Doctor slams handling of SARS

Canada’s fight against SARS became an “international embarrassment” as squabbling between the federal, provincial and municipal governments hamstrung the country’s front-line health-care workers, said the Chair of the National Advisory Committee on SARS, reported Canadian Press Sept. 17. At a one-day course organized by York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and U of T’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. David Naylor, dean of medicine at the University of Toronto, had damning words for almost every aspect of the public health system in a speech he delivered at the course, which examined legal responses to medical emergencies such as SARS. Naylor leads a group of experts examining how the country should handle future disease outbreaks.

When good isn’t good enough

As daunting as the world of office politics can be, it does seem to be shifting, reported The Globe and Mail Sept. 17. According to Monica Belcourt, professor of human resource management at York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, the changing face of the workplace is partially responsible. The days of the all-white, old-boys’ club is fading along with its clearly defined rules of behaviour. “I really think people are becoming more ultrasensitive to these things,” Belcourt said. Even with increased sensitivity there will always be people who are better at reading the corporate climate and people who need to stir the pot or get in their daily passive-aggressive jabs. It’s up to the organization to set the standard for behaviour. “When an organization measures everything and tracks everything, it’s hard to engage in office politics,” Belcourt said.

Failed marriage can leave native women broke

Aboriginal women who have left their reserves to flee to Vancouver or Victoria following a marriage break-up often end up with little more than the clothes on their backs, according to a study by a York University researcher released this week by the federal government, reported The Vancouver Sun Sept. 17. “Many participants started off as property owners on a reserve with their former spouses, but are now currently living in rental or subsidized housing off the reserve,” says the 119-page report, written by York alumna Karen Abbott (LLM ’03). “Aboriginal women and their children continue to be at risk for losing their reserve homes and living in poverty, especially if their familial situation was cast in the shadow of domestic violence.” Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, which asked Abbott to undertake the exploratory study, recently acknowledged that people living on reserves have fewer rights to their matrimonial homes after a break-up than people living off a reserve, said the Sun.

York goaltender named CIS athlete of the week

Christine Forbes, a goaltender for the York University Lions women’s field hockey team, has been named Canadian Interuniversity Sport athlete of the week, reported Canadian Press Sept. 16. Forbes, who studies kinesiology at York, recorded two shutouts and allowed only one goal in three outings in Ottawa to lead the Lions to a 2-0-1 record last weekend.

Candidates on York U subway

  • A billion-dollar expansion of the TTC to York University will become a reality if the Liberals are elected, Grit candidate Mario Racco has promised, reported The Toronto Sun Sept. 17. Racco, running for a provincial seat in Thornhill, said expanding “the Better Way” from Sheppard Avenue up to York University must be first in everyone’s mind. “It is a priority,” Racco said in an interview.
  • Toronto mayoral candidate John Nunziata is proposing privately funded subways, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 17. Nunziata, an alumnus of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said he would push provincial and federal governments for money to expand transit, which should include extending the Spadina subway to York University and building a new subway along Eglinton Avenue West and to Pearson airport. The city could attract cash from private investors, he said, who in return would get the rights to build above subway stations.

Medicare remains Conservatives’ Achilles heel

The pollsters’ message that health care is the most pressing issue for the public seems to be lost on Ontario’s political parties as they campaign for the provincial election, reported Canadian Press Sept. 16. Robert MacDermid, a political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, said the governing Conservatives under Premier Ernie Eves appear to be in a no-win situation on the health front. “They’re now open to the suggestion that they’ve had seven or eight years to have reformed the system and they haven’t done that yet,” said MacDermid. “Any claim that they are going to reform the system comes out phony.”

 On air

  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, commented on the use of gimmicks in the Ontario election campaign and how well they are working, on CBC Radio’s “Ottawa Morning” Sept. 16. Middleton also commented about how difficult it is to redeem Aeroplan points for free flights from Air Canada in a feature aired Sept. 16 on CBC Newsworld’s “Politics” and “NBN Early Edition” and CBC TV’s “Canada Now” in Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax.
  • The American television show, “Closing Bell,” which aired on CNBC-TV Sept. 16, listed York University among the top schools for recruiting minorities. Others were the University of Michigan, Columbia University, Clark Atlanta University and the University of Texas.