In the wake of G20, will police tactics change?

What lessons did police draw from this year’s mega-protests and how will tactics alter for next time? asked CBC News online Oct. 5 in a story about protest policing during the G20 conference in Toronto.

“There was a real rethinking of protest policing in the wake of [the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle,” says Lesley Wood, a sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies who studies policing. “There had been this model of negotiated management, which was that you try and work with protesters in order to minimize risk.

“And so there was this real shift after Seattle to a different model. You could call it selective enforcement, so there’s an attempt to figure out who the good protesters are and who the bad protesters are, and negotiate with the good ones and enforce hard on the bad ones.”

It’s a policing framework that many activists call the “Miami model,” and that they say played out during the G20 in Toronto.

Wood worries that this new police approach can blend separate risks: the national security threat posed by potential terrorism and the much lower risk, mainly of vandalism and disruption, posed by the staunchest protesters. “Why is it that there’s routine violations of constitutional or Charter rights? It happens almost every time, and I think it’s something about the combination of those two tasks,” she said.

Third-generation Canadians least likely to go to university

The children of new Canadians are more likely to stay in school than those whose parents were born here, a new study has found, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 6.

But the report also warns of a troubling educational gap among newcomers, with youth from the Caribbean and Latin America most likely to drop out, while Chinese students are least likely to quit.

The report by Ontario’s advisory body on higher learning calls on schools to fight the learning gaps between different groups of students by having more diverse teachers, as well as better counselling about the skilled trades, tuition incentives as early as Grade 8 and more settlement workers in schools.

Compiled by five professors from across Ontario using the latest demographic research, “Post-High School Pathways of Immigrant Youth” draws a colour-coded map of educational achievement in this country, and suggests immigrants often value education because they are more educated themselves.

Some researchers have dubbed this “ethnic capital: characteristics such as compliance, industriousness, diligence and an emphasis on the importance of learning,” said Sweet, whose co-authors include York University’s Paul Anisef, professor emeritus of sociology in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, the Toronto school board’s Rob Brown, David Walters of the University of Guelph and the York Region District School Board’s Kelli Phythian.

Ontario Liberals vow to stop public dollars being spent on lobbyists

Ontario’s governing Liberals are promising to ban public dollars from being spent on lobbyists amid new revelations that universities and colleges – not just hospitals – have been hiring them on the taxpayer’s dime, wrote The Canadian Press Oct. 5 and several online news sites, including The Globe and Mail and Macleans.

Health Minister Deb Matthews rushed to make the announcement Tuesday as opposition parties sharpened their attacks over lobbyists. Matthews promised to introduce a bill within the next few weeks that will “ban the practice of using taxpayer dollars to lobby for more taxpayer dollars,” but details were scant.

The auditor-general is slated to deliver a report on the use of consultants by hospitals and the province’s local health integration networks, which have also come under opposition fire for spending on consultants.

After disclosing that 14 hospitals have hired lobbyists, the party revealed Tuesday that nine colleges and universities have spent nearly $1 million on lobbyists and consultants to influence the government.

They include Laurentian University, which had a contract worth $102,000, and Toronto’s York University, which had three contracts totalling close to $500,000, according to documents obtained under freedom-of-information laws.

  • The possible construction of a satellite campus in Milton and pension reform are just two of the reasons why Wilfrid Laurier University went ahead and hired a lobbying firm in 2009-2010, wrote the Waterloo Region Record Oct. 6.

Laurier and the University of Waterloo are among the universities identified Tuesday by the Ontario New Democratic Party as having spent thousands of dollars on lobbyists at a time when tuition fees in this province are the highest in Canada.

  • York University, which the NDP says had three recent lobbying contacts worth a combined $491,500, is on the Ontario Lobbyists’ Registry seeking “general infrastructure advice” for the campus from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, wrote The Toronto Sun Oct. 6.
  • Several radio and television stations also mentioned York in their reports on the story.

Marsden joins list of ‘Women for George’

Toronto mayoral candidate George Smitherman has secured the support of former candidate Sarah Thomson. Her highest-profile staffers, George and John Tory Jr., the sons of former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory, will officially endorse Smitherman on Wednesday, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 6 in a story about the upcoming municipal election.

The campaign is also releasing a list of more than 100 “women for George,” including former York University president & vice-chancellor Lorna R. Marsden, former MP Belinda Stronach and several female Liberal MPPs who’ve already expressed their support for their ex-colleague.

Advanced polling does little for voter turnout

Oshawa and Mississauga’s efforts [to increase voter turnout using advanced polling stations] are no match for the blatant indifference most people have for municipal politics, says York University political science Professor Robert MacDermid of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, wrote Oct. 5. “Ultimately, it’s not about the availability of the polls but the lack of interest, the lack of involvement of voters, the inability of candidates to engage people – that’s the problem,” he said.

Still, MacDermid applauded the efforts of municipalities who have taken steps to make the process easier for those who are interested in casting a ballot. “Vaughan has certainly taken advanced polling a bit more seriously,” said MacDermid. “It stands to reason that it will have a small effect. Those that already have an intention to vote will find it easier to do so and will be more likely to vote especially if they’re away on Election Day.”

Punish pimps and purchasers of sex

After Ontario Supreme Court Justice Susan Himel’s decision last week to strike down three Canadian Criminal Code provisions [dealing with prostitution], York University Professor Alan Young of Osgoode Hall Law School, who worked pro bono on the Charter challenge, said: “(Perhaps) we’ll see five-storey brothels like the ones in Germany,” wrote Saskatoon, Sask.’s The StarPhoenix Oct. 6.

In Toronto, Young said last week, “We’ve had a moral aversion to the sex trade for hundreds of years, but any time you can do something that increases people’s safety, you’ve done something good.”

On air

  • Vanessa Hunt, vice-president, campus life, for the York Federation of Students, spoke about safety on campus, on CBC Radio’s “Here & Now” Oct. 5,