Mayoral candidates say expand TTC

The time is now to expand and improve the Toronto Transit Commission, the city’s main mayoral candidates said in a televised debate Nov. 4 on Toronto 1, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 5. While David Miller, Barbara Hall and John Tory would pursue increased funding from Queen’s Park and Ottawa, Tory said he would invite the private sector to form a public-private partnership with the TTC.

Tory said help from senior levels of government would be “a bit slow in coming. But if it doesn’t come fast enough I would look to the private sector and invite them to form a partnership with the TTC.” He added: “Let’s at least explore what they would want to finance…so we can get a subway to York University.”

Hall said a subway to York University – and beyond to Vaughan City Centre – was the next logical step for the TTC. It would be funded through a “new deal” for funding with Ottawa and Queen’s Park and through the development of air rights over the new subway line. It would “create jobs, create housing and create transit at the same time.” Miller said it was vital that the mayor of Toronto become a national figure, standing up for cities across the country in order to secure infrastructure funds from Ottawa and Queen’s Park. 

York subway plan draws line in Ward 8 race

Toronto councillor Peter Li Preti believes the main issue in Ward 8, which includes many public housing highrises and the Jane-Finch corridor, is building a subway line to York University, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 4. With 50,000 students and 15,000 parking spaces that are filled every weekday, he says a new subway to the University is essential. But with the city in a cash crisis, his opponent Anthony Perruzza points out that it’s unlikely a subway to York will be built any time soon. For Tom Rakocevic, a biology graduate student at York who has lived in the ward his entire life, the biggest issue is electing a councillor who works for the rights of tenants. With 60 per cent of ward residents living in rental accommodation, he says they need an aggressive advocate. Rakocevic said, “This whole York subway issue, a lot of people feel that the politicians are using it to get votes. It goes to the point of hypocrisy. Mr. Li Preti talked about that in the last election…and now here it is, a priority again in this election.”

York-connected duo buy the Argos

Two partners with York connections have bought the Toronto Argonauts football team, major Toronto media outlets reported Nov. 5. One is Howard Sokolowski, co-owner of real estate developer Tribute Communities, which is building homes on land purchased from York University next to the Keele campus. The other is David Cynamon, CEO of private-label manufacturer KIK Corporation, who was a player for the former York Yeomen football team from 1983 to 1986 while he attended York. The Globe and Mail‘s online report said Cynamon regarded as his career highlight a winning touchdown pass he caught for the Yeomen against the University of Toronto.

Israel challenges UN on children

Israel has challenged the United Nations to show as much compassion for Israeli children as it does for Palestinian youth by calling on the world body to endorse a resolution that censures those who kill Israeli youngsters through terrorism, reported The Vancouver Sun Nov. 5. Writing on the vote for the resolution, Anne Bayefsky, a political science professor with York’s Faculty of Arts and director of Human Rights Treaty Studies at York, noted a similar Arab resolution the previous year. That resolution, deploring suffering and death among Palestinian children due to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, passed in the same week that a Palestinian gunman broke into a home on an Israeli kibbutz and shot dead two children while their mother tried to shield them. Canada was among those that abstained from the Arab resolution, explaining in a statement that the resolution “does not acknowledge that the current conflict has taken a toll on both Palestinian and Israeli children.”

SARS coverage criticized, applauded

While two professors say overkill media coverage of the SARS outbreak created a siege impression, York Region’s associate medical officer of health praised the press, reported the Newmarket Era Banner Nov. 2. Dr. Hanif Kassam said he doesn’t believe the media over-reacted during the SARS crisis.

In a recently released study of SARS coverage by three major Canadian papers and two American papers, York University professors Seth Feldman and Daniel Drache found saturation SARs coverage created the impression the disease was out of control in the Greater Toronto Area. Their study found the sheer quantity gave the appearance SARS was a bigger threat than it was, said the Banner. “This [report] shouldn’t be seen as a value judgment,” said Feldman, one of the report’s authors and co-director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies. “We’re not saying the media was irresponsible, we’re not saying they were out of control. From my perspective, the media was being the media. But can you cover an epidemic without giving the impression the city is under siege?”

York basketball team will put up a fight

Carleton University Ravens coach Dave Smart said there’s no way Carleton is the favourite to capture its fourth straight regular season Ontario University Athletics title in men’s basketball, reported The Ottawa Citizen Nov. 5. “The league is too good. York was a top-five team in the nation last year and they bring every starter back,” said Smart. York University coach Bob Bain said that Carleton is easily “the team to beat. They’re the national champions, defending. They’ve lost two great players, but they brought in some pretty good players, too.” The York Lions are again projected to finish second with returning starters Ryan French, Daniel Eves, Tom McChesney, Jordan Foebel and Branislav Misovic, promising rookies Matt Parfitt and Santiago Tascon, a Spanish import, and guard Chaka Harris, coming back to the team after missing last season. “We might be a little bit better,” Bain said.

HR outsourcing yields little savings

Companies often do not see the cost savings they expect after hiring outside firms to handle their payroll, York Professor Monica Belcourt told The Globe & Mail in a story on human resource outsourcing Nov. 5. Belcourt is a management professor with York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and president of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario. In her research for a chapter on outsourcing in a revised edition of her book Strategic Human Resources Planning, to be released next year, she found some companies average a 15-per-cent cost saving when they outsource, but others see no saving at all. Only half of organizations say they have met their cost-saving goals, her research found. More than 30 per cent of the outsourcing arrangements Belcourt studied were not renewed at the end of the contract.

On air

  • Alan Young, lawyer and professor with York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed his book, Justice Defiled – Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers & Lawyers, on “NewRO@Noon”, CHRO-TV Nepean on Nov. 4. In the book, Young criticizes the criminal justice system, the way Crown attorneys treat victims, hypocrisy and the lack of humility in the law profession.