It’s a money train

Economic spinoff arguments for transit can be complex, wrote NOW Magazine April 29 in a story about efforts by Toronto Mayor David Miller to save the Transit City plan. If people use their cars less, for example, they may have more cash to spend on clothes or theatre tickets, but there might be less work for those doing car and road repairs.

So if that’s the promise of building Transit City, what’s the flip side if we don’t complete it? More social dislocation in the suburbs and less equity in a city where poverty is racialized and located around the outer edges.

“We will have another generation growing up in poverty,” says Roger Keil, director of the City Institute at York University. “The racialization of poverty is not a snapshot; it’s a slow and grinding film.”

After the Speaker’s ruling: Now what?

The Speaker of the House of Commons has ruled that parliamentary privilege has been breached by the government’s refusal to release unredacted documents to the Commons committee on the Afghan detainee transfer issue, wrote Reg Whitaker Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Political Science at York University in the Toronto Star April 29.

Parliament’s case has been upheld in principle, while the two sides to the bitter dispute over disclosure have been admonished to sit down together and find a solution in a two-week time frame.

This is a wise and prudent decision with serious consequences for the constitutional relationship between the legislative and executive branches of government. The responses from both sides will be decisive in determining the ultimate impact of the ruling.

‘Gifted’ teacher guest speaker at CFUW

Karolyn Smardz Frost, archeologist and historian, is a gifted teacher and made history come alive for the Canadian Federation of University Women Orillia members when she related how her research has uncovered the story of Thornton and Lucy Blackburn of Kentucky, who made choices that changed their world and made Canada a safe haven for fugitive slaves, wrote the Orillia Packet & Times April 29.

Interestingly, there is an Orillia connection to this story. One of the pieces of research available to Smardz Frost was a story that appeared in the Packet & Times in 1930. It was written by Ida Greaves, an economics student of Stephen Leacock. He had suggested that she write a story on the “Economic Condition of Blacks in Canada”. Because African Canadians were excluded from every job category, they were as poorly off economically as black Americans.

Smardz Frost is an exceptional presenter and is currently being considered for a teaching award from TVOntario. Her book I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land, A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad, outlining the Blackburns’ story received the Governor General Literary Award. She is currently teaching at York University in Toronto. Her next book Steal Away Home is a two-woman biography of a woman and her fugitive slave who wrote to each other for 25 years and had a lasting personal relationship. Her current book is available at Manticore Books.

Boyes remembers York coach who led by example

The social calendar for Barb Boyes (BA Spec. Hons. & BEd ’85) is booked up, wrote Oshawa This Week April 28. The Oshawa resident has a couple of important dates to tend to next month, the first on May 26 where she will be inducted into the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame, and then the next night where she will be enshrined at the York University Sport Hall of Fame.

What is behind all of her success since her first coaching position in 1989? Well, she was kind enough to share her philosophies and experiences.

What was the best piece of advice you were given?

Boyes: I can recall some good coaches I had. It was more lead-by-example advice that left the impression on me more than particular words that anybody said to me. In fact, it was a coach at York University in my second year there, Linda Berry; she had an impression on all of us as a team. I think it was her work ethic and her drive that she had and the intensity that she had us working. I don’t think I ever worked as hard in my life as I did that year at York. It really made me see, when you talk about moving into that untapped potential, that’s where I really started to realize how you can do that. It helped me establish my philosophies and beliefs as I moved forward into coaching.

Construction continues on Life Sciences Building

Work is progressing on the York University Life Sciences Building in Toronto, wrote the Daily Commercial News & Construction Record April 29. Construction manager Vanbots, a division of Carillion Inc., has completion of the four-storey project scheduled for spring 2011. The facility will be equipped with lecture halls, teaching and research labs.

The architects for the project are NXL Architects and SSG Architecture Inc. Consultants are: Blackwell Bowick Partnership Ltd. (structural) and Crossey Engineering Ltd. (mechanical/electrical).

Unlocking the mortgage mysteries

Experts say that whether you choose a variable rate mortgage or a fixed rate for a set period of time, the difference over the long run is likely to be minimal, wrote the Toronto Star April 29.

Moshe Milevsky, professor of finance in the Schulich School of Business at York University, studied mortgage rate data from 1950 to 2007 and found that choosing a variable rate mortgage would have saved Canadians $20,000 in interest payments over 15 years, based on a $100,000 mortgage.

He also found that Canadians would have been better off with a variable rate mortgage compared to a five-year fixed rate 89 per cent of the time.

On air

  • Patrick Monahan, a constitional expert and York’s vice-president academic & provost, spoke about the ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons on access to papers about detainees in Afghanistan, on CBC Radio April 28.
  • Bernie Wolf, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the debt crisis in Greece and its potential effects on Canada, on CBC Radio across Canada April 28.