SFU People in the News

March 23, 2012

This report on Simon Fraser University in the news lists the main items of known media coverage from 9 a.m. Pacific Thursday March 22 to 9 a.m. Pacific Friday March 23.
The report is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations.

Byelections | Attack ads | Marketing | Policing | Hockey | Climate change | Students | Childcare | Facebook | Education | Health | Athletics


  • Doug McArthur, public policy prof, did a long interview on CKNW, discussing with host Simi Sara the BC byelections called by Premier Christy Clark for April 19 in Chilliwack-Hope and Port Moody-Coquitlam.
    Among his points:
    • “There is a concern (among Liberals) that they might come in third in Chilliwack-Hope, and that they could come in third in both byelections. So we know that generally across the province, based on polls . . . the Liberals have fallen into a tie for second place with the Conservatives, and well behind the NDP. That has got to be causing them some concern, because these are two seats that have been, for quite a number of years, solid Liberal seats.”
    • “It’s going to be seen by the media, it’s going to be seen by the public, it’s going to be seen by the insiders within the Liberal party itself as a test of what Christy Clark and her government can do politically with the electorate. And if they come in third, that’ll be a major, major disaster. Losing these is a big enough problem, because these have been safe seats.”
    • “The one thing that people have become very, very, almost angry, if not just generally skeptical, about this government for the last two or three years is that it always seems to be playing the political angle. People understand that politics is part of government, but when it seems so obviously about politics, about manipulation of public opinion, and about trying to gain attention for the purposes of political objectives, people become very frustrated and distrustful of the government.  . . . Fairly or not, this is a problem that Premier Clark has brought onto herself to some degree, and so, absolutely, it is important that she look like what she cares about is policy. And she can best do that by dealing with policy, and dropping these kinds of political stunts and attempts to gain advantage through manipulation of media and other types of things like that.”
    • On Port Moody-Coquitlam: “I think you’ve got to assume that the NDP are going to win this seat. . . . And, you know, there’s a chance that the Conservatives will come very close to the Liberals, (but) I think it’s more likely that the Liberals come in second in this one.”
    • On Chilliwack-Hope: “From what one can pick up in the chatter, they (the Liberals) are more fearful of coming in third place.  . . . They feel that the way they’re going to lose it is the strength of the Conservatives.”
  • Two hours later, another public policy prof, Royce Koop, was also on CKNW, with host Jon McComb.
    Among Koop’s points:
    • “Government has a very hard time winning in these byelections. Right now the government is particularly unpopular, as we discovered in that poll yesterday, and the opposition parties have very good candidates in both of these ridings, the NDP in Port Moody and the BC Conservatives up in Chilliwack. So I think it will be very difficult for the BC Liberals to win in these ridings.”
    • “There is a chance (in Chilliwack-Hope), if the BC Conservative comes on strong, and if the BC Liberal out there does well as well, there is a chance that the NDP could win as a result of the vote-split. That would be, actually, probably bad news for the BC Conservatives, and even the NDP in the long term, because it would draw attention to this phenomenon (that would) discourage people from voting for BC Conservatives in the real election.”
    • “I think one of the problems . . . is that people perceive the government as very focused on politics, focused on the election rather than on policy. They’ve tried lots of different things out; the problem is that nothing really seems to be working. It’d be good for the government to more explicitly focus on policy—what it actually wants to do with this time that it has in government.”
  • Koop was also in the Globe and Mail: “Royce Koop, assistant professor in the school of public policy at Simon Fraser University, said he expects the Liberals to lose both ridings due to the government’s general unpopularity.
    “He said the party appears to have put a great deal of emphasis on playing politics and not enough on policy. The problem with the teachers’ dispute, he said, is the public received the impression that the government was trying to politicize the conflict.”
    Full story:
  • As well, Koop was on News1130 Radio: “The BC Liberals could lose both seats in two upcoming byelections as voters take revenge on the government.
    “SFU assistant professor Royce Koop says in Port Moody-Coquitlam the NDP has a strong candidate in popular former mayor Joe Trasolini.
    But he notes Chilliwack-Hope Conservative candidate John Martin is also well-known in the Valley and voters know byelections don't usually bring down governments.
    Full story:
  • And McArthur was also in the Vancouver edition of Metro: “‘The obvious thing is these are an enormous challenge and test to the Liberal party,” Simon Fraser University public policy Prof. Doug McArthur said.
    “The B.C. Conservatives will run candidates in both electoral districts, which could split the Liberal vote to the benefit of the NDP, McArthur said.
    “‘That would be a huge blow to Liberal fortunes, not just in terms of the impression it creates, but interpreted within the Liberal party as a damning of the current leader,’ McArthur said.”
    Full story:


  • The Globe and Mail talked to two SFU commentators as it looked at recent attack ads, some aimed at Adrian Dix, BC’s NDP leader, and some at federal Liberal leader Bob Rae.
    “‘Negative ads work because people like to listen to dirt about other people. That’s human nature,’ said Gary Mauser, a professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University’s Institute for Urban Canadian Research Studies and author of Political Marketing: Approach to Campaign Strategy and Manipulating Public Opinion.
    “‘In general, people may pooh-pooh negative ads and say they are not nice, but they use them because they work,’ he said.
    “However, the ads have to ‘ring right,’ Prof. Mauser added. Going back years to dig up dirt will work only if it strikes the viewer that the ad exposes something that would be true now. Bringing up old business will not be believable if the politician attacked in the ad sounds like a completely different person, he said.”
    The anti-Dix ads focused on a fake memo Dix wrote in 1998 in a bid to protect then-premier Glen Clark.
    “The danger in reaching back so many years is that the audience may greet the ad with a big yawn, said Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor at SFU’s Beedie School of Business. Alternatively, voters may come away hating both sides.”
    Full story:


  • Meredith was also in a Postmedia News story that looked at the marketing and promotion of fitness and other products and services, with pitches tied to The Hunger Games trilogy of teen books, and the first movie opening this weekend.
    “With spinoff products already spanning everything from Snuggies to cookbooks, marketing expert Lindsay Meredith says entrepreneurs are ‘segmenting the hell out of the market.’ But in the fitness industry, which has long thrived on putting a new face on old concepts, he suspects consumers will respond positively—at least for a time.
    “‘Does it work? Yeah. The problem is that it only works for a while,'’ says Meredith, a professor at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. ‘The bloom will eventually be off the rose and the new-and-improved won't be so new-and-improved any more.’''
    The story ran in The Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist.
     Full story (The Vancouver Sun):


  • Criminologist Curt Griffiths spoke with the Daybreak North show on CBC Radio, Prince George/Prince Rupert, saying BC’s new 20-year contract with Ottawa for RCMP services  “represents a significant step forward in providing transparency, accountability, and for input into fiscal issues.”
    His messages included:
    • “For the first time, RCMP officers in BC will be subject to investigation by a provincial agency in cases of serious incidents. This will address many concerns with the RCMP process over the years (which has been) slow and cumbersome.”
    • “A major issue that has not been part of the discussion, but which will have significant implications for the costs of policing by the RCMP in the province, is the unionization of the RCMP. This issue is working its way through the courts, which have indicated that RCMP officers do have a right to form a union.  This will be a game-changer in terms of costs, particularly in remote and rural areas where officers often have cases downloaded on them by other agencies (on) weekends, and holidays (and) officers in rural and remote detachments often work days without a day off.”
    • “Attention should be given to developing effective strategies for policing rural and remote areas; much of the discussion about policing in BC is Lower Mainland-centric; the issue of regionalization is not really relevant outside of the Lower Mainland.”
    • “Even in discussion of regionalization in the Lower Mainland, there are a number of untested assumptions, including (1) that a regional police service, in and of itself, would be more effective and efficient that the current arrangement; one could have an inefficient and ineffective regional police service; (2) that individual municipalities in the Lower Mainland would, automatically, sign up for a regional police service. That is highly doubtful; the residents of Delta, for example, like their police service and are unlikely to go for a regional police service.”


  • Richard Loat, hockey blogger (and SFU Communication student) was in a discussion on the Early Edition show on CBC Radio. The subject: Given the hockey riot of last June, should Vancouver hold any open public events during this season’s playoffs?
    Loat: “The Olympics (in 2010) forced us to take the city to the next level, and that’s what inspired these live sites. And if you take Game 7 out of the picture—I know it’s hard to take it out—it was something truly special that brought this city together, allowing fans to convene and bring the city together in the manner that we saw. And I think if we didn’t work towards keeping that this year, we might not see it again for decades.”
    (The rioting and looting of last June followed the Vancouver Canucks’ loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals last year.)


  • Rose Murphy, PhD candidate in sustainable energy at SFU, wrote a guest column in the Globe and Mail, rejecting the thesis that climate change “isn’t personally relevant” because the most dramatic effects will not be felt until the end of this century.
    Wrote Murphy: “I gave birth to my first child last year. According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, his life expectancy is 79; if he reaches that age, he will live until the year 2090. The normal anxiety I feel as a parent about my child’s future is heightened by what I know from a career spent considering the implications of climate change and analyzing the economic impacts of climate change policy.
    “And for me, it couldn’t be more personal. The best information available today tells me this issue touches anyone who has a child in their life who they love. Action we take, or fail to take, right now to address climate change will profoundly affect their lives.”
    The column drew some 450 online comments.
    Full column:


  • The Vancouver edition of Metro told readers: “A group of Simon Fraser University students is helping single mothers get through a bump in the road.
    Lynn Shinto, Joseph Choi and Mercedes Book launched a local non-profit organization called One Big Movement (OBM) in December with the hope of creating a lasting impact in the
    “Shinto says their first project, the Big Baby Drive, targets low-income women from across the Lower Mainland and helps address an alarming demand for baby necessities in the community.
    “The drive, which began Thursday and runs Friday at the Oakridge Centre, aims to collect more than 1,000 baby-supply items.”
    Full story:


  • Burnaby Now featured Pat Frouws, executive director of the SFU Childcare Society.
    “Getting the best start in life is what SFU Child Care is all about—and Frouws is proud of her staff for the environment they create. That's obvious as she takes the NOW into one of the child care rooms for a brief visit.
    "‘It's comfortable and like home,’ she says, pointing out the cozy reading corners. Kids are working at different tables and spaces, playing and reading.
    "‘My image of the child—I see them as capable and competent. They have great theories about how things work around them. They're delightful—they have so much to offer if we take the time to listen,’ she said. ‘They totally love life.’"
    Full story:


  • Communication prof Peter Chow-White was in a CBC Radio story on employers who are asking job candidates to provide access to their Facebook accounts as part of the interview process.
    He said that while this is an outrageous request and intrusion on personal privacy, he’s not surprised, and noted:
    “Our social media identity includes the information we put up and all of the people we are connected to. Employers are looking for how one conducts themselves and who their 'friends' are. Even if one doesn't hand over passwords, which contravenes Facebook’s terms of use, employers can check out someone's digital footprint by a Google search.”


  • The Vancouver Sun quoted SFU registrar Kate Ross in a blog that reported UBC adds two percentage points to the averages of students applying from Alberta because the grading system is tougher in that province than in BC.
    “A story in the Calgary Herald late last year said several Canadian universities adjust Alberta marks to level the playing field. Neither the University of Victoria nor Simon Fraser University do so, but SFU registrar Kate Ross said the issue is under review.”
    Full blog:


  • Burnaby Now reported: “Chemistry professor David Vocadlo up at SFU may be helping to unlock secrets about Alzheimer's disease—and how to slow or prevent the debilitating disease.
    “He co-authored a study published recently in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, looking at a particular brain protein and its relationship to Alzheimer's. He and grad students Scott Yuzwa and Xiaoyang Shan found that mice given a special inhibitor, which targets an enzyme that interacts with the protein, maintained healthier brains.”
    Full story:
    SFU news release (Feb. 26):



  • The Province carried a long and detailed blog on the Clan football team, and head coach Dave Johnson’s “rigorous off-season program to prepare for its third Great Northwest Athletic Conference campaign and a climb from its 2-6 league record.”
    The blog by sportswriter Howard Tsumura continued:
    “The 2012 season is still over five months away from its Sept. 8 kick-off at home  . . .  but the day-to-day work that is adding a new level of depth to the Clan program continues, and with a recruiting class that easily eclipses the talent level of past editions, Johnson heads into Saturday’s spring camp finale scrimmage at Fox Field (2 p.m.) confident that traction is being made beneath the surface of what will be a vastly improved core of returning players.
    “‘It’s almost getting to the point where we’re approaching this as trying to build a Canadian all-star team to play the American schools in the NCAA,’ Johnson said Wednesday, buoyed by the national content of his latest incoming class, one which also features the best U.S. talent he has ever signed.
    “‘We’ve worked hard at it and I feel that now we’re in a position where we have to be much more selective than we have in the past. And that requires us going from Halifax to Vancouver Island to try and find kids. And instead off finding a 5-9, 5-10 player, we have to find a kid at 6-1, 6-2 who can do the same job. But the reception we have been getting has been tremendous.’
    “Slowly but surely, the holes are being filled, and the depth at every position being fortified.”
    Full blog:


  • The Chilliwack Progress reported that the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades men’s soccer team downed the SFU Clan 1-0 in an exhibition match in Burnaby.
    Full story:




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