Reading increases empathy, study says

A recently released report commissioned by the National Reading Campaign, titled “Towards Sustaining and Encouraging Reading in a Canadian Society”, found that reading increases empathy, academic development and even civic engagement….Sharon Murphy, lead author of the paper and professor of education at York University, says reading – especially fiction – shows preferred behaviour by example (through characters, plots and situations). “It helps the reader understand relationships better and how to act in our society,” she said in the Toronto Star May 7. She also said sitting down with a book increases empathy and, of course, academic development. Read full story.

Ottawa police test racial data collection system
Ottawa police will test the process for collecting racial data of drivers they pull over in traffic stops as part of a human rights complaint settlement, reported the Ottawa Citizen May 3. For three weeks beginning May 6, about 40 patrol and district traffic officers from all three police divisions will record the race of drivers. That data will be reviewed after the test period to make sure the collection process developed by a team of experts from York University works….The project ended the long-running human rights case of Chad Aiken, who was pulled over in May 2005 while driving his mother’s Mercedes-Benz. Read full story.

Ontario Green Energy Act job incentives shot down by WTO
Ontario is pondering how many jobs might be at stake in the wake of a trade decision that deals a blow to the province’s green energy sector….York University environmental studies Professor Mark Winfield said other countries, including the EU and Japan, have drawn up rules that favour local industry but steer clear of violating trade rules. “It probably requires a more sophisticated strategy than the province pursued initially,” he said in the Toronto Star May 6. But Ontario has other problems to solve if it wants a strong renewable energy sector, he said. Read full story.

Changes to legal education necessary for improved access to justice
“Law school education needs to reflect the changing world of legal services and the reality that lawyers of the future may have to [practise] law in entirely different ways. There needs to be an openness to different approaches to justice, recognizing strengths of different legal systems, with a focus on dispute resolution and innovative ways of delivering legal services to groups of clients rather than the client by client model that is still most common today,” stated the report from the Access to Legal Services Working Group that was released in late April….“Law school has to focus on dispute resolution on a whole innovative spectrum and not just as courses on how to be your grandmother’s lawyer – that was a different era,” said Osgoode Hall Law School Dean Lorne Sossin in Canadian Lawyer May 6. Read full story.

Katz Group bulk donation opens door to U.S.-style campaign funding: Alberta Opposition
York University political science Professor Robert MacDermid said he is “appalled” Alberta’s election laws allowed such bundled donations and said Alberta is “a long way behind the ball on election finance rules.[…]It would be simply a licence to allow people to give money without disclosing the truth about it,” highlighting the need for citizens to know who is contributing to political parties. “When you have a system that doesn’t control disclosure adequately[…]that absence of openness and disclosure really does make people question politicians,” he said in the Edmonton Journal May 6. Read full story.

Former leader ‘comes home’ to Liberals
Gordon Wilson, the former Liberal leader, has made a surprise endorsement of current party boss Christy Clark. Wilson famously took the Liberals from the political fringe and back into the mainstream in 1991….He was forced out of the party in 1993, started his own political movement, and then joined the NDP and even ran for that party’s leadership. Today, he’s ‘coming home’ to the Liberals and thinks you should too.…York University political science Professor Dennis Pilon said, in News1130 May 6, it’s another stunning reversal by the man once dubbed “Flip” Wilson. “If anything, I think Christy Clark’s Liberals look not that far away from Gordon Campbell’s Liberals, the very Liberal party that Gordon Wilson once quit. It does seem very, very weird.” Read full story.

B.C. mining company wins $90-million award against former director
A Vancouver-based mining company has won a $90-million equitable damages award against the former CEO and majority shareholder of its subsidiary for breach of fiduciary duty and self-dealing. “A breach of fiduciary duty is very significant and there are not many cases like this – it’s very harsh,” said York University Professor Richard Leblanc in Canadian Lawyer May 6. “I’ve never seen a quantum this large for fiduciary duty – it sends a strong signal to any director who can potentially be offside on taking advantage of a corporate opportunity.” Read full story.

CTV’s Sandie Rinaldo is a role model for young professionals
York alumna Sandie Rinaldo, a mother of three, has been the weekend anchor for CTV National News for more than 25 years. She also hosts CTV News Channel’s “Direct” and reports for W5. In all, she’s been with CTV for 40 years. “I was offered the weekend job and the hours worked to my advantage,” said Rinaldo in The Loop May 6, who started working at CTV just one week after graduating from York University. She soon became Canada’s first female anchor on a daily network newscast. Read full story.

Budget more about politics than policy: professor
The budget presented by Ontario’s minority Liberal government is less about appealing to you and more about remaining in power, York University Professor Emeritus Robert Drummond said in the Aurora Banner May 3. With the possible exception of the commitment to slash automobile insurance rates by 15 per cent, there isn’t much contained in the budget for the average Ontarian to get enthusiastic about, Drummond said, explaining people don’t typically get excited about provincial budgets unless they include tax cuts or increases. Read full story.