Keeping money out of city hall

On the eve of a Toronto city council debate on reforms to municipal campaign finance laws, Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, argued for a ban on corporate and union contributions, a cap on spending and an end to the rollover of surplus funds, in an opinion piece in the Toronto Star Sept. 14. “Toronto councillors have an opportunity this month to make ground-breaking reforms to the way municipal politics is conducted in Toronto, other Ontario municipalities and even push along reforms at the provincial level,” he wrote. “After years in opposition pointing out the Conservative party’s fundraising excesses, the Liberals promised that they would change the way provincial campaigns and parties are financed. Not much has happened in their first year in office. But the provincial government will have to consider and make the changes to the Ontario Municipal Act that Toronto requests and it will look hypocritical if it does not look to reform its own house as well.”

Images of 9/11 will eventually fade

“On Sept. 11, 2001, a band of barbarians from faraway lands brought the world to tears in one fell swoop,” wrote Pastor Valle-Garay, a Spanish-language lecturer with York’s Faculty of Arts, in a letter to the Toronto Star Sept. 14. “And ever since that fateful morning, the fury of this other band of barbarians from the West has also horrified civilization,” he wrote. “In due time, many of us may not remember 9/11. However as long as I live, and precisely because of Bush’s endless rhetoric and unrelenting warmongering in response to the tragedy, Washington’s revenge will not be soon forgotten. After three consecutive years of horrific body counts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Spain, the Russian Federation and elsewhere, the barbarians’ actions live on as grim reminders of man’s inhumanity to mankind. Some legacy for our children.”

The argument for pharmacare

A national pharmacare program that is paid by the federal government – thereby freeing provincial money for other initiatives – is still paid for by taxpayers, reported Canadian Press in a Sept. 13 story about provincial premiers’ health-care agenda. “Obviously, the public purse would be paying a lot more than it currently is,” said Joel Lexchin, a health policy and management professor at York University who has written extensively on pharmacare and who argues for a national program. “But the bottom line is that the money is currently being paid out through a public system, a private system and out-of-pocket, and that’s the way Americans fund their healthcare system. We’ve already rejected that system for hospitals and doctors so it doesn’t make sense that we keep that system for drugs.”

Flaherty emphasizes Tory values

An Osprey News Network profile of Jim Flaherty, a contender for leader of the Ontario Conservative Party, mentions that the ex-cabinet member is a Princeton-educated lawyer who graduated in 1973 from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and practiced law in Whitby before politics. The profile was printed in Cornwall’s Standard-Freeholder and The Standard in St. Catharines Sept. 14.

Club owner sees himself as Trump of the north

At 23, Travis Agresti, the principal owner of Inside nightclub in Toronto’s entertainment district, has set himself up to be a Donald Trump of the north, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 14. The suburban kid from Newmarket who attended York University built his club into one that rivals any New York hotspot. Monthly trips to Las Vegas clubs to learn how they cater to VIP clients and a partnership with Toronto Raptor Vince Carter have helped Agresti create a vibe at Inside that sets it apart, said the Star. Agresti studied political science at York in 1998-99 and played ice hockey with the York Yeomen.