Board chair’s role should be ‘loyal opposition’, say York profs

It’s something Patricia Bradshaw, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, calls “loyal opposition”, wrote The Hamilton Spectator April 15, in a story about the appointment of a new chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board that included comments about the governance role of board directors.

There is no value in publicly shaming the leader, such as a chief of police, said Bradshaw, an expert in not-for-profit governance. If a board takes a leadership role, there’s no one to hold them accountable.

But Richard Leblanc, a York University professor of law, governance and ethics [School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], said there is a tendency for heads of organizations to influence board chairs. “The most important job of a chair is to set the agenda,” he said. And so the independence of the chair and a clear definition of the job is of utmost importance. “To say your job is to support your chief, I’m not sure that the chair of any organization would say this,” Leblanc said.

Veteran NDP hopeful fights gridlock every day

Canada is being led by “bobbleheads and party puppets” and strategic voting doesn’t work, according to Janice Hagan [BA ’86, MES ’07], NDP candidate for Oak Ridges-Markham, wrote Apirl 14. 

The daughter of a Second World War veteran and labour leader, this is the eighth election campaign for Hagan, the second within Oak Ridges-Markham.

In an effort to ease gridlock, the NDP wants to put an extra cent of the gas tax into municipal transportation infrastructure, improve transit corridors, create more local transit and have better tax breaks for its users.

Hagan is advocating for something she would personally benefit from, as she takes public transit to her job as an advocate for students with language barriers and learning disabilities at Seneca College’s Seneca@York campus. “I go all the way across York Region. If I took the 407, I have to pay that. I’d have to pay gas, insurance. I’d have to pay $15 a day in parking at York,” she said.

Instead, Hagan pays $6 a day and it takes her 10 to 15 minutes less to commute by transit than if she was to drive.

Worldwide origami initiative aims to give hope to quake victims

An organization called Origami for Japan has launched a worldwide paper crane-folding initiative in support of the people of Japan, following the recent earthquake and tsunami, wrote Epoch Times April 14.

In a separate initiative, students at York University in Toronto, Hamilton’s McMaster University and the University of Waterloo have been making paper cranes to raise money for the relief effort in Japan. For each dollar donated, the students fold one crane. They plan to donate the cranes to York’s sister universities in Japan while the money will go to relief efforts.

Up in the stacks or out making tracks

Douglas Lochhead loved to examine the world around him and describe what he saw in verse, wrote The Globe and Mail April 15, in an obituary of the former York librarian. He was a scholar-librarian, who published more than 30 poetry collections. His first book came out in 1959, and the final one was published 50 years later, when the author was 86.

For the several years, until he was hired at Massey College in 1963, Lochhead went from [the University of Victoria] to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, then from Dalhousie University to the newly founded York University in Toronto.

In 2002, he was inducted as the first poet laureate for Sackville, NB. This was his greatest honour, said Sara Lochhead. "These are the people with whom he lived his life. They were the people he wanted to reach with his poetry."

Scholarship winner sets her sights on York

Ellen Sparling has won a scholarship from World Vision Canada and Studentawards Inc., wrote the Stratford Beacon-Herald April 14. Sparling was given the $250 award for her dedication and participation in the 30 Hour Famine. She’s a Grade 11 student at St. Michael Catholic Secondary School and when she graduates she intends to study international development at York University.

On air

  • Stephen Gaetz, professor and associate dean in York’s Faculty of Education, and co-author with York anthropology Professor Daphne Winland, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about their recently published report on youth homelessness, on numerous Canadian radio stations April 14.
  • Crooner and York grad Matt Dusk [BFA Spec. Hons. ’02] spoke about his signing career, on CBC Radio Calgary April 14.