Access to justice system denied in dog photo case

It was only a picture of a dog. But it was guarded like a state secret, wrote the Toronto Star, May 3, in a story about a reporter’s unsuccessful attempts to gain access to court files in a civil case as part of a series on access to the justice system for World Press Freedom Day.

In Ontario, journalists often have problems getting basic public information about the justice system – access to court exhibits is denied, photocopying charges are typically $2 a page and publication bans are sometimes imposed without notification, wrote the Star. It’s not just a source of frustration for the media; the openness of the justice system is also a "critical" public issue, says Jamie Cameron, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and a vice-president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Public faith in the government depends on being able to scrutinize its operations and on the press for accountability when things go wrong, Cameron said. She noted the Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed this concept in "the strongest terms," saying court proceedings must be accessible, particularly to the media.

Shocking frugality

As taxpayers, we are shocked and appalled that Toronto Councillors Rob Ford and Doug Holyday might not be spending the entire amount of their annual office expense budgets, wrote T.A. Heinrichs, political science professor at York’s Glendon College, in a letter to the National Post May 3. That Holyday and Ford spent only $1,471 and $0 respectively of their $53,100 allotment is outrageous. Why are they using their own money to pay for expenses? What’s wrong with our money? What’s it for if not to spend? Let’s hope the city’s auditor-general and integrity commissioner get to the bottom of this scam – before it spreads any further. Keep this up and we’ll (gasp!) soon have a surplus.

Not all the usual suspects

Mike Daley (MA ’97) holds a degree in music from York University, has performed with Jeff Healey and is the leader of this own quartet, wrote the Owen Sound Sun Times May 3 in a story about an upcoming performance by the Hogtown Syncopators at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery. Daley has toured North America with the Series Classic Albums Live, is on vocals and plays guitar.

Durie limps into CFL draft at 80 per cent

One of the most intriguing questions about the upcoming CFL draft is if Andre Durie, a former York Lions standout running back, will be selected, wrote the Mississauga News on May 2, the day of the draft. After rushing for 2,212 yards and 24 touchdowns in two seasons for York, Durie severely damaged his left knee in a game against Queen’s Golden Gaels in September of 2005. The injury was so severe, doctors wondered if Durie would walk with a limp the rest of his life, never mind run.

Seven months ago, Durie underwent reconstructive surgery on the knee repairing both the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments. Now, he considers himself more than 80 per cent recovered.

  • In round five of the Canadian Football League entry draft, the Toronto Argonauts grabbed York Lions defensive lineman Sean Simms, wrote the Toronto Star May 3. [Durie was not drafted.]

Former York quarterback takes football skills to Europe

Former York Lions quarterback Bart Zamanek is one of only two Canadians on the Helsinki Wolverines in Finland’s highest calibre football league, wrote the Times & Transcript (Moncton) May 3.

On air

  • Indian jazz musician Sundar Viswanathan, a professor in York’s music department in the Faculty of Fine Arts, spoke about his course on the music of Bollywood, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” (Toronto) May 2.