What Canada gained (and lost) in Afghanistan

“Last week marked the end of Canada’s 12-year odyssey in Afghanistan. Assessments of our involvement in that country are now emerging. Some claim we failed in our objectives. Others argue it is premature to pronounce mission success or failure,” wrote Eugene Lang, BMO Visiting Fellow at York University’s Glendon College, in the Toronto Star March 25. “Irrespective of what happens in Afghanistan, any assessment of Canada’s missions there should acknowledge some positive byproducts that have accrued to this country as a result of Canadian sacrifices.” Read full story.

Earth Hour a chance to ponder climate change solutions, David Miller says
At Tuesday’s Earth Hour panel discussion organized by former Toronto mayor David Miller, now head of the WWF’s Canadian chapter, York University Professor Jose Etcheverry brought up cities in Germany that are committed to becoming 100-per-cent renewable. “For those cities it’s an ethical and moral issue about the environment, but it’s also a strategic issue about relying less on oil-producing countries,” said Etcheverry in the Toronto Star March 25. “Those models can show us in Canada what is possible.” Read full story.

Offshore liability legislation a nod to environmentalists, former energy regulator says
Four years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, collective memory is still ingrained with images of explosions, animals covered in oil sludge and slicks discolouring the water, reported Embassy March 26. . . . York University environmental studies Professor Gail Fraser appeared before the House committee in 2010, calling for tougher regulations and pointing to a lack of transparency within the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. Read full story.

Black youth engagement
York University almuna Kimberley Tavares was interviewed by Matt Galloway on CBC’s “Metro Morning” and by Paul Kennedy on CBC’s “Ideas” on March 21 about the education gap and keeping black youth in school. Watch full video and listen to full podcast.

Bank of Canada looks to rein in Cdor rate behind $10-trillion of our economy
Until recently the Canadian dealer offered rate (Cdor), the Canadian version of Libor, was just an obscure acronym known only to a handful of traders, but it is “probably the most important benchmark” in the country and the Bank of Canada is taking steps to rein it in, reported the Financial Post and others March 24. . . . “We will examine how these posted rates are currently used by market participants to see how any possible changes could affect market functioning,” said Timothy Lane, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, in a speech on Monday at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “Given Cdor’s importance, making sure it is robust is essential to the whole Canadian financial system.” Read full story.

Are campuses turning into free-speech-free zones?
Universities are supposed to be places where ideas – even radical, controversial ones – are freely debated without fear of censorship or intimidation. But has political correctness endangered free speech on Canadian campuses? That’s the question up for debate on March 27 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa – the latest in the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Great Canadian Debates series. Professor Daniel Drache of York University will argue against the resolution, while National Post columnist Barbara Kay will argue in favour of it, reported iPolitics March 25. Read full story.

Spain’s first step to right historical wrong
“The Spanish government’s offer of the ‘right of return’ to the descendants of Jews expelled in 1492 is a ‘bit late, but nevertheless worthy of praise,’ says Rabbi Pinchas Godlschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis. The Rabbi was responding to Spain’s new law – approved by the cabinet on Feb. 7 – granting citizenship to all those who can prove their Sephardic origin,” wrote Faisal Kutty, adjunct professor of law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in MWC News March 25. Read full story.

York University professor too quick to denounce sexism in refusing student’s request to avoid women in class: rights advisor
J. Paul Grayson, the York University professor who refused a student’s religious request to be exempt from interacting with women, got it completely wrong, according to an academic advisor to the Ontario Human Rights Commission interviewed in the National Post March 25. Read full story.