Osgoode tax professor testifies at Conrad Black trial

At the trial of Conrad Black in Chicago Tuesday, defence lawyers put two expert witnesses on the stand to explain tax policy and compensation issues to the jury, wrote The Globe and Mail June 6. The most compelling evidence came from Jinyan Li, a professor of tax law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. She gave jurors a snappy summation of the tax treatment of non-competition agreements in Canada. Li explained that the payments were not taxable in Canada between 1999 and 2003 because of a court ruling. She added that many business deals were structured to take advantage of the ruling.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Eric Sussman, Li acknowledged that she did not know the details of the specific agreements at issue in the trial.

  • Li told the court that non-compete payments received by Hollinger executives were legitimately tax free because Canadians "have the right to minimize the taxes they pay", wrote the Toronto Star June 6. However, the Hollinger officials have been charged in the US.

The man who discovered flight

If the name Richard Cayley and the discovery of flight don’t link in your mind, you can be forgiven, wrote the Toronto Star June 3, in a story on the book The Man Who Discovered Flight, written by Richard Dee, a pen-name for Richard Dyde, post-doctoral fellow in York’s Centre for Vision Research. In the annals of flight history, said the Star, Cayley often ends up much as he did in Dee’s first manuscript about the Avro Arrow and the TSR2 in his native UK: a half-chapter, a footnote, an oblique reference.

But the truth – and not just Dee’s truth – is that Cayley, a high-born, eccentric landowner from Yorkshire, had laid down "virtually every requirement for the science of flight and its practical application," Dee says, a full century before the Wright brothers took to the air.

The Wright brothers themselves heaped praise on Cayley, whose work they had studied, as they basked in their achievement. A toy helicopter rotated with string – known even then as "Cayley’s machine" – had been their inspiration as children.

The difference with Cayley? "He published," Dee says. "There are all kinds of claims and counterclaims about aviation and the origins of flight, but in 1809 and 1810, he produced a series of papers that are, quite simply, the seminal works on aviation."

Young says school safety panel Chair will leave no stone unturned

The Toronto District School Board appointed prominent Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer to chair an independent panel that will look at safety issues at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, where 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot, wrote The Globe and Mail June 6. A York law professor who has followed Falconer’s work closely said he expects the panel appointed by the school board following the shooting death of Jordan Manners to answer thorny questions about school safety in Toronto. "He will not walk away from the task until all the questions have been answered, [he will] leave no stone unturned," said Alan Young of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

McEvoy at helm for York football

Andy McEvoy has been named interim head coach of the York Lions football program, wrote The Toronto Sun June 6. McEvoy replaces Tom Gretes, who has been relieved of his coaching duties. An assistant with the Lions for the past three years, McEvoy will lead the team this fall. At the conclusion of the 2007 season, York will begin a nationwide search for a full-time head coach. The Toronto Star carried a similar story June 6.

Students walking to Ottawa to build sympathy for Tamil cause

Sarva Jeyapalan, 23, an economics student at York University, is one of several students of Tamil origin walking to Ottawa to convey to Prime Minister Stephen Harper their belief that the Tamil fight for independence from Sri Lanka has been unjustly labelled as terrorism, wrote the Brockville Recorder and Times June 5. Jeyapalan said the Sri Lankan government has been conducting a campaign of "strategic genocide" against the country’s Tamil minority, targeting intellectuals, journalists and students.

The students said the Canadian government has allowed itself to be swayed by Sri Lankan propaganda rather than supporting a legitimate struggle for freedom. They are thankful to Canada for giving them a chance to contribute to this country’s economy. Canada has also given them a chance to "empower" themselves through education and take a political stand, they said.