Drug bills more onerous with age

Illness is a companion of age, wrote the National Post May 28. The good news is that most residents of Canada who are over age 65 can get prescription drugs either free or at reduced cost, thanks to provincial and other drug expense assistance programs. In hospitals, drugs tend to be covered by provincial plans. The bad news is that, outside hospitals, getting drug cost insurance benefits is often challenging.

The problem grows with age, says Dr. Joel Lexchin, who teaches health policy at York University [Faculty of Health]. A national authority on government medical and drug problems and public health, he notes that spending on medical services and drugs increases dramatically with age. "Health-care spending for those over 65 is twice as high as for those under 65," he explains. "When you get to 90, it is 7.7 times as high."

In midst of Greek crisis, Harper preaches confidence

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, [was] the picture of calm and confidence as he met with his beleaguered Greek counterpart, George Papandreou, Saturday [in Athens], wrote the Toronto Star May 28, in a story about Harper’s supportive statements about unpopular measures to solve that country’s debt crisis.

Saturday belonged to the host, a prime minister who spent part of his youth, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in Toronto when his family was in exile from the Greek dictatorship. His father [Andreas Papandreou] taught at York University, his sister remains in Toronto and he has two nephews in the city

The Long and Short of the Worldwide Short Film Festival

WSFF is North America’s largest short film festival, featuring 275 shorts from 36 countries, wrote Torontoist May 28. Impressive figures, but they do inspire the question: where to begin? Luckily the programmers do much of this work for you, breaking the festival down to Official Selections. But there are also the spotlights (Tel Aviv, York University, Italy), 8mm features, Sci-Fi Shorts…lost yet? Fair. The best plan of attack is to pick an area of interest and go from there. And since the films are, well, short, it’s still easy to take in plenty.

The Worldwide Short Film Festival runs May 31 to June 5.

Refuge for sexual minority

“I’ve done some research that there about 3,000 inland refugee claims of people who come to Canada who make a refugee claim based on sexual orientation,” said Sean Rehagg, a professor in [York’s] Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and one of the panellists at the Canadian Council for Refugees’ Spring Consultation held in Hamilton this week, wrote the Hamilton Spectator May 28.

How designer duplication is a fashion statement

Like so many other affordable mainstream brands, shoe label Jeffrey Campbell’s stock in trade is heavily inspired by runway designer confections at least quadruple the price, wrote Canada.com May 27 Lancome artistic director Aaron De Mey decides that lavender eye shadows are the hue of the season and Cover Girl comes up with similar shades. Is that copying or zeitgeist-catching?

Marcus Boon argues that such copying is an essential part of being human in his recent book, In Praise of Copying. Boon, a professor of English literature at York University [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], delves into intellectual property’s Platonic legal ontology, as well as the Buddhist idea of essencelessness.

"IP law’s three constituent parts – copyright, trademark and patent law – are each built around the paradox that you cannot protect an idea itself, but can protect only a fixed, material expression of an idea," Boon explains.

Back on the chain gang

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives propose that prisoners in provincial institutions be forced into work gangs…. The trouble is that the proposal is not well thought out and amounts to nothing more than political grandstanding, wrote James Morton, adjunct professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Ottawa Citizen May 30.

One of the main reasons only model prisoners are allowed to work outside prison now is security. Violent prisoners who are not behaving in prison are likely to be significant security threats when outside prison. Canada puts dangerous people in prison to separate them from society so they cannot do any more harm. Having dangerous prisoners walking the verges of highways with spikes to pick up trash hardly seems like a good idea. The mind boggles at putting such work gangs into downtown areas or apartment blocks for the purpose of removing graffiti.

The only practical way to have work gangs operate is with shackles (that is as a chain gang) and heavily guarded. The guards must, of course, be armed and will no doubt receive special incentive pay. The costs, both financial and moral, of chain gangs in Ontario are grossly out of proportion to any possible benefit.

The criminal justice system is inevitably an emotional issue. That is precisely why criminal justice proposals must be viewed dispassionately and with a view to ensuring they are effective and not merely emotionally appealing. Work gangs fail that test.

Osgoode grad appointed dean of Saskatchewan law school

The University of Saskatchewan is set to welcome its new college of law dean this summer, wrote Saskatchewan’s The StarPhoenix May 30. Sanjeev Anand [LLB/JD ’93, DJUR ’99] starts his five-year term as dean on July 1, just as the college is preparing for its centennial celebrations in 2012.

Anand is leaving the University of Alberta’s law faculty to take the U of S position. He was educated at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and the University of Alberta.

Anand is a former Crown prosecutor in Alberta and appellate counsel in the criminal appeals division of the Alberta justice department. Anand specializes in criminal law and procedure, sentencing, evidence and constitutional law.

Damon Allen gets behind Canadian quarterbacks

As more than 100 high school quarterbacks from across the province ran through tires and threw footballs at targets attached to moving golf carts, Damon Allen surveyed the scene with some satisfaction, wrote the Toronto Star May 27.

“There’s a lot of talent out here,” the former Toronto Argonauts quarterback great said while standing on the soggy field at York University [Keele campus] for the inaugural Damon Allen High School Quarterbacking Challenge. “These guys are just starting to learn what it really takes to be a quarterback.”

Once they do, Allen believes, it’s only a matter of time before there are more homegrown quarterbacks in the Canadian Football League.

On air

  • Fred Lazar, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the cancellation of flights in Western Europe due to the volcano eruption in Iceland, on CBC Radio May 24.
  • Perry Sadorsky, professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, talked about the price of oil on Toronto’s 680News Radio May 28.
  • Saeed Rahnema, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about changes in Canada’s policies towards Israel since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s time in office, on CTV News May 29.