York profs debate mandatory retirement

In a letter to The Globe and Mail published Aug. 27, Stephen Newman, a political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, reflected on an earlier opinon piece by Allan Hutchinson, an associate dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, regarding mandatory retirement (see YFile, Aug. 26). Newman wrote, “Those who would defend mandatory retirement – like my colleague Allan Hutchinson in The Globe and Mail this week – allege that making people stop working at age 65 represents a conflict between individual rights and the collective good.” Newman went on to say: “First, Charter rights do not bestow privilege on the individual at the expense of the community. A community, after all, is a collection of individuals and no harm befalls the community when the state affirms the liberty and equality of its members.”

He later added, “The Charter has not emasculated government and left the public at the mercy of the rich and the powerful. On the contrary, its equality provisions strengthen the hand of government in combating societal discrimination. For people such as Professor Hutchinson, individual liberty is simply one interest to be traded off against other societal values. His objection to the Charter is that its guarantees prevent Parliament from making the necessary trade-offs. Thus, in his example, the teacher who insists on staying on in the classroom after she reaches the age of 65 is asserting a right to liberty and claiming that it trumps society’s interest (whatever that might be) in having her retire.”

Probing campus tobacco use

Tobacco marketing is widespread on campuses across Canada because most universities and colleges ignore the real health hazards posed by student smoking, according to a report covered in the Toronto Star Aug. 27. Fewer than half of university and college administrations protected students from second-hand smoke or had programs to help student smokers quit, the report said. But George McNeillie, assistant director of media relations at York University, said campus officials at York are very serious about health hazards for students who smoke.

“York University is dedicated to providing a smoke-free and healthy environment for all of our students, faculty and staff,” he told the Star. “To this end, we have a commitment to help create awareness of the health risks associated with smoking and the dangers of second-hand smoke. Our eventual aim is to encourage everyone on campus to quit smoking.”

Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada funded the report with Health Canada. The survey was conducted between February and April this year. According to the report, all 22 universities and half the 13 colleges surveyed accepted money to market tobacco products on campus within the past year. The report cites many figures to show that smoking among postsecondary students is a serious problem that campus officials, who allow on-campus marketing, are not addressing. University and college students make up 30 per cent of all adult smokers and seven per cent of smokers in Canada, the report states.

On air

  • Dianne Martin, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, talked about the effectiveness of restraining orders in the wake of the hostage incident at Union Station, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” in Toronto Aug. 27.