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December 1, 2005

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Put CanLit under the tree
Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 24

Historian Hugh Johnston's Radical Campus: Making Simon Fraser University offers a clear-eyed view of one of Canada's most progressive schools. Radical Campus transcends regional history and becomes a fascinating document in its own right, with a dramatic narrative and tension as compelling as that of any novel.

Young offenders rarely re-offend
Globe and Mail, Nov. 22

Most young offenders see the inside of a courtroom just once, according to a new study that tracked thousands of Canadians' brushes with the law over 10 years. But the report found the earlier that youngsters commit their first crime, the more likely they are to make it a habit. As well, while small in numbers, chronic offenders account for a majority of court-related activity. The paper is the first of its kind in Canada to follow the criminal behaviour of young adults from several provinces born in a single year. Researchers from Statistics Canada and the University of Waterloo traced the group for a decade starting when they turned 12 and ending at age 21. “It's part of what being a teenager is about,” says Neil Boyd, a professor of criminology at SFU. “No matter what we do, in every country in the world, crime is concentrated in males between 12 and 18.”

Voter turnout down in Vancouver
Vancouver Province Nov. 22

Surrey registered a huge increase in voter turnout in the recent election, up 53 per cent from 2002 elections. The large turnout resulted in Dianne Watts winning the mayor's chair by more than 10,000 votes. SFU political science professor Kennedy Stewart says the high turnout was likely related to Watts' win. “There wasn't much change on council - the Surrey Electors Team still controls it,” he notes. “The percentage of voters taking part was lower (in Vancouver), not because fewer people voted, but way more were registered. Vancouver had 411,000 registered voters on the list this time versus 293,000 last time.”

Five mayors turfed
Vancouver Sun, Nov. 21

The irony of the Greater Vancouver civic elections was that voters showed discontent by turfing five incumbent mayors, but generally chose councils that reflected the old order. “It's an interesting paradox. The shifts are much smaller than the drama over the change in mayors would suggest,” says SFU political science professor Patrick Smith. “In most cases the direction of the existing council will continue. There hasn't been a huge overthrowing of the order at all.” Voters dumped the mayors of Surrey, Coquitlam, West Vancouver, North Vancouver City and Maple Ridge. Smith says the centre-right Non-Partisan Association's narrow victory in Vancouver is an obvious return to the established pattern. “We are back to the natural ruling order in Vancouver. These folks in the NPA have been governing Vancouver since Franco was a lad trying to get control of Spain,” says Smith. “They've had a few interregnums. But generally it's been their show. The 2002 election when COPE won was the aberration, not 2005.”

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