Abella’s None Is Too Many makes Canada’s top 100 books

A literary magazine released a list of the 100 most important Canadian books Thursday – and confirmed stereotypes of Canada as a land of wonks obsessed with politics and national identity, yet gave only the briefest nod to hockey, reported The Globe and Mail Nov. 18. The list included None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948 (1982) co-authored by historian Irving Abella, Shiff Professor of Canadian Jewish History at York University and Harold (Hesh) Troper, noted historian and professor at OISE, University of Toronto. The Literary Review of Canada‘s list is chronological and begins with Jacques Cartier’s Account of the Second Voyage of Navigation of 1535 and 1536, the first text to call the land Canada. It ends with Dark Age Ahead, a book about the decline of cities written by urban philosopher Jane Jacobs and published last year. “We didn’t want a great books list,” LRC editor Bronwyn Drainie said. “That’s a mug’s game: your great book is someone else’s piece of trash. We thought important and influential – you can’t quite measure but you can at least pull out evidence [to support your choice].” The point was to pick books that shaped the national psyche, she explained. 

Could take years to extradite Black, says prof

Conrad Black, the bombastic ex-newspaper tycoon whose open contempt for his detractors made him one of Canada’s most polarizing public figures, was indicted on criminal charges in Chicago Thursday, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 18. But it still may be years before he faces his accusers in open court. It’s not known if he will return voluntarily to the United States to faces charges. If he doesn’t, prosecutors said, they will seek his extradition. If Black fights such an order, the federal justice minister may ultimately decide whether he will be arrested and transported to the US to stand trial, said Alan Young, a law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. It could take years for the US request to make its way through Canadian courts.

Some things that Ralph Goodale would rather you didn’t figure out

With its recent tax-cut proposals, the Martin government tried hard to convince Canadians it’s offering immediate relief to lower- and middle-income earners. But read the fine print: The actual proposals don’t quite measure up to the advertised message, wrote Lisa Philipps, who teaches tax law and policy at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in a commentary for The Globe and Mail‘s Web site Nov. 18. Take, for instance, Finance Minister Ralph Goodale’s promise to hasten a tax cut announced in February’s budget, by raising the “basic personal exemption” immediately by $500. He also promised to reduce the lowest tax rate from 16 per cent to 15 per cent, effective for this tax year. This all sounds better than it really is, said Philipps, who went on to detail how the $500 is worth only $80 in saved taxes, and the one-point reduction applies to all income earners, including millionaires.

The star running back the CFL almost lost

Jeff Johnson (BA ’02) never thought much about football when he was a kid, reported The Toronto Sun Nov. 18. It was a sport for others, an afterthought. That much he understands now, because for most of his six seasons in the Canadian Football League, he has been a career afterthought. The kid from York University, of all places, that nobody talked about. And until a few stunning weeks ago, when he didn’t just replace John Avery in the Argos backfield but appeared to surpass him, who would even know what a Jeff Johnson is? “He’s one of the most tremendous kids I’ve ever coached in my life,” said Tom Arnott, who recruited Johnson to play at York. Johnson was so impressive playing football at York, being the first Yeoperson to ever win a national award, that not a single CFL team bothered to draft him. “I never understood that,” Arnott said. “He went to that combine camp and I have since looked back at the results. He did well in the 40, did well in strength, vertical jump, everything. I was pretty mad about it at the time but I never asked anybody why.” Johnson was all prepared to play his final season at York when he got a call from Ron Lancaster in 1999, three days before training camp, asking him if he was interested in going to the Tiger-Cats camp.

Play explores Alzheimer’s impact

I’m Still Here is the title of a play performed Wednesday night at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre as part of its Speakers Series, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 18. The script is based on five studies of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and one study of loss experienced by daughters whose mothers have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Unlike most theatrical dramas crafted from an artistic vision, this one has been crafted from scientific studies. It’s a collaboration of writer/director Vrenia Ivonoffski and Christine Jonas-Simpson, director of nursing research at Sunnybrook & Women’s, and Gail Mitchell, professor at York’s School of Nursing.

Forerunner in women’s hockey

Marg Poste started playing women’s ice hockey in 1963 and began playing field hockey seven years later when she enrolled at York University as a mature student at the age of 27, reported the Hanover Post Nov. 18. Poste played fullback on York’s varsity field hockey team for five years, and for four of those years she was proud to play for Marina van der Merwe, who was the Ontario coach, and later became Canada’s Olympic team coach, taking the Canadian team to its best showing during her years. Poste also played defence for five years on York’s varsity ice hockey team, as well as one year for the University of Toronto while she attended teacher’s college, and she played for the Ontario senior field hockey team in 1973.

On air

  • Debra Pepler, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts and member of the Ontario Action Committee to Combat Bullying in Schools, was interviewed about the province’s $23-million anti-bullying program, on CJBK-AM’s call-in show “Megan & Morris” in London, Ont.