Schulich prof critiques planned sell-off of federal buildings

A plan to sell some of the best-known buildings in Ottawa and Gatineau and lease them back is being driven by the government’s unwillingness to make the estimated $4-billion investment needed to renovate and upgrade them, wrote CanWest News Service Feb. 1. Prof. James McKellar, director of the Real Property Program at York’s Schulich School of Business, says such a sale and lease-back deal will almost certainly increase costs for taxpayers. "On the face of it, it looks good – the government’s going to get $1.5 billion," he said. "But you don’t make money out of nothing. In the end, it’s going to cost them more. It looks like the government’s doing the right thing today but it’s really short-term gain for long-term pain."

McKellar said the value of the buildings will be determined almost entirely by the rent the government agrees to pay the new owners. Under new international accounting standards, the government should record sale and lease-back deals as liabilities, not assets, McKellar said. The sale would increase ongoing costs because the government currently pays no rent for about half the space it uses, McKellar noted, adding, it would be cheaper for the government to borrow the money to repair its buildings than to unload its portfolio in sale and lease-back deals.

Quaid’s statue at Canada’s university

A statue of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was erected at Canada’s leading York University, wrote the Pakistan English-language daily Dawn (Karachi) Feb. 1 in its online edition. (Dawn was founded in 1947 by Jinnah himself.)

Mike Colle, Ontario’s minister for citizenship and immigration, spoke at a ceremony to unveil the sculpture of the founder of Pakistan at the snow-covered York University campus at the northern edge of Toronto, said Dawn. The minister along with Pakistani Consul General Ghalib Iqbal and Babar Qureshi, president of York’s Pakistan Student Association, unveiled the sculpture. The statue was created by David Mcdougall, a graduate student in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

Earlier, York President & Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden paid tribute to the founder of Pakistan and said a Jinnah scholarship was established at York in 2004 by the consul general and the Pakistan Students Association at York with an initial donation of $25,000. The amount, she said, had been increased to $50,000. It is awarded annually to one continuing undergraduate student at the University.

Schulich study details US freeze-out of Canadian aerospace firms

An American aerospace conference that previously welcomed participants from Canada is now restricted to US citizens only, reported CanWest News Service Feb. 1. It’s the latest example of Canadians being refused access to US technology – and potentially lucrative contracts with American companies – in the name of national security.

In 2004, almost half of Canadian space companies surveyed by graduate students at York’s Schulich School of Business reported delays of three to six months on projects that require security-restricted technology. And Canadian companies are less likely to complete projects with a US partner now than during the time before 1999, when Canada was exempt from most of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, US security rules that limit access to American military and satellite technology rules, the survey revealed.

Atkinson professor receives international writing award

Cristobal Sanchez-Rodriguez, professor in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, is a co-recipient of the 2006 Emerald Literati Network Award for Excellence, wrote the North Bay Nugget Feb. 1. Sanchez-Rodriguez received the award with his co-writers, David Hemsworth of Nipissing University and Bruce Bidgood of the University of British Columbia for their paper – “Determining the impact of quality management practices and purchasing-related information systems on purchasing performance: A structural model.”

The three colleagues received their award at the 11th World Congress for Total Quality Management in New Zealand in December. The Emerald Literati Network is the world’s largest peer-reviewed publisher of journal titles in the fields of management, information science and engineering. 

York author gets into print on her own terms

After spending five years writing and illustrating her first children’s book, York alumna Laura Grime (BFA ’91) didn’t want to spend another five years waiting and hoping a publisher would agree to print her book, wrote Canadian Press, Feb. 1. So she took matters into her own hands and turned to an online self-publishing company.

"At first, I bought the $50 book that lists all the publishers and 24 had a look at (her manuscript). But there were so many stipulations," the Guelph, Ont., author said. "They can keep your manuscript for months and in the meantime, you can’t send it to anyone else. They also want decent reprints of the illustrations, and that’s expensive. "It had already been so long finishing the project. I just didn’t want to wait any longer."

Smith can’t wait to put best foot forward for Toronto FC

Rookie soccer hopeful Jamaal Smith may be considered a long shot to make Toronto FC’s top squad in its inaugural season, wrote Canadian Press Feb. 1. But the 18-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., knows a thing or two about beating the odds. The next step is to show well at a training camp, Feb. 1-9, at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, just north of Toronto. "I’m excited, I can’t wait to play," he said.

Smith is a bit of an anomaly in Canadian soccer, a player who didn’t come up through the provincial or national team system but has managed to make huge improvements over the past couple of years because of his athleticism and boundless work ethic. “I think along the way players can get missed in the system [in Canada],” said Paul James, York’s head soccer coach. “He’s potentially a diamond in the rough but he’s still got a long way to go.”

York student praises his retiring high-school coach

York student Huseyin Sagbilge not only played for retiring Central Technical School coach Chuck Wakefield, but also had him as a teacher, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 1. "I never missed his classes because he made things simple," said the Turkish-born Sagbilge. "He was the best teacher and on the football field, he was the kind of coach that made you feel wanted and had a way of getting you to learn from your mistakes rather than holler all the time."

Politically active lawyer, community leader Nori dead at 76

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., legal community mourns the death of respected corporate lawyer and Osgoode alumnus Gerald Nori (LLB ’57), a senior partner with Wishart and Partners, who died Jan. 31, one day after his 76th birthday, wrote the Sault Star Feb. 1. Nori was also active politically, serving two terms at the helm of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Association and running for federal office.

A 48-year-old error

CORRECTION: Yesterday’s Fixer column about hazard ice on Bayview Avenue at Lawrence should have said Glendon College was affiliated with York University, not the University of Toronto, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 1. The Star regrets the error. [The Glendon campus was deeded to York by the U of T for $1 in 1959].

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about Steven Truscott’s appeal of his 1959 murder conviction, on CBC Television Jan. 31.