How will the court give Bryant a fair trial?

Michael Bryant (LLB ’92) announced yesterday that he has chosen Toronto lawyer Marie Henein to go head-to-head against Vancouver star attorney Richard Peck in his high-stakes trial on charges in the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard, wrote The Globe and Mail Sept. 4.

The showdown is set to be one of the most explosive in recent memory as two of the country’s top lawyers grapple with how a high-profile former politician with a glittering reputation who happens to be a former Ontario attorney general can get a fair trial.

Lawyers agreed that there is no chance the prosecution would allow the case to be tried by a judge Bryant approved. Most of the court’s judges were appointed before or after Bryant served and would have had “virtually no contact” with him, said criminal law expert Alan Young, professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, who also taught Bryant.

Film festival protest started with York prof pulling out

The signatories of a new letter accusing the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) of becoming “complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine” run the gamut from an Oscar-winning actress to a rabble-rousing author to a Talking Head, wrote the National Post Sept. 4.

The letter, drafted by a committee that includes Canadian writer Naomi Klein and Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni, is the latest move in a controversy that began when Canadian director John Greyson, professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, withdrew his short documentary, Covered, from the festival last week. The veteran filmmaker is protesting the festival’s inaugural City to City “Spotlight on Tel Aviv”, a 10-movie program that TIFF’s Web site promises will “explore the evolving urban experience while presenting the best documentary and fiction films from and about a selected city.” Tel Aviv is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Greyson wrote an open letter to festival co-directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey, as well as Noah Cowan, artistic director of the under-construction Bell Lightbox highrise, blasting the initiative.

Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of the Toronto chapter of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, says he found the decision “ludicrous”. “For him to have pulled his film, and for the 50 signatories to have done that, what they’re in fact doing is just using the International Film Festival…as a forum, a vehicle, to de-legitimize the state of Israel.

In his letter, Greyson maintains his protest “isn’t against the film or filmmakers” chosen but against the City to City program, specifically, and “the smug business-as-usual aura it promotes.” He compares the “uncritical celebration” of Tel Aviv to “celebrating Montgomery buses in 1963” or “South African fruit in 1991".

Changing the way we teach and learn

If technology is affecting the way students communicate, obtain information and learn, educators must alter the way they teach, said Heather Lotherington, a professor of multilingual education in York’s Faculty of Education, in Sept. 3.

Teaching for more than 20 years in the field of languages and communication skills, Lotherington said people are still coming to realize how valid and important electronic avenues have become in the way we communicate and socialize, and that must be reflected in our education system.

Lotherington said there needs to be more sensitivity to how things are changing, and think about what’s going to be needed in the future instead of trying to work around technology.

She has embraced technology in her classroom and uses it as a teaching tool to accommodate many learning styles, but said there is still an element of teaching necessary to promote critical thinking and substance. “Just because you know how to access the information, doesn’t mean the information you find at the end of the line is better,” she said.

Durie career finally starts to blossom

Every member of the Argonauts is looking forward to Monday’s Labour Day showdown in Hamilton, for obvious reasons, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 4. Some Argos have added reasons to feel even more excited about the game, maybe none more so than Andre Durie. Not only will this mark the first Labour Day in his three-year Canadian Football League career that he’s been healthy enough to play, but he’s also on the brink of finally realizing his potential.

“I got a bit of a feel of what it’s all about standing on the sidelines last year but this will be the real thing,” the 28-year-old York University product said yesterday. “I can’t wait.”

Durie’s enthusiasm is understandable. He’s had a rough go of things since tearing up his knee in 2005, an injury that seriously jeopardized his football career.

On air

  • The report released this week by York’s Presidential Task Force on Student Life, Learning & Community was discussed on Toronto’s CFRB Radio Sept. 3.
  • York students Mike Da Silva and Kris Cardoso spoke about their confidence going into the new school year on CFMT-TV’s “Telejornal ” (Portuguese) Sept. 3.
  • Robert Kozinets, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, talked about baggage handling on airlines on CBC TV’s “The Hour” Sept. 3.