network’s flagship teen shows, reported a CP wire story Sept. 3. It will air Wednesdays at 5:30pm starting Sept. 3. The cartoon’s first wave came in 1998 as a demonstration tool for Dan Hawes’s company Infopreneur. The cartoon’s use of streaming – the seamless flow of TV-quality graphics – was brand new, and clients were meant to access five- to seven-minute, online “webisodes” (still available at Hawes hired Sinclair, who graduated from York with a BFA in 1993, to help with content that would complement his tech skills. The cartoon turned into a parody of Canadian stereotypes. American producers showed interest but pressed the creators to de-Canadianize the award-winning cartoon. “One of my key missions is to make sure there’s at least one specific Canadian reference in each episode,” Sinclair said. “It’s the heart of the thing.”

On air

  • Marshall McCall, astronomer in York’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, spoke about suggestions that in 11 years a giant asteroid might collide catastrophically with planet Earth, on CTV’s “Canada AM” Sept. 3.