Rogers beams up William Shatner to elevate its brand

Move over, monkeys and beavers, there’s a new cell phone shill in town: William Shatner, reported the National Post March 27. Rogers Communications Inc. is bringing the 76-year-old Montreal-born actor, best known for his portrayal of Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series, to Toronto to unveil a "North American first".

Rogers has done a good job in marketing phones on price and service but is lacking in brand awareness while the opposite has been true for its competitors, BCE Inc. and Telus Corp., said Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. Those companies have strong brand recognition through the beavers and monkeys used in their respective ads, so keeping Shatner in a continuing role would be a good move for Rogers. "They need to move a little bit more towards having a more distinctive covering personality so it begins to make people feel better about Rogers," he said. "William Shatner is not a bad move. At least it’s not another bloody animal."

Canada ranks last in ECE funding: study

A new study ranks Canada last among developed countries in its spending on early childhood education, but one of its authors says throwing money at the problem isn’t the solution, reported Canadian Press in a story published March 27 in the St. Catharines Standard and several other regional dailies. "It’s going to take more than simply funding," said Stuart Shanker, one of the co-authors of a report released Monday. "There are cost-effective ways to set up parenting centres."

He described early childhood education programs across the country as a chaotic patchwork of programs and assistance that needs to be organized and sewn together so that every child’s parent and caregiver has access. The report recommends a system of community hubs to offer activities, support for parents, social services and child care.

Gun-toting football player apologizes to family

A York University football player and "model student" has apologized to his family and vowed to turn his life around after being convicted of possession of a semi-automatic handgun, reported the Toronto Star March 27. "I want to continue with my education, maybe take a PhD," Samuel Egonu, 24, told Superior Court Justice John Macdonald Monday at his sentencing hearing.

Macdonald has found Egonu guilty of possession of a restricted firearm – which carries a one-year minimum sentence – and unsafe storage of a firearm. Egonu, who took three courses and played on York’s football team in 2004-2005, was to be sentenced Tuesday.

Governor General rings liberty bell at York

The Sunday opening of York’s new Harriet Tubman Research Institute on the Global Migrations of African Peoples continued to resonate in the press March 27.

  • The London Free Press reported that in Toronto, an African dance ensemble performed at York University for Governor General Michaelle Jean, who rang the replica of Buxton’s Liberty Bell to mark the 200th anniversary of the British law banning trade in African slaves. She rang the bell after being awarded an honorary law degree at York Sunday. The Buxton Bell was rung at the end of the underground railroad when a slave was freed.
  • The Canadian Press story March 26 about the opening, including comments by institute director Paul Lovejoy, was picked up by dailies in Moose Jaw, Sask., and Brockville, Ont.
  • In a commentary in the Daily News in Halifax, Wayne Adams mentioned that Emancipation Day in Canada was celebrated with Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean receiving an honorary doctor of laws degree at York University’s Keele campus. Jean delivered the keynote address at the inauguration of the university’s new Harriet Tubman Institute, a research centre devoted to the study of "global migrations of African peoples." A descendant of slave forebears, Jean said: "You are telling us of the great struggle slaves and former slaves underwent to reclaim their dignity as human beings."