Global trade patterns vulnerable to high oil

The price of oil is poised to climb so high that it may dramatically change the dynamic of global trade and force companies to look closer to home for imports and exports, says a new paper by CIBC economists, reported The Globe and Mail Sept. 9. North American traders will be lured back to Mexico and Latin America and away from China and Asia, at least for some types of goods, as oil makes shipping costs prohibitive, say Jeff Rubin and Benjamin Tal, economists at CIBC World Markets. Much of the CIBC World Markets’ argument depends on businesses believing that oil will indeed continue to climb, and stay expensive for some time to come, said Bernie Wolf, director of the international MBA program at York’s Schulich School of Business. “The world doesn’t change on a dime,” he said. “You won’t make shifts if you’re not sure these changes are relatively permanent.” Plus, he added, China’s wage advantages are significant, compared to Mexico and Latin America, and may offset the extra costs of transportation.

Not just Muslim women are exploited by ‘religious’ law

In a Sept. 9 letter to The Globe and Mail, Susan Drummond, professor of family and comparative law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, wrote: “A front-page story in Thursday’s Globe drew attention to the case of ‘Shinaz’, a Muslim woman who was coerced by religious law and her imam into forfeiting support and property rights in order to get a religious divorce. The full facts are a little bit buried in the latter part of the story, so let me bring them to the fore again: Before going to the imam, Shinaz went to a Canadian lawyer, worked out a separation agreement and got a settlement on child support, property and child custody. She then also got a divorce in a Canadian court. Following this, she wanted a religious divorce, though absolutely nothing in Canadian law compels, or indeed urges or even suggests, that she do so. What followed in the religious arena illustrates a long-standing tension between religious law and state law – a tension that is in no way exclusive to Islam. In the religious forum to which Shinaz voluntarily submitted, she found herself up against a potentially very exploitative wall. Orthodox Jewish women have found themselves in that position for decades.”

Docs worried about patients and lost income during SARS

A new study says despite the fact that the hallways of Toronto hospitals were literally wallpapered with lists of the SARS warning signs during the city’s outbreak of the disease, a number of doctors showed up for work experiencing the symptoms that should have kept them away, reported Canadian Press Sept. 8. A smaller number of doctors had SARS-like symptoms, yet didn’t recognize them as such; those doctors also turned up for work during the crisis, authors of the study report in the September-October issue of the journal Psychosomatics. “It is a bit worrisome. And in terms of future outbreaks that’s something that needs to be followed up on,” Sherry Grace, lead author of the article, said in an interview. Grace and colleagues set out to measure the impact – psychological and work-related – that SARS had on doctors at the University Health Network, a conglomeration of three of Toronto’s leading teaching hospitals. Grace, a specialist in health psychology, works both at UHN and at York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science. She said understanding the reaction of health-care workers to a crisis like SARS is crucial for those planning for future health emergencies such as an influenza pandemic.  

Lions’ running back one of the best in Canada

He’s an impresario’s dream and a coach’s nightmare. Andre Durie, the all-Canadian running back of the York Lions, will come to Kingston Saturday to face the Queen’s Golden Gaels, reported The Kingston Whig-Standard Sept. 9. “For football fans it will be a treat to come and see the kid,” Queen’s coach Pat Sheahan said. Durie rushed for 1,367 yards last year, second only to Hec Crighton trophy winner Jesse Lumsden of McMaster. It was the third-highest single-season rushing total in conference history in a campaign that saw Durie match the league record for touchdowns in a game: six, against Waterloo. In 2003, Durie set the league record for yards rushing in a game, 349, against Ottawa. In his last two games against Queen’s, Durie has gained 213 and 217 yards. Durie carried the ball 27 times last week against Waterloo, gaining 184 yards behind an offensive line that has only two returning players from last year, only one of whom was a starter.  “Our O line has been revamped,” is how Lions coach Tom Gretes puts it. “In the long run, we’ll be better for it. That’s how we look at it.”

Sheahan believes his team has to win the battle at the line of scrimmage because if Durie gets in the secondary, the Lions “are going to have a big day.” A player like Durie, Sheahan said, does much more for a football team than gain yardage. He makes the play-action pass that much more threatening. “What makes them more significant is the guy they’re faking to is the guy everybody wants to tackle,” he said. “You’re supposed to run play-action off your best running plays. Every time that great runner comes in like he’s going to take the handoff, it draws people’s attention, and that makes everybody else better.”

On air

  • Two Toronto media outlets reported that York had revoked would-be student Alice Afram’s acceptance. CFRB’s “The Motts” said the University’s decision was because her high-school marks dropped and opened the lines to callers on their Sept. 8 show. City-tv’s “CityNews at Noon” also interviewed Rob Tiffin, York’s vice president students, about the decision.