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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - April 30, 2009

April 30, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: April 24-30, 2009

The provincial election, the human swine-flu outbreak, and the state of the 2010 Winter Olympics:
All put SFU profs in the news during the week.
Political scientist Kennedy Stewart, for one, told media that if the May 12 vote reflects recent public opinion polls, the BC Liberals will win another majority. Resources prof Mark Jaccard continued to make election news.
And BBC-TV sent a crew from London to record marketing prof Lindsay Meredith’s views on the potential downsides of hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.

BC ELECTION
  • TheTyee.ca current affairs website reported that a projection by SFU political scientist Kennedy Stewart suggests that if the May 12 vote follows recent public opinion polls, the B.C. Liberals will win another majority.
    Stewart’s model predicts the Liberals will win 56 seats, with New Democrats taking the remaining 29 seats. His model relies on averaged results drawn from five public opinion polls conducted since January, and before the election campaign officially began.
  • The Globe and Mail quoted Michael Geller, former president and CEO of SFU Community Trust and an adjunct prof at SFU’s Centre for Sustainable Community Development, in a story about the NDP’s campaign promise to control “renovictions” by landlords.
    Geller said only "a very small percentage of landlords" empty out buildings, carry out modest renovations and then rent out the suites at higher rates. Controls could discourage legitimate renovations and lead to deteriorated housing stock.
  • An editorial in the Williams Lake Tribune was based on Mark Jaccard’s estimate that the BC NDP’s version of a cap-and-trade system to limit greenhouse gases would cost BC up to 60,000 jobs. Concluded the Tribune: “British Columbians simply can't afford the NDP.”
    A Jim McNulty column in The Province observed: “Mark Jaccard, the Nobel prize-winning Simon Fraser University economist and carbon expert, finds himself the baked potato in the NDP election oven for his support of Campbell's (carbon) tax.”
    McNulty added: “Jaccard said the issue of carbon tax versus cap-and-trade is a ‘red herring’. . . . Jaccard predicts an ultimate merger of carbon taxes and cap-and-trade, which Campbell plans down the road if re-elected.”
    Meanwhile, National Post ran an item that noted Jaccard “used a scientific model to draw his conclusions using information drawn mainly from the NDP's Web Site.” The Victoria Times Colonist and Nanaimo Daily News also carried a story.
    And Jaccard’s estimate of that loss of 60,000 jobs is a standing feature of anti-NDP election ads on radio, funded by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC.
  • Jaccard was also featured on TheCommentary.ca, a current-affairs website. He discussed the essay he contributed to the book Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change Will Define the Future (Thomas Homer-Dixon, ed., Random House, 2009), as well as the NDP's plan to axe the carbon tax. (TheCommentary has an MP3 recording of the interview.)
    Meanwhile, the Calgary Herald picked up last week’s Ottawa Citizen review of the book above. Jaccard and economist Jeff Rubin (CIBC World Markets) contributed an essay on oil pricing. Said the Citizen: “These chapters may be your best chance in a long time to see someone explain why fuel prices go where they do.”
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader reported that a panel discussion on BC-STV featuring SFU political scientist Lynda Erickson will be available at http://www.uvic.ca/stv. (BC-STV is the proposed new voting system for BC that will be put to voters in a referendum with the provincial election May 12.)
NATIONAL NEWS
  • Public policy prof Doug McArthur was in a Canadian Press story questioning whether speeding tickets and minor offences should really be considered as relevant in evaluating a political candidate’s suitability for office.
    He did suggest that BC Solicitor-General John van Dongen's driving ban was relevant because of his ministerial position. But McArthur says he is afraid political parties now will launch a frenzy of detailed background checking. “Decent, good, effective candidates will just say ‘I'm sorry, if that's what you want I'm not goin' there. I don't need to have you going back and finding and digging around into what was said in my divorce settlement.' ''
    We saw the story in 14 papers, as far away as the Times & Transcript in Moncton NB.
  • The Globe and Mail had a story on how income tax experts across Canada were seeing see adult children still getting their parents to do their tax returns for them.  Said SFU sociologist Barbara Mitchell: "There's no doubt that there is a segment of the young adult population that doesn't really want to face adult responsibilities. There's a lot of reasons for it."
  • Another sociologist, Ann Travers, was in a Canadian Press story about the history of the Olympic Games barring women as competitors in several events. “The (old) explanation for preventing girls and women from physical activity (was) the assumption that it would interfere with their ability to bear children. Nobody ever considers the danger to men's reproductive capabilities.''
  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was on Radio CHQR (Calgary) and CHED (Edmonton) on the battle between Starbucks and McDonalds for market share among coffee drinkers. Then he did the same for CFAX in Victoria. All of these interviews stemmed from a Globe and Mail interview Meredith did two weeks ago about the global downsizing of Starbucks.
    Meredith also did an interview with CFUN 1410AM (Vancouver) on the economy and its recovery—or lack thereof.
  • The Edmonton Sun carried a column about the deaths of three teens in Alberta—caused by ecstasy pills. It quoted Benedikt Fischer of SFU Health Sciences: "It has a lot to do with subculture and identity formation and cultural status. But also, the youthful desire to experiment with things that are fun and a bit adventurous and sometimes even deviant and illegal. The best we can do is honest education and that's not necessarily delivered by DARE or comparable programs."
  • Public policy prof Dominique Gross wrote a guest column in the Globe and Mail on Canada’s “flawed system” for admitting foreign workers. “Temporary foreign worker programs aimed at low-skilled workers rarely have positive outcomes for all parties involved. There is no win-win-win solution for workers, employers and sending countries.”
  • The Canadian Press featured RushmoreDrive.com, a web search engine tailored for black users. Peter Chow-White of SFU Communication said a better way to tailor content to a specific group would be to give that group control.  “A top-down approach in the age of Web 2.0, I'm not sure if that's a successful plan. Where the content is generated by users, that seems to be a more successful business model than trying to figure out what a particular group is.'' The story ran on CTV, among others.
  • The Hamilton Spectator noted “many experts who work in children's mental health services had their start in Hamilton.” Among them, SFU’s Charlotte Waddell: “Canada Research Chair in Children's Health Policy, cofounder of Children's Health Policy Centre at (SFU). A child psychiatrist, Waddell studied at McMaster University under Dr. Dan Offord, and did a research fellowship in children's mental health policy with the Offord Centre. . . . Helped develop a provincewide children's mental health plan in B.C.”

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • With global interest in the 2010 Winter Olympics growing, a BBC News TV crew from London was in Whistler this week to record marketing prof Lindsay Meredith’s views on the potential downsides of hosting the games.
    London is hosting the 2012 Summer Games and SFU’s most prolific media figure—with some 1,500 interviews in the last decade—had plenty of warnings about cost overruns, organizer elitism, flawed government estimates, and uncertain sponsor commitments, among other things.
  • Switzerland-based InSciences.org picked up SFU’s news release of last week on how 300 scientists from 25 countries have just finished mapping the genetic code of cattle.  One of the scientists: Fiona Brinkman, associate prof in SFU Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
  • The Mars Institute told media how its researchers reached Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, after an eight-day vehicular trek on sea-ice along the Northwest Passage. Their revamped Humvee drove 494 km on sea-ice, a record for a road vehicle. This with the periodic assistance of Stephen Braham, an adjunct professor in SFU’s School of Communication and director of the school’s PolyLAB. He served as the mission’s “Capcom”.

BC NEWS

  • With human swine flu dominating the news, SFU suggested to media that Stephen Corber, director of public health practice in SFU Health Sciences, could help reporters with their stories. The Vancouver Sun quickly had him in a story about municipal measures to handle the outbreak.
    Corber said BC cities and health authorities are taking the right approach. “The outcome has reached British Columbia so we are involved and it makes sense to be vigilant at this point. “All of [the cases] have a potential spread but I don’t see the need to cancel events or close facilities. But there is a need for cities to be prepared.”  We also saw the story in the Calgary Herald.
  • The Vancouver Courier reported criminologist Neil Boyd was among those panning the federal government's appeal against a BC court ruling that allowed the Insite supervised drug injection facility to stay in operation. “It's really so preposterous to imagine that you would go to Insite to enable yourself to develop an injection drug-use habit,” said Boyd.
  • The Terrace Standard wrote about plans for run-of-river power projects on two creeks near Terrace—and opposition to the plan. Among those quoted was SFU’s John Calvert, author of Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British Columbia. “The developer gets the water licence for 40 years which means their development is worth a lot of money. . . . Public power has been a good deal for the province and there’s no good reason to ditch it.”

ATHLETICS

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that SFU’s senior director of athletics, David Murphy, attended this week a Canadian Interuniversity Sport meeting in Toronto—“where, in effect, he was to inform his Canadian colleagues his school was rejecting them in favour of the NCAA.”
    Said Murphy: “As a long-term CIS supporter I came into this discussion with an admitted bias toward the Canadian system. But I kept an open mind. After all, at SFU we do have a 35-year history of competing against American schools (through the small-college NAIA). We're really going back to our roots. . . . What I see is us bringing Canadian values to the rest of the world.”
    By way of Canwest News Service, the story also ran in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Kamloops Daily News.
  • The SFU Clan women beat their UBC counterparts in the Achilles Cup track-and-field meet, but UBC’s men won their side. And so UBC took the cup 117-to-113.
    SFU Athletics told media how the Clan’s women winners were Helen Crofts (400m and 800m), Breanne Carter (100m), and Jessica Smith (1500m). The women won the 4x100 relay, with Carter teamed with Hali Wong, Traci Boss and Jane Channell. And the Clan women won the 4x400 relay, with a team of Crofts, Smith, Boss and Brianna Kane.
    SFU men winners were Chad Fraser (800m), Ryan Brockerville (1500m) and the 4x100m relay team of Jeffrey Thompson, Adam Newton, Andrew Boss and Dennis Nicholas.
  • SFU Athletics also sent media info about the Clan softball team being top seed for a six-team tournament in Georgia, the inaugural championship of the NAIA Association of Independent Institutions. The winner of the tournament, which began April 30, receives an automatic berth to the 2009 NAIA National Championship.
    The Vancouver Sun noted that the Clan was in Georgia because of their independent status—and a format change that took SFU out of its familiar Northwest regional tournament and sent them to Georgia (at extra cost) for a qualifying tourney for independent schools only.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Georgia Straight and ArtDaily.org reported Vancouver artist Reece Terris is building a 60-foot architectural installation straight up through the heart of the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s an “apartment tower” with six full-sized residences on top of each other, each dedicated to a decade of décor between 1950 and 2000. ArtDaily noted: “He studied at Simon Fraser University, where he explored the possibilities for three-dimensional design.”

SECOND RUN

  • Employee Benefit News and Occupational Health and Safety News picked up a story about the launch of Guarding Minds @ Work—a tool to help Canadian employers assess and deal with the psychological safety and health of workplaces. It was developed by the Consortium for Organizational Mental Healthcare (COMH), a national research centre in SFU Health Sciences. The news release quoted two adjunct profs with COMH, Joti Samra and Martin Shain.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Urban Land Institute announced its 2009 Awards for Excellence. One went to UniverCity “a sustainable 161-acre master-planned community adjacent to Simon Fraser University that includes affordable housing options for faculty, staff and students.”

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