‘He is my superhero,’ says client of Osgoode’s Alan Young

Long after her lawyer finished his day’s argument to strike down Canada’s prostitution laws, long after the myriad of black-robed counsel had left for the day, Terri-Jean Bedford sat on a park bench outside the Ontario Court of Appeal and wept, wrote Michelle Mandel in the Toronto Sun June 16, in a column about Bedford’s case before the Ontario Supreme Court and her lawyer, York Professor Alan Young of Osgoode Hall Law School.

"If you see tears in my eyes, they’re tears of joy and gratitude to Alan," the infamous dominatrix explained. "It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, I know he tried his best.

"Alan’s brilliant," she declared, her tear-stained eyes turned into the warm sunshine. "He is my superhero disguised as an ordinary citizen. I hope everyone in the trade can appreciate all the hard work he’s done and he hasn’t asked for one cent."

So why is she crying?

This case is destined to reach the [Supreme Court]. But she doesn’t think she will be able to see this constitutional challenge all the way through to its inevitable argument in Ottawa. Just 51, Bedford contracted hepatitis C as a sex-trade worker and it’s slowly killing her. "I’m terminally ill," she confesses. "If we lose, it’s over for me, because I don’t think I’ll make it to the Supreme Court. That’s four years from now."

She sighs and looks out at the gardens that stretch out before her. "I’ll probably be in a wheelchair," she finally says. "Or dead."

  • This week Canada’s prostitution laws are being considered by five judges of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, wrote James Morton, adjunct professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the National Post June 16. Their decision will likely be reviewed by nine more judges of Canada’s Supreme Court.

The judges are Canada’s top legal minds. As finders of the truth between two incompatible stories, these judges are without rivals. They are, all of them, highly trained and skilled in law. But none of them has expertise outside the law, nor do they speak for the will of the people.

Share prices and values don’t necessarily correlate, says Schulich prof

A high-profile minority shareholder in Homburg Invest Inc. is arguing a proposed takeover offer by controlling shareholder Richard Homburg is far too low, wrote The Canadian Press June 15. James McKellar, professor of real estate and infrastructure in the Schulich School of Business at York University, said the value of underlying assets doesn’t always translate into share prices. "The value of the shares…doesn’t necessarily correlate with the underlying value of the assets," he said in an interview from Toronto.

Senate reform goes centre stage

The Conservative plan to tweak the Senate without opening up a politically unthinkable Constitution-amending process seems about to take its long-awaited first step, wrote Maclean’s magazine in its June 20 edition. And that implies a reigniting of the debate over whether a prime minister can actually get away with such a thing.

There is confusion over the exact test to be applied. A 1980 Supreme Court decision, the so-called "Upper House Reference", established a principle that "fundamental features" of the Senate cannot be altered by Parliament alone. Some thinkers, notably oft-cited Osgoode Hall [Law School] constitutional expert Peter Hogg, insist that the Upper House Reference was made moot by the renovated Constitution of 1982.

Canada’s best prime ministers

Lester B. Pearson was fourth in the ranking, up from sixth in 1997 and edging toward the greats: Laurier, Macdonald and King, wrote Maclean’s magazine in a story about a survey of Canada’s greatest leaders its June 20 edition.

Pearson was a transformative leader, although he seemed anything but that to Canadians at the time. When he left office in 1968, a poll had shown that 70 per cent of Canadians could not name a single accomplishment of his government.

After listing Pearson’s contributions in modernizing Canada, York University political scientist Miriam Smith [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies] concluded, "Now that I think of it, perhaps I should have rated him in the top group, rather than in the second tier!"

New grad making noise in the world of film sound

Fresh out of the Fine Arts program at York University, Adam Clark [BFA Spec. Hons. ’11] already has a resumé that attracts notice from the industry, wrote Playback magazine in a feature on emerging film and TV talent in its June edition.

He’s a young entrepreneur, having started his own company, Adam Clark Sound, and hiring first-year sound students for feature and documentary work. “It started my second year,” he says of his first interest in sound. Clark invested over $25,000 in sound gear while at university, and quickly became the go-to guy for school projects and even professional films.

Clark credits much of his acumen to one of his course directors, Steve Munro, a sound teacher at York [Department of Film]. “He told us that you can get away with bad picture but you can’t get away with bad sound…. There is an entire other world out there, besides the visual. I can just use my imagination to create worlds.”

Clark says he has plenty of feature work lined up and has hired four first-year students to work on projects he’s picked up. His success probably has a lot to do with his approach: “If you come into it with a good attitude and you treat people with respect,” he observes, “if you approach every film set doing your best and enjoy what you do, you always get called back.”

Fine arts grad will perform at Salt Spring Centre of Yoga

Steve Oda, a master of the North Indian classical instrument called the sarode, will perform a concert at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga on June 23, accompanied by Victoria tabla player Niel Golden [BA ’77], wrote BC’s Gulf Islands Driftwood June 15.

The Toronto-born artist played guitar as a teen, hauling it along for an overland trek from Europe to India in 1972. Whetting his appetite for exotic music, he began his studies in world music and attended York University [Faculty of Fine Arts] upon his return to Canada. He later became the disciple of tabla master Pandit Sharda Sahai, the fifth-generation leader of the Benares style of playing.

Golden has recently formed a new world music trio with Ken Hall and Enrique Rivas known as Saffron.

Annual Barbados Charity Ball recognizes York student

Also honoured [was] scholarship award recipient… Nadia Thompson, studying international development and sociology at York University, wrote The Daily Gleaner’s Extra N.A. news website June 15, in a story about the Barbados Charity Ball Awards.

[Thompson’s] true passion is her work with grassroots community-based initiatives that tackle issues such as immigration, employment and youth. A total of $15,000 was awarded to the scholarship recipients to complete their postsecondary studies.

On air

  • Daniele Zanotti [BA ’91], CEO of the United Way of York Region, spoke about collaborating with York University health researchers to find ways of improving the health of area residents, on CBC News June 15.
  • Stuart Shanker, distinguished research professor in psychology/philosophy in York’s Faculty of Health and director of the Milton & Ethel Harris Research Initiative, spoke about children and the concept of self-regulation, on CBC Radio’s “Ideas” June 15.