York prof says police chief must resign over G20 report

Toronto’s police chief should step down and a judicial inquiry must be held to look into “police and political abuses” during last June’s G20 summit, civil rights groups said Friday, wrote The Canadian Press June 24.

Bill Blair must resign for the “havoc and mayhem waged by police” during the G20, said York University political science Professor David McNally [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies]. A judicial inquiry would help hold politicians responsible for their role in the summit weekend, he added.

“When you are the chief in command of such a debacle, it is your responsibility, you wear it, and there is no alternative if you want to restore public faith in the judicial and policing systems than for Blair to resign,” said McNally. “There is a political command and control side of this whole equation, which is why we need also to have elected officials held accountable.”

Blair said he doesn’t believe a public inquiry into policing at the G20 is needed because numerous probes of the events already are under way. “Unequivocally, I have no intention of resigning,” Blair said.

The civil liberties groups dismissed a report released Thursday by the Toronto Police Service into the G20 as a “joke.” In the 70-page review, the force admitted it was not properly trained or equipped for the tactics of some protesters during the G20 riots.

“It is a complete evasion of their responsibility for stripping citizens of their rights and for massively abusing police powers,” said McNally. “Rather than a few bad apples, there was a systematic problem that took place during G20 policing, not just isolated incidents.”

  • Too many questions remain unanswered by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair’s review of G20 policing, according to critics, wrote the Toronto Star June 24, 2011.

The chief released his 70-page-review Thursday, which concludes police were overwhelmed and underprepared for the G20. Blair said people with concerns should read the full report. “I think a well-informed public will have a better opinion of what transpired,” he said Friday.

But critics of the police response to the G20 disagreed.

“It’s a joke,” said David McNally, a political science professor at York. “We need the whole policing and political process exposed to public scrutiny.”

  • Civil rights advocates called for the resignation of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair on Friday, calling it a first step to restoring public trust after the G20 riots, wrote the Toronto Sun June 24.

The group, which also included…York University political science Professor David McNally as well as representatives of Amnesty International and the Council of Canadians, also called Blair’s G-20 report – quietly released late Thursday afternoon – another example of protectionism within the Toronto Police Service.

  • York University political science professor David McNally said there is no alternative but for Chief Blair to resign if the public’s faith in the judicial and policing systems is to be restored, wrote The Globe and Mail June 24.

  • David McNally also spoke about the police chief’s G20 report on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” June 24.

Osgoode observer’s 20-hour detention steered him toward criminal defence

Jeffrey Carolin [JD ’11] helped organize a volunteer team of legal observers during the G20 summit in Toronto. Through the Movement Defence Committee, the observers set out to be watchdogs for civil liberties and to provide legal support to protesters who were arrested, wrote CBC News online June 24, in a story that included a video interview.

But on June 26, 2010, Carolin was himself arrested outside the detainment centre on Eastern Avenue. He was held for more than 20 hours before being released without charge.

One year later, Carolin has completed his final year at Osgoode Hall Law School and earned the gold medal – the school’s most prestigious award. He spoke to CBC News the day after writing his bar exam.

Carolin said his G20 experience has factored into his career plans, giving him a deeper empathy for those on the brink of losing their freedom. "It’s a moment when all the resources and power of the state get focused on one individual," said Carolin, who plans to become a criminal defence lawyer. "You’re the last line of defence."

  • It appears that wearing your political stripes on your sleeve is far riskier in Canada than wearing a hockey jersey, and that your purpose for being in the streets will determine the police response more than your actions, wrote Jeff Carolin (JD ’11) and Adrienne Telford in an opinion piece about differences in police handling of street events in Vancouver and Toronto in the Toronto Star June 25.

In Vancouver, the police have been congratulated for showing restraint. Residents have decorated squad cars in flowers and fond words.

In Toronto, the police have been criticized for their excessive use of force, for their unmeasured response. As an editorial in the Toronto Star mentioned this past week, “public trust” in the police has been shaken.

Although this comparison may appear obvious, it is ultimately misleading. It risks turning the police repression and violence during the G20 into a one-off, exceptional event during which “the public” lost its trust in police. It presents the hands-off, “meet-and-greet” policing in Vancouver as the norm.

But outside of the media spotlight, the reality is exactly the opposite. In two years’ time, on the second anniversary of one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, we hope that instead of making another comparison between examples of police misconduct, we’ll be celebrating justice for all victims of police abuse.

Adrienne Telford is a Toronto-based lawyer and Jeff Carolin is a graduate of [York’s] Osgoode Hall Law School. Both offered legal support to demonstrators during the G20 as members of the Movement Defence Committee, noted the Star.

Canada seizing a ‘market moment’ in recruiting students from India

In Canada’s attempts to reach around the world to build ties to emerging powers, one of the most important initiatives is coming from Canadian universities lured by the pot of gold in India’s millions of bright young students, wrote The Globe and Mail June 27.

Of the 160,000 Indian students at universities abroad, only 3,000 are in Canada. Attracting more of those students could have a huge impact: A study commissioned by Canada’s federal government found the 90,000 foreign students in Canada bring in $6.5 billion a year, more than exports of softwood lumber or coal.

"There’s a market moment for Canada," said Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

Universities are moving to seize it now. York University’s Schulich School of Business just announced plans to build a campus in Hyderabad…. York Vice-President Academic & Provost Patrick Monahan said the Schulich campus in Hyderabad is largely aimed at building [Schulich’s] international scope, so high standards are key.

Canada’s neglected (immigrant) seniors

June is Seniors’ Month, a time to honour older Canadians – their knowledge, experience and the contributions they make every day to our country, wrote Ghazy Mujahid and Thomas Klassen in The Globe and Mail June 27. But there’s one group of neglected seniors: those who arrive in Canada after the age of 50. These immigrants are often family members sponsored to join children and grandchildren who’ve already settled in Canada.

Without the ability to speak English or French and without Canadian income security payments, many of these seniors rely on their families. At the same time, families depend on their older relatives for child care, home care, cooking, cleaning and various other unpaid duties.

Leaving these seniors and their families to fend for themselves is poor public policy. Governments need to take two important steps:

  • Provide more aid for older immigrants to learn English or French immediately after arriving in Canada.
  • Assist older immigrants who want to take up paid employment.

At present, many educational qualifications and much professional experience acquired abroad are not recognized in Canada. As a result, immigrants seeking employment find themselves in a Catch-22, because employers usually require Canadian qualifications and work experience.

Immigrants entering Canada after reaching 50 face particular challenges, as returning to school for an extended period to upgrade credentials is a poor investment. It makes little sense, for example, for a 55-year-old to enter a three- or four-year college or university program.

Consequently, the expertise and skills of immigrant professionals who have qualifications acquired abroad and extensive experience in their fields can go to waste. Too often, immigrant seniors eke out a living by driving taxis or taking jobs at gas stations and grocery stores.

This is an inefficient allocation of human capital, especially when Canadian firms are clamouring for skilled workers who have familiarity with international markets.

Seniors’ Month is an opportunity to recognize those who have worked hard and continue to contribute to the prosperity we all enjoy today. And governments should make sure that immigrant seniors are not isolated and excluded as a result of language and employment barriers.

Ghazy Mujahid, a former United Nations population policy adviser, is an affiliate of the Ontario Metropolis Centre and an associate at York University’s Centre for Asian Research. Thomas Klassen is an associated professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy & Administration at York University.

Respect is the cornerstone of camp at York

When kids forget their lunch, Darnell Richards is happy to share his with them, wrote the Toronto Star June 26. After all, that’s what friends do.

Good thing he usually packs plenty of delish eats when he comes to the York Youth Connections day camp. Taking care of his pals is important to the 13-year-old who says helping others and being respectful is what makes a good friend and leader.

Respect for others is the cornerstone of the camp where everyone signs the Respect Poster – a reminder to all that they should treat others as they want to be treated, said Darnell, who is returning for his sixth summer at the camp on the Keele campus of York University. It offers neighbourhood children a wide range of programs aimed at making learning fun.

Camp also gives them the chance to spend the summer exploring new places, discovering new things and making friends. Those youth aged 13 and 14 can sign up for a leadership program as well.

While he’s building his leadership skills, camp is also helping prepare Richards for the future. As in previous years, he’s signed up for the sports, science and drama programs – offering plenty of choices for the teen.

The need to go beyond mere human decency

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, by Andrew Westoll, is a revealing and fascinating explanation of why people are working to protect the thousand chimpanzees still in laboratories in the US, wrote York psychology PhD candidate Laura Adams in the National Post June 25 in a review.

Westoll tells the true story of more than a dozen chimpanzees rescued from biomedical testing, now living in the titular sanctuary outside Montreal…. Westoll, a Toronto journalist, spent 10 weeks living and working at the sanctuary, but also tells their stories through interviews with those who have cared for them for more than a decade.

When Westoll describes his first experience of eye contact with a chimpanzee, he writes, "Binky holds my gaze.  What’s more he returns it." This moment of connection is powerful and iconic in many primatology stories, and resonates with my experience. As an orangutan researcher, I am frequently approached by people who would like to volunteer with orangutans. My reply usually disappoints them: Unless they are going to commit to at least several months in Indonesia and a lifetime to fundraising and public education, then they will be a tourist, not a volunteer. Tourists need to assess their motivations and the consequences. Hugs from strangers are not good for orphaned orangutans who need to learn to live independently from humans, and risk catching our diseases.

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary illustrates this lesson. The author examines his ego and own motivations to bond with these chimpanzees. Despite our urge to touch them (spoiler alert: Their hair feels like thick hair), he realizes that the best way that he can help them is to tell their story.

Laura Adams is studying orangutan behaviour at York University and is a board member of Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Ontario.

Book Bakery set to unveil first titles

Think of the Book Bakery as the publishing equivalent of a home recording studio, wrote the Toronto Star June 26. Operating since February out of the basement of Parkdale coffee bar Capital Espresso, the upstart DIY venture is equipped with everything needed to make a book: a laptop and a photocopier, as well as machines to cut, crease and bind the pages.

The idea isn’t to compete with the mainstream publishing industry. Nor is it to facilitate the release of that unpublished novel that has been mouldering in someone’s drawer for the past decade. It is to quickly and cheaply produce books of specialized interest.

To oversee the operation, co-founder Derek McCormack enlisted the unpaid help of Alana Wilcox, senior editor at Toronto publisher Coach House, and Michael Maranda, assistant curator at the Art Gallery of York University and a former associate publisher at Fuse magazine.

A poetic, cultural journey

The cover of When TISH Happens features a colour photograph of four young men gathered around the back of a Triumph TR4 in 1962 – a significant shot, it turns out, as it also becomes part of the book’s frontispiece and an illustration of the narrative to come, wrote Saskatoon, Sask.’s The StarPhoenix June 25. These young men are not talking cars or sports, as hasty generalizations might suggest, but poetry. Yes, on close inspection you see the pens, papers and little notebooks as Frank Davey, George Bowering, Robert Hogg and the late Red Lane, brother of Patrick, discuss their developing poetics over the back of Davey’s slick new car.

Canadian author, literary critic and professor at York University and then the University of Western Ontario, Davey has pulled together his memories and memoirs to fashion a diary-like story of his early life in Abbotsford, BC, his education at the University of British Columbia and the founding of TISH magazine, a literary periodical one critic has called Canada’s "most influential literary magazine."

Working together with common purpose

Acting Together: From Dialogue to Common Mission is the theme of the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism’s (PCE) 20th Summer Ecumenical Institute, wrote The StarPhoenix June 25. It will be held July 6 to 9 at the Lutheran Theological Seminary located on the University of Saskatchewan campus.

One of the public events is being sponsored by the Commission on Faith and Witness of the Canadian Council of Churches. Presenters [include] Richard Schneider, professor emeritus of history at York University [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies] and St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York. Schneider is also the former president of the Canadian Council of Churches.

Former students praise teachers who changed their lives for good

When Heather Methven [BA ’01] was 10 years old, she was struggling in French Immersion. She saw herself as a slow learner. In class, she felt bullied, ridiculed and was sure she was a failure, wrote the Toronto Star June 25.

Her parents gave her a fresh start at a new school, Chester Public, near Danforth Avenue. There, her world changed with her new teacher, Brian Bauldry. "I don’t know what my life would be like without him," says Methven, 33. "After that my life just soared."

She teaches kindergarten students with autism and Down syndrome for the Toronto District School Board. She wanted to be with students who needed a teacher to believe in them the way Bauldry believed in her.

York student performer thinks Elvis’ music is amazing

Elvis is back in the building, wrote New Brunswick’s Miramichi Leader June 27. The Rock ‘n’ Roll festival is including a second annual Rock ‘n’ Roll play this year. James M. Hill high school teacher David Gopee will be directing again and the cast will feature local talent.

Ally Paradis, a student at York University, said she didn’t even know all the Elvis songs before she started the play. "The Elvis music is so amazing and even though we listen to it over and over we are never tired of it," she said. "They have been changed a little bit to be more Broadway-ish but everyone will know these songs and I know everyone will love this show."

Schulich grad is among top-25 most influential Chinese in fashion industry

Shanghai-born Andrew Wu, as director of the LVMH Group in China, has helped to turn the French company into a juggernaut in China’s luxury market, wrote Forbes magazine blogger Richard Flannery June 17. Wu once worked for Canada’s Ontario Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and Maple Leaf Foods before joining LVMH. He has been group director for China since 2005, supervising more than 60 brands and is a graduate of the Schulich School of Business at York University.

Royal couple faces a new generation

Not everyone shares enthusiasm for the monarchy, wrote CBC News online June 27. York student Victoria Alarcon is the writer of an article for the York University student newspaper [Excalibur] titled "York Students Give Royal Couple the Cold Shoulder."

According to her random survey of 100 students, 71 per cent said that they weren’t excited about the royal couple coming to Canada and only five per cent expressed enthusiasm.

"A lot of people are indifferent and there are people that just don’t like them. It kind of interferes with our Canadian independence and we’ve kind of outgrown it," she says.

Alarcon doesn’t think Kate will have the same attraction for her generation that Diana had for her mother’s.

William and Kate are "younger and more hip than, I guess, the Queen, but I still don’t think that it’ll be enough to pull us in," she says. “A lot of people do not see them as the future king and queen. They’re definitely just celebrities to us.”

CIMA Mayor’s cricket team introduced at city hall

City councillors Adam Vaughan and Doug Ford put their political differences aside to host a city hall event Friday for the 12 youth chosen to represent Toronto in the fourth annual Cricket Across the Pond program, wrote The Globe and Mail June 24.

The team of 12 known as the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Mayor’s Team represent a cross-section of young ambassadors from Toronto’s diverse neighbourhoods. They’ll spend eight days in England developing their skills.

The team’s captain was announced at the event: Michael Walton, from Emery Collegiate Institute. He said he was surprised to even make the team. “I was quite shocked to hear because this would be my second time going so I didn’t expect a call,” he said.

Walton grew up watching his dad, who is from the Caribbean, play cricket. He’s also a member of the Canadian under-19 cricket team and plans to continue playing while he attends York University next year to study kinesiology.