GM cuts highlight concerns about Ontario’s competitiveness

The planned closing of a General Motors of Canada Ltd. plant in Ontario and the downsizing of two others heightens growing concerns about the province’s global competitiveness in light of currency shifts, higher energy costs and onrushing imports from China, reported The Globe and Mail Nov. 22. “The Canadian dollar has made a big difference,” says Bernard Wolf, economics professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. “If the dollar was where it was some years ago, I don’t think they would be closing the plant [at Oshawa].”

CBC Radio interviewed Wolf nine times Nov. 21:

  • He told “Here and Now” in Toronto that Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove should be shocked by the announcement, as these large job cuts were not expected in Canada. He said supply exceeds demand for GM products.
  • He talked about the factors behind GM’s North American restructuring plan, on “All in a Day” in Ottawa.
  • He commented on GM’s plan to cut up to 30,000 jobs in North America due to declining market share and increasing costs, on “Crosstown” in Windsor.

Gamers scramble for new Xbox 360

A handful of Canadian shops had midnight openings to give hardcore gamers a crack at the new technology at 12:01 am Tuesday, when Microsoft’s launched its new Xbox 360, reported Canadian Press Nov. 22. Marketing experts say Microsoft is simply responding to fans who seem to have an insatiable appetite for new gaming technology. “Gamers get impatient and have the attention span of a flea,” said Alan Middleton, who teaches at York’s Schulich School of Business. “They constantly want to push the capability.” The CP story appeared in The Standard in St. Catharines, The Leader-Post in Regina, The Calgary Herald and The Star Phoenix in Saskatoon.

On air

  • In the wake of a fatal shooting last Friday during a church funeral service, Stephen Fleming, psychology professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, talked about child bereavement and how parents can cope with the loss through time, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Nov. 21.
  • Daniel Drache, political science professor in York’s Atkinson School of Social Sciences and expert on Quebec-Canada relations, said the problem with the Clarity Act is that it isn’t very clear about what is a clear question or a clear majority, in an interview on “Montreal Today” on CINW-AM Nov. 21.
  • Carol Anne Wien, a professor in York’s Faculty of Education, was scheduled to talk Monday about the pioneering Regio Emilia approach to early childhood education at a Halifax symposium, reported CBC Radio’s “Mainstreet” in Halifax Nov. 21.
  • Mixologist Christine Sismondo, a humanities lecturer at York and author of the recently released Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History, discussed the history of the cocktail, on TVO’s “More to Life” Nov. 21.