After years of squabbles, federal subway cash will flow

The federal government will pump almost $7 billion into Ontario’s aging infrastructure – most of it in towns and cities – under a deal with Queen’s Park to be announced today, wrote The Toronto Star July 24. Ottawa’s share of the more than $2-billion extension of the Spadina subway will be partly funded from the cash being announced.

Funding for the subway extension to York University and Vaughan would be an “early sign of progress,” said George Smitherman, Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of energy and infrastructure. “Ontario has a wide variety of infrastructure needs and urban transportation and transit initiatives certainly are substantial among them.”

Four of 10 recent immigrants send money back home

An estimated $2 billion flows out of Canada every year, pumping up overseas economies as immigrants send money home to friends and family, a trend experts say will continue, wrote CanWest News Service July 23. A York economics professor said that this “cash leakage” has little effect on the Canadian economy, which reportedly has a GDP of about $1.6 trillion dollars.

“It’s definitely a positive from a global social perspective because it’s allowing people in these overseas countries to have food, clothing, shelter – things they wouldn’t be able to get any other way,” said Professor Perry Sadorsky of the Schulich School of Business at York University, Wednesday. “But from a Canadian perspective, it’s money that is leaking out of the country that could be spent here.”

Consumer industries such as cellphone companies, car and electronic manufacturers and restaurants are the ones that suffer the most when money is sent away. And Sadorsky predicts that with the direction the global economy is going, this trend of financially supporting family overseas is not going to stop. “Some of these countries are experiencing explosive inflation when it comes to food prices. People are using this money to buy basic food like rice, corn and flour,” he said. “What these countries need is a massive economic overhaul because they’re not functioning as well as they could be.”

Grad student’s band The Consumer Goods balance politics and pop

Look out, Propagandhi. Watch your backs, Weakerthans. There’s a new batch of politically minded indie-rockers on the local scene, wrote The Winnipeg Sun July 24. Meet The Consumer Goods, the uber-political pop-rock combo fronted by York graduate student Tyler Shipley, who’s spent the three years since the act’s formation trying to “figure out a different way to be a political band.”

“On the one hand, I didn’t want to do something wishy-washy, but on the other hand, I didn’t want it to be this heavy-handed polemic,” says Shipley, who’s currently working on his PhD (in political science, natch) at York University. “I didn’t want to be U2 and just sing about world peace, but I also didn’t want to be the Manic Street Preachers, saying, ‘You’re all a bunch of bastards and you’re all going to hell because you won’t recycle.’”

A lifelong political junkie (he went trick-or-treating as Ross Perot as a kid), Shipley says the decision to make politics an integral part of the band came easy – “It’s an integral part of me,” he explains – especially since he never took to writing songs about typical teen concerns.

Ceramic art museum founder Helen Gardiner dies

Toronto philanthropist Helen Gardiner, best known for co-founding the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art with her financier husband George, has died at age 70, wrote CBC News online July 24. Gardiner, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring, died at her home in Caledon, Ont., on Tuesday, just four days after marking her 70th birthday, the museum announced.

Born in Kirkland Lake, Ont., Gardiner came from modest means and was a single parent when she met George Gardiner (LLD ’82, Hon. Univ. Professor ’90), the successful stockbroker, businessperson and one-time chair of the Toronto Stock Exchange. At the time, she was working as a secretary at his Toronto brokerage firm Gardiner Watson. She later pursued studies at Toronto’s York University and at the Christie’s Fine Arts School in London.

York U coach to work Olympics as scout

The York Lions’ master soccer coach will work as a scout for the Canadian national women’s soccer team at the Beijing Olympics. The Canadian team is slated to kick off at the Olympics on Aug. 6 against Argentina. Paul James, head coach of the women’s team at York, also served as assistant coach for Canada’s gold medal winning team at the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) under-20 team in June held in Mexico.

“It will be a great experience,” said James, who heads to Beijing Aug. 1. James played for Canada at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, helping the national team advance to the quarter-finals before losing to Brazil in penalty kicks. James also played for Canada at the 1986 World Cup before going into coaching.

York alum appointed to Downsview Park board

York alumnus Ron Colucci has been appointed to the board of directors of Downsview Park Inc. for a term of four years by Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence Cannon, wrote the North York Mirror July 22. “His experience in business and as an accountant will serve the board well,” said Cannon.