News Briefs

Today's top news stories for April 1, 2009.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Award-nominated book inspired by life at Western
Western political science professor Andrew Sancton has been put on the shortlist for the Donner Prize, which annually rewards excellence and innovation in Canadian public policy writing, for his book The Limits of Boundaries.

“It’s always nice to have one’s work recognized, especially when you write a university press type book and it gets noticed by a much broader audience than the academics who read these specialized interest books,” Sancton said.

“The money you get for being on the shortlist is nice too.”

Sancton has been a professor of political science at Western since 1977.

“I’ve been at Western for more than 30 years and Western has been entirely the cause of the work and any success I’ve had with it, because its given me the opportunity to pursue these kinds of interests,” he said.

“The great thing about being a professor is that when you have an idea for a book like this you can just go out and write it,” he added.

Donner not only cites his time at Western as a direct cause of his success, but also explains how living in London inspired his award-nominated book.

“There are people ... who have argued city regions should become autonomous ... displacing countries and provinces,” he explained. “[In the book] I’m attacking that idea, mainly because I don’t think anyone would ever be able to agree on the boundaries.

“People who either live or study in London, Ontario should be particularly cognizant of that, because I never really know if I’m part of the Toronto city region or not.”

The winner of the Donner Prize will be announced in Toronto on April 30.
"Jared Lindzon

Quebec opposes harmonizing sales tax
Quebec is seeking compensation for harmonizing their taxes after Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to give $4.3-billion to Ontario for merging the Ontario Provincial Sales Tax with the Canadian General Sales Tax.

In 1991, Quebec introduced a combined tax just as Ontario will soon create, Kul Bhatia, a professor of economics at Western, said.

Now officials in Quebec are complaining the federal government’s decision to give Ontario $4.3-billion when they gave Quebec nothing 18 years ago is not fair. Last week, Monique Jérôme-Forget, Quebec’s finance minister, requested $2.6-billion from the federal government to compensate.

“In my view [Quebec’s request] is political brinksmanship and it has no economic basis,” Bhatia said.

“I mean after so many years what sense does [giving Quebec $2.6-billion] make?”

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador harmonized their taxes in 1997 and were given a payment for this, yet Quebec did not have a problem at the time, Bhatia explained.

“If there ever was an argument it might have been there in 1991 or in 1997 when the three other provinces came on board,” Bhatia said.

“[However if Quebec’s] justification is simply Ontario got it therefore we should get it as well, I don’t think that holds water,” Bhatia added.
" Colton Kaufman

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