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April 2013 Issue 008 Vol. 10

A publication of the



The End of an Era What HMB really thinks

Why Potential SSMU Execs Dropped Out An Electric Car Success Story? Professors of the Year Exam Time Quickies A Conflict-Ridden Campus

Editor’s Note Dan Novick


NEWS 4 Potential SSMU Execs Dropped Out Due to Concerns Over Immigration Status 6 “The World’s Friendliest Case Competition” Hosts 12 Teams from Around the World 8 Finding a Place for Athletics at McGill 10 Budget Constraints, Continued Expansion Challenge Political Science

LIFESTYLE 11 12 13 14 15

Professors of the Year Exclusively Average Exam Time Quickies Stop Thinking Deep Feelings for Deps


16 The End of an Era


18 An Electric Car Success Story? 20 Graph of the Month: Dutch Disease 21 Another Headache for the EU 22 Are You a Good Loser? 24 What is Activist Investing?


our years. Gone in the blink of an eye. A few weeks away from (hopefully) graduating, this is my last issue as Executive Editor. Honestly, I’m not too happy about it. These past six months have been the best time of my life. That said, my liver will welcome the reprieve from event coverage. So what is there left to say? I’ve given it my all to make this publication better and more accessible campuswide, beyond the Sinfully-scented walls of Bronfman. But the question remains, does anyone really care? It seems as though only a small portion of the student population are actually concerned about affecting anything that happens on this campus. McGill students love to sit back and complain when many actually have no idea what’s going on. You hear it everyday walking across campus. “The Tim Horton’s line is too long.” “I didn’t get an appointment at Health Services.” “My TA gave me a poor grade.” That said, when given the chance to actually have a say in what goes on, only a small, vocal portion of students make their voices heard. For instance, in the last SSMU election, only 29.1% of students even bothered to vote. I want students to care. I’ve made it my goal to help shape this campus into a place where student voices come first. To that end, our mission has been and always will be to inform, educate, and entertain McGill. Moving forward, I hope that The Bull & Bear staff for 2013-2014 will do everything in their power to further this mission, as we have, with the ultimate goal of becoming McGill’s most read and most trusted publication. As for me, I will be moving on to bigger and better things (such as unemployment and starvation) and I wish you all the best. Special thanks to the entire staff, especially my fellow editors, for putting up with me these past six months. It has been an eventful time, to say the least. Bye,

OPINION 26 A Chemical Time-Bomb 28 Out with the Old and In with the New? 30 A Conflict-Ridden Campus 31 Hot or Not


Dan Novick, Executive Editor



Your guide to events around campus Israel’s 65th Birthday Rally

The Desautels Grad Ball

April 16th 11am Philip’s Square The annual Israel Day Rally in Montreal attracts over 12,000 people to celebrate Israel’s birthday.

April 30th 9pm Loft Hotel Come celebrate this year’s graduates with fine dining, dancing, and all you can drink!

McGill Exam Period

Convocation May 27th - June 3rd McGill University Remember to pick up your caps and gowns and off into the real world you go!

April 17th - 30th McGill University Everyone’s favorite time of year.


Successful Entrepreneurs Impart Advice and Insights to Students Tim Tokarsky, founder and CEO of Lighting Asset Management, spoke to an entrepreneurship panel organized by YESocializing and ThoughtBasin on April 2nd. Read the full story at: http://

Dan Novick Executive Editor

Zain Alimohamed Lead Opinion Editor

Jessica Simmonds Managing Editor

Tarun Koshy Opinion Editor

Alessandra Hechanova Matthew Hunter Chief Layout Editors

Anthony Heinrich Brian Lau Michelle Paspe Michael Tong Layout Editors

Jean Moirez Media Editor Aimee Pellegrino Lead News Editor Doron Lurie News Editor Sameer Rizvi Lead Markets Editor Max Feinsot Markets Editor

Kapil Mehra Advertising Director Sami Jaber Henry Fuz-Keeve Web Editors Charlotte Plamondon Social Media Representative

April Wu Lead Lifestyle Editor


Marisa Samek Lifestyle Editor



Potential SSMU Executives Dropped Out Due to Concerns Over Immigration Status SSMU election reveals legal issue for international student candidates Pallavi Kamalsurya NEWS WRITER


However, during this SSMU electoral period, two international students discovered that despite being a part of this international student population that they could not run for office and represent the student body at

large - at least not legally. Saad Qazi, current Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) VP Finance, and Sam Baker, current President of the Economics Students Association, decided not to run for positions


cGill University is an institution that prides itself on 20 percent of its students coming from more than 150 countries and being renowned as “Canada’s most international university.”

Saad Qazi, current Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) VP Finance, decided to drop out of the running for a SSMU Executive position.


NEWS on the SSMU Executive following concerns regarding their international student status. Qazi’s past accomplishments include preventing the AUS from facing another financial crisis, and he wanted to continue his tenure in student politics by running for SSMU VP Finance and Operations. However, after speaking to International Student Services and legal services, he decided against it. Baker, on the other hand, went through the nomination period running for VP Clubs and Services only to drop out of the race a day before campaigning due to the concern of being denied renewal of his study-permit in the near future. According to current Canadian immigration laws, international students must hold a valid study permit for the entire duration of their stay in Canada. The students cannot hold a part-time status except in their last semester of university. Furthermore, international students are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week on campus and can get an off-campus work permit. This allows them to work for a total of 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during scheduled breaks and holidays. However, according to the employee contract that SSMU executives have to enter with the university, the executives must work 40 to 60 hours a week while being enrolled as a part-time student for the entire year. Based solely on this contract, international students cannot be both part-time students and employees of SSMU without violating terms of either Canadian Immigration Services or SSMU’s protocol. This bias against international students is not just limited to SSMU executives. Due to Quebec laws, SSMU was incorporated in 1993, resulting in the formation of a body known as the Board of Directors (BoD). The BoD is comprised of SSMU executives and councillors who sit on the SSMU Legislative Council. Since SSMU is a company, the BoD has the power to veto decisions made by even the SSMU Judicial Board (J-Board). In tandem with international students lacking the contractual ability to be employed by SSMU, they are also not welcome to sit on the Board of Directors. According to the Motion Regarding the Democratic Reform of the SSMU Board of Directors, only Canadian residents are allowed to be members of the Board of Directors. This limitation is defended by the BoD for the reason that SSMU holds a The Bull & Bear - April 2013

liquor permit to serve alcohol on campus through our beloved Gert’s. With this permit in place, Quebec immigration laws dictate that only Canadian residents can overlook the functioning of this bar. Considering that Gert’s forms a significant revenue stream for SSMU, the maintenance of Gert’s is an important job for SSMU executives and its BoD. But, the Quebec liquor permit requirement would make it illegal for an international student to hold office as a SSMU executive. Nevertheless, in the past there have been international students who have managed to avoid the immigration services scanner and still perform their duties quite well as SSMU executives. Current SSMU VP Clubs and Services Allison Cooper has served as a SSMU executive this year despite the fact that she is from California. “The Quebec government, in a way, turns a blind eye to such situations,” she finds. Nonetheless, if

portfolio and the members of BoD are the same as those on the Legislative Council, it shouldn’t be that bad.” Cooper stated that the main issue for international students being on the SSMU executive committee arises from SSMU’s incorporated status and the fact that SSMU holds the liquor permits for Gert’s. However, The International Relations Student’s Association of McGill University (IRSAM) is another incorporated group at McGill that has been able to have international students as executives. Malini Jain, IRSAM VP External and an international student, says that since they don’t own a liquor license like SSMU, the executives of IRSAM can be international students without any immigration issues. A possible solution to this issue would be separating the operations of Gert’s from that of SSMU, like Concordia did by separating the operations of the Concordia

International students cannot be both part-time students and employees of SSMU without violating terms of either the Canadian Immigration Services or SSMU’s protocol. a student is caught violating immigration laws, they may face deportation. So far, Cooper and other SSMU executives have been largely unsuccessful in finding loopholes in the system. The only loophole discovered applies only to graduating students who wish to come back to McGill as a “special student” in the following year as a SSMU executive. Such international students can apply for a postgraduate Work permit within 90 days of graduation, which allows them to work full time as SSMU employees while studying part-time at McGill. While incoming SSMU President Katie Larson, from Pittsford, New York, is taking this route, students like Baker and Qazi, who still have a semester before they graduate, have no legal way of doing so. Despite being a “legal” SSMU executive, Larson will not be able to sit on the BoD or make decisions relating to the operations of Gert’s. Will this be a problem in the long run? Larson feels that “since Gert’s is under the VP Finance’s

Student Union (CSU) from the operations of Reggie’s. This allows international students to run for the CSU by obtaining work permits. SSMU once had something similar, but McGill decided to combine the operations of SSMU and Gert’s into one entity for tax purposes. Larson said that this might be something to look into next year after a cost-benefit analysis with regards to the legal costs can take place. Imagine being the SSMU VP Finance and not being able to make decisions about one of your major revenue streams, Gert’s, based on your international student status. As Qazi puts it, “Given the massive undergraduate population, it isn’t fair that only graduating international students can run for executives of the largest undergraduate society at McGill. Something should be done about this situation and soon. International students ought to be represented fairly, especially at an internationally acclaimed university like McGill.”



"The World's Friendliest Case Competition" Hosts 12 Teams from


Around the World

welve teams from around the world were welcomed to McGill as the 13th edition of the McGill Management International Case Competition (MMICC) took place between March 18th and 23rd. McGill hosted the teams from 11 universities across 8 countries as the week-long event treated participants to various social and networking events and tested them academically with a 32 hour case crack. “We are the world’s friendliest case competition,” explained co-Chair Shonezi Noor. “There are so many things about it that make it just unbelievable, from being

an ambassador for our school to welcoming people from all four corners of the world.” MMICC involved three days of social activities and three days of competition planned by the executive committee of twelve Desautels BCom students, as well as two advisors who were the co-chairs from last year’s MMICC. The participating universities in this year’s MMICC were HEC Montreal, Wharton School of Business, UC Berkeley, UBC, University of Porto, University of Belgrade, Norwegian BI Business School, Thammasat University, Universitas Indonesia, the University of

Melbourne, alongside the hosts McGill University. This year’s MMICC involved two notable changes from previous years that were implemented. First, the case crack period was lengthened from 24 hours to 32 hours. ”You’re running on no sleep at all, so this [change] gave them the night to get some sleep and recover,” said co-Chair Katan Patel. In addition, the Executive Committee introduced a new ‘international team’ composed of four students from four different universities who had never met

MMICC combines social and academic aspects in week-long event Dan Novick




NEWS before. Judging the performance of their presentations, Noor finds, “You wouldn’t be able to tell that they just met.” The social aspect of MMICC is what sets it apart from other case competitions and keeps teams from around the world coming back year after year. “You get so much more out of the experience when you go beyond the competition element and get to see the city and have fun with the other participants,” finds VP External Sarah Corkery. The week-long event kicked off with two nights of dinners and cocktails, as participants, ambassadors, and committee members gathered, mingled, and even learned new languages and customs from around the world. A massive snowstorm hit Montreal on day three of the competition, the day that the scavenger hunt was planned, blanketing the city with an estimated 20 centimetres of wet snow. This was in stark contrast to exactly one year prior, when teams were in shorts and t-shirts on lower field. Instead, this year they engaged in a snowball fight. The next day’s snowtubing at Mont Avila was the highlight of the week for many participants. Some teams, such as Thammasat and Indonesia, had never seen snow before. “They had a hard time even wrapping their heads around the concept of sliding down a snowy hill on a giant rubber tube,” explains Corkery. “Their faces as they flew down the hill were priceless.” As the three days of social events came to a close, the participants began to focus on preparing themselves for the case crack period, which would test them mentally,

The Bull & Bear - April 2013

physically and emotionally. This year’s case, The Greenlite Lighting Corporation Case Study, was developed by the Desautels Program for International Competitiveness. Greenlite, a leading North American distributor of energy-efficient lighting products, is being pressured by its Asian suppliers to accept higher purchasing prices as a result of increasing input costs. In light of recent attempts by Chinese manufacturers of CFLs LED bulbs to sell directly to the US, participants were charged with the task of developing strategies to innovate and diversify the company’s product line and to manage its supply base, all while building the Greenlite brand. Participants were enthralled by the diversity of ideas and different ways that students worked through business scenarios depending on where their university was located. “Just seeing the diversity of ideas and the different ways people crack cases in these countries was very interesting,” finds Patel. After a grueling 32 hour period to perfect their solutions to the case, the 10 judges deliberated for hours to determine the placings. The results were announced at Galerie MX in the Old Port following dinner and drinks. In the end, the team from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, composed of Jack Robinson, Alex Wolkomir, Vikram Iyer, and Ashish Patra, captured first place in MMICC 2013. Patra spoke to The Bull & Bear about how his team was able to pull off a victory. “I knew we were going up against some of the most talented kids around the world

and that the competition would be really tough,” he finds. “The guys are some of the smartest and most hardworking people I know, but more importantly, our skills and personalities meshed together to create an awesome team.” The University of Belgrade placed second, and the International team and Thammasat University tied for third place. MMICC began in 2000 when Desautels professors Richard Donovan, Wallace Crowston (former Dean of the Faculty of Management), Gerald Ross, and Alistair Duff (former Associate Dean) decided that, instead of just competing in international case competitions, the Faculty of Management would finally host a competition of its own. The format borrows from the model first used at the University of Southern California, but sets itself apart from other case competitions by focusing on innovation, globalization, and crossfunctional disciplines. The executive committee of ten students was recruited in September and has been carefully planning MMICC for the past six months. “This is really their success and we couldn’t be prouder of them,” notes Patel. “We are the world’s friendliest case competition not just because of our committee making this an experience for the participants but because of everyone who is involved,” Noor emphasizes. “I’m proud to say that I’ve been involved with something like this. It’s definitely made my McGill experience.”



Kevin Toda


McGill Athletics and Red Thunder discuss challenges and opportunities SOURCE: REDTHUNDER.CA

Finding a Place for Athletics at McGill M

cGill Athletics and Recreation spends nearly $6.8 million every year. This money covers intramurals, fitness, instruction, and varsity programming. The McGill varsity program is typical of most universities of its size, and McGill has several teams with national championships under their belts. In spite of this, athletics often seem invisible at a school that is far more concerned with academics. Attendance at games is less than stellar, and McGill sports generally slips under the radar of most students. In a recent interview with The Bull & Bear, Executive Director of Athletics and Recreation Drew Love points to the lack of attendance at games as a key area of


improvement. “Attendance at varsity games has actually improved over the past two years,” Love noted. “However, we certainly have the capacity to grow.” Furthermore, there is also a gap in attendance between the female and male teams, even though our Martlet teams often play at a high level. The Martlet hockey team in particular is renowned for winning more than 100 games in a row during the regular season, a streak that only ended last year. “The product on the field of play is outstanding, especially here at McGill, and the women’s teams deserve a better following, but again, we just have to get the fans out to the games,” Love laments.

Love’s primary goal is to get first-time attendees in the door and hopefully have fans leaving the venue wanting to come back for more. “Going to games must be fun, and the fans must leave the venue with a desire to return and share their positive experience with others,” he explains. “We need to continue to focus on the fan experience so that attending games is something they want to repeat again and again.” Unfortunately, getting bodies in seats is often difficult considering the academic and extracurricular demands that most students face. “Scheduling games at times that are convenient for our student fans is very important,” noted Love. “Contests held during




attractions and events going on in as large of a metropolitan area as Montreal. “Living in a city as vibrant and alive as Montreal, amateur sports can get lost in the shuffle,” Barker muses. Drew Love is convinced that athletics deserve a more prominent place at McGill. “The significant exposure of our varsity teams and their outstanding success is far reaching and helps to brand our university and complement the many great strengths that we have in research, teaching and the student experience,” he remarked. “Not all students take advantage of our programs or facilities but for sure our contribution to the student wellbeing and experience is significant and important.” McGill has the potential to be a school known just as much for its athletic prowess as its stellar academic reputation. “Frankly, our varsity program delivers the best amateur level competition in the country,” Love beams with pride. Improving awareness of varsity athletics would go a long way towards bridging the gap. From Barker’s point of view, increasing midterms, exam periods, mid-afternoons on be our job, in combination with Athletics and student involvement in athletics could only weekends, and over holiday weekends, have Recreation, to ensure that all first years are stand to improve McGill as a whole. “The hurt our attendance.” aware of Red Thunder as a club as well as all McGill culture is all about excellence in and Bothered by poor attendance at games major varsity events,” he explains. out of the classroom. The immense variety of and the lack of school spirit it represented, Since 2011, Red Thunder and McGill activities and opportunities at McGill shows six McGill students founded Red Thunder in Athletics and Recreation have pursued a this idea and I think McGill as an institution 2010, and that year it was chosen as “Best New formal partnership through which they hope must work hard to make athletics an important Club” by SSMU. The club has since grown to to attract more students to athletics events. part of that idea. You want people to leave here over 300 members and does its best to fill the However, it is often difficult for amateur being as well-rounded as possible.” stands at every game. varsity sports to compete with all the major “The goal of Red Thunder is to develop a greater sense of pride in McGill University, fostering school spirit through supporting the varsity athletes, our peers,” explains Red Thunder VP Memberships Conor Barker, who also plays for the Redmen Varsity lacrosse team. To accomplish this, Red Thunder tries to unite people using a variety of methods. “Our main means of attracting members is by providing a cheap ‘season pass’ to all varsity games, as well as concession deals and a network in which to meet other sports enthusiasts,” Barker continues. “Red Thunder has also started initiatives such as intramural teams to allow members to participate in as many athletic endeavours within the McGill community as possible.” Red Thunder’s main target demographic is the group of new students who arrive at McGill unaware of what clubs and The goal of Red Thunder is to develop a greater sense of pride in McGill University by fostering opportunities are available to them. “It should school spirit through supporting varsity athletes.

The Bull & Bear - April 2013



Professor Rex Brynen: “I had far more students begging to get into classes” Dafe Oputu



cGill’s Department of Political Science is the largest and fastest growing undergraduate department within the Faculty of Arts. There are currently around 1400 students registered as political science majors, and the growth shows no signs of slowing down. The Bull & Bear sat down with Professor Rex Brynen, Political Science Undergraduate Director, to discuss the challenges posed by this expansion in the face of financial difficulties. “Political Science continues to get bigger,” noted Brynen, who has been teaching at McGill for 24 years. “As long as I’ve been at McGill, the department has expanded.” There is some concern that this year’s budgetary developments will impact the department’s growth. “Essentially, there are two problems,” explains Brynen. “We have a lot of students wanting to study political science and there have been no corresponding increases in the amount of money that’s available. There has actually been a decrease.” Ideally, when faced with growing enrolment in a particular program, departments will either hire more professors to expand course options or bring in more teaching assistants to allow existing courses to expand. However, the need to respond to the province’s budget cuts will likely mean a freeze on hiring new professors across the university, and will also limit the budget available for hiring TAs in spite of growing demand for courses.


The result is that undergraduate students might find it harder to get into political science classes come registration time. Ninety percent of political science courses have full waitlists, and these are filling up faster every year. “This year it became particularly clear to me that courses were filling up very fast,” Brynen noted. “I had far more students begging to get into classes they couldn’t register for.” There is some good news. An expanding TA budget for the political science department will somewhat alleviate the pressure for next year. The recent shuffle of funds from smaller classes announced by Dean of Arts Christopher Manfredi in January has in part allowed the hiring of more TAs for larger classes. Each TA added means another 60 or 70 new spots available for students. Furthermore, the constraints on the department do not appear to be keeping anyone from completing their concentrations. “I suspect people aren’t always getting the schedules they want, but all of our major students get sorted,” Brynen explains. “We don’t have anyone who fails to graduate from McGill because they couldn’t get into a polisci course.” The long term trend remains problematic. The number of undergraduates registering for political science is still increasing, and there are further rounds of budget cuts that have yet to take effect on the department. Since students apply only to the


Budget Constraints, Continued Expansion Challenge Political Science faculty, and not to specific departments, no individual department has the ability to limit student registration. Students can change and add major and minor concentrations as they see fit. “Somewhat bizarrely, I’ve noticed a lot of minor packing in the past three years,” mused Brynen. “It’s gotten to the point now where if you need to get into a course for your poli-sci minor and you have two other minors, we’ll say no.” Brynen feels that this type of degree planning should be discouraged. “I would like to bar people from taking too many minors, because I don’t think it enhances your credentials in the slightest.” Another possible solution would be to institute staggered registration by giving first priority to students in the department of political science and letting other students follow. “A bit of that has been done a few years ago,” said Brynen. “If courses get tighter, departments ultimately have to serve their own students first. It was a bit of a problem for those in interdepartmental programs like international development studies.” At the moment, no changes are planned or being seriously considered, and the TA budget increase will likely mean business as usual for political science students awaiting registration, at least for one more year. Professor Brynen’s advice: “Register for courses early and do not leave it to the last minute.”


Professors of the Year Our Lifestyle section’s highly recommended profs for 2012-2013 The Bull & Bear Lifestyle Section


here is no doubt in any student’s mind that professors can make or break your experience in any course. Thankfully, our institution is filled with exceptional teachers, each with their own flair, quirks, and teaching style. With summer right around the corner, the scramble for internships and letters of recommendation is in full swing. While it’s usually our professors who write recommendation letters, The Lifestyle section at The Bull & Bear decided to write our own, highlighting the best of our most beloved professors of the year.

narrates in first person the daunting and destructive border expansions, reforms, and wars of the Late Roman Empire. His passion for his subject, along with his love for ornately adorned waistcoats, is obvious. Moreover, his enthusiasm is so infectious that he is the kind of professor who makes you want to spend the rest of your life studying obscure facts about exarchates and icons. To top it all off, the last class before Reading Week, Professor Anastassiadis brought delicious spanakopita for our class. Hats off to you, Tassos... And I hope you find yours!

Professor Derek Wang As a recent PhD graduate, 2012-13 was Professor Derek Wang’s first year teaching at McGill. I took his Operations Management class and found that he is always available to help any and all students. Professor Wang promptly answers e-mails within the half-hour that they are sent or even quicker. Many of mine were answered within five minutes. The day before the midterm exam, Professor Wang held office hours for a whopping ten hours in addition to holding office hours on the actual day of the midterm. Not only is Professor Wang always there for his students but he also has a great sense of humour. When teaching the “bullwhip effect,” Professor Wang brought a real, seven-foot, Texan bullwhip into class. Donning a straw cowboy hat, Professor Wang worked the bullwhip like Indiana Jones and even invited anyone who wanted to try it out for themselves to come to his office hours. On top of all these great qualities, he occasionally brought treats to class to reward participation and performance.

Professor Peter Younkin Professor Peter Younkin is the most inspirational professor I had this year, and Social Context of Business was one of the most refreshing courses I took during my three years at McGill. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 to 5:30 PM, our class willingly stowed away laptops and cellphones to engage in arguments, debates, and discussions about topics that actually felt relevant to us. The course wasn’t easy, but it made me remember why I chose to pursue the path of higher education. Professor Younkin pushed us to think about familiar topics in new ways, formulate well thought-out arguments, and realize the importance of differing opinions, all while rocking his skinny ties and Honest Teas. Thank you, Professor Younkin, for encouraging me to enjoy learning for the sake of learning again!

Professor Anastassios Anastassiadis Along with having the best name, Professor Anastassios Anastassiadis is one of the most charming and engaging professors I have encountered at McGill. In his Byzantine History class, he often The Bull & Bear - April 2013

Professor Dracopoulos Having had the opportunity to sample all core subjects at McGill, I have been exposed to professors from all disciplines. Two years into my latest program, I can easily state that Professor George Dracopoulos of the Marketing Department is one of the most insightful professors I have ever encountered. Leveling with his students, he engages the class in discussions that affect the modern marketing

world and impassions students by integrating current issues and course material. He is one of the few teachers who judges class participation not on attendance, or meaningless hand raises, but on in-class assignments. Thank you, Professor Dracopoulos, for your dedication to engaging with your students. Professor Desmond Tsang Professor Desmond Tsang takes the cake for dying his hair pink for the Cancer Auction’s “Go Pink or Go Home” event. I will never forget seeing Professor Tsang bravely sitting in the hair salon with his GQ Magazine sprawled across his lap and bits of foil stuck to his head while he selected the shade of pink he would be committed to for the next few weeks. An equally unforgettable moment was watching him dance to Gagnam Style with Professor Pietro while wearing pink sunglasses to complement his new coiffure. Professor Tsang made accounting cool. Professor Miranda Hickman Professor Hickman taught me that good teaching is about strategic communication. Her careful attention to accurately articulate everything and anything made an introductory course, English Survey, about much more than its description on the syllabus. The syllabus infers that Professor Hickman’s lectures will make you a more knowledgeable and more attentive reader but it neglects to mention that Professor Hickman’s lectures will make you a better thinker and a more cogent writer. Every lecture is as much an instruction on how to structure your thoughts as it is a lesson in English literary history. Thank you, Professor Hickman, for your engaging and fascinating lectures. But more importantly, thank you for teaching me how to better think and communicate.



Exclusively Average Don’t get beat down by the B Mor Pecht



ith final exam season in full swing, one cannot ignore the stress in the air. It is easy to lose perspective and get caught up in self-denigration given our emotional attachment to our grades. Where does this unhealthy relationship come from? When I first arrived in Montreal and joined the exclusive Desautels faculty, I was introduced to my new frenemy - the bell curve. The bell-curve creates an environment where competition takes on a whole new level.


average. At Desautels this means the majority of students receive an average grade of 70-75, or a B. Used to nearly perfect scores on just about every graded piece of coursework, McGill students find it difficult to face being considered average. The bell-curve means that some of us will be in that middle area, and that unfortunately, not all of us can continue to be the stars we were in high school. In an age where individualism takes precedence, it is no surprise that we

To keep things in perspective, reaching graduation is only a matter of time and all the hardship will boil down to two digits out of the 900 characters on your CV. Unlike its usage in high school, the curve here does not ensure that studying hard positions you at the top of the class. The bell curve influences us in many ways. It reduces the risk of getting a very low grade but simultaneously makes it almost impossible to receive that shiny A. Although the curve is meant to encourage students to work harder, I find this curve rather discouraging. About 70% of the students will fall in the area of one standard deviation on either side of the literal


all fear being considered regular. We see being ordinary as a curse as we strive for extraordinary in every aspect of our lives. It is crucial to remember that receiving a grade - whether it is above, below, or exactly average - is not a reflection of who we are. To avoid basing our self-worth on our GPAs, it is important to do things we value which give us the opportunity to express ourselves more accurately or completely than the mark on our last Marketing assignment. Especially when curved to

fit a mold, grades cannot encompass our entire being. That said, we should not give up striving for academic excellence but rather allocate enough time to focus on the things that add value to our lives and not only to our resumes. Remember, you’re making the decision now, not your parents. It is time to become the person you’ve always wanted to be and that cannot be achieved without doing what you value most in life. For some that means having a strong support group by letting others know the importance they have in your life. For others, that means finding new passions and perhaps even new dreams. Don’t let the competitive nature of university take away the pleasure you get from doing things you love. More than just a good GPA heals a wounded self-esteem. Be proud to be a McGill student but moreover, be proud to be yourself. There is no shame in being average in one of the top 15 universities in the world. Find other factors to inspire inner confidence other than a number out of 4.0. To keep things in perspective, reaching graduation is only a matter of time and all the hardship will boil down to two digits out of the 900 characters on your CV. What’s more, exams will be over in four weeks, summer will arrive and the sun will be out. Take a deep breath. We can do this.


Exam Time Quickies Fast munchies for your tummy Don Wang



veryone knows when it’s that time of the year - finals season. You can taste the tension, the stress, the late nights, and the panic in the air. While everyone is slaving away in the libraries or holed up in their bedrooms, most students might be tempted to just live off of instant noodles, toast, and Kraft Dinner. I’m here to tell you that just because you’re low on time doesn’t mean you can’t have good food that is quick, easy, and composed of just a few ingredients. I like adding some pesto and hot sauce to spruce up a classic grilled cheese sandwich. To try something different, replace the cheese with slices of avocado. It makes the sandwich clean and refreshing, with all the beneficial oils from the avocado to boot! A side of tomato soup is the perfect companion for your gooey masterpiece. Miso soup with rice is a meal that literally requires only two pots and five ingredients. Miso, tofu, green onions, and rice are all easily obtainable from Chinatown or Epicerie Eden on Avenue du Parc. The quick method is to just throw

ry tomatoes, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, chopped spinach, and couscous in a bowl with hot water from a kettle; the ratio is 1:1 for water to couscous. Cover the bowl with some saran wrap, wait until all the water is absorbed, and it will be ready to eat. To make it extra fancy, sprinkle on some feta cheese and squeeze over some lemon juice. Quick pasta doesn’t always have to be eaten with canned tomato sauce. Simply sauté some chopped bacon with butter, pepper, and dried herbs. My personal favourites are thyme and oregano. Toss in the cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese; the smokiness and saltiness of the bacon gives the pasta a great aroma. To go the extra mile, add either some maple syrup or white wine before adding in the pasta and cook for an additional three minutes. Perfect every time. You can add pretty much any fruit of your choice to spinach or lettuce leaves to make a refreshing salad. Some tasty combos are raspberry and spinach, watermelon and spinach, apple and lettuce, and orange and lettuce. A light vinaigrette made from one part lemon juice,

While everyone is slaving away in the libraries or holed up in their bedrooms most students might be tempted to just live off of instant noodles, toast, and Kraft Dinner. water, miso, and tofu in a pot and bring it to a boil. Adjust seasoning to taste and if you like, sprinkle some sliced green onions on top of the soup and serve with steaming, fluffy rice. Couscous is a fine grain that doesn’t need to be pre-boiled, which makes it an ideal quick meal. Add some halved cherThe Bull & Bear - April 2013

three parts olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper goes hand-in-hand with any salad. Fish tends to cook much faster than chicken, beef, or pork. My fish of choice is salmon because of it’s delicious, easy to cook, and contains high protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D - exactly


what a sleep and nutrition-deprived student needs in the middle of exams. Put a filet on a baking sheet (remember to use aluminum foil for easy clean up!) and drizzle some honey, salt and pepper over the filet. If you don’t have honey, use maple syrup, or simply some brown sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the filet flakes apart when you take a fork to it. Add or subtract baking time for a couple minutes depending on how thick your slice of fish is. If you’re ever in need for a quick sweet treat, these Nutella cookies should be your go-to recipe. All you need is one egg, one cup of Nutella, and a half cup of flour. Just mix the three ingredients in a bowl, spoon balls of it on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes. Voila! The best chewy, moist, chocolate cookies you’ve ever had. It’s the best treat for your well-deserved study break. Study well and eat well during exams everybody!



Stop Thinking A word of advice on sticking to your goals Chloé Demeunynck LIFESTYLE WRITER


e’ve all tried to avoid a greasy burger or suppress the thought of it in hopes of achieving a goal when, all of a sudden, it comes back to us with full force and we need it. Now. We endure weeks of skipping dessert only to find ourselves next in line at the cupcake sale justifying it with, “but it’s for charity!” We momentarily turn on the internet to fact-check only to find ourselves on a two hour Wikipedia/Tumblr/Reddit/ Buzzfeed/YouTube rampage. And let’s admit, we’ve all broken our vow of silence by drunk-texting that someone we swore to never think of again and have woken up utterly mortified. Sometimes our good intentions only go so far. We had the motivation, we had the commitment, but we just couldn’t make the changes last. It feels, almost, as if it were out of our control. As it turns out, this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ strategy is actually not very effective, and will more likely lead you to indulge in what you were trying to avoid in the first place. It’s like trying not to think of a white elephant— it becomes the only thing you can think about. So you’re probably wondering why this happens, and more importantly, how you can avoid it. As it turns out, the paradoxical effect of thought suppression boils down to simple thought associations. Our brains work through a network of nodes and connections. Each node represents a thought or idea, and the connections are what link these ideas together. The more associated two ideas become with one another, the stronger the connection between them. For example, the node in your brain for “sexy” is probably more strongly linked to “Heidi Klum” than it is to the node for “midterm”. The connection between two things strengthens when you associate those things together more frequently. Mental control consists of a contradictory process that requires a conscious state of knowing and not knowing at the



same time. The first is a controlled process where you actively try to find distractors to absorb your attention, and the second is an automatic process that tests your controlled process for failures, and is continuously checking to see whether that unwanted thought is present or not. When you are suppressing a thought, you are in essence constantly reminding yourself not to think about it. Let’s say you are trying to avoid thinking about pizza. Your thought process will probably be something like this: “Ok, don’t think of pizza, think of something else, I’ll text my friend. What am I doing? Oh right, trying not to think of pizza. Ok, I guess I’ll distract myself and watch an episode. Wait, what am I doing, oh, not thinking of pizza.” Through this process, you are basically ‘cueing’, or attaching everything in your line of sight

to the very thought you’re trying to suppress. Everything you think about becomes a node cognitively linked to the forbidden thought—you are building connections between your environment and the thought of pizza. As a result, the thing you are suppressing becomes much more accessible through all these connections. The solution? Distract yourself by focusing your attention on a specific, predetermined thing so that you aren’t scattering your thoughts and subsequently linking everything in your line of sight to the suppressed thought. Otherwise, your mind only knows not think of a certain thought. The trick is to target your thoughts elsewhere so that you’re not only thinking about not thinking about what you’re not trying to think about. Happy goal pursuit!


Deep Feelings for Deps The one-stop for candy, convenience, and community LJ de Gara



hether you prefer to dive into a Diet Pepsi, a bag of off-brand Sour Patch Kids, or a bottle of rosé with a Chilean cowboy on it, there is no denying that life in 2013 is full of simple pleasures. More often than not, these simple pleasures are calorie-laden, made with dozens of unpronounceable chemicals, and readily available from every glowing street corner. If you have five dollars (okay, more like eight) then you have just about anything your insatiable, impulsive side could want. Squeaky clean or grimy, part of a chain or independent, open nine to five or 24/7, there’s no denying that deps are essential to Montreal life. According to a 2008 article in the Gazette, there are 1127 dépanneurs on the island; one for every 1500 people. Despite their ubiquity, every dep holds its own charm and character but, obviously, some are better than others. For instance, the one nearest to my apartment, Dépanneur Fleur Bleue, sells freshly-cut flowers, small potted plants, handmade sandwiches, and even has a self-serve buffet. These specialties elevate it above and beyond the standard convenience store, characterized by limp chili dogs, fountain pop, and aggressive fluorescent lighting. But it’s not just the fleurs that make Fleur Bleue so memorable, it’s the people. The Bull & Bear - April 2013


The owner, an eccentric woman named Madame Lee, who perpetually dons a white beret, massive sunglasses, and a variety of beige sweaters, is an essential part of the neighbourhood and, not to mention, a local celebrity. Once, while walking by, I saw her eating lunch through the window and, without knowing what came over me, I decided to wave to her. To my surprise and extreme delight, she smiled and waved back. Madame Lee may well have mistaken me for someone else or simply acted out of courtesy. Nevertheless, that small moment made me feel like part of the neighbourhood. It made me feel like a real Montréalaise, instead of an import from the prairies. In a city so readily divided by language and political tension, it can be difficult to imagine something that brings us all together. The truth is, no matter what language you speak, or what your political beliefs are, all people can readily be united in their love for the vices of the 21st century: junk food. Physically, all are conditioned to desire the treasures resting inside those glowing little storefronts. Your stomach loves the combination of corn syrup, carbonation, sugar and red dye number two. But the appeal of the dep doesn’t end with you filling your belly with tasty snacks. If that were the case, any dep would serve as a perfect substitute for

any other, provided it sold what you were craving. Logically, that should be true, but logistically, that’s not the case. The dépanneur invites a sense of loyalty unmatched by any other store. I would buy my groceries anywhere but I wouldn’t indulge my little vices in just any old place. I want to buy them from my place. Slipping through the doors of a different dep, with a different name and floor plan, with the chips to the right of the door instead of the left would be unsettling. It’s doable if you’re hungry enough, but the grime that seemed endearing at your dep is now only making you wonder just how frequently they sanitize the ATM keypad. Why do we feel loyal to these meccas of casual consumption? It’s because of the people. It’s the steadfast and familiar faces behind the counter who see that the shelves are stocked just so. Odds are, you don’t know their names, and they probably don’t know yours. The likelihood that you will ever be Facebook friends—and have uncomfortable levels of awareness of their day-to-day activity or the fact that they like, say, Two and Half Men—is virtually zero. But you know that they exist, and they know that you exist. And in a bustling city like Montreal, perhaps that’s all you really need...along with your bi-weekly dose of Pringles, obviously.



The End of an




rincipal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum sat down with the Executive Editor of The Bull & Bear, the Editor-in-Chief of le Délit, and a News Editor at the Daily on Thursday for her final interview with the student press. After ten years as Principal, Munroe-Blum will be leaving McGill in June for a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. Topics discussed included the PQ budget cuts, accessible education, student protests, and her thoughts on what her legacy will be. Dan Novick: What do you think will be the impact of the PQ budget cuts on the university as a whole and on McGill’s quality of education? Heather Munroe-Blum: We think that it’s a pretty tough circumstance that we’re facing. You’ll have read the various measures that we’re taking and our analysis of the impact of the cuts on the university. They amount to in effect about $43 million in base over the first two years. Our commitment is to do everything we can as we take those cuts to preserve academic quality, research and scholarships, and to the best of our ability the support to students and professors. That is the lens through which we’re looking at everything as we take cuts.



Regarding accessible education: HMB: My image of university is that all elements of society benefit from having a well-educated university educated population. Not everybody, but many. It’s good for the health, because people who are well-educated tend to be healthier. It’s good for civil society and social wellbeing, but it’s also good for the economy. From the beginning of my time coming here, I said let’s not just talk about accessibility; let’s look at how we’re achieving it. I was the first person to point out that in spite of all our talk about accessibility, we weren’t graduating students across the Quebec university system anywhere near the level of other jurisdictions. The poor were not succeeding in the Quebec university system. In fact, in 2000, the Quebec government stopped measuring the socioeconomic status of students. There’s only one reason you stop measuring. DN: The administration has taken a strong stance against these cuts, and in the emails that you’ve sent out you’ve mentioned that they will have a very negative effect on our university. What sort of lobbying efforts has the administration undertaken with the PQ to try to prevent or at least mitigate the impact of these cuts? HMB: I hope you’ve noticed that it’s been pretty a pretty strong and persistent

presence with the government in showing that in our view that this is not the right thing. I do think that given the economic and fiscal challenges in Quebec that it’s very important that the government cut spending, but to do it on the backs of universities or education in my view is not the way to do it, and to do it without any notice or any ability to plan for it is not the way to do it. So we will continue to make representation on that. But meanwhile, we do not want to hold our university hostage to those decisions and the only way not to be [held] hostage to those decisions is to actually do what we’re doing. The good news is that we have a multi-year budget plan. We have a well-developed and comprehensive academic and research plan for the university. We have a good statement of our priorities. We’ve had two task forces that feed into the roll of students and a lot of activity around that. There are some things we can’t do, but there are things we know that we want to protect. DN: Have you met with Pauline Marois personally to discuss the cuts with her? HMB: Yes, and I will again. They have an agenda. The other part of it is that we work with the government of the day. We are a public institution and are funded from both the federal government and the provincial government. We are very successful on federal research sup-

FEATURE port and graduate student support, but we want to find a way of having an effective collaboration and will continue to work at it. You don’t come out slamming every day when you’re trying to form a constructive collaboration. My view as a scholar and a policy maker is that we also have to be candid about the facts and not pretend that something is good news when it’s bad news and be responsible to the university. DN: In the past year and a half we’ve seen a group of students on campus that tend to be more vocal than others and make their voices heard in ways that may not be thought of as conventional. Do you see some student activities as a threat to McGill’s reputation and if so, why? HMB: I don’t. I think we have democracy in full bloom on the McGill campus and we have throughout this period. I was a teenager in the 60s, and certainly over my professional and academic life have seen changes on these issues. I think it’s great that we have an outspoken community. I think it’s great that we debate the issues that are being debated, and I think it’s actually excellent as well that students are coming out who might not normally come out to express themselves when they feel that a vocal minority voice isn’t representing theirs to let their voice be known as well. DN: That said, in the first draft of the protest protocols, there were a lot of forms of political expression that were thought to be disruptive to university activities. It noted that a protest was no longer peaceful if it was disruptive to university activities or took place in an administrative building. To that end, what sort of view do you think the administrative takes in terms of the balance between freedom of expression and making sure that the university continues to run properly? HMB: You have to understand that drafts are developmental documents. We had extensive consultation over the last 14 months on this whole thing. I think that was very healthy. Academic freedom is clearly a primary platform of the purpose of a university, but also the wellbeing of a university, and so are safety and security for the people who are on the campus. And what we saw through that period of September through February of ’11 to ‘12 The Bull & Bear - April 2013

was a lot of insecurity and a lot of people who thought that their sense of wellbeing was threatened and we had a very vocal statement of the importance of freedom of expression and freedom to protest. I’m proud that we’ve had more demonstrations in the last 24 months of all kinds, including during the development of the protocol. So, I feel [that] freedom is alive and well at McGill. I feel that the moves to support the sense of safety and wellbeing and the right for people, both students and professors, to do here what they came here to do, is also being supported. So I think that we’ve come out in a pretty good place through a process that was highly consultative. You raised the question of reputation. I think that our reputation is powerfully strong. I think that there was a minimal drop in our reputational ranking along with UBC’s, but we’re still amongst the highest in the country and the world. I think what happened in Montreal last spring had an impact on our applicants from Toronto and the US in particular,

HMB: I know that’s a question that you should ask, but it’s a very tough one to answer personally. I have felt honoured by the opportunity to serve McGill. I grew up seeing McGill as the great university of Canada and an important international public university. It’s been an honour to serve and I’ve felt very privileged at the quality of our students and the colleagues that I’ve worked with. So whatever good comes out of this decade will have been a team effort and I think that we won’t know exactly what that is until 5, 10, 15 years down the road. Personally, I feel very happy about student engagement having been transformed. We don’t go a day without talking about student engagement and finding other ways of expressing it. Do we have further to go? Absolutely, but I think we’ve gone light-years in making McGill an example that other research universities are trying to follow. You hope that when you step down from a position like this that the place is better than it was when you came. Think


(From left to right): Farid Rener, News Editor at the Daily; Nicolas Quiza, Editor-in-Chief of le Délit; Dan Novick, Executive Editor of The Bull & Bear; and Heather Munroe-Blum, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill

where there is a great sensitivity to security challenges in the public place, but that wasn’t McGill per se. Our applications are robust and our acceptances are as high as they’ve ever been. DN: What do you think was your greatest accomplishment and failure during your ten years at McGill?

of it as a relay race; you get something that you inherit from those that came before you and you treat it with great respect, and you try to leave a better place for those that come after you. There are always things that I wish I could’ve done more of, but it’s a great place. It’s a great university..



Tesla Motors’ bumpy road to creating a successful mass-production EV Jonathan Craske


Maximilian Feinsot






espite posting its first-ever quarterly profit after ten years of operations, electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has seen investors shuffling nervously, as analysts and major car makers raise questions as to the numbers behind the firm’s supposed success. The firm cites higher-thanexpected sales figures for its Model S flagship sedan as the key driver of the

revenues from future quarters from which orders have been pulled. On Tuesday, the company released a new financing program in partnership with Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank that was also met with suspicious eyes from analysts. The company offered a figure of $500 per month as the “true cost of ownership”. Monthly payments for base models tend to hover around the $1,400 mark. However, the company maintains that, when you consider

Analysts have been quick to point out that some of Tesla’s numbers are suspicious at best. first black numbers to appear on the books since the company’s inception in 2003 by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. The Model S, which began production in 2012, sold more than 4,750 units in the quarter, comfortably surpassing forecasts of 4,500. Tesla also boasts that it is prepared to accelerate repayments of the US Department of Energy loan borrowed in order to bring the Model S to production. Other notable recipients of Dept. of Energy loans include failed Solar power firm Solyndra and nearbankrupt auto manufacturing firm Fisker. Analysts, however, have been quick to point out that some of Tesla’s numbers are suspicious at best. As of year-end 2012, the company had booked 15,000 orders for the Model S outstanding. Despite this, there have been instances of customers receiving orders with turnaround times as low as three months, suggesting that the company may be experiencing a surge in either cancellations or deferments. In addition, Tesla recently confirmed the content of an email sent out to customers urging them to make payments in advance in pursuit of posting the company’s first profitable period. By pulling orders forward, the company would be able to recognize revenue for outstanding orders in the quarter, but will also undercut The Bull & Bear - April 2013

the various savings, from government incentives, gas savings, and more, that $500 is a far more reasonable figure. While investors have responded both positively and negatively to the announcements and subsequent headlines, the stock still sits well above its position from last week. This is not the only time the company has found itself at the epicenter of negative attention from the public. In 2008, Tesla filed suit over libel and malicious falsehood against the popular motoring program Top Gear, when the show allegedly misrepresented some mechanical failures on the Tesla Roadsters during a review. The claim was rejected in 2011.

from Washington, D.C. to Boston with only two charges in between and said he had the experience to prove it. The critical article caused a four percent drop in Tesla shares. Tesla, though, had a trick up its sleeve. Having learned their lesson from the Top Gear incident, Tesla engineers set all Teslas destined for review to record the travel information of their reviewers to ensure that the reviews do not misrepresent Tesla. Broder, as Elon Musk tweeted, “didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour.” An ensuing Tesla blog post detailing the data collected showed that Broder did, in fact, misrepresent his travel information. A later successful test drive by CNN, taking the same route as Broder, exonerated the Model S of excessive power drain. The company has also made adjustments to its product line. Although the current Model S has a base price just above $60,000, Tesla will drop this option, focusing on higher margin models. Existing orders for the base model, which comes with range and speed limited by a smaller battery pack, will be fitted with larger battery packs, but will have their performance limited by software to mimic that of the base model. While Tesla’s success is uncertain and its first-ever profit is suspicious, Elon Musk’s vision of making an affordable electric car is more within reach than when he founded Tesla with that goal in mind ten years ago.

This is not the only time the company has found itself at the epicenter of negative attention from the public. Controversy over the Model S arose earlier this year when the New York Times released “Stalled Out on Tesla’s Electric Highway,” a review testing the luxury sedan’s true range. In the article, the reviewer, John Broder, alleged that the Tesla could not, as Tesla officials claimed, make it

Tesla Motors is still in its infancy, but its early successes have already sent a powerful message to the world’s automakers. Among them, BMW, Ford, GMC, Honda, Nissan and Toyota are each offering an electric vehicle model for the 2013 model year.



Dutch Disease

A visual approach to the economic effect that may be plaguing Canada

Magid Awad



n recent years, a debate has been brewing in Canada over whether or not the country is experiencing “Dutch Disease.” This economic concept suggests that a resource boom in an economy can negatively affect the country’s manufacturing sector due to a related increase in its currency’s value. Below is a graph generated using Bloomberg data that relates Western Canada’s resource boom to the suffering Canadian manufacturing sector. The strong correlation between the West Texas Intermediate spot price (orange), the


North American benchmark oil price, and the Canadian dollar’s effective exchange rate (white) is striking. As oil prices rise, foreign customers must convert more of their currency to the Canadian dollar in order to buy the same amount of oil, thus increasing demand and the value of the exporting country’s currency. Manufacturing exports consequently suffer as foreign buyers start to look for alternatives to the increasingly expensive Canadian goods. Superimposed over these figures is the number of people employed in the Canadian

manufacturing sector (green) as a means of gauging the health of the industry. When people discuss Dutch Disease in Canada, what they are really concerned about is the associated loss of jobs. Graph of the Month is a new initiative by the Markets team. We feature a selfconstructed graph that highlights a market trend or economic dynamic every month. The submissions are purposefully text-light, as the aim is to let the data do most of the talking and have the readers reach their own conclusions.



Another Headache for the EU Cyprus’ status as a tax haven is a double-edged sword Alan Liu



he Eurozone has found another focus in its continuing debt crisis as Cyprus squabbles over discussions of a proposed bailout plan for its oversized banking sector. Cyprus is ill-regarded in the international community as a tax haven for wealthy individuals that wish to hide their assets overseas. Cyprus’ banking problem stems from prolific government spending with respect to its tax incomes. The oversized bureaucracy of the Cypriot government has drained the nation’s coffers and its junk bond rating restricts foreign investment. Furthermore, the banks in Cyprus hold large portions of sovereign Greek bonds and have comparatively low fractional reserve requirements. Greek bonds are essentially worthless and have been a contributing factor in driving the banks in Cyprus to the brink of bankruptcy. With a low reserve requirement for financial institutions, the money supply in many cash-strapped European states is fragile. Some estimates suggest that a mere five percent withdrawal of bank holdings would cause further financial ruin to these countries on the edge of solvency. As Cypriot banks face bankruptcy, a new influx of money is required to prop them up and keep them functioning. Cyprus initially looked to its European partners for assistance, but failed to reach a compromise that satisfied both EU lawmakers and the Cypriot population. Russian aid was also considered a potential The Bull & Bear - April 2013

solution, although fears over a geopolitical shift in power and influence towards the gas and oil-rich Moscow have spurred EU politicians to decry the Russian proposal. They fear that the Russians have an interest in Cyprus as an offshore banking haven and the discovery of natural gas off its coasts. The mere suggestion of a Russian bailout and a trip by the Cyprus finance minister to Moscow demonstrates a shift in the European balance of power. Talks in Moscow fell through on March 22nd and have both eliminated Russia as a possible savior and quelled Europe’s fears of increasing Russian influence. The European bailout plan included a proposal of taxing deposits worth over e100,000 initially faced fierce and swift rejection from the Cypriot government, who referred to it as “bank robbery.” Bank restructuring laws that will raise e5.8 billion have been approved by the government and fulfill European requirements for the e10 billion bailout money. Last-minute overnight talks by Cypriot lawmakers achieved agreement to restructure the banking sector. BBC analysts originally suggested that this deal could cost wealthy bank clients with over e100,000 in holdings as much as 40 percent of their deposited wealth. Under the new bailout package by the EU and IMF, depositors may now lose as much as 60 percent of their savings worth over e100,000. This controversial levy contributed to the resignation of Andreas Artemis, the

Chairman of Cyprus’ biggest bank, and Michalis Sarris, the Cypriot Finance Minister. Mr. Sarris has been criticized for his handling of the bailout and is assumed to have resigned for that reason. Also among the new European-enforced terms are limits on daily withdrawals (limited to e300 a day), restrictions on cash checking and credit card usage, and limitations on capital movement. Additionally, all commercial transactions ranging from e5,000 to e200,000 euros are to be viewed and approved by a special committee. Despite imposing such seemingly draconian measures, the Cypriot Parliament successfully averted a financial meltdown by taking the necessary steps. As of April, Cypriot banks have reopened again after being closed for two weeks. Cyprus’ future is uncertain. Its status as an offshore banking hub has been tarnished and its banking system has lost the trust of the public. What the future will bring for the ailing island state remains to be seen. Cyprus’ problem relates to the greater financial challenges throughout Europe, notably in Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Although Cyprus will weather this storm, the Eurozone as a whole will not emerge unscathed. Future economic crises and growing German disenchantment with constant bailouts will continue to test the EU’s strength, credibility, and solidarity.



Learning to minimize your losses Maxime Riahi



rading can be divided into three main categories of expertise: strategy, management, and discipline. Put another way: decision, risk management, and willpower. These three elements are the only things you will be able to control in the market. The public loves to emphasize strategy in all its glamour and prowess. Strategy is essentially your reason for entering and exiting the market. What conditions need to exist for you to want to buy and sell? In its most basic form, strategy is our means of making decisions consistently. Some people don’t use a strategy in the market, leading to unsustainable practices. A common example of this is trading on a whim. Being a successful trader in financial markets is not about making profits. To be successful, we have to focus on our losses. More specifically, we must be meticulous in managing risk. If you are capable of effectively and consistently cutting your losses, the battle to become a successful trader is 50 percent over. Why is this so? We see a lot of hype and advertisements on websites and commercials about “90 percent winning strategies.” This means that 90 percent of the time, the strategy will make a winning trade – this is highly misleading. The winning trades will most likely be for a couple of points;


MARKETS THE TRADER let’s say 20 points on the E-mini S&P. You will have nine winning trades and feel great about yourself. You will tell your friends and family about what a hotshot trader you are. And then it hits: the loss. The only reason these strategies are capable of promising 90 percent winning trades is that they take on excessive risk. You might risk 100 points to make 20. So the market has a lot of wiggle room to move against you and then come back around in your favor. Unfortunately, this setup is introducing you to some pretty bad odds. Say you risk 2 percent of your account per trade; so 2 percent is equal to 100 points. You are essentially risking 100 points (2 percent) to make 20 points (0.4 percent). This may, in fact, turn out to be a sensible strategy, although not for the faint of heart. Thus the problem is twofold. First, you are prone to blowing out your account if you ever come across what is known as a ‘losing streak’. For example, you have three bad trades in a row (not unheard of ). You just lost six percent of your account, or 300 points in the market. Not a huge deal. What is a huge deal, though, is that you need to make 15 profitable trades in a row just to get back to where you were. Second, there is a psychological element at play that is invisible when


successful traders utilize strategies that rarely win more than 50 percent of the time. Even winning percentages as low as 20 percent are quite common. How does this possibly make sense?

What you can control, and should control with surgical precision, is your risk. only looking at ratios and numbers. Humans are naturally loss-averse. We have a harder time letting go of something that is ours than letting go of something we never owned. The same is true with profits. Imagine you made five profitable trades in a row and you are now feeling pretty good. All of a sudden you take a loss that wipes out all your winnings. I have been telling you to stay away from systems that promise a “90 percent or more” in winning trades. So what do the pros do? Well, most The Bull & Bear - April 2013

The key is placing more importance on magnitude than on frequency. The “above 90 percent winning” places all the importance of the system on the frequency of winning. The pros are interested in the magnitude of the winning trade. How Much Does a Winning Trade Make? It is not possible to define how much your winning trade will make unless you happen to use profit targets. The market will decide your profits for

you. Sometimes the market will give you 3:1 reward-to-risk and sometimes it will give you only 1:1. The point is that you have little control over your profits. What you can and should control, with surgical precision, is your risk. How much you lose per trade and your ability to effectively minimize that loss will allow you to stay in the game long enough to see some profits. Beginners, hungry for profits, make the mistake of risking more in order to be rewarded more. They end up losing all they came with and go back to their day jobs. As Warren Buffett said, “Rule No. 1 is never lose money. Rule No. 2 is never forgetting rule number one.” He did not actually mean “do not lose money”. Everyone loses money in trading. Buffett simply meant that you must be able to minimize losses long enough to see the day when the market graces you with profits.




What Is



A look at an investing strategy that is changing the corporate world Colton Dick


arl Icahn has recently taken a major stake in Dell, unhappy with the $13.65 buyout target that Michael Dell and his partnering private equity firm proposed. This investment strategy, shareholder activism, has become more and more predominant in today’s financial sphere. Billionaire investors like Icahn are more frequently taking large positions in corporations and then proceeding to effect change according to their investment theses. A Response to the Classic Agency Problem? The “classic agency problem” sets the premise for activist investment opportunities. The dichotomy between ownership (shareholders) and control (corporate management) confirms that those in control often don’t have the owners’ best interests in mind. This void creates opportunity for a financial player to step in and see this gap closed. At its core, activist investing is when an investor takes a large stake in



a corporation in order put pressure on management to make a change. Equity markets are the most popular sites of shareholder activism, but it can occur in almost any financial market including distressed debt and convertibles. The typical timeline for this strategy is short to medium term (one to three years). Fundamentals and Events Activist investment theses are structured from two distinct underlying themes: fundamentals and events. Much like other value investment strategies, activist investors conduct research on the intricacies of a corporation in order to identify strategic, financial, operational, or governance inefficiencies that stand to be rectified. Such fundamental opportunities can then be realized through different actions ranging from mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to restructuring to spin-offs of specific divisions. Events can create asymmetric risk/reward relationships. In the past,

the BP oil spill, the credit crisis and even healthcare reform have presented opportunity for activist investors to see value realized. How the Process Works Once an investment thesis is developed, the activist starts to pressure the target company using a spectrum of options ranging from friendly to hostile. First, the investor will send public letters to management and then communicate with the financial community and media. If the corporation is not receptive to the proposed changes, the investor can file a 13-D statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that they have acquired a position that exceeds five percent of the outstanding shares. This filing denotes an active investment and gives credibility to the investor. Next, the investor can proceed and commence litigation against corporate board members for breaching fiduciary responsibility. It also allows the shareholder to obtain official


internal company documents to further substantiate their thesis. Though the aforementioned activist tactics are effective, there are actions that corporations take to prevent loss of control to activist investors. Corporations can use a staggered board election method, where only a fraction of board members are up for reelection every year, meaning that the investor must win multiple board election battles. If an investor amasses a controlling position, the board can launch a “poison pill.” This is a scheme where shareholders are given the opportunity to buy more shares at a discount, thus diluting the value of the bidder’s interest and increasing the cost of the bid. Companies also use the public media to launch an offensive against the activist investor to invalidate the activist’s intentions. Finally, corporations will resort to extensive litigation against the activist. Icahn’s Stake in Motorola Founded in 1928, Motorola was renowned for being a pioneer in wireless handset devices. However, in the early 2000s, Motorola began to lose market share. Shares hit an 18-month low on Jan. 12, 2007. On January 30th, Carl Icahn announced he had accumulated a 1.4 percent stake in Motorola and demanded a seat on the board, pushing management to return more cash to shareholders through a leveraged $20 billion share buyback plan. Motorola rejected his proposal and claimed that Icahn’s success as an investor wouldn’t necessarily make him a valuable addition to the board. Icahn increased his stake to 2.5 percent and began submitting proxy materials for the upcoming annual meeting in May. In March, after posting lower earnings and forecasts, Motorola announced an accelerated share buyback program ceding to Icahn’s proxy demands. In May, after increasing his stake to 2.9 percent, Icahn took his proxy battle to Motorola’s annual meeting. However, he failed to secure enough votes and was not elected to the board. By the next The Bull & Bear - April 2013


Investors like Carl Icahn are proceeding to affect change according to their investment theses.

quarter in July, Motorola posted a loss for Q2 2007 and pressure for Ed Zander, Motorola’s CEO, to exit began to build from other investors. In November, Motorola announced that Zander would step down as CEO and would be replaced by the then-current COO Greg Brown. Icahn welcomed the announcement but demanded further action and a split of the company into three parts. In retort, Motorola announced that it may spin-off its handset business. Icahn then moved to elect three people to the board. In March of 2008, now holding 6.4 percent of the stock, Icahn sued Motorola to gain access to company documents. Two days later, Motorola announced that it would spin-off its handset business. Motorola and Icahn reached an agreement to install two of Icahn’s nominees to the board. Motorola completed the split in 2011. By August, Icahn increased his stake above 10 percent for the first time. Motorola Mobility (handset and TV businesses) began to trade publicly and Motorola Inc. changed its name to Motorola Solutions (government and business enterprises). Icahn pushed for Motorola

Mobility to realize the value of its patent portfolio, believing it could worth about $4.0 billion. In August 2011, Google announced that it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $40 per share, a 63 percent premium. Icahn’s stake in the company was valued at $1.3 billion. Finally, in February 2012, Motorola Solutions announced that it bought back the majority of Icahn’s stake for $1.2 billion and one of Icahn’s directors resigned from the board. Conclusion Activism is about playing an active role in generating catalyst events to unlock shareholder value. As observed with Motorola, activist investing is often a lengthy and drawn out process that takes place under public scrutiny and does not always deliver optimal outcomes. Bloomberg News hypothesized that Icahn likely broke even on his investment with Motorola. Despite this case, activist investing remains a valid strategy, delivering a cumulative 30 percent more than the S&P 500 returned over the past eight years.



Why the Arab Spring’s forgotten war will become the West’s next military conflict Sam Robinson



all it skill or call it an early Passover miracle, military considerations precipitated the historic snap decision to restore ties between Israel and Turkey during Obama’s trip to the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, self-admittedly persuaded by Obama, held the “crisis in Syria” as the “central consideration” behind his reconciliation with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in the fallout of a 2010 Israeli commando raid. Simply put, the situation in Syria has gone from bad to worse in recent months, and Western leaders are under pressure to react. Indeed, Syria poses an acute threat not only to its neighbors in the region, but to NATO and its allies as a whole. This is due to the growing presence of Islamic extremist groups, such as



A Chemical Time-Bomb

Fighting in the Syrian civil war has produced a body count that far exceeds the rest of the Arab Spring combined Abu Mohammed al-Golani’s Al-Nusra Front, and the threat of unchecked chemical weapons. Ultimately, direct military intervention is only a matter of time, and the chances are it will make Libya look like a mere game. Fighting in the Syrian civil war

has produced a body count that far exceeds the rest of the Arab Spring combined. Lack of foreign support in such a violent struggle has divided and weakened the mainly secular rebels, creating a power vacuum that has made chemical weapons and

OPINION Islamic fighters a credible threat. What has happened in Syria has been the antithesis of what happened in the Libyan civil war, where NATO observers worked with the rebel National Transitional Council as the de facto government, maintaining a sense of order and stability. No such body exists among the opposition to the Assad regime. The most recent attempt, the Syrian National Council, is currently in shambles as its leader Moaz al-Khatib attempts to step down, frustrated by the lack of foreign aid. On the other side, Russian and Chinese obstructionism in the UN Security Council has quashed the political will to make the visible and tangible gestures of support that the rebels so desperately need. The West’s absence is leaving a disastrous power vacuum on the ground, and the rebel allies have watched powerlessly as unsavory characters and chemical weapons fill its place. If these developments continue to progress, the West may ultimately have its hand forced if it wants to preserve some semblance of statehood peace in Syria. Furthermore, while the motivations of the growing Islamic extremist faction in traditionally secular Syria are unclear, it is clear

Iraq and Afghanistan, have helped make suicide bombings, beheadings, and mass killings the norm in Syria, and have gained access to a large part of foreign weapons shipments. With these shipments, the suspected Al-Qaeda affiliates can now play a dominant role in the fight, extorting and manipulating other groups as well as initiating skirmishes. It is therefore imperative that such developments are stopped early enough before chemical weapons are used or the region becomes a violence hotspot. If large-scale weapons like those suspected of being held by the Assad government actually do exist, it will be paramount to take them out of the equation before they can be used against civilian populations or fall into the hands of those who might employ them outside of Syria. On this issue, the United States is especially worried; President Obama has talked of a “red line” and “contingency plans” in place if chemical weapons are used or even moved in Syria. Troubling reports from the field suggest nerve gas attacks are now being resorted to by government forces, but so far the weapons and death tolls have been small. While these reports are yet to be

Facing a double threat of chemical weapons and Islamic extremists, Syria now poses too great a security risk to the United States and its allies that they are well-armed and strong enough to both threaten other rebels and the rest of the region as a whole. Extremists, some of them veterans of

The Bull & Bear - April 2013

independently substantiated, it is quite certain that Washington will soon be compelled to respond. A nerve gas attack on the scale reported

means international sanctions; anything larger and there will be no choice but to go to war. Time has failed to deliver the citizens of Syria any lasting peace or security. Facing a double threat of chemical weapons and Islamic extremists, Syria now poses too great a security risk to the United States and its allies. Ultimately, Western nations will have to act if they want the failed state to be stabilized, or let Syria become the next Afghanistan - only this time, a lot closer to the tinderbox that is the Middle East and Europe. If the Syrian government’s rumored chemical weapons reserves do exist, a contingency plan will have to be enacted to prevent them from being used. Granted, any military operation in Syria will be unpopular and have major regional consequences, but unfortunately it appears a necessary evil given the present alternatives. The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.



Out with the Old and In with the New?

The changing face of McGill Laura Thistle OPINION WRITER On March 11th, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Canadian Club on the importance of embracing change in the realm of post-secondary education. As the school year comes to an end, McGill faces an uncertain future: intense budget cuts, a new principal, and the changing face of global education guaranteeing the closing of one chapter of McGill’s history and the opening of a new one. Yet despite all this change, it is crucial that some aspects of student life remain constant in order to maintain a cohesive student body. It is therefore vital that McGill strike a healthy balance between the preservation of old ideas and traditions and the pursuit of new innovative projects suited to a changing world. It should come as no surprise that McGill faces troubling levels of budget cuts. In an email to students, Professor


Munroe-Blum stated, “I hope you will understand that our top priorities will be to protect McGill’s core academic mission and to ensure, to the best of our ability, the strength of our teaching and research programs, support to our students and professors, and the well-being of all members of the McGill community.” However, with $38 million being cut from the McGill budget both this year and next, and with a growing accumulated deficit, it is uncertain just how much can be maintained. Professor Rex Brynen, political science professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Political Science Department, states, “With fewer resources and little prospect of real tuition fee increases, we’ll inevitably have to do a little less, or do what we do a little less well.” McGill has always been recognized as a top university, with significant academic prestige and

exclusivity. However, with considerably less funding, we will need to find new and innovative ways to uphold that same image. The budget cuts will not be the only administrative change next year. As the Winter 2013 school term comes to an end, so does Principal Munroe-Blum’s term as McGill’s Principal. This Fall, Dr. Suzanne Fortier will take over the position currently held by Munroe-Blum. On a less concrete level, the changing principals can be seen as a symbolic shift in the current state of affairs at McGill. The past two years at McGill have been riddled with politically polarizing events and have resulted in a divided student body. A McGill alumna herself, Dr. Fortier’s personal connection to our school will perhaps help to alleviate some of the longstanding tension between the administration and students, hopefully

OPINION allowing for a more amicable relationship between these two bodies. A healthy relationship between the student body and the administration would allow for everyone at McGill to unite under a common purpose and propel the school forward. Looking to the future of education, McGill is beginning to take some steps which will help to maintain our image as a reputable university in a changing world. As alluded to in the article The Case for Open Online Education, McGill’s involvement with edX will allow for widespread exposure to the academic opportunities available at McGill, bolstering the prestige and competition associated with admission to the school. As the desire to earn a traditional spot at our university grows, admitted students will seek newer and more innovative ways to enhance campus experience. Simply put, the more great minds McGill attracts, the more innovative ideas and movements our students will initiate. However, amidst all these changes, it is important to keep one thing in mind: McGill is not merely an academic community, but - of equal importance a social community. Students at McGill share a common passion for learning

and curiosity, bonding through these shared passions and their ambitions. As McGill heads into a new chapter of its existence, we must not lose sight of this overriding bond which holds our campus community together, despite past, present and future adversity. McGill’s huge range of clubs and services provides students with ample opportunities to connect with like-minded peers and explore extracurricular interests. Furthermore, elected student groups continue to work hard to deliver the best possible experience to students at McGill, such as this year’s inter-residence council (IRC), having done a phenomenal job of reaching out to students living in residence and making their first year at McGill an unforgettable one. Political and social events around the world evoke a cyclical exposure of various interest groups within the student body. Last year, the prospective tuition fee hikes exposed a very polarized political views of McGill students. This year’s Divest McGill initiative has brought students with a vested interest in environmental sustainability – and, in turn, those who do not see Divest McGill as a legitimate or worthwhile cause – to centre stage. However, despite these di-

vergent interests and opinions, our student body is, and must continue to be, held together by a fundamental curiosity for learning and a desire to contribute to the greater world. It is through this common bond that our student body can and must remain strong and proactive. Ultimately, change is inevitable and, more often than not, necessary. McGill is undoubtedly at a turning point, and some change is necessary in order to drive our school and its reputation onwards and upwards. However, change does not mean a total abandonment of the essence of what makes McGill so unique. Key elements of McGill student life must remain constant in order to maintain some coherence on campus amidst administrative changes and innovation within McGill and in the realm of education around the world. So yes, out with the old and in with the new. But some of the old can stay. After all, some things should never change. The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.


The Bull & Bear - April 2013



A Conflict-Ridden Campus “Our most vocal group on campus is a radical minority of students” Adam Banks




et’s face it, our university’s reputation is slowly slipping through the cracks, and despite popular opinion, it’s not entirely the fault of our administration. We’re dropping in the rankings because, to put it bluntly, people don’t want to attend McGill as much anymore. Each year, thousands of bright prospectives apply, ready to put up with the soulcrushing grade deflation in the hopes of attaining two key words on their transcript and CV: “McGill University.” But what happens when those words no longer look as impressive, when graduates no longer feel the same beaming sense of pride to have passed through their time at McGill? Although there are other issues involved, it comes down to a campus culture that is seen as unpleasant, apathetic, and perpetually conflict-ridden. While it’s true that we’ve never been particularly involved with our school because it has never been particularly involved with us, we should not sit by and let this become a defining characteristic of McGill. So, during this time of Facebook endorsements and election campaigns, we need to vote for a SSMU executive board that will be able to work together and continue to rebuild a community that was torn in half by last year’s protests. At times it seems that the only things that McGill students universally support are the continued existence of OAP, get-


ting rid of grade deflation, and the fact that the Tim Hortons line is too long. In reality, it seems as if the only thing holding us together is the fact that we go to McGill, one of the most diverse universities in the world. That being said, the large pool of polar opposites that forms the student body is occasionally a handicap. The characteristic that makes McGill so different from other universities across North America is that our most vocal group on campus is a radical minority of students that focuses too much on drastic social change movements and not enough on how to make this campus a better place. While individuality is important, it is essential that we are able to establish a healthy environment for the future 17 and 18-year olds that come here to grow up, and this cannot happen in our current climate of political division where students are forced to pick a side and stick to it. In times like these, we have to focus on the little improvements in order to enact a larger wave of change. Exam-time puppies, for instance, make me proud to go here. SSMU’s costly renovation of Gert’s has also improved campus life greatly. Even initiatives such as McGill Compliments are a step in the right direction for community rebuilding. The whole goal of the Facebook page is to bring our community together via anonymous compliments and an anonymous moderator. On the other side of things, we have

initiatives like McGill Memes’ “No Opinion Political Action Committee” that are just unoriginal, attention-grabbing jokes that inhibit the rejuvenation of McGill’s campus via attempts at pointing out the obvious flaws in our student community. Maintaining and encouraging an atmosphere of apathy on campus, even as a joke, is not the right way to fix things. One legitimate way to remedy the situation is by electing a SSMU executive that is able to put their personal beliefs aside so they can instead focus on how to fix the rupture in the McGill community; a rupture that is mainly the result of alienating campus media articles and a divisive political climate. When campus media turns inward on itself and attacks various groups of students for their “prejudiced” behaviours, situations like the one we have found ourselves in tend to arise. In the end, we can’t fix McGill by being apathetic. Student government isn’t about changing the world through boycotting practices of ethically ambiguous investment. Student government is about changing campus so that it’s a pleasant, intellectually stimulating place to be. We need to fix the mess so that future students of McGill University will be able to have pride in the university name that appears on their transcripts. The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.


Hot Not orr

Our guide to your next opinionated conversation Vidal Wu



Mad Men / Game of Thrones If the advertising executives of the late 60s ain’t yo’ thang, how about some very gratuitous bloodshed instead?

Accidental Racist Brad Paisley and LL Cool J have joined forces to give our generation a radically progressive articulation of American race relations that will surely lay the groundwork for the dismantling of oppressive hegemonies in the coming years.

Trudeau and Co. The Liberal Party wunderkind is certainly turning heads, if not for his remarkable ability to drag the cash-strapped party out of the red (har har).

Springtime OAP! The best pre-drink to the rest of the summer is right around the corner, and we’re pretty stoked to say the least.

The Bull & Bear - April 2013

A Third Month of February April needs to get its shit together and start warming up.


#DOMA See above.

Tax Season Where my Desautels McGillionaires at to help me sort this nonsense out?

Exam Season Pile it on, April. Me and my Xanax are ready for you.
















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The Bull & Bear April 2013 Issue  

Issue 8, Volume 10