University is a commuter hub for York Region

The rationale for extending the Spadina subway line to York University is “evaporating” because of the University’s actions, says Councillor Howard Moscoe (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence), who is also Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, reported the Toronto Star May 14. 

In a letter to York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, Moscoe, who wrote as a member of council and not on behalf of the TTC, notes the University’s decision to cancel plans for a soccer stadium on the campus. He goes on to criticize York’s sale of lands on the south side of the campus for low-density housing. Transit is best in areas with high-density development, writes Moscoe. 

Ted Spence, senior policy adviser to Marsden, said the University was surprised by Moscoe’s letter. An environmental assessment of the proposed subway extension is under way, and the University is working closely with it, along with TTC officials, he said. The now-cancelled stadium was never a factor in justifying a new subway, Spence said. The University has earmarked property for high-density development close to two proposed stations for the new subway line, Spence said.

He also said that York University is not the sole reason for the subway extension. The area is a commuter hub where people from York Region catch buses to the Downsview subway station, Spence said. “This should be described as a subway to York Region, not a subway to York University,” he added.

The brutal truth about American war crimes

It is impossible for any person of conscience not to seethe with anger while reading Michael Mandel‘s brilliant evisceration of the accepted propaganda about the military interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, suggested the Edmonton Journal in a May 15 review of Mandel’s book, How America Gets Away With Murder: Illegal Wars, Collateral Damage and Crimes Against Humanity. Mandel, a professor of international law and a war law expert at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, employs a razor-sharp mind and an acutely informed sense of outrage and conviction to produce a cogent, thoroughly documented and intensely persuasive legal and moral argument that all three wars were illegal acts of imperialistic aggression under international law.

This is an intensely cerebral yet surprisingly accessible book, said the Journal. Mandel writes with clarity, the intellectual and moral courage of his convictions, and a liberal salting of wry humour that leavens the grimness of the topic. It is a must-read for anyone who cares about the truth in world conflict and politics.

Toronto football fans ‘Scrooged’

Paul Godfrey and The Rogers Gang did a lovely job of convincing the Argullibles to return to the refurbished and renamed former SkyDome. But, in the process, the people of Toronto got Scrooged. Again, suggested The Toronto Sun’s Bill Lankhof May 14. York University announced Thursday that without the Argos, its project for a 20,000-seat stadium that would have involved the Canadian Soccer Association is dead. So Toronto loses a chance at a mid-size sports facility it desperately needs. It costs local soccer teams and the Canadian Soccer Association a chance to finally get a decent facility somewhere east of Edmonton. And, it’s likely to cost Toronto the FIFA under-20 tournament. And Argos fans get an oversized stadium with lousy football sightlines. Even if your name is Paul Godfrey, you can’t fix that with a couple of buckets of paint and some neon signs. This might have been a good deal from a corporate viewpoint, but on the community level it sucks.

Gary Brewer, vice-president finance & administration at York, in announcing the school couldn’t proceed alone on the project said, “The clock ran out on us.” The clock isn’t the only thing that ran out on them – or Toronto’s sports fans, concluded Lankhof.

Navratilova competes this summer at Rexall Centre

Martina Navratilova won’t be the only celebrity at the Rexall Centre at York University next August, reported The Toronto Sun May 15. “So far, several of the world’s top women’s players have agreed to participate,” said tournament director Stacey Allaster.”We’ll have teen sensation and Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova of Russia, Belgium’s Justine Henin-Hardenne and Kim Clijsters, Serena and Venus Williams of the US, France’s Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce among many others.”

Classic cars give markets run for their money

What’s a better investment, an old sports car or the stock market? asked the Calgary Herald’s business columnist Fred Langan May 14. “The historical rate of return on a diversified portfolio of sports cars did not keep up with the TSE/TSX index,” said Moshe Milevsky, a professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. But even Milevsky said old sports cars aren’t that bad an investment. “Once you factor in management fees, investment expenses and income taxes, and that very few people have the discipline and rigour to stay the course and avoid futile market timing, the financial rate of return on sports cars was surprisingly high. It was certainly better than I expected.”

Argo Damon Allen hosts fundraising game at York

Toronto Argonauts quarterback Damon Allen hosted Saturday’s first Quarterback Challenge at York University, reported the National Post May 16. The event was more family reunion than Kids Help Phone charity fundraiser, as beer, pizza and four skill competitions helped keep 12 of the league’s best quarterbacks and about 100 faces in the crowd interested. The event was also covered by some of Toronto’s other major dailies and radio stations.

Criticizing abortion a hate crime?

In a Western Standard column May 16, Ted Byfield, former publisher of Alberta Report, used the response to Women’s Health After Abortion, a book co-written by York history Prof. Ian Gentles, to illustrate his prediction “that anyone caught criticizing abortion will be hauled before some kangaroo human-rights court and accused of preaching hate.” He stated that “one BC feminist MP angrily protested her being sent the book [which reports 500 studies, 30 of which found a link between breast cancer and abortion] and soon a vehement attack was unleashed by feminists across the country against the affinity MasterCard used by LifeCanada members. The bank, said the feminists, is supporting a ‘hate group’.”

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said Canada is in a serious political crisis, but not a constitutional crisis, on “CBC News” May 15.
  • David Noble, professor of social and political thought in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed the Ontario government’s proposal to bring universities under the Freedom of Information Act to make them more accountable on how they spend government funds, on CBC TV’s “Canada Now” May 13.