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JULY 11, 2019 • VOLUME 72 • ISSUE 03

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UVIC PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES IMPENDING RESIGNATION p.3


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NEWS UVic President Jamie Cassels announces resignation effective June 2020 Search for Cassels’ successor to begin this fall EMILY FAGAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF On July 26, UVic President Jamie Cassels announced that he will be stepping down from his position at the university on June 30, 2020. As his contract requires, Cassels has given the Board of Governors one year’s notice to allow them time to find a new president. According to the university, the search for Cassels’ successor will begin in the fall of 2019. “Choosing the right time to make this transition has not been easy, but I believe that the university is well positioned for the future with a talented, vibrant and diverse community,” said Cassels in an email. “I am enthusiastic to move to a new phase, starting with a return to my academic pursuits.” When asked his reason for leaving office, Cassels said that he feels confident with the strong and stable position in which he is leaving UVic

and he is ready to move forward. “I’ve been at this for a long time and feel that by the end of next year, after 20-plus years of senior leadership, I’ll be ready for a change,” Cassels said. As for after he steps down from the presidency, Cassels said that his current plan is to return to teaching and his academic pursuits before retiring. “My legal scholarship needs to be updated, and I love teaching,” said Cassels in an exclusive comment to the Martlet. “I’ll give more thought to what that looks like over the next year, but in the meantime I’ll be fully occupied as president of UVic.” Cassels received a Bachelor of Arts in law and philosophy from Carleton University and a Bachelor of Laws from University of Western Ontario. He then went on to Columbia University to receive a Master of Law. Cassels’ first five-year term as president of UVic began July 1, 2013, and he was reappointed for a second term in 2018. Neither Cassels nor the university has commented on Cassels’

reason for leaving office at this time. In 1981, Cassels joined the University of Victoria as a professor in the Faculty of Law. For more than half of his 38 years at UVic, Cassels has held a senior leadership role. UVic Law was ranked one of the best law schools in Canada by recent graduates during Cassels’ time as dean of the Faculty of Law. From 2001 to 2010, Cassels served as UVic’s VicePresident Academic and Provost. Cassels has received the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, Canada’s highest award for teaching at the university level. He has also been honored with the UVic Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award, the First Year Teaching Award, and two master teacher awards from UVic Law. In April 2016, United Way of Greater Victoria honored him with their most prestigious award, the Chair’s Award of Distinction. “Jamie is an exceptional president whose strong leadership has benefitted the university greatly during his presidency,” said Beverly Van Ruyven,

Chair of the UVic Board of Governors in an email. “Facilitating a smooth transition to the president’s successor is a vital priority.” The UVic Board of Governors has been informed of Cassel’s impending transition. They have extended the term of Dr. Valerie Kuehne, VicePresident Academic and Provost, due to the critical relationship between this position and the president. Kuehne will now complete her tenure on June 30, 2021, instead of June 2020, as previously planned. On behalf of the University of Victoria Students Society (UVSS), Jonathan Granirer, UVSS Director of Outreach and University Relations thanked Cassels for his nearly forty years of service. Granirer noted that the UVSS feels Cassels has made significant contributions to the university in that time. “We look forward to continuing to work with him for the remainder of his term to ensure that students’ interests are at the centre of decision making

at UVic,” said Granirer. “Going forward, the UVSS is eager to be involved in the selection process of the incoming President. We will continue to advocate for student interests throughout this process, including environmental sustainability concerns, reconciliation, and accessible learning.” Cassel stated that his priorities over the next year include ensuring a smooth transition for his successor, and continue working towards the university’s goals. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to make a contribution as president, and for the support that I have received in that role,” said Cassels. “I am proud of what we have achieved together and see great things ahead for UVic.” This article was updated on June 27 at 4:05 p.m. to include exclusive comments from UVic President Jamie Cassels.

Federal government to provide UVic over nine million dollars to build National Centre of Indigenous Law

“This is a real magic moment, this is something to be savoured,” says one of the architects behind UVic’s Indigenous law degree

Photo by Josh Kozelj, Senior Staff Writer

JOSH KOZELJ SENIOR STAFF WRITER On an otherwise quiet, bright summer morning, a significant pledge was finalized at the University of Victoria. With nearly 100 students, faculty, and media members crammed into the MacLaurin Building lobby, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced on June 25 that the Federal government will provide UVic with over nine million dollars to host the new National Centre of Indigenous Law. “It is because of all the hard work here (UVic) and the clear need to support that work... that Canada is providing more than nine million dollars to support the construction of the National Centre for Indigenous Law to house the new dual degree program and the Indigenous

Law research unit,” said Bennett. The donation, Bennett said, also satisfies one of the 94 recommendations made in 2015 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission along with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “This investment answers Call to Action 50 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commision, which calls on Canada to fund the establishment of an Indigenous law institute for the development, use, and understanding of Indigenous laws,” said Bennett, Of the UN’s 94 recommendations, 10 have been completed, and 23 projects are currently underway, according to an interactive tracking map following the results of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the CBC. The centre will be built as an addition to the existing Fraser Building, and will

include lecture theatres, offices, anelders’ room, and space for ceremonies and gatherings. In UVic’s 2019/2020 Five Year Plan, however, the university said it needed a total of $27.1 million to complete the full National Centre for Indigenous Law addition to the Fraser building. A timetable for the renovations wasn’t mentioned. Bennett added that in their 2019 budget, the government has pledged another $10 million to support Indigenous law initiatives across Canada through a justice partnership and innovation program. “This funding will increase the development, use, and understanding of Indigenous laws and access to justice in accordance with the unique cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Bennett.

The announcement comes three months after the Liberal government originally declared that UVic would receive $9.1 million from their 2019 budget to help build the National Centre for Indigenous Law. Two of the architects behind creating the world’s first Indigenous law degree at UVic, Val Napoleon, Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, and John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, were on hand to discuss the significance of the announcement. “This is a real magic moment, this is something to be savoured,” said Napoleon. “I want to thank Minister Bennett for being a tireless champion for us, working in Ottawa and supporting us.” “This announcement today is something that’s been a lifelong dream

for me — to see Indigenous law is taken seriously, not only within our communities or in the legal profession, but coast to coast to coast,” added Borrows. The four-year Indigenous law program recently launched in the fall, with the first cohort of students wrapping up their first year in the spring, and will welcome a new batch of students in September. Amanda Vick, a member of the Gitxsan First Nation, and a student in the Juris Doctor (JD)/Juris Indigenarum Doctor (JID) program, talked about how a national centre for Indigenous law will give future students a safe place to study and learn. “Our future JID students will now have a home away from home,” Vick said. “This home will be culturally safe and will reflect the Indigenous peoples of our country for whom we intend to do this amazing work on behalf of.”

JULY 11, 2019 I MARTLET • NEWS 3


NEWS The blue bin charade

What really happens to Canadian recycling NATASHA SIMPSON STAFF WRITER Since Canada’s first implementation of curbside recycling programs in the 1980s, Canadians have dutifully filled our blue bins believing that we’re doing a good thing for the planet. And we are, but only to a limited degree. Much of what we put into our bins has never been recycled, and instead ends up in landfills around the world or burned. In much of Canada, the recycling system is run by private industries with no accountability. Municipalities that supply blue bins are only responsible for the contents until they are sold, either to a recycling company or to a broker. This offsets the costs of municipal recycling programs, but it means that municipalities bear no responsibility for where the waste goes next and whether it is ever recycled. For a long time, the system looked something like this: some waste was purchased by a recycling company and processed to be reused, but a lot of waste that was contaminated by food scraps or other non recyclable material ended up in landfills or sold overseas, largely to companies in China. Once exported, the waste would be sorted, the valuable plastic kept, and the rest either dumped or burned — a reality of which many blue bin users were unaware. The fate of Canadian recycling has always depended on market value, which is one of the reasons why we now have a recycling crisis. On Jan. 1, 2018, China, the country that since 1992 has accepted 42 per cent of the world’s unwanted plastic, stopped accepting contaminated recycling and imposed strict regulations on what Chinese companies could import. Some types of cheap plastic and mixed paper have been banned, and what materials are still accepted

must meet stringent contamination standards of under 0.5 per cent. Forget greasy pizza boxes —  e ven coffeestained paper is no longer acceptable. Faced with a new onslaught of waste from erstwhile exporters to China, both Malaysia and India banned plastic imports and Vietnam and Taiwan imposed restrictions themselves. With no buyers for mixed and contaminated re c y c l i n g , t h e g l o b a l m a r k e t plummeted. The past year and a half have exposed the reliance of overseas buyers to deal with our contaminated recycling. The evolution of our individual recycling practices and our recycling plants has stagnated to the point that we are incapable of meeting the needs of our own country. Canadian recycling centres are now stuck with literal tonnes of waste that can’t be recycled locally, can no longer be sold for a profit, and actually cost money (and create emissions) to haul away. The decline of newspapers combined with our modern, busy lives means that most of our recycling is now plastic, rather than valuable and easily recycled paper. Recycling plants, originally designed around newspapers being the backbone of the industry, are ill-equipped to deal with everincreasing amounts of small mixed plastics like takeout containers and flexible plastic packaging. The increasing population living in apartment buildings and using common recycling bins only adds to contamination, as more people using the bins increases the likelihood that someone will sort their recyclables wrong. Some plants can’t accept various types of plastic packaging at all, and the difference in what is acceptable between communities, or even just between houses, apartments, and office buildings, leads to confusion about what can be recycled. Wellmeaning recyclers blue-bin anything

that seems recyclable, a practice that leads to soaring contamination rates and makes recycling harder and more expensive for recycling plants. Toronto, for example, cannot recycle the black plastic lids from disposable coffee cups, even though the lids have a recycling symbol on them. The local Canada Fibers plant does not have the technology to sort black plastic. Other common contaminants include glass and Styrofoam. These materials can technically be recycled, but because they break into shards and mix with other materials, they all illsuited to the single-bin recycling system used in many cities. Lack of adequate sorting technology at many plants means that contaminated recycling ends up carted away to the dump. Even if the recycled material is acceptable, many people toss dirty containers into the bin, unaware of the fact that even a couple teaspoons of peanut butter can cause an entire tonne of otherwise recyclable material to be sent to a landfill. Contamination, whether due to laziness or confusion, costs the recycling industry millions. China’s new standards mean that contaminated recycling is now worthless garbage, and the expense of processing recycling only to transport it to a landfill has resulted in some communities simply refusing to accept problematic materials, even though the same materials could be recycled with proper sorting and technology. Upgrading sorting technology and recycling capability is expensive, particularly at a time when making a profit from re c y c l a b l e m a t e r i a l s i s n e a r l y impossible. The situation is less dire in B.C., where the recycling system is entirely producer-funded and operated. Anyone who creates, imports, or sells a product in B.C. is financially responsible for the recycling of that product. This “extended producer

responsibility� (EPR) model is hugely successful. EPR has led to Recycle B.C., a nonprofit created by nearly 1 300 companies to manage residential recycling. The program works so well that B.C.’s recycling participation rate is 69 per cent, the highest in the country, and while other parts of Canada are cutting out recyclable materials from their programs, B.C. is accepting more. Many cities require residents to sort their recycling which reduces contamination, there are plants designed for things like flexible plastic packaging and berry or pastry containers, and some large pharmacy chains, like London Drugs, have plastic bag drop-offs. EPR also incentivizes producers to use easily recyclable packaging. Keurig coffee pods are now recyclable in B.C., and many of our egg cartons are made of paper because it is easier and cheaper to recycle than Styrofoam. B.C.’s recycling practices saved us from being severely impacted by China’s new restrictions. All of our plastic is recycled in-province — Recycle B.C. promises local business a plastic supply — and our paper recyclables are cleaner and better able to meet Chinese standards. But B.C.’s success does not change the fact that Canadians produce 3.25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, with only 10 per cent directed to recycling facilities instead of landfills. The upcoming national ban on single use plastics like straws, bags, and cutlery is a step, but there is much more that could be done, a fact acknowledged by municipalities, politicians, and waste management officials alike John Coyne, chair of Recycle B.C., believes that until the rest of Canada adopts EPR models, the elimination of non recyclable packaging will remain small-scale. “Until we actually complete the puzzle and we know everybody’s got

EPR programs in place and all of those systems are functioning in a broadly similar fashion, you haven’t really completed the picture yet,� said Coyne to Global News. On June 7, Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Rod Phillips announced that the provincial government was looking into shifting to a producer-managed recycling system. The province wants to reduce plastic pollution and shift the costs of recycling away from the taxpayers. Executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario Jo-Anne St. Godard believes that, as has occurred in B.C., a producer-funded and operated recycling system will force manufacturers to learn the extent to which their packaging impacts the recycling system, and encourage them to use more easily recycled materials. “When [producers] have to be fully financially responsible they’re going to get closer to understanding how their package is treated in the recycling system,� said St. Godard to CBC. Such a transition will, of course, be c o m p l i c a t e d . P r e m i e r F o r d ’s government has appointed a special advisor to review the potential changes. David Lindsay, CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities and the former deputy minister for Natural Resources and Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, will make his report on July 20. For decades, recycling has been a ritual in Canadian homes. The inconvenient truth regarding what happens to most of our recycling is upsetting, but it should also be motivational. It is 2019. Canadians have had nearly 40 years to learn to clean up after ourselves. What can be recycled, and where it is accepted, can be found on Recycle B.C.’s website or app.

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GetYourDrugsTested.com 4 NEWS • MARTLET I JULY 11, 2019


NEWS

What B.C.’s money laundering discussion could mean for UVic ALEC LAZENBY CONTRIBUTING WRITER Money laundering has become a hotbutton topic in B.C. politics over the last couple of months. While it has long been a topic of contention within British Columbia due to its prevalence in B.C. casinos — the term “Vancouver model” has come to describe money laundering techniques used in casino and real estate scams for this reason — what exactly caused the most recent frantic discussion surrounding its threat to our economy? And where do universities like UVic fit into the mix? It all began in March with the release of part two of the “Dirty Money” report led by lawyer and former Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP Peter M. German. This report was ordered by B.C. Attorney General David Eby, and focused on activity in the lower mainland. The report found that money laundering has had a disproportionate effect on the rise in real estate prices and that federal agencies have failed to do their part. These findings caused a clamor for a full public inquiry. In response, the federal government announced last month that they planned to allocate $10 million towards the fight against money laundering taking place across the country.

While the report by German focused on money laundering in real estate, luxury car purchases, and betting activities such as horse racing, there was also mention of the vulnerability of postsecondary institutions to these monetary crimes. But before we turn our attention to how money laundering affects postsecondary institutions such as UVic and how these institutions can prevent or counter it, let’s first examine what money laundering actually is. Money laundering is described by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) as a process in which individuals or organizations disguise the source of illegally obtained capital, money, or other financial assets, often within legitimate institutions or businesses. It is usually carried out in three stages: placement, layering, and integration. Placement is exactly what it sounds like: a criminal or organization will place their illegally obtained money or assets into the economy. The next stage, layering, is where criminals will cover up the funds they have placed in the economic system. This can take a variety of forms, from multiple transactions to a dizzying array of wire payments spanning across countries and financial institutions. Many of these transactions take only nanoseconds to complete and are

notoriously hard and time-consuming to track. The third stage, integration, is where the criminal or organization withdraws their seemingly legitimate money from the economic system and either uses it for their own enrichment or to fund further criminal activity. The report by German and his colleagues estimated that seven billion dollars has been laundered in B.C. alone in 2018 and that much of this laundered money went into the real estate, betting, and luxury vehicle industries. The perpetrators of these illegitimate investments and purchases have inflated the cost of houses in B.C. by between five and twenty per cent, with the worst affected areas being those around Metro Vancouver. Post secondary institutions in B.C. are also affected by this influx of dirty money. In his report, German expressed that some officials from public post-secondary institutions had raised concerns regarding the payment of multiple semesters in advance by cash, with some students later dropping out and requesting a refund by cheque or wire payment. This follows on the heels of investigations into money laundering at a Vancouver private college, where a student used his enrollment to cover his criminal activities. This student was connected to El Chapo Guzman’s

Graphic by Natalie Inez, Design Director

Mexican cartel. In another case, a student asked to pay a one hundred and fifty dollar charge with nine thousand dollars in cash and then receive it back via cheque minus the amount they owed. Situations like these have raised concerns about the vulnerability of postsecondary institutions to money laundering schemes. To counter this, the Honourable Melanie Mark, B.C.’s Minister for Advanced Education, Skills and Training, asked all public postsecondary institutions, to draft or send the ministry their policies on cash payments. Mark requested institutions respond by the end of June. While SFU and UBC no longer accept cash payments for tuition, at the time of writing, UVic will still accept tuition payment via cash without with no limitations. If these recommendations are put into place at UVic, then students

will no longer be able to pay tuition through cash but through either electronic means, via debit or online banking, or an official banking institution via cheque, money order or bank draft. In an official comment by Gayle Gorrill, UVic’s Vice-President of Finance and Operations, less than one percent of UVic students currently pay their tuition in cash.In response to Mark’s requests, the university has “reviewed [their] policies with the [aim] to balanc[e] students while ensuring the university is not a target for money laundering.” In the review of their current policies, the university has come to the decision not to outright ban cash payments, but instead has decided to limit cash payments to a single semester. According to Gorrill, the university has shared this decision with the provincial government. All in all, money laundering is a huge issue facing our university, province, and country. While real estate and casinos might seem to be the obvious targets, these recent developments have proven that institutions like UVic are also on the frontline. UVic’s new policies may protect it from money laundering, but a potential for vulnerability still exists through the continued acceptance of cash tuition payments.

20 km march against Trans Mountain pipeline is “only the beginning” for protestors KATE KORTE SENIOR STAFF WRITER

On Saturday, June 22, more than 300 protestors marched over 20 kilometres in protest of the second federal approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. Signs advertising the protest read “no pipeline, no consent,” signalling the lack of support from First Nations groups for the pipeline’s construction on unceded lands. The trek started with a gathering at Centennial Square in downtown Victoria, and ended at Island View Beach in Central Saanich. Secwepemc Tiny House Warriors member Kanahus Manuel, T’sleil Waututh (Protect the Inlet) leader Will George, and W’SANEC water protector Paul Chiyokten Wagner led the group as they marched.

BACKGROUND This protest wasn’t the first to rally in the streets of Victoria against the Trans Mountain pipeline’s expansion. The project has been met with opposition from environmental and Indigenous groups since it was first proposed in 2012. After the most recent round of reviews, the Trudeau government reaffirmed their

approval of the pipeline on June 18. In spite of the government’s continued support of the pipeline, protestors remain persistent in their fight due to the lack of consent from Indigenous peoples for the construction of the pipeline on their unceded lands, and the detrimental impact it would have on the environment. The latest protest on June 22 was hosted by a multitude of Indigenous and environmental organizations from Victoria, including Rise and Resist, Tiny House Warriors, Social Environmental Alliance, Youth for Climate Canada, Indigenous Solidarity Welfare Group, Protectors of the Salish Sea, and Extinction Rebellion of Vancouver Island. “Oil does not belong in the 21st century. Everything that uses oil like plastic, nylon, clothes, and cars can easily be switched to being made from things that aren’t toxic sludge,” said Kris Ross, one of the protesters and an Indigenous eco-justice fundraiser. “The jobs created by the pipeline’s construction must be transferred to creating renewable infrastructure. No compromise.” Since 1953, oil has been transported from Alberta to British Columbia via the Trans Mountain pipeline. The proposed expansion would twin the current pipeline, allowing more oil to arrive in Burnaby, B.C. and reach overseas

markets. The federal government, and particularly the National Energy Board, have been reviewing this project since 2013. The existing pipeline was bought from Kinder Morgan by the Trudeau government for $4.5 billion last year. Shovels were set to hit the ground in 2017, but the project has been met with delays. After consulting with Indigenous groups and undergoing another National Energy Board review, the federal cabinet responded with an updated position on the pipeline. On June 18, the government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time, shortly after declaring a climate emergency. The announcement promises all of the revenue from the pipeline will be reinvested in clean energy and green technology. Indigenous peoples’ ownership of the project was vaguely suggested — Trudeau stated that it could potentially be “25 per cent, 50 per cent, or even 100 per cent.”

TO THE STREETS The crowd of protestors was followed by a truck hauling a tiny wooden house — one of many made by the Tiny House Warriors, a group building small homes

for resistance along the Trans Mountain pipeline’s route. The house was blessed at Island View Beach after the protest, and is now headed to Secwepemc territory for use as a hub for land reclamation, resurgence, and pipeline resistance. Seb Bonet, a settler organizer and activist with the Tiny House Warriors, said his involvement in the protest stemmed from answering a call for solidarity with Indigenous people. Bonet has been engaging in acts of resistance against the Trans Mountain Pipeline since 2012, when a representative from Kinder Morgan visited Victoria. This is the third Tiny House construction Bonet helped coordinate. “The Grand Chief Stewart Philip has always said the fate of this pipeline, like that of colonialism, will be decided on the land,” Bonet said when asked the reason for his involvement. “We must look to the places in settler society where we have the most responsibility and create new sites of action and resistance there, whether that is university spaces, work places, or on the streets.” The protest increased traffic, especially on the seven km lane of the Patricia Bay Highway that protesters temporarily closed. In response to complaints about the traffic, Bonet encouraged people to

call Trudeau and tell him about the protest. “I suppose if people are upset about traffic, they should check in with how upsetting it will be when most of the insects are gone, half of Lekwungen territory is underwater, and so on,” he said in an email interview with the Martlet. “That’s what this pipeline takes us closer towards.” One of the organizers, Keith Cherry from Rise and Resist, said he was there in solidarity with Indigenous people. “Our core message is simple: no consent means no [Trans Mountain pipeline], no matter what,” he said. “We will do whatever it takes to stop this pipeline.” Now that the pipeline has been re-approved by Trudeau, the protest organizers are actively planning more resistance efforts; the exact events are still in the planning stages. Bonet and Cherry insisted any future action would be in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. “This is only the beginning,” Cherry said. “We are prepared to escalate our actions as far as we need to stop this pipeline.”

Photo by Mike Graeme, Contributing Photographer JULY 11, 2019 I MARTLET

• NEWS 5


NEWS

Elizabeth May holds nonpartisan town hall at UVic for constituents

May answered constituents’ questions about recent parliamentary session, taught a mini-lecture on the Paris targets KATE KORTE SENIOR STAFF WRITER Just one week after the parliamentary session ended, the federal Green Party leader and Saanich-Gulf Islands Member of Parliament Elizabeth May was back in her home riding to speak with constituents at UVic’s Bob Wright Building. She started off on June 26 by emphasizing that the meeting was nonpartisan; she was there as an MP to update constituents on recent developments in Parliament. In a 20-minute speech, May went through a list of bills she felt were positive from the last few months in Ottawa. Afterwards, guests in the audience were welcomed to ask questions. There were about 70 people in attendance — most of them were older, and May knew many by name. Despite the fact that the event was held at the university, there were no UVic students in attendance. Her speech started with a logistical update on the new seating arrangement in the House of Commons, as she now sits beside former Liberal MPs Jody Wilson Raybould and Jane Philpott instead of the People’s Party of Canada leader Maxine Bernier. “It’s a better neighbourhood,” May said.

She applauded bills that passed, including a bill to ban the keeping of whales in captivity, and bill C-48 which bans oil tankers with more than 12 500 metric tons of oil from passing through Hecate Strait near Haida Gwaii. May expressed her disappointment with some bills she felt were unfairly delayed and killed by the Senate. For instance, she called the former Conservative leader Rona Ambrose ‘a dear friend’, and expressed her disappointment that Ambrose’s mandatory sexual assault training bill did not pass. The bill would’ve required federally appointed judges to take training on sexual assault. Another bill that May was disheartened to see not pass was the bill recognizing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples —  w hich will now not be passed since parliament is no longer in session. With an election around the corner, May will now focus on campaigning. This is one of many nonpartisan town halls she has hosted to update her constituents on parliamentary proceedings since the last election. May answered questions from the audience for the majority of the town hall. The questions touched on a variety of issues, including undocumented immigration, money laundering, and, of course, climate

change. At one point in the event, May took to the whiteboard to explain her frustration with the Paris targets. In all caps, she wrote “PARIS” and proceeded to explain the misinformation surrounding the accord. At the Paris conference, world leaders agreed that the global average temperature could not rise beyond one and a half degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrial levels, without seeing catastrophic effects. Right now, we are at one degree. In advance of the Paris conference, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposed to lower Greenhouse Gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Now, this emissions goal is being cited as the Paris Target by the current Trudeau government. This target, May said, is insufficient to actually meet the Paris goal. Those who signed the agreement in Paris agreed that going above that 1.5 degrees would be detrimental to the planet — and May argued the emissions target Trudeau and her other colleagues in parliament are aiming for does not go far enough. May joked that she wished the leader’s debate allowed her to write on a whiteboard, so she could educate voters about this distinction between the actual Paris Agreement and Trudeau’s goals. She stepped away from the board to answer the next question, leaving percentages and

Photos by Natalie Inez, Design Director

a r ro w s s p r a w l e d a c ro s s t h re e whiteboards. One of the last questions asked the room to take a moment of silence for those in India dying due to extreme heat, to which no one had any objections. The room fell silent, until May walked back to the whiteboard and wrote, again in all caps, “GRETA THUNBERG.” Thunberg is a young climate activist, and an example of “principled leadership,” according to May. Thunberg is organizing a Global

Climate Strike from September 20-27. The strike corresponds with the UN Climate Change Summit between world leaders in New York on September 23. May encouraged the crowd to join her in the Canadian Global Climate Strike on September 27. In closing, in reference to the ongoing battle with climate change, May said, “We have no reason to fail other than cowardice, comfort . . . what we have to do is close to impossible, but it is possible.”

Wilde About Sappho reading celebrates 50 years of same-sex relationship legalization in Canada

Event featured the work of Victoria’s mayor, Youth Poet Laureate, and queer writers from across the island CARLEE BOUILLON CONTRIBUTING WRITER

“I love being surrounded by so many lesbians right now,” laughed Youth Poet Laureate Aziza Moquia SealeyQaylow, in front of the crowd in the City Hall Antechamber on July 3. This was Wilde About Sappho — a literature reading event at which a wildly diverse collection of LGBTQI2S artists took to the podium to honour the fact that, 50 years ago, Canada decriminalized same-sex relationships. John Barton, Victoria’s Poet Laureate and host of the event, acknowledged his respect to the fact that the event’s date also hovered around the 50-year mark of the brutal Stonewall Riots in Manhattan, N.Y. — a catalysing event in America’s slow progression toward acceptance. The atmosphere of Wilde About Sappho was reverent but celebratory, and when Barton introduced the artist roster and laughed that “classical poets” are only “what Insta-poets call the rest of us,” he kicked off an evening of wit and honour and poignancy. After Barton introduced himself as

Victoria’s first queer poet laureate, Mayor-by-day, poet-also-by-day Lisa Helps introduced herself as Victoria’s first queer mayor. She opened the evening with poems that combined love and climate change. “Fuel for the next generation is different,” read the ending of her final poem, “[it is] sunlight, wind, and the work of women.” Sealey-Qaylow delivered a stark and heartbreaking story within her poetry, sharing tales of love, loss, and assault. But she smiled to the crowd while she read, made eye contact, and delivered each poem with an underlying message of strength. “I’m going to be shitting out rainbows and sunshine for the rest of my dysfunctional and ever-changing life,” she said, concluding her final poem of the night. “I will write poetry.” After the readings, Sealey-Qaylow said she originally began writing because it was a way to “express thoughts in a way that’s less awkward than talking,” and that it was “a better grounding of myself, in private.” She also reflected on the hope that emanated her words and her delivery. “I used to only write dark poetry

6 NEWS • MARTLET I JULY 11, 2019

because my life was dark,” said SealeyQaylow. “But I’ve realized, why should my writing only be negative?” She writes hard and clear about what hurts, but also about what’s beautiful. “I’ve only recently started sharing poetry about my assault,” SealeyQaylow shared. “And now I write about my life being mixed, and being lesbian. We’re on the upswing.” Five other talented wordsmiths shared the podium with Helps and Sealey-Qaylow, ranging from student slam poet Byron Sollazzo, to multigenre artists Arleen Paré and Anne Fleming, to non-fiction writer Darryl J McLeod, and (“classical”) poet Brian Day. Sollazzo noted that the event felt different than any others he’d read at because of the diversity of the crowd. “Being here, I realize that I’m a different part of poetry,” he said, referring to his slam and spoken word style. “On the slam team in high school, we all performed with the same rhythm, same cadence, and then were judged.” He looks back fondly at his days competing, but with the older demographic of the Wilde About

Graphic by Natalie Inez, Design Director

Sappho crowd, the multi-genre performances, and the lack of a competitive component, the event related closer to the role that writing now plays in his life. “I’m not pursuing [writing] as a career because I don’t want it to become a job… [Wilde About Sappho] was an accepting audience.”

Helps also commented on the range of age and experience that the collection of artists brought to the event. “It’s an honour to share the podium with such a diverse group of people,” she said. Happy 50th anniversary, Canada, of choosing love.


Caribbean

Chronicles

Facing anxiety and adventure head-on in Martinique

ADAM MARSH CONTRIBUTING WRITER By the time I step out of baggage claim, into the palm-shaded roundabout outside the terminal, sweat is pooling in the rim of my faded Tentree hat. The last 23 hours have passed in mile-high pressurized cabins, trite security line-ups, and ghost-town waiting areas. The intense

rays of Caribbean sun seem an atavistic memory. My stomach rumbles. This trip to Martinique, an island just north of Venezuela, is my first time alone in a country where I’m not fluent in the language. Breathe. You can do this. A line of cabs idle at the curb. A skinny man puts my bags in the back of one, and I tell him to go to the Fort

Savane. As we drive, the calming breeze pushes a paradox of excitement-laced exhaustion further up my throat. The air smells of fresh rain and avocados. Speed limits are disregarded here; people let their seatbelts flap in the wind, and text as they drive. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These words, said long ago by a friend

through the steam of a morning tea, echo in my ears. I’ve planned enough, I hope. Zouk music blares from crackling speakers. Wind whistles, hotter and more dense than saliva. My sweat won’t quit. As if in one final hurrah of exhaustion, my vision dots its way into tunnels of black.

JULY 11, 2019 I MARTLET

• FEATURE 7


First impressions The Fort Savane hotel is a hole in the wall. A stone’s throw from Fort-de-France Bay, it hides below a pizzeria; a massive Heineken beach umbrella is visable from across a narrow street. Banjos pound late into the night. Fiddles ring out. A few whips of charcoal escape one of the window frames. Even though you can’t smoke indoors in Martinique, there is an ashtray in the lobby. My first thought is that the cabby has taken me to the wrong place — the hotel looks like a taller version of the boarded-up building on Richmond and Fort across from the Royal Jubilee Hospital. My heart pounds as my hands pull the handle on a tinted door. A few people mill at the curb: their elevator eyes float up, down, and up again. One of the men is about the size of Shaq. Jet lag doesn’t dull my street sense: this guy is

To the countryside At 10 the next morning, a van pulls up to the curb outside the hotel. Shaq is standing outside the door, stuffing cash into his pocket and handling small dime bags. He doesn’t try to talk me up, not after last night when I shut down his invitation to hit the clubs. He came and knocked on my door, even after that stint in the lobby — I was half-

A long walk home The beach is a ten-minute descent from my AirBnB flat. I spent most of the next week laying in the sand, looking up at the palm trees, and ducking into Café Wahoo when it monsoons. When I get bored of swimming, sun burning, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a car is idling outside on the boulevard. It’s a twenty-five-minute drive north to St. Pierre. It feels strange to be in a city again. There are no sidewalks, and cars line the roadsides. Mirrors clear mirrors by millimeters. My driver says that flashing headlights mean, ‘Get the fuck out of my way or you’re dog meat on rubber.’ She pulls off to the side, points ahead to the museum. I hand her 20 euros. “I’ll be done in about two hours,” I say. “Any chance you can pick me up?”

8 FEATURE • MARTLET I JULY 11, 2019

trouble. “Here,” he says, and leans forward to scan a small black key fob. A lock clicks. He jerks a thumb. “Inside.” The narrow metal spiral staircase reminds me of something out of a prison. It’s dark, and water drips from somewhere; the lobby is vacant. In this moment, I realize that a Caribbean four-star hotel is a generous Canadian half star. Have I just let someone scan me through death’s door? Thoughts like these are as frequent as hunger pains for someone with a fairly incessant low-to-mid-grade anxiety, but for the first time, I’m fairly certain they’re not irrational. “In there, kid.” The stone-faced man is behind me. His murky marble eyes beat in his skull like a pair of impish pinballs. A woman appears, as if from nowhere. I scrunch my eyes, fighting what is rapidly approaching a sleepless 36-hour travel bender. She scans my papers and says, “There’s a leak in the roof in the room we booked you in.” I look up, hear the water falling, and eyebrows follow my gaze.

“So we’ll move you.” I’m checked in and given a scan-fob of my own. Trying to make heads or tails of this place, I sit beside a majestic tropical plant and dig for some darts. Shaq closes the door to the office. “Can I grab one of those packs off you?” he says. “What?” My voice echoes, as if I’m hearing it from someplace else. I need to sleep. He points to the ground, where the carton of duty free cigarettes lie in a plastic bag. Fuck! On the street, coffin nails are about as valuable as sterling silver rings. Because Martinique is part of the EU, a pack still costs an hour’s work at minimum wage. “Not a whole pack, man. C’mon.” “You c’mon,” he says. “You have money.” His tone drops. “White guy travelling alone.” I’m a writer and student; being broke is an axiom of the profession. But I know better than to run my mouth. He mumbles something in Creole and retreats to the office. There’s something off about him. My esophagus pounds. A chest hammer permeates

blood and sweat through tired veins, pulverizes valour to brick dust, and doesn’t deign to let me move. I try to stand; my legs say no, not a shot in hell. Pull yourself together, you prissy old twat. It must be comical, watching some skinny, privileged white guy who freaks out and trembles with the novelty of reality outside a first world, liberal bubble. I pull my bag up a second spiral staircase, feeling the world lag behind each step. A blurry thought comes knocking in, like a wave in the desert: don’t piss off the guy who has the master key. I go back downstairs, put the bag down — mistake number two. “Here,” I say, passing him a few darts from the pack in my chest pocket. “They’re Canadian.” He smiles and says, “Canada, eh?” He snatches the bag from the floor, tears open the box, and helps himself to a fresh pack. I stare, thinking, what the fuck? “You have lots,” he says. I turn away. Fair enough.

sure he had come up there to smother me, leave me out in the rain for the dengue mosquitoes to feast on at sunset. But he took a hike when I told him I needed to sleep. “Le Morne Vert?” my AirBnB host says, with a jovial smile and heavy accent. I look back, and Shaq has disappeared. “Oui,” I say. “Ça va?” He mutters something in French. “Je suis désolé,” I say, climbing in the van. “No français.” His wife is in the driver’s seat, fiddling with a dream catcher dangling from the mirror. She cuts her hand across her vision, shakes her

head, as if to say, “None?” “None,” I say, and smile. “Sorry.” She laughs ferociously — most tourists here are from mainland France or Montreal. The winding drive down the narrow seaside streets is calming. You don’t have to speak someone’s language to pick up on their essence, and my AirBnB host’s is a relief after spending a night at the Savane. I take a deep breath, looking out at the barren brown hillsides and fallow land that give way to green cloud covered hilltops. As we climb into the mountains, the air smells of fresh milk and chickens.

Late at night, when the boulevards below hum with the empty echoes of a still slumber, I imagine waking up and being happy, even settling for contentment. Waking up always reminds me of the beauty of sleep: that’s what this trip is — a break, slipping sleep away from the banalities of routine. Now, I can taste happiness, somewhere far off. My thoughts are interrupted by hunger pains. I pull out my phone and type out an English to French translation to ask if we can stop for eggs and milk, because I’ve got to hunk up while I can.

She says she can. This place. Two hours. The museum is free for the month of May in honour of the May 8, 1902 eruption of Mount Pelée, which killed about 29 000 people. It’s May 7, 2019. A chill dangles off my spine. 115 years ago, 29 000 souls had no clue they would soon suffocate beneath molten ash. A museum employee hands me a headset, and says, “What you hear won’t align with what you see on the tour.” “Story of my life,” I say. The museum is crowded with tourists, but it’s air-conditioned. There is black and white footage of the eruption. People point. Some cross their hearts. Barnaclebound teacups sit behind plexiglass. Cracks and crevasses fade like sunburnt blood vessels. When the tour is over, I wait in the beating heat. No driver comes. I hit the head to zap another litre of water, staring into the ultraviolet light like some kind of moron fascinated by science, then spend the next few days wondering why my eye sockets ache and tingle. When the happy face shows up on the StiriPen, informing

me the water is drinkable, I swipe sideways on my phone in search of the app CoCo, the Uber of Martinique. I press “request” and wait. A while goes by, then, in large block sans script: “No drivers available.” By the fifth denial, my heart sinks. Maps says a discount grocery store is a ten minute walk away. Like most students, the word “discount” entices me. I add some homemade electrolytes to the Hydroflask for the hot afternoon trek: cane sugar, salt, and lemon juice from a small mason jar. The buildings grow withered as I walk east. A woman hangs clothes on branches after wringing them over the bucket. Hooligans loiter outside doorways. I quicken my pace. I take out my phone. The dead battery symbol pops up. In the grocery store, the cashier shakes her head and smiles when I ask if she can call a cab. “No cabs here,” she says in broken English. “You hitch.” I imagine the headlines: “Canadian tourist

missing on rugged Caribbean island.” With 12 years of liberal, over-priced private education, I was tacitly taught never to hitchhike, not in 2019. My father’s face floats into my head, from long ago on a warm, red wine night. “Hitchikers should have their heads examined,” he said. I put the groceries back on the shelf. My bag needs to stay light, essentials only. Here, a two-hour walk isn’t just a royal pain in the ass — on a 35-degree Caribbean day with limited water and wretched humidity, it is dangerous. But I’m in good shape; walking back is the lesser of two evils. My dramatic bulldog syndrome — indicative of someone who likes to pretend situations are worse than they are to keep from getting bored — is cowering in the corner. My heart is pounding vocal chords again; the clog in my bronchial tubes is back. I tell it to get fucked. There is no need to pretend.


A lonely mile You learn things about yourself when you travel alone. I find out that it takes roughly 30 days in seclusion before the black dog of depression curls up on the threshold of my mind. It takes roughly 10 litres of water to stay

Sharks, dolphins, and tuna The next few days are spent hunkered down in the safety of my studio. Beneath the sour sop and mango trees, I read Hunter S. Thompson’s account of the Hell’s Angels, cook fresh red snapper for dinner, and listen to the crickets chip their nighttime orchestra in the depths of the Calabash trees. Bats bolt from branch to branch. Rats scurry across the steel fence that encases the property. On a few nights, silent heat lightning illuminates palm tree shadows across the boulevard. The neighbour plays piano at sunset: Mozart, Elton John, a few 30’s speakeasy tunes. The supplies in my fridge are quickly running low. Each day, I walk 20 minutes up the hill to a small grocery store. Each day it is closed. On Thursday, I wait outside for an hour. It’s noon: why is a store closed at noon in the middle of the week, I wonder. I wait more.

hydrated in the Martinique heat, especially when walking to save money on cabs. Within half an hour, I’m through one of two water bottles. My throat is itching, and hunger is making me weak. I’m starting to feel dizzy, light a smoke in hopes that will help. Obviously, it doesn’t. The roadway is narrowing. There’s about a foot and a half between me and cars bolting by at 100 clicks. I suddenly understand that it doesn’t take

an error in judgement or a lack of common sense to get into trouble when you’re travelling. I stop on a gravel shoulder and stare out at the round green hilltops, their tips covered in misty cloud. Think. Cabs are a no-go. The narrow road and my increasing exhaustion makes asking a kind local for a ride the only option. I kill my dart underfoot, and cross the road to where a van is parked. A man is sitting in the van, eating his lunch, and it’s clear he

doesn’t speak a word of English. I hold my thump up, smile, and point down the road. When he smiles back, the genuine kindness in his eyes makes me want to do a little dance of luck. As I get into the passenger side, fully aware that I’m putting my fate in the hands of a complete stranger, I promise never to ask for anything but essentials, ever again, and to always smile.

The church bells strike 2 pm. It doesn’t open. By Friday, there are two eggs left, a bit of stale bread, and as much fruit as I want from the garden. Dinner that night is a cup of milk, a bite of hard bread, a mango, and and a cup of milk half full of olive oil for some calories. I’m surprised by how long the olive oil curbs the hunger. I fall asleep early to an audiobook recording of The Rum Diary. The sound of the readers voice helps me not to think. The chickens next door wake me the next morning. I finish the last egg, and start the trek to the grocery store, hoping it isn’t all for nothing. As I walk, a goat lays in the shade of a hurricane drain. I catch her beady black eyes. They stare as I walk by, careful and calm. That’s what it takes to travel alone: careful, calm, cautious optimism. I damn near buckle right there in the town square. The rusty tin door of the store is pulled open on the verandah. People mill in the doorway, picking out cucumbers and carrots from plastic milk crates. Once I’ve got my fridge safely stocked,

there’s a hop in my step. I book a dolphinwatching tour for the next morning. It’s a relief to see other people again, even if I can’t understand as they talk and laugh, and smile. When they do, I smile, too. It’s the universal language. After so long stuck in my own head, just listening is a joyous activity. One of the other tourists, an organic chemist from mainland France, tells me about the PhD thesis that waits for him in Paris. I know fuck all about organic chemistry, so I do the age-old nod along. He’s cut off mid-sentence by a frantic yell. The Boston Whaler sways as people plow to the port side of the boat. Dark gray fins pierce out of the water. A dolphin jumps high in the air, twirling, turning with gravity, and plummets back into the sea. After the dolphins get bored, we pull into a small bay. Snorkels are passed around. I’m not a strong swimmer, and have an irrational fear of swimming in the ocean. But anyone who travels across the world to be governed by their fear should stay on the plane and go back to where they came from. After all this, I know that much.

The water is calm. Outlines of the sun shine in diamond-shaped rainbows on the sea floor. Water leaks into my mask; I fight the undertow, spreading my fingers, plowing through the twirling tide with no elegance whatsoever, to where severed landscape meets the white foam of breaking tropical surf. The rockface looks as though it’s been severed from the earth in one colossal shock.. Below the surface, it is quiet. The hum of a propeller sings from far off. A Moorish idol, small crabs, and minnows linger in the warm surf, darting from ray to ray as if sunlight is nature’s bait. I’m a microscopic spec in a colossal sea. It occurs to me that I’m in shark territory. “Oh, shut it,” I say to myself. Instead, I make myself think of the fresh pineapple and salted albacore sandwich that’s cooling on a bed of ice, waiting for me on board the Whaler. Through the tube of the snorkel, my voice is a dull echo. “You’re fine.” I say this over and over again until I’m home.

JULY 11, 2019 I MARTLET • FEATURE 9


OPINION EDITORIAL

It’s time to shut up about American politics We’re officially 102 days away from the next federal election. But how much do you know about the people competing to be Canada’s next Prime Minister? What about the candidates running to represent you in your riding?

And how about the candidates currently campaigning for the American presidential elections? Although it’s hard to tell some of those running apart from formallyclad stock image models, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of (and formed opinions on) Ber nie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and of course Donald Trump. W h y i s i t t h a t w e ’ re m o re informed about an election that won’t be decided until more than a year from now, for a leader that won’t even govern us, than our own upcoming federal election? S i n c e D o n a l d Tr u m p w a s elected, the U.S. has become a nasty neighbour. It’s no wonder Canadians pay attention to U.S. politics — the U.S. has a massive influence on Canadian trade, politics, and the economy. But at the end of the day, Canadians should focus on improving Canada. Some people have a plan for that, and none of them are named Elizabeth Warren. In Canada, official campaigning c a n ’t b e g i n u n t i l t h e P r i m e Minister visits the Governor General and asks them to call an election, and our election period is far shorter than the States’. There’s less time for the scandal and sensationalization that take over the media in the months before U.S. elections. Part of the reason for this is that Canada does not have a presidential system — we have a constitutional monarchy modelled after the British Parliamentary system. This means Canadians never actually elect the most powerful person in their country. Instead, citizens cast their votes in their riding for one representative. The representative with the most votes wins that riding and becomes a Member of Parliament for that area — and gets one of the 338 valuable seats in the House of Commons. To become Prime Minister, you have to be the leader of the party that wins the most seats and forms government.

When you’re not electing the president of one of the most important countries in the world, it’s easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter. Despite the absence of direct d e m o c r a c y, t h e m a j o r i t y o f Canadians still vote — 68.3 per cent of Canadians voted in the last federal election (a substantially higher than previous elections), which is higher than U.S. voter tur nout in over a century. In the coming election, how can we ensure that turnout remains high? The best thing you can do to stay informed is simply follow along with the ongoing political situation both nationally and locally, which yes, is still being covered by Canadian news outlets despite the cacophony of U.S. political drama. A good place to start is the federal elections FAQ published by Maclean’s. It breaks down who might be the next prime minister, several key issues that are likely to come up, and what Canada’s doing to prevent Russian interference in the election. A l o n g t h e l i n e s o f f o re i g n interference and fake news, the CBC has written two investigative articles about what disinformation is and what tools Canadians can use to spot it. They’re a worthwhile read, especially if you interact with political posts on social media. Once the election is called, the CBC will also likely launch Vote Compass again, which is a survey designed by political scientists to objectively show voters where they fall on the political spectrum in relation to Canada’s federal parties. This 15-minute survey is an easy way to learn more about each political party’s policies. Know each name that will appear on your ballot (available on the elections Canada website). Know their stance on the issues that are important to you, and maybe even some of the issues that aren’t. And most of all, know that your vote is critical in deciding the direction of our country, and a privilege that many around the world are unable to share.

NATIVE STUDENTS UNION: NEWS UNSETTLED

NEWS UNSETTLED You should’ve treaty-ed me better AUTUMN WALKEM CONTRIBUTING WRITER We’ve been here since time began, my mother told me. The waterfalls that we call home, that’s where the people came from — that’s where they began. It’s where we began. In every direction from my homeland, there is memory spanning thousands of years. Passed down from generation to generation, passed down through blood and bone, are the memories of my ancestors and theirs before them. My memories, too, will become part of the land. I use the word memories because what we have is more than story, and is deeper and richer than history. If I were to say story, you might not believe what I’m saying is real. But when I say memory, you’ll understand that it’s real, and you’ll understand that it’s precious. My connection to my land spans beyond memory. Since time began, my ancestors have been living here, and dying here — the very earth is filled with their bones. Their bodies nourish the forests that grow now, their every physical remain has become part of the land that nourishes and provides for me. Of course the land has spirit, of course it has memories. Of course it’s a link between me and my ancestors. Of course I feel a responsibility to protect it and keep it sacred. This July, I did not celebrate Canada 152. The occupation of our sovereign nations is not legitimized by the amount of time has passed. Canada remains a false country, because this is unceded Indigenous land, and because we are unceded Indigenous peoples. Anyways, 152 years seems hardly boastworthy, in comparison to the tens of thousands of years in which my nation has thrived. We long predated Canada, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll also outlast Canada. What I would like to celebrate is the

resilience of Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. I’m constantly inspired by the brilliance, intelligence, and generosity I witness from my friends and loved ones. I’m especially proud of the youth within my nation — talented, beautiful, and limitless. We are the land we’re from. In my mom, I see the river: perseverant, strong, and free. She makes her own path, and she does it within her own time. When my little brother smiles, it’s like breaking dawn, setting everything aglow. My uncles, aunties, and cousins, all of them share character with our homelands. I don’t know how to see this land as a resource to be exploited. I don’t know how to blind myself to the relationship Indigenous peoples have with our lands, relationships that can’t be replicated by colonizers or by illegitimate nation-states such as Canada. I had to go through your education systems, gover nments, and so-called jurisdictions. I had to learn your language, I had to read your books, I had to listen to what you called truth. Settlers don’t get to complain about Indigenous peoples asserting sovereignty over the lands we never surrendered, and if they don’t like that, then they can leave. We have every right to be here. We have every right to speak and be listened to. We have every right to defend our safety, to protect our waters, to safekeep our lands. We have every right to our culture, to our bones, to our languages — all things which have been stolen and placed in your museums. We have the right to reclaim everything that has been taken. When we say that we don’t belong to your country, we mean it. And when I say I’ll outlast your country, I mean that, too. This is the latest installment of the Native Students Union regular column, “News Unsettled.”

Happy? Sad? Enraged? Tell us: letters@martlet.ca The Martlet has an open letter policy and will endeavour to publish letters received from the university and local 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. 10 OPINION • MARTLET I JULY 11, 2019

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OPINION

Pride 2019: celebration or protest? LARISSA PIVA SENIOR STAFF WRITER 50 years ago this June, in New York City’s Greenwich Village, police raided the Stonewall Inn. This time around, violent protests ensued, and a movement started to buzz — g ay liberation! Energized by leaders and exhausted from scrutiny, members of the LGBTQIA2S community rallied and engaged in a war to gain fundamental human rights. The social justice work done during this period has carried our community to its highest point of acceptance in colonial history. It also gave us the notorious Gay Christmas — more formally known as Pride. In the 1970s, when the movement was at its infancy, community members would face discrimination, legal penalties, and other heinous acts of violence. People couldn’t marry their partners, could be denied employment, and often would be evicted from their homes. These days, I hear many iterations of the statement, “It’s 2019! What more

do they want? We’re all equal now.” The notion of equality seems to end with the paper trail for many folks. This generation is the first to see gay marriage legalized in many countries, the legal protection of pronouns, funded medical treatments, and constitutional rights regardless of sexual identities.

I am Proud, but my Pride cannot be bought. With all of these legal improvements, isn’t everything truly equal? Unfortunately, equality on paper does not guarantee fair treatment in society. In 2017, the amount of policereported hate crimes against the LGBTQIA2S community in Canada

rose 16 per cent from 2016, and 64 per cent of the crimes were violent in nature. In the United States, members of this community are more likely than any other minority group to suffer hate crimes. A study published by BMJ Open found that young adults ages 18 to 32 in the U.S. that identify as members of a “sexual minority” were twice as likely to be unemployed and uninsured when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Furthermore, almost half of all members of sexual minorities report employment discrimination in their lifetime. Transgender individuals consistently report discrimination from the medical community, but also are a large target of brutal and fatal violence. So, if we are at the highest level of progress so far, why is violence increasing? Some social scientists believe this phenomenon is due to the rising tensions of political climates. While many people champion for equal rights, or at least don’t seem to care either way, others take their stance to the opposite extreme. 2019 is also

the year Straight Pride made a strong comeback, and the era where some folks appear to feel the gay community is a glittery gang of goons wrecking all the majority’s wholesome fun. That being said, I believe many people both in and out of the gay community have lost the understanding of what Pride is about, and fail to recognize what their predecessors fought—and in many cases, died—for. Pride is supposed to be an embodiment of liberation, equality, love, and power within the community. When Pride month comes around, all I am bombarded with is corporate play on who can be the most gay. Rainbows, “love is love,” equality, #LGBT, “We support you,” and similar messages dominate social media commercials, stores, packaging, etc for the duration of Pride month, then vanish for a year. Where were the corporations when police were beating people in the streets? Where are they when people who want to reverse gay marriage take office? Gayness has become a commodity, and the “Straight Priders” are feeling left out.

Some may be screaming from the sidelines that Straight Pride is a ridiculous attempt to belittle and humiliate Pride members and those in support of that ideology don’t understand what Pride means, but why is that? What Pride stands for has been lost. Saying “we are all equal” is colouring over the issues listed above with a nice, pretty rainbow. Stereotypes exist in our community. We are drinkers, partiers, and are sexualized on all levels. These conceptions are detrimental to us, but I have yet to be at a Pride parade where someone took the time to recognize the importance of Pride as a protest rather than a celebration. Do not mistake me — I am dancing in the streets, throwing rainbow water balloons and hugging every stranger I see, whispering that I love them, too — but I am not a commodity. I am Proud, but my Pride cannot be bought.

Saanich climate plan a step in the right direction, but not enough KELSEY LESSARD CONTRIBUTING WRITER The district of Saanich held two climate plan open houses on Thursday May 30 and Saturday June 1, offering the public an opportunity to hear about heat pumps and electric vehicles. The presentations, while helpful, were limited in scope and did not fully cover the renewable energy or sustainable transportation options available to Saanich residents. The Saturday sessions were modestly attended by about 20 people (the District of Saanich has a population of over 100,000). Attendees could provide written feedback on the draft actions of the Saanich Climate Plan ahead of a report to City Council that will be submitted this fall. People were asked to note which draft actions they agreed or disagreed with by placing stickers next to each action, and to suggest improvements for the latter. The majority of the actions appeared to be supported by the community, and the most contentious actions were those about bike lanes and bus routes. During the presentations, several people tried to ask broader questions about British Columbia’s energy system and sustainable transportation, but the presenters pushed to stay on topic about rebates for home upgrades and how much fun it is to be a part of the Victoria Electric Vehicle (EV) Club. The climate plan aims to shift Saanich’s energy sources to 100 per cent renewable by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 20 per cent of 2007 levels, and ensure Saanich is prepared for the impact of a changing climate and rising sea levels. Concern was raised by a member of the public during the introductory presentation that the 2050 goal was not soon enough to meet the Paris Agreement. While the Paris Agreement does not impose specific

dates to take action on reducing greenhouse gases, a climate emergency report is being put forward to Saanich council chambers that could see the energy targets pushed to 2030. Transitioning Saanich to 100 per cent renewable energy in only 10 years is incredibly ambitious, but with Canada recently declaring a state of climate emergency on June 17, such ambition is necessary. The first presentation focused on rebates for heat pumps offered by the provincial government as they push for homeowners to convert their heating systems. B.C. considers their electricity to be 98 per cent renewable, as it is produced with hydroelectric generation; however, the potential environmental damage caused by dams was never addressed in the presentation. Fortis B.C. offers the option to make current natural gas systems more sustainable by purchasing renewable natural gas produced from landfills and biowaste, although this option was only briefly touched on. The presentation only scratched the surface of renewable energy options in Saanich. It would have been more helpful for homeowners to know all of their available choices, including solar power and renewable natural gas, instead of pushing electric heat pumps on them without a full explanation. During the second presentation, some attendees voiced their desire for broader coverage of sustainable transportation options, such as electric buses, and raised concerns about the removal of trees for bike lanes. However, the presenter insisted such questions strayed from the focus on electric vehicles, and offered to speak to people individually after the presentation. For many in Saanich, buses and bikes are a much more relevant topic than pricey electric vehicles.

Photo of Saanich council chambers via Google Maps

A member of the Victoria Electric Vehicle Club provided the bulk of the information for this presentation, and brought his Nissan Leaf and Tesla vehicles for people to look at. While the heat pump rebates predominately benefit homeowners, there is some hope for renters with electric vehicles as “right to charge” legislation will soon be presented to City Council, which would compel landlords to allow charging stations to be installed on the property. It is crucial that Saanich continues pushing for policy changes that go beyond incentivizing individual actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the use of, and access to, renewable energy and reducing waste at the city level would

be a start. In line with the latter, Saanich council finally adopted a Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw on June 10 — 1.5 years after Victoria City Council put one into action. Saanich’s plastic bag bylaw will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. However, consumers should not rush to replace their plastic bags with standard cotton totes, as they come with an enormous carbon footprint due to unsustainable cotton farming practices. Purchasing paper bags, reusing them, and eventually recycling them, or using bags made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic or hemp, are better options. It can seem a daunting task for an individual to undertake all the necessary

actions to make their daily life more sustainable, and it really is an impossible task to perform alone. The actions taken and policies implemented by Saanich to make the city more sustainable are crucial for real change to happen, but Saanich council can never ease off. They must keep conversing with the public to ensure their policy changes are both what is best for the planet and what can be effectively implemented in the community.

JULY 11, 2019 I MARTLET

• OPINION 11


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12 OPINION • MARTLET I JULY 11, 2019

Dear lawmakers: keep your legislation away from my uterus The beauty of Canada’s system is that our Charter supports access to abortion, and we have no other laws for anti-choice politicians to mess with NATASHA SIMPSON STAFF WRITER As states in America enact their abortion bans, awareness of Canada’s lack of abortion laws has returned to Canadian societal consciousness. And some people are unhappy, as evidenced by a comment from Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament, Sam Oosterhoff, at an anti-abortion rally in Toronto. “We have survived 50 years of abortion in Canada and we pledge to fight to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime,” said Oosterhoff, likely causing Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the man who 30 years ago brought the issue of abortion before the Canadian Supreme Court, to turn in his grave. The 1988 R. v Morgentaler ruling overturned Canada’s abortion law on the grounds that it violated section seven’s charter rights for women. Abortion was decriminalized in 1969, but until 1988 still had to be approved on a case-by-case basis by special committees. No law reflecting the Supreme Court decision ever passed through parliament, so no laws govern abortion in Canada. This is precisely the number of laws we need. Contrary to anti-choice propaganda, abortions are entirely humane and ethically managed by the healthcare system. While Canada’s lack of laws makes abortions possible at any stage of pregnancy, they nearly always occur early — before the embryo or fetus has the capacity to be viable outside of the womb or has developed a nervous system capable of feeling pain. Very few abortions occur after 20 weeks, for the common-sense reason that no one has a third-trimester abortion just because they feel like it. When a late-stage abortion is perfor med, there is a medical reason to do so — often because the person’s life is threatened or the fetus has a severe abnormality or genetic mutation, like anencephaly or trisomy 18. Most fetal abnormalities or mutations cannot be detected until 24 weeks, making a late-stage abortion the only option for those who want or need to terminate their pregnancy. Even in the third trimester, modern healthcare ensures that any risks associated with abortion are extremely low. Childbirth is more dangerous than a legal abortion. Not everyone who wants abortion legislation is anti-choice. Some Canadians want laws to protect access to the procedure, but passing that legislation may be less necessary and have more consequences than

anticipated. Unlike states in America, provinces can’t criminalize abortion because determining criminal law in Canada is solely within the jurisdiction of the federal government. Provincial law applies to regulations like speeding and liquor licensing. Anti-choice motions have been consistently struck down, and even federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has stated that his party will not reopen the discussion, as was reconfirmed at the Conservative Party convention last August. Pro-choice Canadians should recognize one very important reason to keep the government away from the female reproductive system — passing abortion laws, even to protect access, would set the dangerous precedent of legislative control over the procedure. Anti-abortion activists are already under the delusion that restricting the bodily autonomy of women, transgender, and non-binary people on the basis of “morality” is justified. We should not risk encouraging their belief in their right to impose their alleged values on others. The Canadian Criminal Code does not regulate access to medical procedures, because they are not the government’s business. Just as tonsillectomies and appendectomies require no legal regulation to restrict or protect access to them, neither should abortion. Additionally, because abortion laws only apply to women and to transgender or non-binary people who can get pregnant, these laws are inherently discriminatory. Assuming that the government has the right to pass legislation regarding the female reproductive system is a violation of gender equality. The Canadian government does not regulate the male reproductive system — a person who wants a vasectomy can obtain one — nor does it feel the need to legally protect men’s access to reproductive healthcare. Enshrining access to abortion in law marks it out as “other,” a privilege permitted by a paternalistic, albeit benevolent, government. Pregnancy termination is part of reproductive healthcare, just like vasectomies, tubal ligation, and contraception. The goal should be to normalize and lessen the surrounding stigma. We have all the laws we need; we simply need to ensure they are enforced. Section seven of the Charter of Rights guarantees the right to “life, liberty, and security of the person.” As was recognized in R. v Morgentaler, forcing a woman to bear

an unwanted, parasitic, and possibly life-threatening fetus to term, and then endure the dangerous trauma of childbirth, violates that right. Section 223.1 of the Criminal Code defines a child as a human being only once it has “proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother,” and is a law that expressly protects those who seek abortions and the doctors who perform them. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision confirmed that doctors who refuse to provide a service due to personal beliefs must provide a referral. This is a step in the right direction, and other provinces should confirm this obligation. The Canada Health Act mandates public funding for medically necessary procedures and the clinics which perform them. Abortion is medically necessary at all stages of pregnancy for a variety of reasons, including the trauma of rape and incest, health conditions which make full-term pregnancy inviable, severe or fatal abnormalities of the fetus, and to prevent deaths as a result of the dangerous DIY methods that occur wherever abortion is banned. If provinces are made to meet their existing obligations, then accessibility will be improved. If these laws are not sufficient to stop anti-abortion activists from trying to control other people’s bodies, then more laws are not going to improve the situation. True, there is great appeal in the idea of legally mandating a certain number of abortion clinics per province, protecting them from protesters, and forcing doctors to either provide necessary reproductive healthcare or retire. But that legal battle would be incredibly divisive and inflammatory, and would provide a future conservative government with laws that could be repealed. As we have seen in the United States, abortion laws can be overturned when a more right-leaning government takes over. The beauty of Canada’s system is that our Charter of Rights and Criminal Code support access to abortion, and we have no other laws for anti-choice politicians to mess with. We need societal change to further normalize reproductive healthcare. It’s been a long battle, and as long as there is gender disparity in human society, the fight will go on. But rather than trying to enact laws around abortion, we should be fighting to prevent them. The place of government legislation is not in the uteri of its citizens.


LIFESTYLE

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Five tips to avoid the wildfire smoke this summer Whether you’re going for a walk, staying inside, or tossing a frisbee through thick haze at the beach, here are five ways you can cope with the smoke this year JOSH KOZELJ SENIOR STAFF WRITER Amid a time full of hypotheticals in Canada’s sports world, while billions of dollars are being tossed around for free agents in both the NBA and NHL, there’s one certainty that’s bound to take place this summer: wildfires. The past two years have been a couple of the worst fire seasons on record for B.C. Last summer, over 2 000 fires burned over 1.3 million hectares of our province, which surpassed the previous record of 1.2 million hectares from the summer of 2017. 66 evacuations were ordered, and the total cost for fighting those wildfires surpassed 600 million. Baby blue skies were replaced with ash gray clouds of smoke, causing coughing fits and fears of the impact from spending time outdoors for Canadians from Victoria to Winnipeg. It’s not just residents of B.C. that have been plagued by the yearly smoke. In fact, this year’s wildfire season began two months ago in Alberta, when the city of Edmonton was blanketed by an orange haze that made it look like a city straight

out of the apocalyptic movie 2012. On the last day of May, 28 active fires forced 10 000 people to be evacuated from their homes in Northern Alberta, and the smoke drifted east to major U.S. cities like C h i c a g o , K a n s a s C i t y, a n d Minneapolis. Earlier that month interior B.C. experienced a wildfire burned near Fraser Lake that caused citizens to evacuate and the district of BuckleyN e c h a k o t o o rd e r a s t a t e o f emergency. There’s 16 current wildfires burning in B.C. (at time of writing), including one blaze ripping up over 120 000 hectares near Alkali lake, and 11 blazes active in Alberta — which has already seen 804 000 hectares of its province burn up in flames, up over 600 000 hectares from the previous five year average of 206 290. It’s only July, I know, and I don’t want to be a pessimist and worry you about the impending smoke, but the B.C. Wildfire Service has already predicted another abnormally hot, dry summer. While I hope the experts are wrong and we see nothing but sunshine and clear skies through Labor Day, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Here are five ways to prepare for the smoke. Although a lot of these messages may seem like common sense, remember the old saying from Smokey the Bear, ‘Only you can prevent forest fires.’ CHECK THE LOCAL AIR QUALITY INDEX

Before you leave the house, and especially if you have a respiratory disease, check your local Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for warnings about the smoke. The AQHI is a scale designed to help you understand and measure the daily air pollution in your city. It reads the air quality on a scale from one to 10, with the higher number being the greater risk to your health. On the scale, any “low risk” air quality is classified from one to three, with moderate listed from four to six, and high seven to 10. Any number over 10 indicates a “very high risk” to your health. Last August, the wildfires raging across the province brought some of the worst air quality ratings in the world to Vancouver Island. The smoke made Victoria’s air quality even with big metropolis cities like Shanghai,

China and Mumbai, India. MAKE A GRAB AND GO BAG

The Honourable Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said earlier this month that “the first step in managing any kind of emergency is to be prepared as possible.” He advised British Columbia to get themselves prepared for the potential of another long, smoky summer, by making a grab and go bag that includes typical first aid equipment such as flashlights, food and water, and a radio. Everyone should have a grab and go bag in their house and workplace, and ensure that others know where to find it in case of an emergency evacuation. PREVENT WILDFIRES FROM STARTING

While 60 per cent of wildfires are caused by lightning, there’s still about 40 per cent of fires ignited by humans. If you’re camping make sure you take the time to prepare, build, and maintain your campfire. When you’re finished, properly

extinguish the flames, and if there’s a f i re b a n , a b i d e b y t h e f i re restrictions. Even though those summer s’mores are so tasty, you can buy Oreo s’mores online or at your local grocery store! You can check on fire restrictions in B.C. online. AVOID ACTIVITIES THAT INCREASE INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

Close your windows, let the air conditioner or fan run, and avoid burning candles inside. If you can go a few days without vacuuming your room, it may be best to avoid the vacuum entirely as the machine can stir up particles in your house. UNFORTUNATELY, STAY INSIDE...

At the end of the day, your best bet to avoid the smoke may be to stay inside. Curl up to a book, watch Netflix, or, if you still pay for cable like me, watch television. Enjoy the last few days before school starts in the fall, or if you’re still in school, work on your homework inside.

Victoria’s Big Gay Dog Walk 2019 showcases dogs strutting in style We’re here, we’re queer, and we make treats disappear LARISSA PIVA CONTRIBUTING WRITER On July 5, the Victoria Pride Society hosted its annual Big Gay Dog Walk at the off-leash dog park on Dallas Road. Hundreds of people gathered with their furry companions to kick off the city’s Pride weekend with a woof. “No dog? No problem,” the walk’s Facebook event page read. “Everyone is welcome, even if you don’t have a furry friend of your own!” The event started with a gathering around the Victoria Pride Society booth. Medics, the Zone FM radio station, and a few pup-friendly obstacle courses and games were onsite to make sure everyone was safe and well entertained. Chaz Avery, best known locally for his work in drag, was the host of this year’s walk. After the bustling group of paradegoers finished touching every dog in sight, a member from the Victoria Pride Society hoisted a rainbow flag and the group began their roundtrip march to Clover Point. There was a certain musical quality of the crowd as they walked, as laughter mixed with excited canine barks. The phrase “Look at that one!” cycled through the air as the group admired one another’s best friends. Some dogs with physical impairments enjoyed the walk along Dallas Road’s iconic oceanfront path from carts pulled along by their owners. The group walked together in a massive

line, turning heads of unknowing joggers and evening strollers alike. Upon arriving back at the starting point, it was time for the dogs to prepare for the trick and best costume contests. Many of the assembled pups sported colourful hairstyles, rainbow tutus, and ties, and that made everyone a winner. The love at this event extended beyond human connection, which created a unique atmosphere that stood out from other pride events. The work done by the Victoria Pride Society to pull off the Pride Paradeis tremendous. It’s a mammoth task to organize thousands of people, vendors, sponsors, and hash out the logistics of street closures — which might be hard to recognize if you’re not directly involved. Events like the Big Gay Dog Walk boost morale for the Victoria Pride Society and are a lighter way to kickoff some of the more organizationally daunting events. Smaller, more inclusive events can reach others who do not feel comfortable or recognized at larger Pride events, which is essential for the community as a whole. Although not as widely attended as the larger Victoria Pride Parade on July 7, the Big Gay Dog Walk doesn’t fail to showcase the city’s pride with unique and adorable charm. Hopefully, the event will continue to grow next year with even more prideadorned puppies — because there can never be too many cute dogs.

Photo by Larissa Piva, Contributing Writer

JULY 11, 2019 I MARTLET

• LIFESTYLE 13


LIFESTYLE

Meet the people behind Victoria’s pod of inflatable orcas

Local group raising funds and awareness for marine life through lifesized orcas has become a mainstay at Victoria events and protests EMILY FAGAN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF A pod of orcas breaches a crowd of people marching down the road — not a rare sight on the streets of downtown Victoria. Rain or shine, anti-Trans Mountain pipeline protest or trans-inclusionary celebrations, you can count on the members of the Canadian Orca Rescue Society to show up, life-sized inflatable orcas in hand. The Canadian Orca Rescue Society was founded by Gregg McElroy and Eric Pittman two and a half years ago. It’s a passion project for both men, who spend a large amount of their time creating inflatable orcas, attending demonstrations, and collecting donations for conservation efforts. “The 74 remaining southern resident orcas are among the most endangered whales on the planet,” the front page of the Canadian Orcas Rescue Society website reads. “Make no mistake, this is a rescue mission.” It started with the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Pittman says. Both he and McElroy oppose the pipeline, and specifically the impact it could have on orcas and other wildlife off the B.C. coast. Frustrated with the lack of action they saw from many other organizations, the two men decided they wanted to help create positive change. United behind the goal of stopping the pipeline’s expansion, the Canadian Orca Rescue Society was born. And with it, so were the pod of life-sized inflatable orcas. “We decided to make these inflatable orcas to provide good imagery, get people inspired, and remind people about why we’re actually doing this,” said Pittman. “It took a while, of course, to figure out how to make one.” Each of the orcas are made life-sized to mimic one of the 76 real orca whales living off the coast of Vancouver Island. For their first inflatable whale, Pittman and McElroy chose the matriarch L-94, otherwise known as Calypso, partly because she had a baby, mother, and family lineage. It took about four weeks before the members of the Canadian Orca Rescue Society finished Calypso. After their full-time jobs and on weekends, they taught themselves to sew, created a pattern, and stitched her together from ripstop nylon.

After Calypso came Mega, which at 32 feet is the biggest of the pod, and soon seven other members of the pod. Since the early days, a lot has changed. Pittman and McElroy quickly realized that the expense and timeconsuming nature of using helium to inflate their orcas was unsustainable, and switched to fans with rechargeable batteries that can inflate a whale in about four minutes. Their first whale, once Calypso, has been renamed J-35 after the mourning mother that carried her deceased calf for 17 days and over 1 600 km. A baby was added to the original whale, and a new L-94 was built. The biggest change, however, is the group’s mission. Over time, they realized that it might not be possible for them to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline from expanding, but McElroy and Pittman still wanted to find a way to help represent and advocate for the orcas. To find a new direction, Pittman says he asked locals, organizations, and politicians how best to help the orcas — all but one told him to write letters or sign a petition. The single outlier, Kenneth Balcomb from Center of Whale Research, told Pittman about the importance of reviving salmon to aid in the survival of orcas. “Now, our mission is to bring salmon back to every river and creek in B.C.,” says Pittman. It’s an accessible, bottom-up goal that he feels can have a big impact. “That’s gonna feed the orcas, it’s gonna allow [for] things to thrive, and in doing so you help the environment.” Whether they’re taking to the streets, canvassing in front of Save On Foods, or accepting donations on their website, the Canadian Orca Rescue Society is fundraising for the Four Mile Creek Hatchery in Port Renfrew. It’s a restoration hatchery, which raises indigenous salmon in the water of their native rivers and releases them into their restored estuary. They have a dedicated team of over a dozen regular volunteers that come out to protests, with more that join in at protests around Victoria to help hold members of the pod. Most volunteers are people over 60 years old who are looking to do good in the community. “With nine orcas, two people per orca, you need at least 18 people. There’s always somebody like myself or Greg running around to make sure they’re all working right.”

Photo by Emily Fagan, Editor-in-Chief Thanks to these volunteers, the inflatable orcas regularly swim atop the crowds at protests and events in downtown Victoria, and recently marched in the Victoria Pride Parade. At the 20 km Trans Mountain pipeline protest on June 22, Indigenous elders asked the Canadian Orca Rescue Society to follow them with the orcas instead of marching further back as planned. However, the orcas’ appearance at these events — sometimes without invitation — isn’t always welcomed by all. “The physical enormity of the blow-up orcas can have the effect of taking the limelight away from the Indigenous leaders of the anti-pipeline movement,” said Mike Graeme, a regular attendee of protests in solidarity with Indiegnous peoples and environmental movements. “I think there’s multiple sides to it,” he added. “The blow-up orcas offer a powerful image because they’re those iconic higher mammals that will be affected [when the] Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project goes ahead but can’t come to the decision-making table.” On the other hand, Shay Lynn Sampson, leader of the Women’s March Victoria chapter and third-year student at UVic, recalled her pride in first time seeing the inflatable orcas for the first time at a rally in solidarity with the Unist’ot’en people last January. “I remember thinking that they were really neat, and in a way reminded me that what we were doing there was bigger than just us,” said Sampson in

an email to the Martlet. “It really showed me the community coming together for intersectional causes, and how important it is that we are standing in solidarity with one another. “Whether it’s for a good activist photo for their Instagram, or bringing people together I think the inflatable orcas really provide an atmosphere for the people attending these actions.” Soon, Pittman hopes his orcas won’t just fly, but soar — he’s received permission from Transport Canada to fly them as drones in a contained area over future events, and has been talking with the UVic AERO team about making this dream a reality. His ultimate goal, however, is much bigger. “Greg and I don’t think in the box,” Pittman laughs. Picture Save On Foods arena, awash with cool, wavy light. Glowing jellyfish and sea life float high above you, colourful sea anemones sway from the ground. In the middle, a storyteller stands on a high rock pillar. And all around, seals, salmon, and orcas glide freely through the air. Pittman figures that this stadium show, “Legends of the Orcas,” is still a few years away. But in its final form, he hopes to work with local Indigenous peoples to feature a storyteller that will the story of orcas from their perspective. As the show travels around Canada, profits from ticket sales will be donated to groups working to protect the local watersheds of each city they visit. “It’s gonna be a spectacular show, and a great exhibit for somebody like [UVic AERO] to get into,” Pittman says. In the short term, he hopes to keep

building orcas — this summer, he hopes to add three more to the pod. “I’m really excited — when we get up to like 25, 40, 50, or 76 [orcas], that’ll be quite the scene,” says Pittman, who aims to build one inflatable orca for each of the real whales. “We’re looking forward to that.” Both he and McElroy are nearing their 60s. To Pittman, the Canadian Orca Rescue Society — and the protection of the 76 orcas in the Salish Sea — is his legacy project. “It’s not about money, it’s not about riches, it’s about making things better,” Pittman says. “You haven’t seen what’s lost, but I’ve seen it.” Years ago, Pittman used to build and fly helicopters all over Canada — aeronautical experience that was crucial in making his orcas fly. “I’d look down [and] see these vast stretches of wilderness, nothing in sight,” he says. “Now, you get up in a plane and within five minutes you see a pipeline, you see a powerline, you see a dam, you see a river.” Bit by bit, orca by orca, the Canadian Orca Rescue Society wants to do their part to preserve and protect the planet. “We want to do a lot of good for a lot of people,” says Pittman. “It’s [humanity’s] responsibility to keep the world alive.” To get involved with the Canadian O rc a R e s c u e S o c i e t y o r l o c a l preservation efforts, contact Pittman at eric@orcarescue.com. You can donate on their website to the Four Mile Creek Hatchery.

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14 LIFESTYLE • MARTLET I JULY 11, 2019


CULTURE

Local theatre takes on 1963 comedic classic Barefoot in the Park

Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s comedy classic will leave you breathless CHRIS HORNE CONTRIBUTING WRITER Fresh from their honeymoon, seemingly incompatible newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter do their best to settle in for the long-haul in their new fifthfloor apartment. But discord mounts as the couple contends with a backwards heater, a broken window, late furniture delivery, strange neighbours, and, of course, each other. So begins Barefoot in the Park, the late great Neil Simon’s effervescent romantic comedy. The play premiered on Broadway in 1963 and enjoyed lasting popularity, since becoming Simon’s longest-running hit. Now playing in Victoria, the revival of this comedy classic by Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre is brimming with hysterical insights. Director Fran Gebhard has brought the aging play back to life without modernizing the performance one bit. Laura-Jane Tresidder shines as the ever-spirited Corie Bratter, whose optimism and openness put her at odds with her “stuffed-shirt” of a

Photo provided by Blue Bridge Theatre husband, Paul, played by Jonathan Mason. The pair plays up their differences to great effect as they alternate between punchy banter and bickering, all the while peppering each other with Simon’s signature one-liners. Showing a deep understanding of his character, Mason successfully fills the shoes of the original Paul, Robert Redford — he’s all sense and little sensitivity, with a healthy dose of sardonic wit. Rounding out the performance are Gwynyth Walsh as Mrs. Ethel Banks — Corie’s high-strung widowed mother

— and Chris Britton as the Bratters’ insolent but charming upstairs neighbour, Victor Velasco. Both actors stand testament to the strength of Blue Bridge’s casting: Walsh convincingly juggles a mother’s endearing passive aggressive behaviour and the apprehensiveness of empty nest syndrome, while Britton is devastatingly urbane. Though still remarkably relatable more than 50 years after its debut, Simon’s script occasionally shows its age. For example, in one scene, Corie turns to her mother for wisdom after

a spectacular fight with Paul, expressing her fear for the end of their short-lived marriage. Ethel delivers, but her response is so clichéd that it falls flat on contemporary ears: “You’ve got to give up a little of you for him. Make him feel important. And if you can do that, you’ll have a happy and wonderful marriage.” Moments like this threaten to sink this buoyant comedy and require more comic back-peddling than they’re worth. However, one of this play’s strengths is that the performance is defined by abundant motion. The players use the

stage to its fullest, constantly opening and closing doors, switching places and moving objects. Every movement is perfectly choreographed, and even the set-change is gracefully conducted. In many cases, the characters’ movements are complemented by set design. For instance, Corie and Paul rush around their split-level apartment, which features two staircases on either side of the main room, thereby cleverly paralleling the couple’s everyday ups and downs. Often, it isn’t what we see on stage but what is concealed from us that makes Barefoot in the Park so enduringly enjoyable. When characters are forced to walk up five flights of stairs to reach the apartment, they always arrive out of breath. This running joke doesn’t just build comedic tension, it also fleshes out the space outside the front door, making the one-room set feel like part of a living world. If you get the chance to take in this genuinely delightful production, you too will have a hard time catching your breath.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a must-see performance

The play tells audiences that “To become free, you must leave something behind” BRIANNA BOCK STAFF WRITER The road to success is not an easy one. It can feel like nothing but a string of bad decisions and trusting the wrong people, with your goals and dreams forever just out of reach. A journey like this can change a person for better or for worse. Such is the story of Hedwig, as portrayed in the theatrical drag show Hedwig and the Angry Inch that came to the Capital Ballroom in Victoria on June 27, 28, and 30. Hedwig is a talented performer and songwriter, forever chasing both her moment in the spotlight and her other half she believes will finally make her feel whole. Born and raised in East Berlin, Hedwig, then Hans, dreamed of escaping the city. She grew up listening to classic rock late at night inside the oven, as her family’s house was too small and Hedwig’s mother didn’t like any extra noise. One traumatic event later, Hedwig escapes, only to have the Berlin Wall fall down a year later. This is a story of love, struggle, heartache, pain, what it means to be in a relationship, and moving forward despite it all; told on the evening of a punk rock musical on Hedwig’s opening night next to a massive show right next door. Originally workshopped in bars and queer venues in New York City, Hedwig and the Angry Inch grew and grew, gaining a venue off Broadway and a movie adapation before coming to Broadway in 2012 starring Neil Patrick Harris. The play has since been adapted and changed from its original run, but according to Griffin Leonard Lea who plays Hedwig in the Victoria production, “[The show] exists in

whatever space and moment it’s happening in — it’s always evolving.” This is Atomic Vaudeville’s third consecutive year of producing the show in Victoria. “It is such a joy to keep coming back to,” said Lea, who finds new elements to love every single time. Even watching the show once reveals so many different aspects and angles from which to enjoy and study the play: the excellent music, the humour, the writing, the pure struggle of the characters, and the complicated relationships they all carry with them. When asked why they keep coming back to the same story, Lea answered, “It constantly yields greater rewards, and it feels like it keeps building and then we tear it apart.” The two stars of the show, Jana Morrison (who plays Yitzhak) and Lea, give stand out performances that are larger than life. Even Yitzhak, Hedwig’s husband, who is often pushed to the side as Hedwig hugs the spotlight, has some incredible and brutally raw moments. “[A big part of Yitzhak’s struggle is] not being able to be exactly who you are because of somebody else’s insecurities,” said Morrison. “The story itself can be a little bit absurd and unique, certainly. It’s not everyone’s experience. But I think the relationships within it and how we treat each other are so universal that anyone can see themselves in either [Hedwig or Yitzhak],” added Lee. The core of the play is the struggle of relationships. Hedwig is desperate in searching for her ultimate soul mate to make her life perfect. With all Hedwig’s talk of soul mates, and how perfect her ex is, Yitzhak is off to the side, not perfect but still in love with her.

Photo provided by Atomic Vaudeville

As Lea noted, “Relationships are tough, and sometimes we’re a little overbearing and we don’t notice it.” “We don’t notice it,” Morrison added, “because we’re trying to ajust, so comfortable with the person you’re with all the time that taking it out on them is just so easy and it’s so bad.” Through all of that, things begin to click for the characters one painful piece at a time until they can’t look away from it anymore. They are forced to confront what they’ve done to themselves and others in

order to accomplish their dreams, or just make the people they love happy. “Something happens at the end of the play, where it’s like you feel transformed somehow and it’s just the magic of the rhythm and the music, and the characters,” said Britt Small, Hedwig’s director and an alumni of the UVic Theatre Program. Watching this play, I definitely got sucked into that transformation. I couldn’t recommend Hedwig and the Angry Inch highly enough. It’s a story about emotional struggle and growth as characters

realize how much hurt they’ve caused themselves and others. It’s funny, the music is great, it’s raw and bleeding with hurt, but at the end, it’s ultimately a transformative and an amazing experience. As Hedwig says in the play, “To become free, you must leave something behind.” But throughout the show, they learn that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice who you are. To move forward, you must leave behind the person you were in order to become a better person.

JULY 11, 2019 | MARTLET • CULTURE 15


Big thanks to our former Editor-in-Chief Cormac O’Brien for contributing this (ridiculously difficult) crossword every issue over Volume 72. P.S. If you complete the crossword, take a photo and post it on Facebook or Instagram! You could win a prize!

The Martlet Crossword

ANSWERS AT MARTLET.CA/CROSSWORD / MADE AT KEIRANKING.COM/PHIL

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1 Spanish lab animal 5 Joint that accounts for 20% of all sports injuries in the USA 10 Jerk, for short 14 Many 15 American speaker and electronics company 16 Abnormal rattling heard in the lungs 17 Tibetan dumpling 18 Front porch 19 Wind instrument 20 Symptom #1 of climate change 22 Desire 23 Eddie The ______, popular ski figure in the 80s 24 Local sausage company 27 Camera type, abbr. 28 Former Victoria Youth Poet Laureate featured in the Martlet, for short 30 ___ Spiegel, German newspaper

31 Food meant for eating ASAP 34 Activist Hoffmann 36 Mocking phrase used for someone who finds meaning where there maybe isn't 38 Symptom #2 of climate change 40 Symptom #3 of climate change 41 Third note in a B major scale 42 Drum cymbal 43 Sneaky 44 Louse 46 Time demarcation 47 NBA team where Kawhi Leonard is heading 50 Not for public consumption 52 Slang for homemade alcohol 54 The most famous one is in St. Louis 57 Symptom #4 of climate change 59 Princess from Alderaan

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; The Martlet Publishing Society is an incorporated B.C. society and operates based on our Statement of Principles. We strive to act as an agent of constructive social change and will not publish racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise oppressive copy.

60 Northern Italian city 61 "Mike and ____ are my favourite candy" 62 Lacking the ability to hear 63 Beginning 64 1/100 financial denomination 65 Many 66 Biscuit often paired with milk 67 "De donde ____?" (Where are you from?, in Spanish)

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VOLUME 72

ISSUE 03

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Emily Fagan edit@martlet.ca

DESIGN DIRECTOR Natalie Hume design@martlet.ca

BUSINESS MANAGER Joshua Chew business@martlet.ca

SENIOR STAFF WRITER AND EDITORS Kate Korte,w Josh Kozelj

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STAFF WRITERS Brianna Bock, Natasha Simpson

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CONTRIBUTORS Brishti Basu, Carlee Bouillon, Anna Dodd, Connor Guyn, Chris Horne, Lech Kozinski, Alec Lazenby, Kelsey Lessard, Adam Marsh, Cormac O’Brien, Larissa Piva, Carina Pogoler, Cam Welch, Hugo Wong, Meilin Yuan

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July 11, 2019  

Student-run; newspaper; local news; the Martlet: UVic; University of Victoria

July 11, 2019  

Student-run; newspaper; local news; the Martlet: UVic; University of Victoria

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