Lazar offers his expertise on jets and competition

Fred Lazar, an aviation expert and economics professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, shared his opinion on two issues in major Toronto newspapers Nov. 8 and 9:

  • On Air Canada Jazz’s proposal to fly jets to island airport: Lazar told the Toronto Star Nov. 9 that the letter from Air Canada Jazz’s Joseph Randell to the Toronto Port Authority, which runs the airport, has more to do with business than politics. “It was a way to try to put pressure on the port authority not to shut out Air Canada,” he said. But Lazar finds it odd that Randell thinks jets would be considered. “Obviously, he’s spending too much time in Halifax and not enough time here in Toronto and is totally oblivious to politics in Toronto,” Lazar said, referring to the city’s long-standing aversion to jets and the difficulty in making changes to the airport’s tripartite agreement. It has taken 12 years of talks to amend the agreement between the city, the federal government and the port authority to allow a bridge to be built from the foot of Bathurst St. to the airport.
  • On dumping the competition policy: Lazar argued that the government should seriously consider dismantling most, if not all, of the Competition Act and related regulations, in an opinion piece in the National Post Nov. 8. Innovation and risk-taking and the pursuit of monopoly power and economic profits drive the economy and produce the dramatic improvements in productivity and standards of living, wrote Lazar, who is a member of the Financial Post‘s board of economists. “In Canada,” pointed out Lazar, “Eaton’s was once the leading department store chain. The company has disappeared, overtaken by hungry competitors, not enforcement of competition policy. Similarly, in the United States, Wal-Mart has overtaken Woolworths, Montgomery Wards, Kresge’s and even Sears Roebuck, and this dramatic change in the retail sector had nothing to do with the anti-trust laws. The incentive of profits led Sam Walton to take the risks involved in innovation, and he benefited from having easy targets – the old-line retailers who had become fat and lazy…. Competition policy does not appear to be a positive force for the process of creative destruction, a process that creates the large, dynamic productivity gains for the economy.”

Jobs are a necessity for most students

In a column Nov. 9, the Toronto Star’s Ellen Roseman cited surveys done by Deborah Hobson, retired York vice-president of enrolment and student services, showing that working part-time during school is a fact of life for more and more students. Hobson conducted two extensive surveys of undergraduate students to see how they financed their education. “Far more students are working during the school year than are taking student loans,” she told Roseman. “In fact, this has become such a significant factor that almost all university programs now operate by a credit system, rather than a year-of-study system.” Hobson thinks the media pay too much attention to student loans and too little attention to student employment, said Roseman. In Hobson’s view, the single best way to finance a university education without getting into debt – assuming that family support is not enough – is to take a lower course load and take longer to get a degree.

Time to review our anti-terror premises

Another way to view the 9-11 terrorist attacks is through the lens of Robert Cox, professor emeritus in political science with York’s Faculty of Arts, suggested the writer of an opinion piece in the Edmonton Journal Nov. 8. Cox argues that these attacks were aimed directly at symbols of American power and greatness, said the writer. As Cox put it in his most recent book, The Political Economy of a Plural World: Critical Reflections on Power, Morals and Civilization, “The symbolism of the targets required no further explanation: the attack struck at global capitalism (the World Trade Centre) and the American military power (the Pentagon)…. ‘America’ is the collective noun that summarizes, for the attackers, this enemy with all its other derivative meanings – Western materialism and cultural arrogance.”

Prostitution laws make murder easier

In the wake of Gary Ridgway’s admission he is the Green River Killer responsible for the deaths of 48 women, The Ottawa Citizen wrote a story about the safety of prostitutes and cited Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. In his new book, Justice Defiled, Young argued “regulated prostitution would increase the security and safety of all participants.” Criminalizing prostitution has accomplished nothing, he said, but enrich pimps and gangsters and turn prostitutes into “the prime targets for serial killers.”

Survey lauds Schulich for focusing on corporate responsibility

A CanWest News Service story published Nov. 10 in the Calgary Herald said York’s Schulich School of Business has been singled out in a recent survey of Canadian business schools for championing corporate responsibility. A survey of 27 of the country’s 31 business schools by Imagine, part of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy, revealed that students, faculty and the business sector are clamouring to have ethics integrated into the core curriculum as a result of Enron, WorldCom and other financial scandals that have rocked the business world in the last three years.

On air

  • When York conferred an honorary degree upon Ontario Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman Nov. 8, Toronto-area TV cameras were there. CITY-TV carried it on “CityPulse,” CityPulse24-TV on “Evening News,” and CFTO-TV on “World Beat News” and “Night Beat News.”
  • Jennifer Corriero, named one of the top 100 leaders of tomorrow by World Economic Forum, got attention when she got her York BA. CBC Radio host Andy Barrie interviewed her on “Metro Morning” Nov. 7 and CFTO-TV’s “Night Beat News” mentioned her graduation on Nov. 8.
  • Dr. Joel Lexchin, health policy and management professor with York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, discussed how brand-name drug companies are trying to block access demanded by increasing numbers of American states and cities to cheaper Canadian drugs, on CBC Radio’s “The World at Six” Nov. 7.
  • Astronomy buffs watched at York and Paul Delaney, physics and astronomy professor with York’s Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, commented on the second lunar eclipse of the year in Toronto, on CITY-TV’s “Citypulse Tonight” Nov. 8 and CityPulse24 TV’s “AM News” Nov. 9.