Online dating nothing to be ashamed of

Online dating is nothing new, but only recently has it become a matter-of-fact, nothing-to-be-ashamed-of way to meet people, reported the Ottawa Citizen Feb. 9. Sociologist Rhonda Lenton, dean of York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, conducted an online dating study for in 2001. At the time, she predicted that online dating was a "growth industry", something that doesn’t even begin to do it justice today.

Lenton says that online dating has become more acceptable and widespread because of busy work schedules. But she believes there’s also another, more philosophical reason. She says that people are just looking at the meaning of love in a different way. "People believed quite erroneously that love is very idiosyncratic, that you can’t really explain who falls in love with whom, and much research has shown that’s just not true," says Lenton. "I mean, people screen out people all the time because they’re the wrong height, the wrong age, the wrong occupation, the wrong religion. Online dating really facilitates, and perhaps makes it evident to people, just how many people they actually consider to be ineligible or rule out as a possible dating partner. It brings it right to the surface in a way that I don’t think previously people were as aware of."

Medical marijuana lawyer cites ‘cycle of ignorance’

It was more than 35 years ago that the LeDain Commission recommended marijuana be decriminalized in Canada, reported the National Post Feb. 11. Today, discussion about reforming the country’s marijuana laws is not on the political landscape. If anything, the country is moving in the opposite direction. Late last month, the federal government appealed a federal court ruling that found medical marijuana regulations to be unconstitutional for the third time in eight years. "There is a cycle of ignorance that seems impossible to transcend" in any discussion about marijuana, suggested Alan Young, a professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, who has represented chronically ill people in a number of medical marijuana court challenges. "We are either running on the spot or moving backwards," he said.  

Can growth and sustainable ecology go hand in hand?

The temptation to inject a faltering economy with a shot of conventional growth stimulant is hard to resist, said York University economist Peter Victor, reported The Gazette in Montreal Feb. 10. The environmental studies professor is a contributor to the ecological-economics library with a new book called Managing Without Growth. "It’s a bit like a drug addict who needs a fix. The short-term problem for drug addicts is they need more of what they’re addicted to, even though it’s what’s killing them in the long run. But it’s hard to hold it back from them because it’s the obvious short-term cure. We do have to attend to the short-term crises because people’s lives are really hurt by these downturns. But it’s also reasonable to say that fixing them through the traditional measures of just stimulating more economic growth is going to exacerbate other problems which might be even more difficult to solve in the future."  

What change there is in the direction of ecological economic policy and action is painfully slow in coming, said Victor. "There are lots of good ideas around, but the speed at which they’re picked up and acted on is depressingly slow." He notes that proposals such as carbon taxing and emissions trading have been kicking around for decades, but are still shocking to some. "We pride ourselves on our imagination, on our flexibility, on the changes that have taken place. But many of the obviously bad habits we were developing 40 to 50 years ago, the unbound, unqualified commitment to consumerism, have just got worse."  

The healthy-eating evangelist

When Rose Reisman (MBA ’85) first learned to cook, she admits her definition of a good meal started with "a ton of butter and 12 eggs," reported the Toronto Star Feb. 11. Later, when she hit her 30s she was diagnosed with high cholesterol. Reisman started to experiment with new low-fat recipes, incorporating them into her family’s lifestyle, and eventually writing a popular cookbook, Rose Reisman Brings Home Light Cooking in 1993. Fifteen years later, with trans-fats making headlines, and a legislative push on restaurants in North America to include detailed food content on menus, healthy eating is at the forefront. And Reisman has become a face of change in Canada. 

For starters, she acts as a consultant for companies like McCain Foods Canada, where she has a series of popular ads. Then there’s her own line of meals at the Pickle Barrel restaurants, 17 cookbooks, investment in a weight-loss chain in Toronto, a catering company that serves upwards of 2,000 meals daily, and a busy speaking schedule. This month she will roll out a new product: home-delivered meals right out of her kitchen. There is also talk of Rose-Reisman-branded restaurants in conjunction with the Pickle Barrel.  

And while Reisman is familiar to Canadian food aficionados as a chef, nutritional consultant and author, she is also a savvy businessperson, recognized last year by York’s Schulich School of Business for "outstanding public contribution" for her wellness work.

Author Mary Swan releases debut novel

Local author Mary Swan (BA ’74) first attracted attention in 2001 when she won the O. Henry Award for short fiction for The Deep, a novella set in France during the First World War, reported the Guelph Mercury Feb. 9. A year later her collection of stories, Emma’s Hands, was also greeted with critical acclaim. Swan’s debut novel, The Boys in the Trees, released late last month, is sure to increase her stature among critics and win her a larger readership. Spanning most of the last quarter of the 19th century, The Boys in the Trees traces the domestic tragedies of a family that immigrates to Canada from Liverpool and settles in Emden, a fictional town very much like Guelph would have been at the time.  

Three Muslim law grads explain complaint against Maclean’s 

We are the Osgoode Hall Law School students, joined by London lawyer Faisal Joseph, who recently lodged human rights complaints against Maclean’s magazine for its cover article titled ‘The Future Belongs to Islam’, by Mark Steyn, began a letter to the London Free Press Feb. 9 penned by Naseem Mithoowani (LLB ’07), Khurrum Awan (LLB ’07) and Muneeza Sheikh (LLB ’07). Though our complaints have yet to be heard, they have sparked much media attention and debate over the role of human rights commissions, the true definition of freedom of expression and responsible media. 

Salim Mansur recently provided his opinion to the readers of the London Free Press in his Jan. 19 article, ‘Assault goes beyond violence’, in which he denounced our human rights complaints against Maclean’s as an "Islamist" form of terrorism – so-called "lawfare". While we are disappointed by these labels, we are not surprised at them, wrote the three Osgoode grads. To move beyond labels means to honestly weigh the arguments as they are presented. In the context of our complaint against Maclean’s, that means first examining the article. It advances an unsubstantiated theory that Muslims in the West have flooded entire societies for their "bloody" takeover. It alleges, among other things, that "enough" Western Muslims share the goals of terrorists.  

Unfortunately, when we met with Maclean’s senior editors prior to launching any type of complaint proceedings to discuss publishing a representative counter-article, they stated they would rather "go bankrupt" than consider any response, they wrote. As Maclean’s does not employ an ombudsperson or subscribe to a press council, we took our complaint to the human rights commission. Our complaint is based on the categorical refusal by Maclean’s to allow Muslims to respond and play a part in a debate that affects them.  

GO plans double-decker bus service to York

GO transit board members announced changes for its operating budget Friday that tie in with what GO predicts to be a ridership growth of 4.3 per cent to 53.5 million, reported The Toronto Sun Feb. 9. There will be new bus service in Stoney Creek and between Milton and Bronte. By June, Bombardier crews will replace CN crews on CN corridors. York University will see double-decker buses, and 600 parking spaces at the Burlington station will open up. The board will ask the province for $44.9 million to help offset the costs.  

Former Eskimo assistant coach up for York job

Former Eskimo assistant coach Ron Lancaster Jr. is apparently a candidate to be the head coach at York University, reported The Edmonton Sun Feb. 10. Lancaster has been teaching in the Hamilton area for the last year. Former Edmonton Huskies head coach Mike McLean is also being considered for the job.  

Pitfalls of payday loans

ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been leading demonstrations to warn of the pitfalls of payday loans, reported The Toronto Sun Feb. 10. For four years, ACORN and others have been lobbying Ottawa to enforce the criminal code and lay charges against those who charge usurious rates of 60 per cent and higher. A study of payday loans by a York University professor uncovered alleged rates of interest of 300 per cent to 1,000 per cent in a thriving business worth up to $2 billion a year, with some 2 million Canadians borrowing every year.  

Like York coach, Brock coach surpasses 500-win mark

Ken Murray’s name didn’t make the scoresheet Saturday when Brock edged Lakehead 75-73 in university men’s basketball, only the record book, reported Ontario’s Welland Tribune Feb. 11. A homecourt victory that improved the Badgers to 13-6 in league play was the 500th of Murray’s coaching career in Canadian Interuniversity Sports, making him only the fourth coach to reach that milestone. To date, Steve Konchalski, St. Francis Xavier, 694 victories; Bob Bain, York University, 677; and the University of Alberta’s Don Horwood, 562; are the only other coaches to surpass the 500-win mark.  

Former business prof inducted in marketing hall of fame

The Toronto-based Marketing Hall of Legends was conceived as a way to honour Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to the field, reported the National Post Feb. 9. This year, the esteemed MHOL inductees included Peter Zarry (posthumously), Schulich School of Business, York University. Zarry, who died in 2002, was inducted in the mentor category. 

York grad oversaw Halton Catholic board’s formative years

The longest-serving director of education in the history of Halton’s Catholic school board has died, reported the Oakville Beaver Feb. 9. Cliff Byrnes (BEd ’85) passed away at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington last Friday. He was 74. Byrnes assumed the position of director of education at the Halton Catholic District School Board on Aug. 1, 1971, two years after the four municipal separate school boards in Halton (Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Georgetown) had amalgamated to form the Halton Regional Roman Catholic Separate School Board in 1969. He retired in August 1994.  

On air

  • Ian McGregor, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, talked about a study that found inward-looking people who are down in the dumps tend to spend more money on the same item than their neutral-emotion counterparts, on “CTV Newsnet Afternoon”  Feb. 8.
  • York University is one of the most diverse campuses in North America and what better way to celebrate that diversity than a colourful extravaganza called Multicultural Week, reported “OMNI News: South Asian Edition”, Toronto, Feb. 8.