Former York coach knows Blues’ coach’s pain

Former York football coach Tom Arnott suffered long enough: he sees no reason to celebrate much of anything Saturday afternoon, wrote The Toronto Sun Oct. 12 in a story about the University of Toronto Varsity Blues football team’s possible imminent surpassing of York’s Canadian record for consecutive losses. "It’s awful," Arnott said. "Losing like that is awful. Football is what you do, it isn’t who you are. You can’t allow it to become who you are or it will eat you up."

If anyone understands what it is to be Steve Howlett, the coach who never has won a game, a day away from the kind of history no one wishes to be part of, it is Arnott, the former head coach at York, who eventually brought respectability to the program before moving on.

"To be honest, I was really hoping Toronto wouldn’t get to this point," Arnott said. "Frankly, I don’t care who has the record for that kind of thing. But having gone through this myself, and having seen the impact that it has on an awful lot of fine people, it can be a terrible thing. It’s terrible for some fine young athletes, who made great commitments, not to have had success in their time playing in university."

Toronto is the most recruited high-school football centre in the country and home to just about the two worst programs in Canadian university football. The difficulties to compete are many, wrote the Sun.

York graduate and former player Andre Batson (BSc ’00) remembers the game that turned York football around – at least back then when it seemed York had turned around. He was a receiver good enough on a lousy team to be rookie of the year in Canada, good enough later to have a cup of coffee in the Canadian Football League. York broke its 47-game losing streak in the first game ever played at what they call a stadium on that windy campus, wrote the Sun.

Neighbours keen to follow York sexual assault suspect

Residents of a Toronto neighbourhood can’t believe that Justin Connort, a suspect in last month’s sexual assaults at York University, was granted bail last month and moved back home, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 12. Now they’re taking matters into their own hands.

Wary of Connort, 25, and frightened by the 11 charges against him, several homeowners have their eyes and cameras trained to spot the man and note whether or not he’s breaching the court-imposed restrictions on his freedom, wrote the Star.

Released on Sept. 24 on $200,000 bail, Connort is under house arrest and living with his mother near Wilson Avenue and Avenue Road. He’s not permitted to leave home without one of his guarantors (his aunt, uncle or mother), says the resident.

Students living on the York University campus were put on high alert Sept. 7 after two men roamed the hallways of Vanier Residence and allegedly entered the unlocked rooms of six sleeping residents. Two women were raped and a third woman was attacked.

Connort, along with Daniel Katsnelson, 25, of Thornhill, were arrested about two weeks later. Katsnelson, who is also out on bail, faces 11 charges.

York experts comment on Tory’s future and the referendum vote

"There will be a lot of knives out for him (within the party), I think. That’s the nature of politics," said Bob Drummond, political science professor and dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, commenting on the future of Progressive Conservative leader John Tory, for Oct. 11.

Drummond said the party may agree to have a PC MPP resign his or her "safe" seat to create a chance for the likeable Tory to win in a by-election, but he wonders how likely that scenario is. First, he said there could be a significant number within the party who will want to dump Tory as leader, believing his controversial plan to publicly fund religious schools and his late-campaign flip-flop to allow a free vote on the issue cost the Conservatives a winnable election. Second, Drummond wondered whether Tory truly has the stomach to remain in the legislature with little power for four years. "I think there’s some question in my mind and others whether he really wants to stay as Leader of the Opposition," said Drummond, a regular commentator on elections and party strategy. “My guess is he’s not going to stay but that’s a sheer guess."

  • For the time being, the issue of religion in schools is likely to remain on people’s minds, even though the ballots have been counted because "the whole can of worms has been opened," said Drummond, in the Toronto Star Oct. 12. But eliminating funding of the Catholic system would prove "very, very difficult" politically and constitutionally, Drummond said.
  • Voters in Ontario have shot down a proposal to change the way they elect provincial politicians, and some observers now expect electoral reform to drop off the political radar screen, wrote Reuters Oct. 11. "It’s likely now to fade from sight for a while," said Drummond.

    "I would be surprised if we had a lot of debate about it," Drummond said, although he said some of his colleagues feel the issue will make a comeback because voters did not have enough time to ponder the matter.

  • Jim Laxer, a professor of political science in York’s Atkinson School of Liberal & Professional Studies, commented on the election results for Hamilton’s CMHL radio Oct. 11.
  • Ian Roberge, political science professor at Glendon, commented on the referendum vote, on Radio Canada Oct. 11.

Long-time MPP in York West wants medical school at York

Despite a "frustrating" campaign this year for Liberal incumbent Mario Sergio, the veteran politician was easily re-elected in York West, capturing 55 per cent (13,180 votes) of the total ballots cast, wrote the North York Mirror, Oct. 11

At the age of 67, this might be Sergio’s last term in government, but for the time being, he said he’s honoured to work for the people of York West for the next four years. "I stuck to my guns. I said what I did and what I planned to do," said Sergio, adding that in this next term, he hoped to establish a medical school at York University, which is located in his riding, and see the completion of a new hospital at Keele Street and Hwy. 401. Other candidates who ran in York West include York student and Progressive Conservative candidate Shane O’Toole (2,459 votes).

Marsden points to childcare as current top issue for women

A former senator and university president will reflect on the women’s movement in Canada at an event celebrating their first legal victory [of officially becoming persons]. Lorna R. Marsden is the guest speaker at the annual LEAF Person’s Day Breakfast on Oct. 19 at Laurentian University, wrote the Sudbury Star Oct. 12.

“I’ll do a retrospective on how it was and how we got to this second wave of the women’s movement where crucial Supreme Court decisions are affecting, I think positively in most instances, the status of women in the country,” Marsden said from Toronto. Marsden is the former president and vice-chancellor of Wilfred Laurier University and York University, and served as a senator from 1984 to 1992.

Childcare continues to be at the forefront of women’s issues, in Marsden’s view. Although it’s a family concern, the responsibility often falls on women, she said. “We still don’t have a national childcare plan, it was killed by the (Stephen) Harper government,” she said. “This is about the fifth time in my time that this keeps happening.”

Education alumna taught in Jane-Finch community

Education always played an important role in Lisa Miyumi Sasaki’s life, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 12 in an obituary of the 46-year-old teacher. She had a teaching degree from York’s Faculty of Education (BA ’83, BEd ’83). Hired by the Toronto District School Board in 1984, Lisa began a career as a dedicated educator who modelled honesty and courage in making education equitable for all students.

Lisa not only embraced her role as an anti-racist educator, she was instrumental in developing a music program to teach steel pan in schools. She believed strongly in social equity and education for all. Together with her life partner, Ivor Picou, she worked with young people in Toronto’s Jane and Finch community.

Her commitment to social justice opened doors for her. She was seconded to York’s Faculty of Education as course director for the Urban Diversity Program site at Regent Park. She shared her expertise with the teacher candidates and mentored them about education and equity issues.

Lisa Miyumi Sasaki was born June 17, 1960, in Toronto and died of cancer March 14, 2007, in Richmond Hill, Ont., aged 46.

Air Canada appoints former Bay president as chief financial officer

Air Canada has named York alumnus Michael Rousseau (BBA ‘81), former president of retailer Hudson’s Bay Co., as chief financial officer, wrote the Canadian Press Oct. 11. He replaces Joshua Koshy, who is leaving the company, the Montreal-based airline said. Rousseau’s appointment is effective Oct. 22. Rousseau is a chartered accountant and holds a bachelor of business administration degree from York’s Schulich School of Business. He will be based at the airline’s Montreal headquarters.

Considering the value of natural spaces

On July 18 a business newswire item announced that Canada’s ATV and dirt-bike dealers had enlisted a team lead by Professor Norman Gledhill, of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, to carry out “a national in-depth study on the Fitness and Health Benefits of Recreational Off-Road Vehicle or OHV (off-highway vehicle) riding,” wrote columnist Douglas Hunter in the Midland Free Press Oct. 12.

The research is going to measure oxygen intake, heart rates and “rate of exertion” of riders, as well as their fitness and health characteristics. The folks paying the bills for this study make no bones about its purpose. They want data, with the approval stamp of a leading academic institution, which will allow them to show that ATVs and dirt bikes are part of an active, healthy lifestyle.

On air

  • York student Michael Dytyniak, “dean for a day” of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and Patrick Monahan, Osgoode’s dean for all the other days, spoke on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now”, about the dean-for-a-day contest Oct. 11.