York psychologist talks about when it’s time to sever family ties

The grown-up child who won’t leave the house – it’s become all too common water-cooler chat. But what about the child who can’t wait to escape – and cut all ties?, wrote The Globe and Mail July 15.

For those who want to make a conscious break, it should be planned. "It’s not something that should be done flippantly or reactively; they should want to do it because it’s the healthiest thing for them," says Kyle Killian, a family therapist in Toronto and a professor in the Faculty of Health at York University. "They need to explain the reason for the cut-off to the parent, not just simply do a disappearing act that seems like a confusing and random act of punishment," Killian says.

Killian agrees there can be problems related to a permanent cut-off. "The problem is, sometimes people who deny their relationship to their family and are emotionally cut off, are in danger of recreating their original family system in their current one, because the issues remain unresolved."

"It’s also important to establish criteria for re-entry – and under what circumstances would that person be willing to re-establish contact," says Killian. "If a parent receives treatment for violence or substance abuse and is now sober or truly remorseful about abusive or neglectful acts and has made a qualitative shift, the adult child needs to decide whether to buy it, and whether they’re in a place to risk being in a relationship with that parent again."

Draft rules on spending contain loophole, critics say

Toronto’s proposed new rules on city councillors’ expenses will still include one significant loophole, critics say, allowing incumbent politicians to send out thousands of large, colourful self-promotional newsletters to constituents at taxpayers’ expense just two months before a municipal election, wrote The Globe and Mail July 15. Under the new rules, councillors will be forbidden from mailing out newsletters after Labour Day in an election year, when voters are headed to the polls in November, in order to comply with rules banning the use of city resources for electioneering.

York University political science professor Robert MacDermid, who studies municipal election finances, said the new rule was a reasonable compromise between the councillors’ right to communicate with constituents and the need to level the playing field for challengers.

But he said most of the advantage for incumbent councillors, who are rarely defeated at the polls, comes from their higher profile and superior ability to raise funds, not from any single glossy pamphlet. "They tend to tout the accomplishments of the incumbent and include pictures of them planting trees…and are, I think, of questionable value," MacDermid said. "People just get cynical about it."

Terrence Murphy, former Liberal MP and Superior Court Justice, dies at 82

Osgoode alumnus Terrence Murphy (LLB ’49), a former Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Liberal MP and Superior Court Justice, has died at the age of 82, wrote The Canadian Press July 14. Murphy, who was elected at the height of Trudeaumania in 1968 and served one term in office, died Saturday at his home.

Murphy was appointed judge of the District Court in Manitoulin in 1980 when he was 53 and served on the bench until his retirement in 2000. When Murphy became a lawyer in 1949, he was the youngest graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School to do so at the age of 22.

Osgoode alum survived D-Day, defended Lord Haw-Haw

For long weeks in September and October of 1945, Osgoode alumnus Stanley Biggs (LLB ’39) did nothing but research treason laws dating back to the 14th century, wrote The Globe and Mail July 15 in an obituary that detailed his role on the defence team of the infamous German radio propagandist Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce).

In the process, Biggs became an expert on the subject, writing several articles and giving speeches on the subject after his return to Canada. His memoir, As Luck Would Have It In War and Peace, was released by Trafford Publishing (Victoria) earlier this year, wrote the Globe.

  • Willem Maas , political science professor at York’s Glendon campus, spoke about the Paris summit inaugurating the Union for the Mediterranean on the all-news television channel France24 July 13.