Friday, April 04, 2008

Daily Digest April 4, 2008



Their words say plenty

Cellphones and driving: what should we do?
P.E.I. should look at the research and experience of areas that have passed bans on cellphone use while driving

Let's carry the ball the rest of the way

Sit a while longer

Pension break might well have unintended results

Weeding out little girls

Secret Liberal identities

It's time to mend fences

Another Meech on way?

More NATO troops can't hide the rift

Middle Island
Living with the cormorants

Cellphone danger

NATO comes through

'Ugly Canucks' troubling image

Time to rethink NATO viability

The right way to fight hate

An improving grade

Prosperity in diversity

The echo of hollow

Reason must prevail in turban-hard-hat dispute

Money tilts the happiness scale

CBC bosses must be told to keep this national treasure

        Change isn't meant to abandon classical

Where's the fish-farm plan?


New Tory policy to audit reserves prompts outcry

Cherry-picking principles bad for FSIN, chiefs

Poor judgment of FSIN leaders hurts own people

No space for Maple Leaf?
The Maple Leaf, it would seem, will soon be lost in space.

 Price of rice leading edge of disaster

Ontario and Quebec catch chill from U.S. slump, lose 47,000 full-time jobs

From rust belt to innovation zone

Explosion kills Canadian soldier

Putin criticizes NATO expansion but rules out a new Cold War

Putin, NATO find common ground on Afghanistan

U.S. will send more troops to Afghanistan: Gates

Canada Taken seriously: PM

PM won't rule out Afghanistan extension

What will Ottawa do after 2011?

Taiwan-Canada comparisons could be a bit unsettling
MP seeks action against powerful sex offenders
Pajhwok (04/04/2008)
Does NATO want out of Afghanistan?
Der Spiegel (04/04/2008)
Enlargement row overshadows NATO's Afghan plan
Monsters and Critics (04/04/2008)
War makes girl, 10, mom of the family
The Canadian Press (04/04/2008)
Russia and Nato sign Afghan deal
BBC (04/04/2008)
More, But of What
Inter Press Service (04/04/2008)
A Perfect Storm of Hunger
Los Angeles Times (04/04/2008)
Posturing over Afghanistan puts Nato at risk
Telegraph, UK (04/04/2008)
Afghan mines killed more than 600 in '07
The Associated Press (04/04/2008)
Legendary Mujahideen leader releases video in new offensive
Adnkronos International, Italy (04/04/2008)

Ontario man who spread HIV sentenced to 18 years

Alleged hacking of woman's Internet by federal officials subject of privacy probe

B.C.'s 'pioneering' carbon rules worry industry

Ontario residents need to 'steel' themselves for tough times: McGuinty

Membership list fiasco sends Quebec Liberals into a tailspin

Quebec wing did not consult Dion on injunction

Don't `betray' immigrants by voting for changes, Liberals told

MP Casey gets standing ovation, then fires submarine-contract barb

Casey goes to bat for imprisoned Canadian

Liberals seek to sell scandal to an uninterested public

Dion Calls Conservatives Immigration Changes "Rightwing Ideological Agenda"

Busy Bernier won't brief MPs on satellite sale

MPs back bid to protect made-in-Canada label

Global temperatures will drop slightly this year as a result of the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.

The Worst Moment in History to Demand Biofuels

Toronto 18 terror suspects become West Point case study
No-one yet convicted as case makes its way through court

Trenches will not get any fuller
Still, we ought to toast our French partners

It seems the only politician who wants to renew federalism is Marois

The separatist vacuum

Secret Liberal identities

Getting off the high road

PM faces decision on Senate reform

Tasteless tape sparks tacky outrage

Lukiwski must resign for his remarks
Lukiwski shouldn't resign over gay slur

Harper must act on Lukiwski scandal

Teachers worry homework plan will tie their hands

It's not about abortion
The activists who protest against protecting unborn victims of crime need to cling to a fiction in order to make their case

Secularists blew their chance
It takes more than a ban on hijabs in Turkey to give women equal rights


Un autre soldat canadien tué en Afghanistan

Mission accomplie, dit Harper

Le Canada condamne les tirs contre une délégation de juifs nord-américains

Propos homophobes: Lukiwski forcé de s'excuser

L'opposition à Ottawa réclame des sanctions contre le conservateur Lukiwski

Le Ralentissement Américain Nuit Aux Emplois Du Québec Et De l'Ontario

        An assignment was given.  Students were instructed to complete it independently. Do you agree the student, Chris Avenir, "wasn't guilty of anything?
        While something of a change of pace from high politics this is a question that bears on the foundations of our society.


From: "J. Edgar Robertson" '
Subject: Re: Daily Digest April 3, 2008

Dear Joe,
    When President Ronald Regan first announced his proposal of an anti-missile shield  (Which he called, "High Frontier." and was derided by opponents as, "Star Wars.")  he said that while the USA and its allies would create the technology and build the devices; he promised that when the technology was completed it would be shared world wide; to friend and foe alike.
    Some how that idea has been lost or the missile shield is not yet close to being succeseful or completed.
J. Edgar Robertson
West Hill, Ontario

Student's online study group hardly a case of cheating
Posted By Edward L. Greenspan

Chris Avenir, a bright, honest, first-year engineering student at Ryerson University, has been in the news because he was accused of cheating by setting up an online study group on the Facebook website.

Anyone can get an account on Facebook, a website designed for friends to keep in touch. In universities, it has become the modern version of a coffee shop and study group.

Cheating is a serious crime. A total of 147 students used Facebook to discuss one of their engineering classes, and only Avenir was charged with cheating by one solitary professor. All Avenir did was set up a group which his classmates joined. He almost got expelled for it.

In an unjust result, Avenir was given a failing grade for the homework portion of the class (lowering his overall grade in the class from A to B), was ordered to attend a workshop on academic integrity, and now has a disciplinary notice placed on his transcript.

That's what show trials do. Until the school apologizes to him, I hope Chris Avenir will appeal to the school senate. And if no one at Ryerson apologizes, Avenir should quit and go to a school worthy of the title "university".

If Avenir was cheating, then there were 146 other students in the Ryerson Facebook group who were also cheating. And not one of those 146 were charged. They apparently got off scot free. But, of course, not one of them did anything wrong.

Avenir, however, was charged with 147 counts of academic misconduct - one for each student in the group, including himself.

It is an obscene example of overcharging. He was singled out to make him a scapegoat. When someone is made to be a scapegoat, the underlying problem is often ignored.

Ryerson believes it was fair to Avenir and that it has sent out the message that it will not tolerate cheating. The only problem is that Avenir was not cheating. He was an innocent student punished by a university that doesn't know it is the 21st century, where libraries have become useless and Facebook-type websites have become the meeting place for students to stay in touch.

I thought it was commonplace for students to study together, to share information, and talk about how to get the best grade in the class. Well, no longer at Ryerson.

As far as I know, this is the first case where a student has suffered disciplinary action for discussing coursework on the Internet. Nobody suggests Avenir stole an exam, plagiarized, or hacked the university computer to change a grade. I'm surprised they didn't order him not to be within 500 metres of a computer for the next three years.

Simply because Avenir has avoided expulsion does not mean he has prevailed. While I am sure Avenir is relieved, I am sure he will not rest until the school completely removes the significant blemishes from his academic transcript.

The modern university has to face challenges that simply did not exist in any comparable form when I was a student 40 years ago. A student today can access vast amounts of information from the Internet in a matter of minutes. Ryerson and other universities must identify cheating where it exists and must work to prevent it and punish it in the future. But making a scapegoat of Chris Avenir is to punish an innocent student and do nothing about real cheating.

Avenir's classmates will continue to meet in libraries, coffee shops, and dorm rooms to discuss their courses. They will send e-mails and text messages to each other as they prepare for class and for exams.

How can our culture in 2008 rely on the Internet so much and then expect students to not take advantage of it when studying? This was not real cheating. This was not cheating at all. This was a group of honest students preparing for class and for exams.

If Ryerson cannot recognize this reality, perhaps it should become a correspondence college where students never meet each other, see each other, or talk to each other. Or at least lose its title of university, which a number of years ago it fought so hard to get. Shame on you, Ryerson.

Edward L. Greenspan, Q.C., is the senior partner in the Toronto law firm of Greenspan Partners.