Subway would ease parking headaches, says tennis official

The Globe and Mail pinpointed parking as a major headache at the new Rexall Centre at York University in its coverage of the Tennis Masters Canada, July 29. Tennis Masters Canada officials had anticipated problems and informed customers of the proper places to park and routes to take to the tournament. But planning is never like reality, and some ticket holders have taken more than an hour to get into the grounds after arriving at York.

“We’ve added an additional 250 signs on the campus, doubled our shuttle buses and increased our number of off-duty policemen as well as our meeters and greeters,” tournament director Stacey Allaster said of attempts to alleviate the problem. There is probably only one simple solution, and it is only in the exploratory phase. “If the subway was extended to York, it would help,” Allaster said.

In other coverage, rain delays and cancelled matches July 27 grabbed headlines on local and national news programs. As the sun burst forth July 28, attention shifted to Canadian Frank Dancevic’s loss in his first round match against Vincent Spadea, top seed Roger Federer’s win in his opener and Canadian Fred Niemeyer’s win.

Here is a sampling of other coverage:

  • For a bit of diversion, City-tv’s “CityPulse” interviewed legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri about Tennis in a Can, a program created to combat child obesity.
  • In a lament carried by associated papers across the country, CanWest News Service’s Bruce Arthur lamented July 29 that, regrettably, the $38 million spent on the new Rexall Centre was not enough to add a roof. In a separate story, Arthur said in the major Canadian tennis tournaments, the Canadian winner tends to be the nation’s tennis program rather than a single Canadian player. The profits, which go to development, helped pay for the new national training centre at York University.
  • The National Post observed July 29 that rain and men’s tennis seem to favour the underdog. Tuesday play was wiped out by the water and seven of the 12 seeds who played lost, which will now give them some time to see Niagara Falls, which is apparently a hot destination in the players’ lounge.

Marsden samples Ontario’s culinary best with premiers

As host of this year’s annual premiers’ meeting, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has called upon the leaders of Canada’s culinary world to whet the appetites of his colleagues with a showcase of the province’s talent and produce, reported the Toronto Star July 30. Last night, the premiers were treated to a gala dinner in Niagara Falls featuring 375 invitees from the province’s academic, business and cultural communities, including former NDP premier Bob Rae, former lieutenant-governor Hilary Weston and her husband, business tycoon Galen Weston, and York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden.

US playing hardball with Canada

The United States Department of Commerce recently signalled its intention to keep $3 billion in duties collected from Canadian producers since May 2002, even if – as now appears likely – it loses the softwood lumber case. What is worse is that the commerce department is required by American law to pay those duties out to US softwood lumber producers that supported the petition, wrote Chuck Gastle, an adjunct professor in international trade regulation at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a partner with the law firm of Shibley righton LLP, in the Toronto Star July 30.

If it does so, the United States threatens to render the NAFTA dispute settlement mechanism redundant, thereby denying Canada one of its key objectives in entering into free trade negotiations in 1987. It appears that Canada can do very little if the Bush administration “stays the course” because of the inherent weaknesses in international law, coupled with Canada’s limited bargaining power. It may become a cost of doing business, resulting from Canadian dependence on the American marketplace and the buoyant trade surplus that Canada enjoys, wrote Gastle.

The personal is political, the social is physical

A new book published today may not be light summer reading for the cottage or the beach but it does shed a lot of light on the way we live now as Canadians, wrote the Toronto Star’s Judy Gerstel in her July 30 column. Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives, published by Canadian Scholars’ Press (2004), is rightly billed as the first volume of its kind published in this country.

Edited by Dennis Raphael, a health policy professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, with a thoughtful foreward by Roy Romanow, it’s a collection of research and observations by academics and leading-edge thinkers (a whole new community, in a way, formed around this issue) about how social determinants of health play out in Canadian life. Alas, said Raphael, the way they play out “is certainly not a good news story.” But then, Raphael is always loud and clear about his agenda persuading policy-makers to take action to improve social conditions in Canada and thereby improve the health of Canadians.

“It’s a very political book,” he acknowledged. “It’s about how governments and other institutions make decisions on how to allocate resources among Canadians. Raphael points to the final chapter of the book, with a chart showing that program spending in Canada has declined ‘precipitously’ since 1992, even as Paul Martin boasted in the House of Commons while this was happening that “program spending was at the lowest level of the GDP since the late 1940s.”

Raphael’s book explores each of 11 recognized social determinants that impact on health and well-being in Canada in the context of what exists “on the ground” – how theory translates into real life. If a book can walk the walk as well as talk the talk, this one does, wrote Gerstel. It’s a significant resource for teachers, students and researchers.

On air

  • One hundred students from the Jane-Finch area enrolled in the summer arts program at York University, reported CBC TV’s “Canada Now” in Toronto July 29.