Bob Drummond ties Liberal losses directly to leader

This week’s federal election confirmed what the 2006 vote suggested: that the Liberal stranglehold on Ontario has loosened, reported The Globe and Mail Oct. 16. And support in the big cities that were once the Liberals’ reliable base has also eroded. Both the Conservatives and the NDP have mused publicly about squeezing in from both sides, eventually to wipe out what has been known as the “natural governing party.” A decline of the vote in traditional strongholds might be perceived as the first step.

But Robert Drummond, a political expert in York’s Faculty of Arts, doesn’t see that happening. Drummond said he thinks the Liberal woes of this campaign were tied directly to leader Stéphane Dion. “I think it can come back,” he said of the Liberal Party. “I think it will come back in some measure with a new leader.” Yes, there were losses across Ontario and in the cities, “but is it the case that a lot of Liberals stayed home because they were unhappy with the party, or did they actually switch their vote?”  

Drummond was highly sought after by many news media to give expert commentary on the federal election.        

  • He told CBC News online that with no voice in government, Toronto’s priorities such as public transit, affordable housing and infrastructure renewal won’t get much attention with the Conservatives. “I don’t think the cities will have the same weight with this government as they would have had with the Liberals,” he said.
  • He commented on the pros and cons of a minority government on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” and “Here & Now” Oct. 15.

New MP for West Vancouver riding is right-wing activist

In a profile Oct. 16 of John Weston (LLB ’83), the new Conservative MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea-to-Sky Country, The Vancouver Sun wrote that perhaps the most intriguing thing about the 50-year-old MP is his legal activism on behalf of right-wing causes. Weston is the founder of the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF). The new MP said he founded the group in 2002 to promote and uphold the rights of Canadians against governments that undermine the rights of individuals.  

The CCF and Weston have fought the federal Liberal government in the courts, challenging the Nisga’a Treaty by arguing that it created a third order of government whose laws overrule Canadian law. The CCF is also funding a class action legal challenge to medicare in Alberta and an individual action in Ontario.  

Weston, who grew up in Vancouver, studied government at Harvard University and law at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, where he was one of two student members on the University’s Board of Governors.  

Money is not the only motive for robbing banks, says law prof

The Canadian Bankers Association on Oct. 2 offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who robbed 26 banks over the course of five years. It turns out he may be one of banking’s own, reported the Victoria’s Times Colonist Oct. 16. 

Kevin John Pinto, a compliance executive at Toronto investment bank Paradigm Capital Inc., turned himself in a day after the association offered the reward and published a photograph of the presumed culprit. Pinto, 37, has been charged with 10 counts of bank robbery. Pinto had a salary of more than $100,000 a year. The thief rarely took more than $2,000 in the robberies and carried no weapon.  

"There is an excitement attached to some crimes," said Margaret Beare, a sociologist and law professor at York. "We always think of profit or status as being the only motivators, but there are other ones as well."  

Saving a sinking business depends on access to resources

While some entrepreneurs will close their struggling businesses, others may revamp their company and try awhile longer, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 16. The decision hinges partly on whether an entrepreneur has access to the resources required to turn the business around, says Eileen Fischer, a professor of entrepreneurship at York’s Schulich School of Business. For example, one small business owner may be able to borrow money or attract equity investors. Another may not.  

Some entrepreneurs throw too much of their own money into a sinking business. People mortgage their homes and put debt on their credit cards all to keep the business going, Fischer said. They need to ask "if nobody will lend them money, why are they lending themselves money?"  

A small-business owner shouldn’t be embarrassed if he or she chooses to close an unprofitable business. "Way more than half of businesses fail. And most of them fail early so there is no shame in it," Fischer said. "Many people fail at one or two or more businesses before they start a successful one."  

Mompreneurs used to be content with small businesses, says prof

Mompreneurs – mothers who are also entrepreneurs – are on the rise in Canada, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 16. The trend of mothers launching their own businesses began 25 years ago, but "it really picked up steam as gen-Xers, or what we call the Nexus generation, became parents," said Nora Spinks, president of Work-Life Harmony Enterprises, a research and consulting firm in Toronto.  

Fifteen years ago, Ronald Burke, professor emeritus at York’s Schulich School of Business, interviewed 150 Canadian women entrepreneurs. He found that most "ran small operations and they liked it that way." They weren’t interested in huge growth or making piles of money, Burke said.  

Accused in slayings was out on bail

A man accused of slaying two women in their east-end home Monday morning had been out on bail since March while facing charges of sexual assault, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 16. Nathaniel O’Brien, 31, was released from jail last spring but is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in May next year to answer to six charges, which include two counts each of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and attempted choking, court documents show.  

O’Brien was arrested earlier this week in connection with the deaths of his neighbours, Saramma Varughese, 65, and Susan John, 43, and an attack on John’s 20-year-old daughter, Sarah John. The two older women were discovered suffering from stab wounds after an intruder broke into their Rotary Drive home just before 7am. Sarah, a York University student, is in hospital recovering from injuries.  

On air

  • Ian Roberge, a political science professor at York’s Glendon College, discussed the federal election results on CBC Radio’s “Le Reveil” in Moncton Oct. 16.