Beare says lawyer ties to organized crime are well-documented

A story about a new book detailing connections between lawyers and a Montreal-based organized crime family in the National Post Aug. 3 included comments by Margaret Beare, professor and former director of the Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime & Corruption at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Unsavoury ties between the legal profession and organized crime have been well-documented throughout history, said Beare. Sometimes a lawyer’s involvement in illicit activity is unwitting, she said, or due to blackmail. But when attorneys perform sustained, long-term legal services for the underworld, she said history has shown the line can all too easily be crossed from legitimate business to active participation.

“There is a difference between providing a service – a one-off kind of thing – and specializing so intimately with the operations of a criminal organization that you are no longer just a neutral party providing a service but a member of the criminal organization,” said Prof. Beare, who, along with Stephen Schneider, is the author of the upcoming book Money Laundering in Canada: The Chasing of Dirty and Dangerous Dollars.

Hariri Pontarini’s buildings win awards and hearts

What makes Hariri Pontarini’s houses special? They win awards, to be sure, wrote the National Post Aug. 3. A 2006 residence for an art collector in Toronto was recognized by ArtInfo as “One of the 12 Best New Buildings.” It won an Ontario Association of Architects Award, a Best in Canada Design Award and several other prestigious citations. The firm’s other buildings are winners, too. This year, the firm received the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture – like an Oscar for Canadian architects – for the Seymour Schulich Building at York University.

Retired York professor says national archive has lost its corporate memory

A story about organizational difficulties at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in The Globe and Mail Aug. 3 that centred on a forgotten 16th-century map of Canada, included comments by Conrad Heidenreich, York University professor emeritus of historical geography.  “My sense is that at Library and Archives Canada, there’s no corporate memory…. I had no trouble in the old days working with the archives, because if I had a problem, I could ask Ed [retired maps curator Ed Dahl],” Heidenreich said. “The new people there are technicians. They’re less well informed.”

Today, staff are faced with a challenge in becoming intimately familiar with the holdings: The map collection is in storage in two places (Gatineau, Que., and Renfrew, Ont.), public service is in a third building, and archivists in a fourth, wrote the Globe. “It takes days for them to bring you the originals from storage, so all you can work with is the catalogue and the negatives,” Heidenreich says. “I don’t bother going there. I can’t function there any more.”

Playing ball no disaster for Lions’ hockey prospect

Autumn Mills is travelling the world playing baseball and becoming an expert on natural disasters along the way, reported the London Free Press Aug. 3. Last year, the South Secondary School grad was with the Canadian women’s baseball team in Cuba when hurricane Dennis roared through Havana. This week, the 18-year-old is playing at the women’s baseball World Cup in Taiwan, where there’s word of a typhoon set to hit the area. When Mills returns to Canada, she’ll go back to her club team in Burlington. In the fall, she plans on studying kinesiology at Toronto’s York University, where the former London Devilettes and Bluewater hockey player hopes to crack the women’s squad as a right-winger. But this week, her lone focus is on helping Canada win the World Cup.

Cook says Harper is sacrificing Canada’s independent policy stance

In an opinion piece published in the Toronto Star Aug. 3, columnist Haroon Siddiqui turned to historian Ramsay Cook, York professor emeritus and editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography to answer the question, is Prime Minister Stephen Harper being more obsequious to the White House than, say, Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Robert Borden and Arthur Meighen were to Whitehall?

Cook thinks neither Macdonald nor Borden was anything like as obsequious as Harper is. “Mr. Harper is ideologically very close to President Bush,” Cook said. “When in opposition, he seemed to be in support of the war on Iraq, and now he is in support of the war on Lebanon. It’s true that Macdonald believed that the relationship to Great Britain was important to counterbalance the relationship with the US. It is also true that we went into the First World War without asking any questions, but Borden did get Canada a place at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. We followed the British in the Second World War, but the issue was pretty clear-cut. Since then, however, we have as a middle power developed a somewhat more independent policy and that’s what Harper is sacrificing.”

BC hospital manager studied online at York

The rugged beauty of Kitimat Valley has always attracted a number of outdoor adventurers to the community during the tourist season. But recently more and more part-time northwesterners are deliberately seeking full-time status, wrote the Kitimat Sentinel Aug. 2. One example is York student Ray Taylor who replaced Carolyn Brown as the site manager of Kitimat General Hospital on July 4. Taylor became involved in economic development aspects of the community of Espanola, Ont., when he lived and worked there. On top of that, he immersed himself in education as a student in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies’ Administrative Studies Program through the internet.

On air

  • Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about the Peter Whitmore case and issues surrounding dangerous offender status on Global TV Aug. 2.