York professor questions group’s plan to sue Liberals

The plan by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) to take the McGuinty government to court to overturn recent tax hikes will mean as much as a politician’s word in the end, reported the Toronto Sun May 26. “They are just trying to make a political point,” said Lisa Philipps, a professor who specializes in taxes and government at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “They won’t be able to change anything.” Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty signed a CTF contract during last fall’s election campaign, pledging he would not bring in a tax hike without a referendum and would balance the Ontario budget. The government can always amend its legislation to do what it wants, Philipps said. The Conservatives, under then-premier Ernie Eves, amended the Act in 2002 when they delayed various tax cuts scheduled to kick in the following January. “Why didn’t they sue back then? If they had a problem doing it then, why can they do it now?” Philipps said. “I don’t know what their case will be. It will have to be a creative strategy because [provincial lawyers] would have examined this from every angle.”

If job changes, so should termination terms, says prof

When a person’s job changes substantially, it shouldn’t matter whether the changes are “positive” or “negative” for termination provisions to be voided, says Judy Fudge, an employment law expert at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the Toronto Star May 26. She was commenting on the case of an engineer who lost his job in 1994 and just lost a court battle to improve severance packages for himself and other workers. Henry Rasanen of Georgetown was asking the Ontario Court of Appeal to make a new law by ruling that if an employee’s job changes in any fundamental way, his or her contract’s termination provisions no longer apply. However, he was up against a legal roadblock with a 1983 appeal court ruling that suggested that termination provisions in contracts only become void when an employee is promoted. Rasanen was effectively demoted amid the company’s financial difficulties and a merger. 

Visible-minority students find it difficult to get jobs

In Waterloo Region, young people, such as York University first-year communications student Karla Bermudez, are hitting a wall of prejudice and polite refusal from employers seemingly afraid to give jobs to visible minorities, reported The Record in Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo May 26. Bermudez, who was born in Nicaragua, said she had no problem getting part-time work in Toronto. But she said she could not get a job locally for the summer, even though she applied at a branch of the same retail chain, reported The Record.

Troy will boost classics studies

Jonathan Edmondson, coordinator of the Classical Studies Program in York’s Faculty of Arts, and other Canadian classics profs predict Troy, starring Brad Pitt, will give a big boost to fall enrolment in classes dedicated to the classics, like Homer’s Iliad, the inspiration for the movie, reported Canadian Press in a story carried by Halifax’s Daily News and the Ottawa Citizen May 25 and 26. “I’ve already decided what my first assignment will be in the fall: it will be to get my students to compare the two,” Edmondson said. “It will be great. This is really good for business.”

On air

  • Robert Drummond, dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed the issues that he, as a political scientist, is watching during the current federal election campaign, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” May 25.