Symposium avoids abortion question – how late is too late?, says columnist

The general consensus at a symposium on the 20th anniversary of R. vs Morgentaler seemed to be that opposition to abortion is a mental defect, not a bona fide policy position, wrote Jonathan Kay, in a column about a lack of debate about late-term abortions, in the National Post Jan. 29. Shelley Gavigan, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, declared categorically that "the unborn child and the pregnant mother speak with one voice – and that voice is hers." The fact that some of her students didn’t see things her way only meant that "I have some work to do on the pedagogical front."

While critiquing the symposium, Kay said Gavigan’s generation came by their militancy honestly: by witnessing the Byzantine and arbitrary barriers to early-term abortion faced by Canadian women in the pre-Morgentaler era. They also bore witness to the medical carnage caused by self-induced and back-alley abortions. For these pro-choice advocates, a woman’s right to choose must be unfettered. Behind any law, they will see the hand of the old patriarchy.

Trees cool lakes, study finds

Planting trees may lower the temperature of lake water in spite of global warming, according to research from York University, wrote the Sudbury Star Jan. 29. Clearwater Lake in Broder and Tilton townships has cooled dramatically since the 1970s.

That’s in part because of a massive tree-planting program in the area, according to the study, "Cooling Lakes While the World Warms," published in the January issue of Limnology and Oceanography.

"We wanted to find out why the lake was cooling despite regional climate warming," said lead author Andrew Tanentzap (BSc ’05, MSc ’07), who led the study with York biology Professor Norman Yan. Tanentzap’s study shows it is necessary to understand all factors that can affect water clarity and wind speed to predict the effects of global warming on our lakes, said Yan.

Aultsville Filmfest a great success

It was two thumbs up for the Aultsville Winter Filmfest this past weekend, said Syd Gardiner, one of its organizers, in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder Jan. 29. It was the second year for the festival which featured five films, as well as student shorts. Gardiner was especially proud of the standard of the student films, and of student filmmaker Vince Pilon, who’s now pursuing studies at York.

"Last year, Vince’s film raised the bar, and this year, students came up with much, much better films," Gardiner commented. "This year Vince’s film, it was phenomenal, next to professional. This is what I wanted to see – development. Absolutely, no question, Vince raised the bar again."

Quinn’s hockey life began at the bottom

York alumnus Pat Quinn (BA ’72) unearthed a world of possibilities when he helped his father dig a basement for the family home in Hamilton, wrote the National Post Jan. 29. Quinn, who turns 65 today, grew up in a modest wartime house in the city’s east end. Circa 1950, a civic ordinance decreed that all houses must be raised to accommodate a basement. He did not know it at the time, but that experience would help lay the foundation for his career as a successful hockey executive.

"My father dug it out by hand and I helped him," says Quinn, who was seven years old at the time. "I remember my dad encouraging me to continue my education. At that time, nobody had any clue that I’d be a good athlete or anything of that nature. But that’s when I was first motivated to make sure I got an education so that I wouldn’t have to dig my own basement some day."

Quinn applied both brains and brawn to his hockey career. He established himself as a blue-collar defenceman during 14 professional seasons, but he made his greatest mark as an NHL coach and business-savvy executive.

Pieces finally falling into place for actor Bickford

Twenty years ago, York alumnus Chris Bickford (BA ‘00) was the 13-year-old cast-off of a fractured Toronto-area family, wrote the Ottawa Citizen Jan. 29. He’d spent years sleeping in laundry rooms, bus stations, relatives’ homes. A gutsy kid, he also had a photogenic face and enough charm and innate acting ability to launch a career, initially in Ottawa, in television and film. But Bickford also had a blossoming case of bipolar disorder that would disrupt his career and, in 2006, confine him to a locked psychiatric ward.

Now on the mend, Bickford is once again acting in Ottawa, this time on stage as Dennis, the lead male role in TotoToo’s production of Jigsaw Confession. The show opens Jan. 30 at Arts Court Theatre in Ottawa. He’s hoping that re-launching his career in Ottawa will spark the same success he enjoyed when he started out two decades ago.

Through the 1990s, he landed television roles and minor parts in such films as Married To It with Beau Bridges and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues starring David Carradine. Bickford is a graduate of the Creative Writing Program in York’s Faculty of Arts.