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Thursday, April 7, 2011

UVic votes to leave Canadian Federation of Students 5

University of Victoria’s Independent Newspaper

Putting youth in the youth movement 10

Jessica Benini balances hectic life, new album 15

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Peninsula Co-op elections draw controversy > MARK WORTHING The Peninsula Co-op has become a hotbed of controversy in recent years and people are paying special attention as its annual Board of Director elections approach. The Peninsula Co-op, a cooperative organization with core businesses in petroleum, grocery and convenience stores, has a stated goal of contributing “positively to the communities where we operate.” However, what this goal means has come up for debate. The organization — with $150 million in annual sales and a 50,000-strong membership — is also home to illegitimate elections, corruption allegations, Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits, legal threats and police investigations. It is also a stronghold for some of the most prodevelopment figures on southern Vancouver Island. In recent years the Co-op has become a knotted nerve for some of the most tangled and sensitive issues in the greater Victoria area including urban sprawl, local agricultural land and food production, sustainable local economies, and ecological integrity. Local farmer Randy Pearson, had serious concerns with the Co-op’s 2009 electoral process and filed arbitration request. After arbitration, Judge Jakob De Villier declared the 2009 election illegitimate. Typically, three of the nine board positions are up for election every year. However, after De Villier’s ruling, board members Ron Gaudet, Cathie Ounsted and Mike Fecteau were declared invalid, leaving three additional board positions available. Pearson and the Co-op resolved that the three board positions would go up for election at the upcoming May 2011 Annual General Meeting. As a result, this election has six seats available, presenting a unique opportunity for Co-op members to vote for a very different mosaic of board members. Co-op controversies such as the elections have garnered the eye of concerned citizens and new Co-op members. Jeanette Sheehy, a 26-year-old organic farmer in Saanich, recognized the need for a fresh perspective within the Co-op, which was established in 1977. She is running for the Board of Directors this spring in what is shaping up to be a historic election for both the Co-op and peninsula as a community. “If members decide that Peninsula Co-op should be about gas rebates, the incumbents have a good chance of winning again,” said Sheehy. “If we can show members the possibilities of what the Co-op could do for southern Vancouver Island in terms of community investment and food security, then I think they’ll elect a new Board.”

Development David Lawson, a long time resident of Central Saanich and 25-year Co-op member, decided to run in the 2009 and 2010 elections out of concerns that the Co-op was aiming to develop agricultural land into big box stores. “One of the problems with the peninsula is that it is one of the few

April 7, 2011

SOL KAUFFMAN

The Saanich Peninsula Co-op has been a contreversial issue as the organization’s annual elections draw near. Claims of undemocratic elections and development plans have surfaced, causing rifts in the Co-op.

places that the developers can actually gain large tracts of land to take hold of and make quick profits on,” said Lawson. “So that’s the fight that we’ve got now and it’s ongoing. I’m sure that it’s going to last a long time.” What he experienced during the elections shocks him to this day. “There are a lot of adjectives I could use to describe the elections. But I think the most appropriate adjectives I could use to describe the management and the board came down in the arbitration award last year,” he said. “Bad faith, scurrilous, oppressive. These are words described by a judge in the arbitration and that describes my experience. I was completely unprepared for that, because I didn’t realize people like that lived in this community. And I still find it shocking.” Co-op CEO Pat Fafard and General Manager Ron Heal were not available for comment. One project causing animosity towards the current management of the Co-op is the proposed rezoning of six acres of agricultural land adjacent to the Co-op gas station on Keating Cross Road and West Saanich Road. The proposal would turn the land in to commercial zoning for a new supermarket. This proposed development spurred a prank that has resulted in a police investigation. Pranksters placed a “For Sale” sign up where the rezoning application notification billboard stood at the proposed site of the supermarket.

The sign was apparently meant to draw attention to the problems inherent with the rezoning. Some members feel the proposed rezoning displays a dedication to profit rather than community. “As a community-owned and operated Co-op we should be doing more to support the social and economic development of our region,” said Sheehy. In the June 2009 elections, candidates challenged elected board members and campaigned against

members that were in opposition to the incumbent board’s and senior management’s land use plans.” The Annual General Meeting (AGM) when elections were supposed to be held saw booing, calling down’s, and the shutting off of microphones. Elections were opened prior to the meeting’s commencement, which greatly impeded those running in opposition to the incumbents from being heard. It was also the first time that the Co-op did not issue election pamphlets educating members on the various candidates’ platforms and relevant work experience, and did not allow challenging candidates access to the Co-op’s membership mail-out list serve. Currently, Co-op staff are barred from campaigning, and Co-op resources are prohibited from being used for partisan purposes.

I want to make the Co-op more transparent and participatory, by finding new ways to involve members –Jeanette Sheehy the collective political direction of Co-op management. At the time the opposition was indicative of some of the community’s concerns with the Co-op being used as a tool for urban developers. But what many felt was more indicative of the problematic management of the organization was the way in which they responded to individuals vying for elected positions. The 2009 elections were later described by De Villiers as conducted “in bad faith and in a manner that was oppressive to those

New threats

Groups like the Friends of the Co-op and the Co-op Action Network — along with neighbourhood residential organizations like the Mount Newton Neighbourhood Association and the Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society — are engaged in mobilization efforts to combat what they see as the pro-development practices of the Co-op and aim to increase the democratic viability of the organization. However, dissident voices have been met with a substantial number of threatening letters that are coming out of a high-profile North Vancouver lawyer’s office on

behalf of people associated with the Co-op. “It’s not just opposition to the Coop out here that is initiating letters from a . . . lawyer, it’s anybody trying to protect property, and land, and farms out here who are getting those letters,” said Lawson. These letters are threatening SLAPP suits and have been sent to many of the people who have opposed the Co-op’s activities, or those who have stood out against urban sprawl and the development of agricultural land in the Capital Regional District. Lawson said sharing specific details would put him in line for a SLAPP. “I can tell you that the suits have been pervasive . . . The lawyers have been having a heyday with this whole thing.” People like Sheehy are gaining an awareness of what is at stake with aggressive development and are hoping to bring people out in record numbers for the elections that open at various Co-op locations on May 25 and close on June 8. The election will utilize a new multisite voting system mandated by the arbitration report. “It seems like members are conceived as consumers, not owners. But the more I learn about Peninsula Co-op the more I realized that it has the potential to be a driving force of positive change in our communities,” Sheehy said. “I want to make the Co-op more transparent and participatory, by finding new ways to involve members in consultation and decisionmaking.”

NEWS 3


University 101 celebrates five years on campus > Nathan Lowther People facing barriers to postsecondary education don’t fit a demographical norm, which explains the diversity of students that have participated in the five years of UVic’s University 101 program. “University 101 offers free, non-credit university programs to people ... who haven’t, for a wide range of reasons, been able to access, or who aren’t currently able to access, post secondary [education],” said Program Co-ordinator Becky Cory. The reasons range from being a single mother, to having unstable housing, to being on a disability pension due to a workrelated injury, to having a mental health diagnosis, or an addiction, or just having bad experiences in the public school system. “I would say the common thread across many students’ experiences is not having the financial resources to access post-secondary, but it’s also more complex than that.” The program runs two sessions. Uni 101 starts in the spring and focuses on the faculty of Humanities, and Uni 102 covers the Social Sciences in the fall. Students attend two 2.5 hour classes per week and the instructors donate their time. The topic changes each week, allowing a wide sampling of what the faculties have to offer. “The choice of the content is based on the instructor’s passion rather than having a set curriculum,” explained Cory, “and I think that it is really inspiring for instructors to be able to go in and talk about whatever they are most excited about. And I think that really benefits the students because

they feed off the passion that the instructors have.” To maximize accessibility, everything is included in the program. Students get a meal before class, they are provided supplies and readings, and they receive child care and transportation subsidies. “It provides the opportunity for students who otherwise would probably never come to campus to have access to the classroom, access to instruction, access to teaching assistants and help and all of those kind of things. So I think in that regard, it’s quite unique,” said Annalee Lepp. Lepp chairs UVic’s Department of Women Studies and has volunteered with Uni 101 for the past four years as an instructor and a member of various committees. Lepp teaches the first segment of Uni 101, using popular culture to discuss critical thinking. Cory feels expanding the ability to think critically is one of the program’s key goals. “I would say it is really at the centre of our program, both in terms of our explicit curriculum, that’s the first topic that we cover, but also in terms of our implicit curriculum, the way that the course is structured.” The course structure does not include a grading system. Success is defined by each participant, allowing their individual needs and goals to be taken into account. “That’s a really important part of the learning environment that we create, that students are the ones in charge of what they do and how they participate ... taking away the power dynamics that can otherwise happen in educational settings where it’s the instructor that dictates what success looks like or what failure looks like,” Cory said.

sol kauffman

Tina Lalonde (left) and Becky Cory are both involved with University 101, a program that provides free, noncredit university programs to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access post-secondary education.

That’s important to Tina Lalonde. Lalonde was kicked out of high school, then went to Okanagan College when she was 20 to upgrade. She fell in love with higher education, but abusive boyfriends and a seven-day work week kept it out of reach. Then, while dealing with depression, she saw a poster for Uni 101 on her counsellor’s wall. “I thought it was a way to pull myself out of the hole, which it did. Even once I heard about it I started feeling better,” Lalonde said in a phone interview. “I was scared absolutely stupid when I went there but it’s been an amazing experience.” Though still fighting depression,

the course material has inspired Lalonde. She’s planning on taking the Uni 201 program next, which is 11 months long, with each subject going for a month. Then she wants to move on to credited courses. “I can very safely say that without this program, I’d probably still be sitting in my basement depressed and not interested in much,” she said. Despite the wide range of life experiences among her classmates, Lalonde does feel there is one universal feeling. “I think everybody’s coming from a position of uncertainty. I think for a lot of us it was hard to walk into that classroom just because it’s

university and you don’t know what to expect.” She was also coming from an environment that wasn’t supportive of her attending university. One of her abusive boyfriends used to ridicule her when she read or tried to learn about something new. “I think people that are in school . . . I know a lot of people appreciate it, but I think a lot of people take it for granted because they’ve been told they have to go to school or whatever,” Lalonde said. “I don’t know if they know what it’s like to not be encouraged in that direction or be told that it’s something that is unattainable.”

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Students vote no to CFS > Gemma Karstens-Smith UVic undergraduate students have voted for the UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) to sever ties with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). 1,361 students voted “yes” to continued CFS membership and 3,255 students voted “no” in the referendum, which ran from March 29–31. UVSS Chairperson James Coccola, who sat on the Referendum Oversight Committee (ROC), notes that the results are preliminary and still need to be verified by the ROC. Karina Sangha, who led the “No” campaign, says she’s “a little bit shocked” by the results. “I know we all worked really hard but we were definitely outnumbered throughout the vast majority of the campaign,” she said. “The representatives of the “Yes” side were out in full force and had much larger numbers than we could ever achieve . . . we really spread the megan kamocki word through our networks and via word of mouth.” The UVSS is disposing of its ties with the CFS after a recent referendum. Coccola says the referendum went “very smoothly,” despite a number constructive criticism and reform.” and I think people were very recepof complaints against both sides. Barrios says that the referendum tive to that. It was a very different “Both were guilty on several occawas “just the beginning of the end.” kind of vote than what the campus sions of breaking the rules and both “Unfortunately, this process is sees very often.” were given penalties for that,” he said. far from over, the [CFS] is well The road to referendum was a Coccola anticipates that the next known across the country for not long one for the UVSS. In fall 2009, step will be the ROC submitting recognizing democratic results,” he a group of students circulated a a motion at the next CFS Annual said. “We are certain the [CFS] will petition asking students whether or General Meeting (AGM) where the somehow fail to acknowledge the not they wanted to see a referenreferendum results will be received results of the referendum at UVic in dum on membership. The petition by the meeting. hopes they can legally trap us into “That will signal the official end of garnered 1,892 signatures and was continued membership. We will be followed by a counter-petition. The the UVSS’ membership in the CFS,” there to fight them when they do. CFS deemed the original petition he said. The mandate of students couldn’t invalid because some students Coccola doesn’t believe there will be be more clear: UVic wants out.” any issues with the results at the AGM. signed both the original petition Sangha also believes the issue is and the counter petition. The issue “At this point, the vote has hapfar from settled. She too is anticipatwas taken to the B.C. Supreme pened under the University Act,” ing a lawsuit, possibly over whether Court in January 2011, where he said. “Students have a right to or not the referendum applies to Justice Malcolm Macaulay declared make sure that their voice is heard. the UVSS’ membership in the CFS’ the original petition, submitted They’ve held a referendum under provincial component, CFS-BC. by UVSS member and current the CFS bylaws, followed all the Coccola says that, in terms of the Director-at-Large Jose Barrios in rules, and there’s absolutely no reareferendum, there is no distinction October 2009, as valid. son why it wouldn’t be recognized between the two. Barrios says that although the at the [AGM].” “In my eyes and in many other process has been “very, very arduVoter turnout for the referendum people’s eyes, there is really no difous,” having a referendum was a was about 30 per cent, up from ference between CFS and CFS-BC,” necessity. about 18 per cent in the March he said. “In pervious referendums, “The [CFS] has rejected many UVSS elections. Sangha, who is there’s never been separate referenattempts at internal reform. Rather currently a UVSS director-at-large, dums for the provincial component than looking at the grievances from believes the high voter turnout is and the national component. It due in part to the fact that the refer- students, the CFS has modified its would be in violation of CFS-BC’s bylaws to make it harder to end ties endum was a “simpler issue.” bylaws to be part of one organizawith them,” he said in an email in“It was less political. It wasn’t tion and not the other.” terview. “We need a new people trying to sell themselves,” MARTLET AD Mar 31approach 2011 The CFS did not respond to reto national and provincial lobbyshe said “It was more so just raising peated requests for comment. awareness about an important issue ing — an approach that welcomes

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www.uvss.uvic.ca NEWS 5


Vote Mob engages youth

Students stand up

> Kailey Willetts

sol kauffman

In response to a recent sexual assault that hit the media, UVic students and community members gathered for a Day of Action Against Sexual ized Violence on Tuesday, April 5. Approximately 75 people attended the march, which started at McGill Road at Ring Road and proceeded around the Ring. Students, faculty and community members took the opportunity to stand up against sexualized violence with signs, slogans and t-shirts. Similar marches have been taking place nationwide, including “Slutwalks” in Vancouver, Toronto and other major cities, protesting police comments that suggest women’s behaviour is responsible for sexual assault, including comments like women can avoid sexual assault by “not dressing like sluts.”

Federal politicians shouldn’t discount the youth vote — that’s the message UVic students will be sending through a “Vote Mob” video. “We want to get students out to vote, and we also want to scare the fuck out of the government,” said UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) Director-at-Large Dylan Sherlock, who’s helping organize the Vote Mob. Students across Canada have been organizing Vote Mob videos in response to a rant by comedic political commenter Rick Mercer, who said that “as far as any of the political parties are concerned, [youth] might as well all be dead.” “This was sparked by the fact that, in terms of demographics, youth have the poorest voter turnout in Canada. So only 23 per cent of eligible voters between 18 and 25 get out to the polls in comparison to about 50–60 per cent in all of the other demographics,” explained Lead Now communications coordinator Tria Donaldson, who’s working with the UVSS to plan the Vote Mob. “This often results in political parties ignoring youth issues, and it also means, in terms of our ability to change the results of the election, youth are a huge force to be reckoned with.” Students across Canada are responding to Mercer and demanding the attention of politicians in preparation for the May 2 election. “We have a federal election coming up. What student societies across the country are doing is putting on Vote Mobs, which are basically fun, crazy dance videos. Guelph was the first one to put one out and it got a lot of hits. It was featured in the Globe and Mail,” said Sherlock. “We’re going to have students at UVic run around holding signs, fake voting and just trying to raise some awareness and trying to get this video out there as a fun way to encourage people to not forget to vote this year.” UVic’s Vote Mob, which was filmed on campus on April 6, was expected to draw between 50 and 100 participants at press time. “Obviously it’s exam time and it’s a really busy time for students, so we’ll see what the turnout is actually like,” said Donaldson. “There’s been a lot of buzz about it already even though we’ve only been planning it for two days, so it’ll be exciting.” The video will be filmed to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” something youth say is lacking from their politicians. “We think one of the biggest

megan kamocki

UVSS Chairperson James Coccola, Director-at-Large Tara Paterson and Director-at-Large Dylan Sherlock want you to vote.

issues with youth and youth voter apathy is the fact that we don’t feel respected by our politicians,” said Donaldson. “So politicians aren’t taking action on the issues that matter to us like education, like affordable housing, like climate change. They don’t really listen to us in a lot of cases, so we want to make sure that they know we want them to respect us and our issues. So that’s kind of the theme of the video.” Sherlock says the government has been ignoring a lot of issues that are important to many students. “Definitely a big one that’s fallen off the radar has been climate change. There’s a lot of talking about climate change, and we have the tar sands going fullboard ahead. We have a lot of empty or broken promises about action on climate change,” he said. “For a lot of youth, we saw the great hopes going into Copenhagen and COP 15, and we had all those hopes dashed.” Sherlock said post-secondary education is another important issue for youth. “Education is in the least affordable state in Canadian history. Student debt is at the highest point, tuition fees have doubled and qua-

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drupled over the last many years, and so the government needs to put in a lot more action in order to address post-secondary education issues,” said Sherlock. “It’s interesting — we’re seeing some talk about grants here and grants there from some of the major parties, but really a lot of it is playing with money and playing with figures and not any real vision of how to make postsecondary education more affordable in Canada.” Donaldson and Sherlock hope the video will show politicians that students do care about politics and, perhaps more importantly, really do vote. Lead Now is a youth-driven organization that has been working to engage youth voters across Canada since February. “Youth from all over the country have come . . . to bring communities together around our shared values,” said Donaldson. She characterizes Ottawa’s politics as “really divisive and corrosive.” “There’s not a lot of co-operation happening, and not a lot is actually happening on the issues that matter to Canadians. We’re doing lots of organizing. This is kind of our second big thing; it’s pretty exciting.”

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April 7, 2011


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Editorial

the martlet says adieu

Thank you It’s been a pretty big year for us here at the Martlet. Things are rapidly changing when it comes to media. Most of us get our news via Twitter or Facebook or some other app that we’ve got our noses buried in as we dash across campus or sit on a packed bus. We at the Martlet understand. And we want to keep up. We launched a beautiful new website in the fall and, while there have been some kinks to work out, we’ve been using it to bring you, our lovely readers, lots of web-exclusive content to satiate you between Thursdays. Last month we posted the results of the UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) elections just after the ballots were counted; last week we did the same thing with the results of the referendum on membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). Sure, we came on a little strong with our editorial, but after a year of chasing CFS executives around trying to get a comment, we felt it was well-deserved. We’ve also been working hard to give you a little something extra on the website with our video content. In the last few months, we’ve interviewed a horse, made our sports editor compete with varsity athletes and filmed countless protests and debates. On the print side, we’ve been digging into issues and churning out award-winning stories. The Martlet was nominated for four John H. MacDonald awards this year. Three stories garnered runner-up nods; Will Johnson’s entry, “A little more human,” took top prize in the arts writing category. But we didn’t stop there. Last semester, Karolina Karas won the Globe and Mail’s inaugural Student Newspaper Challenge for her piece, “Reasons for the gender gap in universities debated.” The piece was republished on the Globe and Mail’s website. We went further than one-off pieces de resistance. We went column crazy. The proud tradition of Melodramatic Musings (for its final year), the politically minded prose of Y-Engage, the environmental perspective of Radical Tides and the riveting restaurant reviews in Cheque, Please lent the paper consistency. We even test-drove a whole new section on science and technology. If you enjoyed us nerding out, let us know so we can bring it back next year. Pithy opinion-based pieces are well and good, but we are a newspaper, after all, and we tracked news stories with the doggedness of a broke-ass bounty hunter. We scrutinized the revolution in Egypt and questioned the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) contentious consideration of usage-based billing. We examined YPY events like “Echoes of the Holocaust” and “Silent No More.” We covered oil tankers, salmon politics, the threat of a developed Juan De Fuca area, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and the Ida Chong recall, guerilla gardeners, late-night transit, the Stolen Sisters Memorial March, municipal elections, tar sands lobbyists and the Blue Bridge referendum and, lest we forget, the last days of our beloved rabbits. One of our favourite stories this year was the Maclean’s ban. Not because we support banning media publications, but because we got to — literally — burn Maclean’s. That was pretty fun. Of course, we’ve had moments where our strength failed us. You can only inhale so much recycled office air laced with the faint scent of compost (yes, we’re greening our office, too). Typing muscles cramp. Interviews go awry. Ambitious small businesses clog our fax machine with promotions for their daily specials. Alternate spellings of “amuck” are debated until the office is a galvanized war zone. And deconstructing hetero-normative gender binaries occasionally leaves us exhausted. Nevertheless, we’ve pressed on and (barely) got the paper to the presses time and again for you, dear readers. Thanks for sticking with us. Now go ahead and flip to Diversions. We know the thematic word searches are what keep you coming back.

Editorial topics are decided on by staff at our weekly editorial meeting at 2 p.m. every Friday in the Martlet office (SUB B011). Editorials are written by one or more staff members and are not necessarily the opinion of all staff members. April 7, 2011

Glen O’Neill glen o’neill

letters Switch to green energy? That’s unsustainable Re: “Nuclear power struggle,” March 31 Pretty good editorial! Two little snags, though. You recommend that “we” (the world?) abandon oil, coal and nuclear energy and rely on “safe, sustainable energy instead” — that is, wind and solar energy. But what happens when the wind is calm and the sky is dark? Largescale electricity storage is unfortunately impractical at present, so we must freeze in the dark. Also, let’s assume that the developing world will demand roughly the same energy per capita that we in the developed world now enjoy. Under that assumption — which seems only fair and equitable — Oxford Professor Chris Smith says it is impossible to provide the necessary amount of energy without using coal or nuclear energy. Pay your money and take your choice. Eric Manning UVic student

No animal research is justified Re: “Uncovering animal research: In search of a clear picture,” March 24 We on the outside are truly clueless as to what really happens in research labs. I, too, used to work in a lab. Once I realized that powerful industries that produce gasoline and fertil-

izers would rather pay a fine each year for pouring toxic effluent into our rivers instead of cleaning up their waste, I decided I could no longer justify killing hundreds of fish each year (on which I tested the effluent). Today, I believe no animal research can be justified. Animals belong to themselves, not to us. I have far more respect for their rights as living, sentient beings. I have to laugh when universities try to assure us that all tests are justified, peer reviewed and approved by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). Oh, like I feel so much better that a group of humans gave the okie-dokie to cause animal pain and suffering. It’s like our government telling us to trust its judgement. As always, the bottom line is money and power. It always will be. Thank you, Martlet, for printing this article. Eddie Markus Via Martlet.ca

is respectful to the lands; through green areas including parklands, internal trails and access for the general public. We feel that the West-Coast cabin design for the resort is suitable for these lands and we are encouraged that the developer has indicated the high standards that will be applied throughout this project.” They go on to say they anticipate employment opportunities through milling wood for construction. John Newcomb Community member

Visit

MARTLET.CA Tell us what we could do better next year

Marine Trail Resort not universally reviled Re: “Juan de Fuca development effects could escalate: panel” (Web exclusive) To clarify, the Pacheedaht First Nations, on whose traditional territorythe Marine Trail Resort would sit, wrote a letter on Oct. 23 in support of the benefits the development would bring for the band and the people in Port Renfrew. The band’s elected representatives wrote, “As presented, this project

Happy? Sad? Enraged? Tell us: letters@martlet.ca The Martlet has an open letters policy and will endeavour to print every letter received from the university community. Letters must be submitted by email, include your real name and affiliation to UVic, and have “Letter to the editor” in the subject line. Letters must be under 200 words and may be edited. OPINIONS 7


More tuition trouble ahead for B.C. students > Joy Fisher When nearly 700 students from across the province held a rally in front of the B.C. Legislature on March 16 to protest high tuition fees and increasing levels of student debt, the government proclaimed its policies reasonable. In a press release, the government said it has limited tuition increases to two per cent a year since 2005 and that B.C. student fees cover less than one-third of the actual cost of post-secondary education. A week later, a new budget was adopted at UVic for the 2011-2012 academic year. Tuition increases were once again limited to only two per cent. Next fall, Canadians who are undergraduates in an arts or science degree program at UVic will pay $4,862 for 15 units, an increase of only $96 over the amount we paid for this year. Gee, aren’t we lucky! It might seem so when we look at the situation for undergraduates in other parts of the world. In the U.K., fees will nearly triple next year, reaching about $14,000. At Washington State University, undergraduate students have been slapped with 14 per cent tuition hikes in each of the last two years. Tuition there now equals 15 per cent of the entire state’s median income. This fall, undergraduate students who are California residents will pay $11,124 for the academic year at the University of California. That’s more than twice the

ryan haak

amount Canadian students will pay at UVic. So why should we complain? Because, in 1978, the proportion of university operating expenses funded by tuition fees at Canadian universities was only 12 per cent of the total cost. By 2008, it had increased to 35 per cent. In the same period, the percentage funded by government dropped from 84 per cent to 54 per cent. The government is gradually shift-

ing the cost of public education off its back and onto the backs of students. And the shift hasn’t always been gradual. In February 2002, shortly after the B.C. Liberals took power, the government deregulated tuition fees, ending a tuition freeze and allowing institutions to set their own fees. Average enrolment-weighted tuition fees rose 25 per cent, and in some instances, doubled or tripled. Tuition for the MBA program at the

University of British Columbia rose 321 per cent. The graph above shows what this looks like. That spike on the right — that’s us. That’s why the average student debt load is $27,000 today. The reason tuition was limited to a “mere” two per cent per year in 2005 is because students staged protests and sit-ins until the government stopped the maddness. Don’t think this can’t happen

again. UVic President David Turpin has warned that we’re facing “some significant constraints” in the years ahead. The provincial government has drawn a line in the sand with respect to funding: no matter how much inflation increases university operating costs, the level of government funding will stay the same. Guess whose pocket they’ll pick to make up the deficit. No ideas? Ask the students in the U.K. Or the state of Washington. Or California.

Community groups don’t benefit from gambling > Marlise Nussbaumer The Victoria Fringe Festival is Vancouver Island’s largest theatre festival, and last year over 23,000 people attended. The Festival applied for a $42,500 gaming funds grant, but was denied because, according to a Globe and Mail article, it did not “reflect the . . . cultural characteristics of [the] community.” It seems that the B.C. Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is slashing funding to many community organizations, even though the BCLC has increased its net revenue through a new, larger lottery and a new online casino. To gamble is to take a risk, and gambling is notoriously addictive. People who are addicted to gambling take risks, and this has re-

sulted in them losing their money, their jobs and even their families. When the BCLC attempts to justify its existence, it states that money spent on lotteries goes towards charity and community organizations that benefit B.C. communities. Take into account that from 2008 to 2009, the total revenues from B.C. Lotto were approximately $2.61 billion, of which $1.08 billion was net gaming revenue. Of this money, only $156.3 million was redistributed to charities. The major problem is that the BCLC is continuously decreasing this already low amount of funding. In August of 2009, an announcement was made to cancel over $40 million that was already assigned to charities in B.C. Many groups who

were promised funding in previous years were told they would not be receiving the promised grants. These organizations rely directly on government funding, and having already set budgets, it was too late to look into alternative funding. Other groups affected included adult sport groups, playground funding and major capital project funding. This announcement to cancel some of the gaming money donated to charities violated a legal agreement to provide charities with 33 per cent of gaming revenues. The announcement dropped the donations to 10.4 per cent of net gaming earnings. The BCLC is also currently appealing a fine of $670,000 for violating the Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing Act.

The BCLC increased their revenue with the introduction of the Lotto Max and PlayNow.com. The Lotto Max is a new, larger lottery that generates more revenue than the old Lotto Super Seven. To take advantage of money that was spent gambling online, the BCLC also started PlayNow.com, an online casino. The ease of access of an online casino is a major factor in the path to addiction since online games are addicting in the first place. They are available anywhere at any time, provide instant gratification and are private. Online games also appeal to a younger generation that has grown up with computers. Now those who were previously only able to “play the game” without money at stake can actually gamble and risk

money in a setting they did not take seriously in the past — an easy path to addiction. The limit for gaming online was raised from a modest $120 per week to an exorbitant $9,999 per week in August of 2009. The BCLC claims the increase was due to requests from the public. Gaming was legalized to support community groups. The BCLC itself claims that lottery revenue is intended to support community groups. So why is only a bare minimum donated back to the community? Before you purchase your next lottery ticket or gamble online, please reconsider your decision to pay into what has rightly been called a “voluntary tax for the stupid,” and protest the improper allocation of charity money.

Use it or lose it: youth vote could topple Harper > Cody Willett If you’re not planning to vote in the federal election on May 2, you’re part of what’s wrong with our democracy. It sounds harsh, but with people our age dying for the vote on the other side of the world, it seems pretty spoiled to turn your nose up at the chance to have your say. “But why encourage the fools in Ottawa and legitimize a broken political system with votes that won’t make any difference anyway?” you might sincerely counter. That’s a good point. Between a vicious partisan atmosphere and the way our electoral system favours parties most youth don’t support, our “democracy” feels like a sham. So why bother? Because if you don’t, you’re playing right into the hands of those who don’t want your priorities even dis-

8 OPINIONS

cussed. Take a look at news stories on the election. The Conservatives want to magnify the power of their core voters by depressing voter turnout for other parties. They want a campaign built on fear so that disillusioned youth will stay home. This election is bad for our fragile economy, and we must be afraid of parties working together in a coalition, says Harper. Maybe he’s worried that young Canadians are pissed off that nothing gets said about the rising cost of educating ourselves while his government splurges on corporate tax cuts, fighter jets and super-prisons. Maybe he’s afraid we’ve have had enough of inaction on climate change, contemptuous treatment of Parliament and mounting scandals related to election fraud, criminal lobbyists and lying ministers. Or maybe he’s laughing. After all,

only 37 per cent of Canadians ages 18 to 24 voted in 2008.

Only 37 per cent of Canadians ages 18 to 24 voted in 2008 When the people ruling us are definitely not doing it in our interests, we have to ask: why is this the case? Staying at home on election day gives them a free hand. We need to form a good old-fashioned vote mob — they’ll never see it coming. If Canadian youths, who constitute

about a quarter of the total population, were to turn up en masse on May 2, every poll that puts us on track for another Harper regime would be proven wrong. These polls have become a form of control, predicting things that are far from certain. What they are good at is managing and shaping our sense of what’s possible. Can you imagine the look on Harper’s face when he gives his concession speech that night, completely taken aback at our show of force? Each riding he’s worked so hard to woo the “ethnic vote” in would flip into another party’s hands if we all showed up, unannounced, to cast ballots. Government has walked away from youth because it doesn’t fear us. It has no reason to. We’re not getting in its face, occupying public spaces, or disrupting business as usual in any meaningful way. We

don’t even bother to give them an idea of where we stand when they go through the motions of asking us. If politicians knew we really cared and were ready to act upon it, they’d be falling all over themselves to cater to our demands. After all, they’re doing it for seniors and ethnic minorities because they actually show up. We can’t continue to sit idly by as Canada drifts further into the hardened and selfish vision Harper has for this country. He’s had more than five years at the helm and done Canada wrong far too often for us to keep putting up with him. If we’re to honour the brave struggles of young people fighting for real democracy in the world today, the least we can do is show that we care about our own. Don’t know what party best represents your ideals? Check out votecompass.ca for a quick survey. that might help you decide.

April 7, 2011


Volume 63, Issue 29 Editor-in-Chief The Gemma Martlet Karstens-Smith Managing Editor Kristi Sipes Production Co-ordinator Marc Junker Advertising Director Bryce Finley News Editor Kailey Willetts

Interest in laptops trumps lectures Students turn to Facebook and Cracked.com when faced with lacklustre classes

Opinions Editor Vanessa Annand Features Editor Jason Motz Culture Editor Brad Michelson Sports Editor Max Sussman Junior Designer Glen O’Neill Photo Editor Sol Kauffman Staff Photographer Megan Kamocki Staff Writers Nathan Lowther Mark Worthing Distribution Co-ordinator Jon-Paul Zacharias Distribution Michael Miller Mike Edel Ivan Marko

> Sol Kauffman Everyone knows the guy in their class with the laptop who sits at the back and snickers every five minutes at Cracked.com like a hyena from The Lion King. Maybe the prof will embarrass them from time to time by quizzing them on Durkheim or whatever, relishing the turnaround as the class twists in their seats to sneer sourly back at the interloper. Sure, most of us are guilty of occasionally scanning our minifeeds in the midst of our prof’s 45-minute Youtube link, but that just comes with the territory, right? You’re not really missing anything. I beg to differ. Just like Canada’s low youth vote turnout, your class’s time-wasting typists are indicative of greater problems: disenfranchisement, the efficiency of university courses and the attitude of modern faculty. Last September, the McGill Tribune published an article by Nick Frid about a political science professor

banning laptops and smartphones in all of his classes. The professor, Arash Abizadeh, quoted a range of academic studies showing links between laptops, the ability of students to take in information and lower academic scores; meanwhile, the McGill faculty put together a set of guidelines to show profs their options in allowing computers in class. Some students feared it was the beginning of a campus-wide ban. After reading this article, I shit a brick. I had burned countless hours in 2009 dragging myself out of bed at 8 a.m. to sit in lecture-based courses where web comics were my only solace. I was disappointed with a lot of my courses, and my ability to sit in class, zone out and take advantage of wireless high speed felt like a God-given right. We pay tuition, right? Who cares if I ruin my own test scores by not paying attention? It’s not fair to limit my rights because other students can’t keep their eyes off my desk. For the 2010-2011 academic year,

however, I tackled two writing workshops and a recording class in the music faculty. It was a revelation. Though the workshops are three hours long, each minute is spent in discussion and critique, absorbing the opinions of your peers and contributing your own thoughts. I never even open my laptop unless my story is being critiqued and I have to take notes. In my music course, we spend a brisk 50 minutes covering material I find so interesting and difficult that I enjoy taking notes on it. Then we jump into an hour-long tutorial filled with experiential learning, setting up microphones and doing real recordings. It’s a far cry from the sort of class where I’d lurk at the back, wishing I’d brought my mouse so I could play a couple of games of Starcraft. I got something out of my tuition this year, and I can’t imagine going back to the mental thresher of the lecture-course archetype. We’re the customers paying tuition for the product of our educa-

tion: isn’t the onus on the professor to present material engaging enough to keep us off Facebook? How do universities get away with letting the employees dictate what the customer wants? I’m not suggesting that you drop all your boring courses, especially the mandatory ones. But we all deserve engaging class material, and as the customers we have the ability to demand it. In a world where every career demands more and more communication skills and interfacing with the web, it’s crazy that a university campus still offers dinosaur courses that demand you memorize facts like robots and regurgitate them for exams before forgetting them completely. Banning laptops is a band-aid on the problem of courses that fail to engage students. Rather than trying to force students to recognize the value of their classes, professors need to take a look at why people aren’t paying attention and how they can add value to their class material.

Of Kings and Tyrants Cellphones: a study in customer disservice

Web Editor Adam Bard

> Colin Osaka

Copy Editor Jon-Paul Zacharias Administrative Assistant Bridget Barker Staff Graham Briggs, Megan Dietrich, Karolina Karas, Taryn KarstensSmith, Tyler Laing, Anton North, Kate Shepherd, Cody Willett Contributors Joanna Bell, Miryam Burns, David Christopher, Melissa Ficke, Joy Fisher, Ryan Haak, Jesse Holth, Will Johnson, Jory McKay, Trevor McNeil, Pat Murry, Candace O’Neill, Marlise Nussbaumer, Colin Osaka, Chelsea Tirling Cover photo Sol Kauffman The Martlet Publishing Society is an incorporated B.C. society and a full member of Canadian University Press (CUP). We strive to act as an agent of constructive social change and we will not print racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise oppressive copy. Martlet (SUB B 011) P.O. Box 3035 University of Victoria Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P3 martlet.ca Newsroom: Editor: Business: Advertising: Fax:

ryan haak

250.721.8360 250.853.3206 250.721.8361 250.721.8359 250.472.4556

April 7, 2011

Prince Harry graces the cover of GQ Magazine this month, promoting “Walking with the Wounded,” a charity event for men and women injured while serving in wars. He is preparing for a 320-kilometre trek to the North Pole with four disabled servicemen. Each man will drag a 100-kilogram sack in temperatures as low as -45°C. Their purpose? To raise $2.3 million that will fund aid and recovery programs for wounded soldiers, and to honour the men and women putting their lives at stake for the safety of others. At the same time, Muammar Gaddafi, a tyrant proclaiming himself king, is laying waste to his own land and decimating Libyans, who now require the protection of other nations. For many nations, the powers of royalty have diminished almost entirely. We still honour the tradition, but not the practical application. However, dictators such as Muammar Gaddafi still cling to the ancient concept of kingdoms. Times have changed. Leadership is a component of society, but without democracy and liberal rights, there will never be peace. The king relinquishing his power is the first condition for social reconstruction, and the king accepting his role to support his citizens’ voices is the second. Prince Harry’s charitable efforts make a point to nations around the world: the most fundamental trend of civilization is change. Harry is taking steps to redefine today’s

concept of royalty. He’s proactively building a stronger relationship with his citizens, while selfproclaimed kings like Gaddafi are accomplishing quite the opposite. Although immediate change in the Middle East is implausible, change over time is inevitable. European kings once ruled with an iron fist, not unlike today’s dictators; however, they were either deposed or they agreed to a democratic system of government. Gaddafi and fellow tyrants will meet a similar end — an end that will be hastened by a global sharing of ideas through the Internet. Recently, royals have found their place in our modern world by contributing to society rather than taking from it. Through “Walking with the Wounded,” Harry pays homage to his nation’s soldiers, who are fighting to protect people from tyrants. He has taken on a very different role from that of his feudal ancestors. In the past, soldiers saluted their kings. Today, a prince salutes his soldiers. Some pretenders to the throne still seek the fear and abjection of their subjects. Citizens in countries with such rulers need our protection. Our royalty has become a paragon of generosity and kinship; those in Libya and similar countries deserve the same from theirs. In time, they will achieve this goal. As for the five men trekking north this month, bon voyage and best wishes. You are the rightful heirs to a modern-day kingdom that does not exist for your benefit, but for that of the people.

Harry is taking steps to redefine today’s concept of royalty

> Jory MacKay Most people have played the “Would you rather” game at some point in their life. Would you rather be 4-foot1 or 7-foot-9? Would you rather hear your parents having sex or have your parents hear you having sex? No matter what the question, the format is the same: choose between two equally unappealing options. In Canada, this is exactly the process we go through when choosing a cellphone service provider. Would you rather pay a ton of money for terrible service with Rogers, or pay a ton of money for terrible service with Bell or Telus or any of the other cell providers operating in this country? They all provide the same service and the same product, so the only differentiating factor is how they treat their customers. Most people have some horror story about their cellphone company, myself included, but we don’t do anything about this outrage. Recently, I spoke with a manager in my cellphone provider’s customer service department. I was trying to figure out why my phone, which was sent away three months ago for a simple repair, still hadn’t been returned to me. I was told that the company wasn’t responsible for my having a phone; its sole responsibility was providing me with its “service.” Yet walk into any cellphone store in the mall and you’ll see tons of little devices with Rogers or Bell or Telus or Fido or whatever brand on them. Coincidence? Must be. Those must have just been placed in there by accident, and are not to be confused with the real business of selling you a service.

This practice of selling you cell service while not being responsible for the phone you need in order to use that service is about as useful as purchasing gasoline for a horse. Yet we all pay up. Most have learned from years of abuse to just give in when faced with a problem with their cellphone company. We all know the process we’ll be put through: call customer support — get put on hold for 20 minutes — talk to someone — get transferred — get put on hold for another 20 minutes — have your call dropped — call back — get put on hold for 20 minutes — talk to someone else, explaining everything you already said before — get transferred — get put on hold for another 20 minutes. Eventually, we give in; no one has the fortitude to stand up to the verbal and mental abuse imposed on us by cellphone customer support. A recorded voice comes on telling you that your call may be monitored for quality control purposes. Yeah, right. They probably replay our feeble bleats at staff parties, laughing at the hoops we jump through while we pay them $80 to $100 a month. We in Canada have perhaps the worst service in the world, as well as some of the highest rates. I’ve never been to Africa, but I’m sure they have better cell reception than we get while driving through rural Saskatoon or Manitoba. Leave the city centres and those bars drop fast. So why do we put up with it? Why do we let these companies charge us astronomical prices just to abuse us? Do we enjoy playing a real-life version of “Would you rather?” Whatever it is, I’m sick of it. Forget cell phones — I’m buying a pager.

OPINIONS 9


Out with the

old, in with

the youth Politics, service and stories by young idealists

By: Cody Willett Photos by: Cody Willet and Melissa Ficke UVic student Paul Noble (right) has worked closely with Elizabeth May as a local Green.

P

aul Noble flicks through news feeds on his phone during the 45-minute bus ride to work in Sidney. He’s reading stories about Arab youth who, formerly alienated and jaded by the hypocrisies in their societies, are inspired to fight for a better life for each other. This is a guilty pleasure. He should be keeping up with news of the May 2 federal election — or at least his school assignments. After all, he’s not only a political science grad student at UVic, he’s also the local nerve centre of the national Green Party leader’s campaign. The world is changing unpredictably before his eyes, with brittle status quos cracking apart like the tectonic plates and crippled nuclear reactors in Japan. Noble struggles with the tension between getting ahead and making a difference, and as the world’s youth demographic begins to become conscious of its own power and challenges, he and other youth across the province are trying to figure out how to mobilize. It’s all happening fast. “Do you know why? It’s because I have a term paper to write,” jokes Noble. “Whenever I have so much shit to do that it’s unrealistic, the most interesting things happen.”

Noble intentions When Noble heard Elizabeth May was neck and neck with Conservative MP Gary Lunn in a riding close to UVic, he decided this was something he had to be a part of. What he found was more informal and fluid than he anticipated. “I basically walked into [the campaign] . . . All of a sudden, here I am doing communications for the leader of the party,” he says. “There’s just not that much [competition] there — there really isn’t — which is both terrifying and . . . a huge opportunity.” As the election campaign begins, Noble is pulling double duty trying to finish classes and build up the first line of co-ordinators and student organizers. However, he is competing with students’ final exams and a hesitancy to believe the election is worth their precious time. “You can hardly blame students for not wanting to

10 FEATURE

get involved in Canadian politics,” he admits. “It’s really disgraceful.” Noble also recognizes that the Greens carry many stereotypes — they’re all hippies, tree huggers, etc. — but given the progressive positions the party takes on issues ranging from peacekeeping to post-secondary education, he says the party’s lack of historical baggage makes young people willing to give the party another look. “UVic really can change the course of Canadian history in this next election,” says Noble, scratching his head as he tries to figure out how to get students to see the campaign as a place to develop attention-grabbing organizing tactics and unique multimedia campaigns. “If we could tap into some of that [passion], and use it more broadly to empower and mobilize the Canadian youth population, it would change everything.” Even though he’s never had so much on his mind, Noble says that the challenge to earn decent grades when he’s got so much else going on is worth it. “The nice thing about having that balance is that the academic side provides context for the more on the ground [reality],” he says, noting that education, like the Green Party, is just a means to an end. “I’m not getting an education just so I have a piece of paper on my wall and … if the [campaign] didn’t represent a credible way of making the world a better place to me, I wouldn’t [participate].”

From pancakes to power Nimmy Takkar is a “small town gal” who moved to the big city still wondering what she wanted to do with her life. Riding the bus to her grandma’s house one day, she felt like she was on to something when she saw an ad for the addictions counselling program at Vancouver Community College (VCC). On her first day of classes she saw someone carrying a stack of boxes they couldn’t see over and offered to help carry them. Takkar’s new friend asked if she was interested in helping out with a pancake breakfast the student union was putting on that day. “I thought ‘yeah, okay, maybe I’ll just flip some pancakes,’” she says. The people she met that day told her about some of the projects the student union was

working on, including developing a health plan and establishing a U-Pass program like the ones students at UVic, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia had. “Students at [VCC] are some of the poorest students in the province [and] the more I talked to [them], the more passionate I became about both topics. I could tell these students weren’t like ‘yeah, it’d be nice.’ These students needed it.” Takkar says that once she got involved, “it was kinda easy from there on out.” She was elected to the student union, vowing to work on a health plan and helped the referendum on the plan that year succeed. “I was like ‘oh wow, I could really make a difference’ . . . I was hooked.” In her second term she helped ramp up efforts on the metro Vancouver We Ride U-Pass campaign, which put her in contact with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). “I went from someone who had never done media work to doing it once a week,” she says. “People took time to show me the skills . . . because I belonged to these organizations that had activists who were already trained.” Before long she was asked to consider taking a break from her program and standing for election to the CFS executive. The other declared candidate dropped out and Takkar was acclaimed chairperson, meaning she was representing 150,000 students across the province and working with another 450,000 students across the country. Although she had never considered herself a political activist before she got involved, on June 9, 2010 Takkar was centre stage at the announcement of the U-Pass B.C. program — the first provincially-subsidized U-Pass program in the country. “Here I was standing beside the premier, who said ‘this organization and this campaign [had] created this program,’” she says, smiling. “It was an incredible feeling that day to be part of . . . something that was going to last beyond my time . . . [after] this one day where I was supposed to make pancakes — that was all it was supposed to be.” Takkar stresses that simply deciding to get involved

April 7, 2011


VCC student Nimmy Takkar stands with Premier Gordon Campbell to support the $30 U-Pass.

changed her life, even if you can’t see it on the outside. “If you met me on the street, you’d think I was an average student, struggling with debt, who’s trying to finish her degree … On those days where you feel like you can’t fight alone, you’re right — you can’t,” says Takkar. “But when I look at the fact that I’m in debt, it’s not just my story — I think of the thousands of students whose stories I’ve heard that go along with mine.”

Telling stories As a child, UVic alumna Danielle Pope used to hold her fist up like a mic, peppering her mother with questions and signing off as “Reporter D.P., coming to you live from the kitchen.” Today her questioning persists in her current position as news editor at Monday Magazine, an alternative weekly based in Victoria. “In our hearts we’re still curious about what makes people do the things they do,” says Pope. “We don’t think we can just go up and ask them, but . . . you don’t have to be a journalist. You can just go and ask ‘What’s your story like? Why did you decide to get involved? Why is it important to you?’” Pope, who got her start at the Martlet, uses her curiosity to connect people by publicizing the stories of those whose voices usually go unheard. “Maybe that means [doing] a profile on someone who was gay-bashed outside a club, or [stories] about political rallies that are coming up that . . . never made it into the Times Colonist . . . So now who’s story really needs to be told?” she says. Pope believes that her generation wants to hear from each other, rather than from some mass media broadcast. When the work and stress pile up, Pope says youth often have to draw upon their distinctive tenacity and vigour. “[Youth are] willing to be underpaid, willing to be overworked . . . and even though that’s unfair, it’s also a unique opportunity to see how much power any person can put into their work,” she says. “You come at it with a fresh perspective . . . It’s still from the eye of ‘but don’t you see we could change this?’ . . . Because we see it — we’re not old enough to think we can’t.”

April 7, 2011

Monday Magazine News Editor Danielle Pope interviews Darren Mann of Wild House.

So meet me at the barricade? It might seem that people like Noble, Takkar and Pope are a bunch of lucky keeners, but according to Dr. Matt James, a political science professor at UVic who specializes in social movements, their stories reflect “straight society’s” encouragement of youth involvement. “There are way more opportunities and [authority figures] recognize . . . that you need young blood in your organization,” says James. “A lot of times it’s like ‘we don’t understand social media,’ or whatever else it is . . . and they need youth experts in those roles.” James maintains that youth are still finding ways get their messages across on issues ranging from sustainable agriculture to tuition fees, but he thinks their voices have been diluted — even though the population of people coming of age is the highest since the 1960s, according to Statistics Canada. “[Youth today] are a lot more likely to be focused on making [their career] happen, whereas in the ’60s they could focus a lot more on making a social movement happen,” he says. “So there’s not as much time, and I think time is one of the most precious resources of youth when it comes to social movement mobilization, and that’s something insecurity has really taken away from them.” High tuition fees have further weakened the ties that hold movements together, as youth struggle to maintain full course loads while simultaneously holding down jobs to pay the bills — or face absurd amounts of debt. “The problem on campuses is that creating those belongings and tight identities that can be used to motivate people [is] much more difficult in a chaotic, part-time-job university world where the distinctions between cohorts aren’t very clear,” says James. “It’s just a more fragmented scene.” More than that, James says that the impact of social media and the Internet in general “means that people are . . . tailoring the information they access to their very specific interests and needs. “People aren’t getting a common base of concerns, ideas and information, which tends to encourage the proliferation of much smaller social movements. It’s just

a necessity — whatever is done has to be a coalition.” Coalitions have been the driving force of the youth-led freedom movements in the Arab world, with students, unions, women’s groups and others inspiring unity by relating their stories to those of others. “Precisely because people live in a world of incredible fragmentation, diversity and multiplicity, there is [an] underlying yearning . . . that [brings] people together across powerful and important differences . . . to participate in something bigger than themselves,” says James, noting that we can help fight for their freedom by pushing our governments to change policies that enable repressive forces there. “That could be an inspiring point of connection . . . People should realize basic liberal democratic freedoms are important . . . They actually need to be fought for here at home.”

A clear view from every bend in the road Noble, Takkar and Pope found that getting an education and supporting themselves aren’t easy to balance. However, they also found that there are countless opportunities to combine both goals with effecting tangible social change when they decided to make time to serve a cause that ultimately will also serve their own. Young Canadians can either ignore these opportunities or turn up the heat on campaigns as summer approaches. Either way, we are history — in one sense or another. Noble says he’s met fascinating people through the campaign. In them he sees that our generation’s moment is the forcing of senile governments to, through local efforts, take action that makes global sense. “It’s easy to get involved and it’s easy to have a disproportionately high impact beyond what you would expect — you make it up as you go along,” says Noble. “It’s how our generation sees the world. It’s a challenge . . . but it’s worth it. I’m totally happy with what I’m doing.”

FEATURE 11


Culture

*

Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Seriously? Yes. culture@martlet.ca

Local band burns bright for the Nintendo set > Vanessa Annand Callianne Bachman and Andrew Juurinen have been accused of ruining The Chronicles of Narnia. The two members of Techromancer don’t slander Mr. Tumnus or root for team White Witch. But in early 2010, when they were recording their debut album, Space Duel, they sampled another band’s vocals in the opening track. The sound engineer swore that the co-opted line was “Aslan dies.” They called the track “Spoiler Alert.” And no, neither of them can remember what the borrowed line actually says. Everyone’s favourite saviour-lion isn’t the only childhood icon the electropop band envokes. Anyone who’s played pinball or navigated the pixellated worlds of Super Nintendo will savour the bloops and bleeps of Techromancer. That’s not to say only nerds need apply. Imagine your local arcade transformed into a sweat-flecked dance floor while Ableton software-fuelled melodies blast out from a laptop. A deft drummer and a raven-haired keytar player command more than lip service from you with their wellpaired, strident vocals. They want limb service, baby. All appendages a go. Dance dance revolution, indeed. And the revolution starts here. Techromancer kicks off an openended spring tour with Dreamboat at Club 9One9 on April 26. In December and January, Techromancer bounded up the !earshot electronic music charts and sidled in at number three for the week of Jan. 18 (Daft Punk’s Tron:Legacy took top spot). And, on a brief, inaugural tour with Celebrity Traffic last fall, Techro-

mancer sold out of records. If you missed the tour or Techromancer’s heavy rotation on CFUV, you can download the album for free on the band’s bandcamp site. But what should you expect? If a comparison must be drawn, it should be to Sleigh Bells, says Bachman. By her own admission, the festively named band is more “thrashy and raw-sounding” than Techromancer. Still, both consist of only two members, and both enjoy some healthy tambourine thwacking. Celebrity Traffic, the Victoriabased dance floor filler that toured with Techromancer throughout B.C. and Alberta in the autumn, found that in the Interior, audience reactions to both bands varied from delighted (Jasper) to mystified (Canmore). “Sometimes people don’t really get it,” said Brandon DeLyzer, the keyboardist for Celebrity Traffic. Some patrons expected a rock band to lull them with Aerosmith covers while they downed whatever was on tap. “People will come up to us and be like, ‘Do you know any Led Zeppelin covers?’” said DeLyzer. Juurinen can sympathize with those who just don’t get it. “As a kid, I remember thinking, ‘I don’t understand why people enjoy listening to music,’” said Juurinen. He credits a steady diet of Raffi during his formative years for this confusion. Lightning struck in 1993 via the conduit of Lenny Kravitz, who posed an important, if punctuationfree, question for Juurinen: Are You Gonna Go My Way. A friend of Juurinen’s had purchased the album, decided it was shite, and fobbed it off on Juurinen, who destroyed it through non-stop playing.

Provided

Techromancer named their band after a 1998 Capcom arcade game.

After that, he says, “I started hitting buckets, pots and pans. I kept breaking the buckets, so finally my parents got me drums.” Following a stint of drumming for Ontario band Ace Kinkaid, Juurinen relocated to Victoria to complete his master’s degree in biology at UVic. He advertised online for a bandmate; Bachman responded. Techromancer was born, giving a whole new meaning to e-Harmony. Bachman speaks devoutly of her and “Bandrew’s” marriage of musical sensibilities. “This is my one and only musical

focus,” she said. Their compatibility seems cemented when I ask them what their guilty pleasure is. They respond—in stereo — that they each had pizza for breakfast. Of course, Bachman’s musical union with Juurinen didn’t change her last name. That surname often elicits a hearty “Ha ha— like Randy Bachman!” from strangers, she says. Well, yes, exactly like that. But the daughter of that Bachman (and sister of Tal) rejects any assumptions that she’ll perpetrate a BachmanTurner Overdrive aesthetic.

“There are no guitars anywhere near our music,” she clarified. That fastidious approach to aesthetics began with choosing the band’s name. Bachman, who colour codes all her hangers to match her clothing, read the Wikipedia entries for every video game for every game system before she and Juurinen settled on “Techromancer,” a 1998 Capcom arcade game. “That’s what we do,” said Bachman. “We romance technology.” Hair-flipping, hip-shaking arcade champions, take heed: there’s a new high-score holder in town.

MELODRAMATIC MUSINGS

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12 CULTURE

April 7, 2011


Toews’ new novel explores Mexico, Mennonites > Will Johnson Miriam Toews doesn’t know how to use Twitter. The award-winning novelist, whose new book, Irma Voth is being released in April, recently signed on to the social networking site to help promote her work. But she’s still working out the kinks. “I’m sort of embarrassed about the whole Twitter thing, because I don’t really know how to use it,” she said with a laugh. “If I don’t properly respond, it’s just because I’m a luddite.” Toews is the author of A Complicated Kindness, a novel about Mennonites in Manitoba that won the Governor General’s Award in 2004. Her follow-up novel, The Flying Troutmans, won the 2008 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her novels have won her international fame and allowed her the luxury of focusing on her writing. However, the impetus for Voth came when she was working on a different project: she had been cast in the Mexican film, Luz Silenciosa, which translates to Silent Light in English. The movie was filmed in Northern Mexico by Carlos Reygadas, and went on to win the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize in 2007. “I’m certainly not an actor,” said Toews. “Carlos Reygadas only hires non-actors, which is how I got the part.” Regardless, she was nominated for Best Actress in Mexico’s Ariel Awards. “I’ve had one other person ask

Provided

Award-winning author Miriam Toews’ is set to release her new book, Irma Voth, later this month.

me to do a movie, and I said no,” Toews said. “It was a fun, creative experience and I’m glad I did it, but I basically just took directions. Plus, it’s not as creative of a gig as writing.” Irma Voth tells the story of a young girl, living in a reclusive Mennonite community in the Sierra Madre Mountains, who marries a Mexican boy and is thrown out of the house by her mother. When a film crew starts to film a movie about her community, the young woman’s life is disrupted

and she ultimately runs away with her younger sister, Aggie. When asked if she feels like she’s finished writing about Mennonites, Toews laughed. “I made the mistake of saying that after A Complicated Kindness. I blathered all over the place, all over the world. ‘That’s it! I’m never writing about Mennonites again! Nope, I’m done!’ . . . So now, obviously, I lied.” Toews said she was surprised and pleased by how the Mennonite community responded to A

Complicated Kindness. “There were all kinds of reactions. Some called me a liberator, others a betrayer,” she said. “But I was really happy that a lot of people got it. I was critical of fundamentalism, not the faith itself.” Toews said she would characterize herself as a “standard agnostic.” However, she has had a tumultuous year and has found her worldview shaken. Less than a year ago, her sister Marj committed suicide, following in the footsteps of her father

Melvin, who died in 1998. (Toews’ non-fiction book Swing Low is about her father’s struggle with depression.) “Not to be self-pitying, but it’s been a cataclysmic year,” she said. “Half my family is gone.” Toews said continuing to work has been one way she has coped. “Writing is the one thing I can control,” she said. Her work is often very autobiographical, and mirrors circumstances in her own life. Though humour is plentiful, she acknowledges human tragedy. When asked whether she has any advice for new and emerging writers, Toews sighed. “This is not going to be original, that’s for sure,” she said. “But it would be to write what you know, obviously . . . and to just go [do] it every day. The discipline is so important. You have to stop going out drinking with your friends every night. Just stop.” Toews is currently slated to tour across Canada and then Europe, before returning to finish in the U.S. She said she has mixed feelings about touring because it’s a great way to connect with her audience and meet new people, but it’s also exhausting. “My life is sort of exploding from being private to being public again,” she said. She is already working on a new book, though it is only at the “notebook stage.” “I feel like if I talk about it, it will just sound stupid and I’ll lose my nerve,” she said. “So that’s a while off.”

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April 7, 2011

CULTURE 13


Movie Corner

Hobo With A Shotgun will blow you away

Hobo With A Shotgun is by far the goriest, most excessive film ever to come out of Canada (and yes, I include Black Christmas and Ginger Snaps). I went into the theatre not knowing exactly what to expect. I had seen other takes on “Exploitation” movies; they have nothing on this.

But while Hobo is gory and excessive, it is also intelligent. Focusing on an unnamed hobo, played by the venerable Rutger Hauer, the film opens with a beautiful scene of a train rolling across a landscape. This is the last bit of real beauty in the film, as the last station of call is a

place called Helltown. And that’s not an exaggeration. The entire city is riddled with the worst sort of deviance one can imagine, all overseen by a sadistic businessman (power suit and all) and his equally sadistic sons who make Patrick Bateman look like a shoplifter. They are allowed to do “business” so freely thanks to a deal with the chief of police, who is so crooked he makes Boss Tweed seem like Tommy Douglas by comparison. Initially angry but inactive, the hobo watches the scenes around him with a disdainful sneer. He finally snaps when he goes to a pawnshop to buy his heart’s desire (a lawn mower) and the place is being robbed. The robbers are threatening to kill everyone in the store, including a baby in a stroller. Noticing the used shotguns on the wall, the hobo fulfils the second half of the titular description, paying for the gun as he leaves. What follows is a horrific litany of violence begetting violence as the hobo “dispenses justice

one shell at a time” and the aforementioned rulers of Helltown turn the populace against him. Despite the American-style cash and cars, the film has some unmistakably Canadian touches, such as having the villain’s sons dispatch victims with hockey skates and the cameo by the CBC’s own George Strombolopolous as a news anchor. The violence, while brutal, is not mindless, echoing some realworld issues with disturbing accuracy. Homeless people are paid to kill each other for “bumfight” videos, and are later lynched by roving mobs of yuppies. Prostitutes are viciously abused by police officers. Nurses are strung up in a hospital corridor. A busload of school children is burned alive with a flam-thrower. All in all, despite the cheesiness and relentless gore (seriously, not for the weak of heart — or stomach), Hobo With A Shotgun is the best representation of the B.C. Liberal’s agenda yet committed to film. –Trevor McNeil

Insidious: a great scare In the past few years I have become something of a horror movie aficionado, so when someone generously donated their free Insidious passes to me, I was excited. And the flick did not disappoint. From the makers of Paranormal Activity and Saw, Insidious is, for all intents and purposes, a re-visitation of Poltergeist, the only popular horror film in history to deal with the repressed fear of child abduction — until now. In this version, the child’s body remains in the earthly realm while his “astral projection” is held captive in a hellish netherworld called “the further,” by entities with an “insidious agenda.” The premise gives rise to myriad thrills and chills in both this realm and “the further” with visually spectacular demons, monsters, ghosts and a particularly disturbing twilight-zone-like setting in the netherworld. The film is filled with all manner of horrific deliciousness and even includes some refreshing comic relief, openly ridiculing the horror genre. In this case, the comedy is accomplished with a requisite pair of ghosthunting buffoons, reminiscent of the Ghostbusters or the Frog brothers from The Lost Boys. Overall, Insidious is a great film. Unlike its production predecessors, it makes no effort at faux-documentary realism (à la Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch Project), nor does it fall back on the easy emotion and gore spectacle of torture porn (as in Saw). It’s just a good ol’ fashioned horror film, but it has some fantastic innovations. There are some contrived plot conventions, and more than one moment of absurdity, but the film is unencumbered by the heavy emotion elicited by torture porn, or abused children, which one uncomfortably assumes will be the premise from the outset. Ultimately, it relies a little too heavily on the visual shock that had me jumping out of my seat with exhausting frequency, but the visuals that caused these moments were absolutely chilling. Insidious will leave you with powerful, if somewhat clichéd, images that will haunt your visual memory for days after. –David Christopher

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Local musician keeps calm amidst frenetic life > Kate Shepherd “I can’t force anything. I just go with it.” London Fog in hand, Jessica Benini exudes a calm that defies her hectic schedule. It’s Thursday morning, and in a few hours the Alberta-born singer-songwriter will be pressing and duplicating her first album, Express Yourself, set to be released on May 12 at Upstairs Lounge. The project has been in the works since last December, and Benini has been balancing its production with a day job, teaching, writing and performing. But while most people would feel entitled to a break by now, she shows no signs of slowing down. The album, featuring six songs Benini has performed live since last year, was prompted by frequent requests at shows, where she was approached by audiences eager to take her music home. “People were asking me, ‘Do you have a CD?’” said Benini. “So I decided I just had to do it.” “It’s very acoustic,” she said of the final product. “There’s some percussion and piano, but we wanted to keep it as raw as it could be.” The organic sound stems from the spontaneity of Benini’s shows, which she believes turns people on to her music. “I don’t really know where I’m going to go next in a song. It keeps the audience on their toes.” Benini has honed her songwriting skills since moving to the Island in 2007, but her performing career started in Alberta. At the Rosebud School of the Arts, she trained as an actor, and her education led to

Sol Kauffman

Jessica Benini moved to Vancouver Island in 2007 after taking acting classes at the Rosebud School of the Arts in Alberta.

an opportunity at the Canadian National Voice Intensive. “Vocally, it wasn’t a singing thing,” said Benini. “It was a Shakespeare thing, but it all connected.” The five-week course, she observes, was more about “letting go and being honest” than anything else. Now she helps other musicians develop their own individual voices. She started teaching guitar and songwriting last year, offering both technical instruction and opinion. For someone accustomed to opening up on stage, helping

others to do the same is a unique experience. “Following what’s inside you — that’s something I really like to tap into,” said Benini. “Some people have a hard time connecting to that. To let it out can be intimidating, so I just guide a bit.” That connection is what she appreciates most in other performers. “The Islands Folk Festival was the highlight of my summer,” said Benini. “Camping in the trees with a bunch of musicians, just listening to raw, organic music. To see someone

just giving it their all – to me, that’s so inspiring.” Last year’s festival also saw Benini compete in the songwriting contest with a tune about her adopted home on the Island. “I was the only girl; that was exciting. I got to rip it up on stage. It was a fantastic opportunity.” “Where I Belong,” penned on a ferry ride to Victoria, snagged third prize. “I actually wrote it on a napkin. That was the best ferry ride I’ve ever had.”

As for her aspirations beyond her first album, the idea is simple. “I want to record another one,” Benini said in a whisper, failing to disguise her excitement. “I don’t know if I’ll ever feel satisfied, but I want to have more songs out there.” Most of all, she’s determined to stick to her personal motto: play publicly without apology. “I have a habit of apologizing for everything I do,” she said. “But I think it’s important to have a voice. This is me, take it or leave it.”

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April 7, 2011

CULTURE 15


Science & Tech (

The beauty and the horror of the machine world has excited many artists. How ‘bout you?

)

culture@martlet.ca

Sleep is affected by technology: experts Victoria Alarcon Excalibur (York University) TORONTO (CUP) — It’s 2 a.m. and Sarah Alyana is receiving her fourth text of the night as she quietly moves to grab her phone. It’s getting later into the night, but just as she’s ready to go to bed, another text appears and sleep becomes the last thing in her mind. “It’s very addictive,” said Alyana, a second-year student at York University. Her eyes dart downward as she glances quickly at her computer. “I don’t get much sleep because I’m always on my laptop most of the night, and otherwise I’m texting people at night.” Alyana is not the only one who can’t let go of her very binding addiction to the computer. The majority of Canadians use technology right before sneaking into bed. “We see this on a daily basis here in our sleep clinic, that many Canadians are not getting an adequate amount of nightly sleep,” said Robert Cohen, a Calgary-based sleep expert specializing in insomnia and sleep disorders. “They carry a sleep debt, and of the many factors responsible for that debt, one is certainly the prevalence of technology use before bed.” A recent survey published by the National Sleep Foundation found that 95 per cent of Americans are using some form of technology within the hour before they go to bed. Of the 293 Americans surveyed between ages 19 and 29, 67

per cent of the group used their cell phones then, while 60 percent turned to their computer or laptop in the night. An Excalibur survey of 100 students found York is not so different. Seventy-seven per cent of students said they depend solely on technology to get them rested before bed — it’s become routine. Fifty-three per cent of students are either using their laptop or computer every night, and 31 per cent are using it almost every night. In addition, a growing number of students are using their cellphone every night in the hour before sleeping, often sending, reading or receiving messages or talking on the phone. Technology can be addictive, but what about it has us so sleep deprived? According to Cohen, it’s the stimulation that comes from being on the computer or cellphone every night. “The hyper-arousal from the technology gets us wound up so that we are unable to fall asleep,” he explained. “One of the things that was written in the survey is active versus passive technology. If someone is listening to music, listening to the radio or watching television, that’s got be a little less disruptive to sleep compared to something active like gaming, texting or working on the computer. In terms of the stimulation and the hyper-arousal in people, people just get worked up. It’s like if somebody participated in a vigorous exercise an hour before

Sol Kauffman

Taking your iPhone to bed with you may be negatively affecting your sleep patterns.

bed, they get hyper-stimulated and it’s very hard to fall asleep.” But the stimulation that comes from playing games on an Xbox or a Wii is not solely to blame. The light emitted from different screens also suppresses our desire to sleep. Charles Czeisler, director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard University’s medical school, said in a press release that artificial light exposure “suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour making it more difficult to fall asleep.” Cohen agrees.

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“Though we don’t have strong scientific evidence, there is good rationale that, depending on the type of technology, the light emitted from technology can suppress the hormone melatonin, which one needs to fall asleep.” In the Excalibur survey, 29 per cent of students had several sleeping problems, from having difficulty falling asleep to waking up during the night. And though most students have these sleep problems only a few nights, students are not getting a good night’s rest because they’re not prioritizing sleep. “Specifically, university students do need at least eight to nine hours of sleep, and there is clear scientific evidence in the laboratory in research on the effects of chronic partial sleep restriction that it decreases mood, performance and health. People who don’t get enough sleep gain weight since it affects their

metabolic systems,” said Cohen. According to researchers, sleep makes for the difference between waking up a drained, irritated student to a focused and patient one. Cohen notes university students who want not only to have high marks, but also good relationships should strive to have a good amount of sleep. “One of the ways to improve someone’s sleep is to limit the use of caffeine, alcohol [and] nicotine in the evening hours and have a good wind-down routine prior to bed, preferably without technology. Certainly don’t have technology in the bedroom and have it on through the night,” said Cohen. It’s also important that students have as much of a consistent sleep schedule throughout the entire week by having a regular bedtime and a regular wake time, recommended Cohen.

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April 7, 2011


{

After two years, editor Max Sussman is leaving the sports section. “Thanks for your on-and off-readership,� he said.

}

sports@martlet.ca

Armageddon FC’s own economic action plan > Max Sussman The crowd at Bear Mountain Arena got what it had been waiting for all night when Sarah Kaufman finished Megumi Yabushita with a flurry against the cage on Saturday, April 2. Kaufman, a Victoria fighter and former Strikeforce Champion, had her hand raised, Yabushita had her face bloodied and the crowd left in a satisfied frenzy. Kaufman’s win wrapped up Armageddon Fighting Championships’ (AFC) fifth show. The show was a testament to the growth the organization has experienced over the last month. On March 9, AFC’s Executive Producer Jason Heit and President Darren Owen appeared on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. “[That appearance] has had a big impact. The AFC and MMA in general have a certain fan base, and within that, we’re known and recognized. But this brought us to people outside of that niche market,� said Heit. Simply by being on the show, Heit has had doors opened to him — doors with handles he previously couldn’t even reach. “When we first started out, everyone we called, we just weren’t able

to get in touch with the right people. Now, they’re coming to us. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re those guys from the Dragon’s Den,’� said Heit. Heit and Owen walked out of the den with an $80,000 investment in return for 30 per cent of the company from two of the judges on the show. But that was reality TV, and AFC is an organization that operates within the real world. Heit said the deal is being restructured so that he and Owen retain full ownership of AFC. “We’re trying to restructure [the Dragon’s Den deal]. The best thing for us right now is to have investors underwriting the events. Giving up equity . . . we don’t want to dilute our own shares,� said Heit. Less than a month after their TV appearance, Heit and Owen put on their fifth show, which Heit said drew better numbers than their previous shows. The show featured the biggest name that AFC has ever featured: Kaufman. While Kaufman recently lost her Strikeforce world title to Marloes Coenen, she remains under contract to the major American promotion. Her success at her first fight in her hometown invites the question: will she be back?

“We would love to be able to have her compete again, and we’re going to work on that. She is under contract with Strikeforce, but I don’t think they keep her real busy. If they’ll let her compete outside of her contract, we’ll have her back,� said Heit. It is this sustained growth, both in business profile (AFC has TV deals with The Fight Network and with CHEK TV locally) and in in-cage product that has Heit calling AFC “Western Canada’s most successful MMA promotion.� While Heit is an experienced fighter himself with nearly 50 professional bouts under his belt, he relishes the chance to influence the sport from the promotional side. He hints at a desire to become more of a promoter than a fighter. “Sometimes I think the fight of this industry is more important than rising in the rankings as a fighter. I think AFC raises the standard for MMA around the world and is going to keep doing that. There are some things we’re going to do in the future that are so forward thinking that it’s going to really change the sport in terms of how the athletes are treated. I feel that by promoting, I can have a real positive impact,� he said.

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Sol Kauffman

Dan Lin (top) finishes off Duncan’s Josh Spong with punches on the ground at Saturday night’s AFC V: Judgement Day.

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SPORTS 17


Gendered preconceptions unsportsperson-like Gender connotations of certain sports require athletes to look beyond raised eyebrows > Nathan Lowther These days, few raise an eyebrow at a woman on a varsity team doing a lay-up, or a man on a varsity team sending a perfect cross into the penalty area. Say rower or swimmer and no gender pops into your head. But say field hockey or rugby, and that’s not the case. James Kirkpatrick has tried most sports. Ice hockey, soccer, even rugby. But today varsity field hockey is the sport he plays. He started playing when he was about eight, and heard the comments. “When I was younger people would make fun of you a little bit, like, ‘ You’re playing a girl’s sport,’ or whatever,” Kirkpatrick said in a phone interview. “But at university, I guess people have a bit more class and it’s more a surprise than anything else.” Still, no one would react with surprise if he said he played varsity soccer. And for women playing a sport perceived as masculine, the comments are a bit harsher. “Dykes on spikes is what people call it a lot,” said fourth-year Vikes rugby player Chelsey Minter. “The gay jokes got brought up, and butch jokes and things like that.” That can carry over when her teammates trade in the cleats for

heels and head to the club, when a guy finds out the woman he’s talking to plays university rugby. “They just assume that rugby girls are all butch and not pretty,”

Dykes on spikes is what people call it a lot. –Chelsey Minter on women’s rugby Minter explained. She also finds that people expect the women’s game to have different rules than the men’s. “A lot of people ask if it’s full contact. It is, and that’s kind of shocking for a lot of people,” said the history and political science student. The gender biases haven’t kept either Minter or Kirkpatrick from thriving in their chosen game, as both have played for national junior teams. And both agree that as the levels get higher, the stereotyping abates. “There’s still a little bit, but defi-

nitely not as much,” said Kirkpatrick. “When people hear what level you’re competing at they’re more impressed.” Less impressive are the results the men’s team has put up. The women’s field hockey team is one of the most successful programs at UVic, and the men have never been able to match that. Part of the problem is that fewer men play field hockey in Canada, and many of those that do are from Vancouver and end up at UBC. “Once they come over to UVic they love it. But getting them to come over can be a bit of a struggle,” Kirkpatrick said, adding that they do have a good group of guys here now, and that despite missing the playoffs they had a good season. The women’s rugby team is in a similar situation. Men’s rugby gets plenty of press, partly because their success. The women’s club is going in the right direction though, including a fourth-place showing in this year’s Canada West playoffs. “We came up with our best season,” Minter said. “We went 2-2, which doesn’t seem that good, but it’s a big improvement from the 0-4 and stuff we’ve had before.” Once exams are finished, Kirkpatrick and the junior national team are heading over to Europe. He’s not feeling too confident about playing the top-ranked

men’s team in the world though. “The Germans will definitely stomp us, they’re number one in the world right now. We’re playing England and Poland. Those are the teams we’ll probably match up best with.” In rugby, the national teams give a good glimpse into how gender still influences sporting decisions. “When I started, the boys that I knew that were playing on Canada’s junior team didn’t pay for anything, we paid for everything,” said Minter, who aspires to make the 2014 World Cup squad. “There was no carding system for the women until 2007, and then they finally started giving us a progressive carding system, so that some costs are covered. But it’s nowhere near what the men are getting, even now.” Neither athlete gets too worked up over the negative comments they still sometimes hear. “People who are coming [to UVic] are trained and have gotten over any of those kinds of things,” said Minter. “They’re here to play rugby and do well.” Kirkpatrick has been asked “too many times to count” whether he has to don the skirt women field hockey players wear. He mostly just laughs that attitude off: he

understands where it’s coming from. “I just encourage people to take a look at it before knocking it,” he said of his sport. “A lot of the comments that people come up with are born out of ignorance. If people ever came out to watch one of our games . . . I’m sure their opinions would change.”

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SEEING STARS Horoscopes for the week of April 4, 2011

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19): You know exactly what needs to get done, so what’s the hold up, Capricorn? Don’t spend all of your time and energy creating distractions for yourself this week — you will regret it when something unexpected pops up. Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18): Maybe it’s time to rearrange your living space. Tap into your creative side to relieve yourself of some of the boredom you’ve been experiencing with your day-to-day routine lately. Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20): You could be living the dream this week, as a hobby could potentially turn into a financially rewarding career for you. So dust off that old guitar or those paint brushes of yours and get busy! Aries (March 21 - Apr. 19): Ignoring conflict will not make it disappear this week, Aries. You’re going to have to face your problems head on in order to achieve any sort of peace or resolution. Take care of it early so you can enjoy the rest of your week.

BY CANDACE O’NEILL

Cancer (June 21 - July 22): A particular situation has left you anxious and a bit moody this week. However, it would be best to mind your attitude when around co-workers in order to avoid starting any unnecessary workplace conflict. Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22): Keep your schedule as open and as flexible as you possibly can this week. Someone from your past may unexpectedly make an appearance this week. Trust me — you will want to catch up! Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22): If you’ve been out of touch with close family and friends lately, now is the time to re-establish communication and catch up. You may be surprised at just how much has changed. Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22): You will need to be on top of your game this week if you’re hoping to make a lasting impression. Study up and bring your A-game, Libra. A positive impression could bode well financially for you in the very near future.

Taurus (Apr. 20 - May 20): A job promotion — or a better job altogether — may be headed your way this week. Don’t let others’ jealousy and negativity distract you. You have worked hard and you deserve this. Enjoy.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21): It feels a lot like two steps forward and one step back the past few weeks, Scorpio. Don’t let a little stumble here and there completely discourage you. You’re making excellent progress.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20): You have a serious case of spring fever this week, so put it to good use! Clear your living space of any clutter, prep the garden, dust off those sandals and enjoy the beautiful spring air.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21): Procrastination every now and then is necessary in order to stay sane. However, if you’ve been overindulging in it the past few weeks, you can expect to pay dearly for it this week as1 of 2 the deadlines pile up.

K R S A P M A P S L Q Q H N E Z C D Y H I J M M M X A M P K

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EVENTS

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M W R A H S Y P L L O U P W C W D D E Q K T Y Z D O K D O K

Parkinson Society Canada wants to inform people that April is Parkinson Awareness Month and 4/11 is World Parkinson’s Day. Go to parkinson.ca for more information, or call 1-800-565-3000 The Capital Mental Health Association G.R.O.W. program is seeking volunteers to assist w/recreation & outdoor activities (floor hockey, golf, basketball, ecological restoration, etc.) — see CMHA website for info. To volunteer call Sabine (250) 389-1211 x126. Law Day 2011: The Changing Face of the Law organized by Canadian Bar Association, BC branch April 16 at Supreme Court of BC 850 Burdett Avenue

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Y H J J M H P V X W Y W O I Y Z X P A T W W F M N E K V N J

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DIVERSIONS 19


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April 7, 2011

APRIL 7  

Issue 29 Volume 63

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