No escaping hydro hikes, study says

Ontario hydro rates are only minimally affected by heavy Liberal subsidies to wind and solar projects, according to a new report that casts doubt on the Conservative party’s plans for renewable energy, wrote the Ottawa Citizen July 7, in a story about a study by the Pembina Institute.

Conservatives portray the program as the chief culprit behind sharply rising electricity bills, however, and say they will scrap it if elected to government in October.

Tim Weis, co-author of the Pembina report, and other energy experts say Ontario hydro bills are rising because the province is making substantial investments in its aging energy infrastructure, which went for more than a decade without upgrades. Many generating facilities and transmission lines in Ontario are now reaching the end of their lifespan.

"It’s like we’ve been living in a house where the mortgage has already been paid off and all we’ve had to pay are utility bills," says Mark Winfield, professor in York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies [and Pembina’s director, environmental governance]. "And now it’s as if the house fell down and we have to build a whole new house and incur a whole new mortgage."

Schulich to open campus in India, reports Wall Street Journal

York University’s Schulich School of Business is breaking ground this month on a new campus in Hyderabad, India, wrote The Wall Street Journal July 7. The campus in India is expected to open for classes in the fall of 2013.

Although Toronto-based Schulich has partnerships and satellite centres in countries including China, Brazil and Mexico, this is its first full-fledged international campus, where students can receive a Schulich degree.

At its launch, the campus will host 120 MBA students, up to 40 per cent of whom will hail from outside India. There are plans to add an executive MBA and other programs later.

Hyderabad students and faculty will have access to exchange programs with the Toronto campus, and vice versa, with both locations offering the same curriculum.

"India badly needs a globally oriented business school," said Schulich Dean Dezsö Horváth. Currently, Indian students attend local schools, taught by local faculty, and graduate into local jobs, he said. As more international companies enter India, students need greater diversity in their classmates, subject matter and job opportunities, he added.

Hyderabad wasn’t the school’s first choice, but Horváth said Mumbai and Bangalore are already overcrowded and land is hard to come by. Schulich is teaming up with Indian developer GMR Group for the campus’s physical infrastructure. The campus will be known as Schulich School of Business-GMR Group.

Encourage Aboriginal youth to embrace education, says liaison officer

With an exploding population growing six times faster than the national average, Aboriginal people who are educated will greatly enhance Canada’s future economy, wrote Jarret Leaman, Aboriginal relations liaison in York’s Centre for Aboriginal Student Services, in a National Post supplement on Aboriginal affairs June 21.

Encouraging the Aboriginal demographic to embrace education as a method of increasing their quality of life has been difficult. Unfortunately, while the learner’s decision to enrol does not guarantee success, continued enrolment can lead to attaining the goal. Supporting Aboriginal learners to promote retention and graduation, honouring Aboriginal ways of knowing, culture and languages, and validating them as learners assist greatly in the fulfilment of their aspirations.

Great efforts are being made to address Aboriginal education with a multipronged approach, wrote Leaman. One of the first objectives is to create understanding of the value of self-identification as an access tool to provide services and programs. Many postsecondary institutions are actively acknowledging the barriers and introducing Aboriginal student support centres which increase Aboriginal presence within the administration, leading to a greater awareness of Aboriginal issues within the institution. Also, a greater number of transition-year programs are being created which target the Aboriginal demographic allowing for greater access for Aboriginal learners.

Demonstrating respect for Aboriginal peoples’ values [and having them] reflected within an educational system will promote participation in the education system, Leaman concluded.

York study suggests racism has gone underground

Although overt racist behaviour is now taboo – and racial discrimination quite illegal in many parts of the world – scientists claim that harbouring implicit racist attitudes is commonplace behaviour, wrote Australia’s Fairfax Media in its dozens of local newspapers July 7. Modern-day social pressures may have driven ”traditional” forms of racism underground, particularly in Western nations, but that does not mean racism is dead. And, according to research, it may be because we tolerate racism more than we think.

In a 2009 study by York University in Toronto, Professor Kerry Kawakami and her team found that participants – despite believing they would be upset and speak out against racism – were likely to remain indifferent or less upset when personally witnessing racist behaviour against a black person. Moreover, they were likely to pass off the racist comments as being a joke or in good humour.

Being bilingual can help your relationship too

New research shows that bilingual speakers have a distinct advantage over monolinguals, wrote Psychology Today July 6, in a story about couples therapy and the concept of mindful listening. The advantage goes deeper than being able to converse proficiently with people that speak that "other" language – although this is a huge advantage.

Research demonstrates that bilingual children develop greater mental flexibility, a finer grasp of abstract concepts and stronger working memory…. The bilingual person is primed, therefore, in a way that monolinguals are not, to seek out and, at times separate, the meaning that a person is trying to convey from the words they are using to do so; the message becomes an abstraction embedded within the words – their setting.

In a study headed up by Ellen Bialystok at York University [Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health] in Toronto, two groups of children – each group was comparable but differed in that one was composed exclusively of monolingual students and the other contained only bilingual students – were asked whether the sentence, "Do apples have noses?" was grammatically correct. The monolinguals were stumped. The bilinguals responded something like this, "The sentence is silly but grammatically correct." From this and other similar studies, Bialystok sums up the results of her overall findings this way: "Bilinguals we found manifested a cognitive system with the ability to attend to important information and ignore the less important."

Willingness to accept the possibility that what one hears is not always what the other means to say is an important step in the direction of creating and maintaining emotional safety in your relationship…. This is one definition of mindful listening.

Taking lessons from Sino-Forest

Clearing up the murky Sino-Forest Corp. picture will take time, but investors can already take some lessons from the troubled timber company, experts say, wrote the Toronto Star July 7, in a story that included comments by Fred Lazar, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, about lessons to be learned from the controversy surrounding the tree plantation company.

Ignore stamps of approval: Investors shouldn’t assume analysts, auditors, bankers or even directors have properly investigated a company’s operations. "They all accept the facts presented to them, because they assume someone else has done due diligence on them," Lazar warns.

Underwriters flee?: You should, too. "If the people underwriting an IPO aren’t keeping a stake in the company, it’s probably a sign that they don’t think it’s a good investment and that they’re just doing it for the fees, which can be very significant," says Lazar.

Too good to be true?: Ignore the boosterism from research analysts, investment bankers and yes, the media, surrounding a hot new stock…. Lazar puts it another way: "There’s no such thing as a sure bet. If someone is telling you it’s a sure thing, it probably isn’t."

GTA organizers say games will be on time and on budget for 2015

As Mexico rushes to finish building venues for the 2011 Pan American Games, officials from Toronto are keeping a watchful eye, wrote The Globe and Mail July 7.

Aside from the village, five major venues will be built or rebuilt in the Toronto area for the Games. Two will take advantage of university campuses: An aquatic centre will be constructed at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, and a track-and- field stadium will be built at York University‘s Keele campus.

Jaffa Road brings a world full of music to Stewart Park

Take a little Middle Eastern flavour, and a taste of India, mixed with Jewish music and jazz, all filtered through North American-style song writing, and you have an idea of what the music of Jaffa Road is all about, wrote Perth EMC July 7.

Jaffa Road is a five-piece band which also includes bassist Chris Gartner, percussionist Jeff Wilson, and Sundar Viswanathan on saxophone. Viswanathan is a professor of jazz performance at York University [Faculty of Fine Arts] in Toronto.

Fine arts grad curates exhibition of local artists’ work

Somehow it seems fitting that Amanda McIntyre [BFA Spec. Hons. ’11] has selected The Pearl Company to reveal the hidden gems in Hamilton’s artistic community, wrote the Ancaster News July 6.

McIntyre is curating Loose Ends, a one-day exhibit [July 23] showcasing the work of 11 artists whose talents, for the most part, are so far undiscovered. “I wanted to give emerging artists a hand up, to give them an opportunity that might not otherwise be available to them,” said McIntyre.

McIntyre, who recently graduated from York University with an honours bachelor’s degree in fine arts, started doodling and drawing in Grade 6. She took art classes throughout her high school years at Ancaster High School. At the age of 22, she has already had contract exhibits in five different cities, permanent exhibitions in Hamilton and Brantford restaurants, more than 35 commissions and has sold more than 30 pieces.

York pair to play in first Universiade beach volleyball tournament

Canadian Interuniversity Sport, in conjunction with Volleyball Canada, announced Wednesday the student-athletes and team personnel who will represent Canada in beach volleyball at the 26th Summer Universiade in August in Shenzhen, China, wrote July 6.

Beach volleyball will make its world university games debut in Shenzhen and Canada was allowed to enter the maximum of two pairs in both the women’s and men’s 32-team tournaments.

On the women’s side, the Canadian squads include York students Kristina Vlcek of Toronto and Caleigh Whitaker of Sharon.

Whitaker, a York University student, …is a veteran of two FIVB under-21 world championships in 2010 (19th) and 2009 (9th), as well as one U19 world championships in 2008 (9th).

Vlcek was 29th at the FIVB U19 world championships in 2009.

The Universiade men’s beach volleyball tournament will run from Aug. 13 to 18, while the women’s tournament will run from Aug. 14 to 19.

  • Ottawa beach volleyball player Becky Billings…and partner Kristina Vlcek of York University will play in the women’s preliminary F pool against teams from Slovakia, Poland and Japan, wrote the Ottawa Citizen July 7.

York grad is Orangeville’s new parks and recreation director

Patrick D’Almada [BAS ’90] will be the Town of Orangeville’s new director of parks and recreation following almost 15 years with the Town of Milton, where he is currently manager of community programs, wrote the Orangeville Citizen July 7.

D’Almada earned his bachelor of administrative studies degree from York University, a marketing certificate from Humber College and completed the Municipal Administration Program through the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario. He worked for nine years as a recreation coordinator with the City of Toronto before joining the Town of Milton.