SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 29, 2008
February 29, 2008
A look at how SFU and its people were covered in the news media: Feb. 22-29, 2008
Jon Kesselman, award-winning professor of tax policy at SFU, got some well deserved credit this week for his role in originating the federal budget’s new savings-account benefit for lower income earners. The idea came from a paper he co-authored in 2001.
And energy guru Mark Jaccard got coverage, credit and criticism in the media on two grounds: a report with David Suzuki on how Ottawa could cut income tax in half by phasing in a new tax on actions that contribute to global warming; and on the BC government’s plans for a new carbon tax.
More on these stories below.
- The Canadian Press, Canwest News Service, CBC Radio and TV, CTV, GlobalTV and La Presse Canadienne covered a new report saying the average Canadian would see a 50-per-cent income tax cut if the federal government phased in a new tax to crack down on activities that contribute to global warming. The authors: environmentalist David Suzuki and SFU’s Mark Jaccard.
The Suzuki-Jaccard report said a new tax should be phased in to shift the tax burden onto activities that generate a lot of pollution, without increasing government tax revenues. Stories on the report appeared in media right across Canada, including the Globe and Mail.
- Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post section of National Post, snorted: "Mark Jaccard's one-man crusade to hook Canada up to a monster new global warming policy nightmare popped up again yesterday. This time he emerged in Ottawa with David Suzuki at a news conference that offered Canadians an economic miracle: Big new carbon taxes, lower income taxes, reduced carbon emissions, more government revenue, and a growing economy. . . . But a tax is . . . a bureaucratic planning device—as Mr. Jaccard's elaborate economic modellings prove. And it's no way to run a market economy."
- A Dan Gardner column in the Ottawa Citizen (and reproduced in the Edmonton Journal) sniped at federal environment minister John Baird's opposition to a carbon tax. Wrote Gardner:
"Baird says a carbon tax would kill the economy, steal bread from the mouths of children, and have us all living in caves. Not true, says Mark Jaccard, the Simon Fraser University economist who is the country's leading expert on the subject. As long as a carbon tax is off-set with equivalent reductions in other taxes, it need not harm the economy. Properly done, such a tax shift would actually encourage things we want more of—investment, employment, innovation—while steadily diminishing the carbon emissions we want less of."
- Jaccard also starred in two columns this week by The Vancouver Sun’s Vaughn Palmer. Palmer first noted that Jaccard praised the BC government for “amazing leadership” in introducing its coming carbon tax. This, Palmer pointed out, came from someone who “got his got his start in shaping public policy in this province as a New Democratic Party appointee.”
In the second column, Jaccard said it will be tough for BC to meet its emission-reduction goals, but is “in an excellent position to be global policy leader.” That said, the resource economist cautioned that “any policy causing costs in BC has to be contingent on what the rest of the world is doing.”
- Earlier, a special Going Green section in The Vancouver Sun Feb. 23 included an interview with Jaccard, talking about the BC carbon tax. "I tend to believe the best way to sell this politically is to put the tax in, and then lower taxes on profits, on capital, on income, rather than sales. You apply the tax to things that lead people to want to save and invest money."
- In another story in that section, Jaccard was quoted on so-called "offset investments" in whichyou can seek to compensate for your carbon footprint by paying money towards a green project elsewhere. In, for example, tree planting in Guatemala. Said Jaccard: "Was the planted tree in Guatemala truly an additional investment in reducing greenhouse gases or would another tree have sprouted in that spot eventually? . . . We cannot know, because future actions are unknowable."
- In a third story in the Sun's section, SFU fisheries biologist John Reynolds was quoted. He said the world needs to end "environmentally perverse subsidies" for fishing industries—which have reached $30 billion dollars a year around the globe.
- Columnist Gary Mason reported in the Globe and Mail on the creation of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. SFU is a working partner in the institute, which is being based at the University of Victoria. Said Mason: "It may end up being the best $95-million the province has ever spent. . . . It could one day make British Columbia the worldwide epicentre of climate-change research. It will almost certainly spawn an array of commercial opportunities. . . . From that standpoint alone, it's a potentially brilliant investment by the government."
- The Daily Gleaner in Fredericton NB told readers how landscapers are turning integrated pest-management (IPM) strategies as an alternative to using chemical sprays to control weed and insect pests. Among those quoted was SFU's Mark Winston, academic director at SFU's Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and a scientist whose research has looked at the impact of agricultural practices on plants and pollination. He said IPM programs are in the best interest of everyone and pesticides should only be used as a last resort. The story also appeared in the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal in St. John.
- Back in BC, the Maple Ridge News ran a story on a Metro Vancouver forum on sustainability. Anthony Perl, director of SFU's urban studies program, was quoted: "Oil prices are sending us a clear signal, and we would be foolish—for the region's economic future—not to pay attention to them now."
- The Campbell River Courier-Islander carried a story saying sea-lice researchers and fish-farm opponents were angry about “mixed signals” from the Pacific Salmon Forum. Among those quoted was Craig Orr, associate director at SFU's Centre for Coastal Studies and a member of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society.
- Jon Kesselman, award-winning professor of tax policy at SFU, is getting some co-credit for originating the federal budget’s new savings-account benefit for lower income earners.
The idea came from a 2001 paper by Kesselman and Finn Poschmann of the C.D. Howe Institute. "They did it the proper way," Kesselman said in a Globe and Mail story on the new budget measure.
And columnist Don Cayo wrote in The Vancouver Sun: “Jon Kesselman of SFU and Finn Poschmann of the C.D. Howe Institute first proposed this measure seven years ago. . . . So this measure is overdue.”
- Shauna Sylvester and her Canada's World project (which seeks to enlist Canadians to define Canada's values, interests, assets and role in the world) continued to interest media.
Canada’s World last weekend co-hosted an online dialogue via the Globe and Mail.com. From Feb. 23 through 26, more than 40,000 people participated.
A column in the Toronto Star said: “For Sylvester and others, the time has come to turn attention away from the same old voices on foreign policy and to start listening to the millions of Canadians with international experience.” And writer Bob Hepburn added: “We need this national dialogue, involving people from communities such as Ajax, to help us develop genuine Canadian positions, not just policies perceived as being anti- or pro-American. And we need to define what being Canadian means today. It is time for new voices, and a new vision of our role in the world. . . .”
And, closer to home, the Victoria News reported on the project.
All this followed up on a big string of interviews Sylvester did in the first week of February.
- Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program, was on CBC Radio saying the federal government’s budget of $500 million for municipal infrastructure won’t go far. “Well, $500 million will pay for a bridge, maybe; one bridge, if you're lucky. So while it's very welcome, it's not a lot of money.”
- André Gerolymatos, historian and Balkanologist, wrote a guest column in the Globe and Mail on Kosovo’s declaration of independence. “Washington, London and Berlin . have recognized the breakaway province, believing the new country will become a model of multiethnicity and tolerance. This is a Balkan pipe dream. . . . More importantly, despite the rhetoric from Washington and Moscow, this is really all about petroleum.”
- The Globe and Mail also carried a feature on the work of SFU prof David Thomas and colleagues who have has created an online test to assess the "cultural IQ" of individuals—and how they will likely get along in dealing with people and problems in other cultures. Thomas, a professor of international management, says he has come across numerous cases in which business deals have suffered because of a lack of cultural intelligence.
- The Vancouver Sun featured the research of Matthew White and colleagues in SFU Kinesiology, using their “environmental physiology unit” that can replicate extreme environments so researchers examine their impact on human physiology and performance.
Said White: “Once we start to understand the mechanisms underlying the changes in performance, then we can start working with industry to produce the right types of garments to maintain [body] temperatures and manual dexterity."
CityTV and ShawTV also did the story, and a writer for The Tyee.ca, BC Business, and The Walrus also pursued the story.
- In a feature on workplace depression, The Vancouver Sun quoted Merv Gilbert, a psychologist and co-author with two SFU colleagues of a new workbook for employees suffering from depression. He said employers recognize mental illness as a health problem but don't see it as a workplace issue. "They don't think they're the ones to deal with it, or if they ignore it, it will go away. But depression is rapidly becoming the leading cause of disability in the workplace and in some sectors it's already there."
Although it didn't name his co-author colleagues—Dan Bilsker and Joti Samra from SFU's Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction—the Sun did plug their book: Antidepressant Skills at Work: Dealing with Mood Problems in the Workplace, produced with the Provincial Health Services Authority. The story also ran in the Prince George Citizen and the Nanaimo Daily News.
- In a column in The Vancouver Sun on the granting of day parole for mercy-killer Robert Latimer, Doug Todd quoted SFU prof John Richards, a social policy specialist, as saying mercy killing should still be seen as murder, but of less magnitude. "You don't want to see family members, or doctors, taking the law into their own hands," Richards says. But he envisions relatively short jail terms of up to three years, or simply community service, for what Latimer did.
- The Vancouver Sun also carried a newsfeature on financial abuse of the elderly, and the use (and misuse) of powers of attorney. Among those quoted was Charmaine Spencer, lawyer and adjunct prof in SFU's gerontology department. "One of the big things I keep on harping on from a public legal education part is that people who are given the power of attorney aren't told what the responsibilities are. . . . You can't just sort of take off with the money."
- A Vancouver Sun feature on online poker said there has been an explosion of the game at SFU and UBC. The Sun featured SFU student Nick Hanzl, who has also spent two years working for a poker website based in the Lower Mainland. “I would say there's thousands of players at SFU." The good news: He said he doesn't know anyone who has gambled away their tuition.
- Rob Gordon, director of criminology, was in a Victoria Times Colonist story on stress among Victoria police officers. According to a 2001 study in the U.S., during a career in policing, the average American officer in an urban department encounters 25 recently dead bodies, 14 decaying corpses, 10 sexually assaulted children and is usually seriously injured at least once on the job. "I think there is still an expectation that you do harden yourself to it," said Gordon, a former policeman himself. "You get used to it, and indeed you have to, to do the job." The story was picked up by The Province, too.
- In a guest column in The Vancouver Sun, Niya Karpenko, a graduating student from SFU's undergraduate semester in dialogue, wrote that under current approaches and provincial cutbacks, the majority of ESL students in BC do not meet acceptable literacy levels. "Language is the most crucial factor in determining the success of new Canadians socially, culturally and economically."
- The Tri-City News carried a story on Shaela Rae Wlodarczyk, a criminology honours student and athlete who is in the running to become the 2008 Miss World Canada.
- Asian Pacific Post and the South Asian Post carried stories on last week’s federal funding for the SFU library: almost $500,000 for a web project that will help preserve and promote awareness of Canada's culture, history, and heritage. It will digitize unique historical materials from multicultural groups.
- And the Nelson Daily News and Castlegar News promoted a coming presentation by Lara Campbell, assistant prof of Women's Studies at SFU. She's looking at the thousands of American women who immigrated to Canada in order to resist the Vietnam war—and why they did so.
ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT
- The Vancouver Sun promoted A Felling, an exhibition that runs at the SFU Gallery fromMarch 1-20. The exhibition features the works of 16 young visual arts students from the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU.
- C. S. Morrissey, who teaches Latin and Greek at SFU, reviewed in the Globe and Mail the new book Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, by Bruce Chilton.
- The South Delta Leader featured the plans of Virpi Kangas, new manager of the Tsawwassen Arts Centre. "She sees the potential for cabarets, dinner theatre, and theatre in the round in the former church building that will hopefully cut out the need for South Deltans to travel to Vancouver to be entertained." The paper added: "Kangas herself is young, energetic and vibrant, a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University's theatre program, which she says really promotes contemporary theatre and creating a space to make theatre in."
- SFU Athletics spread the word on how Lani Gibbons, Clan women’s basketball point guard, was named the 2008 Canada West MVP. She led her team to a 22-1 regular season record, and a 2008 Pacific Division Championship. The Province did a feature on her on its sports blog. The Province also featured Lisa Tindle, third-year guard with the Clan women's basketball team, who had a seven-month layoff in 2007 with a knee injury.
- As well, on the men’s basketball team, fourth-year forward Greg Wallis was named a first team Canada West All-Star. He led the Clan men to a 12-11 record and third place in the conference.
- The Vancouver Sun featured SFU’s Jag Bhullar—“the mighty mouse of Canadian university wrestling”—who won his third straight Canada West conference title and was 2008 Canada West outstanding wrestler of the year.
- The Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing of defender Luca Bellisomo, who joins the club after a four-year soccer career at SFU. In his senior year, he guided the Clan to a 17-2-1 record, was named a NAIA First Team All-American, and was a member of the NAIA All-Region Team.
- Burnaby Now and the Burnaby News Leader featured SFU's professional qualification program (PQP) that helps foreign teachers become qualified in BC. Program coordinator Kanwal Neel was quoted. SFU’s news release on the program, and mentions in multicultural media, generated a number of inquiries from new immigrant teachers in BC. about getting into the program.
SFU issued news releases this week that included:
- Archeology prof George Nicholas is leading an international research team in a $2.5-million project designed to examine and resolve the issues of who owns, and has the right to benefit from, aboriginal and ancient artifacts. It’s thanks to a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Partnering groups include more than a dozen First Nations, from the Sto:lo in BC’s Fraser Valley to the Barunga of northern Australia.
- Canada’s leading autism researchers meet March 2 and 3 in Vancouver to chart new research directions and plan a national strategy for SFU’s new Chair in Autism Intervention Research. Psychology prof Grace Iarocci did a live interview with Fanny Kiefer on ShawTV’s Studio 4, talking about autism and the research efforts at SFU. She will also appear on CBC Radio’s Early Edition (scheduled for 6:40 a.m. Monday).
- The visit of Mark LeVine, history prof, religious scholar—and rock musician—from UCalifornia. He spo0ke at the Vancoyuvber campus about religion, popular culture and resistance in the Middle East. LeVine was interviewed by the Georgia Straight, and was booked for appearances on Omni-TV and on the Christy Clark show on CKNW.
SFU’s news releases can be found online at: http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/media_releases/
ALSO IN THE NEWS
- The North Shore News did a feature on West Vancouver's Alison Lawton, one of four SFU alumni honoured with an outstanding alumni award this month. She founded Winfield Venture Group, an angel investment and corporate finance boutique, which has grown into a social venture capital firm investing in the development of private, public and non-profit organizations. The North Shore Outlook also carried a story.
- The Vancouver Sun reported that BC is delegating its responsibility for urban first-nations foster children to an outside agency: the Vancouver Aboriginal Children and Family Services Society. The society’s president is Kathy Louis, an SFU alumna.
- Retired prof Gary Mauser appeared before the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs in Ottawa, speaking about Bill C2, popularly known as the “Tackling Violent Crime Act”. Mauser also became a member of the Parliamentary Outdoors Caucus Advisory Committee, which is supported by all parties.
- The Saanich News featured Ted Olynyk , BC Hydro's manager of community relations for the island region. The newspaper noted he studied communications at SFU. The story also ran in the Victoria News, Oak Bay News, Goldstream News Gazette, andthe Peninsula News Review (Sidney).
- State UnIversity of New York at Plattsburgh issued a news release reporting its dean of business and economics, Colin Read, is stepping down to return to teaching. Read earned his undergraduate degree in physics and economics from SFU.