Gas-tax formula dashes hopes of subway expansion

Toronto can stop dreaming about a subway to York University and other major system expansions if federal gas tax funding is based on population instead of transit riders, says the head of the TTC, reported the Toronto Star June 16. “If it’s per capita you can forget it all … the subway is off the radar,” said Rick Ducharme, chief general manager of the TTC. Many Toronto officials believed as late as Wednesday that the formula to dole out $1.9 billion in federal gas tax revenue over five years would be weighted toward transit ridership in the province. But federal officials have confirmed Ottawa will announce Friday that the money will be handed out to Ontario’s cities and towns based entirely on population, according to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Toronto has 62 per cent of Ontario’s transit ridership but just 20 per cent of its population. That means Toronto’s share of the $1.9 billion will be closer to $400 million – not the $900 million city officials expected.

Collecting race data will cause controversy

Members of the committee looking into whether the Toronto District School Board should gather racial data say there’s only one sure thing they can expect from the task at hand – a lot of controversy, reported The Globe and Mail June 16. “I don’t think it’s possible to avoid controversy on this issue,” said Carol Tator, an anthropology professor at York University and member of the newly appointed advisory committee on student achievement. “I am not afraid of controversy. It comes whenever you have to make such a decision.” Tator is one of the 21 scholars and community leaders chosen by the board to study the issue of gathering racial data and make recommendations.

Take a load off, Dr. Robbie

Talent, drive and sheer grit earned Robbie Robertson a degree – summa cum laude – from the School of Rock. But it’s the Canadian music legend’s promotion of aboriginal rights and culture that brought him undreamed-of honours Tuesday when he was presented with a doctor of laws degree from York University, reported Canadian Press in a story that continued to be widely published June 15 and 16 in newspapers from Halifax to Penticton. The news was also broadcast on radio and television news reports June 14 and 15 in Toronto and southern Ontario.

The cost of convocation

After completing two degrees, Raymond Chung thought he had finished paying for university. Then came the $50 to rent a gown – up from last year’s $30, and just the start of the money this year’s graduating students can spend at convocation, reported the Toronto Star June 16 in a story on the potential cost of graduating at three Ontario universities if you buy all the extras. Chung has already declined a class composite photo. But the York University education graduate hasn’t decided whether to order pictures from the ceremony, from $12.50 for a single photo to $50-plus for a set of prints.

We don’t need another Batman

We don’t need another Batman in securities regulation, stated National Post columnist Terence Corcoran June 16. What we do need is an objective examination of the real question: Is there any truth to the idea Canada suffers from lax securities regulation and enforcement? In a presentation this week in Toronto, York’s Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Poonam Puri repeated the claims, including Bank of Canada governor David Dodge’s reference to Canada as the “Wild West” of the global securities markets.

Classic Jaguars showcased

Canada’s largest Jaguar club is staging its premier event of the year on Sunday at York University’s Glendon College, reported The Hamilton Spectator June 16. The show attracts the finest sport and sedan Jaguars from the post-war era, up through the ’50s, ’60s and others, up to the moderns. The event, called Concours d’Elegance, is staged by the Ontario Jaguar Owners Association Inc.