Praise for Supreme Court over autism ruling

The Supreme Court of Canada left parents of autistic children in British Columbia to fend for themselves, refusing to order the provincial government to fund costly specialized treatment for their children, reported The Globe and Mail Nov. 20. Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said it took courage for the court to reject the pleas of such a sympathetic group and to follow a principled approach. "The courts shouldn’t be in the business of trying to redesign funding for the health-care system."

In a related Globe story about the top court steering clear of government priorities, Monahan said the BC ruling leaves the door open to rectifying genuine discrimination, while at the same time shaving away fuzzy, confusing reasoning that has marred many equality rulings and created unworkable legal tests.

The National Post Nov. 20 called the case one of the most significant social policy issues to reach the high court in years and sought reaction from constitutional expert Jamie Cameron, a law professor at Osgoode. "The court has shown appropriate institutional caution here in resisting the invitation to constitutionalize the health-care system," said Cameron. "Once the precedent is created, it would encourage other claims."

Argos – and CFL – on a roll

The Toronto Argonauts look an awful lot like a team of destiny this year – not to mention the future, reported the Montreal Gazette Nov. 20. With the news this season the Argos will get a new, 25,000-seat outdoor stadium on the grounds of York University, Canada’s largest city will soon have the same fan-friendly venue for Canadian Football League football that Montrealers have – minus the mountain-top view of downtown, of course. The Gazette also said, in a separate story, that with attendance in Toronto, the league’s lynchpin franchise, up 71 per cent, an agreement to build the compact stadium at York University and BC quarterback Casey Printers, you have a product that is on the upswing.

  • CBC Newsworld’s "Morning Weekend Edition" interviewed York University football coach Tom Gretes Nov. 21 about the game of football and why he thinks it’s so great.
  • Tom Wright, CFL commissioner, said he has high hopes for the new Argos stadium at York University, on CFTO-TV’s "World Beat News" Nov. 20.

Go ahead and cheer: It’s good for your team

There’s no place like home – especially when it comes to winning a big game, says a York University professor, and while the Argos or the Lions don’t have magical red slippers to transport them to their home stadium, their fans attending the Grey Cup in Ottawa can certainly help, reported the Ottawa Citizen Nov. 20. "The audience is one factor in the relationship between arousal and performance. So in sports like football, we typically want to see the players have high levels of arousal because it narrows their attention and gets their energy really, really high," said Joe Baker, professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences.

 A ‘real dude’ and his unlikely posse

In a lifetime of politics and the law that spans 50 years, Roy McMurtry has been called many things. Ontario attorney general, Canadian high commissioner to Britain, Chair of the Canadian Football League, Canada Commonwealth Games spokesman, chief justice for Ontario and, his own preference, just plain Roy. Now add one more: "real dude", reported The Globe and Mail Nov. 20. That honorific is bestowed by Kehinde Bah, a 25-year-old street-savvy youth worker who sits on Toronto Mayor David Miller’s advisory panel on community safety, which the sitting chief justice leads. If it’s an unusual moniker, it is also one that seems to fit, others say. "It doesn’t matter if he is walking into a courtroom or a school cafeteria, he is able to bring people together to work toward a solution," said Ryan Teschner, 24, a third-year student at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, the other youth voice on the panel.

First aboriginal appointed to appeal court

Harry LaForme thought a good way to represent the interests and concerns of First Nations people was to go to York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Thirty years later, he’s making history as the first aboriginal person appointed to a Canadian appellate court, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 20. LaForme, who broke new ground by ruling in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage in 2002, was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal Nov. 19 by Justice Minister Irwin Cotler. LaForme is a former Ontario Indian commissioner, chief commissioner of the federal Indian Land Claims Commission and judge of the Ontario Court, general division. He is also a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation. LaForme graduated from Osgoode in 1977.

Planning firm behind key developments

You may never have heard of the MBTW Group/Watchorn Architect Inc., but chances are you’ve heard of its work, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 20. The Beach, the Garden Residences of Avondale, the Village of Brooklin, Oak Park, the Village at York University and the Shipyards at Collingwood are just a few of the developments in which the Toronto firm has played a key role. "The big question for us was how can we move from a suburban campus to a 24-hour urban campus like Harvard?" said Gary Watchorn, one of five principals at MBTW, of the Village at York University, a Sorbara Group/Tribute Homes initiative.

The firm has developed a master plan for 60 hectares, combining private and public uses, a variety of housing choices and a mix of student accommodation and office/commercial or institutional uses. The surrounding greenspaces and woodlots inspired MBTW to create an open-space network within the campus. For the housing, the group looked to the Annex neighbourhood around the University of Toronto and replicated the flat roofs that suggest an urban/university environment. The flat-roofed homes have become the most popular sellers.

A Swedish perspective on hockey

Simcoe County-born Daryl Bat won’t just come back with a good recipe for Swedish meatballs when he returns to Canada in 2005. He’ll also have an insight into the National Hockey League influence in Europe, reported Orillia Today Nov. 19. A native of Orillia, Bat is currently playing professional hockey with Asploven, in Division 1 of the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation. In the days leading up the signing of his first pro contract earlier this summer, little did the former York University geography student realize he would be currently seeing more NHL players than his friends who follow the Maple Leafs back in Toronto. The current lockout has resulted in over 250 NHL players packing their bags and heading to Europe to play and maintain top physical fitness.

Bat notes the current increase in the popularity of hockey in Europe isn’t just centred in Scandinavia. "It’s not just in Sweden, but all over Europe. Rinks are constantly sold out and tickets are hard to come by. With names like Forsberg, Morrison and Sedin, people want to go and see the best," said Bat, who had reached third year in his York studies.

Law deans’ report says high tuition not a barrier

Seven years of steep tuition increases have not deterred students from poor families or visible minorities from pursuing a legal education, the heads of five Ontario law schools told their counterparts from across the country, reported the National Post Nov. 20. The five law schools at Queen’s, the University of Ottawa, University of Western Ontario, University of Windsor and York’s Osgoode Hall hand out annual bursaries averaging $2,059 to $4,752 to about 50 per cent of their students.

Chiropractic school no coup for university

"I wonder how the science faculty at Florida State University view the ‘distinction’ of becoming the only university to include chiropractic in its science curriculum?" asked a Tallahassee Democrat reader in a letter Nov. 20. Five years ago, wrote the reader, York University in Canada was about to become the first major university in the world to affiliate with a chiropractic college when its science faculty, joined by Nobel laureates and other notable scientists, strongly opposed the affiliation. York administrators reconsidered and decided against the affiliation.

On air

  • As the date approached of US President George W. Bush’s visit to Canada, James Laxer, political scientist inYork’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, discussed Canadian antipathy to Bush and Carolyn Parrish’s anti-Bush comments, on Global TV’s "Global News at Noon" Nov. 19. Laxer also discussed whether most Canadians want a warm welcome for Bush, on City-tv’s "Noon News."
  • Donald Carveth, psychoanalyst and sociology professor at York’s Glendon Faculty, discussed whether a popular Toronto-based Web site on adultery is one of the factors in helping to kill monogamy, on CBC TV’s "CBC News: Sunday Night" Nov. 21.