York economist profiled as an important public intellectual

Some intellectuals influence public policy on the margins; others influence outcomes. Charles McMillan belongs to the second category, said the National Post Nov. 3 in a profile of the York economist. The profile is part of the Post’s search to find Canada’s most important public intellectual. McMillan, a professor of international business at York’s Schulich School of Business and author of The Japanese Industrial System, served as senior policy adviser to Brian Mulroney from 1983 to 1987, shaping the sweeping economic reform agenda of Canada’s last Conservative government. From privatization to free trade, there was no aspect of the Mulroney agenda that was not substantially influenced by Charley McMillan, wrote the profile’s author, L. Ian MacDonald, editor of Policy Options and former chief speechwriter for Mulroney. In the beginning, during the 1983 leadership campaign, McMillan also served as Mulroney’s pollster and principal speechwriter, running the content of the campaign out of his briefcase. “There is no doubt,” Mulroney says today, “that Charley played a very important role, especially at the beginning.”

Talks to avert a strike went late into the night

In stories produced before tentative settlements were reached with York University’s CUPE 3903 units, Toronto media talked about the possibility of a strike at York. The Globe and Mail Nov. 3 said talks to avert a strike by 2,400 teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract faculty continued late into the night as students braced for disruptions to their class schedules. “We’re really hoping it doesn’t come to that. No one wants to go on strike,” Alex Levant, a spokesman for CUPE Local 3903 and a contract faculty member, said before the deadline. A mediator appointed by the Ministry of Labour met with both sides in an effort to reach an agreement.  The Toronto Star, CFTO-TV’s CTV News at 6, Global Ontario, A-Channel and City-tv also covered the negotiations.

Canada leads world in high-speed Internet connectivity, study finds

Canada is leading the world in high-speed Internet connectivity, according to a benchmark study released Wednesday by the Canadian Internet Project, reported CanWest News Service in a story published Nov. 3 in the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen and The Vancouver Sun. “We are now seeing the Internet integrated into the lives of a majority of Canadians and that is changing the way we operate, both in our work lives and in our personal lives,” said Fred Fletcher, director of York University’s Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, who co-authored the report Canada Online! with Charles Zamaria of Ryerson University and Andre Caron of the Université de Montreal. “It is fairly revolutionary and we need to understand these changes.” He said Canadians tend to use the Internet the most at home and at their workplace, compared with developing countries where the highest use is in cyber cafes and public libraries.

Marketing Daily also featured a story about the study (“Surfers love the web, but won’t give up TV”) Nov. 3. Canadians who go online are still avid consumers of traditional media such as newspapers and television, according to a new study of how Canadians use and view the Internet, reported the online version of Marketing Magazine. For instance, 59 per cent of Internet users said newspapers are an important source of information, versus 50 per cent of non-users. Other traditional media, such as books, magazines and radio were also deemed more important by Internet users. Only television was more important to non-users, 60 per cent of whom cited it as an important source of information versus 54 per cent of those online.

Muslim families celebrate end of Ramadan

Toronto Muslims celebrated the end of a month of sacrifice during the holy month of Ramadan Wednesday, reported The Toronto Sun Nov. 3. “It’s a celebration after a certain period of hardship,” Amila Buturovic, a professor of Islamic studies in York’s Faculty of Arts, said of the Eid al-Fitr holiday. “Other than just the regular prayers, it involves families getting together.”

Argos impressed with York homebrew Jeff Johnson

John Avery says he’s ready to play. The question is: Are the Argos ready to return him to the offensive backfield in view of backup Jeff Johnson‘s performance in the past two games? asked The Toronto Sun Nov. 3. Johnson (BA ’02), the homebrew out of York University, has been nothing short of amazing in the six quarters he’s been the Argos’ starting running back. The Vancouver Sun also noted that the former York running back, the Canadian Football League offensive player of the week, has been a late-season revelation for the first-place Argos as a replacement for injured Avery.

On air

  • Ellen Auster, professor of strategic management at York’s Schulich School of Business, discussed whether having a family means a woman is unable or unlikely to succeed in a demanding career, on TVO’s call-in show “More to Life” Nov. 2.
  • Monica Belcourt, director of York’s Graduate Program in Human Resources, was part of a panel discussing and answering viewers’ questions on making the jump to a new career or job, on the ROB-TV phone-in show “workopolis tv” Nov. 2.