Middleton sees a ‘jumble’ as mayoral election heats up

Metroland newspapers around Toronto featured an interview Oct. 17 with Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, on how voters will cope with the barrage of activity in the civic election. It’s unlikely they’ll be able to, said Middleton. And if that’s the case, not only will it allow front-runner Barbara Hall to preserve her massive, albeit dwindling, lead in public opinion polls, it could mean fewer voters casting ballots. “In that environment that creates a jumble,” Middleton said. “If there’s no clarity of message the attitude of the electorate is going to be a curse on all your houses.” He said it will be up to the candidates to engage voters with grand visions as opposed to piecemeal policy statements intended to attract certain groups of voters. “You cannot run political campaigns by focus group,” Middleton said. “You have to take a viewpoint, that’s what the whole concept of representative democracy is all about. Unfortunately, I think the modern generation of politicians have forgotten that or they’ve lost courage.”

The Globe’s ‘flawed’ survey

The Regina Leader-Post weighed in Oct. 21 on The Globe and Mail’s controversial University Report Card. The paper, owned by the same chain as Globe rival the National Post, said in an editorial that the report had several flaws. “The Report Card was based on responses to a questionnaire posted to members of StudentAwards.com on-line community,” it said. “In other words, it was based on self-selecting responses from a self-selecting group. Making things worse is the fact the report rated schools that don’t exist – a medical school at York University and law and medical schools at the University of Waterloo.”

Robotics gets $70,000 boost

York University has been given a $70,000 boost to pursue research into developing robots that essentially act like humans, reported Toronto Business Times, a section of Metroland Toronto newspapers Oct. 3.

On air

  • Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, talked about the new rules on corporate donations to political parties and what problems that will present for the new Conservative Party. He spoke about the type of influence that corporate leaders can wield in this new system and what it means for the future of political fundraising, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” Oct. 20.