Some municipalities “shockingly” secretive

Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin has released his first report on the so-called “Sunshine Law” investigations into municipal closed-session meetings and found some councils remain “shockingly secretive”, while others mean well, but are prone to errors. York University Professor Robert Drummond said it’s a question of where the line is drawn. “It’s one thing to prepare for a meeting, but quite another to fix a decision that’s supposed to be made in public in the future.” As for consequences, they’re likely not on the way, Mr. Drummond said, as reported by Oct. 31. Read full story.

Strike action looming at public schools
Hurricane Sandy may have left town, but labour relations among York Region teachers remain stormy. The latest action by local unions – the votes by Catholic locals in particular –are an indication that labour dynamics may be changing, said Stephanie Ross, associate professor of work and labour studies at York University. “It’s interesting because Halton and York Region don’t have reputations for being the most radical districts. “The more government intervenes, the more politicized public sector workers become. Government may be seen to be siding with employers and workers start to wonder if they will ever be able to fairly negotiate. That will have impact many ways, on elections, protests and lobbying,” reported Nov. 1. Read full story.

How do we make art about the Holocaust?
In the title story of his new collection entitled What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, the American author Nathan Englander creates the character of the Holocaust-obsessed Deb….”At this point, the Holocaust is simply out there; it’s cultural property. Everybody appropriates it for their own purpose,” said Sara Horowitz, director of the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University, who will interview Englander at the ROM event. Horowitz notes that the authors of the first Holocaust literature, themselves survivors, were very aware of difficulties implicit in making art out of genocide, reported The Globe and Mail Oct. 31. Read full story.

Gathering seeks to bring communities together
“I’ll be speaking to Algonquins but I hope my words will be useful to non-Algonquins who live and work here,” author and York University Professor Bonita Lawrence told the Gathering Knowledge Community Symposium Saturday at St. James Major Catholic Church in Sharbot Lake.The Symposium, organized by the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. For her part, Lawrence spoke about growing up with a “sense of homelessness because we weren’t status” and quoted her latest book, Fractured Homeland: Federal Recognition and Algonquin Identity in Ontario. She said the book took her 10 years to write, much of that spent interviewing Algonquins in Ontario and Quebec to get their feelings on land claims, status and simply being Algonquin, reported Frontenac EMC Nov. 1. Read full story.

Maclean’s out with its annual university rankings
Maclean’s magazine has released its annual list of top universities in Canada. York University increased its ranking in the comprehensive ranking category over last year. The universities are ranked in three different categories: Doctoral ranking results, comprehensive ranking results and undergraduate ranking results, reported Maclean’s magazine Nov. 1. Read full story.