SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - April 18, 2008

April 18, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people made news: April 11-18, 2008                 

Beginning Wednesday, May 7, watch The Vancouver Sun for the first of four weekly SFU reports to the community from SFU President Michael Stevenson.

Running May 7, 14, 21 and 28, the full-colour pages feature SFU’s research and success-stories in the environment, health science, and arts and culture; and on SFU’s big May 31 Open House.

And do check out the Open House website at

SFU People in the News now takes a vacation break, and returns on Thursday May 16.


  • The federal government announced in a news release the appointment of Anthony Perl to the board of directors of VIA Rail Canada Inc. Perl is director of SFU’s urban studies program, and has written several books including the recent co-authored Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil.

    Meanwhile, Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe quoted Perl in a column on air travel in this age of soaring fuel costs. Said Perl: “"The place where airline use will actually decline is in North America where we have turned flying into 'buses with wings' mass transportation." The Brandon (MB) Sun picked up the column.
  • Public policy prof Jon Kesselman wrote a guest article in the Globe and Mail on suggestions the GST be restored to seven per cent in order to trim income taxes and expand public spending. He concluded: “The answer to this ‘$60-billion question’ is an unequivocal ‘no’. The proposal is simply a tax shuffle that will do nothing to improve the economy's competitiveness while obscuring the fact that it is a net tax hike.”

    Kesselman was also quoted in a Don Cayo column in The Vancouver Sun, examining a new Fraser Institute book, The Impact and Cost of Taxation in Canada: The Case for Flat Tax Reform.
  • The Globe and Mail also carried a story on a Vancouver conference of Arctic security experts, hosted last weekend by SFU. John Harriss, director of the SFU’s school for international studies, found it “odd” and “surprising” that Ottawa sent only a mid-level public servant to sit as an observer.

    And the Calgary Herald ran a column by Vancouver Sun writer Barbara Yaffe, saying that “Canada's ‘true north strong and free’ may not be as strong or free as those singing the national anthem believe it to be. In fact, some of that great northern expanse may not even be Canada's.” She quoted visiting prof Jayantha Dhanapala, who helped organize the SFU conference.
  • The Toronto Star looked at Canada’s national DNA data bank. Judges are supposed to order a DNA sample be taken from offenders in the most serious crimes, but the Star quoted SFU geneticist William Davidson, who sits on the DNA data bank advisory committee: “Judges have not been following through with a (DNA) order. That has been a problem, and it continues to be a problem."
  • The Edmonton Journal examined the issue of deregulation of electricity generation in Alberta. Among those quoted was SFU’s John Calvert, author of Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia, which argues against efforts to privatize part of BC’s electricity system. "BC Hydro is a good deal for people here," said Calvert. "The public is not keen to have it privatized."
  • Asian Pacific Post wrote about an online petition to put pressure on China for a dialogue with Tibet’s Dalai Lama. So far has so far obtained nearly 1.3 million signatures. “There are two wars going on today,” said assistant prof Peter Chow-White of SFU Communication. “Analog wars between people, which are brutal and nasty, and then the information wars, which are nasty in different ways but are equally important in many ways too.”
  • A column in the Yukon News wondered why Earl’s restaurant wouldn’t conduct a hiring interview for a server over the phone, and insisted on seeing the candidate. Something to do with wanting to check out their physical assets? SFU marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was quoted: “When you're running a restaurant, you're selling a lot more than food. Is the idea of hiring eye candy new? No, it's been going around since the days of Playboy Mansion, Hooters. Ethical? That's a darned good question."
  • The Ottawa Citizen looked at a report from Britain’s House of Lords that concludes record levels of immigration bring no economic benefits. The Citizen cited a Fraser Institute paper by SFU’s Herbert Grubel, economics prof emeritus, that estimates a cost to Canadian taxpayers of over $18 billion for immigrants who arrived in this country between 1990 and 2002.


  • Surrey Now ran a story that began: “Faced with a strong demand for science and technology courses, Simon Fraser University Surrey is pushing for expansion.”

    Joanne Curry, SFU Surrey executive director, was quoted: “We've had to restrict our year-one science class. . . . We have more applicants than we have space."

    Costs of a new science building are estimated at $65 million. The Now reported Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and SFU president Michael Stevenson signed a memorandum of understanding committing the two parties to work together to push the project forward.
  • The Province ran a story saying a gap in BC’s eating-disorder services is forcing many parents to send their teens out of the province for care. It quoted Elliot Goldner, SFU Health sciences prof and former director of the eating-disorders program at St. Paul's Hospital: "A good residential facility would be a valuable addition to what we have in B.C. I know quite a few young people are transferred out of the province and that's not ideal for many reasons." By way of Canwest News Service, the story ran in five other BC papers.
  • Speaking of eating disorders, The Vancouver Sun covered a presentation by researcher-author Michael Levine at workshops this week that were co-sponsored by SFU’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA). Levine (from Ohio’s Kenyon College) said websites that offer forums for people with anorexia and advocate extreme weight loss can be very dangerous.

    GlobalTV, the Victoria Times Colonist and CHEK-TV (Victoria) also carried the story. Levine was interviewed by the International Herald Tribune and also appeared on the Christy Clark show on CKNW.Deborah Grimm, of the co-sponsoring Looking Glass Foundation, was interviewed on CFUN Radio.
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd quickly volunteered to be available to media after thearrest of Allan Dwayne Schoenborn in the slaying of his three young children. Schoenborn had been hunted since his estranged wife found the bodies of their three children in her mobile home at Merritt BC on April 6.

    Earlier, research by Boyd was mentioned when The Vancouver Sun reported a federal review found Vancouver's supervised injection site for drug users doesn't cause increased drug use, doesn't appear to affect crime rates, saves at least one life a year from overdose, is well supported by the community and provides as much as $4 in benefits for every dollar spent. The Health Canada review examined a number of studies—including one by Boyd on public order.

    In a Vancouver Sun blog later, columnist Frances Bula wrote that Boyd's report on cost and benefits “unequivocally states that the existing site produces evidence of benefits in excess of costs.” And she added: “He says there should be even more sites, saying that would produce even more benefits, since the costs per user, thanks to economies of scale, would go down.”

    In a story on the same issue, the Georgia Straight cited a report by SFU criminologist Ray Corrado.
  • Georgia Straight also ran a story on soaring food prices around the world. Among those quoted was SFU’s Mark Winston, in his role as a world expert on bees and pollination. The Straight ran a big photo of him, too.
  • Burnaby Now covered Burnaby Council’s decision this week to support the proposed Burnaby Mountain Sport and Medical Complex on the Burnaby campus. But Pat Hibbitts, SFU's vice-president of finance, pointed out the university's board of governors has not yet seen a business plan from the proponents.

    If the project goes ahead, it would be “Canada's largest athletic centre” with two rooftop playing fields, an indoor track and an Olympic-sized pool, plus kinesiology and sports medicine labs, shops and restaurants, and an indoor field house that seats 5,000.
  • Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe commented on an Angus Reid poll that found "almost half of Canadians think people seem angrier than last year." Yaffe quoted SFU criminologist Ehor Boyanowsky. Among other things, he said, "We have developed a culture of anxiety and short-temperedness." The column also ran in the Ottawa Citizen and the Brandon (MB) Sun.
  • Burnaby Now featured Engineers Without Borders—and Glynnis Hawe, an SFU history and political science major who is going to Ghana May 6 as a non-engineer. Also quoted was Paul Carriere, who has been involved with SFU's chapter of EWB for the last three years: "I'm an engineering student myself, and I've seen instances where scientists have built the perfect pump or the perfect well. But sometimes, scientists don't realize there are social challenges that have to be overcome."
  • The Vancouver Sun picked up an SFU news release announcing that Michael Audain is the 2008 recipient of the SFU President's Distinguished Community Leadership Award. “Through the Audain Foundation for Visual Arts, he has supported the arts in B.C. with gifts to SFU Contemporary Arts, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Bill Reid Foundation, the National Gallery of Canada and many others.” The North Shore News also ran a story.
  • Burnaby Now ran a story on how two SFU neuroscientists have made a major breakthrough in human brain-function research, one that opens the door to discovering brain activity as it is happening. The two are John McDonald, associate professor and Canada Research Chair in cognitive neuroscience, and PhD student Jessica Green.
  • Warren Gill, vice-president, University Relations, put on his transportation geographer’s cap to discuss eco-density and its impact on transportation with CKWX Radio.


Tuesday April 22 is Earth Day, and media are already set up with some SFU experts on things environmental:

  • Mark Jaccard will be on the Bill Good show on CKNW 980 from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., talking about the controversy over carbon taxes in BC and Canada, and on Earth Day and the prospects for solving the world’s climate challenge.
  • Boyd Cohen, assistant prof in SFU Business, and creator of a new sustainability venture called 3rdwhale, will be on the Fanny Kiefer show on Shaw-TV at 9 a.m. Cohen’s 3rdwhale initiative ( includes a contest to be launched on Earth Day to find “the Greenest person on the planet”.
  • Health scientist Scott Venners will do a radio interview on CFUN 1410, at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday. He’s talking about the federal ban on baby bottles containing the controversial chemical bisphenol-A. A number of stores across Canada that sell water bottles containing BPA have pulled them from their shelves.

Also in the news environmental:

  • CanWest News Service reported that an international team (that included SFU scientists) has discovered why half the world's western sandpipers touch down on a tidal flat just south of Vancouver every spring. “The secret is in the mud. More specifically, in the snot-like ‘biofilm’ coating the mud. The tiny shorebirds, weighing about 30 grams each, suck a remarkable 20 tonnes of the sticky slime off the mud every day as huge flocks swoop down to refuel during the spring migration.”

    Meanwhile, PAMR sent out a news release on SFU’s Centre for Wildlife Ecology which is intensifying its investigation of the pattern and timing of sandpipers’ migration. David Lank, adjunct biology professor, is a lead researcher.
  • Canwest News Service reported that China's greenhouse gas emissions have been grossly underestimated, according to a new University of California study. Citing previously unavailable evidence, it said China probably passed the U.S. to become the world's top emitter in 2006. The story quoted energy economist Jaccard as saying the dismal outlook for China is no surprise, and that Beijing will eventually have to act.

    Jaccard was also quoted in a Georgia Straight story on “peak oil” and the future of petroleum supplies.
  • Geographer Lance Lesack did yet another interview re: a study he co-authored, indicating that rising water levels induced by global-warming in the Mackenzie Delta are three times more severe than predicted. This interview was with the CBC-TV Northbeat show. The Langley Advance also carried a story about Lesack’s work; he’s a Langley resident.
  • National Post columnist John Ivison wondered if the federal Liberals now are looking for a June election. He suggested Stéphane Dion favours a plan released two weeks ago by SFU prof Nancy Olewiler and University of Calgary prof Jack Mintz. They propose a national environmental tax on gasoline, diesel, coal and natural gas to reduce consumption but one made revenue neutral by returning the money raised to Canadians through income tax cuts.


  • The Vancouver Sun ran a n item on the increase of applications to SFU for first-year degree programs—up by more than 400 (3%) over the same time last year. Registrar Kate Ross reminded students that April 30 is the key deadline for getting applications in. GlobalTV also carried the story. ChannelM-TV, the multicultural station, promptly pursued Ross for a story on international enrolment.
  • CanWest News Service looked at how students entering the workplace are increasingly insisting that the organizations they work for hold themselves accountable for the environmental and human rights impact of their activities. Among those quoted were Kirk Hill, executive director of the career management centre at SFU's Segal Graduate School of Business; prof Boyd Cohen, who teaches sustainable entrepreneurship at Segal, and Amanda Blair, an MBA student at SFU who is preparing for a career with a sustainable company.
  • The Canadian International Council announced in a news release the award of a national research fellowship to Margaret Kalacska, post-doctoral research fellow in SFU Criminology. She’ll be looking at the use of remote sensing and advanced mapping to determine vulnerable routes for illegal border crossings between Canada and the U.S. The Ottawa Citizen was the first to run an item.
  • A letter to the editor in The Vancouver Sun objected to the thought of SFU ending tuition-free education for seniors as a result of government funding cuts. “The provincial Liberal government certainly has to share the blame with another wrongheaded budgeting fiasco, but it is attendant upon the university administration not to compound this stupidity.” Burnaby Now also ran a story on the issue, and BCIT's weekly television show, BCIT Magazine, was pursuing a story.


  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader told readers that SFU’s Summer Publishing Workshops and Powell’s Books of Portland OR are offer aspiring writers and publishers the chance to win an all-expenses-paid scholarship to the SFU’s book publishing immersion workshop, July 6-19. (The deadline for entries is April 30 with the winner announced May 14. See for contest details.)
  • Burnaby Now featured Milun Tesovic, a 22-year-old SFU business administration student, who helped found MetroLeap Media Inc. and its website ( which can provide almost 800,000 song lyrics to music fans.


  • Michelle Patterson, adjunct prof and researcher in the Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction (CARMHA) at SFU, was interviewed by CBC Radio for this Saturday’s episode of The House. The show (Saturday April 19 at 9 a.m.) will address homelessness and mental illness across the country. Vancouver’s Co-op Radio also was pursuing Patterson.


  • The Province looked at the future of the Clan football team, which opened itsspring camp April 18 at Terry Fox Field on the Burnaby campus, with head coach Dave Johnson working to snap a three-season-long 25-game losing streak.
  • And The Vancouver Sun wrote about the Clan women's softball team, which has nine straight victories, and an amazing string of 10 consecutive trips to the NAIA nationals. Head coach Mike Renney was quoted.
  • Burnaby Now reported on “a very productive couple of weekends for the Simon Fraser University Clan track and field team.” It carried a string of Clan names, and noted: “The Clan now have two outdoor competitions under their belts and are preparing for the Mt. Sac Relays, taking place April 18 to 20 in California.”
  • Coquitlam Now ran a feature on cyclist Nathan MacDonald, an Olympic hopeful who has won financial support from the local Growing Champions program. “The 19-year-old Coquitlam native trains roughly 20 hours per week, riding his bike upwards of 600 kilometres in the process . . . (and) also manages to find time to keep up with his studies in kinesiology at Simon Fraser University.”
  • Maclean’s ran a feature on Olympic wrestler Travis Cross, heading for the Beijing games. After every four-day shift as a firefighter in Port Alberni, he got four days off. “He'd bundle up his wrestling gear and take the ferry to the mainland to train with the Burnaby Mountain Wrestling Club, an elite program at Simon Fraser University that spawned such stars as Olympic gold medallist Daniel Igali.”
  • The Grande Prairie (AB) Daily Herald-Tribune carried a feature on SFU swimmer Andrew Poznikoff at the Canadian Olympic swim trials in Montreal. He’ll be back at SFU in the fall “with even higher expectations for his NAIA results and his continued ascent up the ranks of Canadian men's swimming.”
  • The New Westminster Record featured three lacrosse players from New Westminster who have contributed to the SFU club lacrosse team's 10-1 season this year: Ben Davies, James Poelzer, and Chris Tessarolo.

    Meanwhile, Burnaby Now featured former SFU student Kevin Crowley, now playing field lacrosse at Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. Crowley, who played a year for SFU’s lacrosse team under coach Jeff Cathrea, was recruited last summer.
  • The Nanaimo Daily News ran a feature on Nicole Haywood, 2006 Pan American double-gold junior champion in canoe-paddling. She intends to attend SFU in September, the News noted.
  • The Abbotsford News ran a feature on the impending induction into the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame of Cory Kwak, former SFU wrestler and a member of the national wrestling team from 1990 to 1996.
  • The Hamilton Spectator featured Hamiltonian John McGrane, who is about to be inducted to the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. He won a scholarship from SFU and while playing here was named a two-time All-American. He was then selected to Canada's 1976 Olympic team and turned pro the following year. The story also mentioned Josh Bennett of Hamilton, who last year received a full scholarship to play soccer at SFU.

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