Canadian business at a ‘tipping point’ over women as directors

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden said the Canadian business community has probably reached “a tipping point”, where the appointment of women to corporate boards will accelerate, reported The Globe and Mail March 2. Marsden, who sits on the board of Manulife Financial Corp., was responding to questions about a survey by Catalyst Canada, a research and advisory organization dedicated to the advancement of women in business, that showed only 12 per cent of seats on boards of directors are held by women, up only marginally from 11.2 per cent in 2003. “Change has been slow but it is getting to the point where it is going to change,” Marsden said.

Canadian law evolving to adjust to aboriginal rights

While Canadians have come a long way towards recognizing aboriginal rights, there is still a ways to go, said Brian Slattery, law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School in The Leader-Post (Regina) March 2. “There really have been dramatic changes at the political level in terms of the recognition that aboriginal peoples have to be involved in decisions that affect them and have to be represented at political forums where decisions are made, and be consulted,” said Slattery, who gave the keynote speech at “Moving Towards Justice”, a national conference on the issues of aboriginal justice.

Slattery asked if aboriginal rights should be defined by history or seen as a foundation for the future. “How far should aboriginal rights be seen as historical rights on the one hand, rooted in the history of aboriginal people, their culture, customs, traditions,” Slattery said prior to his address. “Or on the other hand, how far should they be seen as future-oriented rights, rights that provide some kind of a springboard or basis for new arrangements, new rights, new political entities or relationships with the Crown.”

The Supreme Court is moving away from the historical view and is beginning to view aboriginal rights as generative rights, acting as a basis for further developments, said Slattery. “[The court] seems to be moving to a position where [it is] trying to think of ways to induce the parties to negotiate and reach an agreement either by giving partial recognition to aboriginal rights or by requiring the Crown to consult with aboriginal peoples when the Crown does things that effects their interests, or their asserted rights, or modifying actions to take account of those rights,” said Slattery. The upshot of such negotiations and further definition of aboriginal rights is that aboriginal people will become full participants and partners in Canadian society in a positive way, which Slattery said will benefit everyone.

Fear is greater than the risk; Breast cancer myths worry MDs

Young women are too afraid of breast cancer and older women don’t fear it enough, reported the Hamilton Spectator March 2, in a story about a survey conducted in October 2005 by the Institute for Social Research at York University and funded by Re/Max and the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation Breast Centre Women’s Committee. The survey, released March 1 by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, found women drastically overestimate their chances of getting the disease. Of 800 Ontario women surveyed, 38 per cent believe they will be diagnosed with breast cancer. In reality, 12 per cent will get the disease. Those most at risk – women over 50 – reported feeling the least susceptible to breast cancer. Of particular concern are immigrant women and those with the lowest incomes because they know the least about breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

Getting Bach to basics

Conductor Lisette Canton, a faculty member in York’s Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, spoke about the approach she and the Ottawa Bach Chorus take to the composer’s music in The Ottawa Citizen March 2. “We try to get as close as we can in this day and age to what Bach would have wanted. We have instrumentalists and soloists who know the style so well and are among the best in the world, ” says Canton, who teaches choral conducting at York University in Toronto, but lives in Ottawa.

Osgoode grad wins Saskatchewan law award

York alumna Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (LLB ’85), a provincial court judge in Saskatoon, is the recipient of the second Willy Hodgson Award presented by the Law Society of Saskatchewan, reported The Times-Herald (Moose Jaw) March 1. Turpel-Lafond, who was named a provincial court judge in 1998, has degrees from Carleton University, York’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Cambridge University in the United Kingdom and Harvard University. She has belonged to a number of First Nations organizations, including the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

On air

  • Debra Pepler, psychology professor with York’s LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution, spoke on CityTV March 1about a study that says girls are bigger bullies than boys .
  • Guida Ching-Fan Man, professor in York’s School of Social Sciences, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, spoke on OMNI TV’s Cantonese news March 1 about a Statistics Canada report that says one in six young immigrant men are leaving Canada because of a lack of opportunities.