Volume No. 32 Issue No. 12
TRIBUNE Published by the Tribune Publication Society
Stress P 10 nightmares p 12
student of the week p9
Player's theatre p 14
@mcgill_tribune • www. mcgilltribune.com
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Trottier Symposium serves up science to the public P 13
Dr. Walter Willett discusses weight gain and Canada’s dietary recommendations at the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)
McGill Senate discusses student disciplinary procedures
Senators also address plans for research funding from 2013 to 2017; concerns on corporate sponsorship of research Andra Cernavskis News Editor On Nov. 14, the McGill Senate met to discuss student disciplinary cases during the 2011-2012 academic year. Interim Dean of Students Linda Starkey presented the Committee on Student Discipline’s (CDS) annual report. The Senate also heard a presentation by Vice-Principal Research and International Relations Rose Goldstein on how McGill could expand its funding for research. The Report The CSD report notes that the total number of allegations was slightly higher this past academic year—427 compared to 408 in 20102011. The non-academic allegations made against students increased by 48 per cent, from 193 to 286.
“This increase can be attributed to improved reporting of e-mail harassment or inappropriate use of McGill posting sites, the growing number of residence spaces, and the campus atmosphere last year,” the report said. Last year, several students faced disciplinary allegations after McGill Security Services videotaped students at protests on campus, including an occupation of the James Administration Building’s sixth floor. Science Senator Moe Nasr questioned the role of McGill Security Service within the disciplinary procedure at McGill, specifically with regards to cases where students express political opinions on campus. According to Starkey, the mandate of Security Services is not to accuse a student of violating a specific protocol, but to report alleged
violations to a disciplinary officer. “I’m not aware that the notion of student politics is a factor [in what Security Services reports to a disciplinary officer],” she said, noting that the only time that someone from Security Services would mention political leanings in a case is when describing words on signs used by students on campus. Catherine Lu, an associate professor of political science, expressed concern over whether there was equity in CSD’s punishments. “There were different penalties that came out of similar offenses,” Lu said. “What needs to be done institutionally to correct this for the future?” In response, Starkey explained that CSD does not issue standard sanctions, and that every case is heard and assessed individually. Several students attended the
Senate meeting to observe Starkey’s presentation. Some held a large red sign that read ‘McGill’s Committee on Squashing Dissent.’ “We are here because the University’s rules and procedures related to student discipline are interpreted and applied inconsistently and with bias against known student activists,” read a flyer that the students distributed at Senate. Research Funding Senators also voted to endorse McGill’s new Strategic Research Plan (SRP) for 2013-2017. The plan is intended to improve McGill’s research capabilities. An SRP is required for many external funding programs, such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The previous plan was adopted in 2006. Almost 75 per cent of McGill’s current research funding comes
from both the federal and Quebec governments. Presently, McGill is the second-ranked university in research intensity, according to the Tri-Council Agencies, the federal agencies which provide a majority of research funding in Canada. Goldstein said the new plan aims to diversify research funding, and should help McGill surpass the University of Toronto as the top-ranked University for research intensity. “We need to reorganize funds if we are going to be competitive in the next few years,” Goldstein said. “Provincial and federal pools are not growing … we need to diversify.” Several senators expressed concerns over the SRP’s logistics, including the source of the potential new funds. According to Goldstein, McGill plans to launch a Business See “Senate” on p. 2
NEWS Senate Continued from cover Engagement Centre to reach out to new businesses for funding. Brendan Gillon, associate professor of linguistics, expressed concern that dependency on external organizations like private businesses for funding might affect the topics chosen for research, and that McGill may consequently see less curiositydriven research. Senate also passed a motion to broadcast their sessions on the internet for a one-year trial period, starting in January 2013. These broadcasts will only be available to members of the McGill community, and will be accessible through a password-protected login. The Ad Hoc Committee on the Recording and Transmission of Senate Meetings brought this motion forward with the intention of making Senate meetings more accessible to the McGill community. “We want to have engagement from the broad university community,” Chandra Madramootoo, chair of the committee and dean of agricultural and environmental sciences, said.
I N S B RIEF W E N Former director general of muhc, arthur porter, sued by university
Last Tuesday, McGill announced its decision to pursue legal action against Dr. Arthur Porter, the former director general and chief executive officer of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). McGill seeks the reimbursement of $317,153.89—a total that includes a $285,000 loan granted to Porter in 2008, and $30,131.63 in salary overpayment following his resignation in December 2011. According to the Montreal Gazette, McGill originally lent Porter $500,000 at one per cent annual interest in 2008. When Porter resigned from his position at MUHC, he had paid back $214,409 of the loan. “Despite the fact that [Porter] had promised to reimburse the university, the amount owing remains outstanding,” McGill’s press release
read. “The university has therefore decided to take action to ensure the prompt repayment of these sums.” McGill has not disclosed the reason for the loan, nor any information regarding the university’s loan policy to date. According to the Gazette, evidence suggests that the loan is related to Porter’s real-estate investments. Porter allegedly purchased a penthouse apartment in downtown Montreal for over $500,000 in September 2004, and his wife bought a penthouse condominium for over $1 million in December 2007. In March 2008, Porter received the $500,000 loan from McGill, and signed a promissory note acknowledging it. The loan was signed again three months later in the presence of a notary, at which point it became a
“housing loan agreement.” Further investigation by the Gazette has revealed that, in addition to his nearly $350,000 salary as the head of the MUHC, Porter earned a second salary at McGill for teaching as a professor of oncology in the faculty of medicine. However, when the Gazette inquired into Porter’s position as a professor, none of 12 professors in the department of oncology who responded could admit to ever having seen Porter teach. “I was surprised to learn … that Dr. Porter was receiving a salary as a professor of oncology,” Dr. Vincent Giguère, professor in oncology and biochemistry, told the Gazette. “He is not listed as a professor of oncology on our department website ... and I have never seen him at departmental functions.”
McGill has refused to disclose Porter’s professorial salary to the public, saying that information about professors’ salaries is “private.” Quebec’s anti-corruption squad is also seeking to question Porter about MUHC’s procurement of the $1.3 billion superhospital contract. However, Porter’s current whereabouts are unknown. Porter’s most recent communication with McGill was an email dated Oct. 23, in which he promised to pay back the loan. McGill has stated that it will make no further comment on the lawsuit, as the case is currently under review by the Quebec Superior Court. —Bea Britneff
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Council debates creation of additional representative to TaCEQ SSMU VP External hopes to increase student awareness of the inter-university student association Jimmy Lou Contributor Last Thursday, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Council met in Burnside 511, one of two Active Learning Classrooms (ALC) at McGill. Included in the topics of discussion was its relationship with the Quebec Student Roundtable (Table de concertation étudiante du Québec, or TaCEQ) and the possibility of creating another representative position on TaCEQ. McGill currently has four representative seats on TaCEQ. SSMU Vice-President External Robin ReidFraser said Council would increase SSMU commitment to TaCEQ if they created another permanent position for representation. “McGill has a lot of people who are from outside Quebec,” Reid-Fraser said. “My understanding is that a lot of people don’t even know we are a part of TaCEQ, or what it’s for. So it’s important for us to get word out there with things like newsletters or organizing events like panel discussions.” Created in 2009, TaCEQ is a province-wide round-table for mem-
ber student associations to lobby the government as a collective. SSMU is currently one of three members alongside student associations from Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke. With these three associations, TaCEQ represents 65,000 students in Quebec. “Ultimately, TaCEQ is intended to function as a formalized round-table, where member student associations can, with a louder voice, lobby the government with improved success,” the SSMU website reads. “The structure of TaCEQ is built to prevent it from turning into a large organization carried away with its own purpose and disconnected from its base.” TaCEQ is mostly volunteerbased and operates with a small budget. It does not charge its own membership fees like other large student associations, according to Reid-Fraser. Instead, TaCEQ approves its finances at the beginning of the financial year and its expenses at monthly meetings. “Currently we use this structures because TaCEQ is small and fairly new compared to the other associations,” Reid-Fraser said. “If we get more member associations and
are able to work with a larger budget, then the structure may changesomewhat.” Some councillors raised concerns about electing a new representative to TaCEQ, and suggested that SSMU does not take full advantage of its current level of representation, since many of McGill’s seats are empty during meetings. They also discussed to whom the new TaCEQ representative would be responsible, and under which student organizations on campus the representative would serve. “I would really want to integrate [SSMU Council] and the TaCEQ representatives,” Reid-Fraser said. “Once we get a better picture of what we need [at the] next [TaCEQ] meeting, I’ll be able to bring the feedback and issues back to Council and go forward from there. Hopefully we can find agreement by then [about] what we’re looking for.” SSMU Council is usually held in the Lev Bukhman Room in the Shatner Building. Thursday’s meeting was SSMU’s second “roaming Council” of the year, which is why it was held in Burnside 511. “The purpose of ‘roaming Council’ is to expose the council to
SSMU’s ‘roaming council’ in Burnside 511. (Michael Paolucci / McGill Tribune) different parts of campus, and I think the active learning classroom is an exciting project that could be great for students,” SSMU President Josh Redel said. As part of the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-Down Pedagogies project, ALCs were designed in 2009 to facilitate learning and teaching experiences. Since then, the Teaching and Learning Spaces Working Group at McGill has overseen ALCs at McGill to help enrich education experiences. “You’re not in rows, you’re not facing the same direction, and you can roll around on your chairs,” Oksana Maibroda, McGill’s Educational Technology Consultant, said. “What this room allows for lecture,
is that if the teacher wants to work on certain subject, he or she has a lot of ways to communicate to the students.” Burnside 511 features multiple large overhead projection screens, as well as chairs and desks which allow students to face one another, rather than a professor’s podium. Much like a computer lab, the rotating chairs are easily adjustable and designed to facilitate students break ing into discussion groups. “This is one of the many cool things that McGill’s been working on,” Redel said. “At McGill, the problem is how to make classrooms smaller and more interactive. It’s cool that people on the administration and staff members are working on this.”
Curiosity delivers. | STUDENT GOVERNMENT
| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
New student advocacy Students and faculty reflect on committee underway Nov. 10 and student movement Christos Lazaris Contributor Two weeks ago, the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) Legislative Council approved a trial run of the Student Advocacy Resource Committee (SARC). The new committee aims to guide students through McGill’s bureaucracy and to help make students’ voices heard within the administration and SSMU, according to David Benrimoh, who presented his vision of SARC to Council on Nov. 1. The trial run will end March 15, 2013. SARC is Benrimoh’s creation. He is a first-year medical school student who has previously worked with SSMU and First Year Council. He said he saw the need for a service to help students navigate McGill’s institutional infrastructure. “We felt that a lot of students at McGill have a lot of ideas, questions, and things they want to see changed, but they don’t necessarily know how to go about doing it,” Benrimoh said. The group began this year as an interim club. Now that Council has passed the motion to create SARC, the club has achieved SSMU Committee status, in order to increase its credibility and make it more accountable to SSMU Council. “[Now], we’re directly accountable to Council, and people know that we have the support and backing of [SSMU],” Benrimoh said. Benrimoh is SARC’s head steward, which means he is responsible for supervising the committee and establishing its long-term vision. He said he hopes SARC can act as a liaison between students and those who can help address an individual student’s needs on campus, like SSMU’s elected representatives and administrators. The Committee works on a case-by-case basis. Cases are divided under the categories of services, student government, and campus issues, and are dealt with accordingly by SARC. “We [will] develop a campaign plan based off of [each] case,” Benrimoh said. “Some cases might have a need for events or setting up meetings with campus administrators. There’s all sorts of different venues we can help students take advantage of.” After roughly three weeks of
existence, SARC is currently dealing with a total of seven actual and potential cases. “Potential cases [are those] where we have identified an issue or met with a requestor and where we have not yet signed the case but we are confident that we will in the very near future,” Benrimoh said. “We are very new and we haven’t yet had time to do the kind of outreach that is necessary to accrue a large number of cases ... until now, we have been focused on actually getting set up.. . and training our stewards.” SSMU Vice-President University Affairs Haley Dinel helps supervise SARC on behalf of SSMU, and will also sit on the Committee. Dinel said Benrimoh reports to both her and Council, and explained how committee members were chosen this year. “The [current] stewards were chosen, and they went through their own internal application process,” she said. “[If SARC becomes a permanent committee], the names will be given to the SSMU nominating committee, and they’d be screened and interviewed.” According to the motion presented to Council, stewards are committee members responsible for dealing with and writing reports on individual cases. In addition to the head steward, there are individual triage, services, campus issues, and student government stewards. The Committee also includes three councillors from SSMU. At the Nov. 1 Council meeting, some SSMU councillors expressed concern over the creation of SARC as a permanent SSMU Committee. Arts Senator Max Zidel questioned the sustainability of the Committee. “This proposal requires a lot of man power and a lot of interest and time, and although it’s wonderful that right now we have a group of students who are really fond of this idea, what happens when they graduate?” Zidel said. “I see trouble … finding enough students every year to fill the necessary positions.” Despite his reservations, Zidel said he hopes the Committee will succeed. “I think good things will come out of it,” he said. “The idea itself is good, which is that you want to make it easier for students to understand the way that the university works. I’m pleased that people want to fill this gap.”
Students gather in James Square for the event. (Remi Lu / McGill Tribune) Erica Friesen News Editor Last Friday, students gathered in James Square to hear a series of presentations on the historic and present challenges faced by McGill. Student and faculty speakers presented on topics including unions, disciplinary charges from last spring’s student demonstrations, and the question of the democratic nature of the university’s structure. The Post-Graduate Students’ Society of McGill University (PGSS) and the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) organized the event as a commemoration of International Students’ Day, which falls on Nov. 17. According to PGSS Vice-President External Errol Salamon, the event also allowed students to reflect on the events of Nov. 10, 2011, when an occupation of the James Administration Building ended with riot police dispersing students on campus. “There are still long-standing issues from the 2011-2012 academic year that haven’t been resolved,” PGSS Vice-President External Errol Salamon said. “This event ties into International Students’ Day because it enables not only students, but also other members of the McGill community to share … their local struggles and issues, many of which are common struggles.” As examples of these ongoing struggles, Salamon pointed to the Quebec debate on tuition, as well as the academic disciplinary charges that some McGill students still face for participating in non-violent protests during the Winter 2012 semester. Former SSMU Vice-President
Come to News meetings! Mondays at 5:30
in Shatner 110
External Joël Pedneault gave a presentation that emphasized the importance of continuing to raise awareness about those who face ongoing disciplinary action or criminal charges for their participation in student protests. He received a ticket for participating in a demonstration last year. “It’s important not just to ask for a general amnesty,” Pedneault said. “That seems like the most obvious thing … but the danger of formulating demands in that broad, sweeping way is that they could easily be taken halfway by those who have the power to decide who gets criminalized and who doesn’t.” Pedneault said it is more important to spread information about those who have been banned from the island of Montreal, or who face jail time for cumulative charges. Another presenter, Justin Marleau, stressed the importance of unions on campus. As the vice-president Teaching Assistants for the Association for Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM), Marleau said unions help to address the problems caused by the high student turnover rate at universities, which results in a lack of institutional memory among student organizations. “We need to fight this administration every single day, for every single right that we should have,” Marleau said. “Every time we negotiate a new collective agreement they cut our hours, and they like to justify it with budget cuts. … But it has nothing to do with money. It has to do with what they care about— nice buildings, fancy facilities, HD TVs all throughout campus, with nothing about the quality of educa-
tion for undergraduate and graduate students at McGill.” Although the event was held in part to commemorate International Students’ Day, some speakers pointed out that struggles at McGill are not confined to students. Thomas Lamarre, a professor in East Asian studies, said the way McGill is run affects faculty as well as students. “At McGill, we’re given an image that the form that our struggles should take is democracy—that we are supposed to go and sit in meetings, deliberate, pass bills, and vote on things,” Lamarre said. “But the truth is, a university is not structured like a democracy. So when we’re told that if we behave, it will become democratic, it’s simply a lie. It simply misdirects all of our energy from the actual struggle.” Lamarre concluded by calling on students and faculty to stop “pretending” the university is a democracy. McGill Dean of Students Andre Costopoulos attended the event, and said he thought the speakers made relevant points about the university’s history and community. “Unfortunately, sometimes the way those important points are expressed doesn’t favour dialogue,” he said. “For example, some of the speeches started with [personal] attacks instead of focusing on the issues at hand. But the issues and the points themselves are important and should be considered.” Throughout the presentations, students frequently expressed their support by cheering. Isaac Stethem, U3 arts, said he appreciated the presenters’ comments, and emphasized the importance of encouraging dialogue about challenges at McGill. “I thought it was really important to remember what happened on campus last year … but also to remember that it’s not just about one thing that happened a year ago,” Stethem said. “It’s about … continuing the struggle to make the university more democratic [and] to make it more responsive to the needs of students and faculties.”
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 |
| Curiosity delivers.
McGill launches Frugal Scholar Money Management Program
Financial Wellness Week features workshops on student aid, living expenses, and other financial topics Veronica Rozynek Contributor Last week, McGill’s Scholarships and Student Aid Office launched the Frugal Scholar Money Management Program—a service that helps students create a financial plan by using online tools to track expenses and deal with student and government loans. The launch was part of Financial Wellness Week, which featured workshops and student-run activities covering topics such as student loans, taxes, and affordable living. Evelina Balut, associate director of scholarships and student aid and one of the organizers of the week, emphasized the Frugal Scholar Program’s open-door policy, stating that students are always wel-
come to confidentially discuss their finances with advisors. “Part of my job is to be here for students [and] let them grasp control over their finances so we can teach kids to become smart consumers now, and for later in life,” Balut said. The program also features an anonymous live chat system, which allows students to chat confidentially with peer advisors. Since this service is partially run by peers, Balut said it is more approachable for students who may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by their current financial situation. The Scholarships and Student Aid Office offered a workshop on the program as part of Financial Wellness Week. Other workshops included last Thursday’s “Living Thrifty” workshop, run by Shelby
Levesque, a student ambassador for the Frugal Scholar Program. Levesque gave tips on how to spend less money, and encouraged students to spread awareness of the financial services McGill offers. As a student paying her way through school, Levesque shared her outlook on money and how to maintain a healthy relationship with it. She emphasized the importance of keeping track of finances—shortterm as well as long term—and keeping receipts to maintain a budget. Levesque outlined many basic ways to save, in areas such as grocery shopping, gym memberships, and traveling. Some tips for groceries included collecting coupons and buying in bulk. While students may think it is convenient to go
to grocery stores close to McGill, Levesque suggested taking the extra time to go to thriftier places such as Segal’s Market could help save a lot of money in the long-term. For travelling, she suggested couch surfing or staying with friends instead of paying for a hotel room. Levesque emphasized that the Frugal Scholar Program can serve as an outreach to students, who remain unaware that McGill provides financial services. “As a freshman, I wish I knew that McGill offered entrance bursaries,” Levesque said. She said it is important for students to know that entrance bursaries are provided on the basis of need—they are not exclusive to students with high marks. Anne Marie Trickey, U0 arts,
said that it is difficult to deal with money matters while having a student’s social life. “Going out is expensive,” Trickey said. “I can’t squander away money like all my friends, so most of the time I find it easier to stay home and watch movies instead.” Levesque, however, discouraged students from feeling guilty about spending money. Levesque said that every now and then, a small reward—like buying coffee instead of making it at home—can be satisfying, and can reduce chances of extravagant spending in the future. She also emphasized that living thrifty becomes easier over time. “There are many ways to save,” Levesque said. “Once you start, it becomes a habit, then, a way of life.”
speaker on campus
Climate change forces Northern communities to adapt Professor James Ford discusses how limited economic resources and other challenges hinder advancements Naomi Braude Contributor James Ford, head of the Climate Change Adaptation Research Group, and McGill geography professor, gave a presentation last Friday on climate change’s impact on the Inuit communities of the Arctic, as well as the various adaptation strategies the communities have developed. The lecture was one in a series of speaker events organized and sponsored by the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS). Vincent Pouliot, CIPSS Director and an associate professor of political science, explained that Ford’s work addresses the mission and increasingly interdisciplinary approach of the CIPSS. “While we intend to maintain our proven expertise in more traditional security studies, we also want to develop new, interdisciplinary research programs that take seriously the multifaceted challenges of peace and security in the 21st century,” Pouliot said. Ford began the lecture by explaining the aim of his research. “My research focuses on the human dimension of climate change,” Ford said. “I am interested in the intersection between climate and society; how societies experience climate change and how they respond.” Ford explained that, as a result of rising temperatures and rapidly melting sea ice, the Arctic has been the region most dramatically
Ford explains how climate change has altered transportation and food security. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune) affected by climate change. According to Ford, some of the new problems Inuit communities face include decreased access to hunting areas, damage to infrastructure and cultural sites, and changes in animal populations. Ford said that Inuit communities have already begun to adapt to these new realities, which have become increasingly important for them. “[They] are not passive in the face of environmental change,” Ford said. Ford specifically pointed to
hunting as one area in which Inuit communities have altered their practices. Communities have devised new transportation routes, used hazard maps for given areas, and increased their use of motorized transportation, such as boats and allterrain vehicles. “People are taking more precaution when they are going hunting, expecting to encounter more dangers because of the changes that been observed already,” he said. In response to the food security problem, some communities have developed food-sharing networks,
where they pool and share food resources to alleviate the pressure on individual families. They have also shifted from hunting to relying more on store-bought goods. Ford noted that this particular adaption, however, can come at a high economic cost—for example, the high costs of shipping food to northern areas. They are not always easy to implement because of limited economic resources. According to Ford, government hunting quotas also provide a challenge to adaptation. He explained that bans on polar bear hunting from
2009 have restricted communities’ ability to respond to the increase or decrease of various Arctic animal populations. Ford also said there is concern among Inuit communities that the younger generations lack basic knowledge and practical skills for hunting, which further complicates adaptation to environmental change. However, Ford believes successful adaptation to climate change is still possible. He explained that the process is already underway, and can be strengthened by outside intervention—especially work that takes a more holistic approach to climate change and recognizes how characteristics of Inuit societies shape their responses to adaptation. Alice Chesse, a PhD student in political science specializing in Canadian Arctic foreign policy, attended the talk. She said the Canadian government’s “broader strategic interests” are related to adaptation of Inuit communities in the North. “Canadian Arctic policy’s main objective is the recognition of its sovereignty over contested areas of the Arctic,” Chesse said. “In that perspective, the enhancement of the socio-economic conditions of Inuit communities in the North [is] also important for the Canadian government. Developing and improving human livelihood in the Arctic empowers the government’s claims for the recognition of its de facto sovereignty over the region.”
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Experts discuss Cash on Delivery Aid programs Student-run event promotes debate on emerging foreign aid strategies Nicole Sawin Contributor On Nov. 15, three experts spoke to students at a panel that focused on new approaches to foreign aid, and the merits and drawback for each approach. Organized by the Student Network for Economic Development, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) McGill, and Youth Action International, the event was entitled “A New Foreign Aid Toolkit: Fresh Perspectives.” “Our goal with this [event] was to get a perspective from the ground,” Adam Hasham, vice-president advocacy for EWB McGill, said. The panel included Audra Rényi, executive director of World Wide Hearing; Hélène Laverdière, vice chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development in Canada’s House of Commons; and Paola Perez-Aleman, an associate professor of strategy and organization in the Desautels faculty of management.
Panelists discussed new approaches to foreign aid, such as Cash on Delivery Aid, a model of aid that requires that recipient country reaches a certain level of development before money and resources are offered. According to CBC Ottawa, Cash on Delivery is a program built by EWB, and representatives of the organization met with Canadian members of parliament last June, urging them to create a pilot government program based on the model. All panelists expressed reservations about the Cash on Delivery Aid model. Rényi said one risk of the program is that it can push developing countries to focus more on target numbers—such as the number of students enrolled in school—rather than the quality of new development projects. The debate opened with a question from Hasham. “If you could change one thing about [Canada’s] current foreign aid system, what would it be and why?” Hasham asked the panelists. According to Laverdière, Cana-
What happened last week in Compiled by BEA BRITNEFF AND ERICA FRIESEN
montreal interim mayor SELECTED Last Friday, city councillors voted in Montreal’s first Anglophone mayor in 100 years. As the new interim mayor, Michael Applebaum will hold the position until the next municipal election in November 2013. Applebaum replaced former mayor Gerald Tremblay, who resigned Nov. 5 following allegations of corruption from the Charbonneau Commission. When his party, Union Montreal, did not vote for him as their choice for the mayoral election, Applebaum quit the party to run as an independent candidate. Applebaum has faced criticism over the quality of his French, but defends himself as capable of conducting business in both languages. Since his election, Applebaum has emphasized the need for a collaborative council to reduce tension between parties, and for increased transparency for the city’s governing bodies. “Now is the time to re-establish our bridges, to work together and to ensure that Montrealers can be proud of what we do as elected officials,” Applebaum said.
da needs to work more closely with aid recipients. She said stronger communication with these countries will help Canadian foreign aid programs better address their particular needs. “[Foreign aid] is a joint venture, and the donor countries should work by the needs and the systems of the countries they are helping,” Laverdière said. Laverdière also responded positively to a question posed to the panelists by an audience member about their feelings on the increasing involvement of the private sector when it comes to government foreign aid. “It’s good,” she said. “[The government is] taking private companies and seeing how they can help in developing countries, but this is not a substitute for government action.” Perez-Aleman agreed, and also cited how consumers and NGOs have put effective pressure on private companies to act more responsibly.
b.c. suspends visa program Last Friday, the British Columbia government suspended a program that fast-tracked visas for investors who had committed to establishing a business in the province. The decision came following a suspiciously high increase in the submitted number of visa applications. The program offered business applicants speedier access to permanent residence status in exchange for a $125,000 bond. The initiative was part of a larger provincial plan to address B.C.’s demand for more skilled immigrants. According to the Globe and Mail, a review of the fast-track program found that very few nominees were running a business as promised, and that the program’s success rate was under 20 per cent. Government officials have suggested several explanations for the surge in applications and the program’s poor performance. One explanation is that some applicants hope to take advantage of the program’s conditions in order to secure permanent residence status. “We require [that] people actually set up a business and actively manage it,” a senior government official, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “You cannot just put up money and collect a permanent resident’s visa.”
chinese ambassador denies espionage allegations During an interview on CBC Radio last Saturday, Chinese Ambassador to Canada Zhang Junsai criticized anyone who speculated about Chinese firms’ involvement in espionage without providing evidence for their allegations. Zhang’s comments came following a report released by the U.S. Intelligence Agency in early October, which urged American companies to avoid using Chinese telecommunications company Huawei. The committee suggested that Huawei could serve as a front for Chinese espionage, and could be used to cause interference with power grids and banking systems during a time of conflict. Huawei currently provides networks for several Canadian companies, including Bell Canada. Zhang said these speculations are unfounded, and result from a “Cold War mentality.” These concerns come at a time when the federal government is reviewing the proposed takeover of Nexen Inc. by China National Offshore Oil Corp. Members of Parliament, including NDP and Official Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair have criticized the deal, saying it is not in Canada’s best interests. The review period ends Dec. 10.
Audra Rényi discusses new aid strategies. (Jesse Conterato / McGill Tribune) “We are seeing a new generation that is growing up and … managing these companies … I think it is important to bring [private companies] into development, local and foreign,” Perez-Aleman said. Students at the event expressed
appreciation about the panelists’ diverse perspectives. “I thought it was fantastic,” a student said after the event. “It was great to have three different perspectives. They had very different opinions.”
retail giants take quebec government to court over language law
government inspects veteran’s facility following complaints
Last Sunday, several major retailers—Best Buy, Costco, Gap, Guess, Old Navy, and Wal-mart— announced their decision to pursue legal action against the Quebec government. The dispute involves a new interpretation of language laws governing the use of French in business names. According to the CBC, the Office Québécois de la Langue Française, the province’s language watchdog, has requested that the companies in question either create a generic French name for their business, or add a French slogan that communicates the products for sale. Section 63 of Quebec’s French Language Charter requires that all business names in the province must be in French. Traditionally, however, this clause has not been applied to trademarked names. The six retailers have argued that this particular language law has not been formally changed, and challenge the validity of the office’s demands. Critics of this new rule include Nathalie St-Pierre, the vicepresident for the Retail Council of Canada’s Quebec branch—a notfor-profit advocacy association representing retailers across the country. St. Pierre questioned the purpose of imposing such changes on these retail giants, and said that the brands “stand on their own” and “need no description.”
The federal government ordered an audit of Sunnybrook Veterans Centre last Thursday, following weeks of scrutiny and complaints over the quality of care at the Toronto facility. Sunnybrook is the largest veteran’s facility in Canada, containing 500 beds. In early November, some families of Sunnybrook residents raised concerns about incidents that occurred at the hospital. Allegations included veterans left in unsanitary conditions and delays for vital services, like feeding. These allegations led to a government inspection of the facilities on Nov. 9. Families have since expressed concern about the inspection’s effectiveness as Sunnybrook was warned about the inspection about a day before it occurred. Although the hospital receives money from the both the Ontario and federal governments, it reports only to the federal government. While provincial rules mandate that longterm care homes be inspected at least once a year, Sunnybrook’s last inspection by the Ministry of Health occured in 2005. Officials say the audit will focus on how the facility uses taxpayers’ money, as well as on the quality of the care provided, and should be completed in early 2013.
TRIBUNE Editor-in-Chief Elisa Muyl firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editors Carolina Millán Ronchetti email@example.com Adam Sadinsky firstname.lastname@example.org
McGill loan scandal highlights a bigger problem of transparency Last week, the Montreal Gazette reported that McGill is filing a lawsuit against Arthur Porter, former executive director of the McGill University Health Centre, over an unpaid loan (see “News in Brief,” page 2). The unfurling fiasco has brought forward one disconcerting revelation after another. It’s hard to choose which part of the scandal is most shocking: it could be the additional sum of $92,000 Porter was paid, on top of the publicly disclosed salary of $256,000. It could be the undisclosed amount he was paid as an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine, despite no evidence that he taught in that capacity. Most puzzling of all, though, is the $500,000 loan he received from McGill in 2008, at an annual interest rate of one per cent, for which he is now being sued. Here, some obvious questions emerge. McGill has, to date, failed to specify exactly what the loan was for, and why such a large figure was offered to an executive director at rates far below prime. The Montreal Gazette found that the loan was part of a “housing loan agreement”— a questionable term. According to the National Post, low interest loans are apparently a standard perk for university administrators on top of
their salaries. Porter’s teaching salary—for lecturing he allegedly never did—also has yet to be explained.
“There are some serious matters of contention still on the table, and we ask that McGill come forward with an explanation.” As paying students of this university, we feel that we are entitled to hear answers to the simple questions of what the loan was for and what teaching Porter actually did. Either something went very wrong and the university simply does not know how this all fits into a larger tangled web of deceit, or the practice of paying nonteaching executives as professors and supplying them with loans at such low rates is standard. Both are similarly disturbing and require explanation. What concerns this editorial board most, however, is that it’s entirely likely that none of this would have gone public had it not been for McGill’s lawsuit against Porter. The affair raises a number of bigger questions about how our university manages its finances and discloses
off the board Making the moustache matter
Carolina Millán Ronchetti
I can’t exactly remember the conversation where my mom told me that my dad might have prostate cancer. Ironically enough, it happened on a November evening, but in the long months that ensued, we never said the words out loud again. We’d never been confronted with a something so deadly and so scary. Cancer is a heavy word—ominous, terrifying. It’s a word that makes you re-evaluate any and all of your past decisions, and makes you reconsider all upcoming ones. Talking about cancer is hard. But it’s important. Enter Movember. This annual campaign began ten years ago and encourages men to grow a moustache in November to raise awareness and research funding for prostate cancer. The movement, which began in Australia, gained significant momentum in the past years, and teams of ‘Mo
Bros’ and supportive ‘Mo Sistas’ from all over can now register online and raise large sums for national prostate cancer organizations. Last year, Canadian participants raised over $785,000 for Prostate Cancer Canada, with over $2 million raised overall by teams around the world. In my years at McGill, I’ve seen Movember gain momentum and visibility on our campus. But like other movements that are based on fashion statements, conversations about Movember often revolve around the moustaches themselves. (Is it bushy enough, or is there scarcely enough fuzz? Is it well-groomed, or unkempt?). It’s rare to hear discussions that transcend the visual portion of the campaign, and instead, focus on the meaning behind the moustache. It is time to take a step away from evaluating people’s moustaches, and rather, to think of the reasons that they’re rocking the ‘mo: to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Although some people do raise funds with their moustaches, many jump on the bandwagon, sporting a moustache without knowing enough
the salaries of directors and senior administrators. Most importantly, we would like to know if other university officials have been receiving personal loans of hundreds of thousands of dollars at negligible interest rates, or been appointed to positions and paid for work they never did. Salaries of top university administrators are made public in Quebec through annual reports submitted to the National Assembly. This public disclosure, unfortunately, means nothing if the figures aren’t correct. (Salaries of directors of publically-funded institutions, like the MUHC, are similarly available via access to information requests). McGill will do its best to brand Arthur Porter as the guilty party, and that won’t prove to be terribly difficult. Before this incident, there was much controversy around the MUHC project, including several allegations of corruption. In September, a provincial anti-corruption unit raided the offices of the MUHC. Porter left the country in 2011, after abruptly resigning as chairman of Canada’s Security and Intelligence Review committee. His departure came amidst allegations that he sent $200,000 of his own funds to a Montreal businessman, hoping to secure a $120 million infrastructure devel-
opment project that would have benefitted Porter’s own company in his native Sierra Leone. However, this affair is indicative of a broader lack of transparency. There are some serious matters of contention still on the table, and we ask that McGill come forward with an explanation. At a time when the administration cries bloody murder about underfunding, this debacle could be highly damaging to McGill’s credibility if it cannot provide answers. At the same time, if it cannot account for such large sums, it is going to have a hard time convincing major players, including the provincial and federal governments, that it deserves the additional funding it claims to need. As students, we would like to know exactly what the loan was for, and whether offering low-interest loans to senior administrators or directors is standard practice. Similarly, we would like answers as to why there was a discrepancy between Porter’s actual salary and the publically disclosed figure, and whether such divergences are common. Assurances that posted salaries are correct—and more generally that there is transparency in compensation for top university officials—are first steps towards maintaining the trust of tuition-paying students.
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about the cause behind it. Even if you aren’t raising money this November, remember that you can effect change and reduce the stigma associated with men’s health. If we can talk about embarrassing moustaches, why not also talk about what some view as embarrassing health topics? Some facts to get you started in discussing men’s health: the prostate is walnut-sized gland in the male reproductive system. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 26,500 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in Canada last year, and 15 per cent died because of it. One in seven men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime and one in 28 will die of it. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate—at 96 per cent—but only if caught in its early stages. Because early detection can really make a difference, doctors recommend that men have annual check-ups starting at age 40 or 50. As the daughter of a prostate cancer survivor, I appreciate Movember because it’s a month to ask difficult questions and consider their
answers. Do you know if your father, grandfather or other relatives had prostate cancer? This will double a man’s chances of having it later on. Have your loved ones ever had a check-up, and do they understand how important it is to have an annual one? These are questions that often don’t come up in regular household conversations—they never did in mine—but whose answers may surprise you. This November, I encourage you to make the moustaches you see on campus a chance to start a conversation about the symptoms, risks, and implications of prostate cancer. Regardless of your ability to grow a moustache, these are important questions whose answers might one day affect people you care about. Talking about cancer is always difficult, but it’s important to be comfortable, or at least able, to discuss prostate cancer today, so that if the day ever comes that you need to face it head-on, you’ll know what the discussion entails and you’ll be better prepared to face it.
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the issue brought forward by Mr. Breton. His concern, judging by his quote, is the impact of the project on Quebecois land. Unlike the hotly disputed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway projects, which would lay down new pipelines in a process both lengthy and harmful to the surrounding areas, these current proposals primarily involve the repurposing of existing infrastructure. Enbridge is seeking to reverse the flow of their pipeline, which currently moves crude oil from Montreal to Sarnia. Similarly, TransCanada wants to convert their Canadian Mainline pipeline, which currently carries natural gas, into an oil line. The work required to make these modifications is minor. Mr. Breton also cited the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill as a reason for Quebec to be wary of the proposals. While the disaster in Michigan certainly serves as a harsh reminder of what can go wrong with pipelines, these are risks that Quebec is already taking with the existing Enbridge line. Reversing the flow of oil
will not increase the likelihood of a rupture. The environmental concerns seem even more dubious when one considers that New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair has come forward in favour of these proposals. Mulcair has vehemently opposed the other aforementioned pipeline initiatives, on the grounds of both environmental and economic concerns. However, provided the project developer pays for any environmental damage caused, he believes that the economic benefits greatly outweigh any drawbacks in this case. Currently, refineries in Eastern Canada process crude oil shipped in from Saudi Arabia, Africa, and Venezuela. Once refined, the oil is sent inland to Canada, to the eastern United States, or as far south as Texas. Replacing these imports with Albertan oil would keep more profits within Canada. As Mulcair rightly points out, the alternatives to this proposal involve shipping the bitumen to the
U.S. or China, eliminating potential high-paying Canadian jobs. The West-East pipeline would create more jobs in the East, and increase the export capacity for our refined oil. Ultimately, Mr. Breton’s comments seem to indicate an ideological opposition to the proposal, rather than a stance based on the facts of the issue. Rather than addressing environmental or economic concerns, his comments derive from a purely political stance. The rhetoric used is distinctly nationalist, even employing the Quiet Revolution slogan ‘maître chez nous’ (‘masters of our own home’). While Mr. Breton’s sovereigntist approach is certainly in keeping with the Parti Québécois’ stance, it may be problematic for the province’s future. This sort of dogmatic unwillingness to even consider proposals such as these could prove seriously harmful to Quebec, deterring job creation and economic growth. The PQ has vowed to get tough on corporations, but a recently filed law-
suit—in which a number of corporations including Wal-mart and the Gap are threatening to pull out of Quebec over increasingly strict language laws—seems to demonstrate that this stance is to the overall detriment of the province thus far. To set a precedent in which opportunities are being struck down on uniquely partisan grounds will only worsen this. While the party did get elected on a platform stemming from a particular set of ideologies, these cannot take precedence over general economic well-being. The questions of judgement that these issues bring forward could ultimately damage the party itself. As a newly-elected minority government with an upcoming confidence vote, this is not the time for the PQ to be trying to score political points with a separatist base by shunning real issues. If the Party plans to occupy any sort of long-term leadership role, it will have to learn to temper its ideologies and take all aspects of that role seriously.
I never knew too much about Justin Trudeau—who is now in the race for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada—other than the fact that his father’s stint in the Prime Minister’s office inspired my own father’s lifelong conservatism. “Pierre Trudeau was the first and only Liberal I’ve ever voted for,” my father would say. My inclination was to paint all Liberal Party members with the brush of its late leader Stéphane Dion—whose infamous cry of “Do you think itʼs easy to make priorities?” fit right in with the Conservatives’ ‘Stéphane Dion is not a leader’ advertisements.
This led me to expect a humiliating defeat in Trudeau’s March 2012 boxing match against Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau. The upset raised the possibility, that, behind Trudeauʼs flowing brown hair and smoldering eyes, may lie reserves of true strength. I didn’t think about it for too long, though, because he is, after all, part of an increasingly irrelevant third party. Since Trudeau entered the leadership race, many have noted the similarities he shares with Barack Obama. Trudeau is young, handsome, charismatic, and has a real chance of bringing optimism and enthusiasm back into Canadian politics. But the similarities don’t end there. Like Obama, Trudeau was in Parliament for less than four years before beginning to campaign for higher office. And like Obama, Trudeau’s pre-political experiences
reveal him to be a lightweight. Before serving in Parliament, Trudeau was more or less a permanent student, flitting from one intellectual obsession to another. He studied literature at McGill, education at UBC, engineering at the University of Montreal, and then, finally, returned to McGill University to begin a degree in environmental geography. This last degree was ultimately abandoned in favour of his 2007 parliamentary run. Some may look at Trudeau and see a Renaissance Man. Others may view him as unable to begin something and stick with it. Recent articles in the National Post and the Toronto Sun have revealed that Trudeau is seeking to hire Mitch Stewart, a top campaign strategist for Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 election bids, to join his leadership campaign. To quote the National Post, Trudeau is seeking
to exploit “the U.S.-style tactics and U.S.-style strategy used in the recent U.S. campaign” to ease his way to the leadership. Does Trudeau really think this is going to help him? Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, lest we forget, hinged entirely upon tearing down Mitt Romney’s character, shifting the focus of the election away from his own record, and appealing to the Democratic base through wedge issues. Obama abandoned any pretense of being a centrist, Clinton-esque, pro-business Democrat through his misleading attacks on Bain Capital and patronizing tone towards the successful (“if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that”). The Liberal Party has always been a big-tent organization, appealing to broad swathes of the Canadian population. It has never strayed too
far left of Canada’s political centre. Now, more than ever, its viability depends on portraying itself as a ‘middle-of-the-road’ alternative between a ‘far right’ Conservative Party and a ‘far left’ New Democratic Party (NDP). If Justin Trudeau were to adopt the divisive and polarizing campaign tactics of the United States Democratic Party (and, to be fair, its Republican Party as well), the Liberal Party will enter NDP territory and complete its fade into obscurity. Justin Trudeau seems like a nice guy, even if his pre-political experience suggests he would be an ineffective Prime Minister. But for the sake of a middle-of-the-road, ‘leftof-center’ Canadian political faction, however, I do hope he eschews the divisive and polarizing rhetoric of Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Provost Masi’s letter in the last issue of the Tribune was a response to The Daily’s editorial “Demanding student voices at the top” (Oct. 29, 2012). The Daily editorial criticized the lack of student involvement in the selection of a new Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning). Our administration can play politics with competing student papers, which can even be healthy, but shouldn’t do so without mentioning the source of the letter. The Provost used many big words about democracy in his ‘letter,’ but his submission is little more than a strong assault on those with differing opinions about the role and achievements of his Deputy Provost and the procedures currently in use to select his new successor. The Daily piece noted, “the advisory committee is just that: adviso-
ry.” This summarizes the disappointment of fee-paying students who are not recognized as true partners with this educational institution. Also troubling is the committee’s over-representation of McGillelected working academics and staff members. It reminds me of the famous Communist public relations notion of “social consultations,” when party members (who represented five to 10 per cent of the total population) were asked at special meetings to approve some key decisions that the Politburo had already agreed upon. Nobody was allowed to criticize top policies that were then officially recognized as the ‘will of the majority.’ Manipulative methods used by power-hungry functionaries have analogous patterns—no matter if these techniques are applied in for-
mer Libya or Iraq, Communist Russia, or here today. We have learned by chance about the questionable McGill techniques disclosed by a former student leader, Andrew Doyle. In an online comment on the editorial in question, he revealed that all previously democraticallyselected delegates of one such advisory committee “were made to sign confidentiality agreements several times, and the Provost stressed the secrecy of the process over and over again.” In his letter, Masi describes McGill as “a student-centred University that puts student considerations at the forefront” after quoting various Task Forces that supposedly solve the university’s problems. Those two quotes are quite consistent and reflect the true treatment of our community by McGill’s governing bodies.
Until today, we were uninformed about the ‘intimidation sessions’ that convert isolated representatives into puppets of the administration. It is deplorable that strongly-supported delegates of academics, staff members, and students were denied the right to oppose such questionable requirements of confidentiality. Clearly, more transparency is needed in decisions concerning the selection or evaluation of administrative leaders. It is also depressing to hear that Doyle, instead of feeling humiliated by this experience, now advises new members of such committees: “Just try not to do any damage but make the most informed recommendations as possible.” This reaction resonates with my personal impression after dealing with colleagues afraid to utter even one
sentence about their work on such a commission for fear of retribution. Taking these events into perspective, we should not be astonished by the total silence of the latest committee mandated to search for a new principal, which was formed months ago. How can we be assured what documents, statements, or declarations they were expected to sign or not? It is clear, now they are scared and so remain quiet, that it will be more effective to ask previous members of such committees. This may work, as some of them are now retired. The first steps toward demanding more transparency and respect for democracy in our universities are the most important, and thus, the most difficult. However, change is never easy.
Quebec’s refusal to accept Albertan oil is all political
Last Wednesday, Parti Québécois (PQ) Environment Minster Daniel Breton raised considerable controversy. When asked about proposals currently being brought forward to start moving crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in Montreal and further east in the Maritimes, he rejected the notion outright. “Albertans want to bring their oil onto our land, without our consent,” he told La Presse. He also cited environmental risks, stating that “this is a question of protecting the environment that’s on our territory.” The Alberta oil sands are a hotly-debated topic on the environmental front. For years, critics have targeted the extraction process as excessively harmful, but that’s not Justin Trudeau and the Political Centre
letter to the editor
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up close and personal
Bananagrams serve up bunches of fun Co-creator Rena Nathanson on her love of games, her company’s development, and her family’s business Julianna Astorino Contributor Bananagrams is a word game that has recently grown increasingly popular with the university student crowd. The game is reminiscent of Scrabble, but is played at a much faster pace. Each player takes a certain number of letter tiles from the ‘bunch’ in the centre of the table, and attempt to make a sort of crossword from them. Players keep taking tiles from the ‘bunch’ as they use them up, while keeping pace with whichever player is using up their tiles the fastest. Once there are no tiles left in the ‘bunch,’ the first player to use up their remaining tiles is the winner—provided the crossword passes inspection from the rest of the players. The McGill Tribune recently had the opportunity to interview Rena Nathanson, co-inventor—along with her father, Abe Nathanson—and president of Bananagrams. She provided much insight into the history of the game, the family that started it all, and why it appeals to university students. McGill Tribune: How involved was everyone when it came to creating the game? Did each
member have a different role? Rena Nathanson: We were all game testers! The rules came about through discussion. Pretty much everything in our family comes about through discussion. Everyone talks about everything a lot. Is this too hard? Is this too easy? MT: How long did it take to make the game? RN: [It happened] pretty quickly I would say six months to a year, from the idea that we had something [that people would want to buy], to having a finished product in our hands. Yeah, it was very fast. We lucked out and found suppliers very quickly who could do what we wanted. MT: I understand that you consider things like cost and portability to be key components to the game. What made you focus on those aspects specifically? How else did you personally refine the game? RN: Well, we looked at the market, studied other games out there, and wanted to make it affordable. We didn’t want to keep anyone from buying it. We wanted a broad spectrum of customers. Portability—that was a challenge, because a
Campus calendar Robotization of Armed Conflicts: Ethical and Legal Challenges Wednesday, November 21 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Chancellor Day Hall The McGill faculty of law presents this lecture by Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer. The talk will discuss ethical issues surrounding military equipment like drones and who should take responsibility when one misfires. When human judgment is out of the picture, what power does the law have?
Interactive mental health lecture Thursday, November 22 8:30 a.m. to 9:50 a.m. Stewart Bio N2/2 Come out to this interactive ‘teach-in’ on mental health topics such as stigma, how to seek help, how to support those dealing with mental illness, and more. The lecture will feature a McGill professor and a representative from Action on Mental Illness Quebec.
McGill Improv presents: Satisfyingly Long Friday, November 23 8:00 p.m. Morrice Hall McGill Improv invites you to a show unlike any other. Typical improv scenes last, at most, five minutes, but on Friday night they will treat you to a 40 minute scene of improv, action, and comedy. We can’t say much about the content because it will be, well… improvised. Tickets are by donation.
lot of big companies wanted to put it in a box; and they [wouldn’t manufacture the game otherwise.] But ultimately, they knocked on our doors, and said ‘okay, we’ll have it as it is.’ So portability was very key. It was also a very conscious ecological decision. We didn’t want more plastic and cardboard in the world. MT: How was the 2006 London Toy Fair [the first showing of Bananagrams]? RN: That was crazy! I was in London, and my parents flew out for it. My kids helped: they came in banana costumes. We took orders from the moment the doors opened. We were not expecting it! MT: What is so special about Bananagrams? What makes it different? RN: I think, the portability, the playability, and [the fact that the game] is really fast. You can play one hand in five minutes; and I think the idea of no pencil, paper, board, scoring, is really attractive, particularly to a younger audience. They don’t get disheartened if they don’t win a match, so it’s very addictive and encouraging for kids as well. Also, what I think is very special about it is that, it can be played
with people of different ages at the same time. I don’t think I can think of another game where everyone can play and still enjoy themselves [equally]. MT: How long did it take for the game to expand the way it did? I understand that you didn’t use any heavy advertising, a national sales force, or the help of being in the large retail stores. Was it all word of mouth? RN: [It took] probably about two to three years. It went very fast. Because I think one person buys it, plays it with five or six people, then they all want it. It’s kind of a pyramid game. So we were very fortunate that we hit the perfect forum with it. MT: Your father had said that he didn’t want to do business with the large retail stores, such as Toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart. Is this something that will remain true as the company develops? RN: Yes and no. We won’t do discount stores. We are commencing with Target, [and are] just about to commence next year with Toys “R” Us. We have found that we kind of have no choice. I think we have timed it carefully and it was a very
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conscious decision to not lift everything very quickly, and control the entry into the world with the independent [stores] and then with the larger stores. We wanted to be, and still [want to] be, loyal to all our independent retailers who have all been loyal to us as well. But there comes a point where, as a business, you have to grow. MT: What does the future of Bananagrams look like? With electronic technology being such a big part of everyone’s lives, how do you see Bananagrams adapting to that? RN: We have an app that we are in the middle of re-designing. We are very excited about relaunching [it]! MT: Do you have any tips on being creative with the game, or different ways to enjoy it? RN: Well, that’s another unique thing about us. We’re always open to suggestions on different ways to play the game. We have a blogspot on our website where people can post their ways of playing and adapting the game. And I think that’s one of the beauties of our games—you can make them your own.
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
UP close and personal
Follow your dreams: McGill students give back Sports and games show local youth the power of teamwork, passion, and determination Jacqui Galbraith Student Living Editor McGill students Jared Saks, U3 General Management; Ari Soberano, U2 Marketing; and Daniel Viner, U2 Finance; spent November 16th leading a day of sports activities at St. Gabriel, a local Montreal elementary school. The Tribune caught up with these students to pick their brains about the event, specifically what went into its execution, and how sports can be a powerful learning tool for youth. McGill Tribune: So how did this whole idea come about? Daniel Viner: For one of our classes, Social Context of Business, we were tasked with doing something that would benefit a community in the Montreal area. So we found a school called St. Gabriel’s that we thought would be right for this activity, and we love sports, so we decided we’d create a day of activities and sports, and connect it to a theme of ‘following your dreams.’ MT: Can you give me a basic idea of what you did for this event? Jared Saks: There were about 60 kids, grades four to six. Kids were split into different teams, by
colours, and we had bracelets [that say ‘follow your dreams’ on them] for each team to identify [with]. We did dodge ball, soccer, [and] a game called ‘flicker ball’. We did British Bulldog, and some relay races. Ari Soberano: They got a little tired during the day, so we wanted to [have] one rotation that could kind of be more relaxed. My games were more of sitting in circles and whatnot... ‘two truths and a lie,’ the ‘follow the pattern’ game... just to give a break [from the physical activity] throughout the whole day. JS: At each of our stations we had sort of an underlying theme that we wanted to teach them. At one station, we wanted to teach them about teamwork, how it’s important in sports, and how you can use that in your life to follow your dreams. We talked about passion, we talked about determination. DV: Also, we created a big banner that we left there, and that all the kids are going to sign, that says ‘follow your dreams.’ They’re going to hang it up in their gym on the wall, and it’ll always be there to remind them of the day. At the end of the whole day of activities, all the kids were given a little piece of paper,
and they had to write down one word out of passion, determination, and teamwork. Then [they had to] write what that meant to them and the significance of it. MT: So what made you choose sports as a vehicle to teach the kids about these values? JS: I think I can speak for all of us when I say that sports have been something that’s been very important in all of our lives. I know from my experience—I played hockey my whole life. I see the importance of teamwork, and I see the importance of passion. Whatever you want to do in your life, sports [are], like you said, a very good vehicle to learn these values and really drive you. MT: So you said this started as a project for a class, and that the point is to create something that lasts. Have you thought about whether or not you’re going to do more work like this? DV: The gym teacher, Shelly Sharp, already asked us—she said she runs a cooking class once a month at the school—if we’d be able to come in to help out [by] just playing with the kids. So I think it’s not necessarily the idea of continuing on the event, but just continuing a pres-
student week of the
Q: Which Guinness World Record would you have the best shot at breaking? A: The most chocolate consumed during finals. Q: What’s your good luck charm? A: My watch. I wear [it] all the time, and if I leave the house without it on, I get a little paranoid. I start freaking out a little bit. Q: If you were a club at McGill, which one would you be and why? A: Though I’m not involved with them this year, [I would be] McGill Health. Maybe I’ll get involved next year [because] I feel like it’s important to have a balance and stay healthy. Keep a balance, so you can look back on these four years and not have the fifth floor of Schulich be the first thing that comes to mind.
Georgina Price International management U1 (Alexandra Allaire/ McGill Tribune)
Q: What reality TV show would you be perfect for? A: “Secret Life of a Perfectionist.” I guess sometimes I have little mini-meltdowns, and in retrospect they’re always kind of funny. I feel like maybe people would get a little chuckle out of that; but at the time it’s pretty serious [to me].
Jared Saks, Ari Soberano, Daniel Viner, and Shelly Sharp. (Photo courtesy of Jared Saks)
ence or an involvement. JS: At the same time, I think we were also planning on speaking to our professor. Although we’re not in the class next year, we wanted to see if there [might] be students who could maybe do it again. MT: How were the kids’ reactions to the activities? JS: I think the kids liked us a lot. [When I introduced myself, I said,] “My name’s Jared Saks, and I’m 21 years old,” and all the kids went “Whoa, you’re 21! Whoa, you’re so old!” AS: The kids loved the wristbands, every five minutes, the kids pretended to lose their wristbands so they could get a different colour. MT: What did you find that you learned from this experience? DV: Small acts of kindness real-
with Jacqui Galbraith
Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now instead of Montreal, where would it be? A: Well I’m feeling a little homesick right now, so it would be nice to go back to Vancouver. But I am looking into doing an exchange next year, so I’m getting the whole Europe bug. Maybe England, [because] I have some family there. Q: What’s your go-to stress-buster? A: Calling up my parents, that’s a good one. They just put things in perspective. Q: If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? A: There’s a really good book that I read: it’s by Mike McCardell—one of the Global TV news presenters. It’s called “Here’s Mike.” It’s just cute, he’ll be walking down the street and he’ll see a father and his daughter, and it’ll be something like the first time she’s riding a bike. He’ll write about [how] it’s just one of life’s little moments. It’s cheesy, but it’s a really happy book. Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A: Last year—first year—was really stressful with all the new work and stuff like that. And I know it’s not really the most profound advice, but I remember around midterms, I just didn’t go out or
ly can make a difference. [The kids] might not remember us in a month, two months [from now], but just the fact that every time they walk in the gym, they’re going to see [‘follow your dreams’] up there, hopefully, somewhere down the road, they’re going to remember what they took from the experience. JS: The level of happiness that kids had doing our event is something that I really think I’ll never forget. AS: The fact that parents came out and supported their kids and supported our event made me learn that people really are involved in this school, and people really are involved in this community. That’s really going to shape these kids and hopefully put them on the right path.
his student of the week was nominated for her active involvement within the McGill international development community.
anything like that, and my dad said, “Go out! Stop studying! Take the night off and go have a beer.” It’s true though, you have to balance in general just taking the time to have fun and then being productive when you have to get some work done. Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give McGill students? A: An obvious one is balance. Get involved because coming out of first year you may feel like you’re in a groove, but there are always so many more opportunities. This year I’ve gotten a lot more involved, and I’ve met some great people. Q: What’s one movie you’ll never watch again? A: There was one called “Open Water.” It was about sharks. Just a waste of time. It was a lot of bobbing up and down in water, and it was just boring. Q: Describe exam period in three words. A: Oh my God. I think that would do it. Oh my God. Q: What’s the first thing you think of when I say ‘Schulich’? A: First year. Never again. Q: What’s your biggest pet peeve? A: When you open the door and a line
of people come out, and don’t even acknowledge you. You’re just like “you’re welcome!” Personal doorman, that’s a big pet peeve. Q: Who would star in the movie of your life? A: Purely to boost my ego, but Zooey Deschanel is just so cute. She would be great; I would love to be portrayed by her. Q: Why are you an asset to McGill? A: I’m in a student network of economic development (SNED) and we get together and discuss foreign aid, micro-financing, and methods of economic development. I’m in international development, so that interests me a lot. It’s kind of important to get involved in clubs that pertain to what you’re studying, so you can get a more rounded out knowledge of [the subject]. To see how it’s practised so when you get out there you can see the opportunities where you can get involved. I’m [also] an intern at a local NGO. It’s not McGill but it’s all McGill volunteers and interns and stuff. It’s for the empowerment of female artisans in the developing world. It’s pretty new but I feel like I’m going to be involved with it for the next few years. Maybe not so much an asset to McGill per se, but maybe the community.
fter four years at McGill, Amelia*, U3 psychology, believed she had reached a relatively seasoned level of mastery in the pursuit of her undergraduate degree, guaranteeing that her final semester would be completed with ease. Much to her surprise, however, she confronted a debilitating level of stress during midterm season this October. In previous years,
Underpressure: How students cope with stress Colleen McNamara Illustration by Ben ko
Amelia navigated through work without becoming too overwhelmed, but this semester she found herself at an unrecognizable crossroad, blurred by a “fog of panic” with no clear solution in sight. She believes her unparalleled stress levels were ignited by an unforgiving midterm schedule, causing her to feel like she was “up against an impossible amount of work.” Amelia could barely recognize herself. “Instead of just trying to tackle work like I normally would, I became paralyzed with fear and my brain shut down entirely,” she says. “I would look at a page of material I [knew] and [I would feel] like I had never read it before.” According to Dr. Stepanie Pantel, a psychologist at McGill Mental Health, Amelia’s stress was “the mind and body’s way of responding to a demand.” Pantel distinguishes the difference between the physiological, cognitive, and emotional reactions to stress. “Increased blood pressure and heart rate, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, [and] headaches” are bodily reactions to stress. In addition, “negative self-talk, inability to concentrate, restlessness and difficulty making decisions” are common psychological effects. Pantel asserts that our response to stress is often governed by the body’s protective hardwiring when it senses imminent danger, which triggers the fight-or-flight reaction, also known as the ‘stress response.’ In this case, the body responds whether the danger is real or imagined. An amalgamation of intangible, lurking, and often undiscovered stressors can elicit the same reaction as a set of life threatening or jeopardizing circumstances—like a car speeding towards you in the wrong lane. Unlike Amelia, Violet*, U3 biology and math, maintains a conscious awareness of the presence of stress in her life. There is a correlation between stress symptoms and clinical depression specific to her case. Last year, Violet was diagnosed with depression, and keeps track of stress symptoms as a measurement of her psychological wellbeing. “I always find myself toeing the border of crippling stress,” she recalls. At the pinnacle of her undiagnosed illness, Violet completely withdrew from
expected tasks. She ignored midterms and assignments, didn’t attend lectures, and stayed in bed for up to five days at a time. She explains the double-edged sword that characterizes the connection between stress and depression. “If you are depressed, you don’t want to do work. If you don’t do work you’re going to become stressed out about it… it’s a vicious cycle.” Violet recalls feeling unable to climb out of the rut of inactivity she was in. “When my stress levels became too high, I opted out of life. Not only did this make me completely behind in work, I then became more stressed out because I felt completely hopeless.” According to Pantel, stress management techniques are vital to ensure that symptoms do not evolve into more significant issues. Though Violet alleviated her symptoms after diagnoses and treatment, her stress did not disappear. Yet, identifying depression as the source of her battle with stress enabled her to achieve a level of cognitive clarity, which she describes as on par with that of her peers. “Certainly, I think I can manage stress much better now, because the medication I take allows me to make choices that make me happy: exercise, eating better, sleeping regularly, working hard.” Despite her new level of clarity, residual effects remain from self-taught approaches to schoolwork while battling undiscovered depression. “I have developed really terrible study habits. I usually won’t do anything, and then at the last moment when the stress really hits me, I’ll buckle down and make it in time,” she said. The starting-line position Violet now finds herself at—facing the impact of stress keeping her from her textbooks— highlights the prevailing paradox at the heart of many students’ tumultuous relationship with stress. A healthy level acts as a boosting mechanism to kickstart work, but once the point of nipping procrastination in the bud is surpassed, the friendly hand of stress can transform into an unsuspected enemy. Pantel agrees that stress is not always negative, and indeed a certain degree is essential for motivation—the weight of its impact is dependent on how we perceive stress, and how we interpret the events surrounding it. Benjamin*, U3 political science and economics, shares this notion, and celebrates the beneficial element of stress. “[It] has impacted my educational career positively, in that it increases my motivation to discover ways in which I can alleviate what causes me stress, which [means] doing better in school,” he states. Benjamin finds solace in completing schoolwork, consequently relieving stress and thereby feeling satisfied. He admits, however, that the formula to embrace stress, finish schoolwork, and achieve contentment, is not successful when he faces uninspiring facets of coursework. To preserve the stamina in the ongoing battle to stay on top of work, he uses study drugs, such as Adderall or Vyvanse, as his weapons of choice. Benjamin stocks up from friends who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, and are willing to share or sell their prescriptions on the side. He is conscious of the connection between
completing work and maintaining peace of mind, but is handicapped by a genuine lack of interest in a particular subject or aspect of a course. He uses study drugs to “concentrate on work that doesn’t always have cognitive primacy, like long, drawn-out readings.” Though they enable him to sit for hours attacking tedious tasks, he affirms that the usefulness of ‘study drugs’ is limited to certain situations. These medications ignite extreme levels of concentration in those unaffected by ADD, provoking a detrimental level of attention to detail. Often, they even prompt the user to draw nonsensical or overly abstract connections. “I couldn’t use study drugs in situations that required a lot of clear and creative thinking or linear thought,” Benjamin confirms. Paralleling the experiences of Violet and Benjamin, and their use of medication, it is key to recognize that some students’ battle with stress is often compounded by the day-to-day struggle with other issues. Violet asserts that the treatment of her depression placed her on a leveled playing field with her classmates. Yet, the treatment of one cognitive disorder does not cure the other. In the same vein, Benjamin’s use of study drugs to maintain a consistent degree of stress-free living complicates the relationship between stress, mental illness, and maintaining control through medication—regardless of whether one is diagnosed with an illness or not. Isaac Gielen, a U4 secondary education student and former floor fellow at McGill Residences, guided over 150 students through the challenges of their first year. Often, he maintained advisory relationships after students left residence. As a central guidance figure to newcomers from all corners of the globe, Gielen recognized a salient stressor among McGill’s fresh faces. He noticed a significant disconnect between the challenges belying the dayto-day grind of an undergrad, and how the reputation of excellence at McGill creates preconceived notions of assured success and satisfaction. Interestingly, Gielen explains, the reputation of McGill elicits self-doubt for students who become generally dissatisfied with their respective programs. He recalls students believing that their unease was illegitimate, describing it as “this mentality that‘my program isn’t giving me much, but McGill is such a celebrated school, it must be fine and I must be the problem.’” Gielen calls attention to the disconnect between the expectations of school versus the multifaceted struggles it ensures. Many on the margins of academia—even parents, siblings or friends—may not be aware of their loved ones’ constant exposure to stress. On the other hand, professors’ proximity to students, by virtue of involvement in the university itself, allows an empathetic understanding of the weighty pressures caused by looming deadlines, exams, and the perpetual need to succeed. Dr. Jody Mason, professor in the department of English, tracks general levels of student stress through interpreting student behaviours in lecture. “I try to monitor student response in class; if students are clearly not reading or keeping up with the material, I always
attempt to pull back or re-organize the material in some way.” Although being stressed does not fall under the category of a medical excuse many professors require, Mason accommodates stress symptoms with a “generous late policy, which gives students up to five days to submit late work with a very minimal penalty.” Despite the reasonable mediations Mason employs, she notes that students often simply fail to submit work. Considering the various causes and manifestations of stress, methods of prevention must be examined. For example, students should maintain physical well-being by sleeping and eating well, as well as exercising regularly. Psychologically, identifying personal strengths and weaknesses is important; aiming for perfection will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction. Students should place reasonable demands on themselves. Pantel also emphasizes the often forgotten, yet simplest of all preventative tools: keeping a balance between studying and recreation by not letting the pleasures of life be overthrown by schoolwork. Stress may pop into a student’s life when they least expect it. For some, stress could be a manifestation of depression symptoms, while for others, stress perhaps serves as a motivational tool. Yet, regardless of the way it manifests, each student at the university is bound to develop a relationship with stress in some way or another. Evidently, although stress is everpresent, we have the power to mold and shape it into what we want. Our battles with stress will only make us stronger, ensuring that term papers, midterms, and exams are rightfully understood as the small hurdles to jump along the long university marathon. *Names were fabricated to maintain the anonymity of those interviewed.
“Our battles with stress will only make us stronger, ensuring that term papers, midterms, and exams are rightfully understood as the small hurdles to jump along the long university marathon.”
Science & technology HUNGRY by Leigh Miller
ACROSS 1. Passionate 7. Affront 13. Bashful 15. Hulla___ in the guava orchard 16. Religious figurine 17. Bread and wine giver: pr___ 18. Unsure, with ‘at’ (two words) 20. Gave food 22. Prefix for again 24. Zero 25. Russian dumpling (two words) 28. Yes (Sp.) 29. Recent Affleck film 30. Untruth 31. Nashville state (abbr.) 32. Healthy carb (two words) 33. Signal 34. 1982 Alien movie 35. Flat-topped mountain 36. Fibrous vegetable 38. Third person singular for “to be” 39. Hawaiian necklace 41. Tiny bit 42. Normal number of strokes
in golf 45. Don’t win 47. Large, many-petaled flower 50. Destroy 51. Freudian concept 52. Loose ice crystals (two words) 54. Distress call 55. Average 56. Marsh 57. Glacial flour 59. Pastry 60. Low-energy light 61. Wine soil 63. Opposite of subtracts 64. Edition (abbr.) 65. Except DOWN 1. Bird-related 2. Moulin Rouge glows (two words) 3. What you do when you’re hungry 4. Slippery fish 5. Tar heel state 6. Famous mummy 8. U.S. national level enforcers 9. Magical creature 10. Otherwise
11. Borat joke 12. Background singer noise 14. Daily allowance, with per 19. Binge for example with shopping 20. Type of arrangement 21. Tasty 23. Wine fields 26. They come in dozens 27. Cloud ___ 28. Violent, quarrelling 29. Alpine pasture 32. Bizarre 33. Head officer 37. Legal claim 40. Tolkien elf 42. Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly ___ 43. Lighter than__ 44. Drawing 46. Opposite of stands 48. Yet to come 49. Collection 51. Plural of 41. across 53. Wetland plant 54. Gin variety 55. New York City transit 58. Unwell 62. Young woman honourific
Nightmares may be evolutionary survival tool Dreams help process emotional surges; nightmares keep us aware and alert Caity Hui Contributor Nightmares have always been a dreaded human experience. In certain cultures, they were thought to be premonitions of the future. It was this ominous notion that prompted indigenous cultures to construct dream catchers. When a bad dream entered the dreamer’s sleep, the webbing of the dream catcher supposedly trapped this nightmare. The first light of morning then caused these bad dreams to melt away. Despite our inherent fear of nightmares, current research has demonstrated that they may be a necessary and functional aspect of dreaming. The Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, which is associated with the University of Montreal, and Sacred Heart Hospital, conducts research in the areas of the scientific study of dreaming and sleep disorders. While this laboratory does not interpret dreams or give sleep consultations, it aims to provide insight into the important psychological role that dreams and nightmares play. The brain appears to apply the same neurological machinery during the night and day to examine past events. Dreams allow the brain to process conscious experiences and regulate emotions. Over the course of the night,
sleepers experience a variety of neurological and physical states, with the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep period being one of the most prominent. Dreams occur most frequently during REM period. According to the researchers at the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory, this period of sleep is characterized by an emotional ‘surge’ that unfolds over time. Specifically, they believe that the content of one’s dream is used as a mechanism to regulate or contain this surge. Essentially, dreaming reduces the intensity of the emotional surge, allowing these feelings to be processed through a series of dreams that unfold over successive REM periods of the night. In this manner, dreaming acts as a method of emotional problem solving. Nightmares, like dreams, are connected to the REM sleep period. They occur when dreaming cannot contain the emotional surge, causing the dreamer to undergo disturbing and highly realistic mental experiences. Many can relate to the feelings of anxiety, fear, or terror brought on by nightmares. Despite the inner turmoil they cause, researchers at the Dream and Nightmare Laboratory think that these bad dreams have a function. In cases of bereavement, for example, vivid images of the deceased may persist for years as hallucinations, il-
lusions, and intense dreams. Dreams of the dead should not necessarily be feared. Nightmares like these may help individuals accept the reality of his or her loss and facilitate a sense of closure. Nightmares are also an excellent indicator of one’s emotional state. “Whether or not a bereaved person finds dreams comforting likely is a reliable indicator of if the mourning is taking a favourable course,” according to a paper written by UdeM researchers Tore Nielson and Jessica Lara-Carrasco. Craig Webb, a McGill graduate who has helped with dream and lucid dream research at both Stanford and UdeM, is the executive director of the nonprofit Dream Research and Experimental Approaches to Mechanisms of Sleep (DREAMS) Foundation. He has a similar view to offer. “Whether bad dreams are fullfledged nightmares, anxiety dreams, or just a bit unsettling, they serve as ‘pressure-release therapy,’” Webb said in an interview with the site WebMD. He explained that, “nightmares are a very bitter but muchneeded medicine.” The DREAMS foundation postulates that nightmares serve an important purpose by sending the dreamer a valuable emotional message. In addition to an emotional check-up, nightmares may have
A dream catcher. (Sam Reynolds / McGill Tribune) also played an important role in evolution. In the past, dreams often warned people about dangerous situations. If a tiger killed in a nearby village, a nightmare would keep one anxious about that happening to one’s own village. Research conducted by Erin Wamsley, a sleep scientist at Beth Israel Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, also supports the teaching function of dreams. Mainly, she focuses on the relationship between memory and the different
stages of sleep. Both dreams in nonREM sleep and the vivid dreams of REM sleep are important in terms of teaching the dreamer based on experiences from the day. This evolutionary role of dreams may explain why nightmares are still present in today’s society. It seems they are evidence of the role of dreams in an ancient fight or flight mechanism. With all these functions in mind, perhaps nightmares are not so undesirable after all.
Curiosity delivers. |
science & technology
| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Food: A Serving of Science debunks kitchen science Scientists and nutritional experts tell you what to eat for dinner Leigh Miller Science & Technology Editor Last week, the McGill Office of Science and Society hosted the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium, a lecture series that brings science to the public. Food: A Serving of Science featured four lectures on the science of diet and nutrition. The panelists explored topics ranging from fad diets to the enduring culinary misinformation spread by a 19th century chemist. Dr. Walter Willett—Diet and Health: A Progress Report The first speaker, Dr. Walter Willett, is a physician and nutrition researcher from Harvard University. Willett’s talk focused on the failings of North American dietary recommendations. He singled out the lowfat movement and milk consumption as two pieces of health advice that have been disproved by research. In observational studies, the much-touted low fat diet has actually been linked to weight gain. The problem, according to Willett, is that North Americans simply traded refined sugars and processed carbohydrates for fats, to the detriment of their waistlines. Instead, dietary guidelines should focus on the type of fats and carbohydrates consumed. He also showed the traditional—and current—Canadian recommendation of drinking two to three glasses of milk per day is not ben-
eficial and may be harmful in some cases. While the guideline is touted as a bone health measure, studies show that drinking milk does not reduce the risk of osteoporotic bone fractures. Jeffery Blumberg—Evidence-Based Nutrition: The Problem of Proof If you’re not sure whether or not to take vitamins, you’re not the only one. Jeffrey Blumberg, a professor of nutrition from Tufts University, presented his explanation for the constant contradictions between one vitamin study and the next. While randomized clinical trials are regarded as the ultimate test, Blumberg argues that researchers shouldn’t be so quick to disregard observational studies, their less controlled counterparts. Randomized clinical trials are a tightly controlled test of a random group, generally used in the pharmaceutical industry. Half the participants are given the drug, and the other half, a placebo. In studies of nutritional supplements, Blumberg asserts, it is impossible (not to mention unethical) to deprive one group of vital nutrients, therefore the test can only compare two groups who are taking different doses of the supplement. Blumberg believes researchers must develop better experimental methods to test nutritional variables. In the meantime, observational studies provide helpful guidelines that shouldn’t be ignored.
Jane Brody—Eat for Life: Separating Wheat from Chaff “Good nutrition is not rocket science,” according to Jane Brody, a New York Times columnist and author who has been dispensing nutrition advice for the last 30 years. While Brody is not a universitytrained nutritionist, her background in biochemistry and relentless pursuit of the truth behind various diet fads and studies has earned her an international readership. In her talk, Brody explained how to spot a bad fad diet, arguing that healthy eating habits have changed very little over the course of human history. She advised the audience to follow the advice of Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemna who coined the mantra, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Many of the questions following the lecture were directed to Brody, asking for everyday nutritional advice, although one brave audience member jokingly defended bacon—asking, “What’s moderation for bacon? Once a week? Once a day? Once a meal?” Harold McGee—Playing With Food: Four Centuries of Science in the Kitchen Harold McGee quit science for literature early in his academic career, only to find himself publishing a paper in Nature. His paper, on the science behind the French tradition of whipping egg whites in a copper
Dr. Walter Willett thinks we drink too much milk. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)
bowl, was inspired by a Julia Child recipe. A playful curiosity, and a preoccupation with the science of the kitchen, propelled McGee’s career as an author and amateur experimenter. In one case, puzzled by grease spatters that only appeared on the inside of his eye glasses, McGee set up eye glass ‘sensors’ throughout the kitchen to collect data on the strange phenomenon. It turned out that grease particles, thrown high into the air, were drifting down into his glasses from above as he bent over the pan. McGee’s lecture gave an overview of science in the kitchen from
its early beginnings to the current advances in restaurant cooking that include precision temperature cooking and extracting aromas using a device called a rotary evaporator. One anecdote involved a 19th century chemist named Justus Lieberg, who initiated the popular notion that searing meat seals in its juices, a theory that seems logical considering practices like cauterization. Despite the fact that this theory can be easily disproved by watching juices run out of a seared steak, it is a persistent culinary myth that still appears in cooking text books: evidence that sometimes bad science is worse than no science.
McGill hockey lab has high impact on gear Researchers model realistic hockey conditions to test effectiveness of new materials Kieran Steer Contributor Your professor could be testing the hockey gear that you bought this season. Researchers in the McGill Ice Hockey Research Group perform tests for some of the biggest companies on the market, and are involved in numerous projects involving the safety and efficiency of ice hockey equipment. One of the lab’s major projects is equipment testing. PhD candidate Ryan Ouckama and Dr. David J. Pearsall, of the McGill department of kinesiology and physical education, perform impact tests to compare ice hockey helmets by subjecting them to various types of forces. Companies send new helmet designs to the McGill Group for testing to determine if the equipment is safe for game use. One way Dr. Pearsall tests a
helmet is with the drop test. “You have a controlled vertical drop and … in the head form … [you have] an accelerometer. The impact event must stay below a criterion threshold acceleration on impact that is considered unsafe in terms of what the head can sustain without traumatic skull injury,” he said. “More specifically, well below the 50 per cent risk level.” The drop tests are performed under a variety of conditions, such as different temperatures and repeated impacts. Lower temperatures generally reduce a helmet’s impact cushioning effectiveness, but some helmets actually perform slightly better in the cold. These tests ensure that designers can meet players’ needs by scrutinizing the equipment under realistic conditions. Dr. Pearsall’s lab also investigates the effectiveness of different foam densities inside of hockey hel-
mets, comparing a range of materials including vinyl nitrile and polypropylene. The foam is designed to be crushed or deform upon impact. “The basic function of the foam is … to absorb as much energy instead of your head,” Dr. Pearsall said. Ouckama uses drop tests to measure the impact of a one metre drop with an array of sensors. He translates that data into a map showing force over the whole area of the foam. Specifically, Ouckama is examining helmet resistance in two categories: focal force, which measures its ability to withstand impact in a specific area, and the maximum acceleration of the entire head. Helmets that are strong in one category aren’t necessarily strong in the other, which shows that there is some variability between helmets’ performance in preventing focal injuries versus their effectiveness against
general blows to the head. By next fall, Dr. Pearsall is hoping to extend the scope of the research with the hockey lab into other areas of investigation, such as the lower body protective equipment— bruising and fracture of lower body are among the most common sports injuries. He will apply the mapping technology to observe the equipment’s effectiveness in protecting soft tissues, like muscle and skin, hopefully finding areas where the gear can be improved. The ice hockey lab has an immense number of projects, including performance of helmets and body gear, tests for international agencies, and other prospects like concussion research. “We plan to continue studying impact mechanics to better understand the mechanisms that relate to injury as well as identify means to reduce those injury risks.” Dr. Pearsall said.
Technology Get your dose of curiosity! Email scitech@ mcgilltribune.com
arts & entertainment Theatre
Monkeys vs. Adam and Eve: Players’ Theatre holds court Inherit the Wind takes on the creationism debate in its portrayal of the Scopes Trial Alex Kpeglo-Hennessy Contributor Society generally accepts Darwin’s theory of evolution. Nevertheless, there remain pockets that deny its validity—the state of Tennessee, for instance, recently began teaching creationism in schools. With the origins of man still a controversial topic, McGill student Annabel Raby decided to direct Inherit the Wind: a play examining both sides of the current debate through a dramatization of the Scopes trial that addressed these topics almost 90 years ago. Before the first line is uttered, the audience learns of the narrative’s focal point. A small-town courtroom in rural United States fills the stage, and the seating squarely situates the audience as attendees of the judicial proceedings. The lawyers address the crowd, imploring us to hear their case. This setup leaves the audience to do the jury’s duty. The cast of
characters is varied, from hillbillies with slow drawls and banjos, to the outside visitors who comprise many of the play’s principal characters. The ethos of the town of Hillsboro itself is displayed on its church sign during one scene: “Think it’s hot here? IMAGINE HELL.” Bertram Cates (Matt Smith) is a schoolteacher on trial for corrupting the minds of his young students by reading an excerpt of Darwin’s The Origin of Species. The softspoken intellectual doesn’t seem to merit imprisoning. Even the bailiff seems to agree, and allows him to meet his paramour, Rachel Brown (Katie Scharf), who, conveniently, happens to be the preacher’s daughter. Throughout the trial, she is torn between her fundamental Christian values and the man she loves. On the eve of the trial, several outsiders arrive in the small town. Mary Harrison Brady (Emily Doyle), a three-time failed presiden-
tial candidate, is given a heroine’s welcome. No surprise here—she fits in with the rest of Hillsboro, a town where signs issue the stern warning, “Read your bible.” Doyle’s performance is nuanced and convincing: she handles both despair and witty repartee with ease. Her courtroom opponent is Henry Drummond (Samuel Steinbock-Pratt), an agnostic from the big city who the townspeople see as the devil incarnate. Another visitor is the deadpanning E.K. Hornbeck (Matthieu Labaudinière), a reporter who delivers some of the show’s biggest laughs. For the most part, the production is both enjoyable and thoughtprovoking. The single drawback is the play’s narrative: it often feels like a rushed court case, and the conclusion wraps up somewhat abruptly. Nevertheless, individual performances carry the piece. Doyle and Steinbock-Pratt show themselves to be able performers, with adept in-
An exuberant crowd in the town of Hillsboro. (Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune) terpretations of characters who are sympathetic towards each other’s positions, while remaining in vehemently proclaimed opposition. It was also pleasing to see subtle directorial touches evoke the rural Southern setting. A live guitar, banjo, and violin are used to frame a bygone era, while the people and crickets of Hillsboro chirp in the background of midnight encounters. In short, the atmosphere and acting make up for any shortfalls in the script.
The conflict in Inherit the Wind pits two concepts against each other: science and belief. The narrative itself doesn’t present either as the ruler over the other; it leaves it up to the audience to evaluate each position. Whether Bertrand Cates wins or loses is left up to you. Inherit the Wind runs Nov. 21-24 at 8 p.m., Player’s Theatre (3rd floor SSMU building). $6 for students and seniors, $5 with a clothing donation.
A ‘must-see’ that lives up to the name
Centaur Theatre’s Tony-nominated Good People is one of the best plays you will see this year Chris Liu A&E Editor This is what the much-lauded American meritocracy looks like: urban, moral, and spiritual decay; an existence battered by the cruelty of Lady Luck, who wields the Sword of Damocles—always one misstep away from the abyss of abject poverty. Playwright David LindsayAbaire, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Rabbit Hole (2007), captures all this and more in the Tonynominated Good People. Through sharp comedy and even sharper drama, Lindsay-Abaire takes aim at the heart of the American mythos. What separates the upper crust from the street dweller? Inequality cannot be explained through mere appeals to ‘hard work’ and ‘innate talent.’ Instead, the play points to nothing
more than the inscrutable calculus of chance. The message here is as frightening as it is liberating. Directed by Roy Surette, the play’s English-Canadian debut at Centaur Theatre is spectacular, a dizzying blend of acting prowess and technical virtuosity. Deeply funny and deeply moving—and at its best moments, both at once—Good People is a ‘must-see’ that lives up to the bill. The story begins with a firing. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of protagonist Margie’s woes. Between the demands of caring for a mentally ill adult daughter and a friendly but predatorial landlady, Margie is forced to turn to a childhood (more than) friend who made it big. The resulting narrative takes a magnifying glass to existing social divisions of class and race, but without political rhetoric. Instead, Lind-
say-Abaire is humanistic. In another life, the playwright must have been a boxer; the script makes deft, lightfooted movements with its comedy in order to land a few devastating upper-cuts on behalf of the downtrodden. Johanna Nutter’s Margie is as sly as she is proud, and intensely authentic. The South Boston—or ‘Southie’—accent is as charming as its owner. Perpetually stuck between a rock and a hard place, Margie relies heavily on her resilience and conviction; Nutter’s nuanced and sympathetic performance conveys an inner strength that approaches the inspirational. Few actors can invoke bubbling joy one moment and utter heartbreak the next—Nutter wields such power confidently. Unsurprisingly then, the best scenes of the play unite Margie with childhood sweetheart Mike (Paul
Hopkins). The bittersweet and razorsharp exchanges between the two are impeccably paced; both Hopkins and Nutter display an extraordinary affinity for comedic timing. Though the war of wits is uproarious, there is sharp, sore truth to the words, clearly reflective of the post-2008 sociopolitical atmosphere. John C. Dinning’s set is a beautiful behemoth of brick and steel. Jagged chimneys punctuate the air, and the whole seems to capture the tiredness of the daily struggle. At the same time, it is supremely functional. One gets the impression that Dinning must be an origami champion, as walls fold and unfold to reveal various settings. Peter Spike Lyne’s lighting displays inventiveness—particularly daring is the incorporation of fluorescents, whose harshness are masterfully tamed by Lyne and channelled to great effect.
The climax sees the preceding exchange of retorts explode into a full-out blitzkrieg, a real race to inflict hurt and pain. There is a peculiar shift as the script trades the biting for the blunt, a metamorphosis from sitcom to soap opera. One-toomany surprise twists leave the piece dangerously close to mistreating its audience, but this should not be construed as a criticism of Centaur’s production so much as a failure of this critic to find more substantial flaws. There were simply none. Go see Centaur’s Good People, bask in the talent of its wonderful cast and crew, and reflect on the myth of the meritocracy, and what a just social order would truly mean. Good People runs until Dec. 9 at Centaur Theatre (453 St. François-Xavier). Student tickets are $26.
could be good COMEDY Comedy in Biblical Proportions
FILM FESTIVAL Image+Nation LGBT Film Festival
CULTURE 24th Annual Tibetan Cultural Fair
FILM Jai Bhim Comrade
MUSIC Gizmo with Casey Benjamin
Comedian Robby Hoffman explores the world’s most popular book—The Bible— with a perspective that only a honed comedic edge can provide.
The oldest LGBT film festival in Canada celebrates 25 years of queer cinema. Selections include domestic and international feature-length and short films.
Take in traditional Tibetan music, dance, arts and crafts, and cuisine. Organized by the Canada Tibet Committee, an NGO promoting human rights in Tibet.
A doc about India’s ‘untouchable’ caste and its resistance to oppression through art. Filmmaker Anand Patwardhan leads the post-screening discussion.
Merely 20, Kenneth “Gizmo” Rodgers has already worked with the greatest figures in R&B, rap, jazz, and neo-soul. He will perform with saxophonist Casey Benjamin.
Friday Nov. 23, 9:30 p.m., Theatre Ste. Catherine (264 St. Catherine East). Tickets $14.
Nov. 22 to Dec. 2. Student tickets are $8.75. See www.image-nation.org for details.
Saturday Nov. 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday Nov. 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Santa Cruz Church Hall (60 Rachel West).
Saturday Nov. 24, 7 p.m., (Room H-110, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve West). $2-5 donation.
Friday, Nov. 23, 8 p.m., PHI Centre (407 Ste. Pierre Street). Tickets are $12.
Curiosity delivers. |
arts & entertainment
| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Lincoln: moral progress has never looked so glorious
Spielberg’s latest is a cinematic triumph; Day-Lewis and Jones deliver unparalleled performances Chris Liu A&E Editor The vote to finally abolish slavery in the U.S. was so very close— shockingly close, in fact. Two more votes could have continued to condemn an entire class of living, breathing human beings to the status of property. If the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, Abraham Lincoln is certainly remembered for doing a disproportionate amount of bending. Spielberg’s Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis in the titular role, portrays a man who is as close to the ideal of the moral politician as any in American history. Focusing on the narrow period of time that saw the passing of the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery and the end of the American Civil War, the film paints a portrait of a man who navigated the Scylla and Charybdis of ethical and political obligations like no other. Early whispers of the film as a strong Oscar contender are wellfounded. Lincoln is a faithful and glowing eulogy to one of America’s greatest presidents, and more impor-
tantly, to the remarkable man who held the office. The film opens with a scene of carnage and brutality. Spielberg, well-remembered for directing Saving Private Ryan, knows war. There is something to be said for the authenticity with which warfare is treated here. Poets romanticize; soldiers fight. They churn mud with blood, they unhesitatingly bootstomp the faces of opponents, they claw and scrape and kill to win one more second of life—and Spielberg shoots like a soldier, not a poet. Though the war always looms in the background, it is not the focus of the film. Lincoln’s central and climactic battle is legislative, not military. While the 13th Amendment easily sails through the Republican-controlled Senate, its first appearance in the House of Representatives results in defeat. Further complicating Lincoln’s quest for a constitutional ban on slavery is the division within his own party. Not only is abolition opposed by most Democrats, but Radical Republicans, who favour greater egalitarianism for non-white inhabitants,
view the amendment as a morallydeficient compromise. Day-Lewis’ method acting is legendary—cast and crew reportedly referred to him as ‘Mr. President’ for the duration of filming—and the result is spectacular. His Lincoln is a radiant example of a man who successfully combines principle and pragmatism. Always affable, with plenty of humourous anecdotes to offer during tense situations, the uninitiated may be surprised by just how quirky the president can be. At the same time, Day-Lewis commands such gravitas that it’s impossible not to be awe-struck—whether during a thunderous confrontation with Mrs. Lincoln (Sally Fields) or a moment of tender embrace with his child. Rivaling Day-Lewis’ performance is Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, the most prominent Radical Republican in the House. Stevens’ infamously scathing sarcasm is delivered by Jones in delicious, triumphant, booming fashion. But his story is also sadder, and more profound. Lincoln’s victory necessitates Stevens’ compromise. Jones’
Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) surveys the ravages of war. (filmofilia.com) Stevens is imminently sympathetic, a man of deep moral sensibility who was ahead of his time. Tony Kushner’s script, adapted from Pulitzer prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is infused with wit and tension. Kushner accomplishes the unenviable task of making passing legislation interesting. Biopic-status notwithstanding, Kushner also points to ways in which contemporary America continues to perpetuate racial stigmatization: one blatantly racist citizen employs rhetoric that is uncomfort-
ably similar to current arguments against immigration. Portraying such a seminal figure in American history may seem like a tough task. Get it wrong, and you’ll be eviscerated. Get it right, and people will still complain. Yet Spielberg and Day-Lewis’ vision is so accomplished, so assuredly well-crafted, that it will undoubtedly weather the test of time, just like the president—and man—that it celebrates. Lincoln is currently playing at the Cineplex Forum (2313 Ste. Catherine West). Tickets are $13; $6.75 on Tuesdays.
Twilight surpasses admittedly low expectations
Final installment of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn surprises with impressive visuals and action Emma Hambly Contributor The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2, the conclusion to the popular vampire franchise, is a good movie. Not great—this is Twilight we’re talking about—but good. Yes, I’m just as surprised as you are. The final Twilight film, directed by Bill Condon, is by far the best of the series. It’s also a vast improvement over Stephenie Meyer’s source material, a counteraction of Breaking Dawn’s cavernous flaw: the total lack of action. The film opens with Bella (Kristen Stewart) reawakening as a vampire. As if by magic, or at least a transmogrifying venom, the franchise receives new life as well. As Bella says, she was “born to be a vampire.” Kristen Stewart, at long last, emotes. She loves vamp husband Edward (Robert Pattinson) and newborn half-human, half-vampire daughter Renesmee. But beyond this, Stewart shows off a veritable flush of emotions—rage, pride, happiness—and they suit her. Viewers also get the benefit of Bella-vision, the hyper-detailed
Secret vampire handshake: only one set of biceps required. (collider.com) view of the world through her supernatural eyes. Breaking Dawn amplifies what is, perhaps, the only strong feature of the saga: the visuals. The opening credits mingle enchanting and ominous images of evergreen, snow, and blood. Even the special effects, save for one uncanny and nightmarish CGI baby, are stunning. Breaking Dawn–Part 2, deals
with the ludicrous parts of Part 1 quickly. Yes, Bella and Edward have a too-perfect, half-vampire baby with a laughable name; and yes, third wheel werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) falls in love with said baby. Got it. Danger arrives when the vampire mafia, the Volturi, assume Renesmee is an immortal child, a kid-
turned-vampire capable of wiping out scores of people. They plan to kill her, so the Cullens set out over the world to amass vampire friends who will stand and fight. A good deal of the film features a parade of these international characters, who, though two-dimensional, help spice up the languid and brooding cast. This said, there are holes in the
already thin story line: a forgotten spy subplot, the unexplained origin of Bella’s vampire superpower, and the arbitrary timing of it all. Why do the Volturi give them ample time to prepare? But with a couple of clever twists, Breaking Dawn has viewers in its fangs, and the film culminates in a cathartic bloodbath: complete with an operatic score, hellfire frame supernatural fisticuffs, slow motion duels, and faces torn in half. It’s a riveting action sequence, shocking for fans, and devilishly pleasing for those hoping for a Shakespearian level of gore to atone for all things Twilight. Breaking Dawn—Part 2 wraps up the Twilight Saga with its strongest entry. The acting, art direction, and screenplay are at their apex. Of course, this may not be saying much. Still, the final Twilight film will certainly please fans, and perhaps even manage to entertain those who were dragged to it against their will. Breaking Dawn—Part 2 is worth a watch for the visuals and action alone. Twilight ends with a film that at last has some bite to back up its bark.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 |
arts & entertainment
| Curiosity delivers.
Books on books: award-winning authors share their insights Man Booker prize-winning authors, Julian Barnes and Yann Martel, showcase the breadth of their literary visions Ilia Blinderman A&E Editor In his youth, Julian Barnes’ bibliophilia took on near-pathological proportions. Much like the shoeobsessed, 2011’s Man Booker prize winner would spend the vast share of his disposable income on books, driving from town to town in search of secondhand treasures. “I bought with a hunger which I recognize, looking back, was a kind of neediness: well, bibliomania is a known condition,” writes Barnes in the introduction to his upcoming volume, Through the Window: Seventeen Essays and A Short Story. In retrospect, this was a fortunate pursuit. Reading Barnes is akin to engrossing oneself in a finely wrought tapestry of historical fact, wry wit, and astute criticism. The collection of pieces, which were first published between 1996-2011, deals largely—if, at times, tangentially—with the literary. From casting doubt on George Orwell’s literary honesty as an essayist (if you, like myself, struggle when coming up with pithy titles, I urge you to note the wicked-
ly humorous name of this chapter), to praising Hemingway’s portrayal of the failed and the frail, Barnes offers the reader a heady mix of culture and history. Barnes’ prolific reading habits form the backbone of the collection’s pieces. When discussing France’s love of Kipling, he draws not only on an obscure roman-à-clef called Dingley, l’illustre ecrivain— impressive, if only because no English translation exists—but recounts the contents of André Gide’s diaries on the topic of its authors, in addition to delivering several lively anecdotes. And, while he takes several potshots at Britain’s historic rivals— in describing the Fashoda Incident: “In July 1898, eight French and 120 Senegalese soldiers arrived at a ruined fort… having spent two years crossing the continent to get there. Frenchly, they set off equipped with 1,300 litres of claret, 50 bottles of Pernod, and a mechanical piano”— Barnes expresses a deep love for his neighbours. Almost half of his address the importance of French culture. Yann Martel, who released 101 Letters to a Prime Minister earlier
this month, cuts an odd figure next to Barnes. Unlike the London-dwelling Oxonian, Martel studied at Peterborough’s Trent University and traded metropolitan life for the bucolic calm of Saskatoon. Yet Martel also received the Man Booker for The Life of Pi, and remains its highestselling author by an impressive margin. In 2007, Martel began sending noteworthy books to Prime Minister Steven Harper every two weeks, in hopes of expanding his world view (and, of course, garnering a healthy dose of publicity). 101 Letters comprises of the correspondence (almost wholly one-sided) accompanying these literary suggestions. Martel’s focus is less Western than that of Barnes: from Austen to Borges, through to Xun to Yevtushenko, he delivers an alphabet of world literature in short, chatty snippets. While Barnes borders on the esoteric, Martel flirts with the colloquial: it is as if he is explaining the importance of each book to a good—albeit semi-literate—friend. Although a plainspoken account is helpful to burgeoning readers, Martel’s salt-of-the-earth tone
The jovial Julian Barnes. (Hendrick Speck / Flickr.com) verges on the fatuous. Judging from his recommendations, Martel has an exemplary literary pedigree. In spite of his breezy epistles, he has a thorough understanding of the world’s workings, and feigning simplicity does not become him. Cringeworthy lines, such as “Since we have more time, why don’t we go back in time” fill the letters like the lyrics of an ‘80s synth-ballad (an aversion to which may explain Harper’s lacklustre response). Equally frustrating are the letters which fail to address their accompanying books. In the dis-
patch coupled with García Márquez’ Chronicle of a Death Foretold, for example, Martel makes little mention of the book at all. Instead, he chooses to rehash Orwell’s famous Politics and the English Language, while omitting all mention of the essay itself. Both Barnes and Martel have an undeniable love for the written word. If you’re seeking beautiful prose and depth of insight, opt for Barnes. Otherwise, for a lavatory experience garnished with a Man Booker winner, opt for 101 Letters.
From protests to poutine, ABC:MTL introduces the city The Canadian Centre for Architecture presents a multifaceted, mixed-media portrait of Montreal Lauren Wray Contributor There are the usual famous attractions—the view from Mount Royal, a stroll through Old Port, the obligatory late night poutine. Yet Montreal is a city of multiplicities that extend beyond its tourist tropes. The Canadian Centre for Architecture’s (CCA) newest project, ABC: MTL, offers an invitation to the deeper realities of Montreal. While previous exhibitions at the CCA have focused on the city as an historical artifact, ABC:MTL speaks of Montreal as it is today— an evolving urban hub composed of various styles, structures, and social landscapes. To meaningfully capture the nature of the metropolis, the CCA launched an open call for submissions in June 2012. Public submissions served as an integral feature in creating a comprehensive narrative that matched the CCA’s pluralistic vision. Curator Fabrizio Gallanti notes that “for us, this is a form of democracy: the identity of one site is not the privilege of a few, but rather a
A selection of publicly generated images portray Montreal’s dynamic nature in CCA’s latest project. (journalmetro.com) perpetually unstable condition that is the result of a real polyphony of voices.” This perspective results in an exhibit from the everyman’s point of view, outside of the traditional top-down approach associated with urban space. Out of 250 proposals, 90 contributions will be presented over the course of the project, which runs until March 2013. This longevity allows for ongoing submissions to accurately represent a city in flux. However, not all the submissions are new. Some works have been previously included in other galleries. Gallanti explains that ABC:MTL is “not obsessed with originality,” but
rather concerned with how well the works describe the city today. Videos, photos, architectural mock-ups, lectures, and performances constitute the first installment of the project, on view until the end of January. Together, they result in a mixture of media depicting the city’s most indelible impressions. The works touch upon both the abstract and physical elements of Montreal —the ephemeral hums and buzzes of daily life, the fleeting moments the metropolis holds, and the people, buildings, and places that define the present-day city. The pieces range from immigrant interviews to cell-phone pho-
tography. Overall, the works remind us that Montreal is more than a city defined by numbers; it is its own unique entity with its own metabolism, heart, and life. With the breadth of formats, the term ‘exhibition’ may be a misnomer. Instead, ABC:MTL is a fully engaging experience. It is not a fixed exhibition, but an ongoing project with changing content. Public participation, lectures, and performances are equally valuable and relevant to the main gallery showing. An online component features all 250 works submitted, including a map that pinpoints the locations of the projects to promote city exploration.
The complete project, therefore, encourages interaction and participation on all levels. Discussion is also an important ingredient. Amidst the student protests of last year, the question of Montreal’s identity was thrown into the spotlight. ABC: MTL comes at a pertinent time of questioning who and what makes up its population. “There was a high level of engagement, no matter what side people were on,” Gallanti notes. ABC:MTL profits from this recent engagement, asking its audience to partake in self-reflection, conversation, and discussion. It’s a worthwhile visit; if not for its interesting aesthetic, historical and social qualities, then at least for inspiration. After all, they’re still accepting submissions. ABC:MTL is showing at the CCA (1920 rue Baille). Public programs are mainly held on Thursday nights and weekends, with guided tours every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. (English) and 6:00 p.m. (French). Free admission for students.
Curiosity delivers. |
arts & entertainment
Album The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—Part 2 Official Soundtrack Chop Shop; Atlantic The press release promised “an intriguing and irresistible lineup of artists” including Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding, and Feist. But the soundtrack to Twilight—Breaking Dawn Part 2 could leave even the ‘Twihards’ disappointed. The mood of the album is—for the most part—mellow: the majority of tracks are the sort of slow-building, emotion-charged ballads one may well expect from the soundtrack to a tween-age epic of drama and romance. While some tracks rely too heavily on this emotional element and fall formulaically flat (Green Day’s contribution certainly fits this bill), others communicate the beauteous and haunting—Iko’s “Heart of Stone” being the standout. Unfortunately, the record lacks any of the consistency necessary to establish an overall tone. More upbeat tracks, such as St. Vincent’s richly-layered “The Antidote,” come across not as natural crescendos in the album’s progression, but as disruptions which make the surrounding songs seem frustratingly slow. Thus, the very tracks which keep monotony at bay detract from the whole. While tracks may, and do, have individual merit, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. An emotional connection to the scenes that bore these tracks may make this album an evocative work through which fans may relive favourite moments from the film. But in itself, it does little to establish mood or assert itself as a cohesive piece. The result, while listenable, stagnates and ultimately disappoints. Twilight teases in all the right places, but in the end, leaves the tantalising promise of its list of contributors unresolved. — Zoe Power
Iamsu! Suzy 6 Speed
Chilly Gonzales Solo Piano II
Arts & Crafts
On his new release, Suzy 6 Speed, Bay area rapper and producer Iamsu! trades the bass-heavy beats and dreamy stoner synths of the critically acclaimed spring release Kilt for high BPMs and an endless supply of carefully programmed snare claps. Su’s smooth, sing-song flow contrasts with the mixtape’s high-energy production, resulting in a fantastical animation typically absent in this style of rapping. Unfortunately, more often than not, this briskness hides Su’s lyrical ingenuity and results in a tiring repetitiveness. Layers of samples and an unrelenting high-hat rattle drone out Su’s unique style and hinder his ability to form effective verses. Despite this, Iamsu! shines on tracks like “Welcome Back” and “Mobbin,” where his ganjainfluenced drawl juxtaposes beautifully with hard-hitting snare claps to create easily digestible rap bangers. Even so, Iamsu! sees the most success when the tempo turns down, emphasizing his impressive lyricism. On the tape’s best track, “Losin,” Su takes a simpler approach, rapping over a soft-spoken sample, reflecting on his rise to regional fame with an underground edge. Although it’s fun to flop around to in the moment, Su’s new release fails to create the same meaningful experience as did Kilt. All in all, Suzy 6 Speed presents itself as a high paced, in-your-face party rager that has its moments of greatness— but for the most part, is left forgotten in the haze of the morning after.
Canadian pianist and rapper Chilly Gonzales’ career has gone from strength to strength in the last few years. Since the release of his instrumental album, Solo Piano, Gonzales has collaborated with Feist and Peaches, performed with Drake, and released the electro-rap albums Ivory Tower and The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales. His latest record comes in similar form to Solo Piano—and is inventively named Solo Piano II. Despite the lack of nominal originality, there’s nothing stale about the music Gonzales creates. His playful instrumental style, famously featured on the Apple iPad adverts, is immediately apparent. The album opens with “White Keys,” a short and bright song which includes no sharp notes. This segues into the beautiful “Kenaston,” one of the many tracks which, despite being undeniably original, feel comfortably familiar. Highlights include “Nero’s Nocturne,” which rolls along in a steady rhythm, and the memorable “Othello.” Gonzales recorded the album over 10 days in Paris’ Studio Pigalle, and the French influence is notable (Gonzales himself speaks the language fluently and has lived in Paris). At a recent performance in his hometown of Montreal, Gonzales explained the fancy naming of some of the songs. “It might be pretentious to have songs named ‘Rideaux Lunaires’ on the album,” said the artist. “But let’s face it, ‘Moon Curtains’ just wouldn’t have worked.” The music is less egotistical than its composer—the transitions on “Train of Thought” are clever, and the “Minor Fantasy” is particularly dark. Solo Piano II does not push any musical boundaries, but this need not be a criticism. Gonzales’ verve and charismatic style will undoubtedly keep attracting large crowds. — Roger Hamilton-Martin
Check out Arts & Entertainment blog, updated daily! www.mcgilltribune.com/ae
| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Out of the cavern
Malajube transcends language barriers
Malajube emerges from their geodome. (Joseph Yarmush / malajube.com)
Leyang Yu Contributor Indie pop-rock band, Malajube—named after a mash-up of the words ‘maladie’ and ‘jujube’—has become somewhat of an icon in both their native Quebec and the rest of Canada for their musicality and ingenious approach to achieving fame. An undeniably catchy blend of riffs, synths, and vocals makes the perfect recipe for a crowd-pleaser, attracting Malajube a following both close to home, in the U.S., and as far away as Japan and Norway. They’ve become a fixture at music festivals, with previous appearances at Oshega, SXSW (and its Canadian counterpart NXNE), and countless other shows. Being able to unite those without a common language through a love of music is a skill that Malajube seems to perform effortlessly, with an entirely French repertoire. Despite their success, the members themselves come from humble beginnings and played in various other bands before Malajube. According to Francis Mineau, drummer for the band, the group formed in 2004 “like any other band” and hasn’t looked back since. Winning a Juno Award and garnering three Polaris Prize nominations, Malajube has released five full-length albums, with their latest being La Caverne (2011). For the recording of the album, the members went into hibernation in a cavern of their own—their personal, custommade geodesic dome in northern Quebec—living in seclusion for months on end.
“It was the perfect place to not get bothered by anything because there wasn’t anyone else there,” says Mineau. Although the band no longer owns this hideout, Mineau hopes that they’ll consider experimenting with other ideas, highlighting that the experience may have been a singular one. “We tried it once and it was good but I think we should try something else.” Since La Caverne, Malajube has been touring extensively and working on side projects, all the while staying true to their roots. The band has been praised for refusing to conform to the English norm for the sake of their non-Francophone fans. Instead of being intimidating, however, the language barrier actually strikes a chord with fans. Their lyrics encourage any English-speaking crowd to learn French, and fans can blissfully enjoy catchy tunes without needing to understand what’s going on. Their last two concerts of the year, beginning this week, are Malajube’s last hurrah before the band take a short breather to work on side projects and come up with new ideas and music. “[The break] shouldn’t be seen as a way to say that we’re tired of doing this,” says Mineau, indicating that they’ve still got their sights set on working towards the next Malajube album, sometime in fall 2013. “The plan is to make more music and to concentrate on a purpose— how we can offer something new.” Malajube plays Corona Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 28. Tickets are $28.15.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 |
| Curiosity delivers.
Exclusive interview with Alexis Pradié
Redmen soccer star sits down with the Tribune to discuss his McGill playing days, future plans Jeff Downey Sports Editor After the conclusion of the Redmen’s 2012 outdoor season, the McGill Tribune met with graduating centre-back Alexis Pradié. Last week, the Marseille native earned CIS First Team All-Star status for the second time in two years. Pradié, who’s leaving McGill with a MBA in April, comments on soccer, school, and what it means to be a Redmen. McGill Tribune: The South of France is a very popular tourist destination for North Americans. Do you notice its mystique? Or does it just feel like home? Alexis Pradié: It is a very touristy area, but we don’t really pay attention to that. When you’re in your day-to-day life you don’t really see anything … But the soccer team is a very big influence, and every kid wants to grow up [to be] one of the stars. Regardless of whether you come from a rich neighbourhood or a slum, everyone plays soccer and dreams of becoming a [soccer] star. MT: What was your career like in France? AP: I started playing in the [Marseille youth] academy when I was 12, and [stayed with it] through the years. I graduated from high school when I was 17, and then dedicated my life to playing soccer. I played there for three years from that point, between the reserve and professional team for Marseille …
meaning I travelled to Russia and to England to play with the team. It was a lot of fun, but it’s a very difficult environment. Then I ran into some injuries when I turned 20, and couldn’t play for six months. It kind of puts things into perspective, makes you think what your life is going to be like if you get injured again. So at that point, I just decided to focus on my studies as well. MT: How was your first professional game? AP: It was fun, playing in front of 45,000 fans against Paris. We [tied] and I played well. Paris was a very big team at the time, so everyone thought we were going to get hammered, [but] we ended up drawing 0-0. MT: Was injury the major reason you decided to come to North America? AP: The injury and also the whole context and environment. In order to make it, you have to be lucky and you have to be good. I’m going to stay polite, but you have to play the system. MT: Where did you first play in North America? AP: I started in Florida when I was 20. [I] stayed there for four years, got my undergraduate [degree] in business, and came to Montreal last year. I couldn’t play in the NCAA because I was ineligible [because I played] professionally, so I went to a small university [in Florida].
MT: What was the experience like training in the MLS? AP: When I finished my undergrad, I was drafted to Dallas. I went there for pre-season in January and stayed with the team for a month. At that point, I had the option to stay with them, or continue to McGill. It was the same situation that I had in France. ‘Are you going to go for a professional career, or are you going for an education?’ McGill was such a good opportunity, very prestigious. I couldn’t let it go; and I had basically turned the page on [my] professional [career] in France. MT: Can you describe your time as a Redmen? AP: Very good experience. Different from what I’ve seen in Europe, obviously, and the U.S. as well. The players are very young, like 17 or 18, so at the beginning, the level is lower. But they are also very eager to learn, and the two years I’ve been here, there have been two great groups of guys. MT: How were you able to balance the different dynamics with the age differences? AP: I tried to come very openminded, and learn from the environment I was in. It takes a bit of time, but once you can prove yourself, people respect it and see you can bring something to the table … and of course, I listened to the other guys and learned something new too. It’s a give-and-take scenario, and it went very well. I was very happy.
BASKETBALL — The Memphis Grizzlies are the hottest team in the NBA with eight straight victories, following their 94-87 win over the surprising Charlotte Bobcats. Laker fans are still waiting for things to turn around after starting a mediocre 5-5. However, it is still too early for panicking in the City of Angels. The same cannot be said for Wizards fans. Washington’s 0-8 start shows no signs of stopping. The injury bug bit the Toronto Raptors last week—Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields, and Alan Anderson are all currently nursing injuries. The team is still competitive, but has failed to post wins in the standings and sits at 3-7. Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant tallied his first career triple-double on Sunday night, while in one of the craziest plays in recent memory, Chicago Bulls 5’9 guard Nate Robinson went in-between and under the legs of Sebastian Telfair en route, to a casual lay-up.
In case you were too busy devoting all your time to the latest instalment of Call of Duty, here’s what you missed this past week in the world FOOTBALL — The CFL switched of sports … over to the Sunday schedule this
Pradié brought leadership to the Redmen. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune) MT: Last year you went to Nationals and this year you missed the playoffs. Was there any disappointment, or was it simply two different years with different goals? AP: That’s a tough question because last year was a lot of fun: we were winning, but the style of play wasn’t very pretty. I wasn’t used to that. This year was fun to play when we were on the field, but we weren’t getting any results, which is tough. So a mix of the two seasons would have been nice. MT: What would be your message to the 15 returning rookies? AP: Maintain the Redmen tradition, and the work ethic we’ve been
trying to keep up this year. There is a lot of talent, but we need to keep the mentality of winning and giving a full effort. That’s very important. MT: Is your career definitely over? AP: Yeah, I think so. But I’ll play [for fun] for sure. It was hard when I was younger, realizing you either have it or you don’t. It’s not something you can fight against ... In my case, I realized I could be a decent player, but that’s not what I wanted; I wanted to be a good player. Accepting that fact, and putting studies before [the sport] was my decision, and now it’s no problem. Now I’m playing for fun, and with guys I love. It’s very enjoyable.
weekend for the Eastern and Western division finals. On our side of the country, Montreal lost a heartbreaker at home to the Toronto Argonauts 27-20. Despite two chances for Als’ quarterback Anthony Calvillo and co. to tie the game late, the Argos’ consistent play throughout the game was enough to ensure them a spot to vie for the 100th Grey Cup at home in Toronto. Over in the West, the Calgary Stampeders earned a trip to the Grey Cup by toppling the defending champions, the BC Lions, 3429. Stampeders backup quarterback Kevin Glenn started the game for Calgary, as starting quarterback Drew Tate was out with a fractured forearm. Glenn filled in nicely, and he threw for three touchdown passes in the victory. Down south in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons somehow found a way to improve their record to 9-1, even though Matt Ryan threw five interceptions and no touchdowns. The Houston Texans, the league’s only other one-loss team, won a crackerjack affair against the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime, as the teams
combined to score 80 points. The high-scoring New England Patriots looked unstoppable on Sunday, routing the Colts 59-24. SOCCER — Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovich had a memorable game on Wednesday, scoring four goals against England in an international friendly. One of his tallies is being played on highlight reels all around the world, and is touted as one of the greatest goals of all time. He fielded English keeper Joe Hart’s hapless clearance attempt with a bicyclekick from 30 yards out, and miracously scored. In club play, both Manchester clubs are atop the EPL, with Manchester City having the slight onepoint advantage over United after 12 games. This came following after United’s surprise defeat at the hands of lowly Norwich on Saturday. The Spanish League is playing out as expected, with Barcelona leading the standings with a threepoint advantage over neighbouring Athletico Madrid.
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| Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Volleyball — Laval 3, Martlets 1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-13, 25-19)
Serving the platter to Laval: Martlet mistakes costly 18 McGill service errors pave way for Rouge-et-Or victory Remi Lu Contributor The McGill Martlets hit the court on Friday evening looking to take down the Laval Rouge-et-Or after losing to them earlier in the month. The Martlets dressed in pink in support of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation for McGill’s annual Dig for the Cure Night. They had an energetic, but inconsistent performance in front of the packed stands at Love Competition Hall. Despite the solid effort, McGill (4-6) fell to Laval (8-2) for the second time this year, three sets to one. Both the Martlets and the Rouge-et-Or started off strong in the first set, and traded points early on. However, the Martlets sagged following the technical timeout, paving the way for Laval’s scoring run. The Rouge-et-Or won the first set 25-19. McGill turned things around in the second, however, creating an early lead before settling into a tight set with Laval. The Martlets relied heavily on scramble plays, and capitalized on their offensive opportunities to win the set 25-22. Fifth-year setter Marcela Mansure finished the match with 36 assists, many
of which went to captain Geneviève Plante, who tacked on 13 kills and one ace in the game. Mansure praised McGill’s offensive approach against Laval. “Hitting-wise, we did well. We tried different options. We weren’t [always] hitting the same thing because Laval is a team that adjusts very quickly. Our hitters were able to switch it around… [and] try different things,” Mansure explained. After losing the third set in which the Martlets appeared disjointed due to defensive communication errors, McGill came out roaring to start the final game. With the crowd behind them, the Martlets battled the Rouge-et-Or on each point and hustled on digs, which led to offensive chances. However, their opponents played a stellar defence, and the Rouge-et-Or registered 7.5 team blocks to McGill’s two. In the end, Laval pulled away in the set, and won 25-19, despite a late rally by the Martlets. McGill has been fairly inconsistent so far this season. At times, the Martlets have played smartly and efficiently on both offence and defence. However, Head Coach Rachele Beliveau recognizes Mc-
Sports briefs HOCKEY — UQTR 3, REdmen 1
Redmen lose special Teams Battle, UQTR capitalizes UQTR showed once again why they are the top seed in the OUA East as they dominated the Redmen 3-1 on Friday night. Most of the damage was done in the first period, when the Patriotes found the net on two consecutive powerplays to head into the first intermission with a two-goal lead. Although the deficit proved too great for the Redmen to overcome, they improved over the remainder of the contest and competed well against UQTR over the
last two periods. McGill’s lone marker came courtesy of MarcAndre Daneau’s second of the season, with just over 11 minutes left in the third frame. With this loss, McGill drops to 6-5-0 on the year, which leaves the team clinging to sixth place in their division. Next weekend will be pivotal for the Redmen, as they host a pair of games against No. 2 and No. 4 Toronto and Nipissing, respectively.
basketball — UQAM 70, MArtlets 65 (OT)
Offensive struggles down Stretch hurt Martlets After prevailing in their season opener, the McGill Martlets hoped to continue their winning ways on Saturday against UQAM. Unfortunately, the Martlets lost a heartbreaker, 70-65 in overtime. McGill came out flat, as the Cita-
Gill’s tendency to give up leads, or fall behind after making mistakes. “We started [the game] really well. It’s when we started to miss some serves that we were [bothered] mentally. Then we didn’t play as intensively. And then we started [questioning ourselves] … and [when] we do that we are not playing the same game,” she said. “We still played a decent game, but not … the same fluid game.” Plante agreed that the Martlets’ inconsistency has been crucial in their struggles as a team, and added that youth may be a factor. “We were up and down all game. When we played together we were really strong, and I think it showed. We put the pressure on the other team, and they struggled with what we were doing,” she said. “But we’re a really young team, so it’s hard for us to stay consistent with our intensity.” The Martlets need to fix some of their problems in their play if they wish to stake a claim for the RSEQ title. They must work on improving their serving percentage and first contacts, both of which are integral to executing game plans. However, as the season wears
The Martlets raised money for breast cancer research. (Remi Lu / McGill Tribune) on, the team—which boasts a good mix of youth and veteran talent— should begin to mesh and put together more consistent efforts. McGill fell again to the Montreal Carabins on Sunday three sets
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hockey — Martlets 8, Montreal 2
By Jeff Downey and Steven Lampert
FIrst line dominant in victory; Saunders scores three in six minutes The No. 1 ranked McGill Martlets went about business as usual on Saturday, defeating rival Montreal Carabins 8-2. Chelsey Saunders made the move to the top line for the first time this season, joining goal-scoring wizards Leslie Oles and Melodie Daoust. The transition worked wonders, as the trio exploded for six of the team’s eight goals, and 15 total points. Most impressively,
Saunders scored three consecutive goals over six minutes in the second period. The Martlets improved to 9-0-0 on the year, and will have the rest of the week off before they travel to Ottawa to take on Carleton on Nov. 24. Look for similar production from the top line and the supporting cast, as they set their sights on breaking double digits in the win column.
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dins built a 15-point lead after the first quarter. The Martlets roared back at the hands of Anneth Him-Lazarenko and Mariam Sylla—who finished with 22 and 12 points, respectively—and outscored UQAM by 20 points over
to one. The team looks to bounce back on Nov. 23 against Memorial University at Love Competition Hall.
the next two quarters. However, McGill couldn’t keep it going into the extra period, and stalled on offence in overtime. The difference was at the free-throw line, where McGill struggled mightily, and shot just 7-18 in the second half.
The Martlets were without star sophomore Diana Ros, who missed the game with a sprained ankle. Hopefully she’ll be back on Nov. 24 as McGill hits the court again at Concordia.
Basketball — Redmen 76, UQAM 59
Hynes-Guery, Dufort Key in Redmen win
The McGill Redmen entered this weekend as the fourth-ranked team in Canada, and it definitely showed on Saturday afternoon. Thanks to point guard Adrian Hynes-Guery’s team-high 23 points, the Redmen dominated the UQAM Citadins 76-59. The Redmen came out firing in the second half, and outscored the Citadins 26-13 in the third quarter. McGill collected 16 assists in the game, thanks to their precise ball movement. On the defensive end, the story was the same. The Redmen skilfully prevented UQAM’s penetration, and forced 16 turnovers. Second-year guard Vincent Dufort did just about everything, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. The Redmen look to extend their RSEQ winning streak to three games, and are set to take on Concordia Nov. 24.
RUGBY — Redmen 24, Concordia 18 (RSEQ Championship)
McGill wins seventh straight RSEQ title
Redmen persevere through tumultuous season; Head Coach Craig Beemer expects continued success for program Tom DiNardo Contributor The McGill Redmen barreled into the RSEQ finals on Sunday afternoon, coming off of a domineering 76-15 victory over Bishop’s in the semifinals. In the match, the Redmen pulled off a hard-fought victory, defeating the Stingers 24-18 at Concordia Stadium to bring home their seventh consecutive conference title. McGill drew first blood thanks to a try from Ian Carvalho-Campos in the 15th minute of the first half. It was a tight match from then on, with McGill falling behind in the 38th minute of the first half after two penalties by the Stingers. The Redmen regained the lead after thirdyear wing Zechary Miller converted a try in the 38th minute. McGill maintained its advantage throughout the rest of the contest. Joshua Blair and Rob Ashe also scored tries in the 48th and 63rd minute respectively, which pushed the Redmen towards triumph. The match came down to the wire, after the referees waved off a game-clinching Redmen try, and awarded Concordia a penalty try with two minutes remaining. McGill Head Coach Craig Beemer, however, had faith in his squad and wasn’t fazed. “I was confident throughout the game,” Beemer said. “But it took the final whistle to ensure the win.” The victory over Concordia sealed a six-game winning streak for the Redmen this fall, but the road wasn’t easy.
After winning six consectuive games, the Redmen celebrate another RSEQ championship. (Derek Drummond / McGill Athletics) “This season was easily the most tumultuous of my seven years being a coach of the program,” Beemer admitted. Despite their strong start to the season, the Redmen were forced to forfeit the first four games they played due to a self-reported player ineligibility issue. However, the team persevered and refused to let the matter put a damper on the season. “The guys really responded well … finishing the season by winning our last four games, and then going on the road for the playoffs,
THIRD MAN IN My only lasting memory of the Montreal Expos is when my parents bought me a Florida Marlins baseball cap at a game. I kept badgering them for that nifty, teal-colored cap with the fish. I didn’t care for baseball as a child, but their cool logo gave the Marlins a new supporter. In 2012, the Marlins completely revamped their look to coincide with the inauguration of a new ballpark and their move to Miami. They quickly became the flashiest team in baseball. Its stylish, brightlycoloured logo and outrageous home run statue in the stadium have allowed the team to fulfill the promise of their revamped image. Surprisingly, the Marlins—traditionally a small market team—completed the overhaul with uncharacteristically big free-agent signings. They
beating both Bishop’s and Concordia to win the championship,” Beemer said. On the whole, the team is pleased with this year’s results. Keelan Chapman, a fourth-year hooker and one of the Redmen’s veteran leaders, attributed the team’s successful season the coaching staff’s fine-tuning, which brought “more rigour and precision” to an already talented squad. The end of a season inevitably means farewell to graduating fourth and fifth-year athletes. In particular, the team will lose a wealth of experi-
ence and leadership with the departure of Carvalho-Campos and Miller. While it will be difficult to replace these talents, Beemer doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the void. “The fact that we have approximately 70 athletes as part of our rugby program each year is really the reason we continue to find success,” he said. “When one athlete graduates there are already two guys looking to fill his place.” Beemer’s nearly flawless track record only substantiates this optimism. In his two years as an assistant coach, and five years as the head
coach, the Redmen have claimed seven championships and lost only two games, barring this season’s forfeits—an impressive feat. This year’s seniors laced up their boots for the last time as Redmen, but their shoes will be filled next August by a new generation of young athletes, tasked with upholding the hard-nosed reputation of one of the most accomplished athletic programs at McGill. Based on past indications, continued success seems likely.
were finally relevant, and looked to be competitive in a tough National League East. It turns out that it was all an illusion, orchestrated by the greatest magician in baseball, Marlins owner, Jeffrey Loria. Last Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays and Marlins pulled off one of the largest trades in baseball history. In return for a slew of prospects, Toronto received some of the very same players Miami signed just a year ago. By purging their payroll, the Marlins reverted back to the shoddy business model that has frustrated their fans for years. This latest cash-saving strategy has substantial political and economical implications that go beyond alienating fans. The city of Miami made a significant commitment to the team by agreeing to fund near-
ly 80 per cent of its new ballpark. By combining interest, the sum amounts to a staggering $2.4 billion subsidized by taxpayers. Loria has clearly violated the trust and good faith of the people of Miami, by ridding the team of its best players. In a city like Miami, home to one of the U.S.’s highest poverty rates, how are local politicians supposed to justify the decision to allocate scarce monetary resources to a non-competitive team? What about all those businesses in the Marlins Park vicinity that depend on fan presence? The deal even prompted the mayor of Miami to write Commissioner Bud Selig a letter, asking him to review the trade “in the best interest of the residents, taxpayers and fans.” In 2010, the MLB Players’ Association (MLBPA) was unhappy
with the way the Marlins managed their revenue-sharing funds. In an effort to encourage more investment in player salary, the MLBPA and the Marlins signed off on an agreement to have the team’s finances monitored. Ironically, the agreement expired at the end of the 2012 campaign, and the Marlins have now conveniently dumped more than $160 million in player salary on the Jays. It’s also worth mentioning that the trade was completed after the Marlins received next year’s season ticket renewals. It’s a pipe dream, but those fans should be reimbursed following the false advertisement and Loria’s deceit. The Marlins have damaged their image by fooling baseball fans and ruining what was supposed to be a fresh, new start for a struggling
franchise. I was intrigued by the Marlins’ new flashy colours and funky fish. As a background supporter, I received their new baseball cap as gift from my sister, which rekindled a fond childhood memory. A year later, I find that same excitement has been washed away by a careless owner. While currently a member of Red Sox Nation, I can only imagine the frustration of Marlins die-hards who have to endure yet another rebuild. At least the Marlins haven’t traded away Giancarlo Stanton— though, knowing Loria, I wouldn’t put it past him. —Hrant Bardakjian