May 2, 2011

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Media Matters, a report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations.
This edition is a weekend roundup that lists the main items of known media coverage from 8 a.m. Pacific Friday April 29 to 9 a.m. Pacific Monday May 2.


  • André Gerolymatos, historian and expert on international security and terrorism, was on the air and in the headlines within minutes of the U.S. announcing that it had tracked down and killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

  • Gerolymatos appeared live on GlobalTV, saying of Bin Laden: “He’s become, in a sense, deified now that he’s dead. He’ll be worshipped almost as a saint, by extremist Muslims around the world and by other crazies around the world.
    “But al-Qaida itself has been without Osama bin Laden since 9/11. He’s had to hide so deep. In fact, where he’s been staying for the last five years he’s had no telephone, no internet, nothing that could direct the CIA electronics to where he is.
    “So he’s only been giving very general directions for al-Qaida, and al-Qaida itself is a highly decentralized organization. And, of course, there are al-Qaida affiliates who are not necessarily taking orders. . . .
    “Al-Qaida does not need an Osama bin Laden. They have him now, in a sense, in spirit rather than in body form. But al-Qaida has many leaders and they will continue to hit at the West for as long as they can. These are people who are fanatics. . . . and they’re not going to take the death of Bin Laden very lightly. They’ll want revenge. They’ll want to strike at the Americans. They’ll want to strike at Canadians and the West in general. It’s just the beginning.”

  • The Province was among newspapers quick to call Gerolymatos: “Simon Fraser University military strategist Andrew Gerolymatos told The Province that Canadians could feel the same sense of relief that Americans do.
    "‘Canada was on his target list,’ Gerolymatos said. ‘We can appreciate that this mass killer is dead.’
    “However, Gerolymatos warned that bin Laden was no longer a tactical force with al-Qaida and gave only general instructions to his followers. And Gerolymatos had this chilling warning: "He will certainly become a martyr."
    Full story:

  • Postmedia News sent to media clients across the country a story that said:
    Andre Gerolymatos, a terrorism expert at Simon Fraser University, said Sunday night that the death of Osama bin Laden will be a ‘lesson to other crazies out there that they won't get away’ with acts of terrorism.
    “However, he cautioned that bin Laden's death could inspire other radical Muslims in Pakistan to retaliate against Americans in Pakistan and abroad.
    “Because bin Laden had been forced into isolation over the past decade, he was barely even running al-Qaida. Now, he's going to become a martyr for other radicals and ‘in some respects, he could be more dangerous as a martyr,’ Gerolymatos said.
    "‘They're not going to take this news kindly. We'll see demonstrations, riots, maybe against the American embassy (in Pakistan), maybe against their own government,’ he said.
    “The professor said it wouldn't surprise him to see officials step up security monitoring in the U.S. and Canada in the weeks ahead.”
    Full story:

  • On CKNW this morning, Gerolymatos said: “There will be demonstrations against the government of Pakistan by the hard-liners in Pakistan and one never knows how elements of the Pakistan intelligence service are going to react.” Gerolymatos said that service has long been suspected of harbouring Bin Laden.

  • Gerolymatos did similar interviews Sunday night with CBC, CTV, CKNW, A-ChannelTV in Victoria, CKWX News 1130; and 24Hours Vancouver. And he was lined up to do further interviews today on  CKNW, GlobalTV, CBC, and Citytv.


In the final stretch leading up to today’s federal election:

  • Political scientist Marjorie Griffin Cohen wrote a guest column in The Province, looking at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s handling of the economy.
    “Throughout the election campaign Stephen Harper has claimed the political high ground on the management of the economy. The surprise is that the opposition has pretty much let him get away with this.”
    She continued: “Corporate taxes were cut from 21 per cent in 2008 to 16.5 per cent now and will be further cut to 15 per cent in 2012. Jack Layton and Michael Ignatieff more or less abandoned the issue and did not press Harper about the inefficiency of these cuts.
    “However, the week before the debate two credible studies showed that corporations mostly hoard the money they save from the tax cuts and don't reinvest it in the economy or jobs.
    “Munir Sheikh, former head of Statistics Canada, and former associate deputy minister of finance, has shown that the real winner of Canadian corporate tax cuts is the U.S.
    “Tax cuts here give corporations bigger profits and because the U.S. corporate tax rate is about twice as high as ours, U.S. corporations in Canada then just pay more American tax on their Canadian profits. This transfer from Canadian to U.S. treasuries amounts to $4-6 billion a year.
    Full column:

  • Another SFU political scientist, Patrick Smith, was in the Vancouver edition of Metro, saying: He added: “I don’t think we’ll have a winner by the time we get across the Rockies, and there are 10 ridings that are so close.
    “They’re interesting because they’re all close but they could swing in completely different ways,” Smith said. “Some are Conservative-NDP battles, some are Conservative-Liberal and some are Liberal-NDP, so there will be upsets.”
    Smith said voter turnout will likely increase. “The election has taken on a life of its own. The retrospective of this election will be about how the public took back the narrative. It will force parties to do some soul-searching when it comes to negative ads.”
    Full story:

  • Smith was also in the 24Hours newspaper: “I think, in the end, it will be Canadians who defined the narrative, and they wanted more policy and less negativity. We could have wholesale political change. . . .
    “If Stephen Harper gets fewer seats or the same amount of seats, my prediction would be he would not be leading in the next election. He would have hit the ceiling.”
    Full story:
    Smith also appeared on GlobalTV.

  • Colleague David Layock was in The Vancouver Sun as Harper, NDP leader Jack Layton and Green Party leader Elizabeth May campaigned in BC on the last campaign weekend.
    “David Laycock, a professor in the department of political science at Simon Fraser University, was surprised that Harper would make the Fraser Valley his last campaign stop, given that the region is predominantly Conservative.
    Laycock suggested the controversy over the rushed nomination meeting and subsequent election of Mark Strahl, son of outgoing MP Chuck Strahl, as the candidate in Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon may have upset party faithful.
    "‘That may explain why Harper made an appearance [in the Fraser Valley] once. Why he's doing it on the last night of the campaign isn't clear to me,’ he said. ‘I would have thought it made more sense to stop the NDP from moving further forward in Ontario.’"
    Full story:

  • Columnist Stephen Hume looked in The Vancouver Sun at how150 years of aboriginal poverty and our national paralysis in addressing it” did not emerge as an election issue. He quoted SFU’s Krishna Pendakur.
    “Simon Fraser University economist Krishna Pendakur told The Vancouver Sun that when he talks about the differences in wages between whites and visible minorities, he doesn't even like to mention aboriginal wages in the same breath because the gap is so shocking. First nations wage earners represent the most deeply marginalized economic sub-group in Canada.”
    Full column:

  • The Vancouver Sun’s national affairs columnist, Barbara Yaffe, explored the question of “How will the surge in support for Jack Layton’s party translate in terms of seats?” And she wrote:
    “Count on NDP candidate Kennedy Stewart, public policy professor at Simon Fraser University, to pull off a win in Burnaby-Douglas, where NDP MP Bill Siksay stepped down.”
    Full column:

  • Meanwhile, the Globe and Mail told readers: “At the start of the campaign, the Conservatives had high hopes in Svend Robinson’s long-time riding. Bill Siksay of the NDP won by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2008, and he is not running again. But newcomer Kennedy Stewart, a professor of public policy at Simon Fraser University, has run an energetic campaign for the New Democrats and Conservative challenger Ronald Leung has set off few sparks, while absenting himself from all-candidates meetings. The NDP surge in the province is likely to secure another win for the party.”
    Full story:

  • The news-and-commentary website of also picked Burnaby-Douglas as a riding to watch, and said: “The current NDP standard bearer, Kennedy Stewart, is a newcomer to Burnaby but not Metro Vancouver. He is a professor in the School of Public Policy at SFU. He ran in Vancouver Centre in 2004, where he came in second to Hedy Fry while gaining the highest NDP vote percentage since 1988.”
    Full story:

  • And Burnaby Now quoted Stewart on the NDP's rise in the polls: "‘The Nanos poll says health care and the economy are the top issues, and people make decisions on policy rather than parties,’ he said, adding that's where the NDP platform comes in. ‘I think that's what's really spoken to people, and they are really tired of the two old parties.’"
    Full story:
    In a separate story in Burnaby Now, Stewart’s Tory opponent, Ronald Leung, mentioned: “An SFU graduate, my wife Candace and I live in North Burnaby with our two sons.”

  • Columnist Olivia Ward of the Toronto Star quoted political scientist Andrew Heard as shewondered if the rise of the NDP in the polls, and bigger-than-expected turnout for advance pools, could signal real change in Ottawa.
    “Parties in power (used) the ignorance of many voters to trample on some very important constitutional rules and principles,” said Heard. “Those are the bedrock of the common good, and without them governments act with less and less restraint and accountability. . . . Voters' perceptions of the rules of the game—and trust in the institutions of government—have been severely battered.”
    Full column:

  • Heard was also in an editorial in the Cape Breton Post in Sydney NS. “Andrew Heard, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, has suggested that low voter turnout in 2008 was due in part to the fact there wasn't much to galvanize voters in terms of policy issues, there was little to differentiate the parties' policies, the Thanksgiving long weekend immediately preceded election day, and some voters were turned away because they weren't ready for new voter identification rules. . . .
    “Heard also touches on a practical reason why voter turnout may not be as strong as it once was when the strength of many people's allegiance to a particular party approached that of their devotion to their religion.
    ‘Folding money, a mickey of rum, or a box of chocolates were widely dished out to voters on election day,’ writes Heard. ‘In short, modern elections may just not be as much fun!’"
    Full editorial not yet online.

  • Also in the Toronto Star, columnist Linda McQuaig quoted SFU prof Jon Kesselman in a column examining the Conservatives’ promise to increase contribution limits to Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs).
    “Jon Kesselman, a public finance professor at Simon Fraser University who co-wrote an influential C.D. Howe paper promoting tax-free accounts, opposes the Conservative plan to increase contribution limits to $10,000, noting that the increase will mostly help those earning above $125,000 a year.”
    Full column:

  • SFU’s Doug McArthur was in a North Shore News story on strategic voting.
    “We see people making their decisions about voting on the basis of stopping one party from being successful," said Doug McArthur, a professor of public policy with Simon Fraser University.
    “In federal elections, that has usually translated into left-leaning voters switching their allegiances to stop vote splitting between the Liberals, NDP and Green parties in order to try to prevent Conservative candidates from winning.”
    Full story:

  • And bilingual historian Nicolas Kenny was interviewed by Radio Canada.
    Full story not yet online.

  • The Vancouver Sun carried an excerpt from a convocation speech that Pat Carney, former MP, cabinet minister and senator, gave when she received an honorary doctorate from SFU last October.
    “Canadians' attitude to politics today is polarized between apathy and anger. Many people feel that their vote won't change anything. One vote won't count. But they are wrong.”
    Full story:


  • The Province was among BC media that reported the SPCA—with forensic help from SFU—will exhume a mass grave near Whistler on Thursday as part of an investigation into the slaughter of 100 sled dogs. The aim is to determine if the dogs were or were not killed humanely.
    “Simon Fraser University entomologist Gail Anderson . . .  is among eight forensic experts involved. Other noted experts include veterinarians, archaeologists and anthropologists from across North America - many of whom have volunteered their time for the effort, (SPCA spokesperson Marcie) Moriarty said.”
    Full story:


  • The Canadian Press asked immigration expert Don DeVoretz, prof emeritus of SFU Economics, about a U.S. diplomatic message exposed by Wikileaks. It spoke of a flow of illegal immigrants to Canada who had been living illegally in the U.S., and then crossed into Canada and tried fraudulently to gain legal status in Vancouver.
    “Don DeVoretz, an observer of immigration issues and economics professor at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University, says it's ironic that illegal aliens are using the U.S. as a ‘way station’ to get into Canada. ‘It's just usually thought the other way around,’ DeVoretz said in an interview. ‘Americans think of it as terrorists waiting at their back door.’"
    Full story (on CTV News):


  • The First Story program on CTV looked at Canada’s Aboriginal tobacco trade. In the story, John O’Neil, dean of SFU Health Sciences, challenged a survey by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association. It said counting legal and contraband cigarette butts in schoolyards shows Aboriginals are selling contraband cigarettes to children.
    O’Neil: “From a social science point of view would this be considered rigorous social science research? Well, I think the answer is no. This is a study that was commissioned by the convenience store association and they hired a private company to do the work.
    Before study results are considered acceptable they have to go through a fairly rigorous process of peer review where the results are evaluated by our researchers, who look at the methodology and the results and decide whether or not the study is legitimate and the results are reliable. This has not gone through peer review.”
    Full story not yet online.


  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader reported that Jane Fee, associate dean of arts and social sciences at SFU, will join Kwantlen Polytechnic University as associate vice-president, academic, on Sept. 1.
    “Dr. Fee completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia in 1991 and brings to Kwantlen an extensive academic career that has taken her across Canada.”
    Full story:

  • A total of 171 members of Canada's mathematics community signed an open letter to federal industry minister Tony Clement and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The letter says recent changes in NSERC's Discovery Grants program  "threaten this investment in mathematical and statistical talent, and could precipitate a reversal of all the gains that Canada made in the last decade."
    The SFU signatories: Tom Archibald, Nils Bruin, Cedric Chauve, Razvan Fetecau, Justin Gray, Mary-Catherine Kropinski, Michael Monagan and  Manfred Trummer.
    Full story:


  • It took several days for organizers to release official results, but they confirmed that, for the second straight year, the Clan track and field team captured the Achilles Cup in their annual dual meet with the UBC Thunderbirds.
    This was by a score of 122-100 at SFU Burnaby last Wednesday. The Clan’s Achilles record against UBC thus improved to 5-3-1.
    For the Clan Junior Helen Crofts won the 400m and 1500m. Brianna Kane won the 800m, and Breanne Carter the 200m. SFU’s 4x400m team of Emma Vogt, Kane, Olivia Brennan, and Crofts took first place. In the shot-put, Jade Richardson won with a distance of 10.61m.
    On the men’s side, Andrew Boss won the 200m and Brett Montrose the 400m. Ryan Brockerville took the 1500m. SFU also won the 4x100 relay, with a team of Boss, Montrose, Dennis Nicolas and Zach Conard. The Clan also captured the 4x400m relay as Boss and Montrose teamed up with Travis Vugteveen and Yubai Liu.
    Clan news release:

  • The Clan softball team split a doubleheader with the visiting Saints from Saint Martin’s University of Lacey WA, winning 6-1 and losing 6-1.  The Clan action thus stood at 13-15 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, while Saint Martin’s record became 6-22.
    An SFU Athletics news release noted: “The doubleheader at Beedie Field marked the final home game for Clan seniors Jane Channell and Brittany Mayers.”
    Clan release:

  • Burnaby Now told readers how the SFU field lacrosse club came from behind to knock off University of Montana 26-9 in Pacific Northwest conference game. Freshman Calvin Craig tallied 10 goals and added nine assists, shattering his own single-game team record of 15 points, set earlier in the season against Idaho. Craig's nine assists is also a program record.
    Full story:


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