SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

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Media Matters, a daily report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations (PAMR). This edition covers the period from 11 a.m. Thursday Oct. 28 through 8:30 a.m. today, Friday, Oct. 29.


SFU economist Jon Kesselman said Premier Gordon Campbell used “deceptive” charts in his televised appearance in reference to the HST. "If a student did this, I would say this is deceptive, maybe intentionally deceptive," he told The Vancouver Sun. "I would say: 'Fix this and resubmit.'" The charts showed B.C. residents paid less income tax than other provinces. While that is true, critics claim the charts were created in a way that exaggerates the data. "It looks like it was either sloppy or ... intended to exaggerate the difference, even if B.C. is the lowest,” Kesselman said. He also spoke to CKNW’s The Bill Good Show.

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Kesselman was interviewed in another Vancouver Sun story, this time suggesting Premier Campbell would’ve been better off reducing the HST by one point instead of announcing a 15 per cent cut in income taxes. "There's this notion that income taxes are more damaging to the economy, more distorting," he told the paper. "But in the real world, with the institutions we have, there is little or no difference except for higher earners."

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British Columbians would benefit more from a reduction in the HST than cutting income taxes, Kesselman continued his argument in a column by Don Cayo in The Vancouver Sun. While both Cayo and the SFU prof agree the HST is a good thing, they disagree on Campbell’s move this week. “I do subscribe to the belief — confirmed by B.C.’s experience with Campbell’s huge income tax cut in 2001 as well as a lot of other tax reductions in other jurisdictions over time — that tax cuts will pay for themselves eventually by generating more revenue,” Cayo wrote.

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SFU fish biologist John Reynolds was part of a panel testifying before the Cohen commission this week as part of the inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in B.C.’s Fraser River. The Globe and Mail reports the panel was made up of “highly informed individuals who could help the Cohen commission understand what the words ‘conservation, sustainability and stewardship’ mean in relation to British Columbia’s salmon resource.” Reynolds said his definition of conversation refers to “the restoration of salmon and their habitats,” but he emphasized the importance of promoting different species of salmon. “There’s strong evidence that salmon can evolve quickly … (but) the fish need as much room to manoeuvre as possible," he told the paper.

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According to Business in Vancouver, SFU Business has been ranked 38th out of 40 universities around the world, based on the number of academic articles published between 1998 and 2008. International Business Review chose SFU and the University of Western Ontario (ranked fifth overall) as the only two Canadian schools to make its list. SFU Business dean Daniel Shapiro said being recognized improves the school’s “global standing” when it comes to recruitment. “It certainly helps to attract visiting scholars and students at the graduate level, particularly at the PhD level,” he told the paper. CFAX radio (Victoria) and A-Channel (Victoria) also covered this story.

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The latest data shows Canadians are doing a lot of home shopping across the border. According to The Vancouver Sun, Canadians now make up 23 per cent of all international purchases, an increase of 11 per cent since 2008. Mexicans are typically the top foreign buyers of real estate, but right now rank a distant second at 10 per cent. SFU business professor Andrey Pavlov told the paper this is a great time to invest in U.S. property in depressed areas of the country. “The only question is whether to do it now or a year or two from now,” he said. One example of the trend is the fact that Canadians bought more homes (405) in Phoenix, Ariz., than Californians last April.

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Complaints against telecommunications companies increased 17 per cent this year, according to The Vancouver Sun, but SFU communication professor Richard Smith said that may not necessarily mean service is getting worse. Instead, it may be because consumers are getting savvy about how to lodge complaints. "They're not super happy with the service, and never have been, but there's a growing awareness of an ability to complain to somebody and who to complain to."

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SFU Health Sciences faculty and students are working with a Burnaby group to assist African grandmothers caring for children orphaned by parents who have died from AIDS. This is part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s campaign to raise awareness about the issue in Africa. The local chapter is called Burnaby Gogos – “gogo” is Zulu for grandmother – and is holding a fundraiser November 4.

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There are no good or evil foods, SFU dietician Rosie Dhaliwal told columnist Randy Shore. "We use the 80-20 rule that 80 per cent of our food should come from the food groups like those in the Canada Food Guide and 20 per cent can come from treats," Dhaliwal said in a Vancouver Sun blog post. "All foods can fit in the diet in moderation. I really believe in enjoying the experience of eating, so I don't like to label things as junk food or give them negative connotations." Shore examines the message parents send to children when they take them trick-or-treating but then restrict how much candy they can eat afterwards.

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A writer for the U.S.-based website crossed the border to pen a feature about UniverCity and the green benefits of urbanism. SFU Community Trust planning manager Dale Mikkelsen said they want to prove that “compact urban forms can work outside of cities proper.”

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Andre Gerolymatos, SFU historian and international security expert, was on CKNW and on Astral Radio's six stations in the Okanagan, talking about the pending, if delayed, return to Canada of Omar Khadr, self-admitted al-Qaeda terrorist, killer and spy. The message from Gerolymatos: "He'll be back in Canada in a year, bitter and angry. Just what we need."

The director of SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT), Deborah Harford, is referenced in a Canadian Insurance – Top Broker magazine editorial. Editor Daryl Angier wrote about Harford’s appearance at the RIMS Canada Conference in Edmonton. In her talk, Harford outlined “how climate change is having varying effects on the predictability of the water supply around the world, ranging from disastrous flooding in the UK to prolonged drought in Australia. This, in turn, affects even non-fossil fuel-related energy sources such as hydro-electric power generation that rely on a steady flow of water.”


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