SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS October 26, 2007

October 26, 2007

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A look at how SFU and its people fared in the news media: Oct. 19-26, 2007                                               


  • The gang massacre of six people that took place in Surrey last Friday continues to fill the news media, and Rob Gordon, director of criminology at SFU, was widely quoted.
    Gordon told CBC Radio that police in the Lower Mainland “are less organized than organized crime is.”

    He continued: “They're not able to even begin to compete with the kinds of highly profitable activities that a lot of these groups are involved in."

    Pursuing the theme in the Globe and Mail, Gordon said: "We are the last large metro area in Canada to not have a metro police service." (BC Solicitor-General John Les reacted by nixing the idea of a regional force.)

    In National Post, Gordon said marijuana may have a benevolent reputation, but users who aren't growing their own are fuelling the war on the streets. "Ultimately, you're contributing to the violence."
    In another story in the Globe and Mail, he noted the level of gang violence has been escalating, with bullets flying in public places. Now, in Surrey, two innocent bystanders were deliberately gunned down. "It's a very public demonstration of power,” said Gordon. “We should all be concerned."

    Gordon was also quoted in The Province: "The nature of the hit suggests very much a ratcheting up of violence in the drug trade. The violence is definitely not over."

    The Province story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist. Gordon was also interviewed on CBC-TV, Radio Canada (TV), GlobalTV, CBC Almanac, and CBC National News.
    GlobalTV did a segment on the killings with criminologist Neil Boyd, who was also quoted in The Vancouver Sun when Solicitor-General Les called for consecutive sentences for multiple-murderers. Boyd said Les's remarks were "somewhat hasty and ill-considered."

    Mehfil magazine (an Indo-Canadian publication) interviewed criminologist Ehor Boyanowsky for a story on gangs and racially-motivated attacks.
  • Public policy prof John Richards followed up his much-quoted national report on poverty with a guest piece this week in National Post, and in the Full Comment blog on the paper’s website. “Over the last decade, there has been a steady decline in poverty (and) employment among lone-parent families . . . has greatly increased over the last decade.”

    In his report for the C.D. Howe Institute ( Richards credited tightening eligibility requirements for welfare cheques and unemployment compensation.
    Vancouver Sun business columnist Don Cayo wrote his second column on the report, exploring Richards’ thoughts on what could be done about the minority of people who have been squeezed off the welfare rolls but haven't gone to work, and have experienced worsened poverty. Meanwhile, Cayo’s first column on the subject appeared this week in the Brandon (MB) Sun.

    Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe hailed Richards’ study: “Canadians truly should be celebrating statistics that show how effective the country has been at helping those who sit below the poverty line.” Yaffe’s column also appeared in the Windsor Star, Regina Leader Post and the Kamloops Daily News.

    But a Carol Goar column in the Toronto Star claimed the study, in focusing on BC, Alberta, and Ontario, “leaves out Quebec, which achieved the most dramatic reduction in poverty in the country during the decade in question.” Goar added: “To overlook such a large outlier raises questions about the validity of the findings and the motives of the author.”
    Goar’s column also appeared in the Guelph Mercury.


  • SFU sent out a news release on the extent of the “carbon footprints” of the summer’s Live Earth concerts to raise awareness of global warming. China registered the lowest, and London the highest. How do we know? From software developed by Boyd Cohen, an assistant business prof at SFU. He’s also president of Vancouver-based Visible Strategies, whose software is being used by several North American cities to meet key green goals.

    Reuters, CBC Radio and the Globe and Mail quickly called Cohen for details. So did The Vancouver Sun.
  • Public policy professor Jon Kesselman wrote a guest commentary in the Globe and Mail on how federal officials are developing a strategy to link their next step of GST cuts with “what could prove to be the smartest economic policy of the decade: bringing the five remaining provincial retail sales taxes under the GST umbrella.” Kesselman argues this would bring major gains to the Canadian economy.

  • Globe and Mail columnist Mark Hume examined the BC government’s energy plan of 2002 “which opened the way for the privatization of B.C.'s rivers by forcing BC Hydro, which had been doing a brilliant job of serving the province, to stop building new power plants and start buying energy from private producers.” Hume recommended to his readers SFU prof John Calvert's “important new book”: Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia.

  • Another SFU energy expert, Mark Jaccard, wrote a guest commentary in The Vancouver Sun this week, saying: “We must tax greenhouse gases or they will keep rising.”
    He added: “Since 1990, our federal government has launched six major policy initiatives—with great fanfare and promise—yet emissions keep climbing. . . . We have had no compulsion. There have been no financial or regulatory repercussions. . . . And so emissions rise.”

    (Meanwhile, BC finance minister Carole Taylor said her officials are looking at whether to introduce a carbon tax aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This was in response to a letter from professors at SFU and BC’s other universities saying such a tax would be a more effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions than the current proposal to introduce emission caps.)
    Jaccard is a former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which, with Al Gore, has just won a Nobel Peace Prize for communicating the "inconvenient truth" that humanity is conducting a potentially devastating experiment with the planet's atmosphere.

    The St. Albert (AB) Gazette covered a presentation by Jaccard to about 70 students and Alberta officials at the U of Alberta this week. The address was part of a promotional tour for his new co-authored book on climate change policy: Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge.
    The Calgary Herald carried a big feature on the book. (The feature appeared earlier in the Edmonton Journal and in other CanWest papers. The book was written by Jaccard, SFU researcher Nic Rivers, and Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson. Meanwhile, co-author Simpson was in Sudbury ON, where the Sudbury Star gave the book, Jaccard, and his proposals a mention. )
  • The Province ran a story on Canada's contribution to an international experiment into the universe's origins. It quoted physics prof Michel Vetterli as saying the 50-country effort will try to determine through a particle accelerator in Geneva what makes the universe tick. "If you want to understand a car, you study its pieces. If you want to understand matter, you study its pieces. It's very exciting. We're expecting to learn an enormous amount. We want to know why mass exists. At the moment, all we have are theories.”

    The story also ran in the Victoria Times Colonist, Edmonton Journal, Calgary Herald and Ottawa Citizen.
  • CBC’s Radio Canada national network interviewed Erika Horwitz of SFU Health and Counselling Services for a story on the levels of depression reported among North American students—and about SFU’s H&C services.


  • The Province carried a story about a $1-million donation to SFU’s Surrey campus. It’s from Dale Regehr, President and CEO of WestStone Properties. The gift goes to scholarships and awards as the first donation to SFU Surrey’s $2-million Close to Home fundraising campaign. An item also appeared in the Victoria Times Colonist.

    Meanwhile, SFU officially unveiled the Dale B. Regehr Grand Hall, which serves as the main entrance and community hub for the campus.
  • The Province told readers about SFU’s rescue Oct. 25 of “five spectacular totem poles” in SFU's Naheeno Park. The poles were carefully moved to the old gas station on the Burnaby campus, for restoration and eventual relocation to support the university’s First Nations programs. The Burnaby News Leader came to cover the event. So did CTV News but the camera had to leave to go to a breaking news story.

  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province reported that the provincial and federal governments have put $2 million toward a new national chair in autism intervention research at SFU. Both used a joint news release from the two levels of government and SFU.

  • The Vancouver Sun announced that SFU physicist Dugan O'Neil has won the BC Innovation Council’s young innovator award. O’Neil leads SFU’s high-energy particle physics research group, which detected an elusive subatomic particle sought for more than a decade—the single top quark.

  • The Prince George Citizen, in a story on the latest figures from Research Infosource Inc., noted that SFU moved up to 21st from 22nd spot in the Top 50 Canadian research universities, with growth of 16 per cent ($69 million) in 2006.

  • Political scientist Patrick Smith was quoted in The Vancouver Sun as Surrey mayor Dianne Watts announced a new "non-party party"—with no members other than the elected councillors. Said Smith: “It seems naive, hoping to be a political party without being a political party." And Steven Weldon, an SFU prof who specializes in political parties, told the Sun he's never heard of a contemporary North American political party with no members.


  • The New York Times looked at Vancouver’s housing market—“the most expensive housing market in Canada.” Gordon Price, director of the City Program at SFU, was quoted as saying the city erred by abandoning its commitment to a low-income housing mix of 33% in Southeast False Creek, being built initially to house athletes during the 2010 Olympics. The city reverted to 20% because of concerns about cost.


  • Media paid quick attention to the inaugural South Asian Festival in which SFU is a key partner. The community event (under way through Nov. 2) includes a film series, music, literary readings and a business conference designed to give attendees insight into economic opportunities in India. (For details, see:

    • Indo-Canadian radio station RedFM interviewed President Michael Stevenson and Herb Dhaliwal, former federal cabinet minister and a member of SFU’s India Advisory Council.

    • Joanne Curry, executive director of the Surrey campus, appeared on Channel-M TV, and that station headed for the Surrey campus Oct. 26 to do more coverage.

    • Patricia Gruben, film prof in the School for Contemporary Arts and an expert on Bollywood, was booked for CBC Radio’s BC Almanac show Oct. 26 and for RedFM Oct. 30.

    • SFU also set up a print interview with ApnaG for author Ameen Merchant, who will be reading at Harbour Centre Oct. 27 as part of the festival.

    • And Surrey Now and the Surrey Leader also gave the event coverage.


  • Daniel Igali, who won Olympic gold for Canada seven years ago, was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Oct. 25 in Toronto. Igali, a master’s student in criminology at SFU, was one of eight new inductees. Media outlets across the country carried the story. 24 Hours and RedFM were among media here to catch Igali before he left for the event, and The Vancouver Sun arranged to get photos from it.

  • The Ottawa Citizen gave kudos to the Vancouver Whitecaps’ soccer residency program, in which 17 teens, all but one from Canada, train at SFU’s Burnaby campus, attend classes at Burnaby Central in the afternoon, and play in the evening. By way of CanWest News Service, the piece also appeared in the Edmonton Journal and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

  • The Canadian Press reported that the Canadian Soccer Association will elect its acting president Oct. 28 from one of its two vice-presidents, either Dominic Maestracci or Victor Montagliani. The latter played at SFU, and professionally in Italy’s Serie C.


  • The Vancouver Sun used a news release from SFU on how HSBC Bank Canada has donated $200,000 to establish a scholarship for SFU’s MBA in global asset and wealth management.

  • The Halifax Chronicle Herald reported on how St. Mary’s University Business Development Centre is linking Nova Scotia business owners with new information sources via video conferencing. First example: using conferencing facilities at SFU Vancouver to talk with Robeez Footwear founder Sandra Wilson.

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