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McMUN Coverage 6

Carnival Gallery 9

Facebook IPO 14

SOPA Failure 18

The Bull & Bear McGill’s Business Voice Since 2003

A publication of the

February 2012 • Volume 9 • Issue 6

CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS SSMU Board of Directors Suspends J-Board Dan A. Novick Staff Writer


Nicole Himelfarb

Heather Munroe-Blum attends the Management Achievement Awards (see page 5)

he SSMU Board of Directors voted on January 26 to suspend the activities of the Judicial Board ( J-Board). This move suspends former SSMU President Zach Newburgh and Prince Arthur Herald co-founder Brendan Steven’s appeal until further notice. “The reason we brought this to our lawyer in the first place was the fact that there was a possibility of a ruling to overturn the decision of members,” affirmed SSMU VP University Affairs Emily Yee Claire. Newburgh and Steven’s appeal, which was scheduled to be heard on January 30, questions the validity of the fall QPIRG referendum that validated another five years of operation for QPIRG and removed the ability of students to opt-out online. SSMU has created an ad hoc By-Law Committee to begin reforming the J-Board and to present their findings to the SSMU Council meeting on February 2. According to the SSMU Constitution, the J-Board “shall be the final authority on: interpretation and legality of all procedures, questions and results

of all referenda and elections.” In agreeing to hear Newburgh and Steven’s appeal on the fall QPIRG referendum, the J-Board was adhering to the Constitution in that “any dispute or uncertainty arising from the CEO [of Elections McGill]’s interpretation of a referendum question shall be referred to Judicial Board for resolution.” When asked if the suspension of the J-Board was in violation of the SSMU Constitution, Claire asserts that the activities of the J-Board were suspended because of the possibility of violation of Quebec law. “In its current construct, the fact that it’s within our Constitution, that says that the J-Board has the ability to overturn any decision by any part of the SSMU, is in violation of the Quebec Corporations Act.” SSMU is in fact both a corporation and a student union, and is thus bound to the Corporations Act and the Accreditation Act. Under the Corporations Act, Claire asserts that, “no one can limit the power of the Board of Directors.” The Accreditation Act gives SSMU their license as a student union and “gives our members the right to vote in referenda that are binding.” The SSMU Executive consulted legal

advice on the grounds that the J-Board could overturn the fall QPIRG referendum. Many find that the decision to suspend the activities of the J-Board is politically motivated, as the SSMU Executive and Legislative Councils made their support for QPIRG during the fall referendum very clear. However, Claire asserts that the decision was “to reduce the possible political impact, because the alternative was to make this decision after the hearing had gone through and the decision [by the J-board] had been made.” SSMU is trying to make the J-board more under the control of the SSMU Executive Council. “The ad hoc By-Law Committee is working on these regulations to make it so that the J-Board can function as a subset of the Board of Directors.” Claire asserts that the Newburgh/Steven appeal will still be heard, and that they are “already booking rooms.” The SSMU By-Law Committee is working with the Executive Council and the J-Board to come up with a resolution concerning possible reforms to be voted on on February 2. Claire asserts, “we have to change it so they can’t overturn a decision. They can’t be that final authority.”

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2 The Bull & Bear David Lin Executive Editor Hugo Margoc Alvira Rao News Editors

Annual Cancer Auction Yields Large Crowd and Large Bids Katia Lvin News Writer


tudents and Carnival participants gathered Friday afternoon in the Bronfman Concourse Kristine Pinedo for the 29th Annual McGill UniChris Conery versity Cancer Auction. Hosted Lifestyle Editors by Professor Richard Donovan, Ivan Di Peg Brunelle and Elliot Byrne, Mohammad Awada the event featured a live auction Markets Editors as well as a raffle, with proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer SoKunal Shah ciety. The auction and raffle items Photo Editor ranged from gift certificates and Manuella Djuric tutoring sessions to Montreal CaTarun Koshy Opinion Editor

What not to miss in Management this month.

Advertising Director

nadiens tickets. The Bull & Bear discussed the planning of the event with Sarah Burrows, co-chair of the Cancer Auction Committee. Burrows and her co-chair Laura Miller organized the committee last May to get the groundwork ready for September. “We’ve been going to different companies and asking for product donations,” explained Burrows. They decided on the basement location, rather than having it in Shatner Ballroom, where it has been held in previous years. “We wanted to do it somewhere that the students are comfortable,” said Burrows.

The auction was a part of Management Carnival 2012, with the Carnival Committee collaborating with the Auction Committees to secure money for the event. The main sponsors of the event included the Montreal Canadiens, VIA Rail Canada, Delta Hotels, Evenko and Prep 101. Oya Costumes, a costume shop owned by a McGill alumnus, partnered with McGill in planning the event. Behind the auction podium hung a large goal thermometer showing this year’s fundraising goal of $15,000. “So far we’ve raised $1,800 just in bake sales, but the bulk of the money that we

Michaela Hirsh Ad Coordinator

make will be from the auction,” stated Burrows. “This year, we’re making sure the money goes directly towards research for the Canadian Cancer Society,” she added. The Cancer Auction successfully brought in over $15,000 on Friday alone, while the Cancer Auction Committee raised over $18,000 in total since the Fall semester. To build off of the auction’s success, Burrows and her team are also planning another event for next month, a hockey night at Gerts. “We’re just taking full advantage of what we can,” concluded Burrows.

Financial Open

Sean Alex Finnell Online Editor

February 3 - 5

Michael Horowitz Chief Layout Editor

Are you ready?

Olivia Siu Marketing Director Staff Writers: Stephanie Brownstein Katia Lvin Dan Novick April Wu Zain Alimohamed Rohan Arora Dann Bibas Ali Khan Julian Moss Avi Rush Carter Smith Dan Sorek Stephanie Thomas Emily Barber Sean Leslie Yina Zhou Andrea Zhu Magid Awad Henri-Luc Carlin Max Feinsot Alexandre Flamant Siddharth Mishra Fei Qi Sameer Rizvi Christian Sullivan Siva Thangavelu Vinay Vishwanath Are Max Waterous

Desautels Preparatory Case Competition

February 4 CEGEP’s window to case competitions

MUS Elections February 6 - 9 Elect the new MUS Board of Directors

Majors and Concentrations Fair February 13 Discover your career

Layout Editors: Michael Tong Alessandra Hechanova Matthew Hunter Photographers: Jordana Cohen Nicole Himelfarb Daichi Ishikawa JeanMoirez Fadi Tleel Ed Yao

you interested in sustainable practices and eager to get more involved in the faculty? If you’re interested in becoming a member of the McGill Sustainability Network, send us an email with your CV and statement of purpose to mcgillsustainability

The Bull & Bear is an editorially autonomous newspaper published by the Management Undergraduate Society of McGill University. Editorial opinions expressed in the Bull & Bear are the sole responsibil ity of the Bull & Bear’s Editorial Board, and are not necessarily those of the University, MUS or their officers. The Bull & Bear is not responsible for the delivery of any goods or services sold or advertised through its sponsors or Business Directory and is not liable for loss or damage of whatever nature and extent resulting directly or indirectly from any use of the information made available by the newspaper and sponsors.

February 2012

The Bull & Bear


Hugo Margoc and Alvira Rao, News Editors


Desautels Business Conference on Sustainability Andrea Zhu Staff Writer


he 2012 Desautels Business Conference on Sustainability (DBCS) was held at McGill from January 19th to 21st to promote discussion and education among business-minded delegates through a three-day speaker series. Built around the theme of “Sustaining Success,” the event consisted of talks by several speakers, among other activities such as the Sustainability Fair, SSMU Summit, and interactive discussions. “It’s healthy to go to these conferences once in a while, to broaden your vision,” explains Eileen Chen, a U1 Management and Environment student who attended this year’s DBCS – “after, you start thinking and acting differently.” Exceeding past attendance records, this year’s 9th annual DBCS hosted about a hundred registered delegates, with an additional hundred attendees coming exclusively for the keynote opening. The three high-profile keynote speakers – Craig Kielburger, Bob Willard, and Ken McKinnon – were chosen to ex-

pand previous years’ definition of sustainability, presenting a broader meaning of the term in a business context. Though environmental sustainability was generally the predominant topic of discussion, the 2012 Organizing Committee wanted to include social and economic sustainability within their theme. Combined, these three facets of sustainability enticed the target audience to adopt a more holistic perspective on business practices and their impact on society. Funded by generous donations from the The Hantho Fund for Sustainability and Environmental Management, speakers’ messages were accordingly directed to business students and future corporate leaders, emphasizing “where businesses and sustainability movements meet, and how they come together,” said Dylan Kristofic, co-chair of the 2012 DBCS committee. Where there is often a misconception of conflicting interests between financial versus environmental motives, the speakers demonstrated that coexistence is not only possible, but in fact essential to ‘sustaining success’. As the next generation of leaders, “it is incredibly impor-

Daichi Ishikawa

The DBCS featured keynote speaker Craig Kielburger

tant to incorporate sustainability into big businesses,” says Rebecca Dooley, a U2 student delegate and keen participant in the sustainability movement. For the event itself, the Organizing Committee was careful and conscious to collaborate with the Plate Club, the McGill Energy Association, Gorilla Composting, the MUS Sustainability Network, among many other existing student initiatives to host a ‘Green’ event. With almost no printing, reusable plates, food from local sources, local speakers, composting, and extra food donated to local book banks,

DBCS 2012 was no doubt leading by example. A weekend highlight and strong opening by Craig Kielburger set the tone for the message this year, tying the tangible, quantitative, and business aspects with the non-profit movement. Kielburger clearly expressed the importance and impact of local, youth-driven force. The capacity for effective change does not lie with TV ads pushing guilt, or established campaigns, “because at the end of the day, it’s about being human, and living up to that responsibility,” he explains. Results are achieved when his speech in-

spires action, not just people. Similarly, the event co-chairs are looking to translate the discussion into tangible takeaways. First, DBCS hopes to invite students to sell sustainability to their current and future employers, endeavors, and engagements. Second, the conference should increase awareness on different forms of sustainability – environmental, social, and economic. Finally, financial profit-oriented delegates are targeted specifically to demonstrate the possibility and importance of finding common ground between business and sustainability.

MUS Launches Case League MUS launches Case League to help students hone case-cracking skills Andrea Zhu Staff Writer


his winter semester, the MUS is launching Case League, a new initiative aiming to build McGill’s competitiveness in academic case competitions through a series of workshops and practice cracks within Desautels. Targeted at U0, U1, and U2 students with budding business and case experience, “The League” was originally conceived in Fall 2011 by the MUS Board of Directors. The League is currently spearheaded by Alyson Murphy, Marketing Representative to the MUS Board of Directors, and her team of five additional MUS BOD members in collaboration with three MUS executives. “We’re looking to provide an opportunity to hone case-cracking and presentation skills beyond Case Class (BUSA 499), which has limited spots and tends to be more exclusive to older students,” says Eric Aboutboul, one of the BOD members organizing February 2012

Jean Moirez

From left to right: Dave Fortin, Alyson Murphy, Eric Aboutboul

the Case League. With the prospect of expanding its membership next year, the upcoming four months will serve as a trial run of this new program. Professor Donovan will open on January 28th with a case work-

shop for the first official meeting of the newly selected league, currently comprised of thirty management students selected by Case Class alumni. Additional guidance is provided throughout the semester by former Case

Class students, who will remain involved with the short practice cases organized on a monthly basis for Case League participants. From the participants’ perspective, Case League is a step towards being selected to

compete on behalf of McGill in REFAEC and international case competitions later in their academic careers. It is also an additional student-led resource contributing to the plethora of existing extracurricular learning experiences available at Desautels. Current Case League member Eloïse Charreyron hopes that the League will help her “improve analytical, presentation, and teamwork skills,” as cases are no doubt a proven method of applying theoretical frameworks to real business problems. Many other students are likewise gravitating towards casework as an integral part of their business education at McGill. “What makes studying at McGill so fulfilling occurs outside the classroom,” points out U2 Accounting student Thomas Kontogianis. With an increasing number of extracurricular activities, course content, and job application processes involving business cases, it is with great anticipation that Desautels students witness the creation of McGill’s first ever Case League. The Bull & Bear



Hugo Margoc and Alvira Rao, News Editors

Echoer: Thoughts That Count Desautels Graduate Launches Mobile Application April Wu Staff Writer


February 2012

magine an app that allows you to read minds and explore the world of thoughts around you. Desautels graduate Sydney Wiseman is currently preparing for the midFebruary launch of Echoer, a free iPhone application that does just that. Echoer allows users to leave an “Echo” and connect with other Echoes at locations all around the world. Once a user reaches a destination, they can enter the location’s “Echo Chamber” to post a thought, event, or discovery. The application’s design features color-coded thought bubbles, representing the three different categories of echoes, floating inside the location’s chamber. One of Echoer’s key characteristics is the act of “Amping,” which is equivalent to “Liking” on Facebook. The more Amps an Echo has, the larger it will appear in the Echo Chamber. “We thought about adding an Amping down feature, but we don’t want to lose credit to a thought because every idea counts. If you don’t agree or have something else to say, just echo back,” Ms. Wiseman noted. Echoer differentiates itself from other social networking apps by emphasizing the interactive aspect of the application. Echoer makes it easy for users to network with the crowd through Amping. Ms. Wiseman remarked, “We are most similar to Twitter, but it’s hard to digest Tweets on the cluttered Timeline or navigate from location to location with ease. In Echoer, the most popular Echo will appear first and largest in the Echo Chamber, so it’ll never get lost.” Echo Labs Ltd. has been developing and testing the application tirelessly since Echoer’s inception in April 2011. Ms. Wiseman serves as the Marketing Manager of the firm. Armed with her BCom degree in Marketing and Information Systems, Ms. Wiseman spearheads the marketing campaign for echoer and oversees the look of the application by working closely with developers in Israel. She is collaborating with the MUS to spread awareness of this product within the student market by holding a contest for McGill students when the product is launched. Because Echoer allows users to know what is going on in multiple rooms or on multiple


Screen Shot of the mobile application

stages, it is especially useful in a festival and conference setting. Ms. Wiseman is currently negotiating the debut of Echoer at major music festivals, namely the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival, and tech conferences. The impact of this marketing approach should not be underestimated, as Twitter generated a great deal of buzz

ered by Foursquare, with the team also pre-seeding the system with valuable and up-to-date content from a range of sources, including local bloggers. They are developing the Android version of Echoer, which is set to be released later this year, to be followed by a desktop version. Echo Labs Ltd. also has initiatives for involving businesses; in particu-

One of Echoer’s key characteristics is the act of “Amping...” The more Amps an Echo has, the larger it will appear in the Echo Chamber. at events such as the South by Southwest Festival. The team has some other exciting prospects scheduled, but are keeping them under wraps. After their win at the 2011 LeWeb Google People’s Choice awards, the developers have big plans for this app. The locations on Echoer are currently pow-

lar, the creation of “sponsored” Echo Chambers to enhance interactions between businesses and everyday users. So, next time a restaurant has a particularly delicious burger, Echo it. If there is an amazing outdoor concert happening at Place des Arts, Echo it. The world will be listening. The Bull & Bear


Hugo Margoc and Alvira Rao, News Editors


McGill Management Achievement Awards Andrea Zhu Staff Writer


eaturing four outstanding award winners, this year’s McGill Management Achievement Awards, hosted on Friday, January 27th, once again provided a platform upon which established business leaders could connect with McGill’s ambitious students during a sophisticated luncheon at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. Over 150 current and former McGill students came together for the award ceremony’s commendable 32ndyear running. Co-chair Samantha Butler presents the Management Achieve Awards (MAAs) as a unique opportunity to extend students’ Bcom experience beyond Desautels. “What the speakers are saying isn’t something that you hear in the classroom,” she explains. Effectively bridging the gap between academia and the greater economic realities of the labor market is a notion often

Nicole Himelfarb

Cora Tsouflidou receiving her award at the event

emphasized in business schools. The MAAs undoubtedly present yet another student-lead addition to the plethora of opportunities available exclusively to Management students at McGill to supplement their formal business education. Marketing student AnneClaude Gendron looks back with appreciation: “I really enjoyed the event, and hope more people go next year,” she told The Bull

and Bear shortly after the MAAs. “As a graduating student, I was interested to hear the advice that the award-winners had to give students,” she says. Likewise, many student attendees were eager to engage with working professionals with roots at McGill. The intimate organizing committee of five McGill Management students worked closely with both the Dean’s Office and the Desautels Devel-

opment and Alumni Relations Office throughout the summer and fall to host this fully sponsored luncheon. “We want this to be available to everyone,” says Co-chair Keith Chan, “it would otherwise be a very expensive event to attend if it were funded by students”. The executive team pursued large corporations to sponsor tables, which simultaneously gave the opportunity for students and management professionals to sit together for their meal, truly engaging a two-way dialogue while also listening to the speakers. This year’s award winners included Bertrand Cesvet, Chairman and Senior Partner at Sid Lee, Morrie Cohen, President of Modico Canada Ltd., and Cora Tsouflidou, Founder of Cora Breakfast and Lunch. Ned Goodman, President and CEO of Dundee Corporation, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Each of the winners had unique ties to McGill and an engaging story to tell. They presented unique paths to leadership and

Nicole Himelfarb

success, all worthy of recognition and celebration. The audience consisted of not only students, but also highlevel management within McGill, esteemed faculty members, and top corporate executives from many other recognized companies. This holistic value is perhaps most distinct to the MAAs, which allow a comprehensive network of people to come together over one common, success-oriented mindset, regardless of their age, industry, and work experience. The event hosts had two key points that they hope attendees walked away with, other than a superb meal and words of wisdom. The first is exposure – to know that further down their career paths, following the foundation built here at Desautels, there are infinite possibilities and ways of achieving remarkable goals. The second is inspiration – an emotionally engaging form of motivation that will propel students and attendees to persevere through the necessary due diligence.

Nicole Himelfarb





February 2012


DMLS, Desautels Management Leadership Seminar, is an annual two-day event exclusive to first year students in the management faculty. Held on Friday, March 9, 2012 and Saturday March 10, 2012, the event seeks to develop the leadership skills of McGill’s future business leaders. The seminar is designed to give 200 students the opportunity to explore career development and leadership in numerous ways. The purpose of this year’s seminar is to introduce students to the business environment through an up-close and personal look at first class companies in industries such as fashion, technology, oil and gas, and entre-

preneurship, along with exposure to accounting, consulting, finance and manufacturing companies. DMLS is a great chance for first year students to practice their critical thinking and presentation skills as well as network with peers and representatives from various corporations. There will be an information session held on Tuesday February 7th 2012 at 5:30 PM on the 2nd floor lobby. Registration will begin that afternoon as soon as they launch their 2012 PROMO VIDEO. Check out their website at or send them an email at for any further information.

The Bull & Bear



Hugo Margoc and Alvira Rao, News Editors

Memorable McGill Model UN Hosts Thousands Moments from Delegates congregate to attend world-renowned conference McMUN almost instantly, as a new and Maximillian Feinsot entirely different crisis would Committees Staff Writer

Bull & Bear Editors

LADAKH SUMMIT – The full list of scandalous notes passed to the Dais has been obtained: “Showerhead, cuz I can get you wet.” “A blowdryer. Need I explain? Ps – A haiku for you:, I think that you’re hot. Can I buy you a…shot?” “Rocking Chair, I’ll rock you all night baaaaaaby!” “Let’s call an emergency session in bed and bang out some resolutions.” “Now that we’re done with the Northern borders, let’s explore the south.” “Can I tap your natural resources?” “Chair, you’re a cute panda. Let’s cuddle.” “You’re the cheese to my macaroni, the curry to my naan.” “To Chair: Is that gavel the only thing you bang? ” “Can I plow your agricultural field?” “You make my heart soar to Ladakhian altitudes.” BOEING/AIRBUS: Following the bizarre request to install Shisha pipes on board of the of the Emirates airplanes, a Boeing representative was overly eager when he offered to design the Shisha pipes in the form of Mecca. NATO: Gaddafi has just been assassinated by NATO. Following the assassination, NATO issued a directive to bomb NTC forces, who have been suspected of back-stabbing their NATO allies to cooperate with the Gaddafi Cabinet. The delegate from Qatar avowedly rejected this proposal, saying, “This is Model UN and we’re supposed to be the promising leaders of tomorrow, and I would like to remind the Committee of this fact because in the last few days we’ve caused more damage than NATO has caused in the real world. I think we should shift our focus from bombing to doing what’s best for the Libyan people.” The other committee members outright ignored this statement and subsequently passed the directive. To read the entire liveblogged coverage, visit: February 2012


niversities from across North America and the world convened last weekend for the McGill Model United Nations Assembly, McMUN. A fourday, twenty-four-committee conference, McMUN attracts 1300 students annually. McMUN 2012 tested novel committee topics and opened new frontiers for the Model UN circuit, all of which is part of this year’s theme, “Information: International Relations’ new currency.” The opening ceremonies keynote speaker, Beryl Wajsman, warned the delegates of the dangers of international relations, primarily misinformation, or, “the old currency of international relations,” as Wajsman so-named it. “It is your challenge, and responsibility, as future leaders, to ensure that the world bank of morality is never leveraged, nor compromised, to the threats of tyrants or the cowardice of moral relativism,” Wajsman told the delegates. In the place of countries, the “Convention for Media Strategies 2012” committee hosted representatives from media and information companies such as Fox News, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Delegates discussed bias in the media and how to increase worldwide availability and accessibility of information. At the “Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum,” delegates representing companies, powerful individuals, and countries used a social networking site to communicate with each other like never before at a Model UN conference. This social network allowed for an exchange of ideas and staging point for presentations, reports, and policy briefs. Unlike most General Assembly committees that cover about three topics in four days, the World Economic Forum covered over 40 topics in four days, as most of the politicking occurred online. McMUN’s crisis committees allowed delegates to toy with history. The Ad hoc committee on WWII gave delegates a new situation every day, forcing them to think on their feet and change mindsets

unfold at a different time in the war without forewarning. In a redux of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, delegates in the triple joint crisis represented members of NATO, Gaddafi’s cabinet, and the National Transitional Council (NTC). The outcome of the war was a stark difference from the war’s historical outcome. Gaddafi’s cabinet defeated NATO and the NTC, but many Libyan cities were leveled in NATO bombing sorties. Because of NATOs impotent actions, most of NATOs foreign ministers were fired by the end of the conference. Another joint crisis, Boeing-Airbus, made delegates the boards of directors of the two companies. Taking place over several decades, the crisis mapped out the rivalry between Boeing and Airbus, forcing delegates to act with a managerial mindset because they were running a business and not a country or an army. On Saturday, McMUN Secretary General Nir Kumar hosted a leadership luncheon to exchange ideas with his MUN counterparts from the many universities attending the conference. In an attempt to improve the Model UN circuit as a whole, Nir proposed a database of MUN materials to help to make conference and committee planning easier. The luncheon concluded on the note that non-traditional committees such as Pixar, which called on delegates’ creativity to create an animated film in just four days, are valuable for creativity but should have a limited role in the Model UN scene. With an online general assembly, a committee that made an animated movie and nontraditional committees that tried to tackle 21st Century problems, McMUN 2012 set a precedent for innovation at Model UN. The McMUN secretariat’s hard work and devotion paid off with a resounding success, reaffirming McMUN’s role as one of North America’s preeminent MUN conferences.

Jean Moirez

The 1959 Cuba crisis delegate enjoys his time during session

Jean Moirez

FIFA Executive Committee members gather for a group photo

Jean Moirez

McMUN release some steam at the pub crawl

To read the live-blogged coverage, visit: wrA84F

Jean Moirez

An intense expression at McMUN

The Bull & Bear

Hugo Margoc and Alvira Rao, News Editors



Almas Jiwani on Gender Equality UN Women Canada President Speaks at McGill Kristine Pinedo Lifestyle Editor


n January 27, the newly formed McGill Students Club of UN Women Canada National Committee hosted their first ever event, featuring guest speaker, Almas Jiwani. Jiwani is the president of the United Nations entity of Gender Equality & Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Canada National Committee and the President and CEO of Frontier Canada Inc. A successful businesswomen, she advocates for women’s rights and gender equality, volunteering much time and effort to this cause. Jiwani shares her insights on the topic of gender inequality in an exclusive one on one interview with the Bull & Bear. What is the role of UN Women Canada in advancing equity for women across the world? Overall, UN Women Canada’s role is to support the advocacy work of UN Women headquarters in New York, to urge governments and organisations to accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives and legislation, and to raise funds for United Nation’s humanitarian projects for the betterment of women and girls. What is the current economic status of women in developing countries? Are they more underprivileged than men in those regions? In a nutshell, UN Women and other studies suggest that women represent 70% of the world’s poor. Typically focused in the underdeveloped countries, women are generally paid a fraction of what men earn, and are forced to take only the most menial jobs through rampant discrimination and overall gender inequalities. Women have a tough time getting credit to open their own businesses, and are often disadvantaged when it comes to the availability of food, health care, education and basic human rights. When it comes to legal systems, in many societies women have no rights whatsoever. It’s all of these things that UN Women is trying to change. Have your messages of gender equality met any resisFebruary 2012

tance from the societies that don’t place women in very high value? Yes, of course. There are many patriarchal societies that have a great deal of difficulty seeing any role for women other than running a home and bearing children. In many cases it’s a matter of breaking through religious, cultural and social barriers, and educating them in how their economies and their lives could be improved if women were allowed to play a role in community life outside of the kitchen. Most of the time it’s a pretty tough fight, but in many areas we’ve made those breakthroughs and both women and their communities now enjoy better and more fulfilling lives. A lot of your work also focuses on gender equality issues in Canada. As one of the most progressive countries in the world, why do you think that gender inequality is still a prevalent issue in our nation? While Canada has certainly made great strides in gender equality and women’s empowerment, it still ranks only 20th in the world on the Urn’s Gender Equality Index. We ought to be #1. Yes, women have the vote, sit in parliament, run big companies, and have a strong voice in society. But that doesn’t mean they’re equal. Women are still paid less than men doing equal work or carrying equal responsibility. They still have less access to the better, higher paying jobs, particularly at the corporate executive levels, and there are still far too few women serving on the boards of the leading corporations and institutions. Canada ranks 20th on the Gender Equality Index, which is bad news for a progressive and mature democracy such as our country. Some of the gender equality issues facing Canada are in some ways similar to those in the developing world. We can be proud of what Canada has achieved, but under no circumstances is there any reason to be complacent. There’s still a lot of work to do. Which do you think is a more prevalent force in advancing women’s rights: private enterprises or governments? I don’t think it’s a case of one

Daichi Ishikawa

Almas Jiwani speaks at a McGill Students Club of UN Women Canada event

or the other. You need both. We need legislation that recognises gender inequalities and does things to ensure that women get the same opportunities and access as do men in terms of jobs, wages, appointments and promotions. But we also need a private sector that buys into gender equality, with enlightened corporations and enterprises that recognise the right and just plain common sense in giving women the opportunity to compete and work equally in the business world. Following the uprising of women in Arab countries earlier last year, what are your predictions for the change of women’s roles in society in that region? How will attitudes towards women change in theocratic regimes in that region? For me the most obvious thing that has come out of the political uprisings in the Arab world has been that women have been at the very front of petitions for change. Just think of the media images of women speaking to and marching in front of huge crowds demanding change. The Arab Spring has allowed women to experiment with a fundamental human right that was denied to them for many decades – democracy and selfgovernance. I don’t know for sure where and how the role of women will change in the Arab world, but it certainly will change and women will play a much larger role in government and civil society. But the models and interpretation of democracy and women’s rights in the Middle East will be somewhat different from the Western idea of democracy due to the unique circumstances, history and culture of the region. I believe that women can and will play a guiding role as

these new democracies evolve, ensuring that gender equality is embedded in new legislation and governance in ways that ultimately will change attitudes and protect the rights of women. As a businesswoman yourself, do you believe that the socalled “glass ceiling” can ever be broken? If so, how will society and businesses change? I don’t think the glass ceiling is going to broken by just one crack. It’s going to take many cracks to before the glass ceiling disappears. Positive change doesn’t come overnight. it comes from consistent effort, inspiration and motivation over time. I would submit that often times, success comes through taking what the poet Robert Frost calls “the road less taken.” Glass ceilings can definitely be broken, and societies and businesses can adapt to allowing women opportunities to pursue leadership roles through company mentorship programs. Many gender sensitive businesses have mentorship systems in which they pair more mature, successful women with less experienced ones. At the same time, human resources policies that encourage women to grow, and foster innovation and an equitable corporate culture can also facilitate women who are motivated and working hard to break the ceiling. For example, including maternity leaves and accommodating women’s family responsibilities in their work yields productive results for the corporation and the women workers. Breaking the ceiling requires dual effort. First by women to work hard and prove their capabilities, and then by corporations through equitable human resource and work policies. How has the world pro-

gressed throughout the last century in advancing women’s rights? Do you think citizens of Canada can follow up on this progress and continue to enact positive change in developing countries? There is no doubt we’ve made huge strides over the last 30 or 40 years. The UN Charter of Human Rights, Conventions on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Fourth Beijing Platform for Equality, and UN Resolution 1325 on protecting women against violence in peace and war are all examples of how far we have come in recognizing and protecting women’s human rights. This shows that world leaders and society are acknowledging the enormous socio-economic potential in empowering women and encouraging gender equality. A recent study by The World Economic Forum (WEF) confirmed that empowering women fuels thriving economies, and spurs productivity and growth. Nevertheless, gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society and a lot more work needs to be done to continue the momentum. That’s why UN Women was created. To to be a dynamic and strong champion for women and girls, providing them with a powerful voice at the global, regional and local levels. As for Canada’s role, I believe we can continue closing the gender gap, ensuring more women’s participation in the country’s politics and implementing policies and laws that facilitate equality and fairness for people of both sexes. Canada can be a stimulus for change and equality for the developing world, and especially for the aspiring new democracies we see in the Arab spring and other socio-political movements around the world. The Bull & Bear



Chris Conery and Kristine Pinedo, Lifestyle Editors

Ed Yao

The Lo-Down On Apartment Hunting Sean Leslie Staff Writer


partment hunting season can be a troublesome time of year for most. While visiting potential apartments is great fun and all, the hunting process is often riddled with the dark art of deception. It is important to have your wits about you when you are in the market for a new apartment, and this year, the Bull & Bear has your back with a few tips to jump-start your search.

Start early

Trust me here, I have friends who waited until April to start their search and now live in a faroff, confusing sector of the Plateau that I refer to as Mordor (I have never actually been, but I can only imagine). Basically, if you want to find a spot in the well-known parts of Middle-Earth, start your hunt as soon as possible, but be careful not to rush into anything either. Depending on lease start dates, apartments will not get listed until February or March, so while it is important to get a feel for what is out there pre-midterm season, when you actually have time to do things like breathe and shower regularly, you might have to wait a while before your dream pad pops up.

On finder’s fees

If you have ever been to the adorable McGill Off-Campus Housing info sessions, you will know that they give you this incredibly empow-

February 2012

ering lecture on how to avoid finder’s fees – they are illegal in the province of Quebec after all – and that you should be informing renters that they are potential felons. It is all very good and dramatic, but are you really going to hold fellow students under citizen’s arrest while you call the cops on a thinly veiled furniture sale? I have heard some people try to charge upwards of $10,000, which is bald-Britney-Spears-level insane, but if the perfect apartment comes with a raggedy old couch and a shady lamp for triple the price of IKEA, consider it a deposit. Someone will be just as naïve as you were next year

Where to look

McGill Off-Campus Housing’s website is definitely the most reliable place to scope out a new pad. You will deal directly with landlords, you will find apartments in all the best neighbourhoods, and so will the rest of McGill. There is nothing worse than showing up to an appointment to see a potential place and there are 16 other people already there when the landlord rolls in 25 minutes late and demands to know how much your father makes as an accountant (for the record: more than a landlord, you Toyota-wielding menace). It is a true story and needless to say, the apartment was a dive. Keep McGill Classifieds, Kijiji, and Craigslist on your radar (just watch out for murderers – we have all seen the Lifetime movies).

The lingo

This is where they really get you. Who knew words like “quaint” really meant, “duck before entering,” and “well-lit” was code for “windowless – but the lamps are included!” This is a time when “steps from McGill” is in reference to Hagrid’s steps, and could take you muggles anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes. Beware of the dubious word choice apartment listings have a tendency to use, and try to visit places in the daylight so you can really see where they are steering you wrong.

On roommates

The McGill Off-Campus Housing office hands out a nifty survival guide for renting in Montreal, with a roommate questionnaire including such gems as, “What my definition of ‘dirty’ is,” “The kind of music I like,” and “How I feel about drugs and drinking…” While I think it is important to make sure you and your roommates get along, these kinds of questions should probably be saved for your e-Harmony online-dating profile. If you survived a year in residence with the psychos that you call friends, chances are that you will make it through another year under one roof. Essentially, apartment hunting is all about common sense, going with your instincts, and finding some basement hole to laugh at or in with your

The Bull & Bear


Chris Conery and Kristine Pinedo, Lifestyle Editors


Management Carnival: Miami Vices One For the Books Dan Novick Staff Writer


fter a long year of waiting, Management Carnival 2012 took place, in all its glory, from January 15-21. With an unprecedented turnout of around 1200 participants, this year was one for the history books. Flagship events included boat races, power hour, mountain run, Cancer Auction, beer Olympics, pub crawl, foam party, beach party, an all-nighter, and a pancake kegger. Venues included Gert’s, Foufounes Electriques, Le Marquis, BDP, Espace Griffintown, Phi Kappa Pi Fraternity house, Que Leu Leu, and Club Soda.

“Power hour, more like shower hour,” remarked British exchange student Ed Stapley, shocked by the “awesomeness” of his first ever Carnival. Management Carnival is the largest school-wide event outside of Frosh and plays a vital role in fostering school and faculty pride and spirit. Co-chaired by J.P. Briggs and Bamber Sunell, the theme of this year’s Carnival was ‘Miami Vice’ and Carnival Committee donned DEA-like uniforms for the week. Events were categorized on a four-tiered scale according to their “level of crime”: slap on the wrist, community service, misdemeanor, and felony. One of the highlights of the week was Cancer Auction, which raised around $20,000 for the

Canadian Cancer Society. In addition, around 1,000 articles of clothing and 1,500 cans of food were collected for charity. Sixteen teams competed through blood, sweat, and tears, with only one team emerging as Carnival Champions of 2012. Rolling In The Deepthroat, composed of mostly second and third years, emerged as Carnival Champions on a team that included many participants from last years’ Championship team. Chants ensued upon the announcement of the champions on the last night of Carnival. Celebrations continued as team members and captains drank out of the prized trophy at 4to7 on January 26. In addition to having their team name engraved in the tro-

phy and etched in Carnival history, Rolling In The Deepthroat won over the hearts and minds of Carnival Committee with their unrivaled Carnival spirit. It is a points game, and points are handed out based on team performance. Team spirit, participation and enthusiasm play a vital role in determining the outcome. Daniel Chaim, one of the winning captains, spoke to The Bull & Bear on what winning Carnival means to him. “Winning Carnival is an amazing feeling. [...] Together, along with my other captains, we put in many hours of hard work and dealt with a lot of stress and conflict to put together the best team that we could. As soon as Carnival started all our worries went away and we began having fun.”

Many non-Carnival goers were perplexed to see Carnival participants on campus during the day, adorned in their jumpsuits, dedicating most of the week to participate in what many describe as “the best week of the year.” They ask us, “what is Carnival?”, “shouldn’t you be in class?”. We try to muster a response, but it doesn’t work. They don’t get it. It’s one of those, “you had to be there” moment For many, including cochairs Briggs and Sunell, and MUS VP Engagement Marie Louise Schmidt, it was their last Carnival, as they are in their final year at McGill. Carnival Committee noted, “For those of you that will be carrying on the tradition, we hope that we’ve taught you well.”

Carnival Rankings 2012 Team Rankings

Individual Awards

1. Rolling in the Deep Throat 2. Doggy 3. Sodomigos 4. Old School 5. Loony Poons 6. Star Whores 7. Betches 8. Chickgargle 9. Winners 10. Shaving 11. Bukkake 12. Camo Toes 13. Rawshank 14. Mount My Python 15. #Occupy 16. Acockonlips Now

King of Carnival Tyler Hofmeister Queen of Carnival Catherine Brunelle MVPs 4th Year MVPs Steven Warsh and Courtney “Guvna” Davenport 3rd Year MVPs Steven “Sexel” Exel and Alyse Campbell

Rookies of the Year Jony Tabuteau and Jaylen Gadhia D’Urbano Award Connor Adams Lifetime Achievement Award Alex Duhault What’s your vice? #MiamiViceCarnival2012 3 hours ago

2nd Year MVPs Joe Feldman and Erin Sunell 1st Year MVPs Sean Finnell and Léa Cardineau


The Bull & Bear

Management Carni

ival 2012 Miami Vices

All photos by Fadi Tleel



Chris Conery and Kristine Pinedo, Lifestyle Editors

I Feel You, Sweeney AUTS presents the musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street April Wu Staff Writer


ith the ominous tone of an organ, the overture to Stephen Sondheim’s musical, Sweeney Todd, tbegan. Moyce Hall was bathed in red light as the actors took the stage, singing the haunting ballad of Sweeney Todd. The conductor of the twenty-one piece orchestra wore an old fashioned evening tailcoat, his face obstructed from the crowd. Much to the surprise of the audience, he turned around, revealing that he was Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. With succulent meat pies, gore, and a healthy dose of dramatic irony, Sweeney Todd tells the tale of a wrongfully convicted barber who is set upon revenge with the help of his former landlady, Mrs. Lovett. Theatergoers may be familiar with this production due to Tim Burton’s adaption of the play, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.

Despite some minor technical mishaps, the play was a delight to watch due to the high caliber cast. Mike Sornberger and Jonathan Eidelman are musical veterans and were previously seen in Music Theater Montreal’s production of Into the Woods. Sornberger’s pedophilic Judge Turpin and Eidelman’s unctuous Beadle in Sweeney Todd did not disappoint. Zara Jestadt is part of Effusion A Cappella and has worked with the AUTS in Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Her portrayal of the nutty and devoted Mrs. Lovett was equally impressive. Ben Harris’ resonating performance as the murderous and frustrated barber left the audience in a state of melancholy. Director Phaedra Nowak decided not to take Burton’s Gothic approach when presenting her version of this musical thriller. She instead chose a Brechtian style – a type of performance where the audience is aware they are watching a spectacle. Nowak incorporated tongue-in-cheek banter, very out there costuming, and interaction between cast and viewer to complete her

Eric Chad | Flickr

Ben Harris’ performance as themurderous and frustrated Sweeney Todd

vision. During the performance of “Epiphany”, Ben Harris was not afraid to make the audience squirm in their seats by pointing a razor towards them. “This theatrical style goes so well with the show Sweeney because it is so absurd. There’s cannibalism,

pedophilia, and people are eating each other in pies,” commented producer Andrea Poile. The Arts Undergraduate Theatre Society’s’ struggle to put together this production was almost as formidable as Sweeney’s path towards revenge. Due to the

MUNACA strike, the technical director of Moyce Hall was unable to provide his services to the AUTS. They were forced to seek a venue elsewhere, in particular, Concordia’s D.B. Clarke Theater, which was significantly more expensive than Moyce Hall. Through fundraising, sponsorship from businesses, grants from the Fine Arts Council and Dean of Arts Fund, and generous donations from cast members’ families, the AUTS was able to save their show. “We had already raised enough money to move the production to D.B. Clarke Theater, but the day before our decision, we heard that the strike was over and Moyce Hall was available for use again. It was like a big prank,” recounted Ms. Poile. Only seven years old, the AUTS has found their niche in musicals. Their previous productions, such as Cabaret and Kiss of the Spider Woman, were both well received by audiences. Sweeney Todd is yet another example of the AUTS’ exceptional ability to put on a show with the genuine talent of McGill students.

Entrepreneurship à la McGill A Look at Some of McGill’s New Start-up Ventures Zain Alimohamed Staff Writer


he entrepreneurial spirit is one that most fresh-faced undergraduates hold in high esteem, particularly in faculties of management. McGill is no different. A growing number of students have taken to starting businesses in order to fill a niche they see in their community in the hopes of gaining some practical experience and success in the thrilling world of student entrepreneurial ventures. Here are two examples of the kind of remarkable work currently being done by McGill students:

Totum Pass

Student expenses in Montreal can be daunting. This past summer, Totum Pass founder Sean Kim (U1 Economics) sought to February 2012

create a student discount card that could help alleviate some of the financial headache students experience daily. Totum Pass officially launched this past Thursday at Factory Bar on St. Laurent and has distributed over 300 discount cards. The company boasts a diverse and well known client base including Quiznos, Body Quest, Nettoyeurs Express and Factory Bar. Totum Pass generates revenue through client contracts with the various partners in food, retail, travel and nightlife industries. Businesses receive advertising and greater access to the student market by becoming a partner. Using a “freemium” business model, Totum Pass offers bronze, silver and gold packages to businesses determining the level of marketing Totum Pass will provide. Further revenue is generated by sales of discount cards. Totum Pass’ marketing is primarily based in social media. Using Facebook ads, Twitter and other outlets, Totum Pass uses its customers as part of its marketing force. These techniques have become increasingly common for

businesses in their infancy as well as established corporations. When asked what the biggest challenge has been so far, Kim responds that “juggling between school and business, while maintaining a social life at the same time” has been a struggle. Totum Pass is seeking to become the premier Montreal student discount card by keeping its ear to the ground and delivering deals that students can truly benefit from.


Along with the financial trials and tribulations of student life, students face an arguably more pertinent problem: school work. TutorPro offers a range of services aimed at helping students cope with the often burdensome demands of academia, from crash courses to private tutorials and standardized test preparation. Founder Emilia Kowalski started the company after recognizing serious demand as she was involved

in private, informal tutoring in mathematics and science. The company has since grown to employ 30 tutors and spans over two Canadian cities - Montreal and Winnipeg. TutorPro is divided into two branches: secondary and postsecondary. The former branch generates profit through contractual agreements with various secondary schools in the Montreal area to which TutorPro offers tutorial services. At the postsecondary level, revenue is procured directly from students, who pay for private, group and crash course tutorials. In terms of marketing, TutorPro utilizes both intermediate and long-term strategies. In the intermediate, TutorPro works directly with the McGill student body, sponsoring student societies and distributing literature around campus. For a more longterm strategy, they are working with web-based techniques such as Google AdWords campaigns, SEO (search engine optimization) and list serves in an effort to take advantage of the increasingly effective methods of online mar-

keting. No business venture is without its challenges and TutorPro is no exception. Founder and CEO, Emilia Kowalski outlined some of the biggest challenges her and her team have and continue to face: “meeting time constraints and developing the most appropriate business model. Our company is very diverse and because we don’t only work with only one target audience, but with several, it makes it challenging to grow and develop all branches of the business fluidly”. However, despite these difficulties, Emilia is optimistic about the future and points out that “the hardest challenges are always said to arise at the beginning.” Start-ups are risky, as anyone involved in one can attest to; competing for market share and recognition takes a tremendous amount of determination and creativity. Luckily for these companies, in the rat-race of business they have given themselves a real fighting chance. creativity. Luckily for these companies, in the ratrace of business they have given themselves a real fighting chance. The Bull & Bear

Mohammad Awada and Ivan Di, Markets Editors

Monthly Markets


Iran’s Oil Bluff Maximilian Feinsot Staff Writer


ran is threatening to take the world economy hostage using oil. Crippled by economic sanctions levied by Western powers wary of Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian Government is menacing to block the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz and cut off the oil supply that runs through it daily. Separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula, The Strait of Hormuz is, at its narrowest point, 21 miles (34 km) across. As much as 20% of the world’s oil trade passes through it every day. From late December to early January, Iran conducted naval

exercises in the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea in a show of military force. On December 27, Iranian Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi threatened to cut off all oil going through the Strait should further economic sanctions limit Iran’s oil exports. Throughout January, Iran continued to face off with the West, with the EU agreeing to an embargo on Iranian oil on January 23rd. In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Obama said he would “take no options off the table” to ensuring Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. He also stated “but a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and

meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations.” Taking advantage of the opportunity presented by President Obama, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated Thursday that Iran is ready to resume nuclear talks with the West. Iran also threatened to immediately cut off its supply of oil to Europe in response to the EU’s oil embargo that will take effect this summer. As a result, oil prices seesawed throughout the day on Thursday as Iran’s threats were met with Western counters and the International Energy Agency’s assurances that any Iranian interference in the oil supply would be met with releases of strategic petroleum reserves. Oil

hovered around $100 per barrel on Thursday. Other worldwide events have also increased concerns for world oil supply. Both Nigeria and Iraq have experienced sectarian violence and deadly terrorist attacks in the past few weeks, bringing the security of both counties’ oil supplies into question. Despite these events, crude oil prices remain stable. Saudi Arabia has ensured OPEC and the world that it can increase production by almost 2 million barrels per day within 90 days in order to offset any losses in production from Iran, Iraq or Nigeria. Demand for gasoline in the United States fell by 1.6% in December, continuing a slow down-

ward trend that has kept crude oil prices around $100 per barrel for months. If Iran does block the Strait of Hormuz, it will be met by the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet, the most powerful naval force in the Middle East. Estimates suggest that crude oil could rise by 20% if Iran blockades the Strait of Hormuz, but the United States affirms that it will ensure passage through the Strait. Since President Ahmadinejad’s offer to return to the table, it is unlikely that there will be any disruption in the oil trade through the Strait. Iran will likely continue to threaten the Strait for leverage over the West, but for now, Iran’s threats are empty.

The Political Economy of U.S. Debt Alex Petralia Staff Writer


efore the twentieth century, the study of both markets and power was contained in a single discipline known as political economy. Specialization within academia, however, caused the field to divide into what we now recognize as economics and political science. While this schism fostered a thorough analysis of each subject, it sacrificed an understanding of their essential interdependence. The persistent debt crises in both the U.S. and Europe reveal that economics and politics can no longer be studied independently; global markets must be adequately explained in terms of political economy. Last December, the United States joined the ranks of debtridden countries like Greece, Italy and Iceland, when its debtto-GDP ratio exceeded 100%. Conservatives cite the sizeable federal debt as a reflection of fiscal irresponsibility and profligacy. They argue that the government has grown too large—social programs and bureaucratic agencies must be cut in order to reduce the deficit. Republican primary nominee Ron Paul warns that not reducing federal debt could potentially force the U.S. into “very dire circumstances.” So dire, perhaps, that the European sovereign debt crisis may simply be a portent of things to come in the United States. While debt has become a buzzword in American politics, a careful analysis of sovereign debt February 2012


United States GDP and Government Spending

dynamics demonstrates that its threat to the U.S. economy has been grossly exaggerated. Several misconceptions about federal debt must first be clarified. One stems from the fear that a large portion of U.S. debt is held by foreign creditors, which means that money spent on interest payments is money not spent on domestic investment. Even more troubling is the fact that American taxpayers are footing the bill. While it is true that the portion of foreign U.S. debt holdings has grown rapidly over the past several decades—now about 47% of public debt—the vast majority of it is held in safe, low-yielding Treasury securities. In addition to this, we must not forget the U.S. also owns assets abroad. The difference between its income earned on overseas holdings and its interest payable, known as “net investment

income”, has been consistently positive for the past several years. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman writes: “if your image is of a nation [the United States] that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed.” In addition to this, critics fear that the unaddressed debt burden will instead be pushed onto our children. But won’t our children also push this same debt onto their children? This process is euphemistically known as “refinancing”. It’s not true that they will be forced to repay the debt, just as we never repaid the debt incurred during World War II. Their children will simply roll over maturing bonds by issuing more debt. Of course, we must not overlook the risk that potential creditors will stop lending to the U.S., or start charging higher interest rates. These changes would make this model

of financing inherently unstable. It should be noted that this risk can be quantified in the interest rate, leading me to my next point. Indeed, the U.S.’s main concern should not be having a large of stock of debt, but rather the possibility of rising interest rates. After all, it is high interest rates that crippled the previously stable economies of Italy and Spain. What could cause interest rates to rise in the U.S.? Either increasing credit risk or inflationary expectations. Fortunately, the United States faces neither of these. There is no risk of soaring interest rates in the foreseeable future—in fact, just the opposite. The European sovereign debt crisis has triggered a “flight to quality,” causing Treasury yields to decline, despite a downgrade by the S&P in August. Similarly, inflation has remained around .1% for the past several months.

As a result, despite the uncertainty and sluggishness in markets, Treasury securities remain one of the safest assets in the world. Put simply, there is no reason to suspect that interest rates will rapidly rise in the near future. This is not to say that a large stock of federal debt carries no risk. If growth declines so significantly that it seems as though the U.S. may never be able to repay its debt, lenders will charge higher interest rates. The problem we should be tackling, then, is not the deficit, but growth itself. Partisan or ideological discussions of debt therefore pose a very dangerous threat to U.S. growth. Reducing government spending is contractionary and likely to stifle already-anemic growth. By most accounts, fiscal austerity in Europe has been a primary factor in economic forecasts of a recession in 2012. Unfortunately, damage has already been done from the ongoing debate over how to address the mounting debt: supporting fiscal stimulus—just what a recovering economy needs—seems tantamount to political suicide. The debt issue has been mistakenly overemphasized by the media and exploited by conservatives in an effort to reduce the size of government. While debt is a problem, it should take a backseat to the short-term issues of unemployment and growth. Americans should not confuse petty politicking with more deep-seated economic reform because an ideological obsession with national debt could have disastrous effects on any economic rebound by the United States. The Bull & Bear

Monthly Markets


Mohammad Awada and Ivan Di, Markets Editors

The Social Network Goes Public Henri-Luc Carlin Staff Writer


ver since early 2011, when Goldman Sachs invested $450 million in Facebook, people have been speculating about the firm’s IPO debut date as well as who would hold the title of lead underwriter on the deal. Many thought this investment by Goldman Sachs put it in a dominant position in the race to lead underwriter, but the negative attention from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the following weeks left Facebook displeased. The latest reports indicate that the Social Network would be considering Morgan Stanley, with its solid track record of tech and social media IPOs, for

the lead role in its initial public offering. Many people close to the company anticipate it will go public by the end of May 2012 raising around $10 billion in return for 10-13% public ownership. This would make the high profile deal larger than any other Internet IPO to date. While shares of the company have been trading on the secondary markets for some time now, the Facebook’s legal advisors at Fenwick & West LLC set a temporary halt to the process. Sharespost, a platform for trading shares of privately held companies, stated that it recorded the sale of a block of 70,000 shares of Facebook on January 20th at a price of $34 each. This transaction puts Facebook’s valuation at over $80 billion, in line with estimates valuing it any-

where between $75-$100 billion. The halt in trading of Facebook’s shares resulted in rumors concerning the deposition of the company’s prospectus to the SEC in the following days, a significant step towards any firm’s IPO. Facebook is expected to file for the offering on Wednesday, February 1st. More importantly, the filing would finally provide investors with a thorough breakdown of the company’s business model and financial performance. Well informed individuals on the matter state that Facebook generates the bulk of its revenues from the sale of advertising space and virtual goods online, as well as from fees charged to thirdparty developers. While many investors try to estimate the firm’s profitability and generation of cash flow, the prospectus would

Wall Street Journal

Morgan Stanley played a lead role in last year’s US-listed IPOs

finally allow potential investors to put a price on the firm’s extensive

network of its growing 800 Million devoted users.

On February 1st, 2012, Facebook filed for a $5bln IPO

Quebec’s Unemployment Mystery Christian Sullivan Staff Writer


espite otherwise strong economic indicators in the final months of 2011, the unemployment rate in Quebec rocketed up from 7.3 percent in September to 8.7 percent in December. The sudden loss of jobs across the province has left economists scrambling to identify the cause. During December, the third straight month of decline, Quebec lost an estimated 26,000 jobs on top of the 44,000 already lost in October and November. In all, Quebec lost an estimated 70,000 jobs, and experienced its worst three-month performance since the 1981-1982 recession. The drop in employment, making Quebec the only province to experience a decrease in employment between December 2010 and December 2011, is a significant break with Quebec’s track record of stable growth and employment figures over the last three years. “Our performance has been better on average than Ontario, Canada and the United States [however], our employment numbers have not been good in the last three months” commented Premier Jean Charest. This comment came in response to the figures showing that QueFebruary 2012


United States GDP and Government Spending


Per cent changes in Canadian employment by region

bec’s unemployment is now one percentage point higher than Ontario’s 7.7 percent rate, and higher than the U.S. average. Jacques Ménard, Bank of Montreal’s top banker in Quebec is adamant that the October-December period represent a ”statistical” anomaly, and do not foretell of a long-term drop in economic growth. “I think there’s a cluster [of job losses] that happened there in those three months which belies what is actually really hap-

pening [in the wider economy] ... When you look at this number six months from now, you will see it as a statistical anomaly. You can’t extrapolate these three months … to the next year.”, Mr Ménard said to journalists after delivering a speech to the Montreal Board of Trade earlier last week. However, some experts are not convinced that a three-month drop could be just a blip on the radar. Sébastien Lavoie, assistant chief economist at Montreal-

based Laurentian Bank Securities, believes that the province’s losses are being driven by companies that are losing ground internationally, and are having to lay off staff to lower their labour costs. Mr Lavoie cites Swedish appliance maker AB Electrolux’s announcement in December 2010 to close production in Montreal and move to Memphis, Tenn. as the decisive beginning of a shift to the U.S. and lower labour costs. Further examples include

Trois-Rivières, Que., once dominated by the pulp and paper industry, and now hosting the highest unemployment in the province, at 9 percent. The potential saviour may be found in the rise of Quebec’s numerous small and mid-market businesses, many of which have plans to hire in the coming year. Regardless, it will take a longer period of study to be sure whether Quebec is in the clear, or whether the closing months of 2011 will be predictive of 2012. The Bull & Bear

Mohammad Awada and Ivan Di, Markets Editors

Monthly Markets


M & A Review and Outlook Magid Awad Staff Writer

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in 2011 did not live up to the optimistic expectations that were set at the start of the year. Overall, total M&A volume in 2011 remained fairly flat with $2.27 trillion compared to 2010’s $2.19 trillion. A major source of the lag was in Q4, as shown in the graph to the right. In summary, North America accounted for 48% of global M&A volume, followed by Western Europe, which despite the prevalent debt crises, managed to generate a 3 year high of $540 billion dollars in M&A activity, according to Bloomberg’s 2011 Annual Mergers & Acquisitions Legal Advisory Ranking. Asia Pacific remained flat compared to 2010 with a sharp decline in Q4 activity. It seems that the optimism

was doused with the harsh reality of slow economic conditions in the US, and with the crises developing in Europe. According to a survey of financial market professionals, limited economic growth coupled with concerns over sovereign debt represented the biggest obstacles to deal flow, and experts say it may take at least 2 years for Global mergers and acquisitions to return to the record pace of 2007, which had $4.4 trillion in volume. However, hope remains for the 2012 M&A outlook; US banks’ direct exposure to European sovereign debt is manageable, and the concerns over indirect exposure seem to be easing with finance ministers taking the necessary steps to lower interest rates and implement structural reforms. US investors will begin to be more optimistic as the collapse of the Eurozone seems less likely. A mix of positive news from Europe and resilient growth


United States GDP and Government Spending

projections for the US economy will foster an environment that incentivizes corporations to uti-

lize their currently huge cash reserves for new investments. Considering the so far optimistic


start to the New Year, 2012 may shape out to be very good for M&A activity.



Tarun Koshy, Opinion Editor

More Liquid Equity Necessary for Munroe’s Blum Principal Munroe-Blum’s salary does not justify her accomplishments Avi Rush Staff Writer


eather Munroe-Blum deserves a raise. There, I said it. But before you get out the pitchforks and torches, give it a little thought. In compar\ison to her colleagues in similar universities around the world, HMB, as the kids call her, is vastly underpaid. Yet at the same time, she has overseen record setting fundraising initiatives that to this point have raised in excess of half a billion dollars. All while facing a barrage of criticism from misguided students and faculty alike. If anything, HMB deserves an objective, straightforward evaluFebruary 2012

ation of her performance before the first stone is thrown. As every freshman learns on the first day of university, McGill owns the moniker the “Harvard of Canada”. Yet, when compared to her American counterpart, the number of dollars of HMB’s compensation is simply lacking. According to Maclean’s OnCampus report, HMB is in fact, paid $585,481, including benefits. In 2008, Harvard’s president, the equivalent to HMB’s principal position, received a salary of $882,000, a full $300,000 more than our principal did last year. Of course, while we all respect McGill University’s international reputation, many recognize that it simply may not really be as prestigious as our Harvard University,

and thus slot McGill as Canada’s lowly Ivy Leaguer. Yet, again, it seems we fail to put our money where our mouth is. Yale University and Columbia University all pay their presidents in excess of $1,000,000. As for the others, well, let’s just say that Harvard’s president is actually the least well paid of the collection with the exception of Dartmouth, which paid its now retired president a relatively measly $687,404. Perhaps we should start calling ourselves the “Dartmouth of Canada”. Granted, one can – and should – argue that we’re comparing apples to oranges; maybe we should really be comparing salaries of presidents of Canadian universities. Starting

McGill University

During her tenure Munroe-Blum has raised over $5mln

in our own home province, Mc- Woodsworth. While both PresiGill does sit clearly at the top of the dents earn roughly the same base roost, paying HMB $192,606 more salary, much of the discrepancy lies than Concordia President Judith Continued on Page 17 The Bull & Bear



Tarun Koshy, Opinion Editor

Editorial: This Is Canada, Not Communist Russia The Editors The Bull & Bear

“Do you approve the creation of a portrait of Karl Marx, at cost to the Society.” If there was ever one sentence that accurately defined ridiculous, it would be this one. These grand words were taken from the recent SSMU motion by Senate Caucus Representative Matthew CrawfordAppignanes to commission a minimum of 30x40 inch poster of Karl Marx. Arguing that the ideas of the Communist Manifesto’s author have had “great influence” on the members of the society,

the proposed poster is supposed to represent some kind of homage to the visionary leader and father of Communism. On this issue, The Bull & Bear has a deep respect for various influences but will not make the same mistake as Matthew in making generalized assumptions on what is “pertinent to members of the society.” As a governing body, it is part of SSMU’s directive to represent the voice of the entire student body, not make “documented stances” on on politically-driven sentiments that are shared by few. It is deplorable for any representative body to simply assume that their members would support frivoli-

ties such as “the abolishment of all student fees, support for labour struggles, and divestment from the unethical corporate practice.” First, the motion assumes that the ideas of Karl Marx have played a pivotal, if not foundational role in the operation of SSMU; that is, completely ignoring individual acceptances of the ideology. For a university that prizes freedom of speech to the point of nailing the administration to the cross, the exclusion of individual acceptances is highly alarming if not inconsistent. Perhaps the proponents of this motion should be reminded that collective movements are comprised of such

individual beliefs. If SOPA was suspended because of individual voices, then a motion as poorly thought-out as this needs to at least attempt to engage those who have contributed funds to SSMU. Particularly notable to this motion is the condition that the budget should be “twice the cost of materials, with half the funds going to the artist as the labour wages.” Essentially, overstate the costs and pay the artist equal to the cost of the entire poster’s materials. While this makes for a great demonstration of Marxian economics, the practical implications of this budgeting is nonsensical - no budget normally

Lucidcafe Adam Smith would turn in his grave

accounts for wages as 100% over material costs. If intelligence died at the Roddick Gates, it was kicked in the gonads by this motion.

Business Philosophy Column: Smile For Your Country Countries need to also consider qualitative measures of aggregate success Ali Khan Staff Writer


h how noble a day it was, when King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan coined the “National Gross Happiness” index in 1972. Twenty years before I was on the scene, it seemed certain that I would be coming into a world far less parsimonious than had previously been. One by one, the avaricious tendencies of institutions would be categorically diluted as sense was knocked into our systems; we’d finally begun to understand that the success of a nation should not be measured by dry and quantitative measures such as life expectancy, income per capita and gross domestic product. Instead, in almost artistically schmaltzy fashion, we now understood that life was inherently, inevitably, and incontestably about joie de vivre. It was all about happiness. Physical, mental and social wellnesses are at the center of this measure, suggesting that a nation is more successful if its people are intrinsically happier, even if not necessarily richer. It still seems, however, that society has progressed further up the ladder of pleonexia. Almost twenty years subsequent to my arrival, I ask the question; can happiness be accurately measured? Is it even possible? The concern is not whether one should measure country A’s progress by how happy its people are or by how much money the country earns, but whether the former is even realistically possible. Personally, I feel anyone on the qui vive for a less material world would agree that financial February 2012

strength is not all that ‘success’ entails. However, one cannot help but be apprehensive about substituting certain derivatives of wealth and health into a half-baked equation in order to calculate an index that reflects arguably the most complex of human states. The first thing that comes to mind is that happiness is a relative phenomenon. If someone were to ask me how happy I was on a scale of one to ten, I’d probably say five, thinking of Justin Vernon’s voice, the perky waitress at CheeburgerCheeburger and the unwashed dishes resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the sink. I reckon that’s a legitimate claim to be perfectly honest and you can’t exactly tell me I’m wrong. After all, you don’t know how I’m feeling. But you ask a sixty-year old tea farmer in Sri Lanka’s northern province the same question and he might say seven. He lives in a beautiful country, breathes air far less polluted than Montreal and is probably not quite so bothered about say, how much action he had this week. However, he also has less money than I do (in absolute terms anyway), no Happy Meal (get it?) at his doorstep, and is presumably less physically imposing than I am. All jokes aside, happiness seems far too personal to be measured on a national scale. Succinctly put, what might make me happy may not make you happy. Really, when you get down to the bare bones of it, if you ask me how happy I am when I’m still getting out of bed in the morning, you’ll probably get a very different answer than if you ask me after a night at The Yellow Door. It seems to me that a survey method of measuring joy is too unreliable to base a country’s success and fail-

Michael Horowitz

Measuring growth by happiness gives more insight than GDP

ure on. Then again, aren’t all human emotions merely a biological experience? A chemical reaction? For some of us unfortunate enough to have studied biology, we are supposedly able to measure such occurrences. Therefore, if one were to study each citizen’s mental state and average out his or her scores, perhaps one could have something accurate? That is, not considering the face-palming unfeasibility of this notion for argument’s sake. However, the problem here is that there are different types of happiness. London School of Economics economist Baron Layard claims that, “…we now know that what people say and do corresponds closely to the actual levels of activity in different parts of the brain which can be measured by scientific means.” Essentially, there’s the heart-warming moral happiness that arises from donating money to charity, the confounding happiness when

you get an eighty-six percent on that midterm you thought you failed, and many more. So how does one know which happiness to measure? Actually, how does one even know which one is being measured? And really, which type would you base your nation’s success on? It boils down to the fact that humans need a quantitative measure of success. We’re a competitive species and we have the need to compare what we have to what others have – the basis of relative valuation. The suggestion that a country, Bhutan in this case, considers itself successful and well managed because the people of the country are... well, fairly happy doesn’t sit well with the dog-eatdog rest of the world. The claim is either entirely dismissed on the basis of its ‘inaccuracy’ or termed ‘supplementary’ to the more calculable measures. Why we place reason on a pedestal so high above emotion is a whole other

argument. But as it stands, we are moving rapidly towards a dangerously atomized and individualistic world that cares solely about material fulfillment. Is it then hard to believe that not only are we pessimistic about largely intangible, income-excluding measures, but we are also not investing our energies in finding one that may be more accurate? Bob Marley may have been one of the first to suggest that happiness could exist when the landlord claims, “your rent is late” and “he might have to litigate”. And to be bluntly honest, I reckon it would be a quite noble day when we can start measuring our success based on how happy we are in the place of how much we earn. Till then, the high-paying financial institutions (more on them from Markets section boys) must hog the intellectual talent of our nations and we must be financially well off to appear ‘successful’ as a nation. The Bull & Bear


Tarun Koshy, Opinion Editor


Heather Munroe-Blum (cont’d from page 15) in the $186,432 difference in other compensation. Next door neighbour University of Toronto’s president David Naylor received a compensation package of only $430,000 while the highest paid president in Ontario, McMaster University’s Peter George, earned $534,000 – still slightly less than our own. Things do change slightly when we have to look west – salaries out there range from $579,000 at the University of British Columbia, to $627,000 at the University of Alberta. While its clearly still better to be a Redman than a Bumblebee, it appears based on salary that it is better to be a U of A Golden Bear. But as has been ingrained in

everyone’s mind, salary does not equate performance. So to look at her salary on a purely cash comparison basis, Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum has set record-breaking

later, amidst a global recession, she has already surpassed 500 million dollars – certainly record-breaking numbers for McGill. If one is to look at her salary purely as an in-

despite the sometimes-contentious redistribution, is her success in increasing the value of the available resources incredibly important? I’ll let you decide.

“We must [...] instead focus on what she has done and is actually doing, and maybe [...] consider improving it.” fundraising targets that she is on track to reach. In 2007, she began the fundraising initiative, “Campaign McGill: History in the Making“, which set the largest target ever for a Canadian university: 750 million dollars. Merely four years

vestment, the long-tem asset that is Principal Munroe-Bloom has generated more than a 20,000% annual Return on Investment. But is raising money the sole function of the chief administrator at our fair university? Certainly not. But,

There is a saying that life is not about dollars and cents. While true to a certain extent, those nickels and dimes do play a very important role in the lives for many of us. And when the CEO of United Way earns a million dollar salary for one

of the most meaningful and supposedly selfless jobs, it is clear that it takes top dollar to attract top talent. As has been alluded to in last issue’s editorial, this maxim exists quite starkly in relation to attracting teaching talent and also holds true for any other top talent. To quote wise words from The Dark Knight’s The Joker, “if you’re good at something, never do it for free.” It is clear that, in order to retain the services of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Munroe-Blum, we must cease the one-sided criticisms regarding the equity of her compensation, and instead focus on what she has done and is actually doing, and maybe, just maybe, consider improving it.

The European Union: A Romeo And Juliet Tragedy Eurozone integration is built on flawed foundations and waiting to crumble Carter P. Smith Staff Writer


n January 25th at the World Economic Forum, Angela Merkel reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to the Euro. Soon thereafter, billionaire financier George Soros warned the Forum participants of a global economic collapse precipitated by a Eurozone breakup. Indeed, finding precedent in both the Great Depression and the breakup of the Soviet Union, a Eurozone collapse undoubtedly bears varied and dangerous consequences. In fact, it seems Europe now stands at a crucial juncture in the history of continental integration. The Eurozone economies are well past the point of no return. They must — and I believe their leaders will — do all that is necessary to complete, and thus save Europe through stronger fiscal and political union. But the trend of European integration is not a novel concept. Starting with the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, open trade, currency, and labour flows bore generally positive consequences for businesses and for individuals. Despite decades of work on a European common market (EEC), harmonized exchange rates (ERM), and political will to continue, members could still renege on Euro-centric promises without jeopardizing the stability of all of Europe. Furthermore, The decline of Europe’s ERM, which was tasked with reducing intra-European exchange rate volatility, amounted February 2012

not to a meltdown in currencies or financial markets, but rather in changes to agreed-upon exchange rate bands – the convergence of which is a fundamental requirement for currency union. As the second largest economy in the world, the establishment of the Euro symbolized an intractable bet on the future of Europe as an integrated political and economic unit. But the Eurozone’s problems go much deeper. Economists argue that countries seeking to share a single currency must reach similar levels of government debt, regulations, and interest rates, while also facilitating labour mobility. Without these basic requirements fulfilled, the European Central Bank will be forced to make policy decisions for all constituents in response to economic trends that vary by country. This problem of disjointed economies stems from the political exuberance for integration in the 1990s, when more than half of inaugural Eurozone countries, including Greece, Austria, and Germany, were allowed to enter the union without satisfying the criteria laid out at Maastricht in 1992. As a result, Europe formed a massive economy with weak fiscal, political, and cultural integration but with permanent exchange rates across member states. This inherent — and perhaps fatal — flaw in the Eurozone was brought to light during the 2008 global financial crisis and has only worsened Europe’s economic standing in the face of potential Greek, Italian, or Spanish government defaults. In lieu to the 2008 crisis and more recent debt problems, the

term “austerity” seems to have become synonymous with the EU. Better known as “fiscal consolidation” in more formal circumstances, austerity is an attempt to reassure markets and economic benefactors (read: the IMF, the ECB, Germany, and France) of the stability of indebted governments and of their commitments to repay borrowed funds. In contrast to the schoolyard promises of “pinky swears,” these reassurances take the form of higher taxes and/or lower public spending. However, although lowering a government’s borrowing costs does help to improve its economic situation, austerity measures can reduce or negate such benefits by reducing mployment,

growth, and thus taxes. Ultimately, with the lower classes bearing the brunt of cuts to public sector spending, populist resentment of national and European policies has caused unprecedented riots from Athens to London. In these circumstances, an opportunistic leader in Greece or Italy could easily endorse anti-European sentiments for immediate political dividends, but with dire long-term consequences for his nation, for Europe, and for the world economy. Ultimately, whether a country such as Greece is forced to abandon the Euro by nationalism or by government default, the Eurozone will undoubtedly be forever changed. While re-

Alessandra Hechanova

An EU collapse bears dangerous implications for other economies

ducing uncertainty in national financial and trade markets, the Eurozone promised domestic businesses the right to sell their products across Europe without exchanging currencies or paying tariffs. However, by setting the precedent that the backers of the Eurozone allows its members to leave, borrowing costs for peripheral governments such as those of Portugal or Estonia may skyrocket, reducing the legitimacy of the myth that deeper integration is always and forever the way forward for Europe. Furthermore, these weaker countries may openly consider exits from the Eurozone due to onerous austerity requirements, and a lack of competitiveness with stronger countries while stronger countries may abandon the union in order to preempt a disastrous fall in value of the Euro due to mass hysteria. The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland allows business leaders, politicians, and academics to discuss the economic and political issues of the day. As of January 25th, the world stands on the brink of yet another catastrophe. While the financial panic in the United States stemmed from excessive borrowing by individuals and corporations, the current European sovereign debt crisis is rooted in over-spending by governments and made devastatingly acute by the rushed integration of European currencies – a definitive mess. The United States has the bald eagle, China has the dragon; perhaps the EU may be represented by the bull in the china shop. The Bull & Bear



Tarun Koshy, Opinion Editor

School Spirit: Where We Fail To Be The Best Varsity attendance is in need of a serious boost Stéphanie Thomas Staff Writer


ast Friday night’s hockey game was a fantastic conclusion to a week of pure, unadulterated fun as the Winter Carnival came to a close. Adorned with the wildest apparel (even Chewbacca made an appearance), the McGill “ragers” filed into McConnell arena by the hundreds after accomplishing a near impossible feat – stumbling to the top of University Street while simultaneously confronting the problem of complete loss of direction and overworked lungs. As expected, it was a full house on January 20th, minus a few…creative signs that were denied access by the Athletics Department Events staff. The Redmen displayed a great spectacle of athletic ability as they played a brutal and intense game that was settled by a goal from McGill’s Alex Picard-Hooper in shoot out. The cheering was loud, the beer and pizza plentiful, and when a punishing check was delivered in the corner, the crowd went wild. However, such an electric atmosphere occurs once in a blue moon due to dis-

Ed Yao

McGill Redmen face off in a near-empty arena

appointingly poor regular student attendance. Having worked multiple events for the Athletics Department over the better part of the last two years, I can assure you that student support is usually scarce. Sell-out games are more rare than the times one’s apartment is spotless. In fact, it is not unheard of that players’ family guests almost outnumber the student fan base brave enough to show up. Considering the McGill student body currently exceeds 30,000, these low turnouts are nothing short of an outright embarrassment given the

strong athletic ability. Having tried to mobilize friends on numerous occasions, these attempts were met with less success than my encouragement to vote in last semester’s referendum. Furthermore, the excuses are as plentiful and diverse as a politician’s promises. In general, people are ignorant of when the events take place or simply view the Athletics facilities akin to the Siberian forests – in the middle of nowhere and virtually inescapable. An easy solution to both these problems is quite literally four mouse clicks away on

the McGill Athletics Department website, where convenient schedules and game locations are provided. In terms of navigating oneself to the perceived location of Narnia, Google Maps are a simple start while department employees decked out in black and red are willing to provide pro bono directions. And in case there exist those special few who have trouble just finding the toilet in their own apartments, there is a friendly security guard at the front desk. No, he won’t call the riot police if you approach. Undoubtedly, the stiffest competition for students’ attention apart from courses is the city itself. Home to innumerable bars and clubs, cultural activities, and concerts, these restful opportunities quickly fill up one’s very limited free time. However, as a biased Quebecer, it is shameful to see a practically empty arena given the almost religious respect held by Canadians for hockey and the glorious tradition of the Montreal Canadiens. Attending a hockey game is as Canadian and arguably, Montrealer as it gets. For those of you from abroad, why not take in some of the local culture?

Of course, high academic achievement and pristine reputations are always fallback justifications for low interest in sporting events. While this may be true, it is hard to understand why we cannot extend our status of “excellence” in terms of school spirit by supporting and encouraging the athletes who represent us. While pointing to an entirely different issue as distraction often works for politicians, high academic achievement does not detract from sporting excellence. After all, McGill houses two of the top hockey teams in the country, with the women holding the coveted first position ranking. Are these achievements not worthy of celebration, or are we simply too elitist to regard them with the same pride as we do those of the academic variety? I am not suggesting you become what Athletic Department employees have termed as a “superfan”, but I challenge all of you to attend one more varsity event than you did last semester. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution you can actually keep. The “Pack the House” basketball game happens this Thursday – let’s try to live up to the name this time.

SOPA’s Slippery Slope

Flaws bills threaten our freedom of speech Flawed bills threaten our freedom of speech Zain Alimohamad Staff Writer


n January 18th, the internet rallied. In a move that gained mainstream media notoriety, popular websites such as Wikipedia, WordPress, and Mozilla went “dark” for twentyfour hours to protest the very existence of U.S. bills SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) – and rightly so. Both bills, being poorly written and highly controversial in nature, were set before the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate this week. The bill is proposing a malicious attack on foreign websites suspected of copyright infringement. Under SOPA, court orders could be issued to all advertising services, payment processors and search engines affiliated with the accused website who would then be forced to abandon the site, effectively removing it from public February 2012

access. Accused sites would be given a mere five days to legally defend their existence. On the face of it, the protection of intellectual property rights seems a noble enough endeavor. As propagated by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith, the SOPA bill seeks to “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation.” However, it is the gaping potential for limited civil liberties and rampant censorship that eliminates any real sense of justification. Harvard Law professor Laurence H. Tribe, recently wrote that the bill “undermine[s] the openness and free exchange of information at the heart of the Internet.” Simply put, the SOPA bill infringes on the basic right to free speech. Not surprisingly, internet giants such as Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter have also expressed staunch opposition to the bill and have drawn political support from the likes of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

and libertarian republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. Perhaps SOPA’s most galvanizing feature is its definition of internet content: “the collection of digital assets, including links, indexes, or pointers to digital assets, accessible through the Internet that are addressed relative to a common domain name.” The bill goes on to hold Internet sites accountable for any material that can be found on the domain, regardless of original sourcing or links to other websites. As a result, forums used for information exchange are placed square in the sights for copyright infringement simply due to individual posts or comments. In a society where information transfer and exchange is paramount to success, this bill aims to take an axe directly to the tree of knowledge. To bring these implications closer to the McGill environment, the bill would undoubtedly change the way we as students gain knowledge outside the classroom. Video sharing sites that are

used for creative expression and demonstrating concepts may be blocked due to perceived piracy, while Google searches only yield “approved” results by government and the entertainment industry. It means that freedom and access to information will be censored while the lines governing this censorship are disconcertingly blurred. Advocates of SOPA point to the fact that American internet businesses should not be concerned as they are no longer targeted by the bill (though they were potential targets in the original form of the bill before a hasty amendment). However, the very nature of the internet is one of global interconnectivity and interdependence. We, as global citizens and specifically as students, are increasingly aware of information and material being hosted by foreign sites. Global file sharing is a profoundly world-shrinking phenomenon; finding people from all over the world posting and sharing media



LEGISLATION that we love brings us all closer over common interests. To eliminate this privilege is to kill the very foundation that the future of globalization depends on. On January 18th, the internet rallied. By the end of the day, four U.S. senators and one Congress member retracted their endorsements, leaving the bills poised to return to dust; it is now apparent that chaining the freedom to share knowledge isn’t quite so noble after all. The Bull & Bear


Tarun Koshy, Opinion Editor


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SSMU Politics

The Fall of RIM The once famous crackberry’s days are numbered Julian Moss Staff Writer


idely considered the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization, Apple has left competing handset maker Research In Motion in the dust. Due to the surging popularity of the iPhone and the Android platform, RIM has seen its share price take a plummet from $148 in the summer of 2008 to $16.30 as of January 26th. In response to this precipitous decline, investors have appointed Thorsten Heins as CEO. Styling himself as a conservative reformer, Heins claims that RIM “has no real structural problems,” and that RIM needs to “focus more on marketing.” Unsurprisingly, his most significant move to date was the replacement of the company’s marketing director. Quite essentially, his concern is that RIM is over-innovating, and caught up in an apps race against Apple – where it is bound to lose. Over-innovating? Apparently Heins must has a good sense of humour. If RIM is to retain any sliver of market share it has left, it must build up a significant body of apps. However, this does not mean directly competing with Steve Jobs’ behemoth February 2012

legacy. Instead, RIM must develop a wide range of apps tailored to its two largest markets: the cliché business folk and text-loving teens. Without a doubt, the moment the business world switches to the iPhone, RIM is as good as dead. Therefore, revamped business apps are a fundamental necessity. This means having world-class financial software in the palm of one’s hand. The texting teens, while still a more competitive segment, require RIM to show at least some measure of interest. Put succinctly, the term “get them while they’re young” doesn’t just apply to Marlboro and Huggies Pull-Ups. Another area of improvement that would benefit both segments would be an complete overhaul of the texting process, with the aim to make touchscreen iPhones seem clunky and slow in comparison. While undoubtedly a difficult task, it is already one of Blackberry’s strengths as the pioneer of its iconic QWERTY handset, and improvement on this asset would almost certainly recover some of its once McDonald’s size piece of market share. Funding for the development of this new frontier must come from RIM’s eyesore product, the Playbook. In itself a lacklustre product, the Playbok was a feeble attempt to compete and pales in comparison to the iPad. Those

precious R&D dollars need to be concentrated in handsets, which is traditionally RIM’s strength. Heins’ focus on marketing is also an ill-conceived strategy. In the tech world, advertising is much less significant than wordof-mouth recommendations. This is because gadgets tend to be big ticket items as opposed to unimportant impulse buys. When customers are putting $500+ on the line, they care much more about their friends’ opinion of the product than what they saw on a bus bench. So rather than trying to put lipstick on a pig, why not make some bacon and sell it? Finally, RIM needs to continue expansion into emerging economies such as China and India. Instead, Heins’ sees RIM’s recent focus on the developing world as a liability. He argues that the United States is a global trendsetter, and what is popular in the US will soon become popular in emerging economies. As such, he claims that RIM reaped short term profits at the expense of long term growth by investing in the developing world. However, seeing as the emerging economies are perhaps the fastest growing markets in the world as well as vastly more populous than North America, why waste time on a “trickle down” effect when one could figuratively put a Blackberry in the hand of every

CEO Thorsten Heins takes over from Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

man, woman and child in India or Latin America? Finally, RIM needs to appreciate its pricing standpoint. Ask any non-Apple user a list of adjectives about Apple and you’ll find the term over-priced amongst a long list of expletives. Since Blackberrys tend to be relatively cheaper than iPhones, this advantage needs to be pressed, presenting themselves as the cost-effective yet highly productive smartphone – perfect hook for the growing number of businessmen in emerg-


ing economies. Neglecting this valuable and fast growing market would be suicide on part of RIM; expanding upon it would result in windfall profits. While the outlook for RIM looks grim, survival – and to a lesser extent success – is not completely outside its grasp. Unfortunately, the path that Thorsten Heins is taking looks troubling, and it seems he is somewhat deserving of the negative reputation he has garnered with Wall Street analysts and the tech world insiders. The Bull & Bear

Bull & Bear February 2012  

Bull & Bear February 2012