Champion of women’s issues appointed to Senate

Nancy Ruth, a champion of social change for women, calls her appointment to the Senate “a wonderful honour,” reported the Toronto Star March 28. “I’m very pleased,” the Progressive Conservative party member said. “One of my life goals is to make Canada a more equal place for women and that won’t change.”

Ruth, 63, has been an active voice on issues concerning the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially in regards to women and poverty. In 1985, Ruth helped found the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), which backed dozens of breakthroughs in the law at the Supreme Court level. A member of the Order of Canada, Ruth was awarded Ontario’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights in 1998.

Ruth graduated with a BA in political science from York University in 1969 and accepted an honorary doctor of laws degree from York in 1994. She also has a master of arts degree in the applied behavioural sciences from Whitworth College, in Spokane, Wash., and diplomas in theology.

Cocktails reveal much about culture

Will that be straight up or on the rocks? It’s a familiar refrain in bars and lounges these days as Canadians embrace a new era of sipping cocktails, says Christine Sismondo, a humanities lecturer and researcher at York University, reported Canadian Press in a story picked up March 29 by the Cape Breton Post. “I think we are looking at a resurgence of cocktails and cocktail culture,” says the 34-year-old former bartender whose book Mondo Cocktail will be published by McArthur in the fall. Sismondo found that cocktails “are also a terrific entree into the culture in which they were created – giving us access to literary history and theory, colonialism, military campaigns and even a smattering of scientific history, what with those alchemical and agriculture connections.”

Imagine Eminem rapping about big Macs

McDonald’s in the United States wants hip-hop artists to rap about the burger – and is willing to pay them if they write it into their songs, reported The Globe and Mail March 29. It’s the latest twist on paid product placement as marketers look for new ways to reach teenagers who are turning away from television and spending more time with video games, the Internet and music. “It’s an extension of a long movement. People have paid for their brand names to be in movies and in television and in books . . . so why not in songs? It’s the next logical move,” said Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

Students to benefit from York Region’s new rapid-transit bus

York Region is going to spend $2 million to promote Viva, its new transit project debuting this September along Yonge Street and Highway 7, reported the Toronto Star March 29. A key ad campaign that debuts in April targets office workers, women, immigrants and students as the most likely candidates to ride the luxury buses the region has ordered as the backbone of its transit service. Viva will run 19 hours a day, hitting 119 bus stops along Highway 7 (from Martin Grove to Cornell), Yonge (from Newmarket Terminal to Finch station) and a couple of spur lines. It will operate as rapid transit, getting a head start at traffic lights and linking efficiently with other systems, as the region tries to create a transit culture. Teenagers and students at York University and Seneca College need to hear the message that they’ll gain empowerment and mobility if they use Viva, said the Star.

On air

  • Marie Henein, criminal lawyer and adjunct professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed how defence lawyers avoid using the word evil in court because such simple terms do not fit emotional or complex situations, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” March 28. Henein earned an LLB from Osgoode in 1989.
  • The national women’s hockey team, including Hayley Wickenheiser, practised Monday at York University to prepare for the Women’s World Hockey Championship in Sweden, reported Global TV March 28.
  • Debra Pepler, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and a psychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children, was interviewed about the behaviour of bullies in a documentary aired March 29 on TVOntario’s “Studio 2”.