Air Canada doesn’t need a bailout, says Lazar

In a commentary in The Globe and Mail May 21, airline expert Fred Lazar asked, “Does Canada need Air Canada?” Lazar, a professor of economics in York’s Schulich School of Business, outlines a series of policy and tax measures Ottawa should take to help the airline, including reducing the high airport fees airlines pay. “Without Air Canada, we will still be able to get to any destination we want – but we may have to make an extra stop, and possibly an extra change of planes to get there,” wrote Lazar. “This will impose costs on all Canadian travellers and shippers, and make the country less competitive. Still, Ottawa should not consider a bailout for Air Canada. All Air Canada needs is a level playing field; for that matter, so does the entire domestic airline industry. Yet federal policy has turned the air transport industry into a cash cow.”

Jeremy Blake ‘gloriously trippy’

In The Globe and Mail May 21, arts writer Sarah Milroy looked at the work of Los Angeles artist Jeremy Blake, currently showing at the Art Gallery of York University. Blake, she said, combines gloriously trippy abstracts (his paintings, recorded, digitally enhanced and then transferred to the DVD screen) with archival photographic stills and passages of film, haunting and possessing the past with emanations from his very contemporary imagination.

His show is composed of two pieces, both of which respond to a historic tourist site: the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California – a sprawling Victorian mansion built by rifle manufacturing heiress Sarah Winchester. Winchester believed that the souls of those who had died of gunshot wounds could only be appeased if she was to build for them an earthly estate, complete with stairways to nowhere and a host of other architectural oddities. “The site is almost a ready-made,” Blake told Milroy, a “hyper-American” location where the nation’s fascination with violence and atonement plays itself out in architectural form.

Working class women are putting off having children

Where have all the babies gone?, asked the Toronto Star May 21. According to Statistics Canada data released last month, Canada’s birth rate fell to its “all time low” in 2002. Among academics the Star talked to as part of a feature report was Gordon Darroch, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts. While educated, middle class women are delaying pregnancies to nurture careers, he said, many working class women are putting off having children because they simply can’t afford to support them. “It’s a different dynamic than women who are on the career path, but it leads in the same direction,” said Darroch, who is leading a study on Canada’s census statistics from the first half of the 20th century. “A lot of less advantaged women are in the labour force because they have to be, but aren’t particularly having what you’d call a career.”

Therapists study how emotions can help overcome deep hurt

A syndicated Knight Ridder/Tribune (KRT) story from Philadelphia looked at the work of Michael Bridges, a psychologist and researcher at Temple University who is trying to figure out what helps people let go of the pain of betrayal and rotten relationships. During therapy, Bridges noticed that patients could have lots of insights of the “I-can’t-stand-up-to-my-wife-because-she-reminds-me-of-Mommy” variety, but nothing would change. That led to his interest in emotion-focused therapy, a style of treatment pioneered by Les Greenberg, a psychology professor at York University. Greenberg, who teaches in the Faculty of Arts, contends that emotions get short shrift in the more popular cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to change the way troubled people think about their world. Bridges now believes, like Greenberg, that emotions can be helpful in therapy and that a “certain intensity of feeling” is necessary for people to change.

Newlywed alumna in 19 Months

The new film 19 Months features York grad Angela Vint, best known as  Ziggy on “Traders”, noted the Toronto Star in a story about the film. Vint, a native of Oshawa, got the gig in “Traders” right out of school, the theatre program at York University (BFA Spec. Hons. ’98), said the Star. She went on to do a stew of episodics including “The Associates”, “Blue Murder” and “Soul Food”. She made her film debut in the Glenn Close film The Safety Of Objects. Unlike her character in 19 Months, whose pairing with her boyfriend lasts the title length, Vint has been in a relationship for 10 years. In fact, they eloped on April 22 and got married seaside in Mexico. “I still have my newlywed glow,” she grins.

York grad named teacher of the month

Funny, he doesn’t look like a typical Grade 1 teacher, began the May 20 story in the Vaughan Citizen. “I get that all the time,” chuckled Chad Garel, a teacher at Father Henri Nouwen Catholic Elementary School in Richmond Hill, who had just been selected the York Region Newspaper Group’s teacher of the month. Indeed, said the Citizen, the 29-year-old looks more like a football player – something, in fact, he has been known to be, especially during his undergrad days at York University (studying social science at Atkinson for a 1999 BA). He even likens the staff at his school to a football team, saying it takes a team effort to get the job done. But it’s not the love of the game that inspires the three-year teaching veteran to coach his young charges. “It’s fun working with little kids,” he said.

Of the 16 pairs of nominating letters submitted on his behalf, both students and parents are equally effusive in their admiration of Garel, who is known as “Mr. G”, said the newspaper. “Throughout the course of any given day, Mr. G has been called upon to be much more than a teacher … [he’s] a comedian, friend, doctor, dentist, actor, coach, psychologist, money lender, lost shoe finder and, most importantly, a ‘keeper of the faith’,” wrote Joe and Cathy Vilaca. Amanda Gosio, one of his students, was a little more succinct in her feelings. “I like the things he teaches me and I have fun learning with him,” she said, adding Mr. G is “the king of all us nerds!”

Government shouldn’t profit from people’s addictions
In a May 20 column about gambling addition, writer David Teetzel in the Newmarket/Aurora Era-Banner cited a report  by Thomas Klassen, a York University social science professor in the Faculty of Arts. In Look Who’s Gambling Now, Klassen concluded: “Despite the money spent on trying to alter their behaviour, problem gamblers very likely are a profit centre for governments.” Teetzel said it’s not right for government and community services to be funded by gambling addiction.

The three types of perfectionists

The Jewish World Review, a New York City-based online magazine, picked up a syndicated Knight Ridder/Tribune story on perfectionism quoting York’s Gordon Flett, a psychology professor in the Faculty of Arts, at length. Flett talked about a 45-item questionnaire to identify the three types of perfectionists. For a fuller summary, see the Seattle Times story cited in YFile May 13.
Eclectic arts festival a first
The first Mayfire Music Festival was to bring together classical and jazz musicians, as well as poets, writers and a variety of strolling artists on three different stages at Sentimental Journey on Hwy. 48 south of Baldwin on Sunday, reported the Georgina Advocate May 20. Also performing would be a variety of poets, led by Patricia Keeney, a professor of creative writing at York University and author of seven books of poetry and a novel. She recently won the coveted Jean Paris Prize for Poetry in Translation in France. “Those interested in poetry should bring some of their work,” said Keeney, now a resident of Sutton. “It will be a great opportunity to have an audience hear it.”

On air

  • Ian Greene, political science professor in the Faculty of Arts, talked about the new federal ethics code governing MPs and cabinet ministers on CBC Radio’s national show, “The Current”, May 20.
  • Michelle Dagnino, a student at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, was interviewed May 20 about her selection as YWCA Young Woman of Distinction, on City-tv’s “Citypulse” and “Citypulse Tonight” news shows and sister station CP24’s rolling news programming.