Rob Ford is back, but has the city reached a ‘plateau of unhappiness’?

Dennis Pilon, professor of political science at York University, said that there is perhaps something significant about seeing average citizens speak out and demand answers from the mayor. “There’s a difference . . . when people who are not political, but perhaps are civically engaged, step up, that does point towards a level of unhappiness that may be new. A new plateau of unhappiness,” said Pilon in CBC News July 5. Read full story.

Dealing with symptoms, not disease
“I was disturbed to see that the overwhelming proportion of board members of the Heart and Stroke Foundation come from highly successful corporate careers in finance and investment and corporate management,” wrote York University Professor Dennis Raphael in The Hamilton Spectator July 4. “It becomes clear why the Heart and Stroke Foundation would hesitate to raise issues of how growing income and wealth inequality, shifting of tax burdens from the wealthy and corporate sector to the middle class and poor, and the shrinking of the social safety net increases Canadians’ risk of experiencing heart disease and stroke.” Read full story.

Rail safety upgrades inadequate, critics say
“There was a particularly fateful set of circumstances that made this a disaster on the scale that it was,” said Mark Winfield, a professor of environmental studies at York University, in the Toronto Star July 5. “Those things are just the fates, but I think that how a train ended up in that location, with that cargo, in that condition, points to much larger and much more systemic failures.” Read full story.

Cheaper U.S. border airports are often a booming business because they are subsidized by American taxes
That drive will seem all the more attractive to Ontarians if the Liberal government’s budget passes intact this month. It’s set to hike aviation fuel tax by 4-cents-per-litre over four years – a 148 per cent increase. . . . Fred Lazar, of the Schulich School of business at York University, called the tax hike “misguided.” Set up to attack the 1 per cent-ers, in reality, it affects everyone, he said in the National Post July 4. “When you take that and security charges and add it all in, you are looking at an additional $50 to $80 per ticket and then put HST on to that . . . it’s about $100 a ticket regardless of where you travel. It’s a massive hit on consumers.” Read full story.

Prof. Lockshin honoured by York University
York University Prof. Martin Lockshin was given a rare honour last month shared by only 16 other colleagues on a 1,400-person staff. Designated a University Professor at York by its Senate Committee on Awards, Lockshin was recognized for his 36 years of scholarship, teaching and contribution to university life and its community, reported The Canadian Jewish News July 3. Read full story.

40 years of SA theatre: the transformation debate
The 40 Years of Theatre in SA panel discussion at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown ended on a note of disagreement – a good sign for the theatre, reported City Press July 6. . . . The first speaker, Marcia Blumberg of Canada’s York University, explored the theme of Staging the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Read full story.

Excellent – 640 students walk and talk
“It’s wonderful to see 640 students from four high schools with educators, parents, including CUPE and Scotiabank Toronto Carnival representatives serving as Walk with Excellence Marshalls, leaving from C.W. Jefferys on a journey to Osgoode Hall, York University. Thanks to Dr. Carl James, dean of education, and Dr. Alice Pitt, vice-provost, academic, for enabling the Walk With Excellence,” said Itah Sadu, the renowned writer/storyteller who is a driving force behind the Second Annual Walk With Excellence parade and award ceremony, in The Caribbean Camera. Read full story.

Opinion: One year after Lac-Mégantic, changes to railway safety appear mostly cosmetic
“Whatever else might be said about the events of last July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, and his transport minister, Lisa Raitt, have put on a clinic in political management and blame avoidance almost from the moment the tragedy occurred,” wrote York University environmental studies Professor Mark Winfield in the Montreal Gazette July 5. “For despite the federal transport department’s role as Canada’s primary railway-safety regulator, the government has never acknowledged any measure of failure or responsibility for the tragedy.” Read full story.