GM’s plans to launch Cadillac fragrance are silly, says prof

Sputtering General Motors Co., just out of a quick drive through bankruptcy court, will soon be using its iconic Cadillac brand to sell a line of fragrance for men, reported the Toronto Star July 22. Beauty Contact Inc., a Dubai-based cosmetic company and holder of the fragrance licence, said Tuesday it will launch the Cadillac line in stores this fall to mark the brand’s 100th anniversary.  

Marketing expert Alan Middleton, a professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, said it’s a bad example of brand extension and indicative of a troubled company. In the past, GM has licensed fragrances for Hummer, Chevrolet and Corvette. "Anybody who knows anything much about branding would know this is about as bad an idea as when Roots tried to brand an airline," Middleton said. "Neither Porsche nor BMW nor any other transportation brand that has tried this silliness has been very successful."  

Clients should have recourse against bad legal advice, says prof

It might be time to consider clarifying and enshrining a right to competent legal advice in legislation, a York University criminologist said following a court case in Newmarket late last month in which a judge ruled that a Bradford man’s Charter rights were not violated when he got bad advice from a duty counsel lawyer, reported the Vaughan Citizen July 21. 

In August 2004, Walter Beierl was stopped by Ontario Provincial Police at a spot check in York Region. Beierl failed a roadside impaired driving test, was arrested and a demand was made for a sample of his breath, court heard. Beierl consulted with duty counsel by phone for 11 minutes and then claimed he was told not to provide a breath sample. After following that suggestion, he was charged with, and then convicted of, failing to provide a breath sample.  

Beierl appealed the conviction and argued that his Charter right to a lawyer – which is guaranteed by Section 10(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – was infringed because he received incompetent advice from a duty counsel, court documents state. The court disagreed.  

It may be time to consider legislating a level of legal competence, said Paul Baxter, a lecturer in criminology in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. The lack of recourse for anyone who has received incompetent advice, constitutes a "real blind spot" in criminal law, he said.  

Right now, people who get bad advice can complain to the Law Society of Upper Canada or sue the lawyer they believe performed incompetently. "Unfortunately, both processes are time consuming," Baxter said. "Further, neither measure really restores the record or loss of the person who was given the bad advice."  

Students mount ‘exhilarating’ theatre at Hamilton Fringe Festival

A Hamilton Spectator reviewer raved about this year’s Hamilton Fringe Festival plays July 22. Best of the lot are Kaitlin Janisse and Jamie Maczko, fearless young actors in their final year at York University. The way they connect with the dark-hearted angst and contemporary heartbeat of John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea makes for exhilarating theatre.  

Why you should kick Junior out ASAP

Delayed independence is the key risk factor for persistent violent behaviour for males aged 20 to 24, according to a British study published this week in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, reported the Toronto Star July 22. 

These young men, who are not paying rent or a mortgage or supporting dependants, have more leisure time and disposable income – which may spell trouble. They were more likely to get into bar fights with strangers than their more independent peers.  

"Young people can be in limbo," said Jennifer Connolly, director of York University’s LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution. "This article says that can be a risky period. Increased responsibility is an important part of development in the 20s."  

Forum won’t provide needed direction to shipbuilders, predicts researcher

With up to $60 billion in new federal shipbuilding programs projected for the future, the government will consult with industry next week on developing a long-term strategy to guide maritime construction, reported Canwest News Service July 21. The federal government will hold a forum next Monday and Tuesday in Gatineau, Que., with members of industry invited to help determine what is being called a “long-term, sustainable shipbuilding strategy”, according to a notice from Public Works and Government Services Canada.  

“The shipbuilding industry has been wanting direction for a long time now so they can plan, but at this point, the forum appears to be just for consultation,” said Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst at the York Centre for International & Security Studies. He said that a number of shipbuilding projects have been announced by government, including Arctic/offshore patrol ships, an icebreaker and a fleet of new supply vessels. But construction has not started on any.  

Argos lean on Johnson for boost

Having sufficiently recovered from a torn muscle in his arm, the Argos are hoping veteran Jeff Johnson (BA Spec. Hons. ’02) can provide a much-needed shot in the arm, reported the North Bay Nugget July 22. Such is the state of the 1-2 Argos, who limp into Winnipeg Friday on a two-game losing streak, that Johnson’s availability is being hailed.  

Johnson is one of those solid off-the-field citizens whose on-field work often gets overlooked. The York University product has never complained during his run in Double Blue, even when it was obvious he should have had more touches out of the backfield.

Players of Johnson’s ilk carve their niche on special teams before they are given a consistent look at their chosen position, a process many Canadians have to endure. He’s a leader on a team that needs leadership and his experience is certainly good news on an inexperienced Argos team in desperate need of a win.  

McGuinty’s purposeful inaction

As the Toronto civic workers’ strike drags into its fifth week, Dalton McGuinty remains resolutely and deliberately invisible, began Thomas Walkom in his Toronto Star column July 22. The Ontario premier is the one person who can swiftly bring a legislated end to the 31-day labour dispute that has seen child-care centres close and garbage pile up. But you won’t hear him say that.  

McGuinty’s remarkably blasé approach has two sources. The first is political. A cautious man, the premier is averse to involving himself in any dispute he can avoid. Last year, McGuinty did move to end a TTC strike after just two days. But that was uncharacteristically speedy. His instinct is to hang back until forced by public pressure, as he did last fall when he waited 11 weeks to end a teaching assistants’ strike that had paralyzed York University.  

But the second reason for the premier’s caution is economic. In both the Windsor and Toronto strikes, recession-savaged city councils are trying to whittle back non-wage compensation.  

Students create their own summer jobs

Stephen Gray and Andrew Fallis aren’t letting the bad economy – or school strikes – wash their summer down the drain, reported They’re washing cars instead. The university students from Thornhill have started up their own mobile car detailing business, College Car Cleaners.  

Early this spring, Gray and his dad got a great deal on a pickup truck. Then the part-time faculty strike at York University set him back in his job search. Summer job prospects looked dim. He came up with an idea of using the truck for a door-to-door car cleaning service.  

Murdered youth had been accepted to York

In a July 22 story on Tamil gangs, the Toronto Star describes the beating death on Monday afternoon of 19-year-old Annu Indrakanthan, who had been accepted at York University this fall and planned to study business management.  

Innovative paid co-op program is a hit with students

It may not look like summer school, but 400 students across the Toronto Catholic District School Board are earning cash as counsellors at special Focus on Youth day camps and credits this summer through the board’s innovative paid co-op program, reported the Toronto Star July 22.  

As well as the hourly work, co-op students must learn first aid, complete assignments on workplace issues such as health and safety, keep weekly journals and prepare a presentation about their work.  

"Most of it we do online, which is great because most of us also have two jobs," said Randell Adjei, 17, who will use the money to pay for tuition this fall at York University. "We’re getting such great training in leadership and how to work with kids," Adjei said.

Hammer-throw athlete wins US scholarship

Throwing a six-kilogram steel ball may not appeal to everyone but Brampton’s Suyi Georgewill has found his niche, reported the Brampton Guardian July 21. It takes a lot of training to be adept at the hammer throw but the 19-year-old says the time he has spent has been worthwhile.

After all, it has given him a chance to head to Trinidad next week for the Pan-Am Junior Track and Field Championships and he has earned a scholarship beginning next fall at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This past year he has been at York University, studying economics and finance, and training about 20 hours a week.

On air

  • Geoffrey Reaume, professor in critical disability studies in York’s Faculty of Health, was interviewed about Mad Pride and talked about coping with depression and schizophrenia on CBC Radio’s “The Current” July 21.