Home builder engineers a path to higher education

A few years ago, Ignat Kaneff began donating to York University and helping with fundraising, first for a major expansion of Osgoode Hall Law School and more recently to finance a new entrepreneurial engineering program. He has donated $8 million in total to York, including $5 million to the engineering school. “People were very good to me when I came to Canada,” he said in The Globe and Mail May 17. “I didn’t have an education, so this is my way of giving back.” Read full story.

York U adopts mental health strategy
York University approved a comprehensive mental health strategy focusing on fostering student academic success and a better workplace to create a mentally healthy campus, the postsecondary institution announced Tuesday, May 14….York seeks to move from the more traditional response of providing care after a mental health crisis has arisen to a more proactive, preventative approach of building a healthy community by addressing pressures before they reach a crisis stage, reported the North York Mirror May 17. Read full story.

Even if alleged video of Rob Ford smoking crack surfaces, the city can’t force the mayor to resign
Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Alan Young said these problems of [lack of] proof would likely sink any criminal case against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford for possession. In fact, Young said he has never seen a case of someone convicted based on video of their activities. That kind of evidence tends to arise in conspiracy cases, he said, where it helps the Crown’s effort to prove an accused associated with certain people, not the contents of a pipe. “Right at the outset, the police don’t even have a case if they have the videotape. They would have to do a fair amount of forensic investigation to determine its authenticity, how much it’s been edited,” he said in the National Post May 20. “So you’re talking about minor criminality and this is not the type of case police would tend to put a lot of resources in.” Read full story.

Celebrating a capella music in Canada
Wibi A Capella, the student-run choir belonging to Toronto’s York University, dates back to 1988 and has served as a training ground to many talented Canadian musicians, singing hit songs peppered with jazz, funk, gospel and world music….It’s worth a mention that Wibi is the oldest group of its kind in Canada, reported Metro May 17. Just like in the movies, they compete against other vocal groups, but they are all incredibly supportive of one another….Wibi alumni are spread throughout the showbiz community including one of its founding members, host of CBC’s “Canada Live”, Andrew Craig. Read full story.

A boutique airline hopes to join the jet age
Travellers actually like flying on Porter Airlines. It could be the Canadian airline’s formula of offering free premium beer and sandwiches, served by flight attendants in trim 1960s-era uniforms and, of course, the discounted tickets. But what travellers may love most about Porter is that it flies out of an airport on the edge of Toronto’s downtown, reported the New York Times May 20. It’s a mere 10-minute cab ride or a vigorous walk from the city’s financial district….“It’s very effective,” said Schulich School of Business marketing Professor Alan Middleton, who lives near the island airport and flies Porter because of the convenience. “It’s a nice airline to fly.” Read full story.

Opinion: Harper Tories evoking laughter and anger
Today, it seems to me, the Harper government is in peril of being dragged across that line between anger and laughter. The anger is real and it is not confined to the Ottawa bubble. It is everywhere, reported the Waterloo Region Record May 21….A Conservative party that was elected to clean up the mess in Ottawa after the Liberal sponsorship scandal has made matters worse. A party that was supposed to be good managers, if nothing else, has managed to combine bureaucratic ineptitude, partisan insensitivity, bullying tactics and what York University Professor Ian Greene calls the “arrogance of office” to turn Ottawa into a toxic waste dump, politically speaking. Read full story.

What’s the cost of a life of crime?
Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Margaret Beare says the idea of assessing the cost of a criminal sounds good but suggests a serious study of the question would require a bigger effort than is possible under the government’s call for proposals. According to Beare, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government might be wiser to spend the money funding the recommendations in the roots of youth violence study by former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry and former Ontario cabinet minister Alvin Curling. “But maybe prevention-type numbers with dollars attached to them is the only thing that might encourage Harper to turn away from the totally dangerous and crime-producing get-tough tactics that he is currently pushing,” said Beare in the Law Times May 20. Read full story.