What would Clarkson do? asks The Globe and Mail

Last fall, during the country’s brief constitutional crisis wherein Governor General Michaëlle Jean was asked to decide whether to accede to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s request to prorogue Parliament, the chattering class wondered whether former governor general Adrienne Clarkson might feel cheated that she hadn’t had the chance to handle a constitutional crisis, wrote columnist Patricia Best in The Globe and Mail April 15.

Well, Clarkson will weigh in on the issue this week. On Friday, she will give her views publicly for the first time at an annual Constitutional Cases Conference organized by York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. Of course, we sort of know what she thought about last year’s excitement, wrote Best. In her autobiography, Heart Matters, she says she would have rejected a request from former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin if he had attempted to dissolve Parliament and call an election within six months of winning his minority government in 2004.

Union-bashing columnist tries to have it both ways, says prof 

In Terence Corcoran’s world, Wal-Mart, a company racking in billions of dollars annually in profits, is a hero for convincing a Quebec arbitrator to allow it to keep its employees’ wages at slightly above minimum wage, wrote David Doorey, professor in the Master of Human Resources Management Program in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, in the National Post April 15. The villain in his story is the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for obtaining “only” a 30-cents-per-hour raise.

But Corcoran would have us believe that it is the bully union that should be chastised, and not Wal-Mart. Why? Because the union promised the employees more than it actually was able to obtain from the arbitrator, for one thing. And for another, it was certified on the basis that a majority of the Wal-Mart employees signed a card saying they wanted the union to represent them, rather than by winning a vote.

In fact, the model worked as it should, wrote Doorey. It gave the workers an opportunity to see what a union could do for them. If a majority of employees are unhappy with what the union won in the first agreement, they can show the union the door and return to the non-union model that has served Wal-Mart employees so well in the past.

Unions rarely make huge strides in first contracts. Improvements come incrementally, round by round. In this case, the union not only won a modest raise, it won a grievance procedure that will allow employees to challenge management decisions they perceive to be arbitrary or based on favouritism. So, it’s unfair to suggest that the union achieved nothing here.

Of course, Corcoran has argued in his column before that unions that win “good” settlements for their members are to blame for the crumbling of the economy, the failures of government and various other ills. Now he’s chastising a union for bargaining a "bad” settlement for its members.

That’s the great thing about ideologues, said Doorey. They can take any facts and make them fit their world view.

Moral compasses swing with wind

Discussing the moral compasses of Canadian leaders, columnist Frances Russell in the Winnipeg Free Press April 15 noted that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff had switched positions on the possibility of coalition government. She closed by noting that York University political scientist James Laxer has written, “Ignatieff’s slippery view of the coalition could end by reminding people of what they like least about the Liberal party – its tendency toward opportunism at the expense of principle.”

Saskatchewan QB accepts York football scholarship

Daniel Herrick is going from the Unity Composite High School Warriors football field to the bright lights and big city of Toronto, wrote Saskatchewan’s Unity Northwest Herald April 13.

The Warriors quarterback agreed to a full-ride scholarship offer to York University to play with the Canadian Interuniversity Sport York Lions this fall. Herrick mulled over a couple other offers and generated some interest south of the border, before settling on York. “I like the school and the big city,” Herrick explained. He toured the campus over the spring break and made up his mind.

So how does a school with a campus of 55,000 students come across a quarterback from a prairie town of 2,500? It’s a small world you see. Herrick sent out a few tapes to different schools and the current coaching staff of the Lions – head coach Mike McLean and assistant coach/offensive coordinator Beau Mirau – used to run the Edmonton Huskies of the Prairie Junior Football Conference. They were in a wedding in Saskatoon in February and asked Herrick to come for a meeting. Herrick’s trip to Toronto sealed the deal.

Herrick isn’t sure what to expect for this season. There are two other quarterbacks in camp and both are sophomores. “There is an open audition for quarterback so I guess I go and see what happens,” Herrick said. “The coaches told me to keep doing what I have been doing: keep throwing and keep running.”

There will also be an adjustment off the field. Herrick will be leaving small town living for the massive York campus where he will study kinesiology but he is not too concerned about the change in lifestyle. “It won’t be too bad. They have most of the student-athletes in the same dorm so I’ll know some people,” he said.

Memorial run pulls through for scholarships

A project of Brock University’s fourth-year Sport Management Leadership class in 2008, the Run for Success was created to provide a scholarship in the name of Brendan Ford, a York University student who died at the age of 20 from cardiac arrest on Jan. 24, 2006, wrote Niagara This Week April 14. In its inaugural year, more than 160 runners from Brock and the Niagara community participated in five-kilometre and 10-kilometre runs to raise $13,900 which went to the Brendan Ford Memorial Scholarship (75 per cent) and to the Heart & Stroke Foundation (25 per cent).

Toronto Mennonite choir sponsors contest to create new hymns

Pax Christi Chorale, a Mennonite choir based in Toronto, is sponsoring a competition to create new Canadian hymns, wrote The Canadian Press April 14. The choir was formed in 1987 and has about 80 members. It’s led by Stephanie Martin, who is also music director of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto and a professor of music in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

York network helps bring Shaw’s plays to Ontario students

Ontario students and teachers will soon have easy access to two masterful plays by George Bernard Shaw thanks to two Trent University professors as part of a project with York University and the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION) , wrote M2 PressWIRE April 15. The ORION-Shaw Project uses a high-speed fibre optic network to connect research institutions with school boards to provide students and teachers access to newly digitized resources on two Shaw Festival 2009 season plays: The Devil’s Disciple and In Good King Charles’s Golden Days. Trent University and the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board are both members of this unique educational organization.