CIUT is for the children!

Fourteen-year-old Michael DJs alongside Patrick Roots and Devon Wright during CIUT’s Reggae Riddims on Wednesday night. The radio station is currently halfway through their fundraising drive.

The good old hockey game

It has been a long time since Varsity Arena played host to an event that has attracted a large, excited audience. But on Nov. 10, the place will come alive as the University of Toronto Campus Police prepare to face off against a star-studded line-up of former NHLers and Hockey Hall of Famers in a battle that will rival any Toronto Maple Leafs game.

The difference is that tickets are only $10, and with the proceeds benefiting charity, everybody wins.

Organizers Special Constable John Sinclair and team captain Sean Tompa sat down with The Varsity leading up to this action-packed evening.

The Varsity: The University of Toronto Campus Police has done various charity events in previous years. But this is the first year you will be holding a charity hockey game.

John Sinclair: We chose hockey because we thought it would be something that would involve students, faculty, and staff and be an event that would be suited towards everybody. We also knew that the kids from Variety Village, the group that we are benefitting, would also be interested in coming to an event like this. It has a broad appeal. And when people hear the talent that we have—Glenn Anderson, Dale Hawerchuk, Michel Goulet, Borje Salming, Steve Shutt—people get excited.

Sean Tompa: John [Sinclair] and I were the ones who came up with the idea. We grew up playing hockey, but with our shift work we are not able to play or coach hockey as much as we would like to. So we sat down and decided that we want to make it as big as possible.

TV: Tell us a bit about Variety Village and how you hope to benefit them through this occasion.

JS: Variety Village is a special needs charity in Scarborough. They benefit children of special needs so that they can be included in sports. It’s extremely inclusive, and we saw a synergy between the University of Toronto Athletics Department and people interested in sport, and helping an athletic facility geared to people of all abilities.

TV: What can the audience expect to experience at the event?
JS: It’s a show. There will be pyrotechnics, there will be music. It’s being hosted and refereed by Rod Black, who is a host on TSN. And a world-class figure-skating team will be coming in and performing during the intermissions. There is also an afterparty with tonnes of NHL swag at the Duke of York that is included with the price of admission. To go to a hockey game with an afterparty for $10, you can’t beat it.

TV: How were you able to get hockey legends such as six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson and 500-goal-scorer Dale Hawerchuk, to name a few, involved for this event?

JS: These guys are all in town due to Hockey Hall of Fame inductions that week. So when we contacted them through Old Timer’s Hockey, we were able to negotiate some extremely talented players and bring them to our campus for the purpose of a charity event.

ST: It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to play with some of these really talented players. Realizing that I will be on the ice with guys who were legends in my mind, it’s pretty exciting.

TV: How has Campus Police prepared for such challenging and gifted opponents?

JS: We wanted to put the best team possible on the ice, because the better we are, the better the NHLers are going to look against us. So we thought where better to find hockey talent than within the Varsity Blues and intramural sports at the university. So we have two representatives from the Varsity Blues, both from the female team. We also have two players from St. Michael’s College, a player from the engineering faculty as well as a student from the pharmacy department. We may also have another team of ringers come in and help us out. And they may be five years old. Hopefully with the support of Timbits hockey, they’ll put some pucks in the net too.

ST: It’s all for charity, so we just want to do our best. It’s all about the players, it’s all about the Hockey Hall of Famers, it’s all about the former NHLers coming out and doing this for charity. So hopefully we can make everyone happy and put up a good fight.

JS: The real winner in this is going to be Variety Village and also the University of Toronto to be able to host this kind of event.

*Tickets to the event are available at the Campus Police office located at 21 Sussex Ave., or online at Ticket Break ( Over a thousand tickets have been sold already and more are being distributed every day. *

Fantastic four

On a windy Saturday afternoon, the Blues blew their opponent away.

Three second-half goals brought the Varsity Blues to a 4-0 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs at Varsity Stadium, sending the Blues to the Ontario University Athletics final four in men’s soccer.

While the Blues led by the slimmest of margins at the half, Toronto head coach Anthony Capotosto thought his team wasn’t performing up to their capabilities.

“I thought at the beginning of the game there was a little bit of the jitters because we have a newer team this year,” said Capotosto.

“Everyone was a bit nervous,” said Blues midfielder Geoff Borgmann. “But towards the end of the first half everyone calmed down and we were able to play our game and that’s when we really took over.”

Laurentian had the opening chance in the 16th minute when Blues defender Federico Vaccaro headed the ball behind him into empty space. Laurentian striker Derek Lubertino ran to the ball and blasted the shot over the net from 20 yards out.

Toronto wasted an opportunity in the 18th minute when Alex Raphael found himself in space, after taking a through ball from Gabe Gala. From 10 yards out he fanned on the shot and the ball rolled harmlessly into the hands of Laurentian keeper Scott Cliff.

Tempers boiled over in the 26th minute when Gala and defender Roger Teves were both awarded yellow cards for pushing and shoving. Last year, Gala had a hand in two goals in a playoff win against Laurentian. Because of that, Teves played Gala very aggressively in the opening minutes. Gala appeared frustrated as he and Teves exchanged words and started shoving long after the ball had bounced out of touch.

In the 29th minute, Toronto missed again when Raphael beat the offside trap and raced in alone on Cliff. The keeper made the save but the ball bounced to Nordo Gooden who shot the ball over the net from five yards out.

“[The ball] was bouncing and I was on my weaker foot,” said Gooden. “There is no excuse, I should have had it.”

Gooden made up for his miscue seven minutes later when he got the Blues on the board with a 20-yard strike that just eluded the outstretched right arm of a diving Cliff.

“The defenders gave me enough time on the ball,” said Gooden. “I had time to control it, set it up, and put it on my left [foot] and shoot it. The goalie got a touch but it went in the bottom corner.”

Toronto keeper John Smits kept the game even with six minutes left in the half. Voyageurs defender James Bond hit a spot kick that was labelled for the top left corner but Smits dove to his left and pushed the ball over the bar.

“[Smits] has been steady all year,” Capotosto said. “In my opinion, he’s the top goalie in the league.”

“That was a big save,” said Gooden. “It would have been heartbreaking giving up our lead going into halftime and the momentum would have swung to them.”

In the second half, Gala seemed to get more room for himself. He made a lot more happen, including scoring to make it 2-0 in the second minute. Cliff raced off his line to get a loose ball but Gala raced in and got his toe on it and the ball bounced into the empty net.

Geoff Borgmann scored two consecutive goals to book a ticket into the final four against the visiting Western Mustangs next weekend.

He cashed in a rebound in the ninth minute and headed the ball home on a set piece in the 16th minute.

The Blues defence held the rest of the way, limiting the Voyageurs to one shot and a couple of set pieces for the remainder of the half.

“That is the type of team that can hurt us on set pieces,” said Capotosto. “We were prepared to deal with that and I thought our back line did a tremendous job dealing with the run of play.”

Home sweep home

The Guelph Gryphons were in town Friday night to take on the men’s and women’s Varsity Blues volleyball teams in a doubleheader at the Athletic Centre.

After dropping their first two matches on the road, the Varsity men (0-3) were looking for their first win of the year, while the ladies were looking to stay perfect with a third-straight victory.

That it was the night before Halloween may have explained the paranormal activity the home crowd witnessed, as the Gryphons pulled out their best witch brooms and easily swept the Blues away in their respective home openers.

In the first game, the men looked to continue their dominance over a Gryphons team they absolutely manhandled last season, winning 3-1 and 3-0. But that was last year.

Refusing to give up any easy points all night, the Gryphons defence seemed impenetrable at times—they never trailed once in the match, and took it in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-16).

No matter what the Blues threw at them, the Gryphons always had an answer: consistently getting a hand on balls at the net, digging balls they had no business getting to, or straight-up blocking down Blues’ attacks for points. This was clearly reflected in the final team stats as Blues only managed 17 kills on 73 attempts (compared to Guelph’s 36 on 80 attempts).

After the game, Blues head coach Ed Drakich and his star player, Steve Kung, echoed each other’s sentiments. Both were frustrated with their team’s inability to play consistently over long stretches and mentioned that they were still trying to overcome the huge loss of one of their key players last season, Jessi Lelliott.

“I think some guys might have had a little stage fright [on Friday], but we just couldn’t keep it together over a long series of points,” said Drakich. “We would get right back into a set and then would kill the momentum with a bad pass or service error.”

“The inconsistency [is] frustrating,” said Kung, the 2008-09 OUA player of the year.

The Blues’ biggest nightmare Friday night had to be Winston Rosser. Having an absolute monster game for the Gryphons, Rosser led all players with 15 kills to go along with two service aces and a couple blocks.

Time and time again, the Gryphons looked to Rosser to kill any Blues chance of a comeback. He also emphatically put the exclamation mark on his performance by nailing Killiam Newman in the face with a spike that set up match point.

For the women (2-1), they were also missing two vital players from their starting lineup: Kristina Valjas to injury and last year’s OUA leading scorer, Heather Bansley, who is currently on the other side of the globe in Thailand representing one of Canada’s beach volleyball teams.

This forced head coach Kristine Drakich into starting two first-year players, Alexandra Hudson and Rebecca Crosier.

Again defence played a huge role in this match as the Gryphons were very active on the net, counting 15 points on blocks. Guelph was also very efficient on the offence as they were able to kill 47 of 101 attempts, while the Blues managed only 41 kills on a whopping 133 attempts.

While Drakich admits that her rookies struggled, she also believes her more experienced players may have been trying to do too much to make up for the absence of Valjas and Bansley.

“They perhaps were trying to cover a little too much ground instead of staying in their position and trusting their teammates to make their plays,” said Drakich.

The men’s and women’s teams tried and failed to salvage the weekend on Sunday, losing to the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 and 3-0, respectively.

Golden Hawks outshine Blues

he Varsity Blues women’s hockey team lost 6-0 to Wilfred Laurier’s Golden Hawks on Halloween, while their game against Waterloo the next day was postponed due to several members of the opposing team coming down with the H1N1 virus. Laurier gained a solid lead in the first period, scoring four points on goalie Shayna Moor, who was replaced by first-year Melissa Muir for the remaining two periods. The Blues third goalie, second-year Kendyl Valenta, was out due to a broken collarbone.

Hawks forward Vanessa Schabkar opened scoring at 3:44 with an intercepted Toronto pass, followed minutes later by first-year Paula Lagamba’s shot placing the Hawks in the lead 2-0. Second-year Hawk Caitlyn Muirhead would score again at 12:40, with fourth-year Laura Bartolini cementing Laurier’s 4-0 lead with a wrap-around goal.

Toronto came very close to scoring throughout the second and third periods, but just couldn’t get past the Canadian Interuniversity Sport number-two team and their goalie Liz Knox. Melissa Muir similarly accomplished many admirable saves, but could not stem two goals in the second and third periods. Third-year Katherine Shirriff scored the second period’s lone goal off a pass from teammate Kaley Powers. In the third period, Brittany Crago made the last goal of the game at 4:33, leaving the score at 6-0.

Overall it was an intense and spirited game, with many penalties and collisions on both sides. In the third period, forward Amanda Fawn had a painful encounter with a puck, which hit her arm and bruised her wrist. She was removed from the ice. Head coach Karen Hughes assured that Fawn was fine, commenting approvingly that she did at least block the shot.

The Blues would have played the Waterloo Warriors the next day, except two Warriors came down with H1N1. The game has been postponed, along with the Warriors’ match against the York Lions, which would have also been on Halloween. Coach Hughes said the team will take their usual health precautions, though she commented that she is pleased the match was postponed. “You have to be careful,” she said. “Use your own water bottle, don’t share towels. Same as everybody else.”

As for game performance, Hughes commented: “We outshot them today. […] We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities.” The Blues will travel to St. Catharines to play Brock on Saturday. The next home game will be against Guelph on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m.

Down with Drop Fees

On Nov. 5, a group of current and former students will come together for a Day of Action to protest the fact that the government of Ontario does not pay their entire tuition bill.

I love protests; they’re one of my favourite parts of democracy. Putting pressure on our elected representatives is not only a right, but an obligation of all citizens. The problem with this protest, however, is that it is funded by levy fees collected on a mandatory basis—my fees and yours—by the Canadian Federation of Students for the purpose of lobbying on our behalf, for policies ostensibly to benefit us. But the CFS and their protests are a waste of our money, and the policies they advocate are wrong for students.

First of all, their approach is politically unwise. This year’s protest is not only about tuition. The protest’s goal is to “Drop Fees for a Poverty-Free Ontario,” a statement which is insulting in its lack of sophistication, as it suggests that university tuition fees are the cause of poverty in the province. Furthermore, the CFS is diluting their message by attempting to tackle too many issues. At the protest, many will hold Drop Fees signs that were printed and thrust into their hands by staff members of the Canadian Federation of Students. Others will display banners for various communist parties. Some will wave Palestinian flags. Some will carry placards advocating an immediate end to the war in Afghanistan, or their support for war-resisters. In other words, the crowd at the CFS Day of Action will look like a who’s who of left-wing causes.

Don’t get me wrong, while poverty reduction is an important goal, the CFS and UTSU should stick to post-secondary education policy. Every deviation from that issue is another dollar of student money wasted. This soup of diluted messages is exactly what puts a bad taste in the government’s mouth and it ruins the rest of the meal.

Secondly, the policies being advocated by the CFS and UTSU are contrary to their stated goals of making post-secondary education more fair and equitable. I share the goal of the CFS and UTSU to increase access to education. The problem is, it’s a waste of resources to provide free education to rich people. Why should the government pay for students who can afford to pay higher fees to attend U of T for free? Upper-class students should not be allowed to piggy-back on the tax dollars of the middle and working classes. But that’s exactly what a universal elimination of tuition fees would amount to.

Instead, the government should look at a couple of other alternatives. One excellent option is to allow for an increase in tuition fees that is proportional to the income of a student’s family. If a student’s parents can afford to pay full price, then the extra dollars paid by that student should go toward funding poorer students. From a policy standpoint, this means a “progressive” system of user fees that is based on income (not unlike our current progressive tax system), and more funding to bursaries and zero or low-interest loans for students from less privileged backgrounds. This system would provide more access to education, and would ensure that regardless of income, if you’ve got the grades then you can go. It’s simple, and it meets our shared goals of fairness and social justice.

Another alternative that has been explored in other jurisdictions is Income Contingent Loans. Under the ICL system, students would not pay their tuition bills while they are students who earn little to no income. Instead, the cost of their education would be paid-off by them once they’re enjoying the fruits of that education. If you make more money, you pay a larger amount of the bill—just like in our current tax system where high-income-earners pay a larger share of tax revenue.

These are only a couple alternatives, both of which are better policies than those advocated by the CFS and UTSU, and both are more likely to be adopted by the government. It’s time for the CFS and UTSU to get real. It’s time for students at this university, across the province, and across the country to start demanding better from their self-appointed advocates.

U of T professor first Canadian to win International Science Prize

University of Toronto professor Richard Peltier has been awarded the Franklin Institute 2010 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science. Peltier is a physics professor and founder of the Centre for Global Change Science.

“The stuff I do is really physics and mathematics oriented,” says Peltier, “but I am very interested in earth processes, biological processes, physical/chemical processes, how the entire system has evolved through time, and when and how life originated.”

The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824 and strives to inspire science and technology learning. The Bower Award was founded in 1990 and carries a cash prize of $250,000.

The award recognizes Peltier for advancements in the understanding of earth systems and demonstrating connections between surface climate variability and the internal properties and dynamics of the earth.

Peltier’s academic career began at the University of British Columbia where he completed his undergraduate degree. A native Vancouverite, he moved to Toronto to complete his Master’s in geophysics, which involved fieldwork in Churchill and Gillam, Manitoba analyzing auroral magnetic fluctuations and their impact on the electric connectivity of the deep earth.

Peltier also completed his Doctorate at the University of Toronto, where he published his thesis on the mantle convection process. It was during his post doctoral work in Boulder at the University of Colorado that he found his life’s work.

“The work I started doing had to do with Global Isostatic Adjustment,” says Peltier,. “There was no mathematical theory for this process at that time.”

Global Glacial Isostatic Adjustment is a process that occurs when a continental ice sheet grows on the surface of the earth, decays, and leaves a signature in the landscape of a large-scale ice mass. 21,000 years ago, during the last ice age, Canada was covered by the Laurentian Ice Sheet, which grew to the thickness of four kilometres. Following the ice’s disappearance, the earth has been rebounding in a viscal elastic fashion. Peltier developed the mathematical theory to explain this phenomenon.

“I was very interested in this at first because by interpreting this data you can infer the effective viscosity of the deep earth, and it is that viscosity that controls the convention process [responsible for] continental drift,” says Peltier. “I needed to measure the viscosity of the earth in order to make the conventional model [and] to see if the model was actually sensible.”

Peltier has continued to develop this model ever since.

In the process of studying ice sheets, Peltier began investigating why ice sheets existed in the first place. It became evident that the huge concentration of ice mass that existed over Canada in the last ice age was a continuously recurring phenomenon.

“I was absolutely stunned when I began to realize that this was true. I had not understood that the process had been so repetitive,” says Peltier. He built a series of models explaining how small variations and the effective strength of the sun are able to produce huge variations in ice cover in quasi-periodic patterns for the last million years of earth’s history.

Peltier’s greatest contribution within the field of global warming has involved performing tests on the models and applying these models to historic data for making global warming predictions.

If [the models] don’t [agree with the data], we say we have no right to make global warming predictions because the models don’t pass the test,” says Peltier. “So far we have discovered [the models] pass the test with flying colours.”

The ability to run global warming models outside the boundary conditions in which they were developed gives added confidence to the predictions they make about the global warming process.

While Peltier is the first Canadian to win the Bower Award, Canada certainly does not fall short within Earth Sciences field.

“In Earth Science, Canada ranks really near the top,” says Peltier. “The Earth Science community is probably the strongest science community in Canada, and it’s great it gets this recognition.”

Peltier’s career has previously received recognition and top honours, including the 2004 Vetlesen Prize, often called Earth Sciences Nobel Prize. He is also among the most frequently cited earth scientists in the world from 1991 to 2001. He is a fellow in the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and a recipient of the Royal Society of Canada’s Bancroft Award, to name a few honours. Peltier has also supervised more than 30 doctoral students.

The winner of the Bower Award is evaluated on the basis of uncommon insight, skill, and creativity, as well as the ability to impact the future or have some public benefit.

Peltier will travel to Philadelphia to receive the award on April 29 at an awards banquet that will culminate a week-long series of events celebrating the Laureate’s remarkable accomplishments.

It’s finally time for Canada to cut its ties with monarchical Britain

In the wake of last December’s parliamentary crisis, two polls by the Dominion Institute—an organization devoted to promoting the memory, democracy, and identity of Canada—revealed a startling fact: many Canadians have absolutely no idea how their country works. A solid half—51 per cent—of those polled believe that the Canadian people directly elect the Prime Minister, and 75 per cent couldn’t name Canada’s head of state. As pundit Rick Mercer pointed out with uncharacteristic conviction, “Who can blame them? The answer is ridiculous.”

As we stand at the dawn of a new millennium, the Confederation of Canada—independent since 1867, hero of Vimy Ridge and Juno Beach, founding member of the United Nations, and birthplace of international peacekeeping—is ruled by a family of snooty rich people whose escapades perennially appear in gossip tabloids next to ponderings about Jessica Alba’s moles, and speculation about Zac Efron’s bowel movements. This week we, the loyal subjects of the British Crown are treated to a royal visit from His Supreme Majesty the Prince of Wales and Her Highness the Duchess of Cornwall who, with the passing of our great Queen, will one day become our constitutionally recognized sovereigns.

But perhaps as we tremble at this most illustrious opportunity to bask in the rays of the divine royal light, we can take a moment to reflect on what the monarchy means to us, and what it really represents for the future of Canada.

Hyperbole aside, it’s outdated for a modern, liberal democracy such as ours to continue to embrace monarchical traditions dating from a time when people thought the earth was a pancake floating in the centre of the universe.

Granted, our history is a complex one. We did not revolt against our British overseers as did our southern neighbours, nor did we guide them to the guillotine as was the norm in Paris circa 1789. Still, Canada’s problem is shared by France and America, which, despite their radical republicanism, still elevate their elected leaders to a status near divinity. The presidents of these enlightened countries must always carry with them wives and children, the objects and (subsequent) products of their manliness. Our current Prime Minister certainly imagines himself as such (if you don’t believe me, take a look at his party’s website). But, for now at least, he is not our supreme leader. We are, to all intents and purposes, a parliamentary democracy.

What does our ongoing liaison with the British monarchy tell us about our country? Canada likes to imagine itself as a model of democracy, a bastion of pluralism, a champion of peacekeeping, and above all, a unique and successful national experiment. But as both last December’s parliamentary disaster and this week’s royal visit show, we still embrace and rely upon a now imaginary hangover of our colonial heritage, which is becoming archaic even in Britain, where a floundering Labour government is finally taking small steps towards an elected House of Lords. Within our own borders, we cringe in fear when the Prime Minister tells us that the evil Bloc separatists are in alliance with the socialists, and are poised to storm the Bastille in a treasonous coup d’etat. Beneath our façade of self-awareness, our existential assurance is shallow. Our revelry at the sight of Charles and Camilla is perhaps the supreme symptom of this illness.

Canada may be a prosperous model of pluralism and diversity. We are about as close to a “Northern European Welfare State” as they come on this side of the Atlantic and most of us (Stephen Harper exempted) are proud of it. We have something which our American friends do not: a health care system which is open to all regardless of their ability to pay; a system which, despite what the GOP fanatics would have us believe, is cheaper and more efficient than the market-driven model. We have an unobtrusive national character that encourages residents to retain their cultural heritage whilst simultaneously feeling Canadian. With all these things in mind it is time for us to recognize the unequivocal truth that we are nobody’s subjects—on paper or in practice. We are, as the beer commercial cliché goes, Canadians.