Public-private sector schemes need defined limits, says York prof

Constantly squeezed to do more with less, the public sector is increasingly looking at the private sector in its search for different ways to provide services and even generate money, wrote the Barrie Examiner June 30.

With limitations on the amount of money available through taxpayers, there is no question the public sector has to be more creative, says York University Professor Richard Leblanc, a specialist in corporate governance [in York’s School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies].

Leblanc points to Home Depot stores containing Harvey’s kiosks as an example of how the private sector uses similar mixes. "It’s elongating your service offerings," he said.

But, Leblanc adds, parameters or limitations should be in place, either internally or through the organization’s governance. There are instances when the two sectors could collide. "The public sector and private sector will sometimes have different or diverse directions," he said. "Should there be guidelines for developing these models? Where does it end?…. The bigger picture is there’s a public sector mandate here…that is not commercial."

Osgoode adjunct prof to replace controversial Ashley Smith coroner

The embattled coroner at the inquest into the prison death of teen inmate Ashley Smith has been replaced by a veteran doctor who is also a lawyer, wrote the Toronto Star June 30.

Dr. Bonita Porter was expected to rule this week on key legal issues that had stalled inquest proceedings for more than a month. Instead, Porter, whose conduct in this case has been publicly challenged, announced she was leaving the office of the chief coroner.

Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum said Dr. John Carlisle will take over immediately.

Carlisle, who holds both medical and law degrees from University of Toronto, will rule on the outstanding legal issues.

Before joining the coroner’s office in 2004, he served as a medical officer of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. He also [teaches] a course on the law and medicine at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School.

  • The Ashley Smith inquest has a new coroner at the helm, wrote columnist Christie Blatchford for Postmedia News June 30.

Dr. Bonita Porter, who had presided over the oft-delayed and troubled inquest into the strangulation prison death of the mentally ill teenager, has been replaced by Dr. John Carlisle.

A line in the announcement hints at another significant reason for the mid-race switch to a new horse – Dr. Carlisle is not only a medical doctor, but also a lawyer and veteran law professor. If ever an inquest illustrated the need to have a lawyer or judge in the driver’s seat, as some other provinces do, it was this one, wrote Blatchford.

Before joining the coroner’s office in 2004, Dr. Carlisle served as a medical officer with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and as a professor at York University, where he taught a course in law and medicine for more than 25 years. These credentials appear to make him almost uniquely well-qualified to steer the inquest back on the right course.

In-kind donations to campaigns must be claimed, says York prof

If a vendor gives a candidate a discount, then it has to be claimed on a candidate’s expense form as an in-kind donation, but it can’t exceed the $750 per person limit, said Robert MacDermid, a professor of political science at York University [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies] who specializes in campaign finance and municipal elections, wrote the Windsor Star June 30 in a story about Windsor Mayor William Hurst’s election expenses. "It means no one person can campaign on the largess of a donor. I think it’s a very important limit."

Fine arts grad uses 30,000 Band-Aids in sculpture about skin and touch

In a world of imitators, artist clones and wannabes, Andew McPhail [BFA Spec. Hons. ’84, MFA ’87] is an original, wrote Fredericton, NB’s HERE weekly June 30, in a story that included photos of his latest work made of Band-Aids.

While everyone is looking for the edgiest way to communicate their work, McPhail looks no further than what he, unfortunately, knows best: living with HIV.

McPhail will take up the post of artist in residence at Gallery Connexion in Fredericton from July 5 to 29.

Most of McPhail’s career has been centred in Ontario; he earned a master of fine arts from York University [Faculty of Fine Arts], and had a solo exhibition in the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

By the time his residency comes to an end, it will be time for the gallery to unveil a new exhibit by McPhail called All My Little Failures.

This exhibit has made its rounds in McPhail’s home province over the past few years, turning heads in Hamilton and London, and providing plenty of material for art bloggers looking for the newest avant garde art installation. 

Grad nominated for Top 25 Immigrants award

After graduating from high school, Audrey D’Souza-Moraes [BA ’78] studied computer science at York University, wrote the Toronto Star’s, in a story about the woman who was nominated as one of’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. She worked at several software companies and Northern Telecom before having to leave the workforce when her eldest daughter, Tiffany, became ill with frequent lung ailments.

She started making wedding cakes as a side venture, which quickly turned into a wedding-planning business. “I went to a wedding show and we made some dummy cakes. After that, I had so many orders we decided to launch a business,” she says. “I just couldn’t stay home and not work, and the volunteer work didn’t keep me busy enough.”

D’Souza-Moraes lost her husband Paul to cancer in 2008, forcing her to shift her focus to the family business: a collection agency.

Levitt Goodman Architects revamps York U’s library

Appealing to web-savvy students, Levitt Goodman Architects’ redesign turns part of the library into a multi-faceted learning centre, equipped with transformative work pods and open-concept study rooms, wrote June 16.

For those who worry that the very notion of the library is on its way out, the Learning Commons in the Scott Library at [York University] presents a modernized, 21st-century version of the book-lending institution.

The converted space provides users with mixed-use study spots and access to academic counselling. Flexibility was a priority: moveable furniture allows students to easily create their own space and video monitor walls double as signage or presentation boards.

Most striking of all the spaces, though, is the Collaboratory. Its vibrant palette immediately brightens the formerly drab space. Orange and turquoise tabletops, plush oversized lime green booth seating and crimson red armchairs give the area a playful vibe. Since students tend to study in groups on the floor, the architects designed circular steps around the concrete pillars to provide a playful and relaxed way to lounge. Meanwhile, soft, white light boxes hang from the ceiling, evoking a more intimate atmosphere.

Reinvigorating the library and establishing a space conducive to social learning, Levitt Goodman Architects have created a great transition from the traditional library setting into an environment relevant in the age of Google and Facebook.

On air

  • Robert Latham, director of the York Centre for International & Security Studies and professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about the June 29 siege on Kabul, Afghanistan, on CTV News June 29.