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Hamilton band releases debut EP

The next Hamilton superstar?

Cover Layout by: Tristan Marks

Talking about Islam

Mountaineers second in OCAA Western division

Adoption is an option with the Hamilton SPCA

Madison Fitzpatrick | Ignite News

adoptions last year. Alycia Marie, who has adopted two dogs and a cat, says every animal deserves to have an amazing life. “Just because they don’t work for one family doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a good home,” she said. “I truly believe the animal picks you.”

Choosing a pet can be a difficult choice, but choosing where to get it could make all the difference, and not just to the animal chosen. Hamilton SPCA adoption associate Heather Ashcroft says there are many benefits to adopting a pet. “You are providing animals with a loving, warm home, food to eat and medical care when sick,” she said. “By adopting a pet from the SPCA you are making room for another pet to be taken in, seen by a vet and then adopted out, allowing the cycle of rescue and adoption to continue.” Instead of purchasing an animal from a pet store or websites such as Kijiji, Ashcroft says adopting actually saves adopters money. “Generally, rescues adopt out animals that have all their medical care up to date including spay/neuter, microchip, vaccines, deworming, flea treatment and heartworm prevention, saving you hundreds of dollars in veterinary expenses,” she said. The HSPCA find its animals from all over. It takes animals from Hamilton Animal Services, owner surrenders, and from its protection department. The HSPCA conducted about 2,000

Islam: Let’s talk about it Assam Elahi | Ignite News

A religion like Islam is not always the easiest thing to understand and it may come with many misconceptions. Malik Datardina came to Mohawk College on Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 8) to give a presentation and hold a Q&A session on Islam, explaining it in simple terms and dispelling any misconceptions. Nearly 50 people came out to the presentation, which was sponsored by Social Inc. Datardina started by talking about the five pillars of Islam, breaking down what Islam means and what it stands for. “The five pillars on which Islam stands on are testifying there being only one God, prayer, compulsory charity on the wealthy, fasting and performing Pilgrimage,” said Datardina. Hew went on to explain the fundamentals of Islam and what it means to be a Muslim. Throughout the presentation, Datardina answered questions and dispelled some of the misconceptions people had about


Christine Taylor has adopted three cats from the Burlington Humane Society and the HSPCA. “My family has always liked to adopt because it just feels right,” she said. “Lots of people buy kittens and then cats are left alone at the shelter and that just breaks my heart.” The HSPCA has a wide variety of animals available for adoption including cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, gerbils, hedgehogs, and ferrets. The process is simple. First, see an animal you would like to adopt. Second, fill out the “Meet Your Match Survey” to evaluate if you would be a good match. Third, spend time with the animal, and lastly, adopt. Ashcroft says a good candidate is a person who has researched what it will mean to be responsible for a pet’s well being and knows the costs associated with pet ownership. “Being a pet owner is a big responsibility and not something that should be taken lightly,” said Ashcroft. “You are responsible for that pet’s health, well-being and happiness.” “It has been shown that owning a pet can be very beneficial to your health,” added Ashcroft. “It can greatly reduce stress and improve mood. It’s a win-win.” Islam and Muslims. Attendees said they took a lot from Datardina’s presentation and were happy they decided to attend. “I really liked a lot of what he was saying about Islam and how Muslims view the world,” said Elizabeth Burke, a Mohawk College student. “When he was talking about the accountability aspect of Islam it really opened my eyes and I think something like that should be implemented in society and not just in religion.” Many of the attendees said these types of presentations are important and should happen more often. “It is important that we have guest speakers come in and talk about things such as religion, race, gender and more so that those who are unaware or may have any misconceptions will be able to become enlightened,” said Marco Felvus, an instructor in the college’s Human Services program. Social Inc. will be conducting more awareness presentations in the future. Next week a guest speaker will speak on Trans identity.

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City council introducing new plan to combat graffiti Jason Macpherson | Ignite News

Stair climb for lung research Nick Jambrosic | Ignite News

On Feb. 4, the Lung Association held its second Steeltown Stair Climb to raise money for lung research. Doubling in size since last year, over 140 people participated in the 26-storey climb at Stelco Tower, going up a total of 533 steps. This year’s event raised over $20-thousand for lung research, “and the biggest fundraisers are the pre-service college kids, I have someone who has raised $1,495,” said Sandy Lee, the volunteer and fund development coordinator. Participants included firefighters, Hamilton Ti-Cat players and anyone else who wanted to raise money for a good cause. “The Ti-Cats team up with a lot of different charities,” said Craig Butler, defensive back for the Ti-Cats. “It’s something for the organization to be a part of and when it’s promoting physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, that’s also going to a good cause. It’s something I want to be a part of as well as the Ti-Cats.” After climbers tackled all 533 steps, making it to the top was not only a challenge, it meant a lot more than just a few minutes of exercise. “My wife’s cousin is a firefighter and she’s doing it, so we sponsored her and I saw what it was so I thought (to myself), ‘I run outside so let me give it a shot,’” said climber Tony Di Bennedetto. “It’s a good cause, (we) made some more donations and it’s a nice challenge.” And the money will go to more than just basic science, it could be used to have a payoff closer to home. “Not only do we support lung research, which is done right here at Firestone Institute or at McMaster, but we also instituted a couple of brand-new programs,” said Lee. These two new programs are Mad Science for kids and Play for All. Mad Science will go from school to school informing students about the dangers of smoking and promoting healthy life choices. Through cool science experiments, students will not only learn something new but will get to make something they could take home with them. “And then we’ve got a Play for All program that we’re introducing and training people at places like boys and girls clubs where kids can go after school,” said Lee. “It’s all about activity, healthy lungs and breathing.”


Photo: Kyle Medeiros

The city of Hamilton is looking into new ways to combat the rise in graffiti on both city property and private residences. A motion was put forward by Coun. Sam Merulla during the city council meeting of Feb. 8, which aims to create a more proactive approach to the problem. In the past, city council had created the Keep Hamilton Clean and Green committee to try to combat graffiti, and Hamilton police continue to respond to reports of vandalism. But one of the ideas put forward during the meeting involved the creation of “graffiti zones” where local graffiti artists will be permitted to display their work without vandalising any property. Merulla said, “Some of it is art, so part of this motion incorporates the development of trying to identify certain areas of the city where those that truly have a skill can show their art and display it accordingly.” Coun. Matthew Green said, “One of the solutions put forward in our Youth Advisory Huddle is exactly what Councillor Merulla is moving to, a graffiti zone where they can work on art and have an outlet for some of this behaviour.” Another concern raised during the meeting was the cost to victims of graffiti vandalism. Under the current bylaws, homeowners are responsible for removing any graffiti within 19 days or risk large fines. The motion considers investigating the feasibility of creating a victim assistance program for property owners who are continuously victimised. Coun. Tom Jackson said, “Our current bylaw tells those homeowners who are victims of crime, we victimise them a second time by sending them a stern letter saying that in 19 days if you don’t clean it you have a $10,000 fine.” From here the motion will be sent to the public works committee so investigations into feasibility can be conducted and a full report for council can be created.

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Unbridled movie features local horses and rider

The film is centred around the life of 17-year-old Sarah Miller, played by Tea McKay. A victim and prisoner of sex trafficking, McKay’s character hopes to find healing and redemption with horses. Partridge and her two horses spent a month on set.

Amelia Jaggard | Ignite Entertainment

“It was an amazing experience,” she recalls. “I was challenged with tasks that you wouldn’t normally try, like causing Dreamer to magically walk up to someone and put himself in position for them to jump on completely at liberty, while staying far enough away to stay out of camera view.”

An award winning feature-length drama titled Unbridled is set to be released on April 14, 2017. The film stars Harmony Horsemanship professional Lindsey Partridge of Pontypool, Ont. and her two horses Soar and Dreamer.

Partridge loved being away for a month with her two horses. She said the time allowed her to develop a deeper connection with her horses.

The film’s producers wanted a connection to the horse community outside of the equine therapy facility the film is based around. They contacted the secretary of the Natural Horsemanship Association, Partridge’s mother, who boasted about her daughter’s recent win at the Thoroughbred Makeover in 2015. This led to Partridge being cast as herself in the movie alongside her thoroughbred champion, Soar. Her quarter horse Dreamer scored the leading role in the film.

Partridge said the crew and cast were supportive, adding, “I learned a lot and made some wonderful friends.”

After her success on the set of Unbridled, Partridge’s horse Dreamer was cast in a Christmas comedy film titled The Photo: Moving Visions Entertainment Farmer and the Belle, which filmed in New York City in December. A release date has not yet been set for the film. Unbridled is based on the real-life Corral Riding Academy in North Carolina. The academy is a Christian nonprofit that Unbridled won two awards at the EQUUS Film Festival, for pairs rescued horses with girls in high-risk situations to proBest Equestrian Feature Film and Best of Festival-Feature vide healing and transformational life change. Category.

Debut EP and release party a triumph for Gung Ho Catalyst

William Collie | Ignite Entertainment The debut EP for Hamilton band Gung Ho Catalyst has been a successful experience for the group so far.

The six-song set was released digitally on Jan. 31 and has given the band plenty of reason to be happy. According to guitar player and vocalist James Reich, the band has seen consistent positive feedback and a significant increase in listeners. Part of that can be attributed to Murmurisms being featured on streaming services such as Spotify. Physical copies of Murmurisms have also been selling well. “The demand has been relatively high and we happen to be selling out more rapidly than expected,” said Reich. “It’s a very humbling experience.” On Feb. 3 the band held a release party for Murmurisms at Club Absinthe. The show featured Gung Ho Catalyst alongside a lineup of groups the band is


familiar with, such as Wooly Mantis, Last Scattering, and EricArthurBlair. Reich described the event as “one of the most special and memorable” in their career so far.

said Woodcroft. “EAB (EricArthurBlair) opened the night up with a great set. Last Scattering was extremely heavy and thrilling, and Gung Ho Catalyst was an unforgettable experience.”

“Not only were we so lucky as to have some of our favourite bands play with us but we also had the most passionate devoted crowd we had seen to date,” said Reich.

The night was emotional for Gung Ho Catalyst, evidenced by the group’s embrace at the end of their set.

Nigel Stewart, who attended the show, described a very positive experience. “It was just awesome, they have a very captivating sound,” said Stewart. “As a fan, it was great. Their energy, along with that crowd, kept my eyes glued to them.” Matthew Woodcroft of Wooly Mantis described the Club Absinthe crowd as energetic and friendly. “Energy was building the whole night in anticipation for the Gung Ho set,” Layout by: Amelia Jaggard

“We just realized in that moment how big of a step we took for ourselves,” said Reich. “That’s what you saw. The celebration of a spiritual connection built through honest creativity.” Even though the concert was a success for the band, they aren’t slowing down. According to Reich, Gung Ho Catalyst has a lot of events planned for the near future. “There will be lots keeping us busy and on our toes,” said Reich. “To continue to develop and build on what we have already begun to establish is the true goal.”


John Wick 2 is a sequel that exceeds the original John Pasion | Ignite Entertainment

2014’s John Wick was a pleasant surprise for action fans. It ditched the pervasive Hollywood trend of using shaky camera work and went back to a ’90s-era style of gun kata and carefully-choreographed fights. It introduced a fantasy world of esoteric assassins without any explanation, trusting that audiences could figure out they weren’t in Kansas anymore on their own. It was a refreshing movie, dripping with style, dark humour, and relentless, brutal action.

Even familiar places like New York become alien, almost cyberpunk alternate realities by night. The world the first movie crafted is expanded even further in Chapter 2. Wick buys his gear from an assortment of hidden boutiques, tucked behind a sweatshop, a bookstore or a restaurant. You get the impression that almost everyone and everything in this world has ties to the criminal underground. The movie relies on the audience to accept its fantasy setting, though by the end it may stretch your disbelief a little thin. By the final scene in the movie, I could hear the audience at my theatre groan and snicker at the almost farcical lengths the movie had gone to. Yes, the movie stars Keanu Reeves and has Laurence Fishburne in it, but the movie is supposed to take place in the real world and not the Matrix, something the script almost forgets at the end of the movie.

The sequel takes all of that and multiplies it by 10. John Wick: Chapter 2 starts just days after the first movie ended. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has his revenge and is trying to enjoy retirement when he’s contacted for one final job that he can’t refuse. Wick has to travel to Rome to assassinate Gianna D’Antonio (Claudia Gerini) in order to clear his debts and finally retire for good.

Despite bits of unintentional humour sprinkled throughout the movie, John Wick: Chapter 2 delivers on all the things that a sequel should. It had more of everything: more action, more set pieces, Photo: Thunder Road Pictures more characters. It expanded the universe From Rome’s ancient bath houses to a and left threads for potential sequels. Hopefully, the next museum’s mirror funhouse exhibit, every location is unique. chapter is just around the corner. From there, the film takes viewers on a mesmerising journey of visually striking set pieces, neon colours and lots of blood spatter.

Movie Review: The LEGO Batman Movie Liam Graham | Ignite Entertainment Directed by Chris McKay and starring actors such as Will Arnett (Batman), Zach Galifanakis (The Joker) and Rosario Dawson (Barbara Gordon) The LEGO Batman Movie combines computer-generated special effects and the aforementioned cast of voice actors to create an engaging atmosphere for its storyline. The plot focuses on Batman’s inner struggles with the loss of his parents and how it affects his relationships with everyone in his life, friends and enemies alike. Batman unwittingly takes in fellow orphan Dick Grayson, also known as Robin or Nightwing in the Batman universe. He rejects Grayson at first, but soon learns he and other friends he has made in his life are invaluable to his success. The Joker is fed up with Batman’s lack


of attention towards their “relationship” and feels he never gets the credit he deserves for being Batman’s arch-nemesis. Acting out of his frustration, he devises a plan to enter the LEGO universe’s “Phantom Realm”, a dimension that houses every LEGO villain ever made. After breaching the Phantom Realm, Joker recruits every notable villain from pop culture history, including Voldermort, Sauron and even The Wicked Witch of the West. The Joker then brings his super team of villains to the LEGO Gotham world, wreaking havoc on the city. Using advice from Robin, his butler Alfred, and the new police commissioner Barbara Gordon, Batman learns the importance of teamwork and incorporates everyone (even some of his greatest enemies) into a plan that ultimately thwarts the invasion. The LEGO Batman Movie feels drawn Layout by: Amelia Jaggard

out and repetitive with its message of family value at times, but overall it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Clocking in at 106 minutes, the film is chock full of bat puns, “nine-pack abs” and references to Batmen past such as Adam West from the ‘60s TV series and Val Kilmer from Batman Forever. The LEGO Batman Movie is a well-done family film. Though it can grow weary at times with the cheesy jokes and the at times “cringe-worthy” reinforcement of family values, you have to respect the sheer amount of work that went into creating the film. I give this one four out of five bricks.

Photo: Warner Bros


Mountaineers defence suffocates Sheridan attack in 73-45 victory Nick Birnie | Ignite Sports

The Mountaineers women’s basketball team were in action again Tuesday night (Feb. 7) for the third time in five days, against a Sheridan Bruins squad that had lost four games in a row.

Due to this, the Mountaineers forced an incredible 23 first-half turnovers on their way to outscoring the Bruins 21-4 in points off turnovers. Sam Pocrnic was the leading scorer at the end of one half, scoring nine of her eventual team-high 14 points.

The Bruins, sporting just two wins for the season, were not expected to test the Mountaineers much. The home side would see the return of guard Stef Hrymak, after missing three games with a sore ankle. The Mountaineers had gone 2-1 without their veteran leader, but were happy to have her back and she was excited about the opportunity.

Thanks to their continued defensive display of persistent footwork and terrific pressure, the Mountaineers continued to bury the Bruins in the second half, forcing another seven turnovers. The Mountaineers also outscored the Bruins in second-chance points thanks to some outstanding work on the glass from Jasmina Kucic, who finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds for another double-double.

“It was a great transition,” said Hrymak. “I definitely think I needed a game like this to ease it back in. Although it was a tough game for me it still helped me get my confidence back.” “To be honest, me as a player I very rarely think about injuries when I’m out there on the court,” added Hrymak. “I simply try to do my thing for the team, and I try to leave the rest out of it, and I’ll get to worrying about that after the game is done.” The Mountaineers started sluggishly, allowing the Bruins to score the first four points. However, within minutes the Mountaineers put together a 14-0 run to turn around the score and grab a 24-12 lead at the end of one quarter. Carrying their dominant fast-break offence into the second quarter, the Mountaineers engulfed the Bruins with a full-court press that didn’t allow the Bruins a second to think.

Even though Hrymak was rarely used in key scenarios, she picked up five points, a pair of rebounds and an assist in very limited action, sparking her teammates. “I definitely think she was a boost,” said Shanien O’Neill. “She brings a very positive energy to the court, she’s very motivated, a great passer and simply a strong player to have back and you can tell the difference between having her and not having her.” The Mountaineers were outscored in the final quarter, but were able to walk away with their third-consecutive victory, 73-45, improving to 11-4. Up next, the Mountaineers welcome the second-place in the OCAA West 11-3 St. Clair Saints to the DBARC for a 6 p.m. tip-off Saturday, Feb. 11 from Mohawk College campus.

The table tennis career of Javaun Greenland

Manlio Alfano | Ignite Sports

Table tennis looks easy but is it as easy as it seems? Javaun Greenland started playing the sport in his home country of Jamaica in 2008, at the age of 15.

back next week and work on improving his techniques. From that point on, Greenland quit the basketball team and got sucked into his new sport. He hasn’t regretted it.

“I originally had no intentions of becoming a competitive player, due to the fact that I only attempted the sport because of a bet at the time with my eventual coach,” said Greenland.

“I gradually became dedicated to the sport,” said Greenland. “I spent late nights after school and 10-hour days during my summer months training. I would like to believe my commitment began there.”

Greenland had some good friends who were learning the sport, and he mocked them for not playing a “real” sport like soccer or basketball. “The coach had bet me that if I was unable to manage one week of training, I should refrain from disrespecting the sport,” said Greenland. “Of course I lost. It was extremely gruelling. No amount of cardio, strength training and handeye coordination could have prepared me for the challenges which I had faced during that week.” “In fact, that week I didn’t hit a single ball due to the coach’s firm belief in shadow practice – simulation of hitting the ball with the correct forearm techniques, lateral leg movements and proper back-arching phases,” remembered Greenland. On the last day, Greenland said his coach told him to come


Greenland added, “You don’t realize it immediately, but just as [with] many other things in life, attachment to something becomes greater due to enjoyment and affiliation by getting more and more involved.” In his final competitive tournament, the Jamaica junior team’s coach congratulated him and offered him a chance to train with the national team. However, Greenland was unable to join them because he emigrated to Canada a few months later. Greenland enrolled in engineering at McMaster University in 2011 and shortly thereafter became very ill. At that point, he gave up playing the sport competitively but he still plays recreationally at the Burnhamthorpe Table Tennis Club in Mississauga.

Layout by: Nick Birnie


Mountaineers defeat Saints to grab second place in OCAA Western division Nick Birnie | Ignite Sports The Mountaineers women’s basketball team welcomed the second-place St. Clair Saints to the David Braley Athletics and Recreation Centre on Saturday (Feb. 11) in a battle for the second, and final, automatic spot in the OCAA provincial playoffs. The Mountaineers came in riding a three-game win streak which had the team sitting a half-game behind the Saints for sole possession of second place. Meanwhile, the Saints were fresh off a tough 61-53 defeat to the Fanshawe Falcons, another team with playoff plans. After a back-and-forth first three quarters, the hometown Mountaineers exploded in the fourth to pull away for a decisive 83-56 win, taking over sole possession of second place in the OCAA west division. In what had all the makings of a playoff-like atmosphere, the Mountaineers and Saints began the game by trading blows like heavyweight boxers. This made for an extremely competitive first quarter that saw the two teams shoot below 30 per cent from the field, as the superb defences took centre stage in the early going. At the end of a half, the two teams were only able to muster 60 points in total as the Mountaineers led by a basket, 31-29.

Pacing the team in scoring at the break was forward Monika Batinic with nine of her eventual 14 points, on a stellar 3 of 4 shooting from three-point land. The third quarter saw the game continue its tight defensive style as the Mountaineers forced seven of the 26 Saint turnovers in the quarter. Both teams were coming off miserable shooting performances in the first half that saw the teams shoot a combined 20 per cent from the field, and the game remained tight with the Mountaineers ahead by six heading into the final stanza. That’s when the home side turned things up to a level that St. Clair clearly could not match. The Mountaineers poured in 29 points to just eight by the Saints and outscored them 12-4 in second-chance points en route to their 12th win of the season. The win puts the Mountaineers in sole possession of second place in the OCAA west division and means the team controls its own playoff destiny going into the final two games of the 2016/17 regular season. Up next for the Mountaineers is a trip to local rivals Redeemer College as the Mountaineers look to avenge their earlier loss at home to Redeemer back in late November.

A hidden gem in Hamilton: Semi-Pro Boxer Rodolfo Velasquez Kyle Medeiros | Ignite Sports Hamilton has produced many athletes who went on to do good things. Names like Ken Dryden, Tim Horton, Rapid Ray Lewis and Kia Nurse come to mind when thinking of these talented athletes. Rodolfo Velasquez is not a household name but might be Hamilton’s next superstar. This April, Velasquez, 23, is fighting in Quebec City at the national semi-pro boxing tournament, hoping to represent Canada for the fifth time. The lightweight boxer was just 10 when he first put on gloves at McGrory’s Boxing Club in Hamilton. Velasquez started training under coach Vinnie Ryan and quickly proved that he had the talent and work ethic to one day represent Canada. “Rodolfo is a talented boxer,” said strength and conditioning coach Paul Carr. “He pushes himself to his limits and beyond and that is why he has achieved a lot.” Velasquez won the Golden Gloves tournament three times, bronze in the Ringside World Championships and has represented Canada all over the world. Velasquez said: “It helps me discover who I am. Am I the


type to get beaten up mentally or overcome any conflict I run into? I know it won’t come easy but if I put effort into something I want to, I can get good results.” The semi-pro boxer says he also gives a lot of credit to his father who, despite not being a boxer himself, has always been a good role model in working hard and being the best you can be. In 2015 Velasquez was on a high. Winning match after match, he was able to give himself a chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Velasquez made it to the final round of the tournament where he eventually lost his final match, and his shot at competing. Velasquez said the loss stung but that he didn’t let those feelings deter him. “You think of people you look up to who have tasted defeat and how they took it,” said Velasquez, who is a big Mike Tyson fan. “It’s either going to keep you down or you are going to use it to become better.” Velasquez says he does not know if he will turn pro, but his goal is to win the nationals to represent Canada and get more experience at the international level before trying out for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

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Trump not the only leader interested in building protective barriers Daniel Duvnjak | Ignite Comment Donald Trump is not the only political leader interested in putting up barriers against foreign threats. On Feb. 9, the deputy mayor of Paris, Jean-Francois Martins said at a press conference that the city will be spending 20 million euros (or $28 million) to build a “protective barrier around the Eiffel Tower.” Martins’ reasoning for building such a barrier was to combat terrorism, which has been devastating France and other parts of Europe for well over a year. “Sadly, the risk of terrorism hasn’t gone away,” said Martins. “Let’s make one thing clear: It’s not a wall, it’s an aesthetic perimeter.” While a wall and an aesthetic perimeter are two different things, Paris’s reasoning for building a barrier seems to mirror the reasoning of Donald Trump’s order to build a southern border. The goal of these barriers is to separate political or geographical areas from one another, while also protecting the enclosed nation’s citizens. And while many leftists like to link Donald Trump’s proposal to the likes of past dictators like Adolf Hitler, Trump’s reasoning for building a wall is straightforward. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” said Trump in a June 2015 speech announcing his run for the presidency. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Many were offended by his remarks, and with good reason. To call an entire nation out and say, “some, I assume, are good people,” is not the best thing to have said when you’re the leader of the free world. But Trump isn’t the first, nor will he be the last leader to think in such a way. After the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York City, George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the construction of 850 miles of border fencing. It also called for more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, and lighting to help border patrols spot people crossing the border. Were people outraged back in 2006? How about in 1995, when then-President Bill Clinton had similar tough-on-immigration views? Clinton said in a 1995 speech, “In every place in this country people are rightfully disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.” Clinton even built the first 325-mile fence along the border between California and Mexico during his time in office three years earlier, with full support from his wife Hillary Clinton, who would go on to mock Trump for his proposal to build a wall during the presidential debates in 2016.


Photo: Wikipedia

Portion of the border fence between Mexico and the United States Speaking in early 2016, Hillary Clinton admitted that she voted “numerous times” to spend a lot of money on a barrier to prevent illegal immigrants coming into the country. But building walls to secure borders is not just an American thing to do. Thousands of miles away in eastern Europe, Hungary is planning to “split Europe in two” by building a huge network of fencing and walls to stop illegal immigrants from entering southern Europe. In 1994, Israel, acting in the name of security, built physical barriers to separate itself from Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. In 2002, Israel decided to expand the barrier by building a wall to completely separate the nation from the West Bank. The wall is expected to be over 420 miles long when completed. The Israel Defense Forces website even states that “in areas where the fence has been completed, such terrorist attacks have dramatically declined.” And who can forget one of the greatest sights in the world: The Great Wall of China? The sole purpose for the massive wall was to secure the border from invading northern nations and to protect the Silk Road trade. So while anti-Trump protestors find hatred, racism, and bigotry in his words and actions, Trump is simply trying to secure America’s borders just like other leaders have in the past and in the present. People may be right by saying Trump’s approach to such an issue is irrational, but his reasoning behind it may be more rational than they think.

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Canadian leaders must be united against Trump’s travel ban Hannah Jackson | Ignite Comment “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau short hours after an executive order from the Trump administration was hastily put into action on Jan. 28. The order banned more than 218 million people with citizenship from seven Muslim-majority countries entrance into the United States for a 90-day period, and suspended access into the country for all refugees for 120 days. The erratically-implemented ban left thousands of people stranded at airports, separated loved ones and caused mass turmoil for those trying to navigate its arbitrary rules. Soon after, thousands of people staged protests at major airports across the country, gathering in an attempt to reject the hateful rhetoric and vilification of Muslims, and to advocate on behalf of those being discriminated against. Immigration lawyers set up makeshift offices in airport terminals to represent those who were being detained upon landing. Social media exploded and an international conversation began regarding the travel ban. Canada responds In Canada, the conversation initially surrounded unanswered questions for dual citizens as the federal government scrambled to provide answers about the American legislation. While the prime minister’s Twitter statement expressed Canada’s domestic policy regarding refugees, it failed to directly and unequivocally condemn the Trump administration’s actions. Aside from creating confused and misleading headlines, Trudeau’s ambiguous stance left many unhappy and put pressure on the federal government to publically reject the policy. However, Trudeau was not the only Canadian leader who took to Twitter to speak about the ban. Conservative leadership hopefuls Andrew Scheer and Kellie Leitch interjected their opinions, as well as NDP leader Thomas Mulcair,


and Green Party leader Elizabeth May. All ends of the political spectrum were represented, some in favour of Trump’s protectionist policy, others rejecting it. In the hours following the implementation of the executive order, Twitter in Canada became a divisive space. Reactions to the various statements by Canadian leaders caused arguments as to whether Trudeau was justified in his statement welcoming refugees, while others vilified Leitch and Scheer for supporting the seemingly-Islamophobic policy. Among the anarchy, one thing became undoubtedly clear: Canadian leaders must be united when addressing issues of human rights and public safety – something the travel ban has proven to be. Democracy and the argument for international law Democracy is built on the principles of fairness, equality, individual freedom and justice. By using rhetoric that targets one group of people, the travel ban managed to infringe upon all those pillars at once. In her series of tweets on the night of the travel ban, Kellie Leitch pointed to the legality of the travel ban, stating that Canada should not interfere with America’s decision. However, the executive order at its most basic moral analysis violates the paramount principles of democratic policymaking and disregards various international treaties. In times of real (or in this case perceived) security crises is when it is most important to uphold international law and the moral and legal obligations it carries. As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and subsequent international legally-binding treaties in regards to human rights, immigration and refugees, Canada must be an example in upholding international law. The Twitter divide in Canadian leadership on the night of the ban bore evidence of a much deeper problem regarding the recognition of international law. Nevertheless, the takeaway from the travel ban should be this: Canadian leaders must unequivocally endorse Layout by: Assam ELahi

treaties to uphold human rights, and hold to account signatory states which are not, or risk leaving those in need stranded. Extreme protectionism and security optics Conservative leadership hopeful Andrew Scheer’s series of tweets on the night of the travel ban called for ‘stringent security views’ of all refugees wishing to enter Canada. While no rational person would disagree with this, it suggests there is not already an extensive program in place to vet newcomers to Canada. This attitude undermines Canadian security, and suggests Canada’s border security is weak. Perpetuation of Islamophobia and hate-speech On Jan. 29, less than 24 hours after the travel ban’s implementation, horror and shock rocked Canada after a Quebec mosque became the target of a vicious attack, leaving six Muslim men dead. In his response to the shooting, Quebec Premier Philippe Coulliard pointed to hateful rhetoric toward Muslim people as a catalyst for the events. “When I say that words matter, it means that words can hurt, words can be knives slashing at people’s consciousness,” Coulliard said. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the travel ban, and what is causing the mass hysteria, is the perpetuation of hateful rhetoric and the normalizing of racist and Islamophobic remarks. Following the shootings in Quebec, thousands gathered across Canada to denounce the travel ban, and on a larger scale, send a message to Canadian leaders that the rhetoric used in America is unacceptable in Canada. Only time will tell if the United States’ constitutional checks and balances will protect those being targeted by the travel ban, but it is evident that in Canada, the issue remains widely divisive. While almost everything regarding Trump’s travel ban remains in a moral and legal grey area, one thing is clear. Canadian leaders must be less concerned with maintaining their positions on the political spectrum, and more dedicated to creating a united front in order to uphold human rights and public safety.

Ignite News feb 14  

Ignite Newsmagazine for February 14, 2017. Ignite Newsmagazine is a product of the journalism department at Mohawk College.

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