Trade minister dismisses concerns over Canada-China investment deal

Canada’s International Trade Minister Ed Fast is dismissing charges by Toronto law professor Gus Van Harten that a new Canada-China investment treaty set to come into effect at the end of the month will surrender Canadian sovereignty to Chinese investors, reported the Sun News Network Oct. 19. However, Van Harten, an international trade expert at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, argued that trading with China is markedly different than with most other countries. “The big difference in this case is there’s likely to be a lot more Chinese investment in Canada protected under the treaty than vice versa,” he said. Read full story.

Homelessness has heavy costs
York University Professor Stephen Gaetz has released a report on The Real Cost of Homelessness in Canada, collecting the results of scores of research projects. It confirms that our current approach doesn’t make economic sense. We have responded to increasing numbers of people who can’t get or keep housing with a costly network of emergency shelters and Band-Aid solutions, reported the Times Colonist Oct. 21. It has been expensive. Emergency shelter beds cost $13,000 to $42,000 per person, Gaetz reported. Read full story.

Can you be feminine and in a power of position?
The social expectations about how women should behave in business, and what it takes to succeed, continue to be a work in progress. A Yale University study published last year found that to advance in the work force, women must know when to turn off, and on, “masculine traits.” That requires a careful balancing act. “Very few things are actually gender neutral,” said Marie-Hélène Budworth, a professor at the School of Human Resource Management at Toronto’s York University. “Since power has been viewed as masculine for so long, it is challenging for us to break from our historical understanding of the term despite our best efforts and objective understanding that women can be both feminine and powerful,” she said, reported the Globe and Mail Oct. 19. Read full story.

Are we worrying ourselves into a housing crash?
Could people actually talk themselves into a housing correction? Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, doesn’t rule out that scenario. “Collapse is too strong a word when it comes to housing prices. You can’t talk yourself into that but you can talk yourself into a slowdown or a delay. It is one of the things behavioural economists are starting to appreciate that classical folks didn’t,” Milevsky says. “Attitudes matter. It used to be that just facts matter, but sentiment is going to be just as important. If people start to believe real estate prices are slowing down, they’ll slow down their purchases,” reported the National Post Oct. 20. Read full story.

Writers: graduating by the bushel, but can they find readers?
The “huge proliferation” of creative-writing programs, first in the United States and more recently in Canada, has created a subsequent “huge proliferation of graduates looking for jobs,” according to Rishma Dunlop, a poet and professor of creative writing at York University, reported the Globe and Mail Oct. 19. American universities have responded by training creative-writing graduates to teach creative writing themselves, “because that of course makes them more marketable,” Dunlop says. Critics of the discipline will perceive what Hollingshead calls “the danger of the closed system” in such an arrangement. Incest, even. On the other hand, it ensures a reliable supply of competent instructors for programs that continue to proliferate despite what “everybody knows” about the fate of literary fiction. Read full story.

Time for law schools to face the music
Law students awaited the release of the Law Society of Upper Canada task force report on the articling crisis with great anticipation because, after all, the problem directly and immediately affects us. I’m pleased the law society has recognized the shortage of articling positions and has chosen to address it. The report drew from the submissions of a diverse range of individuals in the legal community and is thorough in scope, wrote York’s Osgoode Hall Law student Cameron Bryant in Canadian Lawyer magazine Oct. 22. Read full story.