Return to cabinet seen as likely for Sorbara

The Greg Sorbara ball is in Premier Dalton McGuinty’s court, reported the Toronto Star May 19. Last October, when Sorbara’s name surfaced in an RCMP search warrant, McGuinty was forced to dump his confidant and finance minister from his cabinet. But Thursday, Justice Ian Nordheimer of Ontario Superior Court ordered Sorbara’s name removed from the search warrant. Nordheimer’s 24-page ruling amounts to a scathing indictment of the RCMP investigation of Sorbara for his activities a decade ago as a director of Royal Group Technologies, a Woodbridge-based plastics manufacturer. The next question, then, is what portfolio Sorbara will get. Possibilities include transportation (where Sorbara could oversee his pet project, the extension of the Spadina subway to York University) or colleges and universities (a post he held – and loved – under David Peterson).

Telefilm loses new film exec before he starts

Telefilm Canada has lost the man many had hoped would help revive the country’s English-language film industry before the opening credits even rolled. York alumnus Michael Jenkinson (LLB ‘85), who the federal film and TV funding agency named last month to take charge of Telefilm’s Feature Film Fund, had been scheduled to begin work Monday. But a statement from Telefilm released late Tuesday said Jenkinson was unable to take the position “because of unexpected complications in divesting himself as the CEO of Urban Entertainment.” “Due to unforeseeable circumstances, I have been unable to extricate myself from obligations to the stakeholders and filmmakers involved in my company,” Jenkinson said in the statement. “It was with much regret that I informed Wayne Clarkson of the situation.”

Men feared menstruation could overwhelm their power

Menstruation is so awesomely powerful that it has spawned myths, rituals and complicated religious laws down the ages and across cultures, reported the Hamilton Spectator May 19. While it has drawn just as many unflattering epithets and scowls of outright disgust, women’s studies and religious scholars say that’s largely because menstruation intimidates above all else. “It has nothing to do with being unclean, but with a sense of being imbued with so much power that it can overwhelm male power,” says Jordan Paper, professor emeritus of humanities and senior scholar in the Religious Studies Program and East Asian Studies Program in York’s Faculty of Arts. Paper is currently a fellow at the Centre for Study of Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. Studying North American Native rituals and beliefs regarding menstruation, Paper found that men avoided menstruating women not because they were considered “unclean,” but because they were seen to be in possession of a power that could overwhelm male power.

“If it overwhelms male power, that’s not good for the family or for society,” Paper says, “You need the powers of both men and women so you don’t want to weaken either.” Among the Apache, Navajo and Dene peoples, Paper noted that menarche, the onset of first menstruation, was the chief source of major rituals within the cultures. Within them, a young woman at menarche temporarily becomes the Earth deity herself. People in her tribe would approach her for healing and other sacred acts, Paper says. A recent study of menopausal symptoms among Navajo women found that those who had undergone this deifying ritual – whether or not they continued to live a traditional life – suffered significantly fewer menopausal symptoms than women who did not experience the ritual. “So it has an effect throughout a person’s life,” Paper notes. “In psychological terms as well as spiritual terms.”

Glendon student’s band taking off

Birds of Wales are about to take flight. That’s certainly how it looks for Alpha secondary grad and Burnaby native Morgan Ross, a fourth-year student at York’s Glendon campus, reported Burnaby News Leader May 17. The 23-year-old is putting his university studies on hold now that his band, Birds of Wales, is about to tour the world to promote its first CD, a self-titled work of six tracks. He formed a temporary band with “two other chaps from Burnaby” to get him used to performing in front of people. Then, last August he headed to Toronto, home of major record label headquarters, where he formed a new band and pursued his studies in political science and history.

Birds of Wales – so named because Ross is Welsh and according to Ross,  “I grew up with a cockatoo, I’ve always had a thing for birds” – is now comprised of Ross on guitar and lead vocals, Paul Barry on drums, Mike Caputo on lead guitar, Scott Christian on piano and Morgan Smith on bass. The first album was released nationwide a month ago and has already sold 1,000 copies, with the band taking all the profits as an independent, Ross noted.

Ross is confident his music career will ultimately be termed a success. “It will work out because…my criteria for success is not based on fame. As long as I keep maturing as a songwriter then I’m happy,” he said. But there is life after music, Ross knows. He hopes to eventually finish his degree and then attend graduate school in the field of “international development management” and work in the organizational aspect of relief work in developing countries.

Award-winning student plans to study at York

Victoria Lennox, a fourth-year political science student at the University of Ottawa, is certainly one to watch, reported the Ottawa Citizen May 19. The 22-year-old student has steadily blazed a trail for herself since moving here from Cambridge, Ont., in 2002 to study and to be close to the centre of Canadian politics. This week, she received the Young Trail Builders Award at the National Capital Region YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. The annual awards recognize women who have contributed their time and expertise to the community. Lennox, currently a co-op student at the Treasury Board, will graduate in December. She then plans to take a joint law/business program at York University, and possibly do international volunteer work.