Chrétien’s Gomery challenge doomed, says Monahan

Jean Chrétien’s court challenge of the Gomery report is a long shot and was damaged by the former prime minister’s “contemptuous” behaviour during the golf ball performance in front of the judge, says the dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the Ottawa Citizen Nov. 4 in a CanWest News Service story. It also appeared in the National Post, Edmonton Journal, The Vancouver Sun, Windsor Star and The Daily News in Nanaimo, BC. Patrick Monahan, who strongly supported Chrétien’s Clarity Act when he held the highest political office in the land, predicted that the Federal Court of Canada would be reluctant to rule that Justice John Gomery was biased against Chrétien in his ruling. “I think the threshold is very high for the court to rule that the decision maker didn’t have an open mind. Judge Gomery’s comments to the media were ill-advised, but they were made early on in the process,” said Monahan.

However, Chrétien’s golf ball performance “was inappropriate and showed a lack of respect towards the court. If you want to come now and say the judge was biased against me, you probably shouldn’t behave in such a high-handed, contemptuous manner,” said Monahan. He also said that the federal court would be reluctant to overturn a decision over an error in fact after the judge had sat on the case for eight months. “In the end, it doesn’t strike me that this is a very strong case,” said Monahan.

  • Anna-Maria Tremonti of CBC Radio’s “The Current” also interviewed Monahan Nov. 3 about avenues Chrétien could pursue to get a legal review of Gomery’s findings and his chances of success.

York reaches tentative deal with CUPE 3903 units

York University reached a tentative settlement with its teaching assistants, graduate assistants and contract instructors early Thursday morning, averting a strike, reported most Toronto-area radio and television stations, including CFTO, Global and City-tv, on morning to evening newscasts. also posted a story online Nov. 3, noting that the same unionized group went on strike for 78 days in 2000. The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star reported on Nov. 4 that the 2,400 members of CUPE 3903 will vote this week on ratifying the three-year contract.

Do the math: why arithmetic shouldn’t make you cringe

Walter Whiteley believes that a decline in the hands-on, visual and geometric approaches to teaching mathematics – in the West, a trend dating back to the 1930s – has resulted in a “geometry gap”, reported Toronto-based magazine The Walrus in its November issue. The York math professor suggests that if students were encouraged to “see like a mathematician,” rather than simply computing numbers like one, the disease of math phobia might be cured and mathematical reasoning might become a more natural and enjoyable undertaking. Whiteley, a coordinator of math education programs at York and a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the Faculty of Arts, asserts that if mathematical learning were more sensible — that is, more grounded in the senses — the human experience of math would be enhanced. “The visual is central to all levels of mathematics,” he said, delivering his spiel last May to a small amphitheatre of schoolteachers, a subset of the larger gathering of nearly 2,000 educators at a mathematics education conference at York University.

As an applied geometer, he works with biochemists researching the shapes of proteins and viruses. Whiteley has observed that they don’t have the mathematical background and geometric visualization skills needed to see possible solutions. Whiteley’s perspective seems to be penetrating the larger mathematical and scientific consciousness. “Right now there is enormous importance being attached to getting people in mathematics and people in biology to collaborate,” he says. “Both Canadian and US granting agencies are putting big chunks of money into building such collaborations.”

On air

  • Ibrahim Hamid Badr, a French studies professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, commented on why Algerian-French youth are rioting in Paris suburbs, on the national “CTV News” Nov. 3.
  • York University got a B+ in the Globe and Mail study of university quality of education, reported “CTV News at Noon” in Toronto Nov. 3.