Stopping Iran is no easy task

Avi Benlolo’s column betrays a naiveté and a lack of knowledge about the International Criminal Court (ICC), wrote Leo Adler, adjunct professor of international criminal law in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in a letter to the National Post May 4 in response to a column about how to deal with Iran.

While the statements from Iran’s president may theoretically make him liable to face charges for incitement to commit genocide, Iran’s non-membership in the ICC means that the court has no jurisdiction over either President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The only way that these men can be tried is if the United Nations Security Council were to pass a resolution to refer “the situation” (to use the language of the Statute of Rome) directly to the ICC. The likelihood of that happening, especially given the fiasco after the “Darfur situation” and considering the makeup of the Security Council, are between slim and nil.

While the language used by Iran’s leadership is contemptuous, getting Canada to “launch a campaign…(to) press for an ICC indictment” will lead to nowhere, especially since the route to an ICC indictment must go via the UN. In short, it is naive to state that “Canadians can stop Iran from acting on its genocidal tendencies” by going to the ICC.

Paglia was an ‘appalling speaker’

What is it with these ultra-conservative American speakers? asked Heather Lotherington, a professor in York’s Faculty of Education, in a letter to The Globe and Mail May 4 about comments by writer Camille Paglia, who visited York in 2002.

Camille Paglia, like Ann Coulter, relies on basic bullying to make a point, wrote Lotherington. How two-year-old is that? I attended the Living Literacies Conference held in 2002 at York University at which an eclectic panorama of academics, journalists and social advocates presented diverse perspectives on literacy. Speakers ranged from elite academics such as Gayatri Spivak and George Steiner – who seriously outclass Paglia in the research world – to social commentators, including the late Susan Sontag, to the wrongly imprisoned literacy advocate, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. Paglia was an appalling speaker, who just taunted the audience. This latest rampage again demonstrates that she is basically just an intolerant loudmouth.

What process should emerge from the Speaker’s ruling?

House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken handed down a clear, measured and compactly reasoned ruling last Tuesday, a ruling which, on occasion, artfully employed both pointed understatement and carefully crafted elisions, wrote Craig Scott, a professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and director of the Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security, in Canadian Lawyer May 3 in an article about the release of papers relating to detainees in Afghanistan.

On the key matter of substance, the government’s refusal to abide by the House’s order for production of unredacted documents “constitutes prima facie a question of privilege.” In an earlier portion of the ruling, he outlined why the Speaker’s role is to make such a prima facie determination, but that, once that is done, it is for the House itself to determine whether there has been a breach of privilege and, if so, also a contempt of Parliament.

The Speaker framed his findings of Parliament’s right to compel document production around a combination of long-standing doctrinal opinion and parliamentary practice, and drawing on background values of parliamentary democracy. As to the latter, he noted: “In a system of responsible government, the fundamental right of the House of Commons to hold the government to account for its actions is an indisputable privilege and, in fact, an obligation.”

Public policy key to health of Canadians

Researchers from York University released a report on April 28 about what daily factors make people sick, wrote Sudbury’s Northern Life May 3.

“Our key message is that the health of Canadians is much less determined by the health care system than we typically think,” Dennis Raphael, the report’s co-author and a professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, noted in the press release. “Much more important are public policies that influence our living conditions.”

Do advisers put your interests first?

There has been some debate recently about whether advisers are fiduciaries, a term that basically means someone who has the duty to put clients’ interests ahead of their own, wrote Globe Investor columnist Rob Carrick in The Globe and Mail May 4. The Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights and York University’s Hennick Centre for Business & Law staged a conference on this topic recently and the lack of consensus on the idea that advisers are fiduciaries was kind of sickening.

Children’s drug recall raises concerns over manufacturing practices

A major recall of children’s medications in Canada, the United States and several other countries is raising concerns over manufacturing processes used by the company at the centre of the recall, wrote The Globe and Mail May 4. It also highlights significant differences in how the recall is being handled by authorities in the United States and Canada.

The latest recall may add to consumer questions about product quality.

“It does raise some alarms,” said Mary Wiktorowicz, professor and chair of York’s School of Health Policy & Management in the Faculty of Health. Wiktorowicz said she has a five-year-old, and had some of the recalled product in her home.

Development will attract rowdy students, councillors fear

Rowdy university students are bound to take over a new development at Finch Avenue and Sentinel Road, York West Councillor Anthony Perruzza believes, wrote the North York Mirror May 3.

The development at 470 Sentinel Rd. and 1, 35 and 40 Fountainhead Rd. is headed to an Ontario Municipal Board hearing beginning June 21.

Perruzza is worried the development will mirror problems such as parking and noise generated at a private development inhabited by students at the south end of York University’s Keele campus. Perruzza said councillors “would have looked at (the York development) with a different microscope or lens” if they knew the issues that development would create.

UPA moves on higher education reforms

The [Indian] government on Monday moved on its blueprint for education reforms and introduced crucial bills, including one that will allow foreign universities to set up campuses and award degrees in India, in parliament amid chaotic scenes and noisy protests from left members, wrote the Hindustan Times May 4.

If the Foreign Educational Institution (Regulation of Entry and Operation) Bill, 2010, becomes law, it will provide a legal framework for a number of partnerships – joint degree programs, twinning arrangements and student and faculty exchange programs – which already exist between several Indian and foreign colleges.

Two foreign universities, Duke University of the US and Canada’s Schulich School of Business at York University, have said they will set up campuses in India once the foreign universities bill becomes law.

The Schulich School of Business and the non-profit arm of road and airport developer GMR Group will together set up a campus at an upcoming township around Hyderabad International airport.