SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - June 27, 2008

June 27, 2008

A look at how SFU and its people made news: June 20-27, 2008                    

Carbon taxes, federal and/or provincial, and their merits or drawbacks, were a well debated issue in the news media during the week.
Among those quoted as authorities were SFU public policy prof John Richards, economist Nancy Olewiler, energy economist Mark Jaccard, researcher Nic Rivers and marketing prof Lindsay Meredith.
And in other “green” stories, media picked up onthe “Greenest Person on the Planet Award”—the brainchild of Boyd Cohen, an assistant prof in SFU Business.


  • The Edmonton Journal featured Liberal leader Stéphane Dion’s proposed carbon tax. SFU energy economist Mark Jaccard was quoted: “Without a price on emissions, emissions won't go down. And if politicians are not talking about putting a price on emissions, they're not being honest.”
  • SFU economist Nancy Olewiler and public policy prof John Richards were among authors of a guest column in The Vancouver Sun, saying the BC carbon tax that goes into effect July 1 is “the right policy.”
    The piece mentioned research by Nic Rivers of SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management: “ . . . people in the Interior drive less, not more, than those on the Lower Mainland and their winter fuel bills aren't high enough to offset this.”
  • Richards then did an interview with the BC Almanac show on CBC Radio. "To be blunt, there is no way to significantly reduce demand without increasing price."
    But, he told The Province: “I don't think the provincial government has done nearly enough to convince average British Columbians."
  • The Globe and Mail reported on the BC government's launch this week of "a sales job" on its much-criticized carbon tax. Premier Gordon Campbell headed for the Bill Good show on CKNW and, in Vancouver, "three academics will be making the case for the tax in a forum organized by the B.C. Climate Action Secretariat, and featuring Dr. Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University, a special adviser to the province's Climate Action Team."
  • Meanwhile, the Victoria Times Colonist and other media quoted a BC government report as saying BC is making progress in the fight against global warming. The report is based on analysis from Jaccard.
  • The Toronto Star covered a panel discussion in Toronto on the idea of a carbon tax. Jaccard was one of the panelists. Noting that provinces with their own carbon and energy taxes would be expected to join the federal plan, he said: “This is going to be messy—really messy.”
  • The St. Albert (AB) Gazette also wrote about the Dion plan, and quoted Jaccard as saying:  "It's an excellent policy and I wish the Conservatives would do it." He said the carbon tax would act as an economy-wide price signal to push people towards energy efficiency and reduced consumption.
  • GlobalTV carried a consumer story saying that “as the price of oil continues to rise, just about everything you purchase may not be as cheap as it used to be.” SFU marketing prof Lindsay Meredith agreed: “The bottom line is you can't hold off the beast forever. Sooner or later. you've got to pass on those price increases or you're going to go broke. It's that simple.”


  • The Boston (MA) Herald’s website,, featured a local nominee who’s a contender for the “Greenest Person on the Planet Award”. The architect of the contest is Boyd Cohen, assistant prof in SFU Business.
    His web site (, which is devoted to networking and hosting all things green) has asked global greenies from more than 25 countries who is the greenest of them all.
    The Vancouver Sun also featured Cohen and the contest. "The idea is to make environmental stars out of people who are reducing their own environmental impact and reducing the impact of others,” said Cohen.
  • CTV News did a three-part series on what reporter Mi-Jung Lee learned after her blood was tested for 69 toxic chemicals. “ . . . we found a virtual periodic table of elements.” Among those she interviewed was SFU health scientist Scott Venners, who researches how chemical pollution affects human health.
  • A bevy of newspapers and broadcast media picked up a Canadian Press story on how sea lice can migrate to larger fish from the juvenile salmon they plague. Brendan Connors, SFU behavioral ecologist, who led the research team, said: "It's absolutely amazing. They literally do a backflip off the fish they were on and land right between the eyes of the predator."
  • Science reported that environmentalists are welcoming the U.S. government's first-ever annual catch limits on fish. But experts caution it will be difficult—and hugely expensive—to regulate the many marine species about which little is known. Among those quoted:  SFU fisheries ecologist Andrew Cooper.
  • Burnaby Now used an SFU news release from last week on a study finding that even a weak mix of pesticides in river water dampens a trout’s sense of smell. Keith Tierney, while at SFU, led the study with fellow toxicologist Christopher Kennedy. (Tierney now is at U of Windsor.)
  • The Kingston Whig-Standard reported on a Queen’s study that found plants living on the outer reaches of their species' domain are more likely to survive the effects of climate change. The Queen’s research team included SFU graduate student Emily Darling.


  • CBC-TV’s The National did a segment on the recovery of five floating human feet from BC coastal waters. Forensic archaeologist Mark Skinner (who is examining three of the feet in his high-tech SFU laboratory) was interviewed at length. Among other things, he said: “My sense of these feet is that they've not been in the water for a year or two. I think it's less time than that. We're looking at a fairly recent event.”  Skinner also was interviewed on the Christy Clark show on CKNW.
    The Edmonton Journal did a story, too, quoting forensic scientist Gail Anderson: "I'm beginning to think it might be a boat or plane that went down, and then something shifted, through seismic activity or a boat, that is making it release all these body parts now.”
    As well, the Toronto Star did a weekend story on the discovery of the fifth foot. It quoted Rob Gordon, director of the school of criminology.
  • The Globe and Mail looked at Vancouver’s mayoralty race, and quoted political scientist Patrick Smith. He noted the NPA has been "the natural ruling party that spends the most, raises the most and wins the most." But he said Gregor Robertson has a serious shot if he can unite his Vision party with members of COPE to form a solid coalition of the left.
    Closer to home, the New Westminster Newsleader quoted Smith as saying that in larger cities like Vancouver and Burnaby civic party slates make the civic government more accountable. “When you have 11 independents all running and they all have their own particular platforms, how do you hold them all to account for the actions over the prior three years?"
    In a companion story in the Newsleader, Smith said at-large civic electoral systems—as opposed to having wards—make campaigns more expensive.
  • The Globe and Mail looked at the debate on whether high-priced condo development in Vancouver’s downtown eastside could help revitalize the neighbourhood without displacing low-income residents. But SFU geographer Nick Blomley said of the developers’ eastward push: “Absent real development controls and absent real money for [low-income] housing, I think it signals a process of gentrification and attendant issues of displacement."
  • CTV National News featured an online dating service where only “beautiful” people are allowed in. SFU’s Jacqueline Levitin (Women’s Studies and Contemporary Arts) said the site is just another example of how the women's movement hasn't made the gains it hoped to. “So I don't think things have changed all that much. I think that we have done a lot of backsliding.
  • University Affairs ran a big feature on volunteering. One of the subjects: SFU’s Rosemary Tulett, secretary to the dean of arts and social sciences. Tulett has raised close to $250,000 to help children in Iraqi Kurdistan. Earlier this year, SFU gave her a humanitarian award for her work on behalf of orphans in Kurdistan.
  • Maclean's raked up some old history with a feature report on Rachel Marsden as "the Internet's reigning femme fatale"  who, in mid-June, "resurfaced in a CNN report, weighing in on the U.S. presidential election." SFU criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted:  "Any person who's prepared to make extreme statements and can do so with bravado and who seems cosmetically appropriate will be paid attention to. And the more bizarre and extreme the better."


  • The Province carried a spread on teen suicides—including a full-page feature on SFU student Deyar Asmaro and his successful rebuilding of his life after three suicide attempts. “Now an honours student, Asmaro is the winner of SFU's 2008 Terry Fox Gold Medal for demonstrating courage in the face of adversity, as well as an outstanding student leadership award for his involvement in the school's mixed martial arts club.”
    The Province then carried an editorial citing Asmaro’s story, and concluding: “We need to stop people from killing themselves—one person at a time.”
  • The Vancouver Sun’s reportage on the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of BCE Inc. versus its bondholders quoted Robert Adamson, executive director of the CIBC Centre for Corporate Governance and Risk Management at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business. Adamson was also on CKNW Radio.
  • The Kimberley Daily Bulletin picked up a Vancouver Sun feature on the impact on children of watching TV. Among those quoted was Kym Stewart, a PhD student in education at SFU. “What we've been saying is that there are risks that parents need to think about all the time. Every time you expose your child to something, think about the impacts, think about the images they're being given."
  • With “affordable housing” an issue in the Vancouver mayoralty campaign, Gordon Price, director of SFU’s city program and a former Vancouver councillor, wrote a guest column on it in Business in Vancouver. “We need a 21st-century version of the Vancouver Special: housing that blends in, is simple to approve, easy to build, sub-dividable and adaptable.”
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader carried a feature on graffiti, and noted Surrey spends $400,000 a year to combat taggers. Among those quoted was Valerie Spicer, a PhD student at SFU who runs the anti-graffiti task force for the Vancouver Police Department.
    Said Spicer: “If people were to go and do arsons at the back of a building, we'd never say that's personal expression, we'd say that's vandalism. It's the same thing with graffiti. It's insulting to the victim to say, 'This is self-expression; they should be allowed to do it.'"
  • The Vancouver Sun carried a story on a report that suggests visible minorities succeed best in the workplace by leaving their cultural heritage behind. One of those quoted was Joyce Lau, who teaches new immigrants how to get promoted or get a higher salary by tweaking their appearance and non-verbal skills. She recently finished a masters at SFU.
  • The New Westminster Record reported that Jan Greenhow is one of four people to receive a 2008 senior leadership award from the Gerontology Research Centre at SFU. She is in her second term as president of the Century House Association, which offers a wide variety of seniors’ services. Burnaby Now also ran the story.
  • The Penticton Western News covered a visit to Holy Cross Elementary there by Sophie Lavieri, an SFU chemist who visits many schools to “on a mission to give the kids some first-hand experience in the fun of investigating and experimenting” in chemistry. CHBC-TV in Penticton filmed her on her “mission”.
  • The Kelowna Capital News carried a story on a report saying BC farmworkers face system-wide violations of employment standards and health and safety regulations, poor working conditions, and low enforcement by government agencies. Two of the authors of the report are Arlene Tigar McLaren, SFU professor emerita of sociology, and Gerardo Otero, sociology prof.
    The Saskatoon StarPhoenix reproduced an editorial from The Province on the report. And Epoch Times also carried a story.
  • Kamloops This Week ran a story on how Chief Ron Ignace of the Skeetchestn First Nation received his doctorate in anthropology at SFU’s spring convocation. “Ignace was a founding member of the Secwepemc Cultural Education Society  . . . and co-chair of the aboriginal university partnership between SCES and Simon Fraser University in Kamloops where he continues to teach courses in Secwepemc language and First Nations studies.”
  • Jessey Basi, graduate of the master's degree program in public policy, wrote a guest article in The Vancouver Sun saying welfare beneficiaries who are required to be actively searching for employment need more help with transit and transportation costs.
  • The Langley Advance became the latest community paper to turn into a story an SFU release on local winners of SFU scholarships. (Langley has four, one with the SFU Alumni Leadership scholarship worth $29,000, and three with Gordon M. Shrum B.C. scholarships worth $24,000 apiece.)
  • The BC government distributed a news release saying it is helping to build Greece's ability to respond to wildfires by providing training to the Hellenic Fire Brigade, through a grant from the charitable Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The release noted SFU’s Hellenic Studies department played a role in giving Greek authorities access to Canadian expertise in wildfire management.
  • The New Westminster Newsleader wrote a feature on the use of the Nintendo Wii gaming system by seniors. SFU gerontologist Gloria Gutman said: “If it's fun, if it gives you some exercise, it's terrific. . . . What it shows is that seniors aren't technophobic, despite the stereotype. You can learn at any age.” The Burnaby Newsleader also carried the story.
  • The New Westminster Newsleader named the Burnaby Board of Trade’s 2008-9 directors. Among them: Wilf Hurd, SFU’s director of government relations.
  • The Vancouver Sun carried an item on last weekend’s open house at the Great Northern Way Campus. “The campus offers a two-year masters of digital media program for students of participating institutions Simon Fraser University, the University of B.C., B.C. Institute of Technology and Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design.”


  • National Review Online happily judged that “The war in Iraq is not yet finished for U.S. combat forces but you can almost see the end, just over the horizon.” The story cited the recent Human Security Report from Andrew Mack at SFU’s School for International Studies.  “The Simon Fraser University Human Security Brief records that, due to ‘the humiliating recent defeats experienced by Al Qaeda in Iraq,’ popular support in the Islamic world for the perpetrators of 9/11 has fallen off precipitously.”
    There was also a column in the Pakistan Post that called the report “a well researched analysis.”
    The report was also highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the British Medical Journal, two UNESCO publications, and a paper by Mack for the Copenhagen Consensus. And there was a story on the report from the California-based Assyrian International News Agency.


  • Columnist Brian Lewis in The Province quoted SFU archaeologist Dana Lepofsky in a story about the discovery of a major Katzie village site at the north end of the Golden Ears Bridge. "Now we have evidence of gardening 3,600 years ago, which turns the whole definition of northwest coastal natives as hunter-gathers on its head,” she said. “This is hugely significant, anthropologically."
    The Surrey-North Delta Leader, which broke the Katzie story last week, did a follow-up this week on the threat to prime archaeological sites posed by the Gateway road and bridge projects. Lepofsky called for protection of sites with wet areas that have kept organic material nearly perfectly preserved. "I don't think there are many more left. We need to treat each one as if it's going to be the last one.”
    Meanwhile, the Burnaby NewsLeader picked up the Surrey paper’s original story on the site. Said Lepofsky: “It has global importance. Everyone is so excited. . .  In the Pacific Northwest, there is nothing even remotely this old. There's really nothing comparable in North America.”


  • The Vancouver Sun reported fewer senior students in BC high schools are writing provincial exams—because increasingly more universities, colleges and technical institutes in Canada are considering only class marks when making admission decisions. The Sun noted UVic and UBC have eased their requirements for provincial exam results, and SFU’s Senate will decide on the issue next month.
    CanWest News Service sent the story across Canada, and it also ran on GlobalTV. And an editorial in BC’s Kimberley Daily Bulletin and the Cranbrook Daily Townsman said the move is inevitable.
  • The Ontario government told reporters that up to 1,750 new research internship opportunities are expected to be created in Ontario over the next four years. The internship program is being administered by SFU-based MITACS. (MITACS, or Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems, is a national network of Centres of Excellence that works with governments, universities and the private sector across Canada to establish research internship opportunities.)
  • Surrey Now used a news release from SFU Surrey saying that campus will add three new programs to its curriculum in the fall: Software Systems, Criminology One and World Literature One.


  • Burnaby Now carried a story on the SFU Library’s 2007-8 haul of $1.2 million in gifts-in-kind for its Special Collections. And it quoted librarian Eric Swanick:
    “We're always looking for books and other printed materials in key areas such as editorial cartoons; and B.C.-focused collections on history, literature, publishing, gay and lesbian studies; politics; multiculturalism; environment; social issues and 20th-century avant-garde poetry. We are particularly interested in collecting posters, music, ephemera and other documentation, such as photos and video, from the outspoken punk movement that dominated Vancouver's music scene in the late '70s and early '80s."
  • The Northern News Service featured SFU student Kelvin Redvers, who is “making a name for himself in the film world.” The feature noted: “Born and raised in Hay River, Redvers is a third-year student at Simon Fraser University in the Vancouver area, where he is working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in film production.”
  • Acclaimed actor Graham Greene was interviewed by CBC Radio and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network in the run-up to the SFU Contemporary Arts tribute to Greene, organized this week by Praxis. Greene is one of the participants in Praxis' summer screenwriting workshop.
  • CanWest News Service carried a feature on Vancouver's Gamelan Madu Sari ensemble, born 20 years ago when, the story noted, "Sutrisno Hartana came to teach Gamelan at Simon Fraser University."
  • Playback magazine named 25 up-and-coming film people. One was David Miller, co-producer of the feature film Amal, which is scooping up awards on the festival circuit. Miller graduated from SFU with a major in communications and a minor in film.


  • The Province reported Vancouver elementary schools will no longer have specific police liaison officers as a result of staff shortages. Criminology director Rob Gordon said: "It's another buffer that can keep a child on the straight and narrow. It's a shame to see it go."
  • A column in Maclean's said "it's borderline delusional to think that Canadians are more law-abiding than their southern neighbours.” Still, it quoted criminologist Neil Boyd as saying: "In the United States there are places in many cities where you cannot walk safely at night, and that's not true in Canada."
  • A Canadian Press story on the slaying of two 25-year-old men quoted Toronto police as saying they hope to get clues from the victims’ families. Gordon told the paper:[Police] would say that, if they feel the friends and family are withholding information.”
  • CanWest News Service looked at statistics showing that, between 1996 and 2005, an average of about 14 Canadians per year were killed by their mothers. “It's quite unusual in terms of killing generally, because 90 per cent of all murders and all homicides are committed by men,'' said Boyd. “But when you look at children under the age of 12, it's as likely for a woman to kill a child, and it's more pronounced the younger they are.”
    We saw the story in nine daily papers.
  • CanWest News Service also reported Ottawa has no plans for new prisons, though the Correctional Service anticipates Conservative measures to tackle crime could cause an increase in the offender population.  But Boyd said: “Nothing they have done to date is going to dramatically increase prison populations." The story ran in National Post and eight other dailies.


  • The Canadian Press and The Vancouver Sun featured SFU athlete Ruky Abdulai and her hopes for a long jump of 6.6 metres or better at last weekend’s Harry Jerome International Track Classic, to meet Athletics Canada's Olympic qualifying standard.
    Sadly, as The Canadian Press and The Vancouver Sun later reported, Abdulai didn’t make it, and now must win at the Canadian Track and Field Championships next month in Windsor to gain a spot on the Olympic team.
    “I know God has a plan for me. It's going to come. . . . I realized I am putting too much pressure on myself. I know it's going to happen but I don't know when.''
  • As the Canadian Football League season opened, National Post and other CanWest papers featured Luca Congi. "Luca Congi used the off-season to complete unfinished business. The third-year kicker with the Saskatchewan Roughriders returned to Simon Fraser University to complete his marketing and financing degree." The story came from the Regina Leader-Post.
  • The Vancouver Sun noted that Sara Orlesky, the new sideline reporter for the Canadian Football league’s Friday Night telecasts, took a communications course at SFU.
  • The Hamilton Spectator interviewed John McGrane, now a member of the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. He earned a soccer scholarship to SFU, then played for Canada in the 1976 Olympics and against legendary players such as Pele in the glory days of the North American Soccer League.


  • The Vancouver Sun featured some aboriginal “success stories” to mark National Aboriginal Day.  Among those it named:
    • Dana Claxton, videographer and photographer. “ . . . Claxton has had many exhibitions of her large-format photography, is an adjunct professor at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design, has been doing sessional teaching at Simon Fraser University and works for art galleries around town.”
    • Beverly O'Neil “an influential marketing and communications consultant who played a key role in creating the Aboriginal Tourism Association of B.C.  “O'Neil has spoken to international groups throughout the world and is a regular guest speaker with Simon Fraser University's tourism programs.
  • Also marking National Aboriginal Day, the Richmond Review wrote about Marshall Thompson, executive director of Richmond Youth Services. It noted he graduated from SFU with a criminology degree.


As well as issuing news releases mentioned above, SFU also told media that SFU welcomes new funding that will support alliances between India and Canada in life sciences and environmental technology research and development. The program is supported by $1 million from each of the B.C. and Indian governments.
We also told media the alumni are seeking nominations for the 2008 Outstanding Alumni Awards. Deadline for submission is June 30. (Nomination packages can be obtained at or from the Alumni Relations office at 778.782.4723).

SFU’s news releases can be found online at:
The university newsletter, SFU News, is also online, at

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