Growing GTA will need better transit, says Sorbara

Immigration is expected to help add 3.1 million to Ontario’s population in the next 20 years, with most of the growth in the Greater Toronto Area, but unemployment rates will plummet, a new provincial report shows, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 5. That underscores the need for Ontario to prepare to accommodate more immigrants and for the provincial government to continue to nurture the GTA, says Finance Minister Greg Sorbara (BA ’78, LLB ’81). The 113-page report, titled Toward 2025 Assessing Ontario’s Long-Term Outlook, was released Tuesday. “The GTA is going to need more attention,” said Sorbara. “The majority of immigrants are going to settle in the GTA.” Sorbara also said the influx of new arrivals will put added pressure on municipal infrastructure in and around the GTA, which had a population of 5.2 million in the 2004 census. “If the GTA has a population of 7.7 million people [in 20 years], it means we are going to have to have a very, very sophisticated GTA transportation system,” he said. “It’s not a matter of getting 7.7 million people on the subway we have now.” Sorbara, who has championed the creation of a regional Greater Toronto Transportation Authority and the building of a new subway line to York University, said the government is already planning for the future. “These themes are not unfamiliar to us. We’re well-positioned to manage these challenges,” he said.

Consultants’ role changing, says prof

Consulting has become a $6.7-billion industry in Canada, says a study released Wednesday by the Canadian Association of Management Consultants, reported the Toronto Star in a story also disseminated by Canadian Press Oct. 5. Theo Peridis, professor of strategic management at York’s Schulich School of Business, said a major change in the past few years has been what people want consultants to do. “In the 1990s, up until 2000, it was crazy,” Peridis said. “Consultants would walk in and companies would think they would solve all of the problems. But today it’s more functional, and focused on IT systems and consulting processes that will lead to more efficiency.”

Consultants from India, such as Infosys Technologies Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services, are increasing their presence in the Canadian marketplace, Peridis said. Such companies are using Canada as a gateway to the United States, he explained, because US firms are more receptive to companies based in Canada than those based in Asia.

New CD chronicles The Band’s music

Robbie Robertson has become a master at reconstituting the musical motherlode that made The Band one of the most memorable and influential forces in North American pop culture of the 1970s, reported the Toronto Star’s Greg Quill Oct. 5. The Toronto-born guitar legend and songwriter headed up Martin Scorcese’s massive, 1977 star-studded live concert documentary The Last Waltz, which was supposed to have been an elegant summary of The Band’s vast legacy. Four years ago Robertson (a 2005 York honorary degree recipient) shepherded the digital remixing, repackaging and re-release of that concert – on CD and DVD – and oversaw its massive promotion. The Band’s latest repackaged chronicle – a $130 boxed set called The Band: A Musical History – contains five CDs and one DVD of material that has never been heard, or officially released, accompanied by alternative and authorized versions of many of The Band’s greatest hits. There are also song sketches, live cuts and a 108-page illustrated booklet of liner notes by York University music Prof. Rob Bowman, a Grammy-award-winning musicologist.

MuchMusic to stop at York in search of next VJ star

The MuchMusic VJ Search Tour is scheduled to stop at York University Nov. 2, reported the Victoria Times Colonist Oct. 5. The first stage of the program is the massive MuchMusic VJ Search Audition Tour, which will stop at all major universities in Canada during the next two months. The open-call auditions are the first phase in the journey towards a lucrative position as a VJ/video host with the station.

Marriage in the ’50s was next stage in romance

In an Oct. 5 op-ed piece in the National Post, Barbara Kay wrote that “the optics of my generation’s attitude [towards marriage] are unappealing in an age of complete female sexual liberation. But consider the practical alternative: serial loveless hook-ups, open-ended cohabitation, late marriage often based more on age-related anxiety than love. Is all that any better than the Fifties, when marriage was the only way forward for a serious developing romance? I see no empirical evidence to suggest the situation is better, and plenty to suggest it is worse,” wrote Kay, and cites the recently released Vanier Institute of the Family study by York sociologist Anne-Marie Ambert, which overturns the received wisdom that “trial marriages” end in stronger real marriage. “Amongst Ambert’s findings are that cohabiting relationships produce lower expectations of sexual fidelity, less ability to problem-solve, greater violence and higher approval of divorce. As cohabitation rates go up, she predicts a mounting social toll on Canadian welfare, education and mental health systems,” noted Kay.

On air

  • “CTV National News” and “CTV News at 6” aired an interview Oct. 4 with Ronald Burke, professor emeritus of organizational behaviour at York’s Schulich School of Business, about office romances following the suspension of Toronto senior bureaucrat Pam Coburn and her lover, Joseph Carnevale. “More and more people are working together for more hours a week and doing things like travelling,” said Burke. “The companies can’t stop that. Human nature will take its course and I guess what you need to do is to develop some policies.”