York students go all out to thank HSBC Bank Canada

The Feb. 11 edition of The Toronto Sun carried a photograph of York cheerleader Cristina Skripnikova and a York Lions mascot at the HSBC Bank Canada branch at York and Wellington Streets in Toronto. The photo was taken at an event where York students said a special thank you to HSBC Bank Canada for its generous $1-million donation to the York University Foundation, which will mean 10 annual full-tuition scholarships for students attending York. Chinese-language Fairchild Television in Ontario also carried coverage of the “Thanks a Million Event” on Feb. 10 and Toronto’s Chinese-language newspapers Ming Pao Daily News and Sing Tao Daily published stories about it Feb. 11.

 Critics won’t be fazed by celebrity criticism

CanWest News Service carried a story on Feb. 10 about celebrities, weaned on a decade of star-hugging by schmoozy entertainment media outlets, lashing out at journalists who criticize them by buying vitriolic ads in newspapers and magazines. “I doubt this will intimidate critics,” said Seth Feldman, York University film historian and founder of the Film Studies Association of Canada. “If anything, it (will) encourage them and their editors – nothing is more fun than a controversy.” Feldman said he believes the celebrities in question are simply trying to raise their profiles. But he noted that stars being “somewhat spoiled by TV’s coverage of Hollywood” also plays a role in the recent outbursts.

Osgoode graduate appointed to security roundtable group

Osgoode Hall Law School alumnus Leo Adler (LLB ’73), national affairs director at the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, has been appointed to the Federal Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. His appointment as one of 15 Canadians in the group was announced by Anne McLellan, deputy prime minister and minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, Irwin Cotler, minister of justice, and Raymond Chan, minister of state (multiculturalism).

Toronto police launch Chinese tipsters’ Web site

The Toronto Star and National Post in their Feb. 11 editions, wrote that Toronto Police are counting on a new Chinese-language tipsters’ Web site to help them catch the killer of  Lin Tao, a visa student at the York University English Language Institute who was fatally stabbed near her apartment off campus in Feb. 2002. The site, found at 222Tips.com, was launched at a police media conference, Feb. 10. Users can type in their information using either traditional Chinese characters or English and it will be passed on to homicide investigators. The tip will come to Crime Stoppers encrypted. The Toronto Sun also carried coverage of the media conference at which police revealed that the suspect may have run onto the Keele campus carrying the victim’s cell phone. CityTV’s Breakfast Television, Global TV’s CIII-TV (Ontario) and CFTO-TV’s Newsbeat Today also carried coverage of  the media conference on Feb. 10.

 Recruitment & marketing staff are quick off the mark

The Packet & Times in Orillia, in a Feb. 10 feature story about high-school athlete Justin Grinstead, reported that the five-sport star is already known to York University’s recruitment & marketing office. Grinstead, a Grade 11 student who has been nominated for an Orillia Athlete of the Year award, said he will pursue a university scholarship, possibly in the United States but said he has already received an information package from York.

York student speaks for youth at meeting about new police chief

Writing about the second of four public meetings on the selection of a new Toronto police chief, the Toronto Star noted public interest in the exercise appears to be growing. One participant at the latest meeting held in Scarborough was Puviraj Srikanthan, 20, a York University student studying law and social work. “We’d like to have the next chief see the youth’s point of view,” Srikanthan said. “No matter where they are from, youth have to be represented. We all need to be treated [as] equal,” said the student, who grew up in Scarborough and does volunteer work at the Malvern Community Centre.

Shadwick cites bureaucratic delays, Canadian values at submarine inquiry

Canadian Press wire service carried a story Feb. 10 about the inquiry into problems with Canada’s new submarines and how politics contributed to the poor condition of the Chicoutimi and other subs purchased from Britain. CP reported Martin Shadwick, an expert in military procurement from York University, told the panel the British might have better cared for the vessels if they had known how long it would take Canada to take possession of them. He also said the lag time between decommissioning Canada’s old subs and bringing the new ones into service eroded the navy’s undersea expertise and training regimen. If Canada had begun looking for a new army jeep in September 1939 at the rate it moves today, Shadwick said, it would not have taken delivery of the vehicles before the war ended in May 1945. “Sadly, it seems in many cases we’ve concluded that the quickest way to speed up procurement in this country is not to buy anything at all.”

During the tender process for the 1980s purchase of CF-18 fighter jets, only 25 per cent of the specifications focused on the military’s technical and operational requirements for the aircraft, Shadwick said. Three-quarters of the data the government released to bidders related to industrial benefits, offsets, job creation and technology transfer. Shadwick said, “right there in a nutshell is the problem, we’ve overly politicized this.” While constitutionally the country can never take politics completely out of defence procurement, Canada has “pushed this further than, perhaps, most countries,” he said. “At a time when our defence dollars are even more tightly rationed, the fact that we take a decade, a decade-and-a-half to purchase very simple equipment is cause for sheer disbelief, if nothing else.”

Shadwick said military procurement is not hampered only by politics: It could be speeded by cutting paperwork, “interminable” meetings and other bureaucratic processes. “I would aim for a multi-layered attack on the problem dealing within DND and the Forces, the other government departments, and the political level,” he said.

On air

  • OMNI News Cantonese Edition on Toronto’s OMNI.2 TV aired same-day coverage of the Spadina subway project Environmental Assessment consultation events at York’s Keele campus on Feb. 10.