Voters’ environmental focus very specific, says York prof

For the first time, cutting carbon emissions has become the central focus of environmental policy for all parties, said CBC News reporter Kelly Crowe Sept. 8, in an election story on "The National" that included an interview with Mark Winfield, professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies.

Winfield: One of the remarkable aspects of the dynamic is the degree to which the focus is less on the environment and more very specifically on the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s really quite a remarkable degree to which the issue has come to be defined in terms of that sort of one-dimensional focus.

Crowe: But how can the average voter decide which party is going to offer the most real change?

Winfield: This is the question, how well voters will wrap their heads around these issues and understand the distinctions between the different parties.

Plugging Ontario into the future

Ontario’s power authority began laying out a detailed case yesterday before the Ontario Energy Board for how the province should spend $60 billion over the next 20 years to expand and upgrade the electricity system, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 9.

“This is the first time the energy board has ever dealt with anything like this before,” said Mark Winfield, a professor of environment and energy policy at York University. “This is the only game in town in terms of having any meaningful external review of this plan.”

He said the plan will be vigorously challenged by groups who claim that the agency is low-balling targets for renewables and conservation, ignoring technologies such as energy storage and waste-heat recovery, and putting far too much emphasis on big-ticket nuclear projects that have a history of coming in late and over budget.

Teen pregnancy’s new twist

There was a time when girls like Bristol Palin were whisked off in the dark of night, taken to isolated locations to give birth, then reintroduced into society, wrote The Philadelphia Inquirer Sept. 4. Now Bristol is sharing the spotlight as the country decides if her mother, the Republican governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, will be the nation’s vice-president.

Andrea O’Reilly, a women’s studies professor in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies and the director of the Association for Research on Mothering in Canada, noted that the Republicans’ spin made a difference as to how it was perceived. “She’s being presented as someone who made a good choice because she’s keeping the baby,” O’Reilly said of Bristol Palin. “If [Hillary] Clinton’s daughter had been pregnant, it would have been spun differently, like, ‘Look what happens to the kids of working moms’.”

Former MP, Osgoode alum Allan Lawrence dies

Cobourg resident and former Durham-Northumberland Member of Parliament Allan Lawrence (LLB ’54), PC, QC, LSM died at Toronto’s Mount Sinai hospital on Sept. 6, at the age of 83, wrote the Cobourg Daily Star Sept. 9. Lawrence graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1954. For 15 years he practised law with the firm of McLaughlin May and Soward. He first ran for public office provincially in 1958, during the Leslie Frost era, in the downtown Toronto riding of St. George, which included the neighbourhood where he grew up, becoming at the time the youngest ever member of the provincial legislature.

Readers corrects Layton’s degree info

The leader’s profiles had at least one omission: Under “Education,” Jack Layton, (MA ’72, PhD ’83) should have his PhD from York University listed, wrote Adam DeVita in a letter to the National Post Sept. 9 about an election profile of the York alumnus and leader of the federal New Democratic Party.