SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - January 25, 2008

January 25, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Jan. 18-25, 2008                 

Some heavy talk by SFU experts on the economy and stock-market dynamics this week, but  Friday Jan. 25 began on a different note.
Pipe Sgt. Jack Lee of the SFU Pipe Band took to the Early Edition show on CBC Radio in the morning, with his pipes, to mark Robbie Burns Day.


  • Economist Richard Harris was in The Vancouver Sun and on GlobalTV talking about the depressing state of the U.S. economy and the resulting crunch on stock markets around the world. The Sun story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist.

    Fellow-economist David Andolfatto was on CBC Radio's Almanac show, also talking about the Blue Monday stock market dive.

    And marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was on CBC Radio as well, predicting some British Columbians will start belt-tightening: “Consumers who are not as well off, consumers who are exposed to the market and taking a beating, seniors who are very price sensitive . . . they may very well keep their money in their jeans."

    But he also predicted consumers—especially cross-border shoppers—could benefit if retailers in the U.S. begin slashing prices.
  • Meredith was also on CBC-TV’s Marketplace program, on shopping for electronics. Your HDTV may come at a bargain price, but Meredith pointed out: “The real bucks are made on those cables, on that TV hanger. They're made on the warranty. They're made on the service. They're made on the guy who comes to install it for you. That's where the profit is.”

  • There was quick interest in a CanWest News Service story on archeologist David Burley's discoveries in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga. They are rewriting the history of a vast portion of Oceania, and are tracing the common origins of a host of island peoples to a remote peninsula, Nukuleka, that he believes was once the site of a large and lasting "capital" of ancient Polynesia.

    The story ran in The Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Rush Hour, Calgary Rush Hour, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Winnipeg Free Press and then in the Montreal Gazette and Windsor Star. Maclean’s magazine also carried an item, and so did a couple of New Zealand news outlets.
  • MSNBC and carried a feature on how blind salamanders, legless amphibians with tentacles on their heads and ghost frogs whose favorite haunt is a human burial ground are just a few of the world's weirdest creatures. They are also, said the Zoological Society of London, among the most threatened amphibian species. The MSNBC story quoted SFU biologist Arne Mooers. "We can't afford to lose these ones, because they are so different from everything else." FOX News also ran the story.

  • MSNBC also carried a story on how researchers at the University of Washington have created the prototype for a bionic contact lens that includes light-emitting diodes, basic wiring for electronic circuits and even a tiny antenna. Among those quoted was Glenn Chapman, a prof in SFU’s School of Engineering Science.

  • The Associated Press checked up on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's ringing praise for public-private partnerships (P3s) in BC—and, among others, quoted public policy profs Marvin Shaffer and Aidan Vining.

    (Suggesting P3s could work for $500 billion worth of public works needs in California, the governor said of BC: "The political leaders are happy, business is happy, the public is happy, the economy is happy, the future is happy."  Reported the AP: "In reality, the situation in Canada's far-western province is less rosy than Schwarzenegger portrays it.") The AP story ran in more than 30 US news outlets.

  • Two Ontario newspapers, the London Free Press and the St. Catharines Standard became the latest to pick up a Canadian Press story on how some people tend to gain more weight in the winter because they eating more starchy foods and more comfort foods. Among those quoted: SFU’s Diane Finegood, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.


  • The Vancouver Sun told readers that the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation has donated $4 million to SFU to support research into children's health and to construct a special laboratory for research into infectious diseases.

  • Meanwhile, the North Shore News used an earlier SFU news release on Michael Audain’s gift of $2 million to SFU's School for the Contemporary Arts for its new Vancouver home in the Woodward's development. Chris Arnet, senior director for SFU Advancement, was quoted.

  • Criminologist Ehor Boyanowsky was in a Vancouver Sun story that blared: “City's reported hate crimes have doubled since 2006.” Said Boyanowski: “I've always been against calling them hate crimes. What you really need to do is analyze why people feel this way and deal with them.” The story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist, and then went across Canada by way of CanWest News Service.

  • Criminologist David MacAlister was in a National Post story on the shutdown of an Internet website and radio show that spread hate against Jews, blacks and Hispanics. (And whose operator has been accused by former followers of being an FPInformart.)

  • Surrey Now noted a coming forum on the pros and cons of a Metro Vancouver police service. The event, hosted by SFU’s School of  Criminology and the BC ministry of public safety and solicitor-general, is set for Feb. 6, 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.,  at SFU’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue. PAMR sent out a release on this.

  • International relations prof Doug Ross was in a Province story on 2010 Winter Olympics security. He said he's concerned that a small security budget may mean disaster for the Games. "In Ottawa they are not taking it seriously. They think the war on terrorism is fading and all this will go away. I really hope they are right, but if they are not it could be really ghastly."

  • Urban critic James Howard Kunstler, SFU Urban Studies' first visiting fellow in urban sustainable development, spoke to SRO audiences at the Surrey and Vancouver campuses. He also appeared this week on the Fanny Kiefer show on ShawTV and with Bill Good on CKNW.

  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province covered a news conference at the Burnaby campus on Tuesday in which BC mines minister Kevin Krueger reported mineral-exploration spending in B.C. roared to a record $416 million last year. The media event was held at SFU Earth Sciences, where Krueger urged students with an interest in geology to consider mining as a career. The story also ran in the Victoria Times-Colonist.

  • Burnaby Now reported that SFU-based MITACS is arming African scientists and health officials with a powerful weapon in the fight against serious disease pandemics: math. Arvind Gupta, scientific director of the MITACS network (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) was quoted, and photographed.

  • The Williams Lake Tribune noted how Canada's First Nations population is growing "and the city of Williams Lake is right in the thick of that trend." It quoted public policy prof Doug McArthur as saying such communities will have to work on programs for First Nations, especially in education and social services.

  • The Abbotsford News promoted a public dialogue forum on the future of learning and culture in the community. (It's set for Saturday Jan. 26 at Cascade Community Church on Delair Road from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) Quoted was SFU's Joanna Ashworth, who directed some 25 "thought leaders" in the first round of learning and culture discussions in September.

  • Gordon Price, SFU City Program director, was quoted in the Delta Optimist, in a story reporting that Andres Duany, high-profile American architect and urban planner, has joined the Southlands project in Tsawwassen. (Price said it'll be interesting to see if attitudes about developing the Southlands have changed in Tsawwassen since the last major proposal was pitched almost 20 years ago.)

    was also in the Peace Arch News, whichpicked up from sister papers their story of last week in which he lauded the BC government's $14-billion transportation plan. "It's historic," Price said. "It takes what was a backlogged and frustrated planning process and has moved it forward at least a generation."


Media were chasing energy economist Mark Jaccard again this week, looking for advance stories on next week’s premiers’ meetings on climate change. (The premiers meet in Vancouver Monday and Tuesday.)
And Jaccard’s thoughts on a carbon tax or other measures to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions continued to pop up in the media during the week.

  • Columnist Michael Smyth in The Province wondered if Premier Gordon Campbell will indeed introduce such a tax next month. "One of the biggest backers of the carbon tax is university Prof. Mark Jaccard, named last year as special adviser to Campbell's climate action team. Jaccard's own consulting company was hired by the government to produce an analysis of climate-change policy. It's not hard to imagine what he recommended: Ka-ching!"

    (Editor’s note
    : Prof. Jaccard does not actually advocate a carbon tax.  Rather, he analyses and evaluates and advises on the likely consequences—economic and environmental—of various policy options. These include such things as carbon taxes, cap-and-trade systems, vehicle emission standards, etc.)

  • Following on an article Jaccard wrote in The Vancouver Sun last week came letters to the editor. One quoted Jaccard ("European countries have had [carbon taxes] for more than a decade, and the sky has not fallen"), but argued:

    "By the way, what has not fallen, generally, is emissions from taxed energy consumption. What has fallen in carbon-taxing nations is manufacturing sector jobs. Tax carbon emissions? Watch our pulp and paper mills close and raw log exports grow, as in Scandinavia. New industrial development is not happening in any of the carbon-taxing nations without large government-to-business handouts. "

  • Meanwhile, the St. Albert (AB) Gazette became a comparatively rare voice in Alberta in backing proposals for a national carbon tax to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Said the Gazette: "A carbon tax is essentially a fuel tax, according to Mark Jaccard, economist at Simon Fraser University and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the national roundtable. So long as people can pollute for free, he says, they will not change their habits. Place a tax on all carbon-rich fuels—gasoline, natural gas, and coal—and you show consumers there is a price to pay for polluting and push them towards more efficient cars, homes and power sources."

  • But on the website, SFU prof Marjorie Griffin Cohen challenged the Jaccard prescription:

    "Does a slow incremental tax actually work? The short answer is no, and there is evidence to suggest that this would be the worst way to implement a carbon tax. . . . I would like to see heavy emitters, like the oil and mining companies, paying the correct price for the use of a public resource. But that is a different issue from placing a tax on consumers to get them to change their behaviour."  (
  • A Stephen Hume column in The Vancouver Sun reported sea lice infestations affecting wild salmon smolts that migrate past fish farms have been found in yet another area.

    “Sea lice infestations of wild juvenile fish in Pacific Canada extends beyond juvenile pink and chum salmon in the Broughton Archipelago to juvenile pink, chum and sockeye salmon, as well as larval herring in the Discovery Islands," says a paper to be published by the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. The authors include SFU statistician Rick Routledge.  The story also appeared in the Campbell River Courier-Islander.



  • The Fraser Valley edition of the Business Examiner picked up an SFU news release on the appointment of Daniel Shapiro as dean of the Faculty of Business Administration.

  • And Burnaby Now used our release on how molecular biology and biochemistry students will get some extra financial help, thanks to a new endowment fund started by former student Terry Snutch. Snutch (who founded Neuromed Pharmaceuticals Inc.) is donating $50,000, and SFU is matching that. It's all in honour of Snutch's former prof, David Baillie.

  • Autodesk, Inc. and Electronic Arts, Inc. announced a new project design workshop for the new Masters for Digital Media program at the Great Northern Way Campus. It will equip students with techniques to plan and manage digital media projects. "Our goal is to shape the next-generation of digital media leaders," said Gerri Sinclair, executive director of the MDM Program, in an Autodesk/EA news release.  The story ran on, among others,

    magazine also gave a plug to the MDM program, and to GNWC (a venture  of SFU, UBC, BCIT and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design). Sinclair was quoted in Playback, too.
  • Burnaby Now reported two refugees are studying at SFU, thanks to a special assistance program. Joselyne John (Burundi and Malawi) and Abdiwali Ali (Somalia and Kenya) were accepted through a program run by student volunteers and SFU International staff. Student volunteers Gunpreet Singh and Sukhy Sidhu were in the story.


  • The Vancouver Sun told readers how philanthropist Michael Audain has donated $2 million to the new education and performance centre for the School for the Contemporary Arts at the downtown Woodward's site. The story mentioned that we have raised $17 million of a fundraising goal of $30 million—including $3 million from SFU's former chancellor, Milton Wong.  (You can donate here.)

  • The Tri-City News listed the art exhibition Sasquatch Held in the Basket of Memory. Key works on show are from Coquitlam artist Annie Ross, an assistant professor of First Nations Studies at SFU. (Port Moody Arts Centre, 2425 St. Johns St., through Feb. 10, Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.)

  • And the Globe and Mail and The Province listed The Dating Portfolio, by photographer Susan Bozic. (SFU Gallery, until Feb. 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 12-5 p.m. Saturday.)

  • The North Shore News featured West Vancouver artist Jas W. Felter and the eclectica collected in his home studio. He used to be, the News noted, curator of the SFU Gallery. He opened this week (at the North Shore's Ferry Building Gallery) his first full-fledged show in the Lower Mainland since 1997. (Half his proceeds will be donated to the Iris Garland Dance Program Enhancement Fund at SFU and the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Fund at The Dance Centre in Vancouver. The funds are named for his wife, who died in 2002. She was the founder of the dance program at SFU.)

  • The Prince Rupert Daily News said the performing arts there can expect "a big boost this year", thanks to Rod McNish of Brickred Artistic Management. The theatre coach and program administrator holds a theatre performance degree from SFU, the News noted.



  • Kinesiologist Peter Ruben told media how team of scientists, among them Ruben, says it has found conclusively that the electrical signal in nerve cells originates in a nerve cell’s initial segment. The findings of the team’s study, undertaken in research labs in Germany and Australia, were reported this week in Nature Neuroscience’s online journal.

  • And communication prof Peter Anderson put out a news release on how Sri Lankans will soon be able to take disaster communication capabilities directly to a disaster. Anderson is laying the groundwork for a new Advanced Mobile Emergency Communications (AMECom) vehicle for Sri Lanka’s disaster management program.

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:



  • In a news release, Chartwells announced it now will have only cage-free shell eggs in campus food services at SFU.  (And at Concordia; with the University of Ottawa following in September.) The release said the Vancouver Humane Society and Humane Society International/Canada commended the decision.

  • Insurance company Zurich Financial Services Group announced an initiative focused on the developing products and services addressing the risks associated with climate change. Its news release noted Zurich is already sponsoring a study into climate-change adaptation through SFU.

  • The Peace Arch News carried afeature on midwifery—and the delivery at home a month ago of Nova, daughter of Brenda Kent and Wilf Wedmann, former SFU athletics director. Kent herself studied kinesiology at SFU and now is working on a masters in population and public health. Her thesis is about attitudes toward childbirth. The story then ran in the Surrey-North Delta Leader.

  • The Canadian Press did a national feature on the Vancouver police department's efforts to ship criminals back to where they are wanted (but not at any cost to there) on "non-returnable" warrants.  Quoted was Kim Rossmo, who wrote his master's thesis in 1987 at SFU on criminal migration patterns in Canada and their effects of Vancouver.

  • The North Shore Outlook featured Darrell Mussatto, City of North Vancouver mayor, as he put in a 12-hour shift as an ambulance paramedic in Burnaby—to keep alive his paramedic's certification. It's a job he first entered part-time while studying education at SFU, and went into full-time in 1987.

  • The Campbell River Courier-Islander carried a feature on local financier Darren Latoski, one of Business in Vancouver's latest 'Top 40 Under 40.' Latoski got an MBA from SFU, the paper mentioned.

  • And the Sooke News Mirror featured another Forty under 40 winner: Dean Lindal, founder of the Entrepreneur's Organization (EO) - a worldwide networking outfit for young entrepreneurs. “We started a small business when I was at SFU called the 'Young Entrepreneurs' Services Corporation,'" he recalled.
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