SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - September 26, 2008

September 26, 2008

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A look at how SFU and its people made news: Sept. 20-25, 2008                

Can you spell “carbon tax”? Can you spell “Mark Jaccard”?
Seems the federal Liberals’ election website actually couldn’t spell it, but the SFU energy economist’s name was all over the news media during the week (and was spelled correctly by them).
Other SFU professors seen in election stories included criminologist Neil Boyd, economists Nancy Olewiler and Krishna Pendakur, and political scientists Andrew Heard, Cara Camcastle and Patrick Smith. Add Shauna Sylvester of the Canada’s World dialogue project at SFU, too.

The week of campaigning first focused on carbon taxation, and then moved on to crime:


  • The Globe and Mail looked at Conservative charges that the Liberals’ Green Shift carbon-tax plan would push Canada into a recession. “In fact, Simon Fraser University economist Mark Jaccard, an energy expert, says he doubts that either the Liberal proposal or the Conservative plan, entitled Turning the Page, would inflict significant economic pain on Canada. . . . As well, Dr. Jaccard says his preliminary analysis shows that the Liberal plan would outperform the Conservative one when it comes to achieving emissions reductions.”
  • CanWest News Service noted that Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was struggling with efforts to explain to voters his Green Shift plan. The story said in part: “Prominent climate-change economist Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University said Dion ‘allowed himself to be framed'’ and is stuck ‘on the defensive’. The story appeared in, among others, The Vancouver Sun and the Montreal Gazette.
  • The Edmonton Journal also quoted Jaccard in two features on the carbon-tax issue—the paper’s argument being that Albertans would pay far more in carbon taxes than they’d ever get back in other tax reductions.
  • The Calgary Herald also ran a story on that issue—but quoted Jaccard as saying: “You might be able to design this so Alberta and Saskatchewan are getting back almost the same amount of money as they are paying in tax." As well, the Herald covered a Jaccard speech in which he said action on emissions in the U.S. will force Canada to adopt an effective policy to control emissions.
  • The Toronto Sun and other Sun Media papers noted that Jaccard cited Norway as an example of a country that had successfully introduced a carbon tax. “Between 1990 and 2005, that country has significantly reduced their emissions per capita while enjoying a growth in their GDP.”
  • Jaccard himself spoke at length on the On the Coast show on CBC Radio, on the merits of carbon-credit schemes. Then Jaccard did a hefty interview on the Bill Good show on CKNW.
  • The Ottawa Citizen focused its carbon-tax story on Jaccard, and his record of giving Ottawa advice—for 20 years—that it ignored. Wrote columnist Don Butler: “’You're lying to people when you believe that you can reduce emissions without pricing,’ Mr. Jaccard says bluntly.” Also mentioned in the story: Nancy Olewiler, economist and public policy prof, and her work on the issue with Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary.  Their work was also cited in a National Post story.
  • Olewiler and eco-champion David Suzuki wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun saying the Conservative promise to cut the federal excise tax on diesel fuel in half is “the textbook case of a band-aid solution that doesn't necessarily help the economy, clearly hurts the environment and costs the government a lot in terms of lost revenues that could be used to enhance both the economy and environment.”
    They were then challenged in a Vancouver Sun guest column that said: " . . . all European carbon-taxing nations have kept the taxes on diesel fuel low as they ran the taxes on gasoline up. So Suzuki and Olewiler should make up their minds: Are they advising us to follow European carbon-taxing nations or not?"
  • SFU economist Krishna Pendakur wrote a column in the Georgia Straight on carbon taxes, and how BC and Canada could set an example to the world. "We have not been doing this up to now—in fact, we have been doing the opposite (think oil sands.)"
  • The Conservative campaign website seized on a quote in the Ottawa Citizen story to attack the NDP program to control carbon emissions. Said the Tories: “Simon Fraser University Economist Mark Jaccard also notes that since the cap-and-trade systems typically only target large polluters, that means under the NDP plan, ‘there will be no pricing signal for half the emissions in our economy.’ (Somehow, the Conservative site did not mention Jaccard’s criticisms of the Tory program to reduce emissions.)
  • The Liberal campaign website couldn’t spell Mark Jaccard, but declared: “Simon Fraser University economist Marc (sic) Jaccard, whose advice has been repeatedly commissioned by the Harper government, says he doubts that either the Liberal proposal or the Conservative plan would inflict significant economic pain on Canada.”


  • The Canadian Press declared that Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to think Canada will be a safer place if more people go to jail for longer.  Among others, CP quoted SFU criminologist Neil Boyd as disagreeing:
    "It's really very much a commitment to the American model. In America they have crime rate that's three-and-a-half times higher than ours and they put five times as many people in jail. That doesn't seem to me to be a very workable equation."
  • Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day insisted that his law-and-order measures would not have much impact on prison costs. Boyd told the Globe and Mail, though, that the measures, especially mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug convictions, will increase the number of prisoners by 50 to 100 per cent in BC, and the costs of keeping them in jail will increase accordingly.
  • Boyd was also on CBC-TV’s The National, in a story about the positions of the parties on crime. Among other things, he said: “Where I see the difference is between the Conservative approach to crime and the other parties and their approach to crime, which is, I think, more careful and more nuanced.”
  • Insite, Vancouver’s supervised drug-injection clinic, marked its fifth anniversary with a news conference that attacked federal criticism. Among speakers was Boyd: "We have a government in Ottawa at the moment that's driven by dogma and that's seemingly impervious to evidence-based social policy.”
    Media that covered the event included CBC News, The Canadian Press and The Vancouver Sun.


  • The Winnipeg Free Press cited political scientist Andrew Heard’s website in a story about NDP leader Jack Layton: “There is a telling graphic on the Simon Fraser University poll tracker website ( On top, you can see a blue line (Conservatives) and a red line (Liberals) intertwined with each other like two pieces of stubborn yarn. Below those two lines—well below—you see a lonely orange line (NDP) meandering along with less than 20 per cent support. It has been thus for a very long time.”
  • Shauna Sylvester, director of the Canada’s World dialogue project, told media how SFU students have joined with Canada's World and others to create the new Vote for the World website( It’s designed to help Canadians engage in the election.  Students are also planning events across the country.
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader wrote about a web campaign urging voters in nine BC ridings to back “climate-friendly” candidates. The Leader quoted Cara Camcastle of SFU's Centre for Canadian Studies (who specializes in politics and the environment) as saying the website appears to be trying to discouraging voting for the Green party. "What I fear is that if they can't vote Green, they just won't bother going."
  • The Tri-City News reported that Yonah Martin, Conservative candidate in New Westminster-Coquitlam, actually lives in East Vancouver (although she does work in Coquitlam). SFU political scientist Patrick Smith said a candidate being from the area where they are running is helpful but not necessarily a must for voters.


  • The Vancouver Sun reported that preliminary discussions have started about a second B.C. medical school, to be located either at SFU or a new satellite campus of UBC. John O'Neil, SFU dean of health sciences, said Fraser Health Authority officials are anxious to increase physician supply. "So the informal conversations are about whether B.C. needs another medical school and if so, would SFU be interested in that?”
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was in a Pete McMartin column in The Vancouver Sun on how Canadians are racking up huge debt loads and have been "spending like drunken sailors."
    Wrote McMartin: “Basically—and I hope I'm getting Meredith correct on this—he suggests we have let our greed get the better of us, and that marketers and financial institutions have cultivated and capitalized on that greed. . . . Meredith's prescription for fiscal responsibility? ‘Ultimately, it comes down to your and my ability to look that marketer in the eye and say, B----- off!'"
  • Meredith was also in a CTV story on how a couple of airlines dropped fuel surcharges last week, but BC Ferries did not. Said Meredith: "It’s one more way of getting a price hike in on a consumer, but guess what? Consumers aren't stupid, they notice these things too." (BC Ferries later announced it would drop the extra charge, but didn’t say when.)
  • SFU economist Nicolas Schmitt wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun on China’s fast growing economic clout, and how its impact on us needs more research. “This is in part why Simon Fraser University, through its department of economics, and the Asia-Pacific Foundation are in the process of setting up the Jack Austin Chair in Asian Economies.”
  • The North Shore News featured physicist Mike Vetterli, and his connection with the ATLAS experiment in the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
    Marianne Meadahl of PAMR had sent info and photos to the local newspapers of SFU’s ATLAS/TRIUMF scientists; Vetterli lives in Deep Cove.
    Earlier, FermiLab Today picked up a feature on Vetterli. FermiLab is the U.S.'s large national lab for particle physics.
    Columnist Chris Campbell, in the Maple-Ridge Pitt Meadows Times, told readers about his interview last week with physicist Dugan O’Neil, one of the SFU team who will work on data from the ATLAS experiment.
    (This was all before Vetterli and O’Neil learned that a helium leak, perhaps caused by a small wiring failure, means the ATLAS Big Bang experiment now is delayed until sometime next year.)

  • The Georgia Straight looked at what the price of fuel may do to British Columbians who commute by light plane. It quoted Anthony Perl, director of SFU's urban studies program, as saying dirigibles could have a future in BC for moving goods to the north and commuters in the Georgia Strait area.
  • The Victoria Times Colonist examined the role Victoria's civilian police board played in the controversy that led to the departure of police chief Paul Battershill. The paper quoted criminology director Rob Gordon as saying the board must have known there were problems between the chief and his staff, but failed to act at an early stage to resolve them.
  • Arlene Tigar McLaren, professor emerita of sociology, co-wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun on “the sudden firing and repatriation of 14 Mexican agricultural workers from an Abbotsford greenhouse”—literally on the eve of a union certification vote.
  • Communication prof Bob Hackett was on GlobalTV, in a story on protesters who disrupted the send-off for the 2010 Olympic Train.


  • Epoch Times editions in Canada and the U.S. carried a story on opening last week of Blusson Hall, home of SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
    “’Blusson Hall significantly enhances SFU's legacy of educational leadership shaped by architectural innovation and excellence,’ said Dr. Michael Stevenson, president of SFU.”
    Epoch Times, Fairchild TV and Channel M-TV also interviewed Lee Gavel, university architect and chief facilities officer, about the building’s green features.
    Also quoted: health sciences dean John O’Neil: “It’s the only health sciences program in the country to offer such a comprehensive interdisciplinary education.”
    Laboratory Product News also did a story.
  • Andrew Mack, director of SFU’s Human Security Report project, wrote a guest column in the Globe and Mail:
    “Al-Qaeda and affiliates are back on the offensive in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Algeria (but) in three short years, al-Qaeda and its loose network of affiliates have deeply alienated the populations whose support was critical to their cause. Opinion polls across the Muslim world reveal an extraordinary drop in support for terrorism over this period.”
    The project’s Human Security Brief 2007, which finds that casualties from terrorism have been steadily declining since 9/11, continued during the week to be cited and debated on blogs around the world.
  • CanWest News Service did a feature on the latest gimmick in perfumes—narrative perfumes (a.k.a. reality perfumes) that reproduce the scents of “sex, death, betrayal, war—even the precise scent of certain neighbourhoods and fictional characters.” In the story, marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was on the scent: “When you're trying to influence someone, you want to hit them on as many perceptive neuro-pathways as you can. . . . This could be very powerful advertising.” We saw the story in a dozen newspapers.
  • Maclean’s wrote: “Are Democrats more caring than Republicans? A new study looking at the social responsibility scores of American companies suggests that they are. The research, conducted by finance professor Amir Rubin at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University, shows that firms based in states that vote Democrat are more socially responsible than firms in Republican states.” The Rubin report was also cited in several blogs.
  • The Calgary Herald looked at the fate of bees in Alberta, where an average of 30 per cent of bees died during the last two winters. SFU bee expert Mark Winston was quoted as saying Alberta producers need to reach consensus on strict regulations on pesticide and antibiotic use.
  • The Alaska Highway News did a feature on how an archaeological study along the banks of the Peace River in the 1970s revealed at least 100 sites that may have been occupied by prehistoric man. SFU archaeologist Knut Fladmark said there was a lot more evidence of early man's existence in the region than previously thought. Also mentioned was archaeologist Jon Driver, now SFU’s V-P Academic.


  • SFU's Sustainability Festival on Sept. 24—and SFU business prof Boyd Cohen's announcement there of his Greenest Person in the World—drew media to the Burnaby campus.
    CITYtv's Breakfast TV morning show did five live segments during the morning on the festival. Also there were CTV, GlobalTV, Shaw-TV, the Epoch Times, and the local Japanese news website Minna noKeizai Shinbun. 
    A story also ran in The Vancouver Sun, and was distributed across Canada by CanWest News Service.  The festival was also promoted on several blogs.
    As well, The Weather Network also worked on a story with Cohen on his contest to name the Greenest Person (who turned out to be Matthias Gelber, a German who lives in Malaysia). Also calling Cohen were the CBC (regional and national), AM1410,, and the Georgia Straight.
  • The BC government announced to media the appointment of seven regional citizens' conservation councils, to advise the government on how to encourage individuals, groups and communities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Lower Mainland council includes Hal Weinberg, SFU's director of research ethics (and mayor of Anmore) and Bryan Gallagher, an SFU business, geography and dialogue student.
  • Coquitlam Now reported some Port Moody residents are questioning the accuracy of a poll that concludes most people favour a plant to derive energy from waste. The story quoted Ian Bercovitz, SFU director of statistical consulting (and Port Moody resident) as saying: “The bottom line is, to a true statistician, the results are really quite meaningless at this point." The Now also wrote an editorial citing Bercovitz’s comments.
  • Coming up in the Forestry Chronicle (the magazine of the Canadian Institute of Forestry) is an article on research by Duncan Knowler, SFU environmental economist. He found that in broad areas of BC it usually makes more economic sense to conserve old-growth forests than it does to cut them down.


  • National Post online interviewed assistant prof David Chariandy, whose novel Soucoyant is one of five finalists for the Toronto Book Awards. The winner will be announced Oct. 17. (Soucoyant was longlisted for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, and the Commonwealth Best First Novel Prize.)
  • featured hip-hop singer Shad (a.k.a. Shadrach Kabango, a masters student at SFU in literature and philosophy) about his album The Old Prince. It“could place Canada's hip-hop prince in the Polaris Music Prize throne,” ChartAttack said. Winner of the $20,000 prize for a full-length Canadian album will be announced in Toronto Sept. 29.
  • The Globe and Mail and New Westminster NewsLeader featured Steven Galloway, whose novel The Cellist of Sarajevo is on the “long list” for the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for the best Canadian novel or short story collection. Both papers noted he teaches creative writing at SFU.
  • The Peace Arch News and Burnaby NewsLeader reported that the Calgary Film Festival has accepted a comedy movie by Ryan Mains, Of Golf and God.  The News noted Mains went through the film program at SFU Contemporary Arts. His graduation short film, The Night Shift, premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2004 and won 2005 Leo Award nominations for best director and best production.
  • SFU Film told media how SFU Contemporary Arts students and alumni are well represented among featured filmmakers at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. They named a dozen VIFF participants with SFU links, including Ryan Mains.


  • The Clan Radio Network and CKNW AM980 announced they will do together an online broadcast of Shrum Bowl XXXI, the annual SFU-UBC football game. (It’s set for Oct. 9, 7pm, at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium.)
    The game will be available online on both the SFU Athletics website ( and CKNW’s website ( CKNW sports director Jim Mullin and SFU’s sports information director, Scott McLean, will provide the play-by-play and colour commentary.
    The Province and The Vancouver Sun, among others, did advance stories on the game.
  • Sports reporters were all set for the Clan-Calgary football game last weekend. And so was the Clan, whose defensive team shone in a 20-3 home victory over the Dinos, moving the Clan to #1 in the Canada West standings.
    “Clan-tastic”, said The Canadian Press. The Province’s story glowed: “It seems that everything about the Simon Fraser Clan football team this season is nothing shy of astounding.” GlobalTV Sports did a big feature on the team
    The Clan now play the University of Regina Rams in Regina, Saturday.
  • The Globe and Mail featured Clan quarterback Bernd Dittrich and the two other members of the Clan’s “Austrian invasion”—lineman Valentin Gruber and receiver Daniel Stanzel.  They were recruited via assistant coach Shawn Olson.
  • Then Clan middle linebacker Chris Folk was named Canada West Defensive Player of the Week and then won the works: Canadian Interuniversity Sport Defensive Player of the Week.
  • SFU Athletics put video online at:
  • The Clan men's soccer team was less fortunate: It lost 2-0 to Western Washington University and slipped to a season record of 6-3-0. Meanwhile, the Clan men’s and women’s cross country teams finished third in their divisions at the 2008 Sundodger Open event in Seattle.


  • Asian Pacific Post and the South Asian Post looked at initiatives by Ottawa and provincial education ministers to sell Canada as an education destination for international students. Among those quoted was Carolyn Hanna, SFU director of international student retention.
  • Murray Coell, minister of advanced education and labour market development, distributed a news release saying BC has record numbers of graduate students—the equivalent of 12,567 full-time students, a 40-per-cent increase since 2000/01. SFU and the other research universities were named in the release.


  • The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix picked up a Vancouver Sun feature on how "green" is the latest trend in niche dating. It noted that business prof Boyd Cohen included a green dating component on his website.
  • The Vancouver Sun finally followed other CanWest newspapers in running an Edmonton Journal feature of four weeks ago, on moonlighting. Mark Wexler, professor of business ethics, was quoted.
  • The Globe and Mail and the Waterloo (ON) Record picked up a Canadian Press story on the “wizard stick” drinking game.  (It confers "wizard status" on anyone who consumes enough cans of beer that, taped together, form a staff or “stick” exceeding their height.) Richard Smith of SFU Communication was quoted as saying it’s all about creating an identity.  The story also flew around the blogosphere.


Also seen on websites and weblogs this week:

  • More citations of that study from Duncan Knowler of the School of Resource and Environmental Management that found it makes more economic sense to conserve old-growth forests than it does to cut them down.  . . . References to a study of farm workers by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and SFU that found they are exposed to various hazards and poor treatment. . . .Discussion of a study by prof emeritus Herbert Grubel that found 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 cost the country a net $18.3 billion. . . An estimate by economist Don DeVoretz that “as many as one third of immigrants—professionals in the prime of their careers — are returning home or moving to the U.S.” . . . A story about a study by criminology graduate student Tamara O’Doherty that found two-thirds of off-street prostitutes—specifically high-end escorts—have not experienced violence on the job. . . . Retired prof Gary Mauser on gun control: "Gary Mauser finds that a year after the British obediently surrendered 160,000 legal handguns, London muggings were up 53 percent, gun murders up 90 percent and robbery up more than 100 percent."

ALSO in the NEWS

  • Epoch Times promoted SFU’s Diwali gala dinner on October 27. The event is expected to bring together 400 to 500 business and community leaders and representatives interested in furthering connections with India.
  • The England-based LivCom Awards for Liveable Communities announced that UniverCity is a finalist for a 2008 award. Winners will be announced at an event in China in early November.
  • Burma Digest magazine carried a policy paper from prof Kanbawza Win, former secretary of foreign affairs for Burma, and an adjunct prof at SFU's School of International Studies: “It is far better to die with our boots on, then to let live the whole generation under the boots of the military.  . . . Burmese Generals being power maniacs will not see to reason and understand only the language of force. They have come to power by force and now only force can drives them out.”
  • The Calgary Herald’s stories on CanWest’s national Raise-a-Reader campaign featured Carol Huynh, 2008 Olympic gold medallist and former SFU wrestler. “Reading is a great release for me. It's a great balance from training and competition and a good companion when I'm travelling a lot.”
  • The New Westminster Record promoted “The Real CSI”—a one-day conference sponsored by the B.C. Society of Laboratory Science and the Centre for Forensic Research at SFU. The conference is at the Justice Institute of B.C. on Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details:
  • Burnaby Now quoted Liberal candidate Bill Cunningham (Burnaby-Douglas) as accusing the Conservative government of "mismanaging" Canada's economy. "As a former commercial banker at the TD Bank on Lougheed and Willingdon, and as a graduate of Simon Fraser University's master's of business administration program, I know first-hand how important it is to have an economy that works for Burnaby residents.”
  • The Quesnel-Cariboo Observer reported that Amber van Drielen has been parachuted to run for the Green Party in Cariboo-Prince George. The Observer mentioned that the articling law student who lives in Vancouver has a BA in geography from SFU.
  • The Winnipeg Free Press reported the appointment of Roland Sawatzky as executive director of the Costume Museum of Canada. The newspaper noted he has a PhD in archaeology from SFU.


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