York grad Matt Galloway to take over as ‘Metro Morning’ host

A familiar voice will greet listeners of CBC Radio One’s "Metro Morning" in Toronto starting in March, when afternoon show host Matt Galloway (BA Hons. ’94) takes over the mic of his long-standing a.m. colleague, Andy Barrie, wrote CBC News Online Feb. 8.

Galloway will step into the role permanently beginning March 1, the CBC announced Monday morning.

Since 2004, the 39-year-old Galloway has hosted "Here & Now", CBC Radio One’s Toronto afternoon drive show. More recently, he added a regular stint as the main back-up host of the top-rated "Metro Morning".

A familiar voice on CBC Radio for the past 10 years, Galloway has worked on a range of programs, including "The Current", "Sounds Like Canada", "Global Village" and "Q".

Previously, Galloway was a music writer for the Toronto alternative weekly NOW Magazine and hosted radio shows, including for the campus station of York University, his alma mater.  

  • Matt Galloway was also interviewed on "Metro Morning" for the announcement Feb. 8, where he spoke of his start at York’s radio station CHRY and how important it was for him.

Budget chaos is coming, study warns next mayor

Toronto’s next mayor will face a budget crisis as the city runs out of one-time fixes to balance its books, a new study warns, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 6 in a story about comments by a retired York professor.

Sorting out the city’s balance sheet will be the biggest challenge for any new mayor, and will require cuts to services, new taxes and maybe the sale of assets, said Harvey Schwartz, a retired economics professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, in a study published this month in Policy Options.

In the coming decade, the city’s debt will balloon to $4.69 billion, from $803 million, threatening its credit rating and increasing its borrowing costs, Schwartz warned.

He said the city has made ends meet for several years through one-time measures such as taking money from its reserve accounts. This dipping into special funds is unsustainable, he added. With welfare rolls rising this year, the city faced a possible $500-million operating deficit that has led to a round of cost-cutting measures, expected to trim $340 million this year and $170 million the next. Even with these cuts, the city will be left scrambling to balance the books, he noted.

“You could say the city is nearly bankrupt,” Schwartz said in an interview. “Where are they going to get the money? They have to find some other way of balancing their operating budget without running around at the end of the year trying to figure out where the money is going to come from.”

The problem, Schwartz said, is a basic mismatch between the city’s revenue base and the costs it must cover, a situation created when social welfare programs were offloaded by the province.

  • The City of Toronto is an economic mess that began because of amalgamation and only worsened because of Mayor David Miller’s spending habits, according to a new analysis of city finances by a York University professor, wrote the National Post Feb. 6.

‘‘Mayor Miller – a lot of it is his responsibility,’’ Harvey Schwartz, who dissected the city’s ‘‘financial crisis’’ in this month’s issue of Policy Options magazine, said in an interview yesterday.

‘‘I think his mind was on things other than the budget. I figure that he knew it was going to happen so that’s why he’s not running anymore…. I don’t think one of his interests was keeping track of the budget.’’

‘‘First thing they have to do is to get a handle on the budget. You can’t keep running budget deficits, not forever anyway. So they’ve got to introduce some policies that allow the budget deficit to shrink, that may take a couple of years but that’s what they have to do.’’

His essay lays much of the blame on then-premier Mike Harris’s decision to download welfare, housing and other provincial responsibilities to the city in 1998.

Amalgamation, Schwartz notes, was also supposed to cut bureaucratic costs with savings up to $645 million in the first year and $300-million a year after. Instead, the city only managed to save $135 million annually. Employment was supposed to go down, but instead the city has added 6,000 more workers over the years.

"The only thing that decreased was the number of municipal politicians,’’ he writes. ‘‘Any cost saving has been offset by increases in the councillors’ staff and in their office budget.’’

  • Schwartz also spoke about Toronto’s finances on Global TV Feb. 5.

Notes from a day spent with Canada’s chief anti-hate crusaders

Patrick Monahan, vice-president academic & provost of one of Canada’s most famously conflicted campuses, York University, described for a legal conference on hate crimes this week in Toronto, “the problem of the unwilling participant,” in which students who want to study find themselves swept up in some wave of protest over the Middle East or abortion, wrote the National Post Feb. 6. Between a faculty strike and the war in Gaza, he said, last year was volatile at York, with the “potential for a very ugly situation.”

Monahan spoke about new remedies, including mediation between student leaders and better enforcement of the use of space. In an interview, he said York is “not a staging ground” for outside groups to wage their ideological battles, and he said he is proud there have been no major demonstrations this academic year.

Toyota’s painful ‘moment of crisis’

Toyota Motor Corp. is moving to end the crisis that has battered its image, with its president offering an apology in his first news conference since a recall fiasco erupted two weeks ago, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 6. The company also lifted a halt on sales of eight vehicle lines that had been declared defective because of potentially faulty accelerator pedals.

But Bernie Wolf, a professor of economics at the Schulich School of Business at York University, said Toyota is handling the crisis well, similar to the way Maple Leaf Foods Inc. dealt with a listeriosis crisis in 2008. “I think Toyota will get back to where it was,” Wolf said. “Recalls happen to all companies. What I don’t know is whether they acted promptly enough.”

  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the impact of recent automobile recalls on Toyota’s reputation, on CTV News Feb. 5.

There’s no GPS on this market road trip

Even the most ardent of gold bugs knows a rising greenback is bad news, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 8. And it’s probably time for them to look elsewhere for fun and profit.

That’s the opinion of George Klar, an investment veteran who is no gold fancier but acknowledges it has its time and place. This just doesn’t happen to be one of them. “Can gold morph into fool’s gold?” Klar asks. The answer is yes.

As an investor with a longtime horizon, he sticks with good-quality stocks and doesn’t even try to figure out what the market might be up to in the here and now. “Over the next month or two, anything goes. You will have an amplified reaction to news. And we are seeing that more and more,” says Klar, who teaches finance in the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Klar says we should think of investing the way a pension fund would, as if we are never going to end up in that great bourse in the sky. “Individuals have always had a finite [investing] time horizon. But it’s getting longer and longer. The concepts underlying those investments are also stretching out, because people are looking at investing for future generations.”

The Canadian girl, a work in progress

Here, at York University, Cheryl van Daalen-Smith of York’s School of Nursing in the Faculty of Health, is planning a forum on March 15 to gather experts on girls and girls themselves to discuss starting another journal and perhaps a future conference, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 7 in a story about current research into young women.

“This is long overdue,” says van Daalen-Smith, also a professor in women’s studies and children’s studies. “Psychologists were the first to really talk about the journey of girls,” she says. Girls “were so much more at risk for depression and weight issues.”

Working as a public health nurse 20 years ago gave van Daalen-Smith access to girls and allowed her to hear their concerns.

“Violence is the No. 1 issue and I define that broadly to include the way women are viewed and treated. Girls are frequently called ‘slut, whore and fat bitch.’" They are objectified at a younger age as they enter puberty earlier. They are dealing with enormous pressures to have sex: at a party if you wear a certain bracelet or a certain colour lipstick it means you’re willing to have oral sex, van Daalen-Smith explains.

I remember Erich Segal, writes York theatre professor

I first met Love Story author Erich Segal when he was a young classics professor at Yale and I was a young theatre critic for the New Haven Register, wrote Don Rubin, professor of theatre in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, in an obituary of the writer, who died Jan. 17, in The Globe and Mail Feb. 6.

He had done his BA, MA and PhD at Harvard and was now teaching for the enemy. And complaining about how Ivy League universities underpaid their faculty because they could get away with it, since their names were so important for academic CVs.

Segal’s interest at that time – and for most of his life – was the relationship between high and low culture. His specialty was the Roman playwright Plautus, who was a master of taking the most refined high culture ideas and retreading them for the average plebe-in-the-street. That was what really fascinated Segal. Eternal verities transmuted into populist gold.

Film was the populist art of the time and he was trying to connect to film writing. Through a series of contacts, he was asked to work on the screenplay of the Beatles Yellow Submarine back then. I would meet him for lunch and he would tell me that John Lennon had spent half the night with him working on the screenplay. Yale professor by day. At the centre of the pop world by night. His kind of life.

York prof uncovers the mystery of Diana Thorne

Diana Thorne’s “real” name, as Richard Teleky, humanities professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, reports, was Anna (or maybe Ann) Woursell, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 6 in a story about an article in the Queen’s Quarterly. These days we don’t have much call to think of Thorne. But during the late 1920s and into the 1940s, she was a prominent dog painter, illustrator and author, based in Manhattan, whose books, some of them bestsellers, numbered in the dozens and whose patrons included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Gary Cooper and Henry Ford. By the early 1950s, she disappeared from public view, resurfacing only in 1963 with her death in a hospital for the poor.

Carded: Probing a racial disparity

Toronto police question hundreds of thousands of people, both walking and driving, every year, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 6. In many cases, officers fill out a “208” card, police lingo for an index-card-sized document used as an investigative tool and, according to Chief Bill Blair, a way to “get to know” the neighbourhood.

Senior officers with the Toronto Police Service…closed a sexual assault case at a York University residence in 2007 when, with one suspect in hand, they searched his 208 cards and found the accomplice. Both have been convicted.

While a cop can walk up to anyone and ask questions, a citizen does not have to answer those questions, said Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Alan Young. If in a vehicle, the driver may be compelled to show identification or give a statement. An officer can do a “protective pat-down” and search the person if he feels anything resembling a weapon.

Start early to nip bullies in the bud

Can we stop bullying in the earliest years – and, thereby, prevent future violence? That is the question child development educators and researchers will explore at a Best Start Resource Centre conference in Markham on Feb. 17, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 6.

Debra Pepler, distinguished Research Professor of Psychology in York’s Faculty of Health and a member of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution, spent six years studying siblings interact in their homes.

“Little children are far from being angels. Kids are smart,” says Pepler, a world expert on anti-bullying programs. “Children are very attentive to other children. A young sibling of only one-and-a-half knows the older sibling’s favourite teddy bear and can take it away. They know they will push a button. It is an expression of power.”

Parents need to direct children to use that power in a positive way and to learn impulse control.

When Pepler studied children, who were hooked up to microphones, it was mayhem when their mothers left the room. The children acted much more aggressively when mom was out of sight. “You have to be sure you are monitoring it well,” she says. “You must show them you are paying attention.”

More than the sum of its parts

Bits and pieces of recycled material are being used all over Toronto and the rest of the country, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 6 in a story about green building practices for condominiums. In 2001, York University built its large Computer Science Building using fly ash concrete. It was a test to see if concrete mixed with recycled fly ash could be a viable highrise building material.

“No detrimental cost effects were experienced in this project. On the contrary, fly ash costs about half the price of cement and is readily available. As well, the labour required to place fly ash concrete proved to be less than conventional concrete due to its workability,” reports Busby Perkins & Will, the firm that oversaw the project.

York grad writes a book about Rush for the band’s ardent fans

If there’s a rock ‘n’ roll pantheon, Canadian hard-rock trio Rush is firmly ensconced outside the main entrance, at once clamouring to get in, and feigning disinterest, wrote Ted St. Godard in a review of Rush, Rock Music and the Middle Class in the Winnipeg Free Press Feb. 6.

Ethnomusicologist Chris McDonald (MA ’95, PhD ’03), who teaches at Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton University, has published a dense study of Rush, primarily exploring the manner in which the band and its music have influenced and shaped modern suburbia, even as they are at once clearly its products.

As expected, McDonald is both a musician and a Rush fan. He obtained his PhD from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and has been an ethnomusicologist for 15 years.

Unfortunately, although this extensively researched book will perhaps appeal to all three of these constituencies, it is unlikely to be read by any but the most ardent “fans” of cultural criticism, and not understood by all of them.

Margaret Dale, director of dance for the BBC, dies at 87

Margaret Dale, an illustrious dancer who went on to become an important producer and director of dance for British television, died in London on Jan. 28, wrote The New York Times Feb. 6 in an obituary. She was 87.

As a director and producer for BBC-TV between 1954 and 1976 she set standards that have rarely been equalled, commissioning work from talented young choreographers, assembling casts that never appeared together onstage and capturing classic stage productions in lucid, unfussy recordings. Dale later moved to Canada, where she was briefly chair of York University’s Dance Department.

Is Rocco Rossi’s momentum for real?

Rocco Rossi enrolled in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School for a year [1986] to please his mother, who was ill at the time, but quickly realized law wasn’t his thing, wrote the National Post Feb. 6 in a story about his candidacy for mayor in Toronto’s municipal election.

Senior turns stereotype upside down

Tib Green (BFA Spec. Hons. ’90) is happy to display her art and craft work at her Thornhill seniors’ home this month, wrote the Thornhill Liberal Feb. 6. But don’t expect to find any tea cozies or crocheted toilet roll covers at the show and sale at Glynnwood Retirement Residence.

Not that there’s anything wrong with them. It’s just not Tib’s kind of thing. The nude female figure – sketched, etched or lithographed in innovative, interpretive ways – that’s more up Green’s alley.

After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1978, Green enrolled at York University, part time, and in her 70th year, earned her bachelor of fine arts degree.

Much of Green’s work focuses on life drawing, the female figure, hands and feet in particular. “But I don’t like to just copy. I like to look at what is possible, to enlarge upon a theme. I don’t want to be a stereotype, to follow in everyone’s footsteps…I’m an oddball.”

The Vagina Monologues comes to Vaughan

Director and producer Michelle Occhiogrosso (BA Spec. Hons. ’08) is bringing The Vagina Monologues to Maple, wrote the Vaughan Citizen Feb. 6.

Occhiogrosso, 24, is a York University and Seneca College graduate. A resident of Maple, she studied sociology and law and originally acted in The Vagina Monologues during her first year at York.

She says at York, the play was easier to put together because there were so many willing volunteers. York has a large women’s studies program. When she came to Vaughan, she realized one of her biggest challenges would be assembling a cast.

Self-proclaimed underdog takes run at mayor’s seat

His approach is a unique one, wrote the Vaughan Citizen Feb. 6.

He will not post signs or solicit donations. But he believes if Vaughan residents really want change they will vote for him for mayor.

York grad David Natale (BA Spec. Hons. ’89), a 43-year-old business manager at a manufacturing company in Vaughan, admits campaigning against veteran politicians will be a challenge. But he can bring true change to city hall, he said.

“I understand I’m going to be the underdog in this, but it gives Vaughan a different choice. The people with the political experience over the last eight years haven’t really done much. They’ve given Vaughan a metaphorical black eye,” Natale said. “I am the new person entering the ring and all these candidates come with experience, but they also come with baggage.”

Layton: ‘I’m a fighter’

York grad Jack Layton (MA ’72, PhD ’83) had barely revealed he has prostate cancer when his office started pumping out press releases about his itinerary, wrote the Toronto Sun Feb. 6. The blare of public appearances was meant to show that despite his looming cancer battle, the federal NDP leader plans to shoulder a full load of official duties.

At a brief press appearance Friday, Layton, 59, said he is already undergoing treatment and feels fine. “I’m a fighter,” he said, noting he plans to stay on both as party leader and MP for Toronto-Danforth. With his wife, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow, standing behind him, he also stressed that prostate cancer is an illness that can be beaten.

Former York student directs the Alberta Ballet

Artistic director and former York student Jean Grand-Maitre, 46, sits in a chair at the front of the rectangular room, his back to a wall of mirrors, wrote the Edmonton Journal Feb. 7 in a story about the Alberta Ballet. After a two-month absence – to choreograph the opening and closing ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympics – he’s back in Calgary for a whirlwind week of budget meetings, interviews and rehearsals for their acclaimed Joni Mitchell ballet, a meditation on war and the environment.

He claps his hands, then levels his assessment. His voice is frank but friendly; he’s trying to encourage, not embarrass his dancers. He wants to see more passion in their moves, in their faces, in their souls. It’s the key ingredient for Grand-Maitre, a former dancer who blanches at the thought of getting onstage himself, lest he reveal too much.

“You know the eyes of an Olympic athlete, when they line up at the start after 12 years of hard work?” he asks, looking at Davidson Jaconello, a scruffy, nonchalant dancer who raises his chin as a shield. “You’ve got to have that focus. I’ve got to see that feline, fierce energy.”

Birthing new hope for mothers in Uganda

As a trained yoga instructor, Coquitlam-native Natalie Angell (BA Hons. ’06) has spent years finding her inner peace, wrote Elaine O’Connor in Vancouver, BC’s The Province Feb. 7. But after completing a degree in international development from York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and travelling to Uganda, she realized it was time to turn outward to help others in need to achieve peace and comfort in their lives.

So in 2007, the 27-year-old co-founded The Shanti Uganda Society (“Shanti” means peace in Sanskrit) to address the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of people affected by war, poverty and HIV/AIDS in the East African country.

The project started as a short-term mission to teach yoga and meditation to Ugandan school children to help them deal with war trauma and related stresses. But it quickly expanded to focus on creating business opportunities for women with AIDS and on improving health outcomes for pregnant women and their children in Kasana.

Angell’s passion for helping pregnant women flows from her work as a prenatal yoga instructor, as a birth doula, and her interest in midwifery.

On air

  • York student Sheryl Ng’s video on YouTube about how to open a bag of milk was featured on CBC TV and CP24-TV Feb. 5.
  • Wendy Babcock, a student at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and Professor Bruce Ryder spoke about how she escaped her early life as a child prostitute and later entered law school, on Global TV Feb. 7.
  • Former student and now filmmaker Adrianna Maggs spoke about her life and career, on Halifax, Nova Scotia’s EastLink TV Feb. 7