Monahan says federal anti-terror law will hold up to challenges

The federal Anti-Terrorism Act, rushed through Parliament as a made-in-Canada response to the 9/11 attacks in the United States nearly five years ago, is about to get a tough test in the courts, reported Canadian Press June 5. Whether it will survive – and accomplish its goal of combating terrorism without infringing civil liberties – is a matter of contention among legal experts. But it’s a virtual certainty the debate will range far beyond the specific facts of the conspiracy in which 12 adults and five young offenders allegedly plotted to stage terrorist attacks in southern Ontario.

In one provision of the act, individuals can be brought before a judge for an "investigative hearing" and compelled to testify, in effect circumventing the usual right to silence, said CP. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionally of the procedure. But Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, is skeptical it will be used in this case. He notes that police had the suspects under surveillance for months before arrest, likely giving them all the time they needed to gather evidence. Monahan also points out that, once charges are formally laid, the defendants can claim all the usual protections of the Charter of Rights. "They’re not going to be taken before a special court. They’re going to be tried in the ordinary criminal courts under the ordinary rules. The Anti-Terrorism Act is ultimately part of the Criminal Code,” said Monahan.

Critics have also objected to broad wiretap and electronic eavesdropping powers under the law. Monahan says everything could depend on the specific provisions that come under challenge, but he’s reasonably confident the law can survive the assault. "On the whole, it seems to me to be consistent with international practice in democratic countries.”

Joshi advises marketing neophytes not to expect too much from advertising

Experts say many small business owners don’t have extensive knowledge about advertising, wrote the Toronto Star June 6. Ashwin Joshi, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, says the marketing neophyte should avoid the temptation to pour money into a huge campaign at the outset – with the expectation that the business will be flooded with customers. "It’s asking too much of advertising to influence behaviour," Joshi says.

There’s another reason why small business owners should avoid spending huge amounts of cash on advertising when they first open. They might not have a clear idea about who their target market is, Joshi says, adding that the failing could prevent advertising from being as effective as it could be. It’s better to advertise in stages, Joshi says. "Spend as much money as you can afford on advertising, and then, as you find your feet both in terms of production and in terms of understanding the market, you can advertise more."

And advertising doesn’t necessarily mean billboards. "If you have a choice between $5,000 for a billboard and $5,000 to sponsor a community event where your product is prominently displayed, my recommendation is to get involved in the community and advertise that way." "People will come to you because they know you’ve sponsored the local fundraiser…and they met you at the fundraiser."

York graduate’s patience might pay off for Argos

As the Argonauts began their second week of the Ricky Williams era yesterday, there was Canadian running back and York alumnus Jeff Johnson (BA ‘02) working with the first-string offence alongside the on-loan tailback from the Miami Dolphins. The Argo offence has been pass first, run later (if at all) since Kent Austin became offensive co-ordinator in 2004. However, Williams’ arrival might be forcing them to consider adding a blocking back to the offence. The 5-foot-9, 206-pound Toronto native is a specimen who can stop a larger defender in his tracks with a crushing block.

Camper studying at York to become a doctor

Suggest a camping trip to a girl growing up in Addis Ababa, and the answer – if there is one at all – might sound something like "Are you kidding?," wrote the Toronto Star June 6 in a feature about the newspaper’s summer camp Fresh Air Fund. Helena Getahun, an first-year student in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, says it with a laugh, having spent the first 13 years of her life in a city that knows no weekend getaways. Indeed, the notion seems surreal for someone from the Ethiopian capital of monuments, shacks and wide-open spaces, with a sobering dose of political violence on occasion.

But in 2000, Getahun made a much more profound getaway. Her mother and brother, having already moved to Toronto, sent for her. Home being home, however, Getahun was reluctant to leave friends and memories behind. But the girl who dreams of becoming a doctor knew it was an opportunity for a new beginning. "Either you go to school or you become a street kid. That’s it," she says, of her options in her native country. Today, she’s on course for becoming a doctor, studying biology at York. And the idea of camp couldn’t be less foreign to her. "Every year I go back," she declares. "It’s a must."

Middleton leads group seeking marketing innovation

Every six months or so for the past five years, the editorial team has sat down with a dozen or more senior people from all corners of the marketing industry to talk about the things that are on their minds, wrote editorial director Stan Sutter in Marketing Magazine June 5. There have been too many individuals involved over the years to name all the participants – plus we run it as an off-the-record session – but our BEA is chaired by the always ebullient and insightful Alan Middleton, professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business and executive director of York’s Executive Education Centre.

Book by York grad and former professor, judged ‘tasty, not delicious’

Dr. Delicious: Memoirs of a Life in CanLit by Robert Lecker is really more metaphor than book, wrote reviewer Bert Archer in The Globe and Mail June 3. Which makes it rather fascinating, but not in the usual way. It is not, for instance, especially well written or structured. There are, however, several good stories in it.

One’s the story of a professor of Canadian literature who also tries to direct its course. Another recounts the tribulations of of being a small press in a climate of contradictory pressures from granting agencies and the marketplace. Still another is the story of ECW, a scrappily resourceful press, co-founded in the 1970s by Lecker, a former professor at York and an alumnus (PhD ‘80, MA ‘76, BA ‘74), and former York graduate student Jack David, and one that’s managed to evolve, survive and occasionally even thrive where most others have foundered. And then there’s the one about the ardent supporter of Canadian nationalism as he encounters anti-nationalist postmodern theory and then the crisis of the two Quebec referendums, the second of which elevates him briefly to the status of federalist hero.

Any one of those could have made a pretty good book. But Lecker ultimately decides to tell us bits of all of these tales, giving none enough room to evolve into a truly significant contribution to our understanding of anything. The story this book comes closest to rounding out is the story of ECW, the press Lecker founded with David when they were both at York University after a couple of years of publishing a journal called Essays on Canadian Writing. There hasn’t been a lot written about the ground-level details of this extraordinarily exciting, idealistic time in the development of Canadian publishing by any of the principals, and so a properly focussed book on ECW – without the meditations on hypochondria, constitutional crises, popular music and academic politics – would have been good.

But as it turns out, the most compelling part of the book has nothing to do with ECW, or with Canadian literature or criticism. From the beginning, Lecker makes it clear that nationalism is a concern of his. And after the traumatic 1995 referendum, he decides to put his thoughts on the subject into a 50-page booklet and mail it to some people. The French press gets hold of it, doesn’t like it, and suddenly, Lecker – publisher and professor – gets to add federalist hero and Parti Québécois persona non grata to his job description. It’s an exciting time in his life. He gets his own radio morning show. He’s invited to a secret conclave in England to discuss the possibility of Canadian civil war with representatives from other trouble spots, such as Uganda and Sri Lanka. It’s great stuff, but it reads like the climax to another book.

Former Glendon student, now theatre impresario, makes his mark in Barrie

It was Barrie’s Arkady Spivak, a former theatre student at Glendon, and Talk Is Free Theatre, who brought Emily, the Musical, from Charlottetown and presented her to the rest of the world. The show opened with previews May 17 and 18, and had its final performance June 4. In between, representatives from Ed Mirvish, Stratford, Shaw Festival have all attended. The production has received great reviews. This isn’t necessarily a plug for Emily, but it’s background to the remarkable individual in our midst who has the vision to recognize this historically significant literature, which is now so apt for the stage.

Arkady did not grow up on Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables. He grew up in Moscow. Arkady’s life as a child included his mother and a strong Jewish community in an urban cluster in Moscow. His father died when he was a young child, and he and his mother left Russia for Canada when he was 14. The plan was to join his father’s family in Winnipeg. Arkady’s mother had her eye on her son, and the compulsory Soviet army stint that was about to occur. It was the perfect time to leave and, in 1989, they moved to Winnipeg and then to Toronto.

Arkady registered at North York’s Newtonbrook Secondary School and began to absorb English. He didn’t immediately plunge himself into theatre at his new high school. Newtonbrook has graduated a significant number of arts professionals. Arkady was busy learning how to be Canadian, adding English to his working knowledge of French, Italian, Spanish, and, of course, Russian. He headed into languages at York University’s Glendon campus in 1994. He was going to teach. "I hit York University and went sideways …" headlong into theatre. He requalified for drama studies as a major, with a minor in business [but left in 1999 without a degree].

On air

  • Suzanne Langlois, history professor at Glendon, spoke about Ontario Hydro’s upcoming centennial celebrations on Radio Canada (Toronto), June 5.
  • Haider Nawab, a third-year economics student in York’s Faculty of Arts, was interviewed about why young Muslims may be turning to terrorism on CBC Radio’s "Here and Now" June 5.
  • Roni Jamnik, professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science and manager of the Human Performance Lab at York, spoke about fitness standards and the National Hockey League draft on CITY-TV June 2.
  • Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, discussed court security measures that may be in place for the appearance of terrorism suspects arrested over the weekend, on Global-TV June 5.