Theodore Tolias: Economic crisis in Cyprus

“Speculation is that Cyprus seems to have an overgrown banking sector, approximately eight times gross domestic product. And a lot of that money seems to be money by non-residents, and they thought that this business model is unsustainable and they thought that maybe it’s time to take action,” said Theodore Tolias, professor of economics at York’s Schulich School of Business, on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin” March 22. “They saw that as an opportunity to actually use the levy to generate some money – like 5.8 billion dollars – to complement the overall 17-billion-dollar bailout money needed for Cyprus.[…]People’s confidence in banks is the very foundation of banking. So if you’re going to fix a car, you don’t take the wheels away. And depositors are the wheels of the banking system.” Watch full interview.

Closure of Experimental Lakes Area part of assault on science: Scharper
As biologist Norman Yan of York University noted, Canada has slipped about 25 positions in the past five years in terms of its environmental protection and performance and is on track to slip below another 25 to 30 nations in the next five years. Canada is now on the level of Mexico and Brazil in terms of lax eco-protection, and is doing worse than every European nation. “We’re sinking on the environment,” Yan tersely observed in the Toronto Star March 25. To get a sense of how devastating the ELA closure would be to our collective health, imagine your doctor sending you to a lab to get a blood test. You discover that many medical labs are being shut down and lab technicians have been reassigned, fired and barred from discussing the results with you. Read full story.

Pride & privilege: Canada is No. 8 on the list of the world’s wealthy
Unlike the conspicuously rich milling about Cannes and Palm Springs, Canada’s wealthy are much more understated….“Nobody in this category would move into the Trump Tower,” said Alan Middleton, professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in the National Post March 23. “It won’t happen. It’s too obvious, too ostentatious. They would be in a house in Rosedale or way off the Bridle Path, so people won’t come and see it. You see the same phenomenon up the Hudson River.” Read full story.

What makes Canadians sick?
Dennis Raphael, a professor of health policy at York University, is another researcher who says burgeoning health-care costs are the result of governments straying from the kind of social-welfare activism of the Depression and the post-Second World War era that saw the implementation of medicare, public pensions, unemployment insurance and federal and provincial affordable housing initiatives, reported Maclean’s March 23. “Our relative declines in standing on numerous health and quality-of-life indicators have been the result,” he wrote recently in the Canadian Journal of Public Health. Read full story.

Canadian airlines want Ontario to scrap fuel tax
Canada’s biggest airlines are asking Ontario’s new Premier, Kathleen Wynne, to eliminate a provincial jet-fuel tax on international flights; a move they say will boost travel to Canada’s largest province while making them more competitive, reported the Wall Street Journal March 22….According to a report for Canada’s National Airlines Council by York University business Professor Fred Lazar, Ontario is virtually alone in North America in levying a fuel tax on international flights. He estimates by removing the tax, Ontario could attract up to an estimated 52,000 more foreign tourists annually, which would boost tourism dollars and job creation. Read full story.

Michael Hough brought ecology to the cityscape
Michael Hough, who died in January at 84, spent his career in pursuit of this ideal – the integration of cities with natural systems….His own design work included Ontario Place and the University of Toronto’s new Scarborough campus, as well as advocacy that helped clean up the polluted Don River and preserve the historic Don Valley Brick Works. But it was his teaching at University of Toronto and York University, and his books – including Out of Place (1990) and Cities and Natural Process (1995) – that helped cement his thinking, reported The Globe and Mail March 24. Read full story.