Battles won or lost long before voters head to polls

Before the media puts them in the spotlight, some aspiring provincial and federal politicians are already carrying the wounds of hard-fought battles, wrote the Newmarket/Aurora Era-Banner March 1. The nomination process is the first ring potential politicians must enter before engaging in the real battle to win over voters. "In (Canada), the nomination process is sort of a soft spot in the democratic system," said Fred Fletcher, a professor in communications & political science in York’s Faculty of Arts. "It comes down to who can get organized and sell the most memberships."

For Fletcher, who did research for the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform in 1990, there are ways to make the system more democratic. "We need to know more about it. There needs to be more transparency and we need to open up the process," he said. While the commission worked to improve the electoral process in a number of areas, revising the nomination process wasn’t part of its mandate, Fletcher said. Noting parties are private organizations doing public work, Fletcher thinks a system of proportional representation would solve some problems with the nomination process.

York author to speak at Trent next week

Toronto author B.W. Powe, an English professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, will share some of his passions – from politics to poetry – with local residents and students next week, wrote the Peterborough Examiner March 1. Powe will be the first writer-in-residence at Trent University ‘s Bata Library March 5 to 9. A writer of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a poet, Powe has written about Canadians such as Northrop Frye, Marshall McLuhan, Glenn Gould and former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. Powe’s other writings, including the novel Outage, a collection of poetry called The Unsaid Passing and a non-fiction work Solitary Outlaw, are on reserve at the university library.

A riot of dark fragments

The current exhibition of works on paper by New York multimedia artist Matthew Brannon, now on view at the Art Gallery of York University, is one of this season’s best in Toronto, wrote reviewer Sarah Milroy in The Globe and Mail March 1. Organized by gallery director Philip Monk, the show accomplishes what the AGYU so often does well: selecting an artist from the maelstrom of international contemporary art – often a slightly obscure but interesting one – and bringing his or her work into considered view, fleshing out the details of a career that we might have noted in passing but never really had the chance to take the full measure of. Matthew Brannon continues at the Art Gallery of York University in Toronto until April 1.

Stereotypes determine who’s in, out of school cliques

Young people’s reasons for excluding certain peers from school cliques may be less personal than once thought, a new study suggests, wrote the Calgary Herald March 1. While previous developmental psychology papers have focused on peer rejection due to an individual’s perceived problems – such as a lack of social skills – the latest research shows exclusion is often based on broad stereotypes. Jay Solomon, a 24-year-old student at York University in Toronto, says the study validates his experience that kids are a lot smarter, and a lot more manipulative, than they’re given credit for.

United Way of York Region’s new boss feels like he is coming home

While working a part-time job in university helping adults with intellectual challenges, something clicked inside Woodbridge resident and York alumnus Daniele Zanotti (BA ‘91), wrote the Vaughan Citizen March 1. The organization acted as a clubhouse for developmentally challenged people. But those who used the club were also given jobs, both there and in the community.

The experience of working with that organization taught him the importance of focusing on what people can do, rather than on shortcomings, said Zanotti, 38, who is taking over March 12 as the new chief executive officer for United Way of York Region.

His new job also represents the latest step in a career spent in social work. After graduating from York University in languages and literature, he completed a masters degree in social work from the University of Toronto. Zanotti worked for York Region’s government in community services and housing and was involved in York ‘s first homelessness study.

On air

  • Hernan Humaña, York volleyball coach and instructor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health, said an 11-year-old girl soccer player should be allowed to wear the hijab when she plays, as long as safety isn’t an issue, on CBC Radio’s “Ontario Morning” Feb. 28.

  • Glen Northcliffe, geography professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about his book Global Game, about Cornerbrook, Nfld. on CBC Radio (Cornerbrook) Feb. 28.