York offers lifeline to foreign-trained nurses

The plight – and waste of talent – of highly trained newcomers to Canada is widespread, reported The Toronto Sun Jan. 25. Fortunately, help for some professionals trained abroad has arrived. Among the newest programs is York University’s 20-month course that puts registered nurses from overseas in line for registration in Ontario and thus allows them to work as an RN in the province. Sue Coffey, professor at York’s School of Nursing and the coordinator of York’s BScN for Internationally Educated Nurses, says the chance to help foreign nurses already in Canada was an opportunity not to be missed. It was a good fit with York’s international perspective, says Coffey, who emphasizes the program is designed for those already here rather than a tool to encourage nurses to come to Canada.

The first group of 32 nurses started at York last April with 30 of them graduating this December. One student is Jie Lu, from China, who came to Canada in 2004. Here, Lu says, professors put their “heart and soul” into teaching and they emphasize patient care. That approach has obviously impressed Lu; in China the stress is on high marks and passing exams. She wants to take the Canadian way into medical-surgical nursing, her field before she emigrated.

Harper on a tightrope, says Drache

“Canadians are fair people,” says Daniel Drache, a political scientist in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 25. “Even though seven out of 10 didn’t vote for the Conservatives, they can live with a minority government. There is a feeling of, ‘It’s their turn.’ ” But the public also can turn on a dime, he quickly adds. “The mood is contingent on what Harper does next.” That means what he does even before Parliament opens. “Harper is on a tightrope,” says Drache. “All the other parties have lots of savvy policy people, but he’s got to put together a cabinet without a depth of talent. He’s got a huge potential problem in that his caucus could be an embarrassment to the selling job he’s done in the campaign.” Drache says that Harper’s first job will be to hurl himself on to the “steep learning curve he’s got ahead of him. He’s not all that experienced. After all, it took him three years to learn how to smile.”

Drache was also interviewed about a higher voter turnout and how pollsters can get it wrong, on CKWX “News” in Vancouver, and about how conservative Canada will go, on “Marketplace”, an online American Public Media radio show Jan. 24.

Best we could have hoped

“The results of the 2006 election have once again demonstrated Canadians’ generally pragmatic and balanced perspective, despite the oft-cited failures of our electoral system,” wrote York law student Paul Jonathan Saguil (BA ’04) in a letter published Jan. 25 in the Toronto Star. “We’ve voted for change, but not too much change; we’ve given the Conservatives a mandate, but held them to a short leash,” he wrote. “As we Canadians move forward from this election, let us remember that, greater than some of our political and regional differences, there really are such things as ‘Canadian values’ that bind us. Just as we expect our Parliament and our government to work together on the issues that matter to us and to come to a compromise to achieve our common goals, we too must seek common ground with our neighbours and friends across this great country, collectively choosing our Canada and standing up for it.”

Business leaders welcome Harper

It’s not a foregone conclusion that the Tories will now try to embrace the urban voters who rejected the party on election night, says Bernie Wolf, director of the International MBA Program at York’s Schulich School of Business, reported the Toronto Star Jan. 25. “Will the Tories reject them or will the Tories bend over backwards to try next time around to gain a bit of a foothold in the cities? If they were smart, they would do so, but on the other hand, if they are ideologically bound, they won’t. And it’s really difficult to say which they will do,” Wolf said. “It will be interesting to see. Will the tiger change its stripes, so to speak.”

On air

  • Michael Layton, son of New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton (MA ’72, PhD 84), was interviewed on “Mike Duffy Live” for “CTV News” Jan. 23 at The Guvernment, a downtown Toronto nightclub and NDP election night headquarters. Duffy asked Michael, a York graduate student in environmental studies, what it was like travelling with his father on the campaign trail and whether he was planning a future in politics. He said, “I’m just starting my career, fresh out of university, so we’ll see where, what the direction I go in.”
  • Josée Bergeron, political science professor at York’s Glendon College, commented weekly on a panel on RDI-TV’s “RDI en direct” and on Radio-Canada’s radio show “L’Ontario aujourd’hui” throughout the federal election campaign. She was also a guest with Sheila Copps on Radio-Canada’s “Au-delà de la 401” about women and politics Jan. 18. TFO interviewed the students in her Politique canadienne course on Jan. 12 for broadcast Jan. 16. She was also interviewed about the formation of a new government for a radio news item aired Jan. 25 on Radio-Canada.
  • Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, was interviewed about attack ads on a radio item about a Conservative Canada on “Marketplace”, an online American Public Media radio show Jan. 23.
  • York students were among those commenting on issues of concern in York West, which includes York University, on TVO’s “Studio 2” Jan. 23.