Records show alleged Russian spy graduated from York

He was a well-connected businessman who graduated from Toronto’s York University before moving on to Harvard. She was a real estate agent who told people she studied at McGill in Montreal. Since 1999, the couple has lived in the United States together, reported The Globe and Mail June 30. 

If new US allegations are true, the couple’s move was less about brain drain of Canadians than it was a meticulous Russian plot: "Ann Foley" and "Don Heathfield" were instructed to gather intelligence by insinuating themselves into the US intelligentsia, stealing nuclear secrets and making friends in "policy-making circles". After their arrests this week near Harvard, those closest to them expressed shock – and circumspection.  

Astonishingly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says they learned that in 2001 – meaning the discovery was just the beginning of a very patient game of cat and mouse. 

The York University Registrar’s Office confirmed to The Globe and Mail Tuesday that Heathfield graduated with an economics degree in June 1995. His Canadian activities before that time are unknown.  

He got his degree just a few months before a distinct Russian husband-and-wife team of illegals in Toronto was deported for stealing the identities of dead infants – the very same method he may have employed. After leaving Canada, Heathfield went on to launch several French and American business ventures, and to study at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

  • Canada has launched an investigation to determine whether suspected members of a Russian spy ring operating in the US were using Canadian travel documents, reported the National Post June 30. But aside from announcing the passport probe, Ottawa has kept silent since the arrests were made public on Monday. Among those arrested was a man who went by the name Donald Howard Graham Heathfield, an identity he apparently stole from a Montreal infant who died in 1962. York University in Toronto said a man with that same name and date of birth studied at the campus between 1992 and 1995, earning a degree in economics.
  • Among the 11 spy suspects are Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, a married couple who identified themselves as Canadians, reported the National Post June 30. They arrived in the US in 1999 and lived in Harvard Square, Cambridge on a street with Harvard professors. During their court appearance on Monday, they spoke in French to their two sons, aged 16 and 21. Boston attorney Robert Sinsheimer, who represented Foley, said, "She seems like a frightened, concerned mom."
    Since 2000, Heathfield, believed by work colleagues to be French-Canadian, with a mother in Montreal, has worked at Global Partners Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm as a sales consultant. "I’m absolutely floored," said company president Paul Hesselschwerdt. The company Web site described Heathfield as a "manager, entrepreneur and scholar" focused on global business. The entry said he trained at the London School of Economics, obtained a master’s degree in business administration from École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and earned a bachelor’s in international economics from York University in Toronto.
    Foley is a licensed real estate broker, according to state records. She claimed to be from Montreal and studied at McGill University, according to her real estate Web site.  
  • An Ontario family caught up in a global espionage drama wants answers from the Canadian government amid fears they’ll now have trouble travelling abroad – or might even get a late-night visit from Russian spies, reported The Canadian Press June 30. Brampton resident David Heathfield said Tuesday he’d like to hear from authorities in Ottawa after his dead brother’s name turned up in US court files about an alleged spy ring run from Moscow. 
    The FBI says a Boston-area man accused of being a Russian agent assumed the identity of Donald Heathfield, who died at six weeks of age in Montreal in 1963. Donald Heathfield and his wife, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, a real estate agent who also claimed to be Canadian, are among 11 people arrested as part of the supposed spy network. A spokesman for York University in Toronto confirmed that a Donald Graham Heathfield graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics in June 1995, indicating the accused man once lived in Canada.

World Cup flags show openness to multiculturalism, says prof

The walls of the Sat Gupta’s flag store were once stocked with Canadian paraphernalia, but today, the Canadiana sits in boxes, reported The Canadian Press June 29. Instead, precedence is being given to the flags of 32 nations competing in the World Cup.

Spotting the unexpected countries is what Seth Feldman, director of York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies and a film professor in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, loves most about the World Cup in Canada. “You don’t expect to see as many Argentine flags as you do, or flags from the African countries, or Chilean flags, for that matter,” he said. “I always like that kind of mix that comes out of this.”

In Canada’s large urban centres, Feldman said, there is more of an openness to accept multiculturalism than there is in other western nations, such as the United States. “You don’t feel like you’re betraying Canada by cheering for Italy or Argentina or Germany.”

There’s also a simple reason for the lack of Canadian flags flapping around now, Feldman said. “It’s just something about Canada not qualifying for the World Cup,” he said. “If Canada ever did, you’d see an awful lot of Canadian flags out.”

Pan Am Games venue is still undecided

With the city of Hamilton and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats still deadlocked in a dispute over where a new stadium for the Pan American Games should be built, both Games CEO Ian Troop and Bill Senn, senior vice-president of infrastructure, said they weren’t concerned about a deal not being reached, reported the National Post June 30.

Troop has said previously that York University was being looked at as a backup plan in case a deal isn’t reached between the city and the team by the July 8 deadline.

York running back poised for CFL greatness this season

In its annual Five-Minute Guide to the Canadian Football League season, the Winnipeg Free Press predicted June 30 that Andre Durie, running back/slotback for the Toronto Argonauts will be one of five players poised to bust out. New coach Jim Barker has big plans for the York University product as a skill player who’ll get touches at receiver and running back.

On air

  • Donald Rickerd, associate director of the Asian Business & Management Program in York’s Centre for Asian Research, discussed the sinking of the South Korean warship on March 26, on “Special Blend”, CKCU-FM in Ottawa June 29.