Schulich prof says Magna could become a flagship Canadian carmaker

Canadian auto parts giant Magna International Inc. sealed a deal to buy a majority stake in Opel, a division of General Motors, reported CBC TV’s “The National” Sept. 10 in a story that included comments by Bernie Wolf, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University. Down the road, it could mean an Opel car factory in Canada.

“If all this works out well, Magna becomes a stronger company, and we really have very, very few, you know, big flagship companies that are Canadian-owned,” said Wolf.

  • CTV News also reported on Magna’s successful bid to buy Opel Sept. 10.

Al Qaeda abductors could go on trial in Canada

While charges tried in Canadian courts are ordinarily confined to crimes alleged to have taken place on Canadian soil, the anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code, enacted following the attacks on New York and Washington eight years ago today, give the Crown the power to prosecute people for terrorist activity alleged to have been committed in or outside Canada, wrote the Toronto Star Sept. 11 in a story about the case of former diplomat Robert Fowler, who was abducted by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, an Al Qaeda leader in the southern Sahara in December.

“It’s not entirely unprecedented,” said James Stribopoulos, a criminal law professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “We did the same with war crimes. Certain offences are considered universally deserving of condemnation and countries have extended the reach of the criminal law to deal with them.”

Retired York professor launches book of poetry

York Professor Emeritus Patrick Gray has intricate knowledge of fifth- and sixth-century early Christianity disputes, wrote Sept. 11. Last night a volume of his poetry was launched at the Bohemian Penguin in Belleville.

This Grace of Light contains 60 poems written between 1995 and 2007, and is a bit of a retrospective. Areas of poetic interest in the book, of course, focus on the religious but there is also finely crafted buzzing about nature, cars, love and music.

Years of being a professor of religious studies at York University plus a period as a curate at a Toronto Anglican church appear to have moulded Gray into a man who exemplifies the moderatism of the world.

He does a lot of rethinking. He is not a religious ideologue. “I am an adaptor,” he says. “I don’t have dramatic moments. I experience slow seismic shifts. I rethink things all the time.”

French conversation group one of many gearing up

As someone who worked hard in my teens and twenties to become a bilingual Canadian, I love any excuse to practise my rusty French skills, wrote York grad and editor Marney Beck (BA ’76) in the Richmond Hill Liberal Sept. 10. French was one of my favourite subjects in high school and I attended the bilingual Glendon College of York University to major in languages.

A tragic encounter

An all-too-common big-city dispute between a cyclist and a motorist that somehow escalated into a confrontation that saw Darcy Allan Sheppard clinging to the car as it bashed him against trees, lampposts and finally the mailbox, before he fell into the road and was run over, was shocking enough. But the fact that the driver was Ontario’s former attorney general, Michael Bryant (LLB ’92), makes it all the harder to comprehend, wrote Maclean’s in its Sept. 21 issue.

The 43-year-old, touted as a rising political star and perhaps future premier, has been charged with criminal negligence and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. And the question of whether the pillar of the community is guilty of an unconscionable act of road rage, or himself a victim of violent attack at the hands of the cyclist, is the debate consuming the city, sparking angry, traffic-blocking protests by bike advocates, incredulous cocktail party chatter and an all-out media frenzy.

Only fate – or a fertile literary imagination – could have brought such a disparate pair together. A troubled young man who lived on society’s margins crossing paths with a striving power broker on a patch of Canada’s richest real estate. Two very different stories, one tragic result, and an ending that has yet to be written.

Maclean’s ranks Canada’s law schools

For the third year in a row, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law takes the top spot. McGill University’s Faculty of Law also maintains its second-place position for the third year running, but this year it shares that spot with Osgoode Hall Law School, which last year ranked third.

  • Glendon grad Vince Del Buono (BA Comb. Hons. ’72) spoke about his years as a lawyer in Nigeria advocating for human rights and his passion for the country’s art on CBC Radio Toronto’s “Here & Now” Sept. 10.
  • John Greyson, film professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and a York student spoke about Greyson’s protest of the Toronto International Film Festival’s focus on Tel Aviv on CBC Radio’s “The World This Hour” Sept. 10. 
  • Richard Leblanc, professor in York’s School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, took part in a panel discussion about accountability in provincial agencies on TVO’s “The Agenda” Sept. 10.