Students mull over TTC offer of cheaper pass

A discounted “U-Pass” for around $59 per month may be offered to undergraduate students by January 2007, the TTC announced Wednesday, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 20. The catch? All students would pay for it in their fees, regardless of whether they use the TTC. “If you don’t live in Toronto, students will be taxed $480 for a service they’ll never use,” said Shamini Selvaratnam, vice-president for education at the York Federation of Students. Selvaratnam wants passes to be implemented only for those students who live in Toronto. The TTC’s offer won’t be implemented unless three GTA universities or colleges agree to it. 

Is Harper not for turning?

A popular theory that has emerged during this election campaign is that Stephen Harper has moderated and that the former head of the National Citizens Coalition is no longer the hard-line conservative he once was, wrote James Laxer, a political science professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, in a Toronto Star op-ed piece Jan. 20. People who make such comments are whistling past the graveyard. In recent decades, both in Canada and abroad, neo-conservatives have not moderated when they have taken office. If anything, they have become more hard-line. If the Conservative leader is cut from the same cloth as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Mike Harris, expect him to slash government programs, argued Laxer.

New chief plans to tackle language and culture

Patricia Faries-Akiwenzie said retaining language and culture are two of the biggest issues to deal with during her current mandate as new chief of Moose Cree First Nation, reported The Daily Press in Timmins Jan. 20. With many of the community’s youth not fluent in Cree, the chief said it is integral to immerse them in their heritage. Communication will be key to tackling this problem and Faries-Akiwenzie, who graduated with an LLB from York in 1995, hopes her seven years experience as a lawyer will help. “Advocacy, research communication, negotiation — all those skills taught in law school fit perfectly here.”

Visit to Africa part of TV series

SOS Children’s Villages scholarship student Samuel Fuakye and his Canadian friend Laura Thompson are two of the young people profiled in a new television series set to air in March, reported The Packet & Times in Orillia Jan. 20. “Making Children Matter,” the story of Samuel and Laura’s visit to his SOS Village in Tema, Ghana, is one of the original pilot episodes for a new documentary series called “World Class”, which follows the first-time experience of young Canadians who want to learn more about how they can effect change in the developing world. Fuakye and Thompson met at York. Fuakye, who comes from Ghana is an undergraduate student at York, and Thompson graduated with a BA in geography from York in 2004.

Body Shop owner just fell into retail

How Margot Franssen became a retail powerhouse is a bit of a fluke, reported The Daily Courier in Kelowna Jan. 20 in a story about opening an Accessorize boutique in the British Columbia town. “I graduated with a degree [BA] in philosophy in 1979 from York,” Franssen said. “And what do you do with a degree in philosophy? Anyway, for my grad, somebody sent me a Body Shop gift basket from England and I took notice of those ugly, but distinctive, bottles.”

On air

  • Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, commented on Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s remarks about the Canadian judiciary, on “CTV National News” Jan. 19. Young said: “Judges pretty much act independently once they get on the bench. So I’m not really sure why Harper is concerned that the court is currently stacked with a lot of Liberal appointments.”
  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, contended that people are turned off by harsh attack ads, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” Jan. 19.
  • Charles Hopkins, an expert on sustainability and UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education in York’s Faculty of Education, said environmental renewal projects underway in Sudbury are a role model for communities around the world, reported CBC Radio “News” in Sudbury Jan. 19.
  • Ron Burke, professor emeritus of organizational behaviour at York’s Schulich School of Business, commented on a new study out of the UK that says more than a quarter of workers eat breakfast at their desks, on CFTR-AM’s “680 News” in Toronto Jan. 19. The item was also broadcast on CJNI-FM’s “News” in Halifax.