Abella inducted into American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Supreme Court of Canada Justice and York honorary degree recipient Rosalie Silberman Abella (LLD ‘91) on Saturday adds a new citation to her extraordinary list of honours – induction into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 5. The induction ceremonies are scheduled to be held on the campus of Harvard University, near the academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. The AAAS, founded in 1780, bills itself as the world’s oldest think tank, examining far-ranging issues of public policy.

Judge Abella, appointed to the Supreme Court in August of 2004 by former prime minister Paul Martin, declined to comment on her induction. But she plans to attend the ceremony, along with her husband, York University historian Irving Abella. They’ve been married 39 years and have two sons, Jacob and Zachary, both lawyers.

Mandatory local food programs don’t work, says York prof

Depending on the day on the NDP campaign bus, Howard Hampton might be munching on a strudel with organic Swiss chard grown near Hamilton or Italian sausage from a King City pig, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 5. It’s part of a plan to promote the local food movement, underscored by a radical platform to pass a law, if the NDP were elected, that would require grocery stores to reserve shelf space for Ontario produce.

The transition would have to happen over time, as farmers change their crop mix to meet the new demand, says Rod MacRae, a professor of food, agriculture and the environment in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. He’s among many food experts and farmers who dislike the NDP’s idea to pass a law forcing Ontario produce into stores. "If stores are not committed to properly merchandising the stuff, it will rot," he says. "That’s what happened with the early organics. It was put on mobile unrefrigerated trays where it wilted, and then the stores complained that nobody was buying it."

York student likes catchy, overplayed tune

While Natasha Bedingfield’s name might not immediately ring a bell, chances are you’ve heard her ubiquitous hit song "Unwritten", wrote the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder Oct. 5. The catchy tune with the breezy lyrics "Release your inhibitions – feel the rain on your skin!" is the theme song for the MTV reality series "The Hills" and is featured in a heavily rotated shampoo commercial and a televised promo for CTV. York University student Christine McCleary was among a few hundred fans who showed up for a show by the UK singer in Toronto on Oct. 3. The Bedingfield fan said she thinks "Unwritten" is played a bit too much but is happy it’s helped the British talent become more accessible to North American audiences.

Is that turkey or Thanksgiving we celebrate?

Canada’s Thanksgiving history seems as muddled as my 7am brain, wrote columnist Lynda MacGibbon in the Times & Transcript (Moncton) Oct. 5. Our official Thanksgiving Holiday dates back to 1859, according to a former York University graduate student, Peter Stevens (MA ’99). It’s a sad state of affairs, actually, because when you read the history, it seems the holiday is rooted in sectarian squabbles, political ambivalence and commercial enterprise. It makes one yearn for the simplicity of Turkey Day.

On air

  • Allison Macpherson, professor of epidemiology in York’s Faculty of Health, spoke about a study that showed an increase in accidents involving all-terrain vehicles, on Radio Canada in Moncton,NB, and Rouyn-Noranda, Que.,Oct. 4.
  • Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations, spoke about campus security following a robbery and an arrest, on Global TV Oct. 4.
  • York alumnus Will Ferguson (BFA ’90) spoke about his latest novel Spanish Fly, on City-TV Edmonton’s “Breakfast Television”, Oct. 4.