Executives scorn government meddling

Canada’s business leaders believe that government should stop “economic engineering” and its tendency to overregulate, according to a sweeping survey of executives by TNS Canadian Facts, reported the The Globe and Mail June 23. Those surveyed said government should focus on improving the quality of the work force, reducing taxes and developing strong international trade relationships. The study – sponsored by The Globe and Mail and York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre – was presented June 22 to business leaders at York. When asked to identify the greatest threat to the future of business in Canada, 18 per cent of corporate leaders who responded said high taxes, another 18 per cent said government policies, 10 per cent cited government bureaucracy/interference while 4 per cent simply responded “the government.”

Alan Middleton, executive director of the Schulich centre, said the results consistently show that leaders don’t want the government to back away from business altogether but do want all levels of government to focus on the things that enhance long-term growth. He said he hopes that all businesses will use the survey results to join forces and lobby government to change. “Compared to a lot of other countries, not just the USA, Canadian businesses are very poor lobbyists about big issues, we need to do that more. We leave it too much to the dark corridors and individual companies behind the scenes,” Middleton said. Separately, the study found that 61 per cent of the executives who responded think Canada is too economically dependent on the United States but at the same time, 93 per cent said friendly relations with Washington are essential if Canada is to establish closer “economic ties” with its southern neighbour.

Star students courted by universities

As they compete for the top students, universities are steadily sweetening the pot, with growing help from government and private industry, reported the Toronto Star June 23. Ontario universities were due to reveal how well they did in the scramble for students this fall, after applications dropped about 30 per cent from last year’s historic double cohort. York University tried the personal touch by making home visits this spring to its 25 top applicants – all with marks over 90 per cent – and offering scholarships of $4,000 to $6,000 face to face. York’s move paid off, with 40 per cent of those elite students enrolling at York this fall, roughly twice the percentage who usually come. Grade 12 student Kate Lundy says the $5,400 President’s Scholarship she won from York University’s Glendon College means she can start university this fall rather than working for a year to earn tuition. “I’m paying for university entirely by myself, so staying out of debt is a really big thing for me,” said the Lawrence Park Collegiate student.

Hard-to-please chef a perfectionist

Perfectionists not only put their own health at risk through stress and anxiety – they make other people’s lives a misery too, psychologists suggest, reported BBC News Online June 19. Take the example of chef Gordon Ramsay who fired explosive outbursts at celebrities – learning the culinary ropes on a live TV show – when they failed to live up to his expectations. He left many “students” in tears or unable to continue, and probably sent his own blood pressure sky high. A Canadian psychology professor, noted the BBC, has identified three types of perfectionists – self-oriented perfectionists (expect perfection of themselves), other-oriented perfectionists (demand perfection from other people), and socially prescribed perfectionists (think others expect perfection from them). Professor Gordon Flett of York University’s Faculty of Arts has devised a scale that uses a questionnaire to measure degrees and types of perfectionism.

UN demonizes Israel

Israel is routinely demonized in the world body and Jews around the world are threatened, beaten and murdered for Israel’s perceived mistakes, wrote Mindelle Jacobs in an Edmonton Sun editorial June 23. Jacobs quoted Anne Bayefsky, political science professor with York’s Faculty of Arts and now also an adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School in New York.” To judge by the United Nation’s official pronouncements, the Jewish state is the world’s archetypal human-rights villain,” Bayefsky wrote in Commentary magazine recently. “Over the past four decades,” she wrote, “almost 30 per cent of the resolutions passed by the UN Commission on Human Rights to condemn particular countries have been directed at Israel. The UN General Assembly rarely convenes an emergency session. Of the 10 that have ever been held, six have focused on the ‘purported misdeeds’ of Israel,” Bayefsky noted.

Hate message can hide in rhetoric

“I am not suggesting a Harper-led Conservative Party is a hate group,” wrote Jeff Rezansoff, a St. Albert, Sask., resident and master’s student in environmental studies at York in a letter to the St. Albert Gazette June 23. But “it could be argued that there was a hint of hatred when Frank Luellau, a Conservative candidate in Kitchener-Conestoga, told The Globe and Mail he supports ‘the biblical teaching that [homosexuality] is not a natural kind of relationship.’” And Conservative leader Stephen Harper “has indicated his party’s willingness to trample the rights of women and minorities and gut the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by using the notwithstanding clause to override court rulings the party doesn’t like.” He concluded that “it may be unfair to judge the Conservative Party based upon the free speech of a few of its candidates. If the Canadian public decides to vote the Conservatives into power on June 28, we’ll have ample opportunity to judge their actions for ourselves.”

Former Argos dancers start studio

After years of competitive dancing, some stints on the professional concert tour and jobs as Argos and Raptors dancers, 26-year-old twin sisters Rena and Marnie Schwartz decided they wanted to share their love of dance with children, reported the Toronto Sun June 23. At their Vibe Dance Studio in Thornhill, they and their crew of 25 dance instructors teach jazz, acrobatics, ballet, hip hop, jazz and tap. Their high-energy attitudes are complemented by educations well-suited to their profession: They each obtained a BA degree in kinesiology and a BEd degree from York University in 2001.

On air

  • Political scientist Robert Drummond, dean of York University’s Faculty of Arts, talked about the impact of negative campaign ads, on CBC Newsworld’s “CBC News: Morning” June 22.