TTC’s resistance to private money stalls Spadina subway project

The Toronto Transit Commission calls private money a bad idea, wrote columnist Peter Kuitenbrouwer in the National Post April 24. So bad, in fact, that it’s willing to reject public money in order to stop the private sector. I speak of the long-awaited extension of the Spadina subway to York University and on into Vaughan. Ottawa and Queen’s Park have both doled out the money, in trust, for the new line.

The project is stalled, Adam Giambrone, the chair of the TTC, told me after a TTC meeting, because Ottawa wants the TTC to let private contractors bid on designing and building the extension, whereas the TTC insists that its engineers must design the new tunnel in-house. “We said we’re not comfortable with the private sector building a line that has to last for hundreds of years,” Giambrone said.

This kind of protective, stick-in-the-mud attitude, so pervasive at the TTC, may explain why we still have tokens, long after other transit networks developed "smart cards", wrote Kuitenbrouwer.

Finding body wouldn’t ID killer

If Elizabeth Bain’s skeletal remains were found today, almost 18 years after her murder, it’s unlikely they’d point a definitive forensic finger at her killer, wrote the Toronto Star April 24 in an article quoting several experts. Even if finding Bain’s remains gave the Crown a renewed belief that Baltovich was the killer, it could not re-prosecute him once the appeal period, normally 30 days, is past, said Alan Young, director of the Innocence Project at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

Last September, the Crown offered a manslaughter plea and only one more day in jail added to the nine years Baltovich has already served in return for revealing where the body was, said James Lockyer, Baltovich’s lawyer. Young said that the Crown’s deal was a good one – for a guilty man to take. The fact that Baltovich turned it down only underscores his innocence, Young said.

Corporations are voluntarily adopting ‘self-correcting’ practices

The relative advantages of recognizing and encouraging "self-correcting" aspects of our corporate and securities law system are manywrote Professor Ed Waitzer, Jarislowsky Dimma Mooney Chair in Corporate Governance at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the National Post April 24.

Voluntarily embraced governance practices tend to avoid the complexity and arbitrary thresholds and requirements that imposed rules entail (and, in turn, the disputes that such rules and thresholds generate or the fact that their inherent arbitrariness detracts from their credibility). Consensus standards, such as majority voting, also promote constructive engagement between managerial and shareholder constituencies and allow for easy adjustment over time. There is no need for regulatory, legislative or judicial action and the rigidities inherent in each. Perhaps most importantly, relying on principles of legitimacy and moral suasion is ultimately far more powerful than any law.

Waitzer, the Post noted, is also a partner and former chair of Stikeman Elliott LLP and is a former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Former Vaughan mayor facing audit

Vaughan council has voted to order a comprehensive compliance audit into the campaign contributions and expenses of former Vaughan mayor Michael Di Biase during the hotly fought 2006 mayoral race he narrowly lost to challenger Linda Jackson, wrote the Toronto Star April 24.

The audit – demanded on similar grounds to the one Jackson faces – was announced at a special council session. A negative outcome for the two bitter rivals could conceivably see both of them barred from running in the next election.

A 2006 study by Robert MacDermid, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, found that Vaughan councillors led the GTA in the proportion of corporate contributions.

Strange stories from a sailor’s life

Peter Chance, the first executive officer of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, believes that everybody should write a memoir, if only for their children, wrote the Vancouver Island, BC’s, Peninsula News Review April 23. “I felt it was a worthwhile exercise,” he says of the 10 years it took him to put together Before It’s Too Late: A Sailor’s Life, a look back at 80 years of his life. “Certainly, my family has appreciated it.” Chance’s work has been appreciated by those outside his family, too, and with the wide-ranging adventures and stories he tells in the book, it’s easy to see the interest.

After the Second World War Chance climbed the ranks through a series of appointments but left the navy eventually to be the first executive officer for Osgoode at York, in 1969. He remembers the students during those years as extremely bright, and one specific incident with amusement: “They asked me, would I put in a bank of telephones outside the common room?” he remembered. Chance asked them why they needed the phones. “During lunch, they liked to get in a call to their brokers,” he said with a smile.

TV host reaches for the stars

York alumna Divya Sharma (BAS ’07), a resident of Mississauga, achieved a milestone within just six years of landing in Canada – a tough task for a new immigrant, wrote Brampton’s South Asian Focus April 24 . The multi-talented 24-year-old is a dancer, choreographer, DJ and dance teacher. She also hosts a new but popular program of Canada’s multi-faith and multicultural broadcaster VisionTV.

Sharma presents the entertaining Bollywood Gupshup every Saturday at VisionTV at 6pm. The program showcases action, thrill, fun and much more to entertain the South Asian community. "It’s been an exciting journey with VisionTV and I’m enjoying every moment of it," said the rising star, who was born and raised in Chandigarh, India. She joined VisionTV in March this year.

The Focus noted Sharma graduated from York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies in administrative studies with specialized honours in human resource management in 2006.

On air

  • A study of drug companies’ marketing practices by Dr. Joel Lexchin of York’s School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health, and York PhD candidate Marc-André Gagnon, was featured on CBC Radio April 23.
  • Joan Gilmour, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about discussions on the legal and ethical obligations of government and public health authorities at the Cameron Inquiry Symposium into problems with breast cancer hormone receptor testing, on several local radio stations in St. Johns, Nfld.