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Zehavi Zynoberg

York U’s image problem continues

Between the controversial mural displayed in the student centre and sending out fake acceptance letters, it seems York University PR is hanging by a thread. The mural depicts a man with a Palestinian flag on his bag holding a rock in his hand seemingly about to be thrown into a war zone with the caption “Justice” written in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Jewish students on campus call the mural blatant anti-Semitism and promotion of violence. Seems like a fair argument right? Not according to the York University administration. University President Mahmoud Shoukri, who is of Egyptian heritage, deflected the issue at hand, saying that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the York Federation of Students. Naturally, the opposition to the mural would be silenced, given YFS's blatant pro-Palestinian position. Jewish philanthropist Paul Bronfman had threatened to stop funding York, demanding removal of the mural. York refused and funding has since ceased. The biggest loser in the situation is York University itself. Sure they only lose one donor, but it's a slippery slope. A large number of donors to York are Jewish philanthropists, and it's pretty safe to assume that some will follow suit in removing their funds. Jewish students on campus may feel physically safe from anti-Semitism. However, the obvious passive-aggressive favouritism that the York administration shows to pro-Palestinian groups is felt all around. Jewish parents no longer encourage their kids to apply to York. Heck, Jewish students don’t even bother applying to York because they risk being marginalized for being pro-Israel. As a student at York, I feel perfectly safe from physical harm being a Jew. However, I always shy away from writing my papers from a pro-Israel, conservative perspective. I can say with the utmost of confidence that the amount of students who would be offended if… Read More

Ontario’s gas plant scandal

The cancellation of gas plants in Ontario has long seemed a dead issue, being described by former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion as “water under the bridge.” Yet the issue of gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga has come right back to haunt the Ontario Liberals. This past Thursday, the Ontario Provincial Police announced that it was pressing charges on former Premier Dalton McGuinty's former Chief of Staff David Livingston and former Deputy Chief of Staff Laura Miller. Both are alleged to have ordered the destruction of emails containing information related to the cancellation and costs of the power plants. The whole purpose to cancelling the plants was to save two seats in the 2011 provincial election, where the construction was unpopular with residents. Taxpayers had to foot the cancellation fee of approximately 1.1 billion dollars. What struck me most was current Premier Kathleen Wynne's statement on the revelations, where she insisted that “her government” had no knowledge of any breaches of trust or wrongdoings. That seems pretty rich, coming from the woman who was co-chair of the same campaign in which the Liberals won the two seats after cancelling the power plants, and also one of McGuinty's top ministers. Just because Kathleen Wynne is not Dalton McGuinty, it does not change the fact that they are members of the same governing party, which needs to be held to greater account for its elite's handling of this boondoggle. What happened to the Liberal pledge of “openness and transparency” or “doing things differently? Running away from the issue at hand to go and promote beer being sold in grocery stores isn’t very transparent. This shouldn’t be so astonishing, given that this is the same politician who refused to advise her own Deputy Chief of Staff Pat Sorbara to step aside during the… Read More

Whitby-Oshawa by-election the test PC’s, NDP need

With the marathon federal election campaign behind us, and with the excitement of the winter holidays and the new year drawing closer, few are even thinking about the next Ontario general election. It has only been just under two years since the most recent provincial election, and with Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal majority, there isn’t much to get excited about. Political junkies on the other hand, who still have energy left in them after a long federal campaign, are gearing up for the call of the Whitby-Oshawa by-election, being held to replace former Progressive Conservative Deputy Leader, Christine Elliott. Elliott resigned in late August, after failing to win the leadership of the PC's to the victorious Patrick Brown. Just last week, Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced that Elliott had been appointed as the provinces first ever 'patient ombudsman' to oversee health-related inquiries. Many are looking at this by-election as a real indicator of how the parties are fairing with the public going forward. While many argue by elections never favour the governing party, all three parties have a shot at victory in this riding. In the 2014 provincial election, Elliott had only won by about 5000 votes, and many credit her electoral triumphs to her personal popularity. Recent public opinion polls show the PC's leading the pack, with the Liberals and NDP neck and neck for second place. Polls released shortly after the federal election however, have the Liberals with a narrow lead over the PC's. This is mainly credited to the popularity of the federal Liberals' honeymoon spreading over provincially. Whitby-Oshawa, located just east of Toronto, is an interesting riding. In the federal election, the Liberal Party picked up the riding of Whitby, which had been a true blue riding since 2006. Moreover, the neighbouring riding of… Read More