Politicians, scholars, businesses use census data

What makes the census different from every other study, poll, and survey is that it is supposed to count every Canadian individually – no estimates, projections or margins of error, wrote The Globe and Mail March 14. While it doesn’t quite meet that goal, the census does provide by far the most complete and accurate picture of Canada’s population, and that makes it an invaluable tool for governments, business and academics. Ottawa sets transfer and equalization payments based on census data, companies use it to design marketing campaigns, and professors use it to study Canada’s socioeconomic makeup.

"There’s no other source that’s anything like it," said Michael Ornstein, director of the Institute for Social Research at York. "It’s truly wonderful. It’s an amazing data source." Ornstein, who studies social and economic differences among ethnic and racial groups, says the detailed data on income, education, occupations, language and ethnic background is invaluable to his work. "You know an immense amount about people," he said. "There are questions you can answer [with census data] that you can’t answer in any other way."

Road rage exaggerated, says York psychologist

Here’s fresh proof Toronto gridlock can drive anyone crazy: A man left his car on the Don Valley Parkway during the evening commute, entered another vehicle and attempted to destroy that car’s interior, wrote the National Post March 14.

But David Wiesenthal, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, who has conducted research on road rage, said the phenomenon "is grossly over exaggerated – it rarely happens." He said there are hundreds of thousands of motorists who use the roads responsibly. "The real story is that there is so little of it."

Bittersweet boycott

Some well-meaning people are calling for a consumer boycott of Hershey products in sympathy with workers at the company’s Smith’s Falls plant, which is closing, wrote the Kingston Whig-Standard March 14. What would motivate lots of consumers to shun a product in this way? Ashwin Joshi, a professor of marketing at York’s Schulich School of Business, notes that people can be persuaded to avoid something if they think it carries a physical or health risk. They may also spurn a product for moral reasons. Think, for example, of the boycott campaign against Nike over its Asian labour practices, or against Shell for its involvement in Nigeria.

A third factor, the only one that could really be at work with Hershey, is what Joshi calls a "national" motive. Job are being bled out of the country; a big multinational is unfairly hurting Canada. If you could get enough people upset about that general principle and this particular instance of it, you might be able to drum up a strong boycott.

DiMarco is Out There again

Talk about typecasting. Melissa DiMarco (BFA ’93) is an actor who sidelines as an entertainment reporter, wrote the Hamilton Spectator March 14. So it seems only natural that she would produce a TV series in which she plays an entertainment reporter named Melissa. And she does it successfully. “Out There with Melissa DiMarco” kicks off its fifth season tonight on Global’s CH TV where it will air nightly at 7:30pm.

"I enjoy the fact I found a spin for what I do for a living as an actor and an entertainment journalist," DiMarco said. "How cool is that? I get to merge two worlds that people normally see as two separate worlds. You are either on one side of the red carpet or the other and I get to jump rope back and forth. I had a reputation for interacting with celebrities and they trust my judgment knowing I came from the acting world," DiMarco said.

The Toronto native started acting after graduating from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and gained local prominence for her nightly entertainment show, “Nite Life”, that preceded “Late Show” with David Letterman on Omni TV.

On air

  • Robert Simms, music professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, spoke about this week’s World Music Festival at the Keele campus, on Toronto’s CFRB radio March 13.
  • CFTO entertainment reporter Jacintha Wesseslingh (BFA ‘98) followed a report about a new music video featuring singer Serena Ryder March 13 by mentioning that she and the video’s director, Kevin De Freitas, both attended York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.