Banks have missed the global express train

Peter C. Newman criticizes the international strategies of Canada’s major banks in the Jan. 10 issue of Maclean’s and cites two York professors to back up his opinion.
In Canada, Newman writes, we still regard the chairmen of the Big Five as corporate titans; on a world scale they’re gnats, hardly considered serious players, he writes. Their record south of the 49th is dismal: “With the possible exception of the Bank of Nova Scotia’s foray into Mexico, the Canadian banks’ international strategies have been an exercise in value destruction and a protection racket for Bay Street’s closed club.” So conclude York University’s Schulich School of Business Professors Charles McMillan and James Darroch in a tough chapter written for the revised edition of Canada and Globalization: The New World Economic Order, being published this spring. “It seems ironical that given the Canadian banks’ pathetic financial performance, their failed efforts in the US market and a growing list of possible scandals, Canadian firms like Manulife Financial Corp. and Power Corporation of Canada have become global superstars. The world is increasingly a single online system. Financial services is its biggest industry, larger than oil, autos and consumer electronics combined.”

York honoured wrestler Whipper Billy Watson

Whipper Watson died Jan. 7, 1990, remembered The Globe and Mail in its Died This Day column. The professional wrestler born William Potts in Toronto in 1916 was a five-time world champion whose charity work brought him the Order of Ontario and an honorary degree from York University in 1984.

On air

  • York’s memorial service Jan. 6 for tsunami victims received extensive same-day coverage on Toronto-area TV and radio news broadcasts, including CFTO-TV’s “Newsbeat Today” and “World Beat News” (showing people signing condolence books and featuring interviews with Rudhramoorthy Cheran research associate at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies and a part-time sociology lecturer, and fourth-year biology student Tanya de Silva, a member of York’s Sri Lankan Student Alliance and a coordinator of the Tsunami Relief Effort Coalition); CKVR-TV in Barrie; CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” (featuring an interview with spokespeople for York’s Tamil Students Association and South Asian Alliance).
  • CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” interviewed York media relations assistant director George McNeillie Jan. 6 about the Glendon College Student Union lawsuit against the University for cutting off its funding and locking it out of its offices. McNeillie said York was responding to complaints from students about the conduct of the union.