Fixed polls date hasn’t changed election strategy, says York prof

Robert MacDermid, York University political science professor [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], said it is not unusual for a governing party to make lavish funding announcements leading up to an election, wrote Sept. 2.

He doesn’t believe having fixed election dates, which McGuinty established for Ontario in 2005, has made that situation worse.

At the same time, MacDermid questions whether the rapid succession of funding announcements will resonate with voters because the Liberals likely didn’t get the amount of media attention they were hoping for. "The staging of the events doesn’t seem very astute," he said, adding the number of announcements could indicate a fearful McGuinty is trying to reverse lacklustre polling results.

Still, with the legislature on summer break, there isn’t a chance for opposition parties to challenge the government’s announcements, he said.

While voters are savvy enough to know politicians are trying to buy their votes with their own money, MacDermid said many voters will be happy to see the government gearing their tax dollars towards health care and hospitals.

Meanwhile, just because a party makes a pre-election promise, doesn’t mean it will actually come to fruition following an election, especially if there is a change in government, MacDermid said.

Layton was meant for York and politics

Despite his bookish bent, Jack Layton [MA ’72, PhD ’83] wasn’t cut out for academia, wrote Sept. 2, in a story about the two-time York grad. Completing his undergraduate studies at McGill, he moved to Toronto, enrolling in York University’s left-leaning political science graduate school, but more importantly plunging into the activism that was transforming the city’s municipal scene in the early ’70s.

By 1980, after a stint teaching politics, he was a fixture in progressive circles and ready to take a run at office. A split on the left led to him losing a hotly contested municipal nomination battle on his first try. He learned his lesson, spent the next two years uniting his natural backers, and won a council seat in 1982.

Save money, get a roomie

If students are having a hard time sticking to their budget, they should look at ways they can cut back on expenses, such as by having roommates, wrote Metro Sept. 2.

“That’s a great way to save money,” says Peter Wilson, the associate director of scholarships and bursaries, Student Financial Services, at York University.

Former York student, union activist runs for NDP in BC

Judy Darcy’s nomination by the NDP to run in the next provincial election in New Westminster [BC] was barely official when she was on the defensive from attacks being levelled by the local riding president for the BC Liberal Party, wrote the New Westminster News Leader Sept. 1, in a story about the former York student and national secretary-treasurer of CUPE.

The press release brings up the fact Darcy disrupted the Miss Canadian University Pageant when she was a student at York University to protest what she viewed as the exploitation of women.

Darcy said digging up old news is not relevant to voters, but added that she is still active in the women’s movement and will continue to fight for equality – be it between classes or genders.

On air

  • Paul Dennis, sports psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, spoke about the death of former NHL hockey player Wade Belak, on CBC Radio, CBC Television and AM640 radio Sept. 1.