Calgary floods spotlight cities’ costly failure to plan for climate change

Many Canadian cities and towns are ill-prepared for the rising frequency of catastrophic weather events like the southern Alberta floods, and it’s a problem that taxpayers will ultimately end up paying for, climate change experts say, reported June 28. “From a disaster response point of view, the Calgary mayor did a fantastic job in running the whole show,” said Kaz Higuchi, a York University professor in environmental studies and former Environment Canada scientist. Read full story.

Ontario gets two nuclear-energy options
Two nuclear companies are submitting competing bids to sell Ontario two reactors as the province struggles to decide how best to provide cheap, clean, reliable power over the next 20 years, reported The Globe and Mail June 28. Critics question whether the new reactors will ever be needed. “The reality is that electricity demand in Ontario is falling,” said Mark Winfield, an environmental studies professor at York University. He said nuclear represents yesterday’s technology – a large, centralized generation source that requires long lead times and lots of upfront capital. Read full story.

Immigrant poverty a ‘tinderbox,’ study warns
The rising number of new immigrants who are living in poverty in Canada is a “tinderbox” that could explode into an “inferno,” a new study warns, reported the Vancouver Sun June 28. More than 36 per cent of immigrants who have been in the country for less than five years live in poverty, according to the latest Canadian Labour Market Report. That compares to 25 per cent in the 1980s.”Increasing (immigrant) poverty is a tinderbox that can ultimately (descend) into social discontent,” write Peter Dungan of the University of Toronto, Tony Fang of York University and Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto. Read full story.

Canada’s top stock picker not afraid to make tough calls
Mike Parkin has been named the No. 1 stock picker in this year’s StarMine Analysts Awards, reported The Globe and Mail June 28. His “buy” and “sell” calls generated a better return than his peers against his metals-and-mining benchmark in 2012, and resulted in a 21.3-per-cent “excess” return, according to the StarMine system. The Port Perry, Ont.-born analyst says he became fascinated with the capital markets while studying for his MBA at York University in 2006-07. Read full story.

Toronto Mayor’s Arts Lunch: Art Starts takes Arts for Youth Award
At the annual the Toronto Mayor’s Arts Lunch celebrating both the famous and the obscure in Toronto’s culture world, Art Starts finally emerged as a winner of the Arts for Youth Award. And at $15,000, this is the richest of the awards announced at the lunch, reported the Toronto Star June 28. Managing director Liz Forsberg (MES ’07) accepted the prize. Veteran choreographer, dancer and teacher Denise Fujiwara (BFA ’79) won the $10,000 Muriel Sherrin award for international achievement in dance. Read full story.

Rob Ford, arts mayor?
It was déjà vu all over again (almost) at the Mayor’s Arts Lunch Thursday in a downtown Toronto ballroom. Mayor Rob Ford had indicated the day before he was going to attend the annual awards event, reported The Globe and Mail June 27. Sure enough, at 12:15, Ford entered the ballroom and took his chair at table six, positioning himself between Robert Foster, investment banker, philanthropist and co-chair of the civic arts and theatre task force Ford created in 2011, and Foster’s wife Julia Foster, a power in her own right as chair of both the National Arts Centre and York University. Read full story.

What Barack Obama’s climate-change strategy means for Canada: Walkom
When US President Barack Obama spelled out his plans to fight climate change this week, most Canadian attention focused on a proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline, wrote columnist Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star June 27. But Canadians also have a broader interest in how America handles climate change. For the sad truth is that no Canadian government of any political stripe will do much on this front unless the US acts. As York University Professor Mark Winfield points out, the fact that America is doing anything at all to battle climate change will also highlight the Harper’s government’s failings on this file. Read full story

All Ottawa police start collecting race data during traffic stops
Ottawa police are beginning a controversial two-year project documenting the race of drivers during traffic stops, reported June 27. The Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project is designed to find out how much race influences the decisions police make when they pull someone over. Les Jacobs, a political science professor at York University, developed the new system with Ottawa police and said that since officers won’t be identified, it won’t reveal “bad apples.” Read full story. In a related story June 28, the Ottawa Citizen reports that Jacobs, lead researcher for the study, has made the argument that bias, when it comes to policing, begins at perception, which is why stopped drivers will not be asked their race. What matters for the study is how Ottawa police officers perceive people and whether they perceived them before the decision to pull them over. Read full story.

Outdoor encores
This summer, Shakespeare in High Park doubles its quotient of the Bard, reported NOW magazine in its June 27 issue. Instead of one, Canadian Stage offers two servings of Shakespeare, with an early comedy, The Taming Of The Shrew, and a late tragedy, Macbeth, running in rep. Presented in collaboration with York University’s theatre department, they’re helmed by two grads of the school’s MFA program, Ted Witzel (Shrew) and Ker Wells (Macbeth). Read full story.

Michael Gilbert/Miqqi Alicia Gilbert
I use the pronoun “he,” wrote Michael Gilbert, York University professor of philosophy, activist, director of Provincetown’s Fantasia Fair, heterosexual male and cross-dresser, in the June 27 issue of NOW magazine. I’m a cross-dresser. I’m old-fashioned. When I was eight or 10, I had fantasies of being a girl. I was always very clear on this: I never thought I really was a girl; I just thought I would have been better as a girl – I was always a philosopher. Read full story.

Low-cost power through high-altitude winds
Scientists in Canada develop prototype to build 20-km-high tower to generate power with wind energy, reported Hindustan Times June 27. A team of three scientists at the department of earth and space science and engineering, York University in Toronto, which includes a scientist from Jalandhar, has invented a way to generate power at zero fuel cost by building towers on the earth that can access an altitude of 20km. Scientists Raj Seth, Brendan Quine and George Zhu have developed the prototype. Read full story.

Lawyer James Kelleher was ardent, if cautious, on free trade
You would be forgiven for thinking that, when it came to free trade between Canada and the United States, the most gung-ho guy in the room was the minister for international trade. But James Kelleher seemed awfully cautious, begins an obituary for the Osgoode Hall Law School graduate in The Globe and Mail June 26. Read full story.

Figuring out who to call can be confusing
When there’s something wrong in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call? asks the Aurora Banner June 26. With four different levels of government serving York Region residents, it is not always a simple task to determine who is responsible for a particular problem. If you are a little mystified by the workings of the municipal, provincial and/or federal levels of government don’t worry, you are not alone, says York University political science professor Bob Drummond. Read full story.

Sheridan gets almost $2mil for digital research and training
Sheridan College has received additional federal government funds to support work at its Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT) in Toronto, reported the Brampton Guardian June 26. The government has also awarded Sheridan, in partnership with York University, approximately $430,000 over three years as part of the College-University Idea to Innovation Fund to support joint research into 3-D high frame rate movie making. Read full story.