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CONCORDIA’S INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER SINCE 1980

volume 33, issue 6 • tuesday, september 25, 2012 • thelinknewspaper.ca

FUNNELLED INTO THE COUNTRY UNABLE TO SPEAK ENGLISH. CHARGED EXORBITANT FEES WITH NO PAPER TRAIL. PLACED IN SUBSTANDARD HOUSING WITH NO LEASES. FED ONLY BREAD—OR NOT FED AT ALL. CONCORDIA IS TAKING CHINESE STUDENTS FOR A RIDE PG03

A SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT BY RILEYSPARKS


In a nondescript building on Monkland Ave. sometime in July,

David decided he’d had enough. The 18-year-old student’s strange journey began in his home in China when he decided to come to Montreal to study finance at Concordia. A few weeks, a long flight and thousands of dollars later, he ended up in a crowded $900 a month homestay that he shared with 12 other people, where breakfast, lunch and dinner were two slices of bread—sometimes with margarine or a hot dog.


Current Affairs

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the link • september 25, 2012

thelinknewspaper.ca/news

“They Said They Didn’t Want Any Trouble With Their Schooling and They Didn’t Want Any Trouble With Concordia” David’s English wasn’t good enough to enroll directly at Concordia. Instead, he went to New Oriental, one of many agencies in China that helps students apply to foreign universities. He paid the company about $15,000. That agency—which is facing a class-action shareholders’ lawsuit and an investigation from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to its accounting practices—put him in touch with Peter Low, Concordia’s recruitment agent for Chinese students. Concordia’s admissions website explains that, “for an additional fee,” the university can guarantee Chinese high school students a “fast-tracked and simplified application process,” as well as provide homestays and airport pickup and help them to register for ESL classes. In an email sent to a Concordia student and seen by The Link, Low explained that while a regular online application would take between three and four months, he could guarantee a letter of admission “within a few days.” Most importantly, Low said, students who apply through this program do not have to prove they can speak enough English to understand their classes. A student like David, whose first language is not English and who has never studied in English, would ordinarily have to pass a standardized language test like the Test of English as a Foreign Language to apply to Concordia.

Instead, students in this program take an English proficiency test when they arrive at Concordia. Depending on their ability, they are required to take up to eight intensive English classes at Concordia’s Centre for Continuing Education. These five-week-long, non-credit classes cost $3,750 each. When David first enrolled, the classes cost $3,300, but the university increased the price by $450 after adding half an hour to each class. Tuition for the full eightcourse program is $30,000. Students who complete all their required classes with a grade of 75 per cent or better can then enroll in their program of choice. Although his services cost $2,200, Low noted in the same email that the university’s usual $90 application fee is waived for students who apply through him. David sent a total of $15,000 to Concordia by bank transfer. Low’s $2,200 fee was withdrawn from that amount, either by the university or by Low himself. As far as he knows, David said, “Every student who comes from China pays their fee to Peter Low. Everybody.” Peter Low is listed as the director of the Concordia China Student Recruitment Partner Program on the university’s website for that program. “Low is an actual authorized recruitment agent of Concordia University. The nature of his contract, we’re not quite sure of,” explained Walter Tom, coordinator of the Concordia

“If [the homestay experience isn’t controlled], the university is responsible for it. The question that needs to be asked is, who is responsible for what? Who is supposed to be overseeing this? Who’s in control of this Peter Low guy, or any of the recruitment agents?” —Concordia Student Union Legal Clinic Coordinator Walter Tom

Student Union’s Legal Clinic. “[The CSU’s Housing and Job Bank] had contacted the university as well, and the university said, ‘Yeah, we know Peter Low.’ And then HoJo asked, ‘Well, do you know what he’s doing?’ And then very quickly it was, ‘We’ll call you back.’” An administrator in Concordia’s recruitment department confirmed that Low is a contracted employee of Concordia. He also confirmed that immigration consulting is part of Low’s contract. “Part of the service they provide is the application process for both the Canadian immigration work as well as the [Quebec Acceptance Certificate],” which all international students must have to study in Quebec. This work is done through Orchard Consultants Ltd., a company run by Low and registered to a residential address in Burnaby, BC. Calls made on Monday to numbers associated with the company were not answered. Concordia spokeswoman Chris Mota explained that Peter Low “coordinates the work with the licensed agents in China.” Those agents help students with their applications for study permits and provincial and federal immigration permits. “We aren’t in a position to know the specifics of licensing requirements in China,” she said, adding that the university did understand that in order to be licensed to work in China, a person must live in and be a citizen of that country. While he was back in China, David said the agency told him he would have to live in a homestay for at least two months. Before he arrived, Orchard sent him a document describing the pleasant homestay he would be living in. But when he was dropped off at the homestay on Monkland Ave., it became apparent that none of the information was accurate. “It was not true. The information about the homestay was different from where I lived,” said David. The document, which David provided to The Link, said that he would live with another Chinese Concordia student.

It also indicated that the company Premier Homestay operated the building, but that Teresa, a Peruvian woman, would be taking care of David. According to the document, Teresa “lives alone but has family in the city,” and “enjoys the exchange with her students/guests.” In fact, there were two other students, a Brazilian and a Mexican. Both were studying at private language schools, and only stayed for a month. Teresa did not appear to exist at all. Instead, a housekeeper and four other women (who David believed to be the woman’s mother and grandmother, and her husband’s mother and grandmother) lived on the main floor. The address was also incorrect, although the address listed on the document is for another building operated or owned by Premier Homestay. “[At first] the landlord is good for me,” David said. “They care about me. Just for a few days. Then after, they just give me bread for breakfast, and milk. At the beginning, they helped me cook eggs, or gave me juice and milk. Just for a few days.” A document detailing “Expectations of Students Living in Homestay,” which a Premier Homestay employee gave to David when he arrived in Montreal, explains that “There will be a variety of new foods for you to sample.” The document includes a long list of foods that might be served, including, among others, cereal, croissants and muffins, as well as pasta, meat and chicken. Premier Homestay’s website notes that students will be given “nutritious meals,” and also includes a similar list of food. “In the beginning,” David said, “I could eat what I want. In the second month, other roommates come here, about eight people, in the same house. During this time, we eat many bread. The landlady told me everybody just eats two pieces of bread for breakfast. With some margarine. Yeah, I felt hungry, but she told me: too much money for bread,” he said. The other food promised also


the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/news

never appeared. “For lunch, just hot dog. With bread.” When he told the housekeeper that he was hungry, “She told me, ‘You need to buy some snacks,’” David said. The document notes that “Snacks will also be available between meals.” After paying $900 per month for accommodations that he had been told would include food, David was left with little extra money. Eventually, 13 people were living in the three-story house. Two students shared a room in the basement. The cook and the four other women lived on the ground floor and David shared the top floor—and a single bathroom—with five other people. He left after two months, and is now living in his own apartment. Weilin, who is now in his last semester at Concordia, told The Link that he left his homestay after one month, for similar reasons. He applied through another agency in China and came to Montreal in January 2009. “They did everything. They told us, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll run everything.’ And when we arrived, there was a guy to pick us up at the airport and drive us directly to the place, in the middle of nowhere,” Weilin explained. His homestay was also arranged through Low’s company. The first problem, he said, was the location—the homestay was about a two-hour trip by public transit from Concordia. The agency told him he would be living with a “middle-class, Canadian family,” he said. But he ended up living with an older married couple. “It is a family, but not a family we were expecting,” Weilin said. “The homestay should be a home, right? So you not only have the food from the family, but you interact with Canadian families, you get into the society and communicate with local people.” The website for Concordia’s China Student Recruitment Program says that the program “will arrange for home stays with carefully selected English-speaking families,” and that “This arrangement will help applicants integrate quickly into the community and provide the applicants with total immersion in English.” The couple Weilin lived with didn’t seem to speak much English, he said. For about $1,000 a month, the homestay was supposed to provide him with a room and food—two or three meals a day, he was told. But that also didn’t happen. “No, I didn’t [get enough food]. That’s why I moved out,” he said. “The lady just treated us with some cold meals every day, and we couldn’t get enough, so everyone was not happy.” After one month, he moved into his own apartment. Leanne Ashworth, coordinator of the CSU’s Housing and Job Bank, said that last year, three very skinny female Chinese students came into her office complaining about poor conditions in their homestay.

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“The homestay they were staying in wasn’t feeding them enough food, their showers were being restricted and they were being told they were using too much hot water.” But shortly thereafter, after speaking with their parents, the women told HoJo they didn’t want to pursue the issue any further. “They said they didn’t want any trouble with their schooling and they didn’t want any trouble with Concordia,” Ashworth said. For both David and Weilin, the agencies and homestay companies required all payments other than tuition to be paid in cash. “When I was in China, the company told me just cash. Only cash,” said David. None of the students The Link spoke to were given receipts for any of these transactions. When David arrived in Montreal, he had to pay two months’ rent up front. He gave $1,800 in cash to Renée, an employee of Premier Homestay who

When the students move out of the home, the document also says they may not allow the driver picking them up to enter the home. These types of problems are a risk of homestay programs, said Tom. “There’s a reason why [Concordia’s International Student Office] usually doesn’t deal with homestays, because of the danger of abuse.” Compounding that problem, he said, is the “apparent lack of oversight” of the homestay program. He compared the homestays to university residences, which have to be carefully controlled by the university. “If they don’t, the university is responsible for it,” he said. That level of responsibility doesn’t seem to exist with the homestay program, he said. “The question which needs to be asked is who is responsible for what? Who is supposed to be overseeing this? Who’s in control of this Peter Low guy, or any of the recruitment agents?”

“The professional body [for immigration consultants] has almost begged us to make a complaint against [Peter Low], but in order for us to do it, we need to have someone come forward and be courageous enough,” said Concordia Student Union Legal Clinic Coordinator Walter Tom. He encouraged any students who have had problems with their homestays or with the China Student Recruitment Program to contact the clinic. They shouldn’t worry about their visa or immigration status or problems with the university, he added. “The study permit just says you have to study at a university level; it doesn’t say you have to live at this homestay,” he said. “This whole homestay stuff has nothing to do with the conditions of their study permit.” Students who have questions can contact the legal clinic at 514-848-7474, ext. 7375. They can also contact the CSU’s Housing and Job Bank, who regularly deal with landlord and housing problems. HoJo can be reached at 514-8487474, ext. 7935. And if students are interested in talking to The Link to tell their story, they can email tips@thelinknewspaper.ca.

picked him up at the airport. Each month’s $900 rent included a $150 commission for Renée, but this commission was only charged for the first two months. He also never signed a lease. Quebec’s Civil Code forbids landlords from asking for more than one month’s rent in advance, and does not allow landlords to require payment of any deposit other than the first month’s rent. The list of rules given to David for his homestay also contains a few other unusual clauses. The multi-page document states, “No friends are invited to the home unless permission is given by the home.” If students invite friends over without permission, “trust is broken and you can be asked to leave.” The document states, “Cooking is not allowed unless the home has seen your ability in the kitchen.” It also warns students not to “demand food,” and explains that they “will have to be open to new experiences and learn how to politely eat when seated at the table.”

The administrator in recruitment said that the homestay program was not related to the Concordia China Student Recruitment Program. “It’s completely separate from the program itself. It’s not a function of the relationship between the university and Peter Low,” he explained. “Our agreement with the China student recruitment agency is solely for recruitment of students,” Mota told The Link in an email. “Any additional services are agreed to between Orchard (the recruitment agency) and the student/parents,” she said. “Orchard arranges a homestay and airport pick-up through a third party; however, this is outside the agreement between Orchard and Concordia.” As far as the administrator in recruitment was aware, the university does not check on the homestays to ensure that they are providing acceptable care to students. “This is really an arrangement between the students and a third party. We also don’t check on

any other rentals, like if you rent a house in Westmount, for example,” he added. Regardless, Tom said, the homestay program is closely associated with the Concordia brand. The university’s website says homestays are included in the fee paid by students enrolled in the China Student Recruitment Program, and Concordia’s name is used in that program’s own website. Furthermore, Low has an email address on the @concordia.ca domain, and signs his emails, including those discussing homestay arrangements, as the “Director, China Student Program, Concordia University.” Low has also been to recruiting events in China with at least one of Concordia’s Vice Presidents. “If this person comes up to you with Concordia business cards, Concordia letterhead—and somewhere down the line this person does have links to Concordia as a recruiter—he had legitimacy behind him, at least in the eyes of these international students,” said Tom. “What’s at stake really is the reputation of the university.” “On the one hand,” Tom said, “the university is interested in this flow of cash coming in from overseas. But on the other hand, people are paying for their services—they should deliver.” After finishing four of the eight required language classes, David decided to switch to a private language school. Concordia’s program was too expensive, he said. But the university still has most of David’s tuition deposit. The money—over $9,000— is shown in his MyConcordia account as a “Concordia deposit.” David emailed Low to ask if he could have the deposit back. “When I decide to go to the other language school, I ask him: ‘Can I get my money back?’ but he told me you couldn’t.” Low said the money could only be used if David does eventually come back to Concordia. He still hasn’t told his parents. “I think if I told them, they will worry about me. So when I talk with them, I will say, ‘It’s good.’” He told his parents that he moved out of the homestay so that he could cook his own Chinese food. The administrator in recruiting did confirm that the department is aware of problems at one homestay. “We are pursuing with Peter to make sure that the homestays comply with the Quebec residency standards,” he explained. Other sources familiar with the issue told The Link that, since the questionable quality of the homestays was brought to the attention of recruiting, the department has been working on solving the problem. A solution needs to come soon, Tom said. “The university itself has to do something, because its reputation is at stake,” he said. “Because whether these people bring forward a complaint or not, sooner or later there will be talk, people are going to say, ‘Don’t go to Concordia,’ because this is the kind of situation that’s going to happen. And that’s something which Concordia University does not want, for sure.”


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the link • september 25, 2012

thelinknewspaper.ca/news

A CONTENTIOUS COUNCIL

PHOTO SAM SLOTNICK

Chad Walcott speaks at Wednesdays council meeting

Unexplainable BoG Appointment Raises Questions

JULIA WOLFE @JURUWOLFE

T

o those who don’t sit on council, hold an executive title or know some of those people intimately, the first regular Concordia Student Union Council meeting of the academic year raised a lot of questions. But one question in particular–why former president Lex Gill was asked to play musical chairs on the Board of Governors—was a question The Link could not find a straight answer to. When current CSU President Schubert Laforest admitted that he could not sit on the Board for academic reasons, he wouldn’t specify what those reasons were in open session. When he motioned for VP External Simon-Pierre Lauzon to replace him, despite the VP’s already numerous obligations, councillors voiced concern. And when Gill was asked to move from alternate governor to main governor, the obvious question was—“Why?”

The Highlights “I’m extremely disappointed with what is happening here tonight,” said councillor and former VP External Chad Walcott during the motion in favour of Lauzon’s selection, adding that he was “not confident” in Lauzon’s ability to manage the ambitious appointment. Walcott, along with several other councillors, such as former executives Gonzo Nieto and Laura Glover, voiced concern that Lauzon lacked proper training—

as well as enough time in his schedule to sit on the BoG. “It’s not realistic,” said Walcott. The motion failed. In response to its failure, Nieto motioned that Gill, who already sits as the alternate governor, become the main student representative on the board. As alternate governor, she has the same powers on the Board so long as the regular position remains unfilled. Laforest, noticing this, was disconcerted. “I just have a question,” asked a defeated Laforest to his council. “Do you even want me to sit on the Board?” Despite Laforest’s evident uncertainty, every councillor who spoke to the question responded with various forms of the same sentiment: Yes. After a furious debate, which saw Gill herself respond to allegations that she was “not accountable to students,” council moved to appoint her. Following her suggestion, they passed it under the impression that Laforest will use a presidential decree to instate himself once his eligibility has been granted. In that event, Gill will most likely stay on the BoG as the alternate governor.

Too Personal to Say Laforest refused to comment regarding the specific nature of his “academic problems” saying only that the issue is “very personal” and not something he feels comfortable sharing publicly. Article 12 of the university’s bylaws only outlines three specific reasons an elected student would not be eligible to sit on the board. The student must be in

good academic standing, currently receiving credit and have a clear academic record. At Wednesday’s council meeting, it was confirmed that Laforest is both in good academic standing and receiving credit, however The Link has been unable to confirm that his record is clear. The clear record requirement implies that the candidate would not be eligible to sit on BoG if charged and found guilty under Concordia’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities or the Academic Code of Conduct in the last three years. However, Laforest refused to elaborate on his situation. “I didn’t want to not say anything, because I do owe council and students an explanation,” he said. “And I think that by hinting that it’s an academic problem that is stopping me from sitting on these bodies, it’s a good enough response.”

A Question of Time Lauzon said he respected the opinion that time management was a concern, but didn’t appreciate some of the insinuations. “When people started to argue that I was not aware of what the Board required in terms of responsibility and I was spreading myself too thin, that was an indication of a lack of trust in my judgment,” he said. “And I am well capable of making the judgment call of how much work the Board requires.” But Walcott argued it wasn’t about that, and it wasn’t personal. It just wasn’t possible, he said. “There’s a lot more than just

paperwork to do at the CSU,” Walcott said. “So having all these committees and all that reading would make it really tough.”

A Safety Net Laforest wasn’t the only one confused by Gill’s change in status. The difference is slight, at this time reflected in title alone. Without another undergraduate governor, there is no separation of power. But when The Link asked several different people from varying vantage points, several different answers were given. Walcott suggested it was a plan for the worst-case scenario. Should Laforest be unable to resolve his issues, or should he leave his post before he can do so, students will already have a regular governor. Gill, admitting she was unsure, guessed that it might have been an oversight on the part of council. She speculated that council meant to appoint another governor to fill the role of alternate, but forgot to do so in the chaos of the seven-hour meeting. Gill also added that council might have wanted to give her more legitimacy on the Board. She said the change in title would mean a difference in dynamic. Lauzon and Schubert admitted they still weren’t entirely sure, and Nieto himself said it “just made sense at the time.” Unlike the vote of the motion itself, there was no clear consensus as to why it was passed. —with files from Megan Dolski and Corey Pool

“I didn’t want to not say anything, because I do owe council and students an explanation, and I think that hinting it’s an academic problem that is stopping me from sitting on these bodies is a good enough response.” —Concordia Student Union President Schubert Laforest


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the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/news

NOT A STUDENT, NOT RESIGNING CSU VP Academic & Advocacy Gallardo Responds to Council BY COREY POOL

@COREYRIVER

The Concordia Student Union is a revolving door, and if it’s happened once, you can rest assured that it’ll happen again. During the first regular CSU Council meeting of the 20122013 academic year on Sept. 19, VP Academic and Advocacy Lucia Gallardo was found not to be a student following a Student Status Verification Report done by the Chair in coordination with the Dean of Students Office. Gallardo was absent from the meeting, did not submit any written response or provide the reason for her absence to council. “My priority at the time was my personal wellbeing,” said Gallardo in an interview with The Link. “It was a very difficult week, to say the least. I’ve been really overwhelmed.” This is not the first time her status as a student at Concordia has been called into question. Gallardo was found not to be a student during the elections in March as well, though she was reinstated. “I’m just surprised that it came to this,” said Arts and Science Councillor Chad Walcott. “I would have expected her to at least come prepared knowing, that this is strike two.” After a long debate on the issue, Walcott proposed a motion that would have council request for Gallardo’s immediate resignation. The motion passed. On Monday night, five days after the council meeting, Gallardo released a statement to council—but it was not a resignation. “I wholeheartedly ask Concordia students to grant me the opportunity to work on this solution for the week, before giving up the portfolio I feel so passionate about,” wrote Gallardo. In her letter, Gallardo makes an emotional plea to students, citing personal family and financial issues as her reasons for not being registered by the DNE deadline. Some councillors, however, feel that this response is not only inadequate, but also problematic.

CSU BRIEFS BY MEGAN DOLSKI

Media Relations CSU President Schubert Laforest acknowledged his poor communication with the student media at Wednesday’s council meeting. “In terms of media relations I fell flat on my face,” he said. To rectify the situation, Laforest made a promise to respond to all media calls within 24 hours of receiving them, and declared himself as the media’s go-to as a gateway to his executive. Thanks—we heard you, and now we’re going to hold you to it.

Charges Dropped Concordia announced that it will be dropping all strike-related charges filed by security against a group of students, Tuesday afternoon. “After consulting with students, faculty, staff and administrative colleagues, I have decided that Concordia will not proceed with complaints,” Concordia President Alan Shepard wrote in a letter published last Tuesday. The CSU is celebrating the news after several months attempting to have the charges dropped. Read the whole story in “Security Complaints Dropped” at thelinknewspaper.ca. CSU VP Academic & Advocacy Lucia Gallardo’s student status has come into question once again.

“Students elected councillors to represent them at council, and councillors voted for her resignation,” said Arts and Science Councillor Gonzo Nieto. “She seems to be bypassing the will of council, or ignoring it.” Before the motion to have Gallardo resign was passed, a motion to grant her a 15-day grace period was proposed by Arts and Science Councillor Juliana Ramos. That motion failed. “I think that it’s pretty bold for them to be asking for an extension given the fact that she was granted one during elections under the understanding that she would fix her student status problems,” said Walcott. CSU President Schubert Laforest disagreed on this, however, drawing a comparison with a similar situation in last year’s executive, involving Gallardo’s predecessor. “I found it rather unfortunate that council didn’t accord the 15-

day grace period, namely because of the executives that were in that similar situation last year,” said Laforest in reference to former CSU VP Advocacy and Outreach Morgan Pudwell’s resignation in the spring after being found to not be a student. “I thought that they would at least be understanding in that regard.” In April, Pudwell resigned, citing “health-related issues” in a letter to the CSU. She was later found not to have been a student, despite serving on the executive, and receiving pay, for the entire year. Some councillors feel that while the two situations are related, Gallardo’s conduct, and namely her absence from council and the lack of a letter, made all the difference. “I don’t think that a motion calling for Lucia’s resignation would have been necessary had she just done what she should have done in the first place, and

“I wholeheartedly ask Concordia students to grant me the opportunity to work on this solution for the week, before giving up the portfolio I feel so passionate about,” —Concordia Student Union VP Academic & Advocacy Lucia Gallardo

PHOTO ERIN SPARKS

either show up to council and deliver some sort of explanation, or resign,” said Walcott. “She chose to not show up and not resign. There needs to be some form of accountability. These are different situations.” Gallardo says that she is trying to rectify her situation, and that it might be resolved as soon as this Friday. She hopes that students and council have patience, though she would ultimately respect their decisions, she said. “If the student body supports my resignation, that’s fine,” said Gallardo. “I was voted in to represent them and if they don’t want me as a representative, what can I do but resign? “But I feel like, given the context of the situation, what happened last year—and given that I’ll probably receive an answer by Friday—I want to ask for that extension.” In the event that an executive refuses to resign, council can vote them out of office. CSU bylaws require a 10-day notice to be given to the person in question, and then a two-thirds majority vote at council. “I’m hoping that it doesn’t have to come to that,” said Nieto. “I’m hoping with the motion from council, it’s understood that that is the will of council and she will follow suit.”

IT Issues Adrian Katz presented council with a report on Concordia’s information technology status at Wednesday’s CSU Council meeting—the majority of which was only heard behind closed doors. Before going into closed session, Katz made it clear that the report contained a lot more bad news than good, including the fact that the CSU needs to spend $95,000 to fix its current IT issues.


Current Affairs

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the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/news

DAMIT! GETS LEG UP FROM CSU 2110 Centre Gets Much-Needed Dental Dam Project Funding BY HILARY SINCLAIR @HILARYSINCLAIR

Protection against sexually transmitted infections is phallocentric—and the Damit! Project hopes to change that. Concordia’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy is giving out free dental dams, as part of a pilot project that aims to gather enough survey data from users to convince the Quebec government’s Service de lutte contre les infections transmissibles sexuellement et par le sang of the importance of dams in protecting against the spread of sexually transmitted infections. A dental dam is a thin rubberlatex or silicone sheet that serves as a protection against sexually transmitted infections during oralanal and/or oral-vaginal sex. The Concordia Student Union approved a request from Peer Support and Trans Advocacy Coordinator Gabrielle Bouchard of Concordia’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy for $600 to support

the Damit! project and decided to adopt it as an official campaign at last Wednesday’s council meeting. “My main goal was to get a commitment—a strong commitment from the CSU for this project. People who are affected by STIs are mostly the age group of people going to university,” said Bouchard. She said that to her knowledge, there isn’t anywhere else in Montreal that distributes dams freely and they are difficult—if not impossible—to purchase anywhere in the city. This reality leaves selfmodifying a condom the only option available in preventing vaginal-oral transmission of STIs. “Having a pair of scissors with you in your purse can be sort of a turn-off, so we said, ‘We need to do something about this,’” Bouchard explained. The Direction générale de la santé publique, the Ministère de la santé et des services’s arm aimed at controlling infectious diseases, maintains that there is no money or opening for a project to give out

dams in the same manner that free condoms are distributed. “Seven types of condoms are distributed freely in Montreal— regular, true fit, ultra sensitive, large, tough and coloured. Our argument is to take out the coloured condom as an option distributed freely and instead reinvest the money into dams,” Bouchard said. The Centre will be giving out three free dams at a time, hoping that this gives new users the chance to get used to the new form of protection. A link to an online survey will also be provided. The data collected will be used as research to present to the government. Bouchard hopes to get 200 to 300 respondents—which means giving out around 2,000 dams. “There has been a 159 per cent increase in cases of chlamydia in Quebec in the last 13 years. More than 60 per cent of those cases are women,” said Bouchard. “The problem is that if there isn’t a penis involved, there’s no protection.”

PHOTO COREY POOL Gabrielle Bouchard of Concordia’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy distributed dental dams at last Wednesday’s Concordia Student Union Council meeting.

CONCORDIA KICKS EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS WEEK UP A NOTCH BY ALEX MANLEY @ALEX_ICON

It’s Emergency Preparedness Week at Concordia, and the man in charge of it, Concordia Senior Advisor on Emergency Management Darren Dumoulin, sounds like a man beset by constant worry. Perhaps that’s the sort of air that comes with the position. His job, essentially, is to spend a lot of time thinking about all the terrible, horrible things that could happen to you and your fellow students on Concordia property. Of course, he manages to find time to be concerned about emergencies outside of that scope, too. But primarily his job is to plan for emergencies on campus. According to him, it’s a job that’s gotten a bit harder recently. “We’ve been seeing the numbers and the amount of students that have opted in to the Emergency Notification System drop off,” he admitted. “So something that we’d like to do is get people involved and sign up for emergency notifications so that if something—God forbid— goes bad, we can reach people.” It’s in response to that drop-off, among other things, that Concordia is stepping up Emergency Preparedness Week this year to more than just a few informational kiosks. The Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal will be sending its firefighters to Concordia to participate in demonstrations, including having the “spider men” technical res-

cue team rappel down the outside of the Hall Building on Sept. 26. That day, students can also get free fire extinguisher training, and use defibrillators and even participate in the “Fire Fighter Challenge”—completing an obstacle course while dressed in full firefighter gear. Participants will receive a free First Aid kit. The Heart and Stroke Foundation will also be on hand on Thursday to offer free 30-minute CPR courses throughout the day in the EV Building atrium. The course will include defibrillator and mouth-tomouth training and, for $5.00, students will be able to get a Heart and Stroke card to certify their participation. While Dumoulin said his team does mandatory emergency training for Concordia staff and students who work in labs, it’s everyone else that he’s concerned about. Getting the word out is a process made harder by a legal aspect of text messaging notifications, for one. Making emergency notification texts mandatory, Dumoulin said, is “hard to do.” “There’s legislation in Canada that prevents us from opting people in automatically into a text-messaging system.” Nevertheless, he said, “As of January, the text-messaging thing will be part of the registration process. […] During the registration online, [students] will be asked, ‘Would you like to do this?’ So they’ll all go through the process as

they’re registering online, which hopefully will help quite a bit.” In the mean time, students who register for emergency text message notifications, or who log in to update their information, will be eligible to win a free iPad. In the week leading up to Emergency Preparedness Week, fire drills were conducted in different Concordia buildings every day. Though that might not seem like cutting-edge emergency prevention, Dumoulin thinks it’s a necessary step, and one that has a potential upside. “It’s that ‘what if’ question, getting people to take a few minutes to think about it. Because generally speaking, [students have] been doing fire drills since kindergarten. It goes well, people are used to it and they go through the motions,” he said. “Part of my deal is to try to get them to think beyond the fire drills. Fire drills, yes, that goes on, but there are all sorts of other things that can happen as well. It’s just getting people to think, ‘Yeah, what if? What if something else happens? What if over the PA system they told

us to shelter in place? Then what would I do?’” The fact that Montreal is sheltered from most major catastrophes, according to Dumoulin, is a double-edged sword. “Bringing people to [be aware] isn’t always easy, especially in our environment,” he said. “We don’t have the things that go on here that happen in other parts of the country. No major earthquakes, you know, we can’t get people to rally around the earthquake thing. We don’t have tornadoes all that often; we can’t do that. “People have been lulled into thinking, ‘Well, nothing happens here. We get a bit of snow, that’s about it.’ It’s [about thinking] a little beyond that.”

Follow @concordia911 on Twitter for updates on Emergency Preparedness Week and news you need about emergencies at Concordia, and check out the Messaging tab under the MyConcordia menu at my.concordia.ca to make sure your contact information is upto-date.

It’s just getting people to think, ‘Yeah, what if? What if something else happens? What if over the PA system they told us to shelter in place? Then what would I do?’” – Darren Dumoulin, Senior Advisor, Emergency Management

Emergency Preparedness Week Events: Tuesday, Sept. 25 Information kiosk at the MB Building (1450 Guy St.) Wednesday, Sept. 26 Fire Safety Day at the Hall Building (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.), including fire extinguisher, defibrillator and CPR training, the firefighter challenge, the rappelling technical rescue team and an information kiosk on the Reggie’s terrace. Thursday, Sept. 27 Free Heart and Stroke Foundation 30-minute CPR courses in the EV Building atrium (1515 Ste. Catherine St. W.)


Current Affairs

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the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/news

ASFA TO DELIVER OFFICIAL POSITION ON EDUCATION SUMMIT SCPASA Motion Passes Unanimously BY ANDREW BRENNAN @BRENNAMEN

Like it or not, students will have thier voices heard at the upcoming education summit. Nearly 30 arts and science student organizations at Concordia must deliver the position of their members on the summit. This follows the passing of a motion at the Arts and Science Federation of Associations council meeting last week. Proposed by the School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association, the motion was voted in unanimously by ASFA council members. Created in anticipation of the upcoming summit on education proposed by the Parti Québécois, it requires all other member associations to reach consensus amongst their membership either through general assembly or referendum. A date has not been announced for the summit, but it is expected to be held this November. “General assemblies are the highest decision-making body [of MAs], so we felt that to make the proper decision for the summit, [the SCPASA] had to consult with our students,” said Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, executive secretary of the SPCASA. “We felt it would be in the best interest of the university of Concordia, and ASFA students, if other MAs did the same thing,” he added. SCPASA gave no notice to ASFA

PHOTO ERIN SPARKS

Students vote during a CSU General Assembly last spring.

or other member associations prior to presenting the motion to the council at Thursday’s meeting. ASFA, which according to the SCPASA mandate must help facilitate the general assemblies and referenda, is now preparing a committee to coordinate with the member associations. It will prepare questions and concerns shared by the associations and present them to the Concordia Student Union. The student union will then represent ASFA and its members as a part of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec at the proposed education summit. “We have a bit of an action plan, but we haven’t appointed committee members and we haven’t created the committee yet,” said Caroline Bourbonnière, president

of ASFA. The committee will be announced at the next general assembly, which Bourbonnière said will take place by the end of next week. According to Garoufalis-Auger, the approximate two-month window before the education summit will be enough time to allow for a consensus to be formed amongst students. “[Two months] is enough time for people to call general assemblies, or even two GAs if they need more time to think about it. I think it’s plenty of time to have a proper discussion about it,” he said. ASFA VP Internal Veryan Goodship agreed, but maintained that the onus is on the MAs to round up their members to vote. “ASFA can’t force MAs to hold general assemblies, we can only politely nudge and ask them to,” said

Goodship, who acts as a liaison between ASFA and its MAs. “I feel it is something that has to be more grassroots—where MAs take their own initiatives by holding general assemblies,” he explained. ASFA will coordinate support for the assemblies, he continued, but will not provide direct financial compensation—which was proposed in the original motion put forward by SCPASA. Member associations, which receive funding every year from ASFA, have money already available to them to finance the general assemblies. There is little cost to putting on a general assembly,” said Goodship. “We’ve put on GAs without spending much money at all,” Garoufalis-Auger admitted. “I don’t think it’ll make much difference in terms of mobilizing for a GA.”

But assemblies need to be conducted seriously, he continued. “A GA is not something you do in a rush. You really have to engage the students, make classroom announcements, you have to plan in advance, you really have to make contact with students and explain to them the significance.” Bourbonnière echoed the sentiment. “I am hoping students make the best of this opportunity to voice their opinion on the matter and address their questions,” she said. As for the provincial government, she trusts they will uphold their invitation to student leaders. “I really hope the government actually provides us with this opportunity to express ourselves, and I hope that’s not just an empty promise, because a lot of people are very excited about this.”

BRIEFS BY ANDREW BRENNAN

@BRENNAMEN

Innocence of Montrealers

Fraud Investigation at Superhospital

Run, Montreal, Run

CLASSE Rallies Students Alone

A Montreal man has denied involvement in Innocence of Muslims, a film that incited riots across the globe when its trailer went viral on YouTube recently. The Egyptian prosecutor general issued arrest warrants last Tuesday for a Florida pastor and seven Coptic Christian Egyptians living abroad—including Jacques Atalla, who has lived in Canada for twenty years, on grounds of blasphemy against Islam.

The former human resources director at McGill University Health Centre is being investigated for $1.6 million in fraud, RadioCanada reported Friday. Stella Lopreste, who left her job at MUHC in 2011, was subjected to search warrants by the Sûreté du Quebec following a visit to MUHC offices for information on construction of the massive hospital last Tuesday.

Two-thousand six hundred seventythree people participated in the 22nd annual Montreal Marathon Sunday. The event was part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series, and included a full and half marathon, as well as 10 km, 5 km and 1 km races. Joseph Chirlee from Colorado won the marathon, clocking a time of 2:18:43, closely followed by runner-up Lamech Mokona of Kenya, who won the race in 2008.

Several hundred students demonstrated in the streets of Montreal last Saturday to promote free higher education. “I believe in free education, not just for me but the generations to come,” commented Jeanne Reynolds, a spokesperson for the Coalition large de l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante—the sole student group organizing the protest. The Société du police de la Ville de Montréal reported two arrests following projectiles that were launched in the crowd. A police officer suffered a knee injury, and pepper spray was used.


Fringe Arts

POP DIARIES: OUR DANCING DRUNKEN DEBAUCHERY • PAGE 16 – 17

A N I E V I L E “W ” Y T E I C O S T I H BULLS

PHOTO MANDY MALAZDREWICH

Propagandhi’s Chris Hannah on Failed States and Failing States BY ALEX MANLEY

T

@ALEX_ICON

here’s a moment about 15 minutes into my phone call with Chris Hannah, the guitarist and leader singer of Canadian punk/thrash stalwarts Propagandhi, when I stumble. “How much longer do you guys see yourselves doing this?” I ask him. “Because this is already, like… twenty… twenty-six years?” I say, trying to pinpoint the figure I’d come up with a few days ago, while preparing for the interview. “Am I overshooting the mark?” As quick as I can, I do the mental math. Is that even possible? Twenty-twelve, and ‘86, that’s 14, plus... “No, no, that’s right,” he confirms. “Twenty-six.” It’s not until a few seconds later that I realize this makes the band itself older than me. If Propagandhi—and its members—are getting a little long in the tooth, they can be forgiven. These geezers can still bring it. Their most recent record, Failed States, released Sept. 4 by Epitaph Records, is as brutal and punishingly thrashy as any of their material so far, fitting in snugly next to their other late-

period release, 2009’s Supporting Caste. The blazing speed of their riffs aside, one of the secrets of their longevity has to be the slow pace with which they move. Over the first 25 years of their career, the band put out only five LPs of new material, a glacial release schedule in today’s climate, where the average band drops a new album every two years like clockwork. It also helps that the band has experienced a remarkable stability when it comes to its membership. Since bassist John K. Samson left to form The Weakerthans in 1996, Propagandhi hasn’t lost a member; in 2006, they gained a second guitarist, Dave Guillas, but those are their only two lineup changes since How to Clean Everything, their 1993 full-length debut on seminal California punk label Fat Wreck Chords. Still, they had their share of scares this year. Drummer and founding member Jord Samolesky was hit by a car in early September (he walked away, but his bike was totaled), and in Februrary, after years of bringing

the ruckus onstage and, as Hannah puts it, “all these injuries from jiu jitsu,” bass player Todd Kowalski aggravated a back injury that left him in need of medical attention he couldn’t get in Canada. After a trip south of the border, he’s back on his feet now, with a stand that holds his bass for him. It might not be the ideal situation for the band, but it’s better than nothing—especially considering how glum things looked only a few years ago. After leaving Fat Wreck Chords for Winnipeg-based Smallman Records, Propagandhi thought they’d finally found a home for themselves—until Smallman folded. Only a few months after releasing Supporting Caste, their fifth LP, they were out in the cold. “It was devastating,” says Hannah. “We were in a position of like, ‘What do we do? Do we make lo-fi demos of our music and sell them on the net and become janitors right away? Try to maintain a little of what we’ve built over the years for one more swing, at least, and seek out some professional help?’” Thankfully, it didn’t come to

that. After, as Hannah puts it, “insider information” from some friends on the label, the band settled down at Epitaph Records. The label, along with Fat Wreck Chords, made up the two-headed ‘90s punk label dragon that brought the world bands like Bad Religion, NOFX and Rancid. The result is a surprisingly quick turnaround, at least by Propagandhi standards. “After the last batch of touring from Supporting Caste, we came home and were like, ‘Let’s get down to it. Let’s not fuck around this time and kinda meander our way through practices. Let’s just get into the practice space and start making the tunes we have all these ideas for,’” says Hannah. “And we managed to pull that off, despite a whole bunch of challenges that we had in the past few years.” He lists them off. Kowalski’s injuries “were making it very difficult for us to consider playing live shows. It was hard for him to practice; he couldn’t hold his bass.” There’s more. “All on top of that, we were get-

ting kicked out of practice spaces, and I had a kid and Jord’s working a fucking job he hates. Just everybody trying to juggle everything to make it happen. I’m kind of surprised it did happen so smoothly in the end.” Hannah’s son, who recently turned three, turns up on one of the songs on Failed States, “Unscripted Moment,” being lulled to sleep by his mother. “Upstairs I hear a voice,” Hannah sings. “She’s softly singing/To him and I come undone.” It’s the kind of fragility you wouldn’t find on Propagandhi’s earlier punk classics, which explored the full emotional spectrum between snotty righteousness, sardonic mocking and inchoate rage. In fact, much of Failed States finds the band exploring personal or societal issues, rather than more explicit political references. The songs tackle and mock a host of issues: our society’s consumerism, its car-centricness, social networking, space tourism, prostitution and the mainstream media. Nowhere is there mention of Barack Obama, Wikileaks, the Keystone XL


Fringe Arts

13

the link • september 25, 2012

I H D N A G A P M O U R B P L E A N I L E M I T

thelinknewspaper.ca/fringe

1993 - How to Clean Everything

2001 - Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes

1996 - Less Talk, More Rock

pipeline or drone killings. It’s not for a lack of frustration, though, according to Hannah. “Maybe [the songs are] less direct or specific on particular topics, but honestly I feel more outraged now than I even did then,” he says. “In the prospects for the future and the behaviour of the prevailing order. In the States, everybody voted for change. And what did we get? More of the same. “It’s a chronic problem that people see it that way,” he continues, going after the American two-party system. “You know, if you look at the Romney/Ryan ticket, it’s as fucking dismal and horrifying as the McCain/Palin ticket, and you’d like to think that there’s a difference [between the Democrats and the Republicans], but the difference isn’t substantial enough to silence a third option, or a fourth or a fifth option.” He reaches back to the 2004 American election, when many blamed Al Gore’s loss to George W. Bush on the presence of a third option, Ralph Nader’s Green Party, eating into the Democrats’ voter base. “And to throw people like Ralph Nader under the bus, you know, a true American hero under the bus,

just because you wanna elect some fuckin’ slightly less maniacal corporate suckling? And nothing’s changed. Things are as shitty as ever, civil liberties have eroded more under Obama, and so when do you finally decide, ‘Let’s do something outside of these two options’? When is the right time? “They always say, ‘It’s not the right time! It’s not the right time for something like—’ Well, when is the right time? There won’t be any more time, eventually.” “Duplicate Keys Icaro (An Interim Report),” the final track on Failed States, brings up an unorthodox suggestion for a way forward. Propagandhi’s taken a stance against straight edge before, covering Sudden Impact’s anti-sXe anthem “Bent” early in their career, but this track has Hannah contemplating a drug without much history in the punk community: ayahuasca. Hannah stays coy about whether he’s had any first-person experience with the Amazonian psychotropic tea, and the icaro, a healing song associated with it, but he advocates exploring. “I think there’s something to be said about reconsidering our states of consciousness in general—I don’t mean just people on the far right; I

2005 - Potemkin City Limits

mean everyone—and considering our quote-unquote neutrality in any very secular sense, because the way we see ourselves now within this technocracy we’ve been born into […] we are failing ourselves. “We live in—as The Crumbsuckers said back in the ‘80s—we live a bullshit society. We don’t see it. It’s so crazy what we allow to transpire. We think we’re just part of it and we have to follow along with it, but if you were to look at the song as a literal encouragement for people to take mind-altering substances, I think people probably should, to see the ways things really are—or are not. To shake things up a bit.” That’s not the only area where he thinks we could use some shaking. When I ask him about the effect of illegal downloading on the music industry, he gives off a hint of the blinded Samson trying to take the temple pillars down with him—if only to find out what might grow in the rubble. “It is the way it is now. There’s no putting a stop to that,” he says. “I understand artists’ frustration with feeling like they’re not getting anything back for what they put in, but on the other hand the industry has set up this whole problem for

2009 - Supporting Caste

2012 - Failed States

themselves through complete greed and arrogance […] and making money hand over fist at the expense of artists and foisting garbage on the consumer in return for their hardearned dollars. “So,” he admits, “I mildly enjoy watching the whole thing.” He’s optimistic about the future, however. “I don’t necessarily think there needs to be an industry around music and art. It’ll live and exist regardless of whether or not there’s major labels and funding bodies and rock ‘n’ roll venues. “Like, if I go to [underground punk] shows now, […] the vibe there is the same vibe that Jord and

I experienced back in the ‘80s when we first started going to punk shows. You know, it’s an exciting, engaging, wild feel, you know, like, borderline, ‘What’s gonna happen here?’” He wraps up the interview with a typically Propagandhi answer— grim, frank and confrontational, but with a certain hope to it. “I think all the good stuff is happening despite—and will continue despite—the death of the music industry.”

Propagandhi w/ Comeback Kid and Dig It Up! / Sept. 28 / La Tulipe (4530 Papineau Ave.) / 7:00 p.m.

“We live in—as The Crumbsuckers said back in the ‘80s—we live in a bullshit society. We don’t see it. It’s so crazy what we allow to transpire. We think we’re just part of it and we have to follow along with it.” —Propagandhi Guitarist & Lead Singer Chris Hannah


Fringe Arts

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the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/fringe

PHOTO COURTESY OF D FILMS

A COMEDY PICNIC FOR YOUR FACE

Sketch Group Picnicface Rolls Into Town With Roller Town VIVIEN LEUNG @VIVIEN_LEUNG

When Halifax-based comedy troupe Picnicface fails, it only makes them want to fail harder. With the cancellation of their Comedy Central show after one season, they are taking their brand of absurd sketch comedy from the green screen the big screen with Roller Town, their feature film that hit theatres in select Canadian cities last week. After the original small-screen SNAFU, Picnicface editor/director/performer Andrew Bush was offered the chance to take the eight members of the comedy troupe to the big time. Bush explains the group’s approach to comedy like this: “If all of a sudden a bear appears and shoots a hippo out of its crotch, we have a reason for why we think it’s funny and why it works. We overanalyze every scene. I love [that] about the members of Picnicface. We care. Sometimes too much.” That attitude appealed to a lot of other people, which became apparent during the groundswell of support for their Save Picnicface campaign, for which they asked fans feeling steamed about the cancellation to vent with one of their “tiers of rage,” which spewed fan-made videos, art and rap made in support of the troupe. But Roller Town was there in the wake of the cancellation to help soften the blow. Understandably, Bush leapt at the opportunity to direct and write a movie. “It’s so rare to get money to realize something that comes from your mind. That just doesn’t happen much.” While Bush and Picnicface have years of experience in filmmaking, the move from Internet to television—and then to cinema—required adjusting to different studio politics. “With the Internet, we were ac-

MUSIC 1. Two Gallants w/ PAPA Sept. 28 Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon St. W) 8:00 p.m. Advance $12.00, door $14.00 2. Gossip Sept. 30 L’Olympia (1004 Ste. Catherine St. E.) 8:00 p.m. $35.00 3. Faun Fables Sept. 30 Divan Orange (4234 St. Laurent Blvd.) 9:30 p.m. Advance $10.00, door $15.90

countable to no one except ourselves. So, if we wanted to shoot a two-minute sketch all day, we just would. With the TV show, you had a whole crew. All of a sudden, a two-minute sketch was allotted 45 minutes. That was a big change. With the movie, that’s even more true.” Roller Town was shot in Halifax in 17 days and cost $1 million—very little time and money in the moviemaking business. Bush delivered an off-the-cuff plot synopsis with the tone of a director who genuinely enjoys what he does. “It’s about a guy, right, okay? Who roller-skates, a lot, his name is Leo, and he works at this roller rink. He loves it, it’s his life. Then these mobsters come in, and they wanna shut the roller rink down and turn it into a video arcade, because that’s the newfangled thing and that makes more money and he has to stop them. “He meets a sweet girl from the other side of the tracks. He’s poor, and she doesn’t go to dirty roller rinks, she does classical roller-skating, like, ballet roller-skating. They meet and fall in love and they’re star-crossed lovers.” Bush hopes that the audience will sense the heart behind the ludicrous events that transpire in Roller Town. His more recognizable influences include old school sketch groups like Kids in the Hall and Monty Python and directors like Wes Anderson and Woody Allen. “I’m a huge fan of Michael Bay. No, not really, that’s bullshit. Please—that was—don’t write that, that’s a complete lie,” he laughed, before adding, “You can if you want.” Picnicface came up with some unconventional fundraising tactics that ended up being great—albeit time-consuming—promotional

THEATRE 4. A Complete History of Zack Adams Sept. 27 Mainline Theatre (3997 St. Laurent Blvd.) 8:00 p.m. $10.00 ART 5. Slow Textiles and High Tech Farms Sept. 28 Concordia Greenhouse (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., 12th floor) 7:30 p.m.

tools for Roller Town. One man contributed $1,000 to the project in exchange for having his photo appear in the end credits. Picnicface member Mark Little, who plays the lead in Roller Town, offered to compose personalized raps for anybody who donated $50. “I told Mark, ‘That’s stupid, because everyone’s going to want to do that, your raps are funny, $50 is too little money.’ And Mark goes, ‘That’s fine.’ He ended up doing 50 raps. It took him a year and a half to finish them.” Reviews of the film have been mixed so far. Some praise the deft references to ‘70s roller-skating movies, while others have discounted Roller Town as juvenile. But for Bush, the praise is worth the criticism. “It was my first time getting really slammed,” said Bush of the film’s reception. “[But then] I was sitting on the subway and two guys I’ve never met told me they were really pumped about seeing [Roller Town]. It made me think, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s who I’m making this movie for.’” Bush is by turns critical, pragmatically confident and grateful when looking back on the experience. “Even though absolutely ridiculous things happen in [Roller Town], I truly believe that the acting gives us truthful moments. If you don’t think it’s relatable, then you have no soul. “I also would like to follow that up with one of those weird, winky faces. But really, my movie is playing at the AMC. There’s no way I can complain, at all.” The three 2012 Canadian Comedy Awards Roller Town received— for directing, writing and acting —can’t have hurt either. Bush is immersed in the kind of creative career where love of the

6. Fracture – Sculptures Murales Preview Sept. 26 Galerie Bernard (3926 Ste. Denis St.) 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

“I’m a huge fan of Michael Bay. No, not really, that’s bullshit. Please—that was—don’t write that, that’s a complete lie. You can if you want.” —Roller Town Director & Picnicface Member Andrew Bush craft overpowers any resistance to the requisite relentless work and constant self-criticism. “It’s not just sitting around, having drinks and saying, ‘That would be funny.’ It’s sitting by yourself, trying to make it work on the page and, after it’s shot, hours of editing,” he said. “If it’s funny we put it on the Internet and if it sucks we just throw it away. [Picnicface] spent days shooting things no one has ever seen because it sucked.” His story is one that creative types struggling to make it can relate to, and he offers encouraging words for those who might not have a movie deal in the works. “You go through all these levels of loving and hating [the job]. It

sounds so cheesy, but if you’re prepared to do the work, really jump into it and stick with it, you’re a king in my eyes.”

To find out where Roller Town is playing near you and to see more of Picnicface’s work, visit picnicface.com. To hear about Andrew Bush’s next project, a web series called Everyone’s Famous, to be released in late fall, follow him on Twitter @andycbush. To check out Mark Little’s raps, and the other unorthodox fundraising videos, check out youtube.com/rollertownthemovie.

FRINGE CALENDAR

SEPT. 25 – OCT. 1

25

27

26

OTHER 7. Concordia Used Book Fair Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 J.W. McConnell Building atrium (1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

28

29

30

1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Fringe Arts

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the link • september 25, 2012

Best of POP thelinknewspaper.ca/fringe

DAY ONE

The venue is Brasserie Beaubien, a hole-in-the-wall that looks shockingly similar to the bar in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Between the middle-aged Quebecoise bartender making quick quips in French and the cheap beer, this was the place for me. Wednesday was the Fixture Records showcase, a little local label whose biggest name is solo lo-fi droner Dirty Beaches. When I arrived, Mazo was playing solid, Velvets-inspired garage stuff. The song ended with the lead singer saying, “Thank you, we’re Dirty Beaches,” to some chuckles from the crowd. Everything was kept fun, with his heavy sarcasm making up for a not-so-tight set. Freelove Fenner were next—after more beer for me—a simple guitar and bass set-up moving as one grooving unit. They were an enticing little number; it was too bad that bassist Caitlin Loney’s voice was shot. They played a reduced set, with guitarist Peter Woodford singing everything he could, but I wish I could have heard them in harmony. —Colin Harris

I went to Cabaret du Mile End for good vibes. I walked right up to the center of the stage, wondering why there was such a huge gap—until I was caught in a painful pit of body odor. At this point, I tried to neutralize it by thinking of McDonald’s french fries, but it didn’t work. It was also hotter than hell. Deerhoof came on shortly after 11:00 p.m. with a loud and thunderous set that was also soft and beautiful. Frontwoman Satomi Matsuzaki was as eccentric and delightful as always. I caught their whole set, which was a good mix of the band’s recent material and a couple of old gems too. Performance-wise, this topped the night. I still had a couple of stops before calling it the end. I decided to get as wasted as possible for Dâm-Funk, who was playing some of the best disco and funk I’ve ever heard over at Mission Santa Cruz. I danced until my knees were sore, and it was so hot in there that it was nearly unbearable. Thank God for the funk. —Alex Giardini

DAY TWO Being a first-time performer at POP—and this being my first time ever playing drums in a band—there was more than a little lingering uncertainty at just what the hell I was getting myself into. After being scolded by the waitress ’90s dive-bar palace Brasserie Beaubien for not tipping on our free drinks (who knew?) my band Year of Glad laid out some merch at our tiny table. We sold some spoons that came with download codes, as well as a 7” or two and got some compliments and more free drink tickets. With one POP Montreal show under my belt, I can safely say that despite almost everything going wrong, it was still a fun as hell time. —Nick Laugher I was desperate to see Peaches. Her DJ night started at 11:30 p.m., but she only went on at 1:45 a.m. I didn’t think I could handle that. But being at POP, one thing leads to another. After PS I Love

You, I ended up at the swanky new Big in Japan bar next to Patati Patata on St. Laurent Blvd., then bolted for Peaches. She hit the stage in a beige unitard with a giant collar of different-sized boobs sewn on it. Even though it was labeled a DJ set, she sang and danced her way through it. The night started with her belting out vocals from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon classic, “The Great Gig in the Sky.” It ended with her boobshawl discarded, gold chains and a leather jacket adopted, and a cover of “Private Dancer” by Tina Turner. Big hits of her own like “Mommy Complex” and “Serpentine” also made their way into the set. She’s incredible. Peaches for president. When it was over, people lingered. It was past 3:00 a.m., so on went the Walmart lighting. So cruel. We hissed our way out of the church basement and into the cold, comforting darkness of St. Joseph Blvd. —Elysha del Giusto-Enos

erous “a loud and thundo soft set that was als and beautiful.”

PHOTO LP MAURICE

“The hall was pretty standard, as far as Ukrainian halls go. Stage: check. Tryzub symbol of Ukraine: check. Terrible washrooms-topeople ratio: check. But the hall did have the curious addition of chairs. I have never seen a Ukrainian hall with permanent seating. Where would we polka? Ridiculous.” —Nick Sawarna at Peaches Christ Superstar, Day Three

“She’s incredible. Peaches for president.”

PHOTO RICHMOND LAM


Fringe Arts

17

the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/fringe

DAY THREE

DAY FOUR

Day three started with a walk back to Citizen Vintage, where Hooded Fang and Cousins were set to play in the early evening. The sky looked pretty threatening, but only a couple blocks from my apartment, this show would serve as a dry start to my soon-to-be-soakingwet night. A pungent smell of a pink drink wafted from a mason jar being shared between two girls in the crowd, as everyone swayed but never fully danced for any of Hooded Fang’s indie surf sounds. After a wet bike ride down St. Urbain St., I arrived at one of the concerts I was most excited for in the whole festival. Local ambient experimentalist Tim Hecker had taken over the Church of St. John the Evangelist, for what was sure to be one of the most intense live experiences I’ve ever been part of. It was. In the barely lit, tightly packed church, Hecker sat above everyone on the church balcony, playing cuts off his latest record Ravedeath, 1972, itself recorded in a church in Iceland. Some sat in pews, others lay on the floor, soaking up the bass rattling the wooden floorboards. It’s hard to describe the dream-like state evoked from this show; Hecker’s extreme sensory-stim-

ulus performance made us feel the music, not just hear it. In the dark church it became all we could sense. —Colin Harris The hall was pretty standard, as far as Ukrainian halls go. Stage: check. Tryzub symbol of Ukraine: check. Terrible washrooms-topeople ratio: check. But the hall did have the curious addition of chairs. I have never seen a Ukrainian hall with permanent seating. Where would we polka? Ridiculous. Peaches Christ Superstar was a delicious dose of Biblethumping goodness mixed with leather-clad stagehands and golden polyester. Peaches sang abbreviated versions of the classic Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar to simple piano accompaniment. Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t seem to get it. Amid bouts of laughter and shout outs from those in attendance, people seemed to forget the etiquette of respecting a live performer. I was disgusted to see some of the repeat offenders donning shiny purple performer bracelets themselves. They failed to realize that what they were seeing was a staged performance that took a lot of preparation; as opposed to whatever booze-soaked event their bands had played at. —Nick Sawarna

I had a tough choice to make—it was either Big K.R.I.T. and Slim Thug over at Club Soda or Jacob Lusk (of American Idol fame) and a tribute band called the R. Kelly All-Stars over at Sala Rossa covering the R ‘n’ B phenom’s tracks all night. But I’m kind of a humongous R. Kelly fan, so I sort of had no choice but to go see what this shit was all about. Lusk took the stage in front of a young crowd that kept on shouting for “Ignition,” which forced the artist to play it early (I felt bad for him because that song certainly isn’t the R.’s best). He has a really amazing voice and is a talented showman. His original songs were a little on the snoozer side, but they weren’t terrible tunes. The R. Kelly All-Stars featured Jeff Barbara and Mozart’sSister and I’m pretty sure the band itself were former members of Islands. The show was good, but if you just like two or three R. Kelly songs, maybe not worth it. —Alex Giardini

After fighting my way through the intoxicated pundits, I finally secured a spot at the front of the stage, because if you know Rich Aucoin, you want to be at the front for his spectacle of a show. That’s when I noticed there was water dripping from the ceiling because of the heat. Confetti started pouring the second Aucoin hit the stage with his electro beats. The man was in and out of the audience, chanting and cheering along with us. By the time favourites like “P.U.S.H.” and “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” were played, we were all gasping for air. Not that it stopped anyone from jumping and stomping through the piles of confetti and madness. The pinnacle of Aucoin’s set every time is the point when he brings out the massive parachute for the crowd to frolic under. Remember the one you used to play with in elementary school gym class? Yeah, that one. It was thrown out to the crowd as we all latched on, waving it manically in the air as Aucoin danced in the centre with us. I don’t think any of us had any energy left by the end of it, but leaving the hellish venue to the cold night air was a relief, to say the least. —Josh Dixon

“if you know Rich you want to be a Aucoin, front for his spet the ctacle of a show.”

DAY FIVE Grizzly Bear hit the stage around 9:30, starting with “Speak in Rounds” off their brand-new LP, Shields. And for the next 90 minutes, they delivered one of the most gripping sets I’ve ever seen. The Brooklyn indie giants were evidently grateful for the packed show. Singer Ed Droste spoke about how years ago, they played Club Lambi (“Does that place still exist?” he asked the crowd) with Owen Pallett, where apparently bassist Chris Taylor spent hours fixing the PA system and the band members outnumbered the audience. At this show, however, the crowd erupted after every big flourish or moment of silence, loving every minute of their impeccable sound. From the elephantine climaxes in “Ready, Able” and “Sun in Your Eyes,” to the blissful encore of “Knife,” a friend of mine summed the show up in one word—magic. And between the incredible set,

hypnotizing lighting and the captivated crowd, it was, without a doubt. —Colin Harris I entered La Tulipe just after 10:00 p.m., fiddling with my stapled-on, technically stolen volunteer bracelet (turns out that getting someone to tell the good folks at POP HQ that their bracelet “melted off in the barbeque” gets you one for free, no questions asked), suitably drunk and ready for the witch-house-y goodness that is Purity Ring. The duo took the stage to loud applause, launching into one of the most finely crafted sets I’ve seen in recent memory. I remember hearing two girls trying to make each other throw up in the bathroom, and I think I was in an alley at some point. Oh, and their lights looked like dinosaur eggs, which both stressed me out and excited me. —Erin Sparks

MORE DIARIES

PHOTO CHLOE LAETITIA

“I’m kind of a humongous R. Kelly fan, so I sort of had no choice but to go see what this shit was all about.”

Scan the code for more POP Diaries—from the perspective of performer, volunteer and media. PHOTO RICHMOND LAM


Sports

STINGERS: I LIKE THE WAY YOU WIN • PAGE 21 PHOTO OF THE WEEK

PHOTO ALICE DU LAC

Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team defeat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 41-5.

BOXSCORES

WEEK OF SEPT. 17 TO 23 SUNDAY, SEPT. 23

SATURDAY, SEPT. 22

FRIDAY, SEPT. 21

THURSDAY, SEPT 20

TUESDAY, SEPT. 18

Baseball - Concordia 17, John Abott College 0 Men’s Soccer - Concordia 0, Université de Sherbrooke 1 Women’s Soccer - Concordia 0, Université de Sherbrooke 3

UPCOMING GAMES

THIS WEEK IN CONCORDIA SPORTS

28

Women’s Soccer at Laval Rouge et Or Women’s Rugby at Bishop’s Gaiters Football vs. Montréal Carabins (7:00 p.m., Concordia Stadium) Baseball vs. McGill Redmen (7:30 p.m., Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau Park) Men’s Soccer at Laval Rouge et Or Men’s Rugby at Bishop’s Gaiters

29

Women’s Hockey at Ryerson Rams Baseball at Ottawa Gee-Gees Men’s Hockey vs. New Brunswick Varsity Reds (2:00 p.m., Ed Meagher Arena)

30

Women’s Hockey at York Lions Men’s Soccer at UQTR Patriotes Women’s Soccer at UQTR Patriotes

Baseball - Concordia vs. Carleton University - Rained Out Baseball - Concordia vs. Carleton University - Rained Out Football - Concordia 30, Bishop’s University 38 Men’s Hockey - Concordia 5, University of Waterloo 6 Women’s Hockey - Concordia 4, University of Waterloo 5

Men’s Hockey - Concordia 3, University of Western Ontario 4 Men’s Rugby - Concordia 19, Université de Montréal 7 Women’s Rugby - Concordia 41, University of Ottawa 5

Men’s Soccer - Concordia 1, Université du Québec à Montréal 1 Women’s Soccer - Concordia 4, Université du Québec à Montréal 0

Baseball - Concordia vs. John Abbott College - Rained Out


2012 BYELECTION

For the positions of Current Affairs Editor, Opinions Editor, Sports Editor, Online Sports Editor, Fringe Arts Online Editor, Community Editor and Assistant News Editor To run, this is what you need to do: All candidates must submit a letter of intent not exceeding one single page and three writing samples, to be posted in the Link’s office on Oct. 7, by 4 p.m. This letter will explain the candidate’s reasons for running, goals and any relevant experience for the position.

Elections will take place at The Link office, Hall Building, room H-649. For more information, email: editor@thelinknewspaper.ca or call 514-848-2424 x7407 The following contributors are eligible to run for a position: Josh Barkman, Andrew Brennan, Elysha Del Giusto Enos, Megan Dolski, Melissa Fuller, Nick Laugher, Sam Slotnick, Christopher Tan, Jonathan Woods The following contributors require one more contribution: Anthony Abbondanza, Laura Beeston, Pierre Chauvin, Julia Jones, Vivien Leung The following contributors require two more contribution: Celia Ste Croix, Rebecca Ugolini

Oct. 12, 2012 4:00 p.m. H-649

Web Democracy The Internet is growing faster than ever expected. It’s one of our greatest tools. It’s open, it’s free and in recent years, increasingly dangerous.

Join The Link to help us brainstorm for our Web Democracy Special Issue. We’re talking online privacy, security and surveillance, and we’re excited to hear your ideas.

Web Democracy Special Issue Brainstorm Wednesday, Sept. 16 The Link Office (1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., H-649) 5:30 p.m.


Sports

21

the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/sports

CONCORDIA RUGBY

Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team beat Université de Montréal 19-7.

STINGERS WEATHER THE RAIN Men’s Rugby Team Gets First Win of the Season • DAVID KAUFMANN @DAVIDKAUFMANN85 It took three games, but the Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team got the monkey off their backs last Friday with a 19-7 victory over the Université de Montréal Carabins. “We have the horses, we have just got to find a way to finish much more easily than we are right now,” said Stingers head coach Clive Gibson, referring to his team’s recent struggles. Through the torrential rains that fell Friday night, it seemed like Concordia was going to drop their third straight game when Carabins right-winger Paul Côté Lépine made his way past the try line to go up 7-0 early in the first. This seemed to be something of a trend for the Stingers, as they were dropping balls and missing field goals. This was something that didn’t sit well with Gibson. “The ball-handling out in the back was abysmal. Some of it had to do with the weather, and some of it had to do with a lack of focus,” he said. But the Stingers came out a whole new team in the second half; finding the try line seemed to come naturally to them. “The forwards had their best game of the

season so far,” said Stingers winger Frederic Kacou, who scored a try in the second half. This was the case 12 minutes in when Caleb Jordan found an opening in the Carabins zone to tie the game at seven. Five minutes later it was Kacou lighting up the scoreboard with a try of his own. In the 29th minute, Vasken Redwanly added the insurance maker to go up 19-7. The Stingers’ dominance in the second half had Carabins head coach Alexandre Saint-Bonnet praising them. “Concordia is an excellent team, which means we had to deal with a huge opposition,” he said. But despite the win, Gibson believes his team still has a lot of work to do to qualify for the postseason, a task complicated this year by the addition of the Carabins as the fifth team in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec. “We needed a platform to work off of to get some ball. Now that it’s starting to work, we need to get the next phases out of it, get the connections going and keep the continuity.” The Stingers will try to make it two in a row when they head to Lennoxville next Friday to take on the Bishop’s University Gaiters. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m.

PHOTO ALICE DU LAC

A STING THAT PACKS A WALLOP

Women’s Rugby Team Crushes Gee-Gees • DAVID KAUFMANN @DAVIDKAUFMANN85 The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team steamrolled the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Friday night, scoring early and often to win their fourth straight game by a 41-5 margin. The Stingers got the ball rolling early with two quick tries. From then until the second half, however, they took their foot off the gas, which concerned Stingers head coach Graeme McGravie. “At 14-0, I was a little bit worried because we kind of stopped doing things,” he said. But his concerns were addressed after the intermission when the Stingers delivered an outburst of offense that included an additional 15 points before Ottawa figured them out late in the game with a try of their own. “We were the better team, and we thoroughly deserved the victory,” said McGravie.

Even his players were satisfied with their effort given the level of physicality the GeeGees usually put forth. “Ottawa’s a super gritty team. You always come out of the game feeling like you’ve been hit by a train,” explained veteran fly-half Jackie Tittley, who was named Most Valuable Player with six points for the Stingers. “I think we did pretty well to use that physicality and come out on top.” Meanwhile, the Ottawa bench was left wondering what went wrong. “The girls didn’t step on the field prepared, and that was evident from the get-go,” said Gee-Gees assistant coach Shawn MacDonell. With their recent string of wins, the Stingers are looking forward to securing home-field advantage in the playoffs. Before they can do that, however, they’ll be looking to defeat the Bishop’s University Gaiters this Friday in Lennoxville for their fifth straight victory. Kickoff is at 6:15 p.m.

Scan the code for more pictures from Friday’s rugby double-header in our media gallery.


Opinions LET’S GET GROWING

STUDENT SOUL SEARCHING: WHERE DO WE GO AFTER THE STRIKE? • PAGE 24

PQ Landscaping and the Future of Anglos in the Quebec Garden

GRAPHIC PAKU DAOUST-CLOUTIER BY LAURA BEESTON @LAURABEESTON

They told me it would be like this, but I didn’t believe them. Considering the printemps érable, a corruption inquiry, crumbling infrastructure, decisions on far-reaching environmental projects, enormous public debt and the loss of faith in our political leaders that led up to the #QC2012 election call, I was naïve enough to believe good governance, policy and economic development might be the orders of the day. God knows we need to deal with these subjects. But, as they apparently always do, the sovereignty questions stormed onto the campaign trail, taking hold of talking points with the vengeance of history unresolved. The anglophone and/or referendum bogeymen had apparently been hiding under our beds this whole time. While some of it was to be expected, the rhetoric of “stability and risk” did nothing to advance a conversation about what Quebec might look like under Parti Québécois leadership. Mostly, it egged on misinformed, pearl-clutching opinions about the PQ (and, by extension, Quebecers) that filtered in from the Rest of Canada, producing misinformed, lengthy diatribes on comment sections across the country that put many on the defensive. For their part at home, the PQ made hard-line promises for hardline péquiste supporters that seemed to be at odds with their gaining the broader voting base required for a majority. Honing in on issues of language, religion and culture proved counter-intuitive to getting undecided or unsure voters

to consider an electoral “oui” for the party anyway–especially as the desire for another referendum was at an all-time low. Embarrassingly, political heavyweights like former premiers Lucien Bouchard and Jacques Parizeau also stepped out from their leadership retirement to criticize the PQ’s latest stance on this stuff, with folks such as Jean Dorion publicly calling the party out for its intolerance. Others suggest the PQ has lost their mojo, as political adversaries Québec Solidaire and Option Nationale siphoned more progressive sovereigntist votes away, keeping the majority dream out of reach. What happens now that the votes have been counted—on the island of Montreal and for Canadian “unity” in general—is really anyone’s guess. One thing for sure, however, is that we are about to have a very important conversation. For her part, the first-ever female Premier Pauline Marois stated a desire to put past differences aside, telling anglo Quebecers, “We share the same history and I want us to shape together our common future.” There are cautious hopes the PQ will forge ahead on sovereignty issues, particularly in Montreal, with the modus operandi of “constructive dialogue.” To that end, politicos across the board had much to say about Marois’s announcement of her cabinet last week. It’s interesting to note, for example, that Alexander Cloutier was named Quebec’s first-ever minister for intergovernmental affairs and sovereigntist governance, solely responsible for pursuing Quebec’s interests in Stephen Harper’s Ottawa. Cloutier, a constitutional lawyer

and expert in international law, will be paid a cool $150,000 per annum to work full-time on the sovereignty question in the national arena, and many are eager to see how he pursues Quebec’s demands. The other cabinet first was the appointment of long-time PQ political player Jean-François Lisée as minister of anglophone relations and Montreal. The dossier has been heralded as “a new beginning” and a show of good faith for anglo/franco relations, even if the man in charge has a black-andwhite record in newsprint on the sovereignty questions. A journalist, Lisée writes openly and often about his belief in the primacy of francophone culture in Quebec, as well as its apparent decline in Montreal. So it’s no surprise that many— particularly The Gazette’s columnist on Quebec affairs and noted “#BadAnglo” Don Macpherson— ripped into his record following the announcement and are suspicious as hell of Lisée’s presence on the program, given his past. His first few actions as acting anglo/Montreal minister were certainly notable. Calling for “reciprocal empathy,” Lisée painted a picture of how he imagines Quebec quite literally growing in the future: “Quebec is a garden,” he said, imploring anglophone, francophone, allophone and aboriginal people to think outside the box on the issue. If there’s a way to cultivate everyone to bloom to their best and brightest, Lisée claims he wants to find it. His blue eyes sparkled. He then proceeded to troll Macpherson on Twitter. (“Hey! Don! I’m your new best friend! Get over it! Hugs! JF”) So, yeah. About that construc-

tive dialogue... While my initials are also LBB, I am not a direct aide to the premier’s cabinet, but feel the following might help the PQ navigate the eternal perplexity that are these sovereignty questions, especially as they relate to Montreal anglophones, and find ways to foster the “constructive dialogue” necessary to make this garden grow. The first order of business is that they need to finally do the English interview—as soon as possible. Marois blatantly blew off notable English media during the campaign, and they really deserve their time to grill the concrete lady about what’s in store for this province under her power. It’s pretty bleak to have to remind the premier of Quebec that the relationship between the government and the media is essential—even if she doesn’t like what she reads. The Gazette in particular is an institution for anglo Quebecers, so this gesture would go a long way to show they actually want a renewed dialogue with the anglophone community. At the very least, it would prove they’re not just afraid of Macpherson. Second, they shouldn’t forget that Montreal is really Quebec’s special child when it comes to this stuff. The so-called issue of anglo influence in Quebec is hugely localized on this island, so whatever is on the Bill ought to be implemented in a way that reflects the true reality of Montreal in the context of the rest of Quebec. Over 70 per cent of Quebec’s roughly 600,000 anglophones are bilingual, while a paltry 260,000 are unilingual Anglophones. In a population of 8 million, these figures are peanuts; Francophones

are the majority, the anglos are supposedly “weakened.” Montreal is not really at language war, nor should it be. As The Gazette’s Henry Aubin wrote earlier this week, if the PQ is seriously worried about French decline on-island, they might want to look for ways of keeping francophone folks from hightailing to the suburbs, as statistical trends suggest they’re the ones moving out. Beyond that, any righteous promotion of Québécois and francophone culture would best be served through investment in education and art, rather than beefing up legislation or government-sanctioned coercion. People who are encouraged to be genuinely engaged—not forced—might be more inclined to realize the goals of meaningful participation in Quebec society. This would also bode well for the promotion and advancement of franco cultural production and would surely involve a lot of inter-solitude collaboration. Frankly, more education is never a bad thing, and the availability of affordable French education and enrichment programs on and off the island might also benefit the staggering number of francophones operating below national literacy averages, dropping out of high school or struggling with francisation. There are a lot of things the PQ could do to engage with the Quebecers they turned off during their campaign, especially as it relates to the sovereignty questions and Montreal anglophones. The question remains, however, how they are to do it. An opportunity to cultivate starts now; the garden depends on it.


Opinions

23

the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/ops

SPACE MAN

ConU’s Good Decision Just Out of This World BY ALEX MANLEY @ALEX_ICON

Something crazy happened last week. For the first time in recent memory, Concordia administration made a prudent, difficult decision on an important issue, dropping all security-related charges against students for their actions during the student strike in March. Anyone paying attention to Concordia’s administration over the last few years could be forgiven for having to sit down and process the information. Simply put, the university and its higher-ups have gotten a bit of a rep for doing the wrong thing lately. It would be a comedy of errors if it wasn’t so frequently just a tragedy of errors. Two consecutive presidents hired and fired in less time than it takes to complete an undergrad. Millions of dollars tossed out the window on departing administrators. Board of Governors members staying years past their term limits. A two-million dollar fine from the provincial government. The infamous “culture of contempt” that an independent report found at the university. When Concordia President Alan Shepard was hired in early May, there was dancing in the aisles. Finally, Concordia had got their high-profile candidate to lead them out of their low-rankings slump: none other than the first American in space. And when it turned out that this was a different Alan Shepard than the deceased American astronaut, and that, compounding their error, Concordia had not hired the first Canadian in space, Marc Garneau, Liberal Member of Parliament for the Westmount—VilleMarie riding (in which Concordia is located) the dancing in the

aisles was lessened. Having never been to space, could this Alan Shepard bring the goods? But a few hours after copies of last week’s The Link hit newsstands, including Graduate Students’ Association President Daria Saryan’s letter to Shepard, calling for the charges to be done away with, that’s just what happened. He brought the goods! Like magic! If only Concordia started working like this more often. The construction ongoing on the Hall Building’s elevators might have been finished before the fall semester started—or, say, years ago. Concordia might have resolved the ongoing disputes with, oh, most of the unions its workers belong to. Heck, we might get back some student representation on the Board of Governors, if all it takes is for the president of the Graduates Students Association to write a pointed letter. Now, some people—the socalled “reasonable” ones—might argue that there was more to it than that. That Shepard’s decision came as a result of months of discussions between the university admin, the GSA and the Concordia Student Union, and that the proximity of Shepard’s response to the publication of the letter was only “coincidental.” People will believe anything, these days. For those of you with your heads on straight, let this be the moral of the tale: If you need something done at this school, you just need to know the right channels to go through. Next time you’re stuck behind some doofus standing on the left side of the escalator, just say a silent prayer to the GSA. If they take mercy on your plight, someone will write a letter to Alan Shepard, and you’ll be set.

GRAPHIC PAKU DAOUST-CLOUTIER

WHO’S REALLY SPOILED?

Hike-Supporters: Be a Part of the Solution BY PIERRE CHAUVIN @PIERRE_CHAUVIN

Spoiled brats. For months, those two words were at the forefront of the antistrike rhetoric. The main argument supporting the $1,625 hike was that students could afford it—those whining, Canada Goose-clad students with the latest iPhones. The fact is, the bulk of the hike would not have impacted most of the students who were on strike, yet they invested a lot of time and

energy to fight for future students to have affordable education. And this did not come without personal cost. Several weeks ago, a student association at the Université du Québec à Montréal, l’Association facultaire étudiante des sciences humaines, set up a solidarity fund to help students who were not getting financial aid for the month of September. Food baskets were also set up to help students in need. Picketing classes day after day, marching through Montreal every

evening and sometimes spending the night at the local Poste de Quartier after the mass-arrests the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal mastered this spring— students were left with little time for gainful employment. And now, after spending months fighting against the government, all students are back to class. The tight schedule of the Law 12-imposed classes—a month and a half instead of three to finish the winter semester—doesn’t allow for a full-time job beyond class.

In the end, students who were on the picket lines and in the streets are paying for it. The real spoiled brats are the ones who could afford not to be on strike. The ones for whom personal gain was more important than the solidarity shown by striking students towards a goal that will benefit all of us. The ones who launched expensive class-action lawsuits against entire universities for not clamping down harder on strike activities. The ones who for months never showed up to debate at our

General Assemblies. There are still many things within our universities that need to be discussed, from the lack of accountability on the Board of Governors to the current model of “financial aid” available to students. The summit on education promised by Premier Pauline Marois will happen in the coming months. Hopefully, by then supporters of the hike will be able to put down their ad-hominem attacks and bring some constructive arguments to the table.


Opinions

24

the link • september 25, 2012

thelinknewspaper.ca/ops

NEW STUDENT ID

GRAPHIC PAKU DAOUST-CLOUTIER

A Meditation on Post-Hike/Post-Strike Student Identity BY RUDRAPRIYA RATHORE

Where are you right now? Are you in a foyer teeming with backpacks and line-ups for elevators and escalators? Or in a deliberately low-key café smelling like chai lattes? Chances are, your surroundings indicate that you’re a student—and chances are, that means more than you think it does. In Montreal, the student identity has been shaped and reshaped in remarkable ways. A bilingual, cosmopolitan, diverse hub of culture, this city invites its inhabitants to have opinions. Your politics are so uniquely tied into your history, your age and your social sphere; your reaction to the recently cancelled tuition hike is likely to be relevant to your field of study, which is likely to be relevant to the kinds of people you talk to and what you talk about. Upon stepping back into the Library Building this August, I felt an uneasiness I could only attribute to the realization that I had to redefine what it meant

for me to be there. There was a gap between the typical right-wing Quebecer’s assumptions on student “entitlement” and the more authentic, multi-faceted political spectrum of the university setting. I felt, hazily, that I must belong to the latter—but I wasn’t able to figure out exactly where, or how. If the last year in this neverboring city showed me anything, it’s that the ways I define myself as a student seem to have undergone construction reminiscent of the current work outside the Hall Building. The ideological battle that took place in Quebec this year was not about bratty students who didn’t want to pay for their education; it was about fighting for our rights to know just what we were getting, and at what price. The liberties that our administration and our government tried to take from us, followed by the student resistance (and victory) have opened up a new space that demands that we reevaluate our ideas and objectives.

I’ve understood that school means many things to me: independence, a political awakening, a place in a socially engaged universe and most significantly an opportunity to exist as a sponge—as a learner. A learner not just of textbooks and course-packs, but of culture and subculture, of social discourse and of human relationships. Where else does one learn how to express oneself in a political gathering of thousands according to Robert’s Rules? To understand that for others, this microcosm instead means a distinctly garish stretch of clubs on St. Laurent Blvd., Canada Goose jackets and scraping by in classes they would rather sleep through anyway, only to graduate with a piece of paper that won’t even get them a job and an average debt of $14,000—that tells me we need to think about what it means to get an education. This is not an institution for the mere imparting of skills. This is an institution for the creation of knowledge. Here, we are taught how to think for our-

selves. Forgive me if I don’t see that reflected in the way students fit into the social hierarchy of this city. On the heels of all the talk about the words “student strike” being oxymoronic came these words, from The Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente: “The protesters […] sociology, anthropology, philosophy, arts and victim-studies students, whose degrees are increasingly worthless [are] the baristas of tomorrow.” The anger that came upon me when I read this nearly led me to hurl my 1,500-page Modernism anthology across the room... but I couldn’t lift it. Wente’s remark is a perfect example of the devaluation of knowledge that exists today. My struggle through philosophic and literary texts is a struggle that brings me enormous satisfaction, but absolutely no respect outside the classroom. Where, besides the university, is the recognition for teaching that gives people the ideas and energy to engage with the world? Where

is the appreciation for learning as an end in itself? Why is it that students are more often being told to understand how to make money, rather than how to become informed about the larger issues and discussions relevant to them? That profits matter more to our administration than a graduating class who can think critically demonstrates the chasm of opinion between the objectives of this school and my objectives as a student. The university is not only a place where you are made to write essays or put together lab reports or take exams. It provides the threshold one must cross into adulthood and into financial and intellectual independence. One must, therefore, not only learn how and why to study, but how and why to live—according to whose ideals, whose priorities, and whose teachings. We need to re-learn what it means to be educated—and why each of us is undertaking this—in order to learn anything at all.


25

the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/ops

Opinions

SPAGHETTI WESTERN & KATIE MCGROARTY @COLINNHARRIS & @KATIEMCG

COLIN HARRIS

Revealing Your Scars

I’m a young woman who had infected sweat glands in my groin and armpit area as a teenager, which left faint scars. I have always been incredibly self-conscious about the marks (they resemble chicken pox scars) but I know it isn’t normal and could look weird from a guy’s perspective. My boyfriend of a year and a half wants to be more adventurous with our sex life (public, broad daylight, etc.) but I am scared of him seeing my scars. Should I explain to him what happened? I want to be wild! —Scarred to Be Seen

GRAPHIC PAKU DAOUST-CLOUTIER

Across

Down

1. After the release of Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson plans to turn down the kitsch and turn up the Western in his next movie with this blondhaired, broken-nosed actor. (2 words) 2. A hilarious YouTube video turned Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” into a meditation on mom’s classic version of this dish. Look it up. Now. 6. Yes, there is a non-iced version of this Italian morning favourite. Now you know. 8. They were ordered to leave the gun—but did take this Italian dessert. 9. Elmer Fudd and a Sam named after this Californian national park have a penchant for trying to kill a certain cartoon bunny. 11. Before he started talking to empty chairs at political conventions, this actor played one great gunslinger. (2 words) 13. If you have one of these grills, invite us for sandwiches. No, not the rapper kind. 14. Italian bacon. That is all. 15. Traditionally, this Italian cheese doesn’t come in deep-fried stick form. Thankfully, that didn’t stop America from turning it into the world’s best appetizer. 18. This film starts with a child witnessing the slaughter of his family, and is a major influence on Quentin Tarantino’s work. (4 words)

2. Man, this Canadian pop-country music star feels like a woman. That’s not a joke, it’s just true. (2 words) 3. Strangely enough, before her short story was adapted for film by Ang Lee, this author graduated from Concordia. You might remember the movie adaptation for its controversial tent scene between two A-list actors. (2 words) 4. Approached to direct The Godfather, this man (and his beard) is one of the biggest names in the Spaghetti Western genre. (2 words) 5. A popular children’s song recounts the tale of someone losing one of these when somebody sneezed. Possibly because of all the cheese. 6. Even these gals get the blues, especially after this Gus Van Sant film critically and commercially bombed. 7. If what you get is green and frozen—don’t worry, it’s just pistachio. 10. This “Kid” may share his name with America’s biggest independent film festival, but don’t expect Butch Cassidy to show up in Utah any time soon. 12. Pasta a la this is literally “whore’s style spaghetti” in Italian. Oh my. 16. This tasty dish is a favourite of turtles—of the mutant ninja variety. 17. Starting off in ‘60s Westerns, this cowboy boogied his way into his role as an American sex symbol later in his career. (2 words)

Don’t let your scars stop you! I’m actually somewhat impressed if you’ve been together this long and your boyfriend hasn’t noticed these scars. Or maybe he has, but just doesn’t care. While I hate the word normal, what makes you think marks aren’t normal? I have an inch-long scar on my forehead from running headfirst into a table corner when I was younger—and while that may sound cute, I was probably older than you’re imagining when I did it. We all have scars and marks from different experiences in our lives and, while some are visible and others aren’t, they’re all part of who we are. Sure, not every scar has a cool or cute story to go along with it, and I know that armpits and groins are areas that many people tend to already have insecurities about, but there’s really no point in being ashamed of things you can’t change. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s a process for us all of us to overcome our insecurities. Unfortunately, you’re only cheating yourself when you let them get in the way of the sex you want to be having. The best sex you’ll have is when you leave your insecurities behind and realize that your boyfriend wants you. He wants you in public, in broad daylight and I’m guessing in a ton of other ways and places that require him to see your body— a body he’s clearly pretty into. Do you really think that’s going to change once he notices some scars that he’s managed to miss for this long? If so, I don’t think the scars are your problem; you probably don’t want to waste any time on a jerk like that anyway. You don’t need to explain away any part of your body, but if it will make you more comfortable and help you fully enjoy and express your sexuality, then I say do whatever you need to. If you do want to talk about it with him, but you’re having trouble figuring out how to start that conversation, you could try a different approach than, “Hey honey, I’m really insecure about these scars.” Maybe ask if he has any scars first, and get him talking. If you start a conversation that’s related and could lead into talking about your scars, it might be easier for you to talk about them just enough for him to be aware that they’re there, without sounding obsessive. While it may not seem incredibly sexy to disclose your insecurities, if it’s what you want, it’ll be incredibly liberating and damn sexy when you can finally do whatever you like with your boyfriend without this weighing on your mind. Bottom line: You can really go either way here. Either you tell your boyfriend what happened, or you don’t. Whatever you do, I highly recommend finding a way to embrace your body, scars and all. You can’t let insecurity hold you back any longer, and if you let your partner always be the reassuring voice, this insecurity won’t ever truly go away. —Melissa Fuller Submit your questions anonymously at sex-pancakes.tumblr.com and check out “Sex & Pancakes” on Facebook. Need some extra help? You can always contact Concordia Counselling & Development at 514-848-2424 ext. 3545 for SGW and ext. 3555 for Loyola. Got a quick health question? Call info-santé at 8-1-1 from any Montreal number.


Opinions

26

BARTON FLATS COMIC JONATHAN WOODS

the link • september 25, 2012

thelinknewspaper.ca/ops

LINKOGRAPHY 1. SkyBlu takes more than his fair share of coccaine. Redfoo gets angry.

LMFAO Breakup Timeline

2. SkyBlu and Redfoo get involved in a threesome. They accidentally cross swords. It’s super effective!

4. While attending an after party Redfoo “party shits” himself. SkyBlu is embarassed by Redfoo’s presence.

3. One month later, the third member of said threesome discovers she is pregnant. SkyBlu and Redfoo fight over who has the stronger sperm. 5. After releasing two albums together, SkyBlue and Redfoo find out they are uncle and nephew. Their partnership is ruined. LMFAO!

GRAPHIC CLÉMENT LIU

False Knees

COMIC JOSHUA BARKMAN

NAH’MSAYIN?

The Worst of Humanity (aka Being Fit and Productive) After waking up in a POP Montreal-fueled daze/four-day hangover, I was less than pleased this past Sunday morning. Many things tend to peeve me in the pre-noon hours—including, but not limited to, lack of accessibility to decent coffee, having to stand when I’m on the bus and people being productive when I am not. Combine all three and it’s a surefire way to catch me at my worst. So why the hell were there (what looked to me like) a billion people infringing on my 24 Sherbrooke bus territory

who had just finished a marathon. On. A Sunday. Morning. I don’t even think I brushed my hair before leaving my apartment, and you motherfuckers ran a marathon? Go to hell, and take your stupid medals and your stupid Oasis juice swag packs with you, because not one of you spandexclad assholes offered me a juice box while selfishly taking all of the seats on the bus. Rude. – Katie McGroarty @katiemcg GRAPHIC JOSHUA BARKMAN


Opinions

27

the link • september 25, 2012 thelinknewspaper.ca/ops

Editorial

AS BAD AS IT GETS The premise reads like a bad email scam. Can’t speak English but want to study in Canada? We’ll get you in—for a price. And please have a thick wad of cash ready for us upon your arrival. In the case of the cover story’s subject, David, you’ll pay $900 a month for an empty stomach and no personal space in a foreign country, neither of whose official languages you can speak. Faced with this reality, there are two possible scenarios we can imagine: At best, the university simply neglected to do their due diligence, somehow not knowing that someone who’s been on the university’s payroll for years advertised these homestays as the best way for Chinese students to learn English and integrate into Canadian culture. Meanwhile, he was swindling them of their money in an exten-

nese Recruitment website is offered in Chinese. It includes the usual lines, about how great it is to study here. The only thing is, it’s not so great to study here if you’re living with 12 other people and have only moldy hot dogs and bread to eat. Since at least 2009, Chinese students unable to speak English or French have been conned into paying huge sums of money for living conditions that would be objectionable anywhere, let alone in a city with some of the strongest tenants’ rights legislation in Canada. Concordia, you need to fix this. If not for the betterment of the lives of your students, then you need to fix this for our university’s reputation. Swift, decisive, no-nonsense action is the only thing that can make this right. There’s a lot that

-The Link is published every Tuesday during the academic year by The Link Publication Society Inc. Content is independent of the university and student associations (ECA, CASA, ASFA, FASA, CSU). Editorial policy is set by an elected board as provided for in The Link ’s constitution. Any student is welcome to work on The Link and become a voting staff member. The Link is a member of Canadian University Press and Presse Universitaire Indépendante du Québec. Material appearing in The Link may not be reproduced without prior written permission from The Link. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters 400 words or less will be printed, space permitting. The letters deadline is Friday at 4:00 p.m. The Link reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and length and refuse those deemed racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, libellous, or otherwise contrary to The Link ’s statement of principles. Board of Directors 2012-2013: Justin Giovannetti, Clare Raspopow, Laura Beeston, Adam Kovac, Julia Jones; non-voting members: Rachel Boucher, Julia Wolfe. Typesetting by The Link. Printing by Hebdo-Litho. Contributors: Josh Barkman, Andrew, Brennan, Laura Beeston, Pierre Chauvin, Josh Dixon, Alice Du Lac, Alex Giardini, David KaufmannNick Laugher, Vivien Leung, Mandy Malazdrewich, Michelle Miklejohn, Laura Pellrier, Michelle Pucci, Rudrapriya Rathore, Nick Sawarna, Jonathan Woods Cover by Julia Wolfe and Clemént Liu

has gone wrong here, so there’s a lot to be righted. There is a lot of trust to be regained. Confronted with these issues on one of the first days of his new term, it seems that Concordia’s new director of recruiting has taken steps to remedy the situation, in at least one of the homestay locations. But why did it take this long for the university to start paying attention? An external report is needed, because with Concordia’s higherups either ignorant of or complicit in this scam, it’s hard to have faith in the university being able to deal with this internally. The man at the centre of this storm is Low. His contract is currently being re-negotiated, so if there were a time to remedy this regrettable situation, it’s now. International students are a crucial part of our university. They add a richness to our com-

MASTHEAD

Volume 33, Issue 6 Tuesday, September 25, 2012 Concordia University Hall Building, Room H-649 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8 editor: 514-848-2424 x. 7405 arts: 514-848-2424 x. 5813 news: 514-848-2424 x. 8682 fax: 514-848-4540 business: 514-848-7406 advertising: 514-848-7406

sive scam involving a network of associates and underlings all pressuring vulnerable young people undergoing culture shock and abuse into keeping quiet about their problems. At worst, upper administration has knowingly kept silent, allowing these callous actions to transpire in the name of quick and easy cash—transactions that have not only harmed these students, but our university as a whole. Concordia’s official defence is that they’re not liable for anything outside of the actual recruitment of students. But it seems to be that the only reason to go through the university’s recruiter, Peter Low, for admission is a language loophole. Concordia’s logo is on the application form and the university’s admissions website links to this scam. And, unlike Concordia’s admissions page, the Concordia Chi-

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munity and reflect the greater globalized world; we all benefit from the variety of experience they bring to the university. China is particularly important to this school—the many trips there by Concordia VPs and presidents certainly suggest the admin thinks so. But what kind of message are we sending to these students? They matter more than this. This week’s cover story was a hard thing to keep quiet while we gathered the facts. But it’s a much worse thing for Concordia to have kept quiet if they had any idea what was going on. All of our degrees are tied to this school and its name. All the amazing, tireless people who work and study here get this mark of shame pinned to this place where we spend so much of our time. But our consciences are clean—it’s the university that’s dirty here.

JULIA WOLFE COREY POOL MEGAN DOLSKI (ACTING) OPEN KATIE MCGROARTY ELYSHA DEL GIUSTO-ENOS (ACTING) OPEN OPEN ALEX MANLEY OPEN SAM SLOTNICK (ACTING) ERIN SPARKS PAKU DAOUST-CLOUTIER HILARY SINCLAIR CLÉMENT LIU COLIN HARRIS LAKHWINDER SINGH RACHEL BOUCHER JOSHUA BARKMAN ADAM NORRIS MOHAMAD ADLOUNI


Volume 33, Issue 6