Head-shot controversy touches NHL’s most sensitive area: its wallet

Air Canada’s threat to hit the NHL where it hurts – in its wallet – proved to be a lonely battle Thursday, wrote The Canadian Press March 11. Air Canada released a letter Thursday [in which] it threatened to withdraw its sponsorship following a violent head shot to [Montreal Canadiens] player Max Pacioretty by Zdeno Charo of the Boston Bruins.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman responded to Air Canada’s threat by saying other carriers would step in to replace Air Canada if it no longer wanted the NHL’s business.

Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, described Bettman’s response as childish bravado that may not get full support from moderate US owners worried about insurance costs and risks to their marquee players.

He said the league faces a financial threat – even if existing sponsors remain loyal. “The major impact will be sponsors they have been hunting will now have more of a negative tick against sponsoring NHL hockey relative to other options,” he said in an interview.

Air Canada may have little choice but to make good on its threat unless its initiative leads to league action, Middleton added. “It’s like in poker – if you’ve called the bluff and they call you, you better be prepared to deliver on it.”

He said Air Canada may have been emboldened to act because of a groundswell of public concern resulting from a series of recent player concussions. He said they also have more leverage than a standard sponsor like a beer company, which would be replaced by a rival in a heartbeat.

  • Middleton also spoke about Air Canada’s threat to pull its sponsorship of NHL hockey, on CBC Radio’s “Here & Now” March 10.

Overweight girls needed for pioneering research at York U

Are obese girls overweight because they eat poorly and don’t get enough exercise or because their bodies don’t burn off fat properly? asked InsideToronto.com March 10.

Seems no one knows. But researchers at York University want to find out.

They are conducting the first study in the world that looks at how girls burn fat, according to Professor Michael Riddell [School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health], who leads pioneering work on diabetes.

While there have been some studies done on how boys burn fat, with conflicting results, no one has looked at how girls burn fat, particularly during puberty, he said. "It’s amazing there’s so little done on females," Riddell said. "We’re doing cutting-edge research. We’re trying to identify why some girls are overweight or obese."

The study is part of a larger [project] funded by the federal government’s Canadian Institutes of Health Research being run by the Hospital for Sick Children.

To conduct their study, the York University researchers need to look at the diets and exercise levels of girls between the ages of eight and 16. While they haven’t had trouble finding lean girls to participate, recruiting overweight and obese girls has been a struggle.

With the body image problems girls face today, that isn’t surprising, Riddell said.

But the girls’ identities and all the information researchers gather about them is kept confidential, said graduate student Lisa Chu, who is running the project at York.

Women’s collective farming lauded

Groups of women taking up collective farming in the state under Kudumbasree caught the imagination of Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, professor of political science and development studies at York University in Toronto [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], wrote India’s The Hindu March 11.

It is by far the best method to ensure food security, especially when women are the producers, said Mukherjee-Reed, who was here recently as part of the research project on farming activity by women’s groups. The advantage is access to food in the hands of those who need it (are food insecure), she said.

Mukherjee-Reed, whose works include Human Development and Social Power: Perspectives from South Asia and Perspectives on India’s Corporate Economy:   Exploring the Paradox of Profits and International Political Economy series, said there is a lesson in here that the world can take to fight food crisis.

About 2.5 lakh women in the state in about 30,000 groups are engaged in collective farming. Together they cultivate over 27,000 hectares, growing paddy, tapioca, pineapple, plantain, vegetables and other items that are used to ensure that the growers get enough to eat and the surplus is sold in the open market.

“Most of the groups of women, who started with small areas for cultivation, have increased their production by taking up more fallow land, rejuvenating it and cultivating it,” said Mukherjee-Reed.

Her study involved 100 groups spread across the state. Among her major findings, Mukherjee-Reed said that land is the major constraint of the women engaged in collective farming. Women are unsure about retaining the leasing rights of the vacant, fallow land that they rejuvenate and prepare for cultivation.

York professor recognized for building bridges between cultures

Departing from Sfax, a Tunisian city overlooking the Mediterranean, Hédi Bouraoui has travelled the world, from Europe to the United States to Canada where he lived for 30 years, teaching French and comparative literature at York University’s Stong College, wrote Tandem News in its March 13 edition. His is a life dedicated to the study of literature and writing, but above all working towards establishing steady dialogue between various cultures that led to the creation of York’s Canada-Mediterranean Centre and the birth of the concept of “transculturalism”, wrote Tandem.

At 80 years of age, Bouraoui is still travelling and feels just as at home in Toronto as he does in Paris and Africa. And he recently received his honorary citizenship from Acquaviva delle Fonti – one of the cities of the Puglia [region] that have welcomed him with “open arms” during the Italian stopover of his international project from Canada to Puglia under the Sign of Dialogue, launched by Canada-Mediterranean Centre and by WIP Edizioni, and thanks also to the invaluable collaboration of Nicola D’Ambrosio, professor of francophone literature at the University of Bari.

Bouraoui is proud of being part of the “heart and soul of this new family midway between the Adriatic Sea and the Gulf of Taranto.” This is a citizenship to add to his Canadian one and that enriches his Tunisian origins and plural identity, which functions in terms “of addition, not subtraction.”

“Africa, Europe, North America – it’s all stratified within me,” he says from his Paris home shortly before departing on his fifth trip to Puglia. “And you can’t take any of it away because Hédi Bouraoui is the sum of his parts. Otherwise, I would no longer be me.”

Shum is named winner of inaugural Hillsdale Research Award

The Toronto CFA [Chartered Financial Analyst] Society announced that Pauline Shum is the first recipient of their newest award, the Toronto CFA Society & Hillsdale Canadian Investment Research Award, for her research paper titled "The Long and Short of Leveraged ETFs: the Financial Crisis and Performance Attribution," wrote Canada NewsWire March 10, in a release about the finance professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University.

"Professor Shum’s paper provides an extremely useful framework for practitioners to use in their analysis of ETFs," said Chris Guthrie, CFA, president & CEO, senior portfolio manager and founding partner, Hillsdale Investment Management Inc.

The winner, which was announced at a Toronto CFA Society Awards Reception on March 3rd, received a research award of $10,000.

Sisters agree over concerns for postsecondary education

Khadje Salal [BA Hons. ’10], a York University graduate and a political analyst with Ogaal Radio, 88.9FM expressed her concerns over the status of postsecondary education in Ontario, wrote the DigitalJournal.com March 11, in a story about a Somali community meeting with NDP leader Andrea Horvath.

“Postsecondary education is being prized beyond the reach of Somali and other immigrant students. Mounting student debt loads means university graduates like me are still struggling to repay these loans,” said Salal.

Her sister, Eman Salal, a current York student enrolled in the International Relations Program, concurs. “Even second-generation university students face similar challenges,” said Eman, adding, “it is imperative that grant programs to finance postsecondary education be put in place to help mitigate the effects of sky rocketing tuition fees.”

All in the artistic family

The upcoming show inside the Station Arts Centre’s Changing Exhibit will be all in the extended artistic family, wrote the Woodstock Sentinel-Review March 11.  This exhibit will include contributions from Braden Labonte and Labonte’s fiancé Shauna Born.

Labonte is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design and currently completing his master of fine arts at York University. His work challenges the authority of documentation within the museum context. By presenting false historical artifacts and naively interpreted recreations of scientific discoveries, Labonte’s work questions how historic or scientific "truth" is determined and promoted as a sort of cultural currency.

Labonte will be bringing a half-dozen pieces, the majority of which will be oil paintings.

New rules tough on first-time home buyers

Stephanie Bilbija, a university student and single mom, will have to save for a few more years before she’s a homeowner, thanks to new mortgage rules that may force some Canadians to think twice about whether they’re ready to jump into the market, wrote The Canadian Press March 11.

The new rules as of March 18 will make the maximum payback period 30 years – resulting in somewhat higher regular payments than with the 35-year amortization that has been the choice of about 30 per cent of home buyers.

Bilbija, 25, says she wants to own a home with enough space for her daughter to play, but she also needs to have money for other expenses. "I would rather have the option of having a longer time to pay, if it meant I could get a house and still have cash flow as a single parent," says the York University student, who has a part-time job and part of a down payment saved.

On air

  • Stephen Endicott, professor emeritus in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the Dalai Lama’s announcement that he was retiring from politics, on CBC Radio’s “The World This Hour” March 10.
  • Andrew Watson, a York graduate student, took part in a panel discussion about art and the science around zombies, on TVO’s “The Agenda” March 10.