Kyoto bill may force election, says Monahan

A Liberal-sponsored bill that would legally require the Conservative government to abide by the Kyoto protocol’s short-term targets will be debated for the final time in the House of Commons  before going to a vote when it is all but guaranteed to pass, wrote the National Post Feb. 9. Constitutional experts say the implications of passing the bill could see Prime Minister Stephen Harper forced to choose between implementing measures to meet Kyoto targets he has called unrealistic or calling a general election.

Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a renowned constitutional lawyer, said that the bill, if passed, would legally bind the government to meet its Kyoto obligations. "I don’t see how the government would be able to ignore it. It seems to me it will pose a significant problem for the government," he said. "This is significant and far-reaching – much more far-reaching than most private member’s bills." He said he was not clear what options the prime minister will have if the bill passes, although calling an election is one possibility.

York star gets taste of ‘the show’

York Lions soccer player Jamaal Smith is learning how long the leap is from the Ontario University Athletics league, where he was an all-star, to the Major Soccer League, where he’s a boy playing with men, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 9 . "They expect the game to be played faster here and I’m willing to adapt to that," Smith said after practice. "I’ve been told I’m going through a learning curve."

Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston says the team likes Smith’s raw talent but isn’t thrilled with his grasp of soccer’s subtleties, like timing and touch. "The kid’s still learning," Johnston said. "It’s still way too early for Jamaal Smith." After a week of playing against grown men with international experience, Smith – who also was recruited by only one US school – seems to realize his limits, too. "I think I have a good chance to make the youth team," he said. "I’m hoping they’re banking on me developing as a player."

York tutor loses by-election in Markham

Michael Chan, is the newly elected Liberal MPP for Markham after a by-election in the riding held Feb. 8, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 9. NDP candidate Janice Hagan (BA ’86), a York graduate student and English tutor, had hoped that Markham voters would be fed up with both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives. She finished a distant third.

Local author has the ‘write’ stuff

Good things come to those who wait, wrote the Lindsay Daily Post Feb. 9. Just ask author and York graduate Collette Yvonne (BA ‘96), who’s been on a wild ride of success the past year launching a new book and seeing a short film based on one of her stories nominated for a 2007 Genie Award. It wasn’t until she graduated from York with an BA (Honours) in creative writing that everything started falling into place. Since then, her articles, reviews, essays and interviews have been featured in national publications and various community newspapers in Ontario. Yvonne also began building experience as an editor, photographer and writing workshop leader.

But the moment of truth came when she began penning “Scarlet Runners”. "That was an emotionally draining experience," said Yvonne of the short story. Yvonne was thrilled when she learned the short story was to become the basis of a short  film titled Snapshots for Henry by Toronto-based director and scriptwriter Teresa Hannigan. Yvonne is also buoyed by response to her recently released debut novel, The Queen of Cups. "It took me years to write it. I kept rewriting it and rewriting it – I’d probably still be rewriting it if I hadn’t come to the realization that I just couldn’t spend the rest of my life working on it," quipped Yvonne.

Osgoode alum recalls colleague’s tenacity, passion

For Wayne Terrance King (LLB ‘78), practising law only in Kingston, it seems, was not enough, wrote the Kingston Whig-Standard Feb. 9. When it came to his profession, no beach was too sunny to completely distract him. Even while sipping cocktails on a Caribbean beach, King was on duty. He was, after all, a fully licensed member of the Turks and Caicos Islands Bar Association. "It even said that on his letterhead," said fellow alumnus Clyde Smith (LLB ’88), a Kingston lawyer and colleague of King’s in the criminal courts.

King, one of Kingston’s most colourful defence lawyers, died Wednesday. He was 60 years old. Kingston’s legal community is still struggling to come to grips with King’s sudden death. He collapsed inside the Frontenac County Courthouse at around 9:30am and died shortly thereafter. The cause of death is still unknown. Smith, who along with King is an alumnus of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, shared the courtroom with him many times over the course of 15 years. He recalls the sharp-dressing lawyer always arguing passionately on his clients’ behalf.

York graduate serves up a marriage proposal

York alumnus Ryan Dirracolo (BA ’06) thrilled dozens of people by making a surprise marriage proposal to volleyball player Linda Zelek during a team reception at McMaster University Feb. 3, wrote the Hamilton Spectator Feb. 9. She said yes. "He got down on one knee, pulled out his trusty cigar band (a diamond engagement ring) and proposed," said coach Tim Louks who, along with the assistant coaches, knew ahead of time, what would be happening. The players were caught unaware.

"He’s been my No. 1 fan since we started going out," Zelek explained. "He presented me with [some pictures], I gave him a hug and a kiss and everyone clapped. I kind of thought that was the end of it; the next thing I knew he said, ‘I have another award for the player who stole my heart.’ He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him."

Early retiree cannot benefit from pension plan improvements

“[Pension plan] administrators are not required to communicate potential benefit enhancements to members and are not liable to members who do not receive those benefit enhancements as a result of leaving the plan prior to the effective date of the enhanced benefits," said Simon Archer (LLB ’01), a graduate of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, commenting on a provincial court decision for the Companion employee benefit newsletter Feb. 8. "The decision will be a welcome confirmation to plan administrators. It provides further certainty in planning benefit enhancements and other changes to pension plans without incurring liability."

On air

  • Jack McConnell, professor of atmospheric science in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about comments by business reporter Michael Hlinka on global warming, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Feb. 8.