York commentator caught in UN controversy

The United Nations is in a standoff with Canadian commentator Anne Bayefsky as it pressures her to sign a statement that she broke the rules on the day she spoke in favour of Israel at a UN microphone, wrote Canwest News Service Nov. 24.

Although the York University professor angered officials by addressing reporters outside the UN General Assembly, UN security officials have targeted her for failing to sign in an aide to the UN building.

“It’s like a police state. I was prepared to write and sign a statement, but one that places the whole dispute into the context of my being accosted after saying something the Palestinian representative didn’t want to hear,” Bayefsky said Tuesday.

“But the UN has now dictated their own narrow version of events, which has me admitting to wrongdoing in a vacuum, and without any assurance I’ll continue to be allowed into the UN after my pass expires in a few weeks.”

UN guards confiscated Bayefsky’s UN identity passes and escorted her out of the building Nov. 5 after she used the microphone that faces diplomats as they exit the General Assembly.

Speaking just after a debate on a report about last winter’s war in Gaza, she offered the only pro-Israel commentary at the podium, which had just been used by the General Assembly’s Libyan president, Ali Treki, and the chief Palestinian official at the UN, Riyad Mansour.

Humber River Regional Hospital looks to partner with York

Humber River Regional Hospital is taking a page from airport organization patterns as it plans its new hospital on the north side of Highway 401 west of Keele Street. Construction will begin in 2011 and the new hospital is expected to open its doors in 2014, wrote the North York Mirror Nov. 24 in a story about the hospital and its planned digital technology.

Despite the new technology, the new hospital will create dozens of new jobs in the community and attract the very best in the health care sector, especially as Humber River looks to partner with a potential medical school at nearby York University, said Debra Bond-Gorr, president & CEO of the Humber River Regional Hospital Foundation.

York prof working on positive Jane-Finch youth development

A York University professor is co-leading a community-based research project focusing on positive youth development in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area, wrote the North York Mirror Nov. 24.

Led by Uzo Anucha, faculty member of York’s School of Social Work in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and Sue Wilkinson, executive director of the Jane-Finch Community and Family Centre, ACT for Youth is funded by a $1-million Community-University Research Alliance grant from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Anucha said organizers want to make the University, and its resources, accessible to the community. The project’s launch was held Nov. 20 at York’s Keele campus.

Committee votes to cap corporate, union election donations

Corporate and union donations will have no place in the 2010 municipal elections if Toronto Council goes along with the city’s executive committee’s recommendations, wrote the Beach-Riverdale Mirror Nov. 24.

The committee voted Tuesday, Nov. 24, to set rules for candidates in the municipal elections that would mean only individuals can contribute to campaigns. If approved by Toronto Council next week, Toronto will become the only municipality in Ontario where business and labour are both shut out of elections – at least when it comes to financing candidates.

Toronto councillors heard from a group of citizen activists urging them to enact a ban that otherwise councillors and mayoralty candidates have only done voluntarily.

Gordon Freeman presented research by York University Professor Robert MacDermid, which found that municipal elections are largely financed by corporations – particularly corporations involved in the development industry.

Dunnville’s greatest achiever

After decades of serving his hometown of Dunnville and communities around the world, David Marshall (LLB ’70) died suddenly at his home last Friday, leaving a legion of mourners behind to grieve his loss, wrote The Dunnville Chronicle Nov. 25. The Supreme Court Justice, Cayuga Court judge, longtime doctor, devoted husband and father of five was recovering from prostate surgery.

Marshall was recently named colonel commandant of the Canadian Forces, a prestigious appointment to the highest honorary position in the Canadian Forces Medical Service. He was officially sworn in on Sept. 17 in Halifax as liaison between the Royal Family and the Armed Forces, reporting to the Colonel-in-Chief, Princess Ann.

As a young doctor, Marshall often sat in the back seat and studied law during drives to and from Osgoode Hall Law School, “and still made the top of his class.”

On air

  • Ian Roberge, political science professor at York’s Glendon campus, spoke about the House of Commons decision 20 years ago to eliminate child poverty before the year 2000, on Radio Canada Montreal Nov. 24.