Osgoode professor applauds appointment of new securities watchdog

An energy official and former federal judge is set to be the next head of Canada’s largest securities commission, with the mandate to help create a national regulator that may make his job irrelevant, wrote Reuters Oct. 13.

Howard Wetston, named on Wednesday to head the Ontario Securities Commission, was vice-chair of the organization from 1999-2003 and is a former director of the federal competition bureau. He currently heads the Ontario Energy Board, which regulates electricity and natural gas.

Continuing the chorus of support, Poonam Puri, professor in York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, described Wetston as an excellent choice. “He’s extremely well regarded and he’ll bring tremendous experience and good judgment to the position,” she said.

Campaign endorsement causes stir in Newmarket

Endorsing a political candidate comes with many potential problems, so many non-profit organizations are steering clear of the practice, wrote YorkRegion.com Oct. 13 in a story about the Newmarket Soccer Club endorsing its own president.

Although a non-profit organization endorsing a municipal candidate doesn’t often happen, voters need to consider the motive behind the endorsement, especially if it is an endorsement of someone involved in that organization, said Robert Drummond, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “I don’t think it is all that common, but certainly not unheard of if the organization is likely to be seeking a benefit from the municipal government,” he said.

If the organizations are open about their endorsements and if people know what might be motivating it, besides loyalty to their president, Drummond doubts it will influence many voters. “But having an organization of which you are president endorse you for public office is a little like having your family endorse you,” he added. “What does it tell the average voter about your qualifications or how well you are generally regarded in the neighbourhood?”

Stouffville mayor is being ‘stalked’, says Schulich prof

“This is not a political attack, this is a personal attack,” said Alan Middleton, professor of marketing in the Schulich School of Business at York University, in a story in the Stouffville Sun-Tribune about anonymous allegations being made against Mayor Wayne Emmerson. Middleton called the tactic “stalking” and part of a “well thought-out campaign”.

The information is out there being distributed and discussed in public, but because the source has not identified him or herself, “we shouldn’t give it any credence”, Middleton said. “It shouldn’t be regarded with an ounce of credibility.”

On the other hand, Middleton said the information won’t necessarily be ignored by voters because it taps into a type of political voyeurism – although we want candidates to stick to the issues, we can’t help but watch them attack each other.

Part of why candidates hit each other below the belt is because in municipal politics, there is very little difference between the candidates’ platforms. “When you have lack of differentiation, you try to reduce the credibility of your opponent,” Middleton said. “It’s harder to increase your credibility.”

Can an election be lost when allegations of corruption and other wrongdoings are swirling around a candidate? “There is a residual view all politicians are corrupt and looking for a deal,” Middleton said.

Savvy fast-food chains build buzz with limited sales of novelty items

An increasingly adventurous public looks for new taste sensations, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 13, quoting comments by Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Thai, Chineses and Indian influences are being seen in many fast food offerings, Middleton says, adding, “For the regular customer who eats in a Burger King 50 weeks a year, they may like those burgers but it sure gets boring.”

The trick is to limit supply of novelty food, says Middleton. These treats run counter to a growing healthy-eating movement in the food industry, says Middleton, and probably couldn’t sustain their popularity over time.

York grad runs against incumbent in Don Valley East

Fil Giannakopoulos (BA ‘92) is taking to the streets in an effort to hear the needs of his fellow constituents in Toronto’s Ward 33, wrote the Town Crier, Oct. 12.

His campaign focuses on being an active councillor – and he says after knocking on over 10,000 doors in the ward, he’s well on his way. Giannakopoulos says so far, he’s heard residents’ concerns about many issues, ranging from rooming houses to speeding in school zones to consistent flooding.

The 42-year-old real estate agent, who has a degree in political science from York University, says he is making major ground in the community and faring well with constituents.

On air

  • Distinguished Research Professor Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy in York’s Faculty of Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the global financial meltdown, on AM640 News, Oct. 13.
  • Jason Young (MA ’06), a doctoral candidate in York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies, spoke about his thesis research into Toronto’s 56-year-old Yonge subway line, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” Oct. 13.