Duceppe sovereignty tour stops by Glendon

The question hung in the air: As Bloquiste leader Gilles Duceppe visits six cities in the “rest of Canada” this month, how eager are anglophone Canadians to listen to his talk of a sovereign Quebec? asked the National Post April 9.

“I think he would like to see a discussion of Quebec’s place in Canada back on the agenda, whether in terms of constitutional change or sovereignty – especially the latter,” said Kenneth McRoberts, a political scientist and principal at Glendon College, the bilingual campus of York University.

Speaking of the Bloc leader’s “Canadian tour”, McRoberts said, “The best possible outcome would be some serious interest in his option, but I don’t think it’s there. I don’t think a tour like this will accomplish that purpose.”

McRoberts noted that to many of today’s university students – anglophone and francophone – 1995 is ancient history and Canada’s existential problem seems like a fresh problem. So will young anglos be willing to tinker with the Constitution, as Duceppe hopes? “I wouldn’t count on it,” McRoberts said.

  • Gilles Duceppe is telling economic and labour leaders in Toronto that a sovereign Quebec is in the best interest of all of Canada, wrote The Canadian Press April 8 April 8. In Toronto today he has meetings at the C.D. Howe Institute, an economic think-tank, with professors at Glendon College, the bilingual campus of York University, and with the Ontario Federation of Labour.

No rest for the wicket

Team captain and York graduate Mahjuj Jasim Sourav (BA Spec. Hons. ’06) spoke about the thrill of victory, the rising popularity of cricket on Canadian campuses and his dream of it becoming a varsity sport, wrote The Globe and Mail April 9 in a story about the York team’s win at the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship in Florida on March 21.

Q: Tell me how the team came together.

"There were some players who were pretty experienced. Jai Patel, he used to play for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under-19 team before he came to study at York University. Raza Rehman, he used to play for Pakistan under-19 a while back, then he moved to Zimbabwe and then he moved to Canada. I knew them from school and the indoor tournaments that happen on campus every two or three months. If you go there, you see 60 or 70 students who come to play. We had some younger players who were the freshmen – 18, 19 years old. We had about four indoor sessions, about 10 to 12 hours of practice before going into the tournament. That’s pretty much it."

Q: There is a lot of talk about the internationalization of Canadian campuses. It sounds like this team is an example of that. How many countries were represented?

"I’m from Bangladesh. I came in 2002. There are players from India, Pakistan, UAE, Zimbabwe, and there are Canadians who were born here. Most have been here three or four years. In the end, everyone knew there was a common goal: playing cricket and making sure we win. We had a vision and a plan that we were going to win the tournament."

Q: How big is college cricket?

"It’s is still learning to walk. In Canada, we don’t really have a university league. We used to have a university tournament and we are trying to get that back. It is not a varsity sport, but that is where we hope to take it. The number of people who want to play it will never be in short supply. There are always quality players coming in as international students and immigrants. Cricket is on the way up."

Airline mergers would be ‘game changer’

Fred Lazar, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, said the airline industry’s history shows that new entrants spring up whenever seat capacity falters, wrote The Globe and Mail April 9 in a story about air line mergers. As well, low-cost carriers in the US such as Southwest Airlines Co., JetBlue Airways Corp. and AirTran Airways Inc. are positioned to aggressively add seats when they deem necessary.

There could be a new round of consolidation, despite the challenges of blending corporate cultures, said Lazar, who warned that labour strife results from ill-conceived deals. “You could see alliance partners merging within their own regions. It could be a precursor for mergers across regions in five years, or later in the decade,” he said. “All the airlines are looking for ways to cut costs.”

Master’s certificate in brand communications launches at Schulich

This morning at an industry breakfast in Toronto, the Institute of Communications Agencies (ICA) is unveiling the details of this fall’s Master’s Certificate in Brand Communications program, operated under the auspices of York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre, wrote The Globe and Mail April 9. The mid-career program aims to give agency VPs and their ilk a crash course in developing what the ICA calls agile brand solutions. Brownie points go to the student who gives the teacher an Apple ad on the first day of class.

Centerra drops on worries over Kyrgyzstan unrest

Last May, it appeared that Centerra Gold Inc. finally resolved its political problems in Kyrgyzstan when it signed a revamped investment agreement with the government covering its flagship Kumtor gold mine, wrote Canwest News Service April 8. But that government now appears to be history, and what happens next is not clear.

“I just feel the new guys are going to want change, and Centerra could be on the target list,” said Charles McMillan, a Kyrgyzstan expert in the Schulich School of Business at York University.

McMillan said some people have been upset about Centerra’s management of the project. The company has had operational troubles over the years, including a cyanide spill and problems stabilizing a pit wall.

Doubt to be read Monday at New Stages Theatre

Doubt: A Parable will be presented by New Stages Theatre Company in its The Page on Stage Reading Series on Monday, wrote The Peterborough Examiner April 9. The play will be read at 7:30pm in the Showplace Performance Centre Lounge, 290 George St. N.

Peterborough born and raised actor Megan Murphy (BFA Spec. Hons. ’02) plays Sister James, a young teaching nun. Murphy is a graduate of York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program in the Faculty of Fine Arts. On stage she presented the one-woman show, I, Claudia at Market Hall.

Grafton author writes book about universities

Janice Newson, a 68-year-old Grafton resident, has written her third book about universities and about how they have changed over the years , wrote DurhamRegion.com April 8.

The book, Academic Callings: The University We Have Had, Now Have, and Could Have, is a collection of short essays written by 29 university faculty who have seen the changes in Canadian universities first-hand. Each essay describes the writer’s life in the university, how they have responded to the changes the university has gone through, and how they are, and have attempted to shape the Canadian university according to their vision on how a university should be.

Newson, professor emerita who still teaches in York’s Department of Sociology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, said she and her editor chose people who were active in university life to write the essays.

“What pushed me to do this kind of book now was, I began to feel that we were losing something valuable in the university because people who knew about that valuable thing will be leaving the university soon, and a whole new group will be coming in, and we felt we needed to pass that on,” said Newson. “The thing we are losing is the idea the university is a place where people are opened up to the possibility of transformation of their own and world transformation.”

Newson said universities are no longer about transformation, but instead focus on innovation. “Some people may think that innovation is the same as transformation, but it is not. Innovation is about how to contribute to higher powers, not how we contribute to the world. That to me is what transformation is about, contributing to the world.”

Re-evaluating suburbs

A team of 44 researchers at 29 universities in 12 countries is embarking on a seven-year project to take stock of suburban developments around the world and attempt to alter the dialogue around suburban life, wrote Toronto’s city policy newsletter Novæ Res Urbis (NRU) in its latest weekly edition.

“It is based on a lot of experience and a lot of existing work but it also is quite innovative in the way it puts together the suburban research worldwide,” York University’s City Institute director and Professor Roger Keil told NRU.

The researchers have been granted $2.5 million from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, which is one of the largest study grants given by the research council.

The project is believed to be the first of this magnitude, one that “systematically takes stock of worldwide suburban developments while analyzing their governance models, land use, infrastructure and suburban everyday life.”

The project objective is not only to document suburban patterns but to also examine the environmental and economical effects and emerging issues related to growth beyond the city limits.

“It’s more than a project, it’s an initiative,” Keil said. “Everybody thinks they know their suburbs…we would like to break that mould and open the view up to a more global view of the suburbs so that we can find common denominators of very different kinds of peripheral urban development.”

  • The socio-spatial landscape of what we call the “in-between city”, includes that part of the urban region that is perceived as not quite traditional city and not quite traditional suburb, wrote York Professors Douglas Young and Roger Keil in NewGeography.com April 7. This landscape represents a remarkable new urban form where a large part of metropolitan populations live, work and play. While much attention has been focused on the winning economic clusters of the world economy and the devastated industrial structures of the loser regions, little light has been shed on the urban zones in-between.

We view this new landscape with a particular view towards urban Canada. Applying these concepts to a North American city, Toronto, Canada, we look specifically at the 85 square kilometres around York University, an area that straddles the line between the traditional suburb and the inner city.

Short film explores parent-teacher relationship

Mississauga filmmaker Stephen Roscoe (BFA Spec. Hons. ’86) has experienced both sides of a parent-teacher conference, wrote The Mississauga News April 8.

As a communications and technology teacher at Glenforest Secondary School, Roscoe has spoken with many parents over the years about their children’s education. And, as the father of a child at elementary school, he has sat in the parent’s chair as well.

Those experiences served as inspiration for the satirical short film, Parent-Teacher Night.

Roscoe took a year off from teaching in 2008 to work on the film, which was shot in one day in Mississauga. He wrote that script as well as another for a full-length film called Lucky Stiff, which he’s shopping.

He studied film at York University and worked in the industry before teaching.

Girl ready for 100th date with Jersey Boys

Oh, what a night Saturday will bring for Frances Fong-Lee, wrote the Richmond Hill Liberal April 8.

Turning 20, the York University film student will celebrate the milestone of her birthday this weekend by reaching another landmark, sitting front row and centre for her 100th performance of the musical Jersey Boys.

Since seeing her first performance in New York City, the Richmond Hill film student has been hooked by the show, which tells the tale of musical quartet The Four Seasons and is currently playing in Toronto.

Knowing little of the hit songs on the airwaves long before she was born, or the story of the band, Fong-Lee remembers seeing an advertisement for the show that changed her life.

Rebuilding trust key for Woodbridge/Vellore candidate

It all starts with rebuilding trust at city hall, according to the newest candidate in the Woodbridge/Vellore [municipal election campaign], wrote the Vaughan Citizen April 8. Steven Del Duca (LLB ’07), who has found himself behind the scenes in past political campaigns, is tossing his hat into the ring with the hope of becoming a councillor in Ward 3.

A Vaughan resident since 1987, the 36-year-old married father of a 2-1/2-year-old daughter, said his passion and love for his community influenced his decision to run.

“It’s clear to me as great as the city is, and as wonderful as the residents and the businesses are, and, not withstanding the amazing job they’ve done, there’s been a real unfortunate disconnect with the positive of the city and the municipal leadership,” Del Duca said.

Del Duca, a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, has worked as executive assistant to Vaughan MPP Greg Sorbara and as senior advisor to the federal minister of human resources & skills development.

Genie Awards mark 30 years of Canadian moviemaking

They’re sometimes referred to as Canada’s version of the Oscars – an analogy that arguably only emphasizes the Genies’ lacklustre profile when compared to its glitzier cousin, wrote The Canadian Press April 8.

The annual awards bash turns 30 on Monday with a gala marking the Genies’ past and looking to the future, and if there’s one thing that’s persisted over time it’s that the average Canadian remains largely oblivious to the prize and many of the films it celebrates, says Seth Feldman, past president of the Film Studies Association of Canada and the editor of three cinema anthologies.

“Even people who follow Canadian film are often surprised by the number of films (nominated) that they’ve never heard of,” says Feldman, a Canadian studies professor at York University. “That’s gotten better, obviously, over the 30 years, but it’s still a problem.”

Feldman casts most of the blame on the difficulties of distributing domestic features, which are generally low-budget affairs that fail to ignite the type of media attention received by star-driven Hollywood films.

Buzz-creating Tiger ad all about rebuilding image: experts

Nike – the athletic-apparel retailer synonymous with Tigers Woods for his entire career – lent a corporate helping hand this week, airing its first ad featuring Woods since his [infidelity] transgressions came to light, wrote Canwest News Service April 8 in a story about the 30-second commercial which features videos and the voice of his dead father.

Although the commercial doesn’t overtly make reference to the golfer’s infidelity, which first emerged in late November 2009, its ambiguity is likely to create buzz as people speculate about its intent, says Peter Darke, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University. “It’s an odd sort of commercial, but it definitely gets your attention,” Darke said. “It’s certainly going to get a lot of attention and hype and buzz. And that’s always one of the major goals of advertising. Even just the speculation about what’s this ad about, what’s the point to this ad…will have people talking.”

Darke suggested Nike could be marking a transition toward the golfer’s future – both as an individual and a brand. “You can’t really ignore what’s happened and pretending it isn’t happening,” he said. “It could be a segue of trying to get back on track with using him as their spokesperson. “It’s pretty clear that Nike hasn’t given up on Tiger.”

On air

  • Deszö Horváth, dean of the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about changes to Indian law that will permit setting up independent campuses in that country on Radio Canada International’s “The Link” April 8.