Politicians will listen to young people – if they vote

“Politicians and young people have been engaged in a catch-22 for some time now,” wrote Tim Mathewson, a fourth-year political science student at York University and a former editor of the University’s student newspaper Excalibur, in an opinion piece for the Owen Sound Sun Times June 9. “Youth don’t feel that Canada’s major political parties pay much attention to issues that are important to them. At the same time, political parties are in the business of getting votes. They have no real incentive to go fishing for votes in a demographic that largely tunes out on election day. The only real option for young people to voice their political frustration is to do so in the only language that politicians understand – that is, with their votes. Until that time, Liberals and Conservatives can continue to safely ignore the issues of young people without any real peril.”

Drive to beat, not just keep up with, the Joneses

In a story in Maclean’s June 14 issue about the drive to be the first on the block with the toy of the moment, Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, describes the trade in Internet waiting-list spots for the newest cars as “an upper-class version of scalping. It provides an opportunity for people who want in to get in.” The magazine said in March, a place in line to buy the 2005 Ford GT – a limited-edition sports car – fetched more than US$70,000 on eBay. That’s just for the right to buy the car – which is available this summer for an additional US$150,000.

MP roll call analysis common in US

Bob MacDermid, a political science professor with York’s Faculty of Arts, said roll call and vote analysis is a “well-known practice in America” that has not been fully utilized in Canada, reported the National Post June 9 in a story about the release of VoteToronto.ca’s analysis of the parliamentary participation records of Toronto MPs. The non-partisan group said Toronto politicians – especially Liberal MP Tony Ianno – failed to adequately represent the city in the House of Commons.

VoteToronto.ca has also tried to track donations to political parties, reported the Toronto Sun. “It’s important to be able to follow the money,” MacDermid said. “Money matters. If you have money, you win.” He agreed it would be interesting to see if funds are rolling into Conservative coffers as the party soars in the polls, but that information won’t be known until six months after election day.

Temp work growing

We’re a society that remains fixated on that 20th-century social artifact – the job – when, in fact, it is being replaced by other forms of employment in the new world of work, reported the London Free Press June 9 in a story about job hunting. According to a September 2003 report from York University, said the paper, almost 40 per cent of Canadians are earning a living as temps, part-timers, contract workers or self-employed consultants, and their numbers are growing.

On air

  • Paul Delaney, senior lecturer in astronomy with York’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, and observatory assistant Mark Schuster, a fourth-year earth and atmospheric science student at York, were interviewed June 8 about viewing the first transit of the Sun by Venus in 122 years, by such Toronto media as City-tv’s “Breakfast TV” and “CityPulse” (which also talked to second-year physics and astronomy student Sarah Sadavoy), and CP24-TV’s “Megacity News.”
  • David Hood, exercise and muscle physiologist at York University’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, says achieving the remarkable muscle mass Brad Pitt did to play Achilles in the movie Troy is possible if you are motivated enough, reported Discovery Channel’s “Daily Planet” June 8.
  • Bruce Ryder, professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, commented on whether the prime minister will appoint a native judge to one of two vacant seats on the Supreme Court of Canada bench, on “CBC News: Countrywide” June 8.
  • College Boreal won four prizes for distance education at the 21st meeting of the Canadian Association for Distance Education held jointly with the annual conference, This Is IT, at York University (May 30-June 2), reported news programs on CHYK-FM in Timmins June 8.