SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 22, 2008

February 22, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Feb. 15-22, 2008                

Professors Mark Jaccard and Lindsay Meredith were much pursued by media for comment on the provincial budget and its carbon tax during the week.

There was also coverage of an SFU study on how children living in Canada's poorest neighbourhoods gained more weight than those living in middle-income areas.

And of a study on the changing environment of the Mackenzie delta of the western Arctic, where as many as one third of the 45,000 lakes could dry up.

And a study on how many BC women are having a hard time coping in BC’s hot economy, and in some cases “are being seriously hurt by it.”


  • Mark Jaccard, the much-quoted energy economist from SFU’s school of resource and environmental management, came in for much media attention, of course, as the budget from BC Finance Minister Carole Taylor on Feb. 19 included a carbon tax on fossil fuels.

    Jaccard did a string of radio interviews for the CBC, and was in the Ottawa Citizen. He was in a Vaughn Palmer column in The Vancouver Sun that was also reproduced in the Kimberley Daily Bulletin and the Cranbrook Daily Townsman.

    And Jaccard was also named (or, more accurately, blamed) in a Terence Corcoran column in the Financial Post section of National Post.

    Obviously under the spell of Simon Fraser University Prof. Mark Jaccard, the Canadian godfather of carbon taxation, Ms. Taylor offered no clue as to what her new tax on energy would achieve, except for a little paragraph deep in the budget's carbon section, a paragraph based on the work of—Prof. Jaccard. . . . That the tax is a PR scam is obvious from the get-go.”

    Meanwhile,the Victoria Times Colonist promoted an energy and environmental “summit” being held by the BC Chamber of Commerce in Victoria Feb. 23-24. Jaccard was invited as the keynote speaker.
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith also did budget-related interviews with CKWX News1130, and was in a budget story in the Epoch Times.

    As well, CBC-TV’s Marketplace show finally ran a segment on selling electronics to consumers. The show taped Meredith some weeks ago, saying: “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.”

    And CBC Radio gave some more exposure to its interview with Meredith on an ad campaign portraying condos at Whistler and Big White ski resorts as "global-warming resistant." Said Meredith: “'Global warming resistant' is kind of like 'fire resistant'. . . . It'll still burn—but just not as fast.” He said the claim may be a bit over-the-top, but it's still a good technique for luring people to the slopes.
  • Criminologist Ray Corrado set his alarm clock so he could go on the early-morning CTV News, to talk about a Stats Can report that shows that Vancouver tops the chart for the highest use of guns in crime in Canada.

    And fellow-criminologist Neil Boyd was in a Canadian Press story on the subject. He said longer sentences are unlikely to deter gunplay by youth gangs, because young people who pull the triggers aren't thinking of the consequences.
  • The Canadian Press carried a national feature on how children living in Canada's poorest neighbourhoods gained more weight over an eight-year period than those living in middle-income areas. This from a study released by Statistics Canada. The researcher: SFU’s Lisa Oliver, a geography doctoral student.

    "What we found is that at age two and three we didn't see a big difference between neighbourhood income and overweight. But by ages 10-11, we saw quite a large discrepancy between neighbourhood income and children's body weight."

    Among those also quoted in the story: SFU prof Diane Finegood, scientific director for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. "We are so surrounded by relatively inexpensive, very accessible fast foods.”

    We spotted it in 16 newspapers across Canada, and it got broadcast play as well, including CBC Radio and, in the Lower Mainland, CKWX News1130.
  • The national Sunday Edition show on CBC Radio carried a hefty interview with environmental author James Howard Kunstler, SFU's first visiting fellow in urban sustainable development. He says climate change and a permanent oil crisis are "converging catastrophes" that face people in the sprawling Lower Mainland.

  • The federal government put out a news release to announce funding for the SFU library: almost $500,000 for a web project that will help preserve and promote awareness of Canada's culture, history, and heritage. It will digitize unique historical materials from multicultural groups.

    Lynn Copeland, SFU librarian and dean of library services, was quoted. Jim Abbott, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian heritage, invited media to a news conference on the Burnaby campus. Chinese-market newspapers Ming Pao and World Journal were there; so was multicultural ChannelM-TV.
  • A Globe and Mail story linked Canada’s silence on the question of recognizing Kosovo with fears that recognition could encourage and legitimize Quebec separatism. Among those quoted was Balkanologist Lenard Cohen of SFU’s School for International Studies. He noted that elections in Kosovo have repeatedly returned pro- independence politicians chosen by the large ethnic Albanian majority.

  • National Post and the Regina Leader-Post picked up a Vancouver Sun story on how 56% of all RCMP in-custody deaths over the past five years occurred in BC, while only 33% of the force's officers work here. Criminology director Rob Gordon, a former police officer, was quoted.

  • Gordon was also in a Victoria Times Colonist story on a proposal by Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe that police boards should be given authority to levy their own taxes. Gordon said that would be a backward step. “The energy and effort in the capital region should be poured into creating a metropolitan police service rather than bickering over the minutia of the budgets of two municipalities."

  • The Edmonton Journal carried a newsfeature on the changing environment of the Mackenzie delta of the western Arctic. It cited a paper in Geophysical Research Letters, in which SFU’s Lance Lesack and Environment Canada scientist Philip Marsh predict that as many as one third of the 45,000 lakes in the delta could eventually dry up. Lesack is an associate prof in Geography and Biological Sciences.

  • Radio station CHQR in Calgary and Edmonton talked to sociologist Barbara Mitchell about the Family Day holiday in February in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. (There are calls for Ottawa to declare it a national holiday.)

  • Worldwide coverage continued this week of the invention by kinesiologist Max Donelan and colleagues of the “knee brace” that generates electricity as you walk. The latest outlets to carry the news included, Medical News Today,, the Financial Express in Mumbai, and the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka.

    Since Feb. 7, incidentally, SFU’s public affairs website has recorded 4794 visits to SFU’s news release on the Donelan story—and 28% of that traffic has come from Japan. In addition, the SFU News newsletter site recorded 3720 visits to its news story on the knee-gadget.
  • Another SFU-related science story still making the rounds this week was Tanja Schwander’s research on the eggs of harvester ants. It appeared in Bulgaria, Estonia, Thailand and on and on India’s (Schwander is a post-doctoral fellow in SFU biological sciences.)


  • Burnaby Now reported that Burnaby council will hold a public hearing March 18 on the $250-million sport and medical complex proposed for the Burnaby campus by Burnaby Mountain Sports and Medical. Said the Now: “Billed as Canada's largest athletic centre, the privately owned complex includes two rooftop fields, an indoor track and an Olympic-sized pool, plans show.”

  • One story in a series in The Province on BC’s preparedness to handle disasters looked at earthquake risks. It quoted John Clague, SFU earth scientist and natural hazards expert, as saying a shallow tectonic event near Vancouver could have a death toll in the hundreds, and casualties in the thousands.

    "You're going to have people that die, you're going to have people that are injured, but the big story is the economic loss. It's a bit like a bomb. If you're really close to the source you're going to sustain the most damage. If it happened to occur 10 km down in the earth under Vancouver or Victoria it would be a huge disaster. It could cost $100 billion.”

    An earlier story in the series told how Burlington Northern has installed mudslide detectors and slide-detector fences south of the border, but has gaps on its slide-prone railroad tracks in south Surrey. Clague told the paper that completing the slide-detector fence in BC would be wise.

    The Feb. 22 chapter of the series looked at BC’s ability to handle campus shootings. The Province noted that SFU is putting in place a text-messaging system for issuing emergency alerts, and is going to test the addition of public-address loudspeakers to the emergency “blue-light” phones on the Burnaby campus. Apollonia Cifarelli, director of environmental health and safety, was quoted.

    The Province also said SFU is “the only school” to indicate it is examining protocols to gather information on troubled students who may pose a threat to safety. Tim Rahilly, director of student and community life, was quoted.
  • As investigation continued into the human right foot that washed up in the Gulf Islands last week (the third such foot to wash ashore in six months) The Province quoted Mark Skinner, biological anthropologist at SFU’s Centre for Forensic Research. Meanwhile, CBC Radio gave more play to its interview on the subject with criminologist Gail Anderson.

  • Mark Leier, director of SFU’s Centre for Labour Studies, was in the Georgia Straight in a story on BC’s imports of foreign workers. Leier wondered whether there really is a shortage of workers, or whether the aim is, rather, to “increase the supply of labour in order to decrease the demand for wages.”

  • Also in the Straight, political scientist Kennedy Stewart was interviewed on the Vancouver mayoral race and all the manoeuvres that are under way by parties and politicians. He was also in The Province, looking at the differences between the mayoralty races in Vancouver and Surrey.

  • More community papers shared a story on a Black Press/CBC survey of Lower Mainland residents’ experiences with crime, Neighbourhood 911. Rob Gordon said the poll suggests public alarm about crime has hit an extraordinarily high level—even though reported crime rates have been steadily falling. The story ran this week in the Richmond Review, Peace Arch News, Tri-City News, Abbotsford News, Chilliwack Progress and the Maple Ridge News.

  • The Oak Bay News and the Saanich News ran a story on Shauna Sylvester and the SFU-led Canada’s World project that she directs. It seeks to bring people into a national dialogue on international policy. The three-year enterprise is being run by universities across the country with funding from an assortment of charitable foundations.

  • Burnaby Now and Asia Pacific Post carried stories on criminology honours student Shaela Rae Wlodarczyk, who’s in the running to become the 2008 Miss World Canada. The Now noted Wlodarczyk entered SFU on an athletic scholarship and played two seasons on the Clan women's softball team before retiring to focus on her studies. PAMR had sent out a news release.

  • The Alaska Highway News carried a story saying Fort St. John women are having a hard time coping in the city's hot industrial economy, and in some cases “are being seriously hurt by it.” The paper thus “localized” a province-wide study to this effect. One of the co-authors: SFU’s Colleen Reid.

  • The Alaska Highway News also covered a presentation by Kym Stewart, a PhD student at SFU, who focuses on the effect of media on children's behaviour. She said watching violent TV increases the risk of anti-social behaviour. “It's kind of like smoking, where if you smoke you're not necessarily going to get cancer, but the more you smoke the more likely it is you are to get cancer.” The story also ran in the Dawson Creek Daily News and the Prince Rupert Northerner.

  • The Vancouver Sun’scareers pages carried three articles from SFU people.
    • Nancy Fournier, undergraduate career manager: “The Final Decision: You have an Offer . . . Now What?”

    • Jessica Arratia, BBA career advisor: “Tips for Career Fairs”.

    • Dylan Le Roy, career advisor in SFU Career Services. “It is important to examine the role of values in career decision making. . . . Your mission is to research out possible careers or employers who share your values.” Cited as an example: SFU’s Values and Commitments at

  • Coquitlam Now covered a Port Moody forum on sustainability. Anthony Perl, director of SFU's urban studies program, said: “Oil prices are sending us a clear signal, and we would be foolish—for the region's economic future—not to pay attention to them now.”

  • There were several more stories this week on winners of SFU Outstanding Alumni awards, the latest on ShawTV and in the North Shore Outlook and the North Shore News.


  • The Clan women’s basketball team won its best-of-three series against UCFV 2-0 last weekend. The Clan will host the winner of the UBC-UVic playoff series this coming weekend (Feb. 22-23).

    The Province featured Lani Gibbons—“the 5-foot-5 senior point guard extraordinaire” who is in her final season with SFU. Said the paper: “The shortest player on the court has schooled many of her opponents with a brand of skills honed by a survival instinct.”
  • Clan wrestler Jagroop Bhullar was named Canada West male Athlete of the Week. He won a gold medal for the third straight season at the conference championships and led the Clan men to their fifth consecutive team title. Miranda Dick was named a co-winner of the Canada West Female Wrestler of the year. She’s in her final year in the SFU wrestling program.

  • The Province explored the question of which conference would be the best fit if SFU and UBC apply to join the NCAA: the Pacific West Conference or Great Northwest Athletic Conference. “If SFU—which is still searching for an athletic director—applies to the GNAC, does that make it more attractive for UBC to maintain that local rivalry, or would they rather differentiate?”

  • Burnaby Now and the Surrey-North Delta Leader reported the SFU Rowing Club will hold its annual 24-Hour Erg-a-thon on indoor rowing machines. It’s an annual fundraiser to help cover the cost of attending out-of-town competition. The event starts at noon March 5 and concludes the at noon on the 6th, in the south Academic Quadrangle on the Burnaby campus


  • A story in one of The Vancouver Sun’s special sections on higher learning reported: “B.C. universities and colleges are increasingly keen to serve students on both sides of the Pacific who want to understand each other.” And it cited the language-learning components of the “unique undergrad program in computing science” offered by SFU and Zhejiang University.

    Another story mentioned that SFU’s range of MBA offerings, among them an executive MBA as well as a full-time program “and a degree geared for financial service professionals, the global asset and wealth management MBA.”

    And a third story covered the new Masters of Digital Media program at the Great Northern Way Campus, a joint effort of SFU., UBC, BCIT and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. “It is the only graduate degree program of its kind in the country, and the 21 students . . . are being trained so that when they leave the school they are able to work as managers in established companies, or start their own digital media firms.”


  • The Banff (AB) Crag and Canyon covered the 11th annual Women in the Director’s Chair Workshop there. (That’s director as in movie director.) Among the facilitators was education prof Carolyn Mamchur, an “award-winning author and Jungian expert”.


SFU sent out news releases on such subjects as:

  • A groundbreaking book on women's health, co-edited by two researchers from SFU and one from UBC. Six universities and colleges nationally have adopted Women's Health in Canada: Critical Perspectives on Theory and Policy as a textbook. The SFU co-editors are Marina Morrow, an assistant prof in health sciences, and Olena Hankivsky, an associate prof in public policy.

  • An information session on the unique PQP program, aimed at making immigrant teachers more employable as teachers in BC. The sessions, normally held in Surrey and Burnaby, are being offered for the first time at the Vancouver campus. PQP includes a 13-week practicum that helps immigrant teachers to adapt to BC’s education practices.

  • The world-class climatic chamber at the School of Kinesiology that will be the star attraction at the Western Canadian Conference on Environmental Ergonomics and Physiology. The unit tests extreme environments on human functions, and can mimic conditions on Mars or as deep as 335 metres under our sea.

  • A new web-based tool for assessing an individual’s cultural competence that could help corporations and government predict whether an employee will be effective on an overseas assignment or a multicultural work team. It’s the result of a three-year project led by SFU business prof David Thomas.

  • The award to David Gillanders, chair of the SFU Community Trust board, of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.

  • As well, business students who are part of the national ACE program issued their own news release on how they are assisting a Surrey clothing business called Phat Fixx. The students’ business plan has helped it to a 50% increase in revenues and a 15% decrease in expenses.

    SFU’s news releases can be found online at:


  • The Parksville-Qualicum Beach News noted the appointment of Dr. David MacLean as president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation, effective May 1. MacLean was the founding dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU. The Vancouver Sun also gave the appointment a mention.

  • The Canadian Union of Public Employees in Nova Scotia issued a news release objecting to plans by that province’s government to consult with Partnerships BC on future P3s. The release said: "A study conducted for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives by Simon Fraser University Professor Marvin Shaffer showed that B. C. taxpayers will have to pay an additional $220 million for the Sea-to-Sky Highway P3, a project that was given the blessing of Partnerships BC."
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