Arthurs laments lack of understanding of his analysis of foreign takeovers

The man who popularized the notion that foreign takeovers are "hollowing out" Canada’s corporate sector says federal finance department officials who are dismissing the theory as a myth haven’t done their homework, wrote The Globe and Mail June 21. Harry Arthurs, professor emeritus of law and political science at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, used the phrase in the early 1990s to describe a loss of control, autonomy and key jobs at the head offices of Canadian firms owned by foreigners.

The "hollowing out" debate is once again raging after a rash of foreign takeovers of iconic Canadian businesses over the last two years. Senior finance officials, in briefing documents obtained by The Globe and Mail under access to information law, recently told their superiors that the theory is bunk.

But Arthurs pointed out that the finance briefing admits that the research to date on these head office changes "does not account for the quality of head offices and related employment (e.g. any changes in strategic functions)." "Without that information I don’t think they can make that statement" that "hollowing out" is a myth, he said. "That’s what the whole thing is about. That is why it’s called hollowing out: You [still] have something that looks like a head office but it’s hollow – there’s nothing inside."

York grad credits loving parents in journey from Rodney to Nina

With her sex-industry career, a penchant for plastic surgery and an over-the-top aesthetic that makes Barbie look homely, Nina Arsenault (BFA ‘96, MFA ‘00), 33, has been dismissed by some, including other transsexuals, as a mixed-up, libidinous ditz on a sure path to oblivion, wrote The Globe and Mail June 21. Arsenault has indeed had difficulties, from botched surgeries to resentment of men from her time as a high-priced call girl. But she has also landed two master’s degrees, a series of TV roles, a stint as a magazine columnist and a budding career as a community volunteer.

Eager to escape to more-tolerant Toronto, Rodney Arsenault finished high school a year early and enrolled in the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, wrote the Globe. Bachelor’s degree in hand, he was about to jet off to South Africa in 1996 to earn a master’s degree in theatre directing, when he told his parents of his desire to become a woman.

"I just said, ‘I have something really big to tell you and it’ll change things forever’," Arsenault says. Her father said, "Is it that you want to have a sex change and be a woman?" "And when I nodded…the first thing that came out of my dad’s mouth was, ‘Don’t worry about what people in town are going to say and don’t worry about what the rest of the family will think. We’re just going to make sure you get the best doctors possible to make you happy.’ "

Young comments on Dubai’s harsh sentencing for drugs

“I didn’t think there was any country in the world that could make the US look like Mary Poppins when it comes to drug policy,” said Alan Young, criminal law professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, on CTV News June 19. Young was being interviewed by Paula Todd about the case of Bert Tatham of Vancouver who was sentenced to four years in a Dubai prison after being caught with a microscopic amount of hashish and two poppy bulbs. “I mean, it’s an extraordinary thing, four years for a minuscule amount of drugs…. This is a warning to a lot of people to, obviously, be careful. I don’t see what they’re accomplishing by doing this, but it’s really not for me to judge. I’m just happy we don’t do that in Canada.

“The question becomes, it’s the law of diminishing returns, are you getting more deterrent impact when you go to three-, four-, five-, six-[year sentences]?" Young said. "The evidence isn’t there. So the thing is, all we’re going to do with longer sentences is fill jails, build new jails, and not get really much public value out of it.

“Minimum sentencing has absolutely no value…. In 1987, the Canadian Sentencing Commission recommended that our government [implement guidelines and then-prime minister Brian] Mulroney just tossed it in the trash, and that’s why we have such disparity. Minimum sentences look good. It looks like we’re getting tough, but they just clog up jails.”

Upstart Canadian fighter-jet company in for a struggle, says Shadwick

In a story about Discovery Air Inc., a small bank-run aviation investment firm, and its high-flying, high-octane deal to buy Top Aces, an upstart Canadian private fighter-jet company, York defence analyst Martin Shadwick, political science professor in the Faculty of Arts and a research fellow in the York Centre for International & Security Studies, told the National Post, June 21 that becoming a significant presence in the market could be difficult. Other players, such as UK-based FR Aviation Services, have already offered some similar services in major markets such as England and France for years now. "Yes, there is a market," Shadwick said. "But even Bombardier [Inc.], which is in military flying training and so on, has come up against some pretty big competition in global competitions."

Newton apple trees grow in iconic settings, including York

After the apple fell that day in 1666, knocking on Isaac Newton’s head, what happened to the apple tree?, asked BC’s Chilliwack Progress June 19. Grafted “Newton” apple trees are growing in a variety of iconic settings such as Trinity College in Cambridge and the University of York (UK), as well as Toronto’s York University, where three tiny trees were planted in the quadrangle by the Petrie Science Building in 2000 and have since begun to bear fruit.

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about a Supreme Court ruling that he says will favour the expansion of private health care, on CKNW-AM (Vancouver) June 19.
  • Arun Mukherjee, an English professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about the West Toronto Initiative for Solar Energy and its efforts to help homeowners “get off the grid”, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” (Toronto) June 20.
  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about Ontario provincial government funding for innovation in green/clean technologies for vehicles, on CBC Radio’s "Here and Now" (Toronto) June 19.