Argos could get ’07 Grey Cup

The future home of the Argos could become the site of a Grey Cup game as early as 2007, reported The Toronto Sun Oct. 18. While the planned outdoor stadium at York University will have a seating capacity of 25,000 for football games, up to 22,000 temporary seats can be added. Sources suggest the Argo owners are interested in bringing the CFL’s title game back to Toronto at some point. While playing the Grey Cup at the SkyDome would offer a climate-controlled environment and a seating capacity of more than 50,000, it has been speculated that playing the game at York would provide more atmosphere. The Grey Cup is booked through 2006. The new football/soccer stadium has to be up and running in 2007 to play host to the world youth soccer championships.

Monday’s announcement of York’s new stadium produced a vast torrent of media stories across the country, which were still being collated late yesterday. A full report will appear in tomorrow’s YFile.

Education prof a pioneer in classroom video games

Jennifer Jenson thinks she understands what lurks behind the obsession children have with video games – and it’s not what many parents and teachers imagine, began a Toronto Star feature Oct. 18. Adults often see computer games as mind-dulling escapism at best, violent, misogynistic entertainment at worst. But there are creative, constructive games that are also wildly popular, says the professor of pedagogy and technology in York’s Faculty of Education. The real draw is that computer games let children simultaneously enjoy the success of mastering one task while being tantalized by the next challenge, she says.

The professor’s studio crouches amid the cavernous glass walls of York’s $88-million Technology Enhanced Learning Building. Only her office contains visible signs of traditional academe, with a jumble of half unpacked books and memorabilia. Jenson, 33, is a pioneer. Specializing in the frontier field of technology in education, she is among a growing number of experts who view computer games as untapped teaching tools. Games, unlike many classrooms, have built-in motivation, says Jenson. “They let you fail and go back and redo a task,” she says. “We don’t always do that in education.”

Index taxes

“As a fellow supply-sider, I agree that one of the reasons tax revenues have increased might be that tax rates have been slightly reduced (in 2000),” wrote Xavier de Vanssay, professor in the Economics Department at York’s Glendon campus, in a letter responding to National Post columnist Terence Corcoran’s call to “get out the tax-cut driver.” De Vanssay suggested: “Due to economic growth and income tax progressivity, the income tax burden of the average Canadian increases in absolute and relative terms every year. A politically acceptable solution to this problem might be to officially index the tax brackets to take into account the rate of economic growth.”

Making the case for recognizing same-sex marriage

In a brief on behalf of the Paul Martin government, Peter Hogg, former dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, urged the court to reject a plea for judicial restraint when it comes to ruling on same-sex marriage, wrote freelance writer Rory Leishman in an opinion piece in the London Free Press Oct. 19. Hogg told the court: “Marriage for civil purposes continues to evolve over time in accordance with the values of Canadians. In 21st-century Canada, the unions of same-sex couples fall within this current understanding of the essence of marriage. Courts that have recently considered this matter have accepted this evolved understanding and determined that it is not only consistent with but requires legal recognition as a result of the Charter.” Hogg presented no evidence for his contention that the unions of same-sex couples fall within the current understanding of the essence of marriage, wrote Leishman. In fact, most Canadians reject such a notion, he argued.

Through the eyes of strangers, Canada is blessed

York doctoral student Terry Wilde mused on his foreign-student friends’ vision of Canada, in the Oct. 11 issue of Maclean’s. “Over the last three years, I have met and worked with a number of foreign students,” he wrote. Some he met through church, others while taking his PhD in Canadian history at York University. “Quite a few of these foreign students are here alone, so my wife, Maureen, and I invite them to our home for various holidays and celebrations.” Last year, Valentina Capurri, an Italian student doing her PhD in history, visited for Christmas. She, “along with Maureen and me and our two daughters and a son, wore felt antlers and a Santa hat, opened a stocking hung on the fireplace and some gifts, ate turkey, and laughed a lot,” wrote Wilde. “She loved our fireplace. After two years in Canada, she said, she had rarely been warm.” Chinedu Idike from Nigeria is taking a PhD in international human rights law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Over Thanksgiving dinner, “Chinedu unintentionally taught us to appreciate Canada more than we ever had. We have such ready access to clean water, food, medicine, transportation, information and technologies, that it’s easy to take them for granted. But not Chinedu: to him, these things are conveniences, acknowledged and appreciated daily.”

“The commitment and dedication of the foreign students I’ve met is refreshing,” wrote Wilde. “They don’t whine about their circumstances or lament their lack of material goods. They get on with realizing their goals without any sense of sacrifice or entitlement. I had expected while studying Canadian history to learn about federalism and separatists and all the other ‘isms’ and ‘ists’ that comprise Canada. But through the eyes of strangers, I have found that there is so much more to appreciate about this country. We are blessed.'”

On air

  • Martin Shadwick, defence analyst with the York Centre for International & Security Studies, commented on a report that said Canadian troops sent to Haiti had to scrounge for basic equipment, in an interview aired on radio stations on Oct. 18 in Fredericton; New Glasgow, NS; Montreal; London and St. Catharines, Ont.; Winnipeg; Saskatoon and Yorkton, Sask.; Edmonton; and Victoria.
  • Transportation consultant Richard Soberman talked about whether the City of Toronto can build more subway lines to York University, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Oct. 18.
  • “I think the general feeling in Iraq is that for the United States to pull out now would be disastrous,” Thabit Abdullah Sam, history professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, told Evan Solomon, host of “CBC News: Sunday” Oct. 17. “It would lead to complete chaos. There’s also a feeling that the United States is actually responsible for quite a bit of the atmosphere of chaos. So it’s their duty to actually stay.”