Talks put NHL season on the line

“A luxury tax is just the flip side of a salary cap,” York researcher and lecturer Julian Ammirante told the Ottawa Citizen in a Dec. 9 story about a players’ proposal being discussed this week by the National Hockey League and the players’ association. While a luxury tax is essentially a salary cap by a different name, Ammirante says NHL president Gary Bettman is unwilling to accept it because it doesn’t force owners to make hard payroll decisions.

Ammirante, who specializes in the business history of professional sports in North America and Europe, said, “If there’s a luxury tax, the burden is on the owners, where if it’s a cap, the restriction is automatically on the players’ salaries. But at the end of the day, a luxury tax creates revenue sharing” among high- and low-spending teams. While both owners and players are taking pains to present themselves as favourably as possible to the public, Ammirante said the public relations campaign is meaningless. He said it doesn’t matter what the public thinks, because the issue is eventually going to be resolved based on business principles settled behind closed doors.

The CanWest News Service story also appeared in The Vancouver Province.

Sub fire a symptom of inadequate funds

An opinion piece in the Calgary Herald Dec. 9 asked when the Canadian government will get tired of embarrassing itself on the international stage when it comes to equipping its defence force, and quoted York defence analyst Martin Shadwick. The tragic fire aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi submarine on Oct. 5 resulted in mass criticism of the Liberal government, as it began procuring these second-hand subs four years after the British had mothballed them back in 1994. Shadwick, said writer Aaron Plamondon, a doctoral student at the University of Calgary, astutely summed up the problem of accessing core equipment: “If we’re having difficulty quickly equipping troops going overseas, and in relatively small numbers, that suggests that some corrective action is immediately required.”

No surprise she’s top of the class

Area residents who know Hoda Paripoush, whose maiden name is Hoda Saidi, will not be surprised to learn the former Brockville Collegiate Institute student is at the top of her class at York University, reported the Brockville Recorder and Times Dec. 8. Paripoush, the daughter of Iran and Mehrab Saidi of Brockville, is featured on the cover of this month’s YorkU magazine along with other high-achieving undergraduates deemed “Best in Class.” The magazine profiled the seven students who posted the highest accumulated grade point average in their faculty going into the third year. Paripoush, a 22-year-old psychology major, placed at the top of the University’s Glendon campus. She hopes to practise naturopathic medicine, which has a holistic approach that appeals to her Baha’i faith.

Zero isn’t always in your best interest

Consumers need to hold on to their car for a much longer period than the loan, otherwise, they are going to end up being continually into car payments, warns Jim Savary, an economics professor at York’s Glendon College and a long-time member of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, reported The Globe and Mail Dec. 9 in a story about zero-per-cent car financing. Savory believes loans should be made for less than 48 months.

Program helps needy families pay heating bills

A house without heat is a house on the street. That’s the theme for this year’s Share the Warmth program, which helps low-income families stay warm and in their homes over the winter months, reported Stratford’s Beacon-Herald Dec. 8. The Toronto-based organization, started in 1995 by a group of students at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, uses donations to purchase heat and energy for vulnerable families in more than 400 Ontario communities. “The people we help are very needy,” said program founder and 1998 Osgoode grad Edward de Gale, who was in Brantford for the launch of the local program.