Students, graduates and faculty run in provincial election

A number of members of the York community are running for office in the Oct. 10 provincial election. Below are excerpts from some of the riding profiles published recently featuring York students, graduates and a faculty member.

  • Shane O’Toole, a first-time Conservative candidate in the provincial riding of York West [which includes York’s Keele campus], says one of his many goals is to increase youth representation at Queen’s Park, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 4. The third-year York University history and political science student took the semester off from the books to focus on the election campaign.

    Despite long hours campaigning, he says that he’s figured out a way to keep his social life alive. "My friends are my campaign team…and even my girlfriend is helping out," he says. "But we try not to work together, because if I am her boss, that’s not going to work too well."

  • At 22, York student Andy Arifin (NDP), the Canadian-born son of Chinese immigrants, is among the youngest candidates in this election, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 4. He has been knocking on doors in the riding of Markham-Unionville, sometimes getting to them by public transit after putting in full days at York studying political science. "I love politics. I can’t explain it," he says. "The other candidates are a bit too polished. You have to be yourself, go natural. People can read through it."
  • For Mississauga-Streetsville NDP candidate Gail McCabe, a York sociology professor at Glendon and an academic adviser in Calumet College, gridlock is a problem but so are poverty, the minimum wage and better jobs for low-income families, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 4. She works with many struggling students at York who fall through the cracks, she says, because schools fail to give them the skills they need to succeed in higher learning.
  • It is the most wide-open race in Eastern Ontario, a battle of political novices that may well turn on how angry voters are with the governing Liberals, wrote the Ottawa Citizen Oct. 4. The candidates vying to represent Ottawa Centre include Green Party nominee and York graduate Gregory Laxton (MA ’04), 38, a former public servant and expert in proportional representation.

    He is credited with putting proportional representation on the political agenda after he wrested a promise in public from then-opposition leader Dalton McGuinty to put the issue to a vote if he became premier. Laxton laments the poor public understanding of the issue because he believes it is the best way to break the "two-party dynamic" and broaden public participation in government.

  • The campaign in the provincial riding of Oak Ridges-Markham shakes out to a race between two parties, with the New Democrats a distant third, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 4. But the NDP’s Janice Hagan (BA ’86), a graduate student at York, feels like she’s made progress. "When we started, people would throw things at us," she laughs. "They would ask ‘why do you bother?’ Things have changed a lot." Hagan, who just finished her postgraduate studies, has three children. She hopes her seventh campaign will be the charm after losing in six elections, three of them provincial and three federal.

McGuinty’s running a front-runner campaign, says Fletcher

The starkly different campaign styles of the two contenders for the top political job in Ontario were on display yesterday, with Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory accusing his rival of operating in a bubble and Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty giving a low-key speech, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 4. Fred Fletcher, University Professor emeritus in York’s Faculty of Arts and director of the Communications & Culture Graduate Program at York, said the Liberals are running a typical front-runner campaign. "The front-runner, as is typical, sticks more closely to the script than the other two. The others are willing to take more of a risk because they have less to lose."

New directions as loyalty cards proliferate

Canada has become a house of cards – credit cards – and the glue that holds them together is loyalty rewards programs, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 4. So where is the rewards industry heading? Today, rewards are starting to address the nitty gritty issues: food, property taxes, retirement plans and medical expenses.

"The goal of any rewards program is to attract members and keep them loyal for life,” says Robert Kozinets, professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “In the United States, there is no social safety net like in Canada. You have about 43 million people with no health insurance plan and there are rising concerns about Social Security’s ability to fund pensions among Generations X and Y.

"People that fall into those categories are ripe territory for loyalty rewards that address those issues. You can see a taste of it in Canada with the new MuniCard and with President’s Choice MasterCard, which can cut your grocery bill through credit-card spending."

In fact, loyalty rewards have become less about marketing and more about corporate finances, Kozinets ventures. "They have really become a financial play, not a marketing strategy," he says. "The idea is to reduce marketing costs through loyalty programs. Then, when you have new members, you start to cross-sell them with other products."

  • In Canadian banking circles, Lynne Kilpatrick has become a heavy hitter, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 4. Earlier this year, she championed a simple loyalty rewards program that saw the Bank of Montreal raise the number of new accounts opened by 25 per cent in a single month. Robert Kozinets, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, says Kilpatrick has blasted one out of the ballpark. "It was a really smart move," he says. "What banks are all competing for is bigger market share and lifetime retention."

A watershed in trade policy

On Oct. 3, 1987 – 20 years ago this week – Canada and the United States finalized the Free Trade Agreement, wrote the National Post Oct. 4. In this, the third of five abridged essays from the October issue of Policy Options, the magazine of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Charles McMillan, professor of international business at York University’s Schulich School of Business, analyzes the many ways in which the deal changed the international trade-policy landscape.

McMillan was senior policy adviser to prime minister Brian Mulroney from 1984-1987, noted the Post.

Police officer investigating York assaults is charged with assault

A veteran Toronto police officer has been charged with three counts of assault following a domestic dispute, wrote CanWest News Service Oct. 4. Police allege the 45-year-old officer went to a home and confronted one person before assaulting them, early Tuesday evening. When a second person tried to intervene, they too were assaulted, police said. There were no injuries reported.

Kimberly Hancock, 45 is charged with three counts of assault and was given a summons to appear in court. Hancock is a detective with the sex crimes unit and a 19-year veteran of the force. Hancock was the lead detective investigating a series of sexual assaults in September at a student residence at York University. Hancock has been placed on restricted duty. She is to appear in a Toronto court on Nov. 6. The Toronto Sun also published a story on the incident.

On air

  • Ian Roberge, political science professor at Glendon, spoke about the provincial election in a London, Ont., riding, on TFO-TV’s “Panorama” Oct. 3.
  • Alex Bilyk, director of media relations at York, spoke about a report of a robbery and an arrest at Keele campus, on Global Television Oct. 3.