Media releases

  • Brock expert available to comment on Panama Papers

    7 April 2016
    Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs
    Chinese president Xi Jinping’s concerted campaign to stamp out official corruption in his country has suddenly taken a rather embarrassing twist. Senior Chinese government officials, as well as some of Xi’s own family members now find themselves in the spotlight of the Panama Papers, a massive leak of documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    They are among hundreds of politicians, public officials, celebrities and athletes worldwide implicated in schemes that essentially enable them to avoid paying taxes on their wealth and, in some cases, launder money and dodge sanctions.

    Charles Burton, associate professor, Department of Political Science, is a world-renowned expert on China and is available to comment to the media on the Panama Papers and the fallout that has resulted this week.

    “When you have a situation of a nation with 80 to 100 million people concerned about just getting enough to eat and having enough fuel and clothing to keep their bodies warm, the revelations that billions of dollars have been transferred out of the Chinese system to the benefit of certain individuals is a very serious matter,” says Burton. “It’s not simply tax evasion; it goes beyond that to the transfer of state assets into private hands offshore.”

    Burton can speak to:
    • The effectiveness of attempts to censor social media reports of Chinese government corruption arising from the Panama Papers leak.
    • Whether Xi or others will suffer the same fate as Iceland Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who resigned as a result of his family’s implication.
    • Whether these latest revelations will bring about reform in China’s government and elite.
    • The impact on other countries in the region.

    Contact: Charles Burton, associate professor, Department of Political Science,

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Cathy Majtenyi, research communications/media relations specialist,, 905-688-5550 x5789 or 905-321-0566

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock partners with Weengushk for film certificate program

    6 April 2016
    Brock University — Communications & Public Affairs

    A new partnership between Brock University and Weengushk Film Institute is opening doors for students studying on Manitoulin Island.

    Starting in September, Brock is offering a certificate in film production that will be taught at Weengushk.

    “A lot of the students may want to go on to university and this is a first entry point,” said Scott Henderson, chair of Brock’s Department of Communication, Pop Culture and Film “They’ll have credits under their belt.”

    The eight-month program provides training and instruction taught by industry professionals.

    “It’s a really hands-on program. You learn how to make short films from screenwriting all the way up to marketing,” said Weengushk senior manager Nano Debassige.

    Debassige said the affiliation with Brock is a great opportunity for students.

    “It opens another avenue to higher education for our students,” he said.

    Jill Brindle, chair of the Board of Directors at the Weengushk Film Institute, said the approach of the Lab 1 certificate film program is sensitive to the needs of individuals coming from under-served communities.

    Consideration for acceptance into the program is given to students who wish to explore artistic expression in media arts, including those students who may not meet mainstream requirements or have gaps in their education, she said.

    “This certificate program is designed to help open doors for students, enabling them to pursue further university education, to develop themselves as artists, and bring applicable skills to the work force,” Brindle said.

    Part of the goal, Henderson said, is to introduce students from the North and indigenous students to university life.

    “For all first year students, the academic transition is tricky and for indigenous students, especially from the North, it’s also a tricky social situation,” he said, noting many indigenous youth live in small communities and Brock has a student body of over 18,000. “I see this as a bridge. It’s a chance to start getting those academic courses and credits and looking towards coming here. It creates a nice transition.”

    Debassige said Weengushk has a transition and support program that helps individuals coming from remote locations adapt to urban living.

    Henderson said the program is an adaptation of the institute’s existing Lab 1: Short Film program. Completion of the program will earn students five Brock credits.

    Debassige said students in the program work with industry professionals and the networking opportunities often result in jobs for students. Weengushk, founded by Shirley Cheechoo in 2002, is an artist-focused centre for capacity building in the media arts for both indigenous youth and persons of diversity.

    Henderson first learned about the institute several years ago at Cinefest in Sudbury, when he met students who were training there. He was immediately impressed by their work and knowledge.

    When Cheechoo became the Chancellor of Brock University, Henderson approached her about creating an opportunity for students to train at the institute in a collaborative production environment.

    The film production certificate program and a spring film production course at Weengushk are the result.

    Cheechoo said through the Brock-Weengushk Lab 1 partnership, Brock is working towards recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    “Brock is being invited into the indigenous community,” she said. “I am very excited that we will be making history at Brock.”

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:
    * Dan Dakin, Media Relations Officer, Brock University, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

    Categories: Media releases