Subway extension work means closure of Downsview this weekend

TTC commuters in the Downsview area will have to walk or take a shuttle bus if they plan to travel between Wilson and Downsview stations this weekend, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 1.

Construction on the new Spadina subway extension, which will connect to York University and Vaughan, will shut down stations from Wilson to Downsview starting Saturday at 6am. Normal service will resume Monday at 6am.

Frequent shuttle bus service will run between the stations and a Wheel-Trans vehicle will be on standby at Eglinton West station for commuters with accessibility limitations, said the Star.

Is Eating People Wrong?

Necessity is never a defence for murder, but when it comes to our legal system, the circumstances behind a criminal act can be just as significant as the crime itself, wrote the Ancaster News Feb. 2.

Allan Hutchinson, an Ancaster resident and Distinguished Research Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, examines eight cases that have shaped the foundation of British Common Law in his new book: Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How they Shaped the World.

As one of North America’s leading legal scholars, Hutchinson has either published or edited 16 books, including an informative guide to success for law students called The Law School Book.

Unlike his academic works, Hutchinson’s newest book is geared towards a broader audience.

Written in plain English, without excessive legalese, Is Eating People Wrong? examines the cases taught to most first-year law students. Each case carries major significance in today’s world.

“I’ve always tried to teach law as a more human enterprise, so this book tries to look at some of the circumstances and characters behind some of these rules and cases,” Hutchinson said. “It’s to stick a human face on something that’s often perceived as a very impersonal process.”

Though some of the cases are more than a century old, they all remain as rulings that have set the foundation of today’s law. “They’re not just a historical interest. “They’re what animates the law today,” said Hutchinson.

Premier calls for full financial disclosure of would-be Tory leaders’ backers

Outgoing Premier Ed Stelmach wants Tories vying for the party leadership to make their financial backers public, even though he kept secret the names of those who contributed more than $160,000 to his own leadership campaign in 2006, wrote the Edmonton Journal Feb. 3.

York University election financing expert Robert MacDermid [professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], said the Alberta government has “some of the most regressive finance rules in all of Canada.”

For example, he said, federal politicians have been required by law to disclose their financial backers since 2004. “If Premier Stelmach was really serious…he actually has in his hands the power to do this,” MacDermid said. “He can table a piece of legislation that makes (disclosure) mandatory for all parties.”

MacDermid said citizens in a democracy have a right to know who is putting money in politicians’ pockets. “The people who give money to a leadership candidate aren’t just being friendly,” he said. “They presumably give it to exercise influence in the future…. I think a lot of people see it as a form of influence buying…. I don’t think there is any question that people who give $30,000 to a campaign are likely to get their phone calls answered quickly.”

He said the purpose of campaign finance disclosure is to allow the public to judge a politician’s behaviour after the election. “A citizen might say: ‘My goodness, the Conservative party gets a lot of money from oil sands companies, and isn’t it interesting that they have generally been favourable to tar sands exploitation,’“ he said. “Observing those two facts together might change the way a person votes.”

Advertisers flock to Super Bowl for 6 million Canadian viewers

The Super Bowl may be the most popular sporting event in the US, but it’s also one of the most watched TV shows in Canada, bigger than the Grey Cup, Academy Awards and Stanley Cup, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 2, in a story about television advertising during the broadcast.

American advertisers can afford to spend up to $1 million creating 30-second spots with the production values of a major motion picture, says Alan Middleton, a marketing professor with York University’s Schulich Executive Education Centre.

And it’s worth it for them, he said. The audience for the game is more than 100 million south of the border, compared to about six million in Canada.

[The story also noted that most Canadian viewers don’t get to see the US commercials due to Canadian advertising rules.]

Kim Dorland: Nocturne

This past summer, Kim Dorland (MFA ’03) – one of Canada’s most talented and successful young artists – received the provocative sobriquet “extreme painter”, wrote EYE Weekly Feb. 2.

The title was bestowed upon Dorland by his Montreal dealer, René Blouin, who was making an analogy to extreme sports. To draw attention to an artistic style emerging in cities including New York, Berlin and Toronto, Blouin organized a Montreal festival, held at several galleries last July and August, to showcase the work of Dorland and other artists who pile paint on canvas with such bold physicality that their finished works give off an aura of aggression, heat and even violence.

According to Blouin, the extreme painting movement is a rebellion against dominant contemporary tastes that favour cerebral and often confounding works of new media “done under the influence of Photoshop” – in particular, photography and video art.

Dorland does indeed paint with intense and confident brushstrokes, but he has distanced himself from the school of extreme painting. In a recent Maclean’s interview, he explained that he doesn’t see himself as part of a movement in a traditional sense. With Nocturne, Dorland’s newly opened exhibition at the Angell Gallery, he proves his point.

On air

  • Geoffrey Reaume, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management in the Faculty of Health, spoke about his research into psychiatric history in Toronto and the course he teaches, on Radio Canada International’s “The Link” Feb. 2.
  • Saeed Rahnema, political science professor in York’s School of Public Policy & Administration in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about unrest in Egypt, on Hamilton’s CHML Radio and on the Canadian news website The Mark Feb. 2