Start a continuous subway building program

“Wealthy businessman and eminent [York] benefactor Seymour Schulich says that the Ontario government should build all the subways and other infrastructure it needs, right now, even if the expense drives it close to bankruptcy. That way, he reasons, we will get the subways and, in the process, force negligent Ottawa to rectify our fiscal distress,” wrote The Globe and Mail’s John Barber in an April 14 column. “But there is a far more efficient way of accomplishing the same thing – a continuous subway building program – at lower cost and with no fiscal and little political distress. Moreover, it is a method that has already been tested – and its benefits proved – by two transportation mega-projects in the Toronto region,” argued Barber. “One of them is Highway 407; the other is Pearson Airport. Both extremely successful, both projects have also delivered major public benefits – and neither required tax dollars to build. Together, they stand as the obvious models for any new program to build subways in Toronto in the 21st century.”

Forget Expo, build subway to York

In the April 14 Toronto Star, guest editorialist Ingrid Sapona said she’s opposed to hosting an Expo in Toronto in 2015 for a number of reasons, including “the idea of building a transit link under the waterfront from the port lands to what will be, if all goes according to plan, the former island airport. We’re told we’ll need this to move 10,000 people an hour while the Expo is running. But what about afterward? Does the TTC need a white elephant? Surely the money could be better spent on lines to York University or Pearson airport.”

Top court takes balanced approach to equality law, says prof

CanWest News Service marked the 20th anniversary April 14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom’s ambitious anti-discrimination clause – arguably the most controversial guarantee in Canada’s most contentious law. Known simply as “section 15”, the law affirms that “every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.” Equality rights litigator Mary Eberts, author of a soon-to-be published book on s. 15, believes the equality guarantee hasn’t even come close to fulfilling its original promise. But Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, argues the top court takes a “balanced approach” to the equality guarantee. “I don’t think s. 15 was intended to operate as a redistributive mechanism in a free market economy, and I don’t think that was the expectation, broadly speaking, at the time it was enacted.”

Red Barn Theatre aims for 905 audience

A Globe & Mail roundup April 14 of this year’s summer theatre in cottage country included comments from Don Rubin, theatre professor in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts and president of the Lake Simcoe Arts Foundation board, which oversees the Red Barn at Jackson’s Point. After the doldrums of both the SARS summer of 2003 and the general depression in travel after Sept. 11, 2001, security concerns at the border and a soft US dollar, tourism patterns do keep changing, and not in the same way for every house. “We have a hard core [of patrons] from around here,” said Rubin. “We have a hard core from Toronto. But we’re also generating a response from the middle region, from Thornhill and Markham and Newmarket. The 905 area really is our marketing area.”

York grad tours in comedy act

The amazing Williamson Playboys, the world’s “oldest” Cajun father-and-son music duo, perform their unique blend of songs and side-splitting comedy on the Confederation Centre’s Mainstage April 22, reported Summerside’s Journal Pioneer April 12. Aka Doug Morency and Paul Bates, they sing songs, tell stories and insist they have invented every kind of music known to man. Bates and Morency created the Williamson Playboys while at Toronto’s Second City comedy theatre in 2001 and recently won a Canadian Comedy Award. Born and raised in Toronto, Bates earned a BFA in theatre from York in 1997 and joined Second City in 1998. His latest film credits include The Tuxedo and Welcome to Mooseport

On air

  • Auto industry analyst Bernie Wolf, a professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, says automakers took a risk introducing the smart car, but it’s a venture that will pay off, reported Global TV in a news item aired April 13 on “Global National”. Wolf said, “Because the more they make, the more they perfect the technology, the more they will be able to bring their costs down, the more they will in fact be able to profit.”
  • Gordon Flett, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, was interviewed about why students procrastinate about studying before exams, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” April 13.
  • Global TV’s “Global News Morning” aired an interview with 14-year-old math prodigy Chen Kupperman, who just finished his first year at York, his mother Sara Kupperman, and Robert Tiffin, acting vice-president students at York, April 13.
  • Brendan Quine, professor of space and planetary physics in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, discussed Ottawa’s new $10-billion environmental plan to meet the Kyoto Protocol, and the human impact vs. natural effects on the environment, on ROB-TV’s “SqueezePlay” Apirl 13.
  • Heather Lotherington, professor in York’s Faculty of Education, and York education student Michael Prezens (BFA ’01) talked about how widespread, standardized literacy testing misses a great deal of contemporary learning that children are acquiring using digital interfaces such as video games and how digital games meet learning objectives in elementary education in unexpected ways, on “Call For Help” April 13 on G4techTV, the television network dedicated to the world of interactive entertainment.
  • Archeologist Kathryn Denning, a professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, appeared on Discovery TV’s “Daily Planet” April 13, when the program announced the top five submissions to its ‘Calling All Aliens’ contest to create a message to be sent to a nearby star.
  • Political scientist David Shugarman, director of York’s Centre for Practical Ethics, was interviewed about the Gomery inquiry into the federal sponsorship scandal, in a news item aired on CBC TV’s “The National” April 13.