Critical to connect GTA communities, says Marsden

“The expansion of Toronto’s existing subway network is in the interest of every resident of the GTA,” wrote York’s President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden in a letter to the Toronto Star published Nov. 25. The letter was in response to the Nov. 19 Star editorial: Scarborough subway merits consideration. “For more than a decade there has been a pressing need to extend the Spadina line through northwest Toronto to York University and into York Region. While the University and York Region will clearly benefit, so too will the entire region from Downsview Park to Vaughan city centre. York University’s community of 60,000 and its many partners are committed to advancing past this stage and to building momentum to ensure this expansion becomes a reality. Arguments that favour one subway extension at the expense of another detract from the kind of broad thinking and planning needed now,” she wrote. “Connecting communities will be critical to our future. As president of York University, I wish to express my support to the TTC and our government partners for their continuing efforts to build the subway and mass transit network this region needs. These efforts are vital and deserve public support.”

The Toronto Sun and The Globe and Mail also reported that Marsden was named one of Canada’s most powerful women by the Women’s Executive Network for her work in the public sector. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York since 1997, said she was “deeply honoured to be selected from among such a terrific group of dynamic women.”

Court ruling suggests wording of treaties not final

Canada’s treaties with aboriginals are not necessarily final and might be subject to further negotiation on hunting, trapping and land rights as a result of a Supreme Court ruling Thursday that ordered Ottawa to consult with northern Alberta Cree about building a road through the country’s biggest national park, reported the National Post Nov. 25. The ruling is the first pronouncement that the notion of the “honour of the Crown” extends to consulting with aboriginals on development projects – such as logging, mining, forestry and road building – that affect treaty rights established long ago. “This is very significant because it applies to lands with treaties and a great deal of Canada is covered by treaties,” said Shin Imai, an aboriginal law specialist at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. The decision solidifies a legal trend that the wording of treaties is not the be all and end all, he said.

Go ahead, eat that three-cheese casserole

“Toronto Mayor David Miller has it almost right in his efforts to shed undesirable pounds,” wrote Roger Kelton, Chair of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, in a letter to the Toronto Star Nov. 25. His approach is good because he has changed his diet and has increased his physical activity, noted Kelton. “I would encourage the mayor, however, to enjoy his three-cheese casserole over the holidays. He has earned it, and has demonstrated he has control of what he is doing. He should have the confidence to occasionally enjoy eating ‘heavy’ foods, and thereby live a normal and full life.”

Hercules seen as albatross for Liberals

The military’s aging Hercules aircraft may be a political albatross for the Liberals in the election campaign, reported CanWest News Service in a story published Nov. 25 in the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen. Spar Aerospace of Edmonton is alleging the federal government unfairly stopped it from competing for a $432-million contract to maintain and service the existing Hercules fleet. The company – in Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan’s riding – filed a lawsuit in Federal Court asking it to reverse a government decision from several weeks ago that awarded the contract to Cascade Aerospace Inc. of Abbotsford, BC. The Halifax-based aerospace firm IMP has also reportedly filed a lawsuit after it lost the competition to Cascade. “It’s grief the Liberals could have done without, particularly McLellan,” said defence analyst Martin Shadwick, a research associate at the York Centre for International & Security Studies. Shadwick said he doesn’t expect the Liberals to take too much heat for replacing the Hercules because the public understands the urgent need for new planes.

Former York Lion could supplant injured Argo

As the 2005 CFL season wound to a close this autumn, an interesting subplot began developing. Though it would be premature to call it a revolution, the emergence of Canadian tailbacks on several clubs signalled a stark departure from tradition, and that shift could continue into 2006, predicted the Ottawa Citizen Nov. 25. The Argonauts stumbled across Jeff Johnson (BA ’02) in the latter part of the football season, and he turned in several eyebrow-raising performances subbing for an injured John Avery. Next year, running back Johnson, who was drafted coming out of York University, could supplant Avery as the starter, allowing the Argonauts to use an American roster spot at another position.

Ricci didn’t take Mitchell’s advice to quit

Prize-winning novelist Nino Ricci knows the value of irony. He doesn’t have to look further than his own tentative first attempts at creative writing, reported CanWest News Services in a profile of the 1981 York grad published Nov. 25 in The Record in Sherbrooke, Que. At 18, Ricci enrolled at York to learn to become a writer. He asked to join a writing workshop conducted by W.O. Mitchell, author of Who Has Seen the Wind? and several other Canadian classics. Over the first three weeks, Ricci submitted the required assignments, “about 60 or 70 pages.” Then he was summoned to Mitchell’s office. “He told me there was nothing of substance in my writing, it was a waste of time my taking the course and I should drop out,” Ricci said.

On air

  • Annie Bunting, social science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed global human rights abuse, on Rogers TV’s “Agenda” Nov. 24.
  • Priscila Uppal, author and creative writing professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed what to buy for the readers in the family this Christmas, on TVO’s “More to Life” Nov. 24.