Former Osgoode dean praised for his role in Supreme Court nominee’s hearing

Several newspaper opinion writers commented March 1 on the role played by Peter Hogg, professor emeritus and former dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, who gave remarks before and after the Feb. 27 review hearing of the nomination of Judge Marshall Rothstein to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Despite all the advance hype, the Marshall Rothstein Show on Monday afternoon was not exactly must-see TV, opined The Gazette (Montreal). The novel and ersatz process we saw was summed up, at its conclusion, as “a great success” by no less an authority than respected constitutional expert Peter Hogg, former dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Hogg served as a sort of Greek chorus to the session, adding context and legitimacy. No doubt the judge-designate would concur in Hogg’s opinion, as we do.

A New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal columnist said Hogg, in commendably clear language, warned the committee against straying into personal beliefs or examining historical and hypothetical cases. What Hogg said, and members only occasionally failed to hear, is that fitness for Supreme Court service is measured by expertise, not personal opinions. Hogg’s cautionary comments, coupled with Judge Rothstein’s own finely balanced views of the relationship between courts and legislatures, pretty well sucked the drama out of a highly anticipated moment.

The National Post’s columnist wrote that Osgoode superprofessor Peter Hogg was given the floor for a few minutes at the start of the hearing to instruct the MPs on the appropriate limits to their questioning – but in the end it was left up to Rothstein to decide how much he cared to say.

The Leader-Post (Regina) writer began his comments on the first-ever televised hearing of a nominee thus: Move over, Judge Judy. Give it up for Meet the Justice, reality TV’s latest hopeful. He continued: The inclusion of a non-parliamentarian, ex-Osgoode Hall Law School dean Peter Hogg, was also unprecedented. A champion of this sort of change, Hogg set down the rules in his opening remarks. The tone was to be civil and respectful, with a prohibition against personal inquisitions or fishing expeditions on how the prospective judge might rule on the contentious issues of the day. Of course, that’s exactly what most of us shallow Canadians would really want to know.

York alum’s appearance on ‘The Apprentice’ launches ‘Buckmania’

Pudgy and bespectacled, York alum Brent Buckman (BA ’99) was considered a nice-guy goofball by many of those who knew him while growing up in Toronto, reported the Toronto Sun March 1. And even though he’s still not a suave entrepreneur, he’s made it onto “The Apprentice” – and survived the season’s premier episode Monday night. It’s almost too much to believe for Steve Richman, who shared a cabin with Buckman when they were at Camp Timberlane, just outside Toronto. “I thought he was almost set up to be the loser,” he said of Buckman’s selection on the latest instalment of Donald Trump’s reality television show. “Is he just there so they can make fun of him?” Corey Mandell, the CEO of Mandell Entertainment Group, which owns Timberlane, knew Buckman well as a camper and as an employee, when the now 30-year-old became a DJ for the Toronto-based company. “I was in total 150 per cent shock when I heard,” said Mandell. Now Mandell is talking about “Buckmania” sweeping Toronto and has created a Web site – – to among, other things, sell items such as T-shirts and thongs emblazoned with slogans uttered by the former York University student.

Rochdale play based on research by York theatre students

Life as theatre. Most of those who were there remember Rochdale College that way, reported the Toronto Star March 1 in a story about the new Theatre Passe Muraille production The Rochdale Project ,which is based on stories, compiled, researched and scripted over the last two years by York University drama students under the supervision of director Simon Heath.

Transit authorities back GO rapid bus transit service to Keele campus

In a story about Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion’s hopes for funding to improve transit in her city, the Toronto Star reported March 1 that GO Transit and municipal transit authorities in Halton, Peel, York and Durham support a broader plan for a $1-billion bus rapid transit system from Oakville to Pickering, with major connections at the Mississauga city centre, Pearson International Airport, York University and the Markham Town Centre.

Alum became an author instead of a teacher

In a story about author and York alumnus Ross King (PhD ’92), published in the The Leader-Post (Regina) March 1, the former English grad student reveals he was headed into academia when a twist of fate worthy of his own novels gave him exactly what he wanted. King is the author of five books, including Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling (2003), which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award in nonfiction. Currently living in England, he is visiting Regina to promote his most recent book, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism. After receiving a BA and MA from the University of Regina, King moved to Toronto, where he completed a PhD at York University. After finishing a fellowship at the University of London in 1994, King’s ambitions of teaching at a Canadian university were soon dashed. King said he quickly realized he had to do something different. That’s when he went back to his original plan and started writing.

Grad reports on Canadian troops in Afghanistan

York alum Michael Den Tandt (BA Glendon ’89), a writer for The Globe and Mail who recently returned from a reporting assignment in Afghanistan, answered questions online March 1 about the situation on the ground facing Canadian troops, who took control of NATO-led combat missions in the region Feb. 28. Den Tandt, the Globe’s defence correspondent, also wrote in the Globe Feb. 25 that the Canadian soldiers he met in the volatile region are soldiers coping with impossible odds — but keeping their idealism intact.

On Air

  • Pastor Valle-Garay, a Spanish-language lecturer in York’s Department of Languages, Literature and Lingusitics, Faculty of Arts, discussed Mexican authorities’ handling of a double murder of two Canadians on Global TV Feb. 28.
  • David Wiesenthal, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, discussed the pyschology of cell phone use while driving, on Rogers TV’s Goldhawk Feb. 28.