SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: April 10-17, 2009
Mark Jaccard, energy guru and adviser to governments, created an instant BC election issue during the week with a report concluding the BC NDP’s cap-and-trade plan would eliminate 60,000 jobs.
Other SFU profs were also in the media as the election campaign got officially under way: Cara Camcastle, Richard Smith, Doug McArthur, Blaize Horner Reich, Neil Boyd and Rob Gordon.
And SFU Contemporary Arts got big coverage as it told media about its move to the Woodward’s project and about its inaugural cultural program.


  • The Province, Vaughn Palmerof The Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail were quick to move on an SFU news release on how energy-and-resources prof Mark Jaccard predicts the NDP's environmental platform would eliminate 60,000 jobs around BC.
    Media notedthat he had run the NDP’s proposal, as outlined in its platform, through his computer model. The Province story, for one, said:
    "’It is the smelting, the aluminum, zinc, lime, cement, pulp and paper, these are the industries where there would be production decreases and in some cases shutdowns would occur’, said Jaccard. Under the NDP's election plan, Jaccard thinks there would be 30,000 direct and another 30,000 indirect job losses within 11 years. If the Liberal government's existing carbon tax stays after the May election, Jaccard said, he estimates there would be about 5,000 job losses by 2020.”
    Meanwhile, a Gary Mason column in the Globe and Mail cited Jaccard’s forecasts. “This is not someone from the right-leaning Fraser Institute talking. He has no political axe to grind whatsoever. He just believes, as do I along with so many others, that the NDP policy is wrongheaded and dangerous.”
    Vaughn Palmer cited Jaccard’s numbers on CKNW. And in a column in Surrey Now, GlobalTV’s BC legislature reporter, Keith Baldrey, called Jaccard “credible” on the issue. Baldrey’s column also appeared in the Richmond News, New Westminster Record and Coquitlam Now.
    The SFU release and the story then made their way into a number of blogs. And it all became an instant election issue:
  • Liberal leader Gordon Campbell cited Jaccard’s estimates of job-loss in a story carried by Black Press newspapers. NDP leader Carole James struck back in the Victoria Times Colonist with: “Mark Jaccard's assumptions are wrong." That story we saw as far afield as the Calgary Herald.
    And earlier, NDP environment critic Shane Simpson told The Province: “He (Jaccard) has been a critic of ours, and I don't believe Mr. Jaccard has an independent view on this."
    To that, a popular BC environmental blog ( countered: “It's insulting to an academic like Jaccard to be accused of dishonesty and being in collusion with government. What makes it even worse is that Simpson fails to mention that Jaccard has also been an advisor to previous NDP governments—so much for his conspiracy theory.”
  • Meanwhile, charts produced by three major environmental groups showed 76% of B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions are currently covered by the carbon tax compared to 32% covered by the NDP's proposal, which would largely target industry.
    The Green Party candidate running against Carole James in Victoria-Beacon Hill leaped on that—and on the Jaccard report—to attack the NDP. That story we saw as far from Victoria as the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.
  • And National Post then ran an editorial that said in part: “Mr. Jaccard's numerical assumptions might be questionable, but his unimpeachable broader point is that there can be no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to emissions reductions.”


  • CBC-TV interviewed political scientist Cara Camcastle on the NDP’s opposition to the carbon tax, environmentalists' criticism of the NDP, and the positions of the three provincial parties on environmental issues.
  • Camcastle also talked to the Surrey-North Delta Leader about why the BC Greens are having difficulty finding candidates for 18 ridings in BC.
  • GlobalTV interviewed communication prof Richard Smith about the use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media as campaign tools. “Having a presence online is really crucial,” he said. Global also interviewed three students on the Burnaby campus, but did not identify them.
  • And CBC Radio pursued public policy prof Doug McArthur to talk about BC-STV, the proposed new balloting system that will be submitted to voters on May 12.
  • Speaking of BC-STV, and the Kitimat Northern Sentinel reported that online support for BC-STV “is growing daily.” They cited support on Twitter and Facebook. Both quoted SFU Business prof Blaize Horner Reich, with the Sentinel quoting her as saying: "The desire for change is a powerful force and we are seeing a groundswell of British Columbians coming together online to demand a fairer electoral system in our province."
  • McArthur was also on CBC-TV’s national news, saying politicians across the country will be watching as BC premier Gordon Campbell is the first to hold an election during the recession. “We know that anger is there about the economy. . . . They'll all be watching. They'll be watching what happens in British Columbia for sure.”
    McArthur also wrote a guest column in the Georgia Straight questioning the BC government’s promotion of private hydro projects. “The truth is . . . that we don’t need vast amounts of new power. . . .  Instead the government sells us the idea that we need a lot of new power. Private hydropower producers have responded with enthusiasm.  . . . A virtual gold rush has been set loose.”
  • Criminologists Neil Boyd and Rob Gordon were in a story in The Vancouver Sun on a Green Party proposal to replace the RCMP with an “accountable” provincial police force.
    Boyd said politicians would do better to focus on a regional police force in Metro Vancouver. “Toronto and Montreal have regional forces in place, so we are a little behind the times.” Meanwhile, Gordon said: “What we have to do is look at the structure of policing and whether what we have is the most efficient and the most effective form of policing available in the province, and if it is not, then we need to work out an alternative.”
  • And Milt McLaren, education prof emeritus, talked with The Vancouver Sun about education issues in the platforms of the major parties.


  • Media turned out for an SFU Contemporary Arts reception for Vancouver's cultural community to preview the school's move to the Woodward's complex and to launch its inaugural cultural program.
    Reporters attended from The Vancouver Sun, CBC-TV, the Globe and Mail, CBUF (CBC French radio), the Vancouver Westender, Vancouver Courier, Talk Radio 1410, Georgia Straight, World Journal, Asian Times, and Minkei News online.
    Two excerpts from media coverage:
  • From The Vancouver Sun: “Summoning the most powerful symbol in Chinese mythology, Simon Fraser University descends from its mountain in Burnaby led by the roar of a dragon. In a Wednesday announcement, SFU revealed that the much-anticipated move to downtown Vancouver early next year by its School for the Contemporary Arts will be led by international superstar of theatre Robert Lepage, astride The Blue Dragon.
    “At the heart of SFU's richly diverse new cultural complex being built into the burgeoning Woodward's site on Hastings Street, the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre is to be christened in February, 2010, by Lepage's latest landmark play, a co-presentation with the 2010 Cultural Olympiad and Theatre le Seizieme. Heading the school of contemporary arts, Martin Gotfrit knew the opening of the Wong Experimental Theatre would demand a debut by no less a luminary of the arts.”
    For details (and Early Bird ticket bonuses) see
  • Miss 604, Vancouver’s ace blogger, has more than 4600 followers on Twitter alone—and many more who check into her daily blog ( She gave lots of detail about the school and its new home, and added:
    “It’s nice to see so much happening in a space that had such a slow and somber demise as it faded from a swinging shopping destination with glittery holiday window displays to a decrepit cry for help and action from the community. This property will be open and full of public spaces for those who are already in the Downtown Eastside, and will welcome others to bask in the glow of its inspiration that will stem from all levels. The SFU Contemporary Arts facility . . . has the potential to be a true cornerstone of arts and culture—glossy and gritty, local and global—for our city.”


  • A blog from Metro Vancouver reported: “Vancouver Magazine recently published a wide-reaching interview with Anthony Perl, the director of the urban studies program at Simon Fraser University. . . . His perspectives are a welcome, and nuanced diversion, from the usual civic cheerleading or prescribed nay-saying.”
    It quoted Perl as saying, among other things: "By treating the train station as a kind of down-and-out skid row zone, we’re turning our back on a significant part of the Canadian/European heritage that brought people to Vancouver in the first place. . . . This should be the face of our city; instead we’re presenting visitors with a very different part of our anatomy."
    Earlier, Perl was interviewed at length on CBC Radio, which largely focused on his co-authored book Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil.
  • Business ethicist Mark Wexler was on GlobalTV in a story about e-mail ethics. This after disciplinary action against some BC public servants for misuse of government e-mail and internet access.
  • Psychologist Joti Samra was on the On the Coast show on CBC Radio, talking to host Stephen Quinn about the psychology behind Canuck Fever and the fans’ bandwagon.
  • Michael Geller, former president and CEO of SFU Community Trust and an adjunct prof at SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development, wrote a guest article in The Vancouver Sun saying the city could use some spring-cleaning: “While we have managed to contain graffiti, we are failing when it comes to controlling chewing gum, cigarette butts and other litter.”
  • Arvind Gupta, scientific director of the SFU-based MITACS Centre of Excellence (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) continued his six-week series for The Vancouver Sun on the importance and beauty of mathematics. Among careers that use math, he noted: “Criminology professors Paul and Patricia Brantingham at SFU work with the School of Computing Science and the mathematical modellers at the Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Centre to maintain a repository of past and current crime data to answer questions and identify patterns in crime around Vancouver and other real and simulated urban environments.”
  • Third-year biology student Aman Sundher wrote a guest article for the Georgia Straight: “A new study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry has revealed that the declines in the northern and southern populations of killer whales found along B.C.’s coast can be attributed to environmental contaminants known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) . . . . What this illustrates is that there is never a ‘quick fix’ for environmental damage.”


  • The Canadian Press reported how changes to the Citizenship Act restore citizenship to thousands of "lost Canadians". But a new rule means no citizenship for children born outside Canada to Canadian parents who were also born abroad, or for children adopted abroad. That led SFU economist Don DeVoretz, who specializes in immigration issues, to protest: “We're putting the cost of our concern about overseas Canadians on kids who aren't even born yet."
    We saw the story in and on 26 media outlets across the country.
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith spoke with the Globe and Mail about the global downsizing of Starbucks. "The marginal stores—the ones that were limping along when times were good—are going to be the first to go over the falls." Scripps Howard News Service sent the story to papers across the U.S.
  • McGill University issued a news release about its part in a collaborative study—also involving Robert Hogg of SFU Health Sciences—that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that that starting antiretroviral treatment earlier than usual in HIV cases could reduce the risk of death by up to 94%.
  • A February 23 lecture by Tariq Ramadan, presented by the SFU School for International Studies and the SFU Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures, was broadcast on the Ideas program on CBC Radio. Ramadan is the author of Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation.
  • A John Allemang column in the Globe and Mail decried bad manners—and bad cellphone behavior—in Canada. Among those he quoted on cellphone manners was SFU Communication prof Richard Smith:
    "Keep in mind that when it comes to a new device, no one knows what the rules are—they have to be worked out. The cellphone is a challenge, because it's seen to be like the original telephone, which we were taught to answer whenever it rang. . . . Now the cellphone puts us in situations where that's not the right thing to do. But if you look around, I think you'll find that cellphone manners have become a lot better than they were in the space of 10 years."
  • Canwest News Service sent to clients across the country a story quoting economist Krishna Pendakur as saying homelessness initiatives that focus on the "usual culprits" of mental illness, family breakdown, addiction, crime and violence are missing the biggest causes. He said the main reasons people end up on the streets are straightforward but often overlooked: low income and high rents.
    We found this story in and on 15 media outlets, including National Post.
  • U.S.-based carried a story saying the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention withheld or covered up evidence that contaminated tap water in Washington DC caused lead poisoning in kids. Salon quoted Bruce Lanphear of SFU Health Sciences, an expert on lead contamination, as saying: "It is critical to investigate how and why these earlier studies failed to show any increase in children's blood-lead levels."
  • Design Engineering magazine carried a story on the work that Neil Branda and Byron Gates, Canada research chairs and material scientists, will be doing with the $884,106 they received from Western Economic Diversification Canada. The funding is to enhance SFU’s capability for materials design and development at 4D LABS.


  • Criminologist Ray Corrado was on GlobalTV in a story about the murder last week of a homeless and disabled man. Corrado speculated that the killers could have been young men—“likely teenage boys (who) get into a bullying exchange or some kind of exchange that escalates.” He said the fact that victim Michael Nestoruk’s pants were taken and discarded is the kind of “humiliation” often seen in such incidents.
  • The Canadian Press looked at incidents across Canada where police invite media to watch police video or pictures of crimes—but have themselves seized news cameras. The story said in part:  “Simon Fraser University criminology professor Neil Boyd says it appears police are more concerned about public perception, but in this video age, no one has the right to privacy in a public place.”
    We saw the story in and on 31 media outlets.
  • Gary Mauser, prof emeritus and gun guru, was in a Globe and Mail story on the seizure in an RCMP raid near Nanaimo of an arsenal that included a machine-gun. "It's almost certainly a smuggled weapon. Most of the illegal weapons like this are military surplus that have been obtained by legitimate military groups and then sold illegally."
    Mauser was also in a Province story about a Vancouver jewelry storeowner who fired a shot as three would-be robbers smashed his display cases. “In the light of the recent black eyes of Tasering people instead of talking to them, it would not help the image of the police to get into another brouhaha with trying to charge a legitimate person with self-defence."
  • Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, was in a Vancouver Sun story about the protection police are giving witnesses in the Surrey Six murder case. “Getting somebody to actually give evidence under oath at a trial in these kinds of situations is known generally to be problematic. Obviously what police are doing is developing a strategy for managing not only the people they want to protect at the moment but also others who might come forward."
    By way of Canwest News Service, we spotted this story in 14 Canadian media outlets.


  • The Province carried a feature on Marcie Bruder of the Clan softball team, winner of SFU Athletics’ annual Rick Jones Memorial Award, recognizing the student-athlete who has best overcome adversity in their playing career.
    Bruder has suffered from concussions three times, and survived a four-car pileup. She can no longer risk playing as a catcher, but helps out with her bat. Coach Mike Renney noted: “She has really had to give up more than half of the game. . . . But she is still there for every one of our 6 a.m. practices to help work out our pitchers."
    Bruder herself said: “Turn to the next person and chances are they've had it worse than you. But I am really proud of myself for getting to my senior year. I would never have considered getting an award for something that is just second nature to me, to keep coming back.”
  • Coquitlam Now told readers how Basketball BC has named Bruce Langford, head coach of the Clan women’s basketball team, as University Coach of the Year—and his national-champion squad Team of the Year.
    As well, the Now reported, high-school guard Kristina Collins, selected as High School Outstanding Female, will joined SFU in the fall. (And, incidentally, Langford’s brother Paul won the High School Coaching Award of Excellence.)
  • SFU Athletics told media how SFU set a meet record and won six events at Ralph Vernacchia meet at Western Washington University, Bellingham.
    The Clan 4x400m women’s relay team (Traci Boss, Brianna Kane, Helen Crofts and Jessica Smith) posted a meet record of 3:50.38. The mark qualified the team for the 2009 NAIA National Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Crofts also won the 800m.
    Other SFU winners: Ryan Brockerville (steeplechase), Tyson Unruh (400m), Adam Newton (200m), and the SFU 4x400m relay team of Newton, Unruh, Andrew Boss and Mitch Culley.
  • Brockerville then went on to claim the 1500m title at the first annual Bryan Clay Invitational, hosted by Azusa Pacific University, Azusa CA. Clan members competed at three separate California meets in preparation for next weekend’s Achilles Cup dual meet against UBC.
  • The Kelowna Capital News reported that assistant coach Clint Schneider of the Clan men’s soccer team will take over as head coach of the Okanagan Challenge squad. In that role he replaces Clan head coach Alan Koch, who has accepted a coaching job with the Vancouver Whitecaps women's team.
  • Media across the country and into the U.S. reported that UBC is deferring a decision on applying for NCAA Division II membership until next year at the earliest. “Simon Fraser University confirmed last month that they will apply for NCAA Division II membership by this year’s June 1 deadline and plan to move all their teams there in the next three years.”


  • The Calgary Herald featured Hiromi Goto, writer-in-residence at SFU, and her book Half World.  “Goto creates worlds of striking detail that hook readers even as they threaten to ensnare the author.” Goto gave public readings from the book in Calgary this week.
  • featured hip-hop artist (and SFU grad) Baba Brinkman and his performance of The Rap Guide to Evolution, which uses remixed beats, comedic storytelling, and rap poetry to make the science behind evolution accessible and interesting., after a show at SFU Burnaby, quoted Arne Mooers, an SFU evolutionary biologist: “He (Brinkman) noticed we all had our mouths hanging open, and it was indeed gobsmackingly mesmerizing. You just don't expect witty lyrics over a hard beat railing against post-modernist waffle on the scientific method. I raved to everyone I bumped into for days."
  • The Vernon Morning Star promoted a presentation there of the Judith Marcuse Project’s EARTH = home. The story added that JMP is partnering with SFU to create the International Centre of Art for Social Change, designed to nurture and support the growing global community of arts for social change.


  • The Vancouver Sun looked at the impact on academe of the end of mandatory retirement at 65. Among other things, it wrote:
    “At Simon Fraser University, about three-quarters of the professors who have turned 65 since the university abolished its mandatory retirement policy—just before the government did 15 months ago—are still there, according to Dario Nonis, SFU's executive director of human resources.”
  • Burnaby Now carried in full an SFU news release on how SFU is getting $49.4 million from Victoria and Ottawa to renovate its chemistry building on the Burnaby campus. Andrew Bennet, chair of chemistry, and President Michael Stevenson were quoted. The Burnaby NewsLeader also carried a story.
  • Burnaby Now also carried a story on an agreement between Fraser Health and SFU to work together. The agreement establishes a relationship to work towards collaborative training, education and research programs. These include training opportunities for SFU students with Fraser Health.
  • The Tri-City News featured two SFU Education students who will head for New York in June to work as volunteers in a tough neighbourhood in the South Bronx. It will be the fourth such trip for Vanessa Aguira and Rosemary Cristiano.
  • South Asian Post and the Asian Pacific Post reported the SFU team of Kevin Wang, Ivan Ma, Patrick Low, and Awin Ye won the business case competition of the Certified Management Accountants Society of BC. Students had to come up with solutions to the declining profits of a fictional company.


  • SFU Contemporary Arts announced to media that Robert Lepage’s theatrical masterpiece, The Blue Dragon/Le Dragon Bleu, will headline the school’s inaugural cultural program in February 2010. It’s one of several events planned to mark the school’s move to the Woodward’s redevelopment project in January 2010.
    (Details at:
  • SFU also told media how SFU’s 4D LABS nano-tech laboratory will be a model of environmental responsibility when it is fully operational later this year. It will meet semiconductor industry standards for ensuring personal safety as well as protecting the environment protection from combustible and toxic gases.
  • SFU’s Krishna Pendakur, co-director of Metropolis British Columbia centre of excellence for research on immigration and diversity, told media about a one-day film festival exploring homelessness and intersecting issues. (Sunday April 19, at noon, 1:45 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., all at SFU Harbour Centre.)


  • The Abbotsford News and the Aldergrove Star picked up from the Surrey-North Delta Leader a story from last week in which Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, said arrests in the Surrey Six gang-slaughter are a high-profile coup for police—but "if people think that this is in some way going to affect organized crime operations in this province then they're sadly mistaken.”
  • The Vancouver Sun picked up from the Ottawa Citizen of two weeks ago a story on the business of bottled water—and the number of municipalities that are moving to ban it. The Citizen wrote: “Mark Jaccard, a professor with the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University, is all for any measures that in some way ‘reduce the throughput of energy and materials in our economy. It has to start somewhere. So bravo to those municipalities who are taking action.’"

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Vancouver Sun featured Alison Lawton, entrepreneur, philanthropist and human rights activist. Among other things, the Sun noted: “Lawton has long been concerned by unrestrained free markets. In her 2005 masters' thesis at Simon Fraser University on the mass media and the financial industry, Lawton presciently concluded—using neo-Marxist analysis—that ‘the blind belief in the power of capitalism may be leading our economy into an abyss.’"
  • The Vancouver Sun also ran a feature on Grade 12 student Linda Liu of Delta, winner of a contest for research suggesting rhubarb extract could preserve the structure of a protein identified as a factor in neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s. “She conducted a series of trials earlier this year at Simon Fraser University, where she was provided laboratory time and help from a graduate chemistry student.” (The student was not named.)
  • India’s Punjab Newsline reported D.J. Sandhu has been appointed the BC government’s B.C. business investment and skills liaison representative in India. Sandhu is a business prof at University of the Fraser Valley who also teaches at SFU. He has BBA and MBA from SFU.
  • The Vancouver Sun’s business pages featured Diana Sorace, communications adviser with the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.  The item noted she has a BA in history and political science from SFU.
  • The Prince George Citizen reported the city of Quesnel has a new finance director: Kari Bolton. The paper noted she has a BBA from SFU.


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