Get used to US giants gobbling up Canadian small firms, says economist

The multi-billion dollar sale of Markham-based ATI Technologies Inc. to California chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has focused attention again on Canada’s apparent role as a farm team to the American high-tech big leagues, reported the Toronto Star July 25. ATI is one of those rare Canadian jewels that — like Waterloo-based Research In Motion Ltd. and Nortel Networks Corp. of Brampton — has over the years commanded respect from global audiences and inspired innovation at home.

Get used to it, said Bernie Wolf, director of the International MBA Program at York’s Schulich School of Business. In a global economy it’s a simple equation: Big fish gobble up small fry. “Advanced Micro has deeper pockets,” Wolf said. “Is this a good or bad thing? It’s just the way of the world, and it’s part of a much greater wave of mergers and acquisitions. The truth is that Canada doesn’t have a lot of bigger companies, so we’re usually on the side of companies being picked up.”

Historian smokes out marijuana debate in Canada

In Not This Time: Canadians, Public Policy and the Marijuana Question, 1961-1975, York history Prof. Marcel Martel writes that Yorkville in the sixties “became the visible manifestation of the counterculture movement,” noted Philip Slayton in the National Post July 27. Martel’s book analyzes marijuana as a topic of social debate and conflict in the Canada of the 1960s.

Baby boomers, Martel tells us, smoked marijuana to defy mainstream values. Meanwhile, opponents of marijuana use maintained that the drug undermined “the traditional understanding of the acceptable way to function in society. People on drugs…constitute a threat to society but also to themselves by becoming emotionally unstable, by escaping daily reality, and by promoting unrealistic views about the meaning of life. Furthermore, drug users lack productivity.” Lack of productivity was, no doubt, seen as the most dangerous threat of all to the Canadian way of life.

The debate culminated with the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs (1969-1973), chaired by the mercurial Gerald Le Dain (LLD Hon. ’76), then dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and later a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada.

York honoured Jamaican storyteller, poet Miss Lou

The 400,000-strong Jamaican diaspora in Canada was in mourning for their beloved cultural icon Miss Lou,  Louise Bennett-Coverley, reported the Toronto Star July 27. Bennett-Coverley was 86 when she died July 26 at Scarborough Grace Hospital.

Born in Kingston, on Sept. 7, 1919, Bennett-Coverley was Jamaica’s premier folklorist, poet, entertainer and comedian who made Jamaica’s patois an accepted language through her poems. “Everything that’s important comes from folklore, from stories and songs that are handed down from one generation to another,” she told the Star in 2004. Famous for her radio shows, which included “Laugh with Louise”, “Miss Lou’s Views” and “The Lou and Ranny Show”, she was also celebrated for her television show “Ring Ding”, popular among Jamaican children.

Bennett-Coverley received many awards during her life, including Jamaica’s third-highest national honour, the Order of Merit, in 2001. Earlier in her career, she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire, and she was accorded an honorary doctorate by York University in 1998 and an honorary doctor of letters in 1982 from the University of the West Indies.

History lesson sandwiched between the notes

Violinist-conductor Kevin Mallon and four members of his Aradia Ensemble heralded their return to live music-making in this city at the Gladstone Hotel Wednesday with a evening of Baroque-era music and art, reported the Toronto Star July 27. York art and cultural history Prof. Leslie Korrick gave a presentation of Baroque-era paintings by Caravaggio, Titian and Tiepolo. Korrick cited Tiepolo’s Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew as a particularly striking example of the Baroque-era love of drama and immediacy. The musicians responded in kind, delivering strong performances. The idea of including the visual element was excellent, wrote reviewer John Terauds, but Korrick’s examples and explanations felt too much like an introductory art history class, and easily added 30 minutes to the already substantial program.

Critic worries over ruling to uphold 11-year-old’s suspension

A court decision upholding the expulsion of an 11-year-old student who brought a knife to his Toronto school is being called a victory for education authorities, reported the Toronto Star July 27. But it has sent a chill through critics of the province’s tough school-discipline policies, who say the ruling signals a hands-off approach by the courts and fails to take into account the boy’s special educational needs. A lawyer representing a student in another court case involving discipline called the decision worrisome. “The court is basically saying that unless the decision by the school board trustees is clearly problematic on its face, the court will not interfere with the decision made,” said Lora Patton, who is also an adjunct professor and review counsel for the Community and Legal Aid Services Program at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “The other big problem in the decision is that…we have no indication they considered accommodation and other means of discipline as being more appropriate.”

York coach leads provincial team to field hockey win

The BC Under 16 Blue squad came second behind champion Ontario 1 at the 2006 Field Hockey Canada Under 18 women’s national championship in Duncan, BC, reported the Duncan News Leader and Pictorial July 26. Ontario 1 coach Deb Fullerton, head coach of field hockey at York, said she had a good feeling the final result would go her team’s way. Fullerton said some of her players suffered from heat exhaustion – as was the case for all participants – but are probably more used to it than others coming from humid Ontario. “Despite the heat, definitely we stood up with our fitness. I think that’s what kept us strong with every team.”