Volume No. 32 Issue No. 20 title px Published by the Tribune Publication Society
TRIBUNE THE mcgill
Editorial on BILL 14 quebec must keep linguistic balance p6 FEATURE sTUDENT PARENTS AT mCgILL p 10 -11
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Montrealers gather to say “no” to PQ’s Bill 14 New legislation seeks to protect French language in Quebec; bilingual status of 18 towns threatened
Bea Britneff News Editor More than 200 people gathered in the square opposite Quebec Premier Pauline Marois’ office on Sunday afternoon to protest the Parti Québécois’ (PQ) proposed changes to language laws with Bill 14. The rally featured several guest speakers who denounced the bill’s potential impacts on Quebec society, and was organized by two minority rights groups—the Unity Group and PutBackTheFlag.com. Introduced by the provincial government on Dec. 5, Bill 14 focuses on amending Bill 101—Quebec’s Charter of the French Language. The bill seeks to further protect and promote the French language in Quebec in the realms of business, education, and municipalities. Bill 14 would restrict the use of English in the workplace by mandating that businesses with 26 or more employees must make French their “normal and everyday language of work,” whereas currently this applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. The new legislation would also amend the bilingual status of certain municipalities. If the law were to pass, a community would only be considered bilingual if English were the mother tongue of at least 50 per cent of its population. According to Jimmy Kalafatidis, chairman of the Unity Group, Sunday’s protest was an opportunity for both Anglophones and Francophones to demonstrate their discontent with Bill 14. “Basically what we’re doing here is … trying to send a message to [the Coalition Avenir Québec] and the Liberals to vote down Bill 14,” he said. “[The bill] is detrimental to our economy … to education … to business in general .… It hurts everybody.” Colin Standish, a law student at Université Laval, was one of four
For more photos: P4
Montrealers gathered on Sunday to oppose new legislation aimed at amending Quebec’s language laws. (Alexandra Allaire / McGill Tribune) guest speakers who spoke at the rally. Standish expressed concern with the impact Bill 14 would have on the bilingual status of municipalities with both Francophone and Anglophone citizens. “With [Bill 14], we would see 45 of 90 bilingual status municipalities lose [the] ability to communicate with citizens in the language of their choice,” he said. “In the Eastern Townships … we have 18 bilingual-status towns right now, and 15 of them would be taken away.” Many of those present at the protest shared Standish’s opinion. Chris Durrant, a third-year law student at McGill said he was shocked by Bill 14’s new bilingual status requirements. “Requiring 50 per cent Anglophones is ridiculous,” he said. “Certainly, no minorities in the rest of Canada, [like] Franco-Ontarians,
would be subjected to such a high standard. I firmly support the right to protect the French language in Quebec, but this goes beyond that. This is persecution of the Englishspeaking community.” In his speech, Standish further denounced Bill 14 for its proposed changes to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. “[In the bill], we see the term “ethnic minorities” changed to “cultural communities,” he said. “In international human rights tribunals, ethnic minorities do have rights, [but] cultural communities don’t. So if we see our rights infringed upon here in Quebec, and want to take it to the Supreme Court … we would actually have no rights here in this province.” Attendees expressed concern with Bill 14’s impact on students’ ability to finish school, and to enroll
in English CEGEPs. “To graduate CEGEP and secondary school, even from an English system, you would have to pass a French exam,” Standish said. “It’s totally disconnected from any pedagogical goal, [and] also explicitly disconnected from merit-based acquisition of academic credentials.” Kalafatidis also pointed to the difficulties Bill 14 would create for students to secure employment in the province after graduation. “When I graduated [from Concordia] in 1994, everybody left [the province] because of the language laws,” Kalafatidis said. “We don’t want the best and the brightest [students] to leave. We want them to stay here, and help grow the economy, and help grow Quebec into a very strong multilingual society.” Daniel Roy, who said he was not speaking on behalf of any group
or organization, attended the rally to express his support for Bill 14. “The French language is beginning to disappear in America, and it is beginning to disappear in Quebec, as well,” Roy said in French. “I support Bill 14 because it reinforces certain [aspects] of Bill 101 that have been diluted several times by the Supreme Court … and I don’t think [the bill] goes far enough. It’s important to preserve .… French in Quebec.” Throughout the duration of the event, several police vans lined the street, blocking traffic from accessing McGill College between Sherbrooke and President Kennedy. No arrests were made, and the protestors began to disperse after an hour. According to The Montreal Gazette, a parliamentary committee will hold public hearings regarding Bill 14 in March.
BoG discusses need for communication on budget cuts Faculties to see three to five per cent across-the-board cuts; admin to announce decisions after education summit Erica Friesen News Editor Last Tuesday’s Board of Governors (BoG) meeting included updates on the provincial government’s $19.1 million budget cuts. The Board also discussed the damages from the flooding of the downtown campus that occurred Jan. 28, and the administration’s intention to replace the provisional protocol on protests with two documents: a Statement of Values, and a set of Operating Procedures. In December, the provincial government announced $124 million cuts to universities across Quebec, including the $19.1 million cuts to McGill’s operating budget. While no decisions have been made at this point as to how the university will face these cuts, Provost Anthony Masi led four Town Hall meetings on the topic last week. “It’s very important that our community understand this is a government-manufactured crisis,” Prin-
cipal Heather Munroe-Blum said on Tuesday. “[Town Halls] are an opportunity for [the McGill community] to hear about the circumstances and give input. These were very well attended .… [There is] great concern in the community.” Associate Provost (Faculty Affairs and Resource Allocation) Jan Jorgensen said the recent cuts would require three to five per cent acrossthe-board cuts to faculties and administrative units. “As we are still undertaking consultations with stakeholders through meetings and Town Halls on the alternatives for targeted cuts, and as the government’s budget pronouncements continue to evolve … we cannot decide or announce the specific targeted cuts [until] after the Education Summit at the end of February,” Jorgensen said. Masi emphasized the importance of communication with the community as McGill moves forward with decisions. “It’s not only about facts—
it’s about the way people perceive them,” he said. “We’re anxious to get feedback from the community.” Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney told the Tribune that he thought last week’s Town Hall meetings were an “effective” means of communication, but consultation needs to continue as the administration considers different options for reducing the budget. “These scenarios are guaranteed to be unpleasant, but I think it would be far healthier to see the different choices debated and discussed by everyone at the university before a decision is made, than to proceed with a decision that hasn’t been carefully explored by all relevant stakeholders,” Mooney said. The Principal also informed the Board about the Statement of Values and Principles Concerning Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and the Operating Procedures. These are the focus of two consultation sessions—one
on Macdonald campus last Friday, and the other on the downtown campus scheduled for Feb. 20. The Statement of Values and the Operating Procedures are the latest outcome in the administration’s search to create a document detailing the university’s response to forms of collective action on campus, such as protests and demonstrations. Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) President Josh Redel told the Board he was “happy” to see the new drafts of the documents, which he thought took the community’s feedback into consideration. “Hopefully there can be another big step forward if that’s what’s called for,” he said. “But why [are the] Operating Procedures [not] coming [to Senate and BoG] considering it is under the same umbrella [as the previous document]?” Munroe-Blum said she could add discussion of the Statement of Values and the Operating Procedures to Senate’s and Board’s agen-
das, although both governing bodies will only vote on the Statement of Values. The Principal also addressed the aftermath of the flood that affected the downtown campus on Jan. 28. Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) Michael Di Grappa said the expected costs “keep going up every day.” Damages to McGill property are estimated at approximately $3 million as of last Tuesday, and McGill will file an insurance claim. The flood occurred after a 48inch water main burst while construction workers were completing renovations to the McTavish Reservoir. Munroe-Blum said she has been talking with Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum “to make sure that the infrastructure surrounding campus is taken care of effectively,” in order to prevent future incidents.
Universities underfunded, PGSS declares at Council
FEUQ argues that there is not enough evidence to make the claim that universities need more funding Andra Cernavskis News Editor The Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) of McGill University has publically taken the stance that Quebec universities are underfunded. Last Wednesday, PGSS Council passed a motion calling for the Society to take this position in preparation for the upcoming Quebec Education Summit scheduled for Feb. 25 and 26. According to the motion, PGSS also supports the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ)’s call for further investigation into how university money is spent. It passed after a heated debate amongst Council members and representatives of the FEUQ who attended the meeting. Participants who spoke on behalf of FEUQ said they do not believe there is enough evidence to prove that Quebec universities are underfunded, and that university administrations are responsible for mismanaging the money they receive from the provincial government. FEUQ speakers were concerned that the PGSS motion means the Society is complying with university administrations and their association, known as Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ). “I want to point out … that the
underfunding that the CREPUQ talks about is a comparison between Quebec and the rest of Canada,” Marc-André Legault, president of the graduate student council at the FEUQ, said. “It doesn’t specify what are the needs of the university .… What we advocate at the FEUQ is that we have to know what are the needs of universities. We are not going to give blank checks to the rectors.” The PGSS decided to hold its own investigation into university financing after receiving many requests from within and outside McGill to take the stance that universities in Quebec are underfunded, according to PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan Mooney. He named both the McGill administration—which is a member of CREPUQ—and FEUQ as groups that wanted PGSS to take an informed stance on the issue. “Obviously, FEUQ lobbied us to stick with their position that the studies demonstrating underfunding are flawed and not to take the position that underfunding is a reality,” he said. PGSS asked Conor Farrell, a researcher for the Society with a background in statistics, to look at the different reports from CREPUQ, FEUQ, and other post-secondary education organizations to determine whether or not Quebec universities
are underfunded. Farrell produced a 24-page document that concluded that universities in Quebec need more money to function properly. After having received the report, the executive drafted the motion for Council. “The first part of this motion is to say that, ‘yes, there is evidence that Quebec universities are underfunded,’” Mooney said. “But, that doesn’t mean you just give the money to the rectors or the principals to let them do whatever they want with it. There needs to be an accountability mechanism system in place, so we are supporting the FEUQ’s motion to create a [Commission for the Evaluation of Universities in Quebec] CEUQ.” CEUQ would be an independent body that would hold rectors accountable for the spending of public money. Mooney expressed concern when his colleagues showed scepticism over the report’s findings. “It’s not just CREPUQ who is saying [that universities are underfunded],” Mooney said. “[When] the Council of Ontario Universities … [was] trying to make a case that Ontario universities are underfunded, they did [a] comparative analysis. Quebec came in dead last among operating grants given from the government.” “This idea that we don’t need
PGSS Council met Wednesday. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune) money is absurd,” he continued. “It’s all being done for political reasons.” Leah Freeman, a graduate student in McGill’s School of Social Work and FEUQ vice-president of graduate student affairs, spoke out against the PGSS’s motion on behalf of FEUQ at Wednesday’s meeting. “We will always advocate for more money to universities,” she said. “We are not asking you to give
us permission to not ask for more. We are asking you to give us permission to get universities’ funding where it needs to go. Right now … we don’t know where the money is going.” Freeman—along with the other FEUQ representatives, had no voting rights—as she is not a member of Council. Ultimately, the motion passed with an overwhelming majority in favour.
The PQ planned the summit in the wake of intense debate and frequent student protests regard| ing the former Liberal government’s proposed tuition On Feb. annual increase of $325 for five years, which the PQ rescinded 25 and 26, the provinfollowing their election last September. cial government will hold a sumIn January, Higher Education Minister Pierre Duchesne said free tumit for members of civil society and the ition is not an option for the Quebec government, and that the government is higher education community to discuss the instead looking at indexing tuition fees to the cost of living. future of the post-secondary education sys“The good thing about this possibility is that there are different indexation tem in Quebec. models, some of which resemble a freeze, others which are indexed based on certain Before the summit commences, the Tribune indicators,” Duchesne said in January. set out to give students a look at some of the However, the government has promised that discussion at the summit is not limprimary stakeholders, their views on promiited to tuition—quality of higher education, access to higher education, governance nent issues up for discussion, and their and university funding, and contribution of research to the province’s development plans for the two days. will be the four main themes covered during the two-day event. Four preliminary workshops with the parties involved have taken place since the summit was officially announced last November. Premier Pauline Marois and Duchesne will discuss these issues with student organizations and post-secondary ux des universi a p i c n pri CREPUQ is a non-profit organiza-tés du establishments. s “This is vital for Quebec society,” Marois said at a press e t d tion that was founded in 1963. It is composed of Qué conference last November. “Our prosperity rests on e b s ur university administrators who work to improve the efficiency ec knowledge and education .… I hope this is a e niversitaire de Québ u fruitful debate for all.” ct of Quebec’s higher education system. Representing all 19 Quebec uni- ( e t ec ian versities, its main concerns are research, funding, and the university activities FEUQ was created (FE d u t UQ affected by government bills. It also serves as a coordinator between universities and in 1989 immediately following the é n ) a research centre for administration. government’s decision to end Quebec’s tuition tio freeze. Its 14 member associations represent more than In anticipation of the summit, CREPUQ proposed last November to create an independent public council in charge of studying and counselling academic affairs. 125,000 Quebec university students, making it the largest student “[The council] would report to the National Assembly and the people of Quebec on the situation group in the province. of the university system in general and, more specifically, on … the quality of university programs and According to its official website, FEUQ’s mission is to represent student ashow well they are meeting society’s needs; Quebec’s competitive position with regard to research in all sociations across Quebec and to put their positions at the forefront of discourse on fields of knowledge; and how universities are contributing to social, cultural, scientific, technological, and higher education. They also aim to promote unity in the recent student movement. economic development,” a CREPUQ statement from November reads. The FEUQ has historically opposed tuition increases, calling them problematic. AccesAccording to its website, CREPUQ’s stance is that every Quebecker who desires to and is qualified to sibility and student debt have remained central issues for the Federation. In 2011, it supported enter university should be able to, and that universities have the job of ensuring accessibility while maintainthe PQ’s position to freeze tuition. ing a high quality of education. “We’re looking to actually make sure that people understand what it means to preserve The organization claims that, in comparison with their trans-Canadian counterparts, Quebec universiaccessibility in university and to propose two things: better financing and a better governance of ties are underfunded by $850 million. For that reason, CREPUQ advocates stable funding as necessary to universities, ” FEUQ President Martine Desjardins told the Tribune in November. support research and development. To increase accountability and promote universities’ efficiency, the FEUQ advocates for a comAs a member of CREPUQ, McGill’s administration agrees that Quebec universities are undermission to evaluate the universities in Quebec, promotes collaboration and accountability of unifunded. The administration recently posted on McGill’s website that, if given more funding, it versities, and aims to pursue this proposal in the upcoming summit. would use these funds to invest in talent and infrastructure, as well as to work on reducing “We do have this kind of commission for the CEGEP system—that’s how we want to the university’s deficit. actually propose this commission [at] the summit, ” Desjardins said. “We’re very hopeful that The McGill website defines improving talent as lending “more support— we’ll have a big consensus about this proposition. ” financial and otherwise—for our students, including a commitment to While some student groups, like ASSÉ, have distanced themselves from the sumspend 30 per cent of all new net tuition revenue on improving mit, the FEUQ will continue to put pressure on the PQ to opt for a tuition freeze. student aid and accessibility, competitive compensaFEUQ participated in four preliminary meetings leading up to the sumtion, and improved academic support for mit, posted a document explaining their positions on each theme professors.” online, and presented them to the government before each Meet the main players at the meeting.
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student organization with approximately 70,000 members from universities and colleges across Quebec. On Feb. 13, ASSÉ officially announced that it would not participate in the summit on higher education. The organization has unofficially expressed concerns about the summit since the PQ announced it in September. ASSÉ’s main goal is free education, which the PQ has said will not be seriously considered at the summit. Jérémie Bédard-Wien, ASSÉ’s finance secretary, said the group is organizing a demonstration for the second day of the summit on Feb. 26, and that they are expecting thousands of people to attend. “It is clear that free education is off the table—the decision has already been taken by the government,” Bédard-Wein said. “We should not give [the summit] credibility. We should make ourselves heard outside rather than inside.” Before last week, none of McGill’s many student associations were members of ASSÉ. On Tuesday Feb. 12, the Art History and Communication Studies Graduates Student Association voted to join ASSÉ, making them the first student association at McGill to be a part of the organization. Last spring, a temporary coalition of ASSÉ known as CLASSE (Coalition large de l’ASSÉ) organized many of the protests against tuition hikes that occurred in downtown Montreal. While many McGill students were involved in the student movement last spring, only a few faculties and departments voted to go on strike. Bédard-Wien expressed hope that McGill students will mobilize more for the summit than they did in the spring.
Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) is one of the four member unions that constitute TaCEQ, alongside student societies from Université Laval and Université de Sherbrooke. SSMU Vice-President External Robin Reid-Fraser will be one of TaCEQ’s representatives at the summit. She said TaCEQ wants to bring several ideas to the table. “[We want there to be] a process in place that would have companies contribute to somebody’s education—not [as] in specific, targeted things that they get to choose, but for them to be funding … education that can go to everybody,” she said. “Another [idea] is that there be a charter for student researchers ... because right now, student researchers fall through the cracks in terms of representation and their rights.” SSMU will also promote policies at the Summit that TaCEQ doesn’t necessarily share. According to Reid-Fraser, the Society wants a better process to facilitate discussion about the education system across the province. Reid-Fraser noted that she has only just received the summit’s agenda—barely a week and a half before the event will take place. “The concern I have now is that it is not very inclusive,” she said. “If we are talking about reshaping our universities, we need to be bringing people who are not in universities right now, and have them talk about their connection and how they view these institutions.” Reid-Fraser also recognized the summit’s benefit, since the meetings leading up to the event allow her to hear the views of the main actors in the discussion . “This summit could be the opportunity to realize that there are so many things that need to be worked on and that give a direction for a more thorough process to address some of those issues,” she said. “That being said, it is very unclear what the government wants.”
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013 |
| Curiosity delivers.
AUS GA discusses changes to VP Finance selection process Students support endangered Industrial Relations program, student choice for recognizing advanced standing credits Emma Windfeld Contributor Reform to the nomination process for the position of the AUS Vice-President Finance, the fate of McGill’s Industrial Relations program, and students’ ability to decide whether McGill recognizes their advanced standing credits were among the topics discussed at Monday’s General Assembly (GA) of the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS). With between 20 and 45 students in attendance throughout the evening, the GA never met its quorum of 150 voters and, therefore, only passed motions as a consultative forum. Each motion passed by the GA as a consultative forum requires a 2/3 vote at AUS Council to become binding. The most highly debated motion concerned reforming the requirements for the AUS’s vice-president finance position. Currently, arts students elect a vice-president finance from a group of nominees in the AUS election. If this motion passed, AUS Council would determine through a vote whether nominees were qualified to run for the position after a short presentation from each candidate.
Students would then elect the vicepresident finance from among the approved candidates. “This motion is valid because [the AUS] has had a history of losing money and embezzling,” AUS VicePresident Events Natasha Fenn said. “A solid [Vice-President] Finance would prevent that.” Most students agreed that this motion addressed an important issue, but some expressed concern over its fairness. “Do you think this is an unfair attempt to influence the outcome of the election?” Daniel Stysis, U3 arts, asked during the GA. “Do you believe that this is a decision best left to the voters who should, in fact, be choosing their own [executives]?” Current AUS Vice-President Finance Saad Qazi, who brought the motion forward, argued that the measures would allow voters to make more informed choices about their executive. “The 100-word blurb I wrote for the ballot [when I was campaigning] was nowhere near to conveying enough information about what my qualifications were,” Qazi said. “Something like this would just be adding [an] extra little bit of information on the ballot.”
The motion was tabled for further refinement, and will not affect this year’s election period, since the nomination period for next year’s executive positions begins this week. Students also passed a motion that aims to protect McGill’s Industrial Relations program. The program is in danger of termination due to a lack of faculty advisors dedicated to continuing the program. AUS Vice-President Internal Justin Fletcher and Benjamin Kershman, president of the McGill Industrial Relations Association, submitted the motion. “The issue of why the program is considering being retired has nothing to do with student enrollment,” Fletcher said. Industrial Relations is an interdisciplinary academic program that allows students in the Faculty of Arts to study labour-management relations. Students in attendance wondered whether the program could exist independently from the Faculty of Arts. “Will the program still continue to fully exist under [the Faculty of] Management if it doesn’t exist under arts?” Enbal Singer, U2 arts, said. “How hard would it be for students
Students vote at the GA. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune) to just take it as a management program?” The motion passed after participants discussed the fact that arts students would have to switch faculties in order to enroll in the program in the Faculty of Management. Students also passed a motion calling for the AUS to lobby the Faculty of Arts to provide students with the opportunity to decide whether their advanced standing credits are recognized by McGill. Incoming
students are currently unable to decline transfer credits from advanced standing credits, and, as a result, are unable choose whether they complete a three or four-year degree. “I really … like the spirit of this [motion],” Ryan Mitton, U1 arts, said. “I’ve seen a lot of my friends suffering from trying to make decisions [over declaring a major] going into first year.”
against bill 14 alexandra allaire & anna katycheva
Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Speakers conclude McGill has long way to go on equity SSMU hosts annual equity conference; students, professors, and guest speakers share their research with audience Camille Chen Contributor Last weekend, the Equity Committee of the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) held its annual conference in the SSMU Ballroom for students to learn about issues of inequality and how to promote equity at McGill. Throughout the two-day conference, professors, guest speakers, and students shared their research on equity. SSMU’s Equity Committee follows the SSMU Equity Policy to promote social justice at McGill, and offers services and channels for addressing equity complaints. “We tend to think that since we’re at McGill, a university with much cultural diversity, everyone would love each other, but that is not the case,” SSMU Equity Commissioner Justin Koh said. “There are lots of situations in which students are not very comfortable if they are not of the dominant race, social, or ethnic background ... this conference is an opportunity for students who have done research on this topic
to share their knowledge.” The first half of the conference, held on Friday night, featured five speakers who gave their perspectives on the definition of space and on the issues of inequality that might arise when people with different backgrounds and goals share a common learning space. The second half of the conference, held on Saturday morning, allowed undergraduate students to present their papers and findings regarding equity on campus. Ellen Gabriel, an Aboriginal political activist from the community of Kanehsatà, spoke about historical injustices against Indigenous populations, contemporary debates on Indigenous affairs, and their relation to the McGill community. She suggested that attention to Indigenous welfare and heritage from the Canadian government is largely inadequate, and that Canadian public education should invest more effort into educating students on the history and issues concerning Indigenous minorities. “We are marginalized within
academia,” Gabriel said. “I think [because of] the fact that after 11 years of lobbying by students, there still isn’t an Indigenous program, definitely, McGill is not viewed by most Aboriginal students as very welcoming, because there is really nothing here.” McGill currently offers courses in Aboriginal Studies under the Canadian Studies department, and is in the process of establishing an Indigenous Studies program. The issue of racial inequality was also brought up during the conference. Mahtab Nazemi, a graduate student from McGill’s Faculty of Education, presented her Master’s thesis: “Beyond Racism: Mapping Ruling Relations in a Canadian University from the Standpoint of Racialized Women Student Activists.” Nazemi informed the audience about the experience of some racialized students at McGill. “[McGill has] a good reputation of being equitable and diverse globally, but some of the ‘old boys’ club’ reputation is still there,” Nazemi said. “If [a McGill student] can
live up to that experience [of being treated equitably] then great—you can feel represented by the institution. But if you can’t, then it is important for you to present your counter narrative.” The topics of other presentations ranged from the effects of political representation on equality to the gendered landscape of urban spaces. Students engaged with speakers during short question and answer sessions after each presentation. “[As] McGill is my community, I am very interested in how [equity] affects me,” Sarah MacArthur, U1 arts, said. “Even if we live in Canada, and we go to a very liberal university, [issues of inequality] are still present in my eyes.” SSMU Equity Commissioners Justin Koh and Shaina Agbayani promised attendees that another conference would be hosted next year.
Ellen Gabriel talks equity. (Remi Lu / McGill Tribune)
Workshop addresses challenges facing temporary workers QPIRG’s Social Justice Days aim to raise awareness of national and international social issues Jessica Fu Contributor Over the course of last week, the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) McGill and the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) presented a series of Social Justice Days designed to encourage dialogue regarding social issues in the Montreal community and around the world. Now in its seventh year, Social Justice Days has become an annual tradition at McGill. Events this year included a wide range of workshops, film screenings, and lectures. One event, called “the Permanence of Temporary Work,” exposed attendees to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the criticisms surrounding it, and the challenges it faces. The workshop included a viewing of a scene from the film “The End of Immigration,” and a presentation from guest speaker Niel Ladote, who described his experiences as an open permit worker from Indonesia. The Government of Canada introduced the TFWP as a measure to offset temporary labour shortages for sectors in which Canadian citizens and residents were unavailable for hire. However, temporary
workers often face challenges such as cultural barriers, low standards of living, unsafe work conditions, and below-par wages. Due to their status and dependency on temporary work, they often find themselves without leverage when work-place issues arise. Ladote came to Canada three years ago, and currently has an open work permit. “I came here as a student, but I don’t feel as though there is any improvement [for foreign workers],” he said. Ladote said challenges for temporary workers don’t stop at the Canadian border, as many workers find that their position puts a strain on their relationships with loved ones back home. “I have two siblings back home, and we don’t have [a] really close [relationship anymore],” Ladote said. “I dreamt of the Canadian dream, but it’s not true.” Students at the workshop were aware that while seemlingly unrelated to McGill, the TFWP plays a role in students’ lives because of temporary workers’ involvement in many aspects of daily life. “Being a student at McGill, there’s a certain standard of living that we uphold, and I think being
aware of how that standard of living is maintained is really important,” Susanna Millar, a U3 social work student who attended the event, said. “Where you buy your daily groceries, where those groceries were harvested, and who made your dinner if you go to a restaurant are important [things] to be aware of, because the standard of living that people enjoy would not necessarily be possible if the cost of production went up.” Ladote stressed the importance of creating discussion and raising awareness about the challenges temporary workers face in Canada. “I believe that working together in action is important and crucial—people telling their stories and speaking out, [saying] ‘yes, this is happening in this city and this country,’ ” he said. Millar echoed Ladote’s call to raise awareness. “Within the McGill community, we’re not isolated from government policies of immigration,” Millar said. “Just keeping your eyes open to these issues is important because it’s not just [happening] in some remote area, [it’s not just] some people working in a basement; it’s everywhere.”
Social Justice Days at McGill. (Cassandra Rogers / McGill Tribune)
ERRATA An article in last week’s Tribune (“AUS advising consultation sessions marked by low attendance,” Feb. 12, 2013) mistakenly states that the AUS organized consultation sessions on arts advising. The sessions were actually organized by Arts OASIS, and only advertized through the AUS. The Tribune regrets this error.
TRIBUNE Editor-in-Chief Elisa Muyl firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editors Carolina Millán Ronchetti email@example.com Adam Sadinsky firstname.lastname@example.org Production Manager Sam Reynolds email@example.com
Quebec must maintain its linguistic balance Disclaimer: Although our editorial board comprises a diverse range of cultural, geographic, and linguistic backgrounds, none of us identifies as a Quebecker. The perspectives that we put forward here represent us as McGill students, and members of the various communities in Montreal that have embraced us, and that we, in turn, have come to view as our own. Over the next month, Bill 14— the Parti Québécois’ proposed addition to the seminal Bill 101—will undergo public consultation, but is already facing protests and heated opposition. The bill looks to further define the nature of language relations in Quebec, imposing new restrictions on the use of English in the province, with intention to strengthen the presence of the French language in Quebec. Rather than doing this through the promotion of French, however, this bill takes a negative approach; it seeks to protect French through the gradual eradication of English, as well as the multitude of other languages that are spoken here. We fear that this course of action, although not the first of its kind, ultimately aims to destroy the culture of multilingualism that
we feel makes Montreal—and Quebec—beautiful.
protection of its language and heritage is undoubtedly a priority for Quebec, doing so at the expense of minorities is not the Canadian way.
Among our editorial board, there was a consensus that none of us chose to attend McGill solely on its own academic merits. Montreal is a unique, world-class city, and much of its appeal stems from a delicate balance that it strikes; it is a linguistically and culturally French area still accessible both to tourists and to incoming students, whose grasp of the French language may be lacking. This ability to accommodate has meant that all of us, from beginners to native francophones, are able to find ways to integrate ourselves into this city in whatever capacity we desire; for many, this is the impetus to commit to learning French. Bill 14 looks to challenge this culture of inclusion and integration.
Columnists Categorization and a new face of racism
Following the Civil Rights movements, a change began in the way people viewed one another. Specifically, American citizens were treated as equals—at least constitutionally—and there was a worldwide trend in the direction of equal opportunity, regardless of race. There was a general consensus that racism would no longer be tolerated. However, the issue of racism has taken new forms today. Today, the term ‘mixed’ is colloquially employed to indicate someone of multicultural heritage. The term itself completely strips the person of their association with any other race. It does not signify any ethnic identification, and it ignorantly gives a shallow label for an entire
growing population. Furthermore, this label has proliferated into a commodity. Being of mixed race has turned into something of an asset; an adapted form of racism through the commodification of physical traits, dismembering people from their cultural identity. Countless times, I have heard people saying they want ‘mixed’ children or wish they were ‘mixed.’ This interpretation of someone from a multi-ethnic background has thus morphed into a status symbol. Physical traits that are ‘racially ambiguous’ have become sought after, or favoured. The estranged, exotic, and sometimes alien-like perception of multi-ethnic people is a mystified reaction to a lack of information. Although there is a counterargument that this is a form of praise rather than discrimination or oppression, much of the praise is due to an absence of comprehension. I personally come from a multicultural background—my mother is ethnically Vietnamese, and my dad is Kenyan (specifically Kikuyu). I have found that the terminology of being ‘mixed’ and the connotations
As we remember what brought us to Montreal, we also look ahead to what comes next. Many of us are already uncertain of our ability to find stable full-time employment in Montreal due to language barriers, and have all but written off staying here after graduation. Some changes that Bill 14 will bring about only seek to worsen this; it halves the size of companies that are legally permitted to operate in English, requires internal “francization measures” which regulate the use of French in the workplace, and looks to strengthen the enforcement of all regulations of this nature. This actively discourages the employment of anglophone students and will invariably result in a brain drain, as English-speeking graduates from McGill and Concordia go elsewhere with the skills and knowledge that they gained in Quebec before they have a chance to learn French. Although many of the bill’s impacts are debatable, some of the impositions that it makes upon anglophone communities in Quebec are unacceptable, and cast a very negative light on the province as a whole. Although francophones are very much a minority when viewed from a national perspective, it is the an-
glophone Quebeckers who comprise the minority when we shift our view to the provincial level. Many aspects of Bill 14—such as the new criteria for municipalities to lose their bilingual status, as well as its accounting for native, rather than preferred language—have the distinct appearance of intolerance, even oppression, towards this minority. Albeit distinct, Quebec is an integral part of Canada. We are a country that has long invited visitors and immigrants, a country that prides itself on welcoming diversity. Although the protection of its language and heritage is undoubtedly a priority for Quebec, doing so at the expense of minorities—many of whom have roots in the province just as deep as any francophone community, is not the Canadian way. New Brunswick, the country’s only legally bilingual province, uses innovative legislature to protect both languages and their respective cultures, without infringing on one another. Although Quebec’s situation is unique, this approach should be looked to as an example; it is diversity, just as much as traditionalism ,that makes Quebec the province we know and love.
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behind it end up masking much of my identity. For me, being KikuyuVietnamese represents how two cultures, though incredibly different in customs and values, can come together not only in tolerance, but in love, celebration, harmony, and learning. Furthermore, many caucasian Canadians and Americans come from diverse backgrounds. People often explain that their heritage has several origins. Ranging from Scottish to Aboriginal, there is a clear illustration that many North Americans come from more than one ethnicity; one could argue that they are much more ‘mixed’ than I. This new mode of racist labeling is echoing throughout the world. Arbitrary racial categorization has manifested itself in the form of new taxonomy. Words such as hapa, for someone of Asian heritage; hafu, in reference to a racially mixed Japanese; halfie, a slang a term for a biracial person; or the more commonly recognized ‘mixed.’ These terms do not give the complete story; instead they convenience demographic surveys, and simplify categorizing ra-
cially diverse people into a single mental checkbox. Not only does this arbitrarily group people of varying and dissimilar ethnic backgrounds, it completely dismisses any identification with their original heritage. Checking off that you’re ‘mixed’ is like identifying as racially ambiguous, not belonging to any ethnicity. For many people, including myself, this is oppressive. With increasing globalization and immigration, people are interacting with a more diverse environment. There is no value in categorically assigning someone to a single racial group. Let us not take a step backward and proliferate racism in a new articulation. Discourse shapes not only the way people comprehend one another, but how people perceive themselves. Further interconnection and transnational cohesion will call for the integration of foreign cultures. In this process, it is worthwhile to take the time to understand one another in a manner that is effectively illustrative, rather than categorically convenient.
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columnists Alternatives in the AP debate
Dartmouth College recently announced its decision to stop granting credits for high Advanced Placement (AP) scores, starting with the class of 2018, after a nearly unanimous faculty vote. This new policy has caused a lot debate among students, faculty, and administrators at various universities about whether or not advanced standing credits should carry over to university. Dartmouth’s decision is based on the claim that AP courses don’t match the academic rigour of the programs at their Ivy League institution. Their plan, therefore, is a sweeping change in policy
Shopping south of the border
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty convened with senators in Ottawa to discuss lowering import tariffs in an effort to combat a persistently “irritating” American-Canadian price gap. Despite the two currencies residing at near-parity, there is a price gap between Canadian and American retailers, compounded by an even larger discrepancy between sales tax rates. As a result, Canadians flock across the border in droves every
Continuing the fight for a freer internet
Today’s generation is a product of the internet, having grown up with this technology and the wealth of information that it provides. They are encouraged to constantly build upon previous ideas, and they share their wealth of knowledge through this easy-access medium. Epitomizing this generation was Aaron Swartz—an entrepreneur, co-creator of RSS and co-founder of Reddit, and a prominent internet activist on the side of internet freedom and un-
in which they would stop accepting AP credits completely. With tuition costs at an all-time high, and bachelor’s degrees depreciating in value, many students are looking for ways to cut down on some of the time and money spent on their undergraduate degrees. AP courses provide a cheap way for talented and motivated students to earn university credit in high school, and potentially exempt themselves from a semester, or even an entire year at university. This could save students tens of thousands of dollars on their educations, and reduce the high levels of student debt that lurk over so many students upon graduation. In addition, despite Dartmouth’s claims, many students who scored well on their AP tests may, in fact, possess equal or even greater knowledge to that which they would have acquired at a university. The small settings of AP classes in high schools, and the close attention that
teachers are able to provide often result in students who are tremendously knowledgeable about the subjects that they study. If universities stop accepting AP credit, many students may be forced to take classes for material they have already learned. McGill’s current policy requires students to report all the AP exams they have taken, and students are usually granted credit for scores of 4 or 5. As a result of this rule, many incoming students to McGill are granted U1 status in their first year. While entering McGill as a U1 certainly has many advantages, it can cause some students to feel overwhelmed, as they are expected to declare their majors earlier, take more challenging courses right away, and complete their program in three years. The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) recently addressed this issue in a general assembly motion, calling for the AUS to lobby
the faculty of the arts to change the advanced credit system. The proposed reform would allow students entering with 24 or more credits (the number needed to enter as U1) to instead enter as U0 if they so desired. Students would still have the option to use advanced standing credits to avoid prerequisites. Since every student is different, this would be a more personalized and flexible way for students to apply their advanced standing credit towards university, and it could help ease the stress that many students face when they enter as their first year. Dartmouth’s decision, however, brings to light an important concern. Universities shouldn’t be expected to accept advanced standing credits if they aren’t compatible with their standards of education. However, advanced standing credit is beneficial to students for a variety of reasons, and shouldn’t be done away with. The main purpose of APs is to
allow students to tailor their education to their own needs. Therefore, the solution to how universities should treat advanced standing credits is to adopt a more personalized system. As the AUS motion proposed, students should be able to choose whether or not they want their advanced standing credits to carry over to university. Universities, too, should be able to tailor the system of advanced credits to their own requirements by administering placement tests to ensure that students who are “advanced,” according to their AP scores, do indeed meet the requirements to enter certain higher level courses. There is no need to stop accepting advanced standing credit as Dartmouth plans to do. A much less drastic change is required: a more tailored system that takes into account both the needs of individual students and university standards.
bank holiday, and even on the casual weekend to reap the bountiful harvests of American consumer products. With import tariffs as high as 18 per cent, Canadian retailers—as well as consumers—feel ripped off by impediments to selling and buying products with stark competition just across the border, and many feel the federal government should do something about it. This great southern migration is a phenomenon with which I am quite familiar. Torontonians at McGill may be well aware of my particular case study: the Walden Galleria Mall. A haven for thrifty Ontarians, the Walden Galleria includes over 200 stores, 11 sit-down restaurants, a movie theatre, and is located just outside of Buffalo, New York—my hometown. While local mall-goers, myself included, enjoy complaining
about the widely foreign-dominated parking lot, how “the Canadians” steal our post-Christmas deals on “Boxing Day,” and how they must have taken all the remaining size fours from the Urban Outfitters sale rack, the truth is, we love you guys. Honestly, we couldn’t live without you. Aside from the poorly groomed waste of a tourist destination which is the American side of the Niagara Falls, the Walden Galleria is just about all that western New York has going for it right now. With a slumping job market, continued population decreases, and as one of the most impoverished American cities, Buffalo is (almost) economically nothing without its loyal, Canadian fan base. But Canada isn’t simply here to help out economically depleted, former rust belt American cities. Business has no sympathy: there are win-
ners, and there are losers. And right now, Canadian businesses’ heels are digging into the mud, and the rope’s bristles are slowly gnawing at their feeble, clenched hands. But does the exchange rate mess have to be a tugof-war? As an American international student in Canada, I can’t quite devise a solution to promote Canadian business without keeping my home country in mind. So perhaps, from a third-party, politically unmotivated, expatriate perspective, there is, rather, a North American system of respect and compatibility to be celebrated. While the U.S. thrives on consumerism, Canadians benefit from federal social welfare, such as healthcare—in place of really cheap clothes. In America, you get clothes, and then you die. In Canada, you get clothes from America, and then you don’t die.
According to Numbeo, an online cost-of-living database, consumer prices in the U.S. are 18.31 per cent lower than in Canada. While the Canadian federal government could certainly lower certain tariff burdens, making domestic products lower for consumers, and businesses more competitive with their American counterparts, it seems unlikely that Canadian retail prices will be able to rival those of the United States any time soon. The Canadian and American economic systems are fundamentally different; the partial compensation of a tariff won’t affect any great reversals. Ideologies will persist until they come to an improbable halt; so please, Canadians, continue to cut me off in the parking lot, and take the next spot closest to the entrance.
restricted access to information. In July 2011, Swartz entered MIT and downloaded a large number of academic articles from JSTOR, a popular digital library, in protest of inaccessible academic information. He was caught and arrested. When trial began, federal prosecutors sought to give him decades in prison, and up to a million dollars in fines—a punishment many have called disproportionate. Sadly, on Jan. 11, 2013, Swartz took his own life, causing wide-ranging dismay in the internet community. Academic articles such as those that Swartz downloaded are a vital part of the learning process. Students at institutions that subscribe to such publishers as JSTOR are fortunate enough to have the information; but what about those who cannot access it? There are many people
who are equally interested in learning, but do not have the opportunity because they are not part of such a community. This is not an appropriate course for a society which claims to encourage learning and seeks to foster an environment of innovation. Simply due to circumstance, many people with a potential to innovate are restricted by the lack of resources made available to them. If we truly want to create a society of continued progress, we should share knowledge with all those who wish to access it. There is an ever increasing number of young internet entrepreneurs who were self-taught. By restricting previous research papers and access to knowledge, we are hindering similar potential innovations in all fields. In this age of entrepreneurialism and self-initiative,
it is counter-intuitive to restrict the resources that are necessary to promote such ambition. This limitation on learning has given rise to the freedom of the internet debate. Information that is at students’ fingertips has made life easier; and so, much like a public library, shouldn’t it be free for all who seek it? Swartz stood for something that is extremely relevant in students’ lives. It is a battle that needs to be fought and, with Swartz’s death, has lost an essential fighter. This is an era of phenomenal growth and change, and we must constantly be aware that we are setting precedents for the freedom of information online. If the laws created now tighten copyright restrictions, they will be incredibly challenging to change later on. Now is the time to demonstrate the importance of open access
,and the continuing development of technology and knowledge. The rise of the internet has unlocked a myriad of opportunities, which restrictions and censorship will only decrease. With the accessible and credible repositories of knowledge online, those who previously never had the opportunity to learn now can. People are finding new skill sets that are incredibly applicable to modern day, and would be irrelevant without the internet. We must take advantage of this potential instead of limiting it, as it will ultimately foster returns for our society. None of this is possible without open access to information, something that Aaron Swartz fought for, and something we must continue to protect in years to come.
Q: What’s a typical Urban Groove rehearsal like? A: It’s every Sunday, and it starts with a warm-up and stretch, and then a killer ab routine. This semester [we’re doing] something special [in rehearsal] called internal workshops. It’s where one member is selected each week to do a special workshop for everyone else. So we’ll have dancers who specialize in different styles like contemporary, Bollywood, tutting [a dance move mimicking King Tut], and popping, and they’ll do special workshops for that week. And then we just dance around. Q: Is practice more rigorous when you’re getting ready for a show? A: It gets more hectic. We tend to arrange more practices apart from the Sunday [ones]. It gets insane—every single day of the week we’ll have practices. Q: What’s your favourite song to dance to? A: I like dancing to songs that people would normally not dance to. Like the Tetris song. I’m really into ‘corneographies’ now; instead of choreography, it’s ‘cornyography.’ You play around with the lyrics of the songs, and you use really corny songs like Taylor Swift songs, but then you….do really corny moves with the
lyrics. Big dancers like Mike Song [choreographer for America’s Best Dance Crew and Step Up Revolution] and Anthony Lee [of World of Dance fame] are really….into corneography, and I’ve been watching them lately.
Q: What’s your signature dance move? A: [It’s] not a dance move, but I think people know me for tutting. [My style is] an abstract form of tutting, where you make boxes with your hands. Popping is a genre of hip-hop. People know break dancing as the crazy flips and stuff, but popping is a more intricate style of hip-hop, where you get to play around with the music more. It’s [a] more lyrical movement. Tutting is [a sub-genre] within popping, where you just make cool shapes with your body. Q: You’re also involved with World Vision. What’s your position with them? A: I’m a volunteer coordinator, and my job is to recruit volunteers and find places to volunteer in the Montreal area. Q: What kinds of events and fundraising do you guys do? A: Last semester, we were volunteering at the [Montreal] Women’s Centre. They
X vs.Y Irish
McKibbins Irish Pub is a mainstay for ‘Irish’ pub culture in Montreal. There are three locations; one in the West Island, one on rue Bishop, and one on St. Laurent. Each invites passersby to “Come in and experience a little bit of Ireland in your own backyard!” As a frequent visitor of the St. Laurent location, I can tell you that they aren’t lying. The warm décor is reminiscent of an updated cottage cabin with its long wooden bar, multiple cozy booths, and Irish memorabilia that can be found all around the pub. If that didn’t get you feeling Irish, the drink choices most certainly will. The bar is well stocked, and carries over 24 imported beers on tap. In addition to their wide array of cocktails, McKibbins has an impressive food menu that won’t break the bank, although it isn’t designed for a student budget. The highlight of the menu is the “Guinness Experience” section, which includes choices from nachos to wings, to burgers, all of which have some form of Guinness
get a lot of donations from make-up companies and food companies, and our job is to sort out [clothing donations]. This semester, we’re going to volunteer at a homeless shelter in Atwater.
Q: The 30 Hour Famine was held last Friday and Saturday. Can you tell me about it? A: Yeah, people do the 30 Hour Famine and they raise pledges for World Vision. It’s also an awareness thing, to experience what [children in developing countries] experience. At the end of the 30 hours, we have a “breaking the fast” dinner, and that’s when we [raise] money from people who actually did the famine, and friends of [those] people. It’s a 10 dollar dinner, and that also raises money [for World Vision]. Q: What’s your secret talent? A: I can twist balloons [into animals and shapes]. Q: What reality TV show are you perfect for? A: K-Town. It’s like the Asian version of Jersey Shore. It’s in K-town, L.A. Q: What’s the very first thing you would buy if you won the lottery? A: Jeans. I have an obsession with denim.
incorporated. The pub is a great place to go with a friend for a drink or two, but it is also a great place to go as a group if you’re looking for dinner and drinks. The staff is very willing to accommodate large groups, rearrange tables, and are more than happy to put on the sports game of your choice (go Habs!) if you came out to enjoy the game with a buddy. What makes McKibbins stand out from other Irish pubs is the live music—which frequents their stage with two to three sets per night—and their authentic Irish step-dancing performances. So if you ever want a Celtic night, head to 3515 St. Laurent, and try an Irish Car Bomb; it’ll definitely start you off on the right foot.
For those looking to travel a little farther beyond the McGill bubble than St. Laurent, Crescent Street boasts an impressive selection of bars and clubs, but none so appealing as its very own Irish pub, Hurley’s. Located at 1225 Crescent, this bar is a popular destination for Montreal night life, and definitely has the space to accommodate this reputation. There are so many entrances to Hurley’s that you can take your pick for what seems like a block, and so many different areas inside that you have to be exceedingly cautious not to lose your friends or you might never find them again. That said, Hurley’s is one of the friendliest bars
Visit: www.mckibbinsirishpub. com/home.php —Natassja Di Battista
For their extensive menu, unique sports programming, and overall inviting atmophere, we’re giving Hurley’s our vote. Nevertheless, make sure to keep both in mind for St. Patrick’s Day.
Q: What’s the best reason to visit your hometown? A: [My hometown is] Seoul, South Korea. Good food, good people, nice subway system—and they have Wi-Fi everywhere. Q: What’s the last song you remember listening to? A: God’s Gift, by J. Cole.
student of the week
with Jacqui Galbraith
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure? A: Buying jeans. Q: What word or phrase do you most overuse? A: “My jeans.” Q: If you could change one thing about Montreal, what would it be? A: The slush. I don’t mind the [long] winter, just the slush. And the salt. Q: Who would star in the movie of your life? A: Childish Gambino.
Anatomy and Cell Biology, U1 (ALEXANDRA ALLAIRE / MCGILL TRIBUNE)
This week’s student was nominated for his work on the World Vision 30 Hour Famine, held last weekend, and his active involvement with Urban Groove. I’ve come across during my time in Montreal; you can always make some new acquaintances on your search for the old ones. Different parts of the bar offer different atmospheres— some loud and raucous, some more intimate. There’s a place for you no matter what your mood. With at least three bars, the Hurley’s drink menu offers over 50 different single malts, 16 whiskeys, and 19 beers on tap, so no one goes thirsty. There is also a full menu, that includes all the usual bar food suspects, but also extends to some more exotic options like mango chutney chicken, and Bailey’s cheesecake. Prices are reasonable, but if you go for both dinner and a night of drinking, the bill can easily run away on you.
As far as entertainment goes,— aside from its delightful patrons— Hurley’s features nightly live music on both the first and second floor, usually (surprise, surprise) of the Irish variety. They also have a sports corner, with a full schedule of the programming they plan to show available on their website—rugby, hurling, and UFC, among others. With so much going on, it’s not hard to find a good time waiting for you at Hurley’s, whether you go with one friend, or ten. Stop by for a night of Irish antics, or simply for a relaxing drink. Visit: www.hurleysirishpub.com/ en_sportscorner.html —Jacqui Galbraith
DJ Marez takes on the Montreal music scene—and his first year at McGill
Marcos Orta, U0 commerce student, talks to the Tribune about balancing the life of a student with the demands of deejaying
arcos Orta, also known as DJ Marez, lives a double life. ‘Up and coming’ is one way to describe this U0 McGill commerce student. “That obnoxious guy who takes command of the music during parties”—his own words—is another. Lucky for us, a quick listen to his SoundCloud station proves that he does it well. “I entered a competition to open a set at the Brrrrr! Music Festival in Toronto,” he tells the Tribune. “I saw it as an opportunity to not only gain recognition, but to also have fun by doing what I do best. The rules were simple: whoever gets the most votes wins. In other words, it was a popularity contest. After spamming the [expletive] out of my friends on Facebook, I ended up in 10th place—out of over 100 submissions.” Orta has been living out his passion and spinning with professional equipment for just over two years now. His main motivations are his enjoyment for imposing his music on others, and, he jokes, the “swag, ladies, etc.” He is a member of Blackout Productions— a new label founded by Justin Macaskill, another McGill student. As well, Orta is a member of the SSMU DJs Guild. He has done various sets at McGill for Bar des Arts (BdA), The McGill Med-P/DentP Student’s Association (MDSA), and the McGill International Student’s Network (MISN). “It’s always a pleasure to spin for my McGillians,” Orta says. While he wouldn’t call it a career yet, Orta claims he’s been “inundated with gigs” since his arrival in Montreal. He’s correct to assume that the parties here are “non-stop,” which would explain why he has played as many sets here, over the course of six months, as he did in Ottawa over a year and a half. “I plan to make deejaying a substantial part of my future,” says Orta, “not so much in a club setting, but in a more international sense; in prominent festivals around the world.” In order
to achieve this, he has started producing house music. He describes his songs as profound, yet energetic. He has too many inspirations to name one, ranging from Axwell to Coldplay and from Ludovico Einaudi to Lana Del Rey. Music, in his opinion, has to be inspirational, and must hold meaning. “Music should be able to bring out your deepest sentiments—something no other force can achieve. That’s why you’ll never hear me playing Nicki Minaj.” Instead, he prefers to play electro and progressive house—“despite the countless requests for top 40.” While he may come across as adamant or assertive, Orta maintains that he’s just trying to build an identity. “It’s on a whole other level, [trying] to get people to understand your tunes, to move to your music.” While a lot of students may try their hands at deejaying in university, the art takes more skill than merely hitting the pause/play button, or transitioning from one song to another. It is easier said than done, in his opinion, and far too many people undermine or under-appreciate the “art of deejaying.” “A DJ, or rather, a successful DJ, has to have a high level of creativity, a natural or meticulously trained ear, the ability to mix in key, the capability to beat match, and an appropriate taste for effects—all while keeping the vibe going.” His advice for other aspiring DJs, then is to remain dedicated, diligent, and persistent. “There will be times of great discouragement, times that will test how much heart you have for the decks. If ever the dance floor is empty, and you feel like you’ve done everything in your power, including dropping Gangnam Style, don’t panic. Sometimes, it’s just a dead crowd regardless of what’s playing. Keep your head up, keep it real, and keep it fresh.”
little-known study spots
The Tribune gives you the lowdown on some of McGill’s best kept secret study areas.
By Emma Windfeld
tudying for endless hours, surrounded by a sea of desks under fluorescent lighting can wear away the spirit. In the midst of midterm season, these refreshing study spots around campus will remind you there’s a world out there that doesn’t consist exclusively of papers, Apple products, and textbooks.
1 – The Bay Cafeteria: As long as you can resist the temptation to shop as you climb to the seventh floor, The Bay’s cafeteria offers a cavernous, rustic sitting area with a fireplace and an abundance of wooden paddles and canoes. Bonus: it’s only a 700 metre walk from the Roddick Gates. GO: For the relaxed, cottage-style vibe and few students. The view alone is worth the trip. 585 Ste-Catherine St W., seventh floor. 2 – Leacock study rooms: Leacock’s first floor study rooms are open 24/7 (via Arts students’ after hours card access). Instead of spending the night hunched over a desk, try the comfy, padded booths in rooms 111 and 112. Plus, no need to sneak snacks past any security guards—food is allowed. GO: Because you can talk, eat, and study all night. Rooms 111 and 112 in Leacock, just past the Snax kiosk.
3 – Chai Tea Lounge: A stack of reading seems more conquerable when you’re armed with a mug of Matcha. Chai Tea Lounge offers free Wi-Fi, and lots of electrical outlets. If you get tired of the cupcakes and macaroons on offer, you can order a sandwich (the chicken avocado is CANADA’S LARGEST INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY AND STUDENT TRAVEL EXPO amazing) from Cafe Bistro El Mundo next door—they’ll even deliver it to you. GO: For a relaxed afternoon Saturday of studying. Bring at least $5; the tea is a little expensive. 3506 Avenue du Parc. 1 pm - 5 pm
Montreal Convention Centre
4 – SSMU Student Lounge: If you prefer studying in the comfort of your bed, but are more productive out of the house, SSMU’s Student Lounge offers the best of both worlds. Overstuffed couches create a cozy living room ambiance, while plenty of windows allow in natural light. When it gets dark you actually realize how long you’ve been at it. GO: Early, competition for a full couch is fierce. First floor of the Shatner Building.
plenty of free Wi-Fi to go around. GO: To be surrounded by art, chess, and French banter. 4127 Boulevard St. Laurent. 6 – The Law Library: In Nahum Gelber Law Library, you’ll be surrounded by stressed law students; but at least you can be cheered by the fact that you probably have less work than they do—for now. The huge triangular windows and shared tables make it feel grander than a regular library. Just make sure you’re on your best behaviour, unless you like glares from grad students. Avvocato Café is also conveniently located nearby for a quick caffeine fix. GO: To study like a grad student. 3660 Peel St. 7 – The Music Library: Marvin Duchow Music Library’s fifth floor carrels can be used when the assigned grad students aren’t there. Students from outside the music program rarely seem to go here, but it’s worth checking out if Schulich or McLennan are starting to feel like old news. GO: For a change of scenery; the view downtown is fantastic. 527 Sherbrooke St. 8 – Presse Café: Presse Café on Sherbrooke is only about a minute from campus, but you can always find a seat. Its three split-level floors offer plenty of tables, armchairs, and stools to perch at the counter. Bonus for first years: meal cards work here. GO: For the coffee shop feel that’s super close to campus. 475 Sherbrooke St. 9 – Birks Reading Room: Birks Reading Room is a beautiful studying experience. How many other libraries ask you to take off your winter boots? Padding around hardwood floors in socked feet makes for an extremely calming study experience. GO: To feel like you’re at Hogwarts. 3520 University St.
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5 – Café Pi: Café Pi is not your ordinary coffee shop; it’s a genuine French café. Each Pi experience is different, though chess is always the theme. Watching elderly customers locked in a chess match is enough to keep you smiling, and there’s
10 – Library study rooms: Working with friends can make studying more enjoyable; but when you’re in quiet study areas, whispered conversations are hardly worth the glares and the guilt. Cue the study rooms: they’re available in six of McGill’s libraries, and anyone can book them through the library’s website. It’s surprisingly simple—much easier than using Minerva. GO: For the freedom to take breaks and actually talk to the friend you invited to the library with you. Visit www.mcgill.ca/library for room bookings.
CAMPUS LIFE OF THE
STUDENT PARENT By sara espinal henao
Photo by Simon Poitrimolt
illian Boctor is in her first year of legal studies at McGill. Selected from among 1,395 other aspiring lawyers who submitted their applications for the renowned B.C.L, LL.B program, this former freelance journalist and social activist’s future holds great promise. Even more admirable than her acceptance into one of the most coveted law programs in the country, however, is the fact that Lillian has done all this while raising her daughter, Mahalia Angelica.
Mahalia Angelica Garzon Boctor is now 11 -years-old. She has experienced, alongside her mother, the life of a graduate journalism student at Concordia University, and now embarks with her in the venture of getting through McGill’s rigorous law program. This small family’s unconventional path has not been without its challenges. As part of a largely underrepresented category among McGill’s student population, the struggles specific to Lillian’s situation often go overlooked. “In certain work places, other people have children, so there is more understanding of what it is like to be a parent. But in my class, I’m one of two [students with children who are under 15-yearsold]. Student life [at McGill] is not set up on a parent schedule. It’s not something that is in the university’s radar because it’s just not that common,” Lillian explains. “That is one of the challenges of being a mother at school; that not that many people decide to undertake it.” The rarity of her circumstance has made it difficult for Lillian to adjust to student life at the university. Concessions are rarely made and, contrary to what could be presumed, expectations for a student parent are often even higher than for a regular student. “Timeliness and deadlines are very important [in law school], so you need to do it no matter what. You have to figure it out … the [Administration] would be open if there’s an emergency situation, but because you are a mom … [they think] you should know that at any moment, your child could get sick, or there could be an emergency,” Lillian says. “I think there’s a double burden of being a parent. Because you have this additional responsibility, they expect you to always think about that beforehand, and plan accordingly.” Yet, this expectation might not be undue. Lillian and her daughter, like many other student -parents at McGill, have figured out ways to overcome challenges, and get ahead. “[If] your kid is sick and there’s nobody to take care of your kid, you only have two choices: you either don’t go to school, or you bring your child with you,” Lillian says. “My daughter would actually come with me to school several times. Everybody would turn their heads [when I walked into class]. I mean, there’s a kid in the faculty!” This dynamic might surprise many aspiring lawyers at McGill, who are more accustomed to seeing Supreme Court justices visiting the Faculty than a child roaming around the Nahum Gelber Law Library. “The funny thing for me is the look at people’s faces when I bring her to school, [because] it’s so rare to see a kid in the law faculty. One time that I brought my daughter … we were in the middle of [Professor] Forray’s class, [and] somebody told me that they saw this really, really, really young student, some genius kid, [at the faculty],” recalls Lillian amused. The drill is all too familiar to Mahalia Angelica, who by now has accompanied her mother through numerous all-nighters, library visits, and café study
sessions, learning about student life way ahead of time. “I went back to journalism school when my daughter was between four and five [years old],” she recalls. “That was really challenging because there were a lot of assignments for which you would have to work on all night. So she would actually come with me to the computer lab, and I would set up her bed and do my work. Sometimes, she would spend the night there with me because there was no other way.” Far from seeing it as a burden, Lillian does not recount her experience as a student mother with anger or discontent. Rather, the two have learnt to see it as a way to spend time with each other. “I’m with my daughter on the weekends, and she wants to be able to do fun things and not just sit around all day while I’m studying, so we do ‘café trips’ … I let her watch movies at the café and I get to work. I’m happy that we get to do that,” she says.
McGill Childcare, a Step in the Right Direction
While the path towards graduation has proven steep for student-parents at McGill, conscious efforts have been made to ease their semesters and ensure their success. Most members of the McGill community might recall the charming row of little toddlers who pace around campus every now and then, following their dedicated program educators. Among these programs is the SSMU Daycare Centre, an independent, non-profit organization subsidized by the government of Quebec, as well as by McGill University undergraduate student fees. Located on the second floor of the Brown Student Services Building, the SSMU Daycare Centre currently offers full-time childcare to 40 children of members of the McGill community. “[Our service costs] $7 a day, [and because] we have only a total of 40 kids in our daycare and nursery, we can give a more individualized service, and spend a little more time helping them and supporting them as much as we can,” says Amy Vincent, manager of the centre. In addition, well aware of the financial struggles that many student-parents might face, the SSMU Daycare Centre has taken matters in its own hands to provide financial aid to those most in need. “In [September] 2011, we started a bursary program here at the SSMU Daycare … We started it with any accumulated surplus that we had in our operating budget, and the Board of Directors decided to start what is called the SSMU Daycare Bursary Fund, which we would award to full time undergraduate student
parents who have children in our daycare or nursery,” Vincent says. “Every year, we can award up to $15,000 in assistance to parents with children in our daycare … some of them are not able to work because they have a child. We do everything we can to try to help them out.” Also noteworthy is the student-oriented service that the SSMU Daycare provides. “Our first priority goes to undergraduate students, and our second priority goes to graduate students … We are the only student-focused university daycare in Montreal,” says Vincent. “UQAM, Université de Montréal, and Concordia, they all have daycares on campus, but they are [primarily] for staff and faculty. For us, the student comes first and then, if there is space, we receive kids from faculty and staff.” The university has clearly gone a long way in assisting its student parents. Like the SSMU Daycare Centre, other notable institutions, such as McGill’s Centre de la Petite Enfance—which now serves 106 children of McGill students, staff, and faculty—have also risen to the occasion. Yet, more needs to be done to create a more welcoming environment for parents who aspire to continue their education at the university. Lillian can attest to the exclusionary environment that some student parents might perceive at McGill. “I think it’s important for the university to acknowledge that there may be a lot of people [with children] whowant to go back to school and study, and that there may be obstacles [for them to do that],” she says. “Some people told me ‘don’t even mention that you have a kid [in your letter of intent to apply to McGill] because they might see this as a barrier.’ I would like to see McGill as an environment where having a kid isn’t seen as any kind of barrier.” —Additional reporting by Guilhem de Roquefeuil
Science & technology
Looking beyond mutation with cancer genetics Bruce Gottlieb challenges research approach to developing cancer therapy Lauren Mokry Contributor The media constantly bombards us with coverage of presumed cancer causing agents, jumping to the conclusions that we should ‘avoid this’ or ‘avoid that,’ only to contradict themselves the following week. Since the culmination of the Human Genome Project, which succeeded at sequencing the entire human genome, the media has placed a heavy focus on the identification of potential cancer genes. Articles concerning cancer causes, such as the recent news that the BRCA gene— a gene related to breast and ovarian cancer—places you at high risk for breast cancer, have taken over the newsstands. However, the bold headlines—which have succeeded in scaring many readers—are misleading. The correlation between genes and cancer tends to be over-hyped. Media frequently labels them as deterministic factors, when in reality, the contribution of potential cancer genes remains unclear. These broad claims have led many otherwise healthy individuals to undergo drastic and premature procedures in an effort to reduce their risk of devel-
oping disease. For example, many women who have tested positive for the mutant BRCA1 and 2 alleles have elected for pre-cancerous mastectomies, even though the BRCA mutation only appears in two per cent of breast cancers. As McGill professor Dr. Bruce Gottlieb points out, modern cancer therapeutics have yet to progress significantly beyond the scope of tumor excision—surgical removal of a tumor—introduced by the ancient Romans. Billions of dollars and datasets later, we are still no closer to a cure, nor identifying the cause of cancer. So why the lack of progress? According to Gottlieb, our approach may be wrong. Since the advent of DNA sequencing, scientists have focused on uncovering and investigating oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. This is called the two-hit hypothesis. Humans have 23 chromosomes, and each chromosome is composed of two copies of the same gene, also known as an allele. In the two-hit hypothesis, a mutated copy of one of the aforementioned genes is inherited from one parent, while the second normal copy eventually mutates due to carcinogenic exposure. Once both genes are mutated,
ASK By Caity Hui
Gene sequence analyses yield disappointing results for cancer research. (geneticawareness.org) are mutated in different parts of the same tumor. These results demonstrated that cancer genetics is much messier than expected—a reality the reigning two-hit hypothesis fails to explain. “You need to understand the context of a mutation in order to grasp its significance,” Gottlieb stressed. Gottlieb believes that each individual has their own DNA reference sequence; and to understand what’s happening you need to look at both the diseased and normal cells from a particular tissue. Mutations are not
only specific to an individual, but also to a tumor, and regions within that tumor. This manner of research may be a game changer for cancer. Based on these results, it appears that our methods of assigning risk to potentially cancer-causing genes are overly simplistic, and our therapeutics too crude. It is somewhat ironic that a disease considered largely universal—one that touches us all—can be highly individualistic at the same time.
Does chocolate make you smarter?
The plot reveals a surprising correlation between chocolate consumption and Nobel Prize laureates (www.youngster.com). As it becomes increasingly difficult to find a seat at McLennan, its clear midterms are fully underway at McGill. Although these tests make up less of our grades than finals, many students will do
the cell undergoes rapid proliferation, resulting in tumor formation. “It was believed that uncovering these genes would be the magic bullet for cancer,” Gottlieb said. “[However], there were [only] two basic results from these studies. You get many mutations in many different genes being identified for no rhyme or reason. It just doesn’t make sense… A gene variant in one individual can be associated with a disease, yet in another individual with that same alteration there’s no phenotype [the disease is not present].” Thanks to advances in biotechnology, genomes can now be easily sequenced for a fraction of the cost. This has created a stir in the field of cancer genetics—many believe that with this technology, a potential breakthrough is on the horizon. Gottlieb does not agree. “People have started to look to see if every tumor in an individual has the same genetic sequence,” he explained. “What did they find? They don’t.” Gottlieb conducted a recent experiment in which different regions of an individual’s prostate tumor were excised and analyzed. They found similar results: different genes
whatever it takes to perform well. Tactics range from taking up residence in the library to therapeutic baking to provide nourishment— and stress relief—while studying. While we’ve heard plenty of tips
to improve both our study habits and test scores, a 2012 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests an interesting solution to boosting your GPA: chocolate. The study investigated the link between cognitive ability and flavanols—a type of antioxidant present in foods such as chocolate, green tea, and red wine. Essentially, the researchers plotted chocolate consumption per country against the number of Nobel Prize Laureates produced by each in order to see if there was any correlation. Surprisingly, the plot revealed a strong correlation of 0.79, with Sweden as the only anomaly. Take Sweden out of the picture, and the correlation improves to 0.86, suggesting a positive correlation between chocolate and intelligence. “I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume,” joked American physicist Eric Cornell in an interview with Reuters, who shared the Nobel Prize in 2001. “I feel that milk chocolate makes you
stupid. Now, dark chocolate is the way to go. It’s one thing if you want a medicine or chemistry Nobel Prize. But if you want a physics Nobel Prize, it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate.” Although it’s a jest, Cornell makes a good point. The correlation between chocolate and Nobel Prize Laureates may be strong, but caution should be exercised before ordering Juliette & Chocolat’s entire dessert menu in the name of your grades. The figures for chocolate consumption only came from two sources, Caobisco and Chocosuisse, and cover only four years of chocolate consumption. In comparison, the data for the Nobel Prize winners takes into account laureates from 1900 to 2011. This difference in time periods from which the data was taken is experimentally problematic. While the correlation is interesting, it should be taken with a grain of salt. McGill chemistry professor Karine Auclair points out
that countries who consume a large amount of chocolate also consume large amounts of milk, suggesting that it is a healthy and balanced diet that leads to improving cognitive abilities. Others attribute this correlation between chocolate and intelligence to socioeconomic factors. Scandinavian countries appear at the top of the graph, and are known to score high both on the Human Development Index (HDI) and in terms of per capita income. Likely higher chocolate consumption simply relates to greater affluence and an improved lifestyle. It seems that while eating a few pounds of chocolate the night before an exam will do nothing more for your grades than induce a sugar rush, leading a balanced lifestyle can in fact help improve your cognitive performance. This fact is not a mystery; with the stress of midterms over these next few weeks, it serves as a healthy reminder.
Curiosity delivers. |
science & technology
| Tuesday, February 19, 2013
A sonnet stored in DNA would sound as sweet Hard drives may soon be replaced with nature’s ultimate storage system Abhishek Gupta Contributor DNA has an incredible capability to store information. Now, thanks to a simple cipher, DNA can be manipulated to act as a storage system for digital data. The importance of archiving data holds significantly more relevance in today’s world, where information is generated at an increasing pace. From GDP economic trends to classical compositions like Shakespeare’s sonnets, there is a surplus of information that needs to be stored and preserved, and the list keeps growing every day. However, there are two fundamental issues with archiving huge amounts of data: first, the sheer volume of information, and second, storing data in a format that will remain universal over long periods of time. This is where DNA comes in. The idea of storing information in DNA struck scientists Ewan Birney and Nick Goldman of the European Bioinformatics Institute, over a few beers at a pub. They were discussing the issue of trying to cut down the
costs associated with maintaining a vast archival unit of hard drives, which takes up a lot of space and electricity. Nature has an easy answer to this problem. DNA stores information to create a multicellular organism from a single cell; it performs this task using a minimum amount of space, and in a manner that preserves the information in a universal format for long periods of time. Computers store information using a binary number system, which encodes a series of 0’s and 1’s. DNA stores information in terms of nucleotide bases known as Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine—abbreviated A, T, C, and G respectively. Just as the combination of 0’s and 1’s leads to a myriad of images, games, sounds, text, and videos, the combination of the four bases A, C, T, and G leads to a set of instructions for the formation of every single cell in the body. To store digital data in the bases of DNA, Birney and Goldman used a system that stored a byte (a sequence of eight 1’s or 0’s) as five DNA letters. To create an encoding pattern with zero error, they constructed
Naturally, DNA stores all the information to create a multicellular organism from a single cell. (images-forbes) strings of DNA letters that had no adjacent repeats. Every stream of data was encoded in exactly 117 letters, each with indexing information that would indicate where this stream belonged in the overall code. Another advantage of DNA storage is that it avoids the problems caused by rapidly changing technology. Recall the Floppy Disk, once the most efficient portable storage media. If any important data were to be found stored on these disks today, it would essentially be lost. On the other hand, DNA will always hold importance—even if the mechanisms to access information change. One could leave a vial with DNA in a time capsule, and 500 years later, it would still be readable
and accessible by future generations. A research team led by George Church and Sriram Kosuri from the Harvard Wyss Institute set a world record in data storage, by storing 700 terabytes (Tb) of information in a gram of DNA. To put that in perspective, one would need 151 kilos of three Tb hard disks to store the same amount of information. Essentially, they had smashed the previous information storage density record by over a thousand times. Currently, the costs associated with DNA storage are estimated to be fairly high—$12,400 to write the storage system and $220 to read it—but these costs are falling significantly faster than those of other electronics. The benefits of this sys-
Tiny, immortal jellyfish Scientists discover immortality in pinky-nail-sized jellyfish
By Marlee Vinegar
rom the philosopher’s stone to Voldemort and his horcuxes, humans have long been fascinated with the concept of immortality. However, scientists have found that one pinky-nailsized jellyfish species has the remarkable ability to live forever. Turritopsis nutricula, which originated in the Caribbean, is biologically immortal; its mortality rate doesn’t increase with age, although it remains vulnerable to death through injury. These jellyfishs’ immortality makes them an apt invasive species. T. nutricula are transported in the ballasts of ships and have been found in various corners of the world, including Spain, Florida, and Japan. The secret to T. nutricula’s infinite life is a phenomenon called transdifferentiation. This is a process whereby sexually matured jellyfish revert back to their juvenile form through a conversion of their cell types. The embryonic stem cells of animals, including humans, are able to undergo a similar differentiation process during embryonic development and tissue repair. Pluripotent cells (starter cells that become other cell types) are turned into cells with specific functions by controlling which genes are on or off in that cell. What is unique about T. nutricula, is that already differentiated cells (cells that have
a particular function, like brain or cardiac cells), have the ability to differentiate again, especially in times of environmental stress. Transdifferentiation can be thought of an ongoing Benjamin Button complex, in which these jellyfish revert from their old state back to a juvenile one. The sexually matured stage—with its bell shaped body (known as the umbrella) and tentacles—is the most commonly known of the jellyfish’s multi-stage lifecycle. In their juvenile stage, the polyp, jellyfish are fairly stationary and live in colonies attached to the sea floor. In the transdifferentiation process, the umbrella inverts, and the tentacles are reabsorbed. The jellyfish then attaches to a suitable substrate, and the cells undergo transdifferentiation to form a new polyp colony. Along with being an enigma of the natural world, T. nutricula provides many opportunities for diverse human medical applications, such as organ reproduction and potential cures for cancer. Much like the jellyfish’s life span, the possibilities are endless.
Write for Science and Technology! Get your dose of curiosity! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
tem, such as the single writing cost, drive the increase use of DNA storage systems. This technology has one more interesting application: the DNA used to store data could very well be the DNA in your skin. Due to the short lifespan of skin cells, data stored within this DNA survives for only a short duration of time. This would allow secure transmission of sensitive information, with the assurance that it would be destroyed soon after the recipient had seen it. Looking to the future, DNA may no longer play just a biological role in our lives. Soon it could be cheaper for companies to keep DNA archives, rather than a warehouse full of hard drives.
arts & entertainment
Cooking up a family feud
For world-renowned chefs Michel and Sébastien Bras, running a restaurant is “in the genes” Esther Vinarov Contributor The world of haute cuisine is a mystery: what happens in the kitchen is usually kept secret, and what comes out is invariably delicious, beautiful, and expensive. Every dish has a deliberate balance of textures, flavours, and colours. Similarly, every restaurant has a clearly defined balance of power that inevitably shapes the product. In the documentary Step up to the Plate (Entre Les Bras), viewers finally receive access to the Bras family, owners of a 3-Michelin-star restaurant that is about to see one of the most closely-watched power transfers in the restaurant world. Situated deep in the beautiful Aubrac region of France, the restaurant sits atop a mountain both physically and symbolically—it is currently ranked among the top 50 restaurants in the world, and was as high as no. 6 in 2007. All eyes are on it as Michel Bras steps back, and hands control over to his son Sébastien, who was
practically raised for the role. Directed by Paul Lacoste, the film seeks to explore the family history and dynamics in order to predict the restaurant’s future. How will the dishes, and the fate of the restaurant change as a result of the new leadership? It is a question that not even the members of the Bras family can answer. The movie itself is astonishingly simple and crisp; the audience is drawn to the food and the family more than anything else. The chefs are the true artists here, not the filmmakers, whose role is simply to capture food-as-art on camera. This is done flawlessly. A highlight of the narrative is Sébastien’s quest to create his own new masterpiece, which takes an enormous amount of time, technique, and artistry. There is no epic music or hectic distraction; instead viewers are forced to focus intensely, just as Sébastien does, as the dish comes together. Only when it is complete do we see what he saw all along—a brilliant combination of elements that only a master chef
would have been able to envision. The preparation of this dish is unlike anything you can find on the Food Network or YouTube, and for this reason alone, the movie is a mustwatch. The father-son relationship is a classic dynamic, yet remains unique in the film—both clearly have enormous respect for one another, but the equilibrium of power is still very much teetering as the father relinquishes his responsibilities. Sébastien is eager to take over; he wants to maintain continuity but sees opportunity to show his own identity in the food. Meanwhile, Michel watches closely to make sure the integrity of the dishes remains intact, and the quality is as high as ever. As their family and friends agree, “It’s not a revolution; there is continuity.” Consequently, the world can expect the restaurant to remain one of the best—though under new leadership, it’s still in the family, and that in itself is a guarantee of excellence. In this documentary, audiences get a clearly defined sense of how a
Sébastien focuses on whipping up culinary magic, while enduring father Michel’s whithering gaze. (www.twi-ny.com) delicate power transfer can be accomplished. Step up to the Plate offers a unique exploration of a family-owned, world-renowned haute cuisine restaurant, an opportunity that is not to be missed.
Step up to the Plate is showing until Feb. 21, 7:15 p.m. at Cinema du Parc (3575 Avenue du Parc). Student tickets $8.50.
Criminally blonde: Red, white, and dead Canadian author gives readers a taste of the world’s most frightening apocalypse Linda Minh Chau Nguyen Contributor Bondes around the world, natural and bleached alike, are attacking strangers for no reason. The cause is unknown, but it only affects women. Hazel Hayes, a brunette Toronto native, witnesses the first attack in New York City, right after she finds out she’s pregnant from an affair with her married professor. Thus goes the premise of the novel. As the mass hysteria known as the Blonde Fury ensues, Hazel writes a PhD thesis in ‘Aesthetology,’ the study of looking. More specifically, she writes an essay on “what women look like, and what we think they look like.” The story interweaves a social commentary on vanity and our ideals of female beauty; but as Hazel strives to dismantle blonde stereotypes and false preconceived notions about women, it’s difficult to say whether the book will attract blonde readers or alienate them. With some derisive undertones, Hazel is articulate and conversational, speaking to her unborn child to push away the loneliness of being isolated in a cottage in the woods
during a relentless winter—all in an attempt to avoid an ill-researched virus linked to hair colour. As she talks to her kicking bundle of joy, she shows herself to possess an incredible memory, recalling with great accuracy the places she has been, the people she has met, and the conversations she has carried with them. Her first encounter with the professor reads as if it happened yesterday. The reader can conjure vivid images from her accounts, increasing the believability of the story, but at the expense of questioning Hazel’s mental capabilities, which exceed that of an average human being. She speaks to her unborn child directly, referring to her baby in the second person. This gives the illusion that she is speaking to the reader, when she’s actually having a onesided conversation with her swollen abdomen. Because the narrator is 25 years old, this gives the impression of being talked down to by someone as old as your sister, who thinks you’re no bigger than a football. The narrative style is personal, but it’s too close for comfort. Hazel is an observer, exhibiting minimal reactions compared to other characters in the book when
the pandemic occurs. She is no superhero, but then again, you can’t ask too much from a woman filled with pregnancy angst. The premise of the book is original enough, externalizing the character’s competitive nature in subtle but knifing ways—the brewing of a poison these women might keep hidden inside. However, The Blondes is born from a mix of admiration and fear of beautiful people, bundled together with a deep rage at their heightened social status and privileges. The book is well written for avid readers of women’s literature, but it doesn’t pick up until page 40, when a teenage Thai school girl dies from the first recorded blonde attack. If the initial pacing of the novel can be overlooked, Emily Schultz’ story can be decent fare, following Hazel’s voice and her seamless flashbacks. While Hazel’s often sardonic inner dialogue with her unborn child is arguably strange but understandable, what can be certain from this book by an author who was a finalist of the 2010 Trillium Book Award is the following: don’t mess with blondes.
The Blondes by Emily Schultz. (thechronicleherald.ca)
Curiosity delivers. |
arts & entertainment
Music journalism: you’re doing it wrong by Will Burgess
Flux Pavillion Blow the Roof
Hollerado White Paint
Last Gang Records
Today, some listeners are voicing concerns that dubstep is a dying genre—a fad that existed solely as an exciting, contrarian alternative to the growing popularity of catchy electronic pop. Likewise, they argue that with new mainstream acceptance, the genre is floundering— the limelight brings the destruction of a genre that can only succeed as a counter-cultural movement. Listening to new albums like Flux Pavilion’s Blow the Roof lends begrudging merit to these words. The album is average; of the eight tracks, six deliver the anticipated blend of pulsing bass and electronic melodies which “make your body wanna bounce,” as the first track invites. A producer like Flux Pavilion, however, coming off of celebrated singles such as “Bass Cannon” and “I Can’t Stop” as well as collaboration work with the likes of Major Lazer and Jay-Z, should not remain content with generic, and ultimately, forgettable beats. “Double Edge” and “Do or Die” feature rappers who only serve to irritate the listener and distract from the main event: the beat. The lyrics on other tracks, especially “The Scientist,” are wholly nonsensical and only contribute the bare minimum of another sound layer. The most disappointing track, “I Still Can’t Stop” sounds like a lazy attempt at remixing Flux Pavilion’s own “I Can’t Stop.” With the same sample and structure, it adds nothing to the original, but serves as an attempt to stir up more appreciation for an old hit. The album is like Boreale beer: it accomplishes its intended intoxicating goal, and most people wouldn’t deny a bottle if offered— but few actively seek it out. This is in no way a bad record (your reviewer caught himself humming “Starlight” today); it’s simply music that any dubstep fan will have already bounced to. — Jack Tokarz
The 2009 release of Hollerado’s breakthrough debut, Record in a Bag, uprooted the band from small-town beginnings and propelled them into the indie limelight. The band’s sophomore effort, White Paint, is the culmination of the ensuing four years—more than a thousand live shows and several tonnes of confetti later. The title track “Pick Me Up” closely matches Hollerado’s signature sound, reminiscent of the 2011 single, “Good Day at the Races.” Just as catchy as its predecessor, the album is filled with snappy melodies (“Fresno Chunk”) and punchy hooks (“Pure Emotion”), complete with Hollerado’s whimsically nonsensical lyric-writing (“When I’m giving an encore, my north pole expedition, where I claim to see the flashes far from the window in our kitchen”). From the pop-infused “Too Much to Handle”, which artfully blends vocal harmonies with syncopation, the music progresses to “Lonesome George,” which begins on a contemplative note, but quickly builds into a full-blown lament over an extinct tortoise. With much of the songwriting inspired by lead singer Menno Versteeg’s grandfather, White Paint pays its respects through “So It Goes,” an echo of lessons learned during WWII. The album reveals a mature side to the band; but that isn’t to say they’ve forgotten how to have fun. Quirkier than ever, the band handpainted 10,000 copies of the album with—of course—white paint. This stunt rivals their debut album, which came in ziplock bags packed with confetti. White Paint is a promising second release, one which adds fuel to the fire left burning after Record in a Bag. Although the two albums are similar enough, White Paint is yet another step in the right direction.
The title of Australian trio PVT’s fourth effort Homosapien sheds light on the band’s perspective on sound. With its scientific tinge, the title alludes to the electronic infrastructure of the album. The band’s progression from instrumental electronic rock to a more electro synth-pop sound began with their last album, Church with No Magic (2010)—a direction which they pursue more extensively in Homosapien. For the first time, PVT crafts songs with real vocal tracks, albeit with simplistic lyrics. Though not all the vocals are intelligible, such as the mumbling warbles in the psychedelic “New Morning,” they add a human touch to their songs. Layered vocals are chopped up, and digitally processed, as exemplified by the album’s title track, providing a haunting fusion of man and machine. The album opens with the floating “Shiver,” which sounds like a whimsical score for an ’80s video game. The soft beeping noises reappear on the closing track “Ziggaraut.” In between the two plinking bookends, however, a darker, more industrial sound pervades. Typical of this harsher sound is the standout, “Electric,” with its heavy mechanical synth bass, and ominously swelling distorted guitars. A mixture of live and syncopated drum programming creates dynamic percussion, driving the songs along and inducing head-bopping along the way. As with most experimental music, Homosapien is an idiosyncratic album that becomes more fascinating over multiple listens as the different sonic layers sink in.
— Leyang Yu
| Tuesday, February 19, 2013
— Cynthia Liu
Last week, the New York Times’ credibility was called into question when reporter John Broder’s negative review of the Tesla Model S, an electric car, was challenged by none other than the company’s CEO, Elon Musk. The story caused a stir in the press, simply because the subjects of mainstream critics’ appraisal rarely critique back, or at least not with such vitriol—Musk called the story “fake,” published data logs that contradicted Broder’s account of his test drive, and accused him of changing facts to suit his opinion. In a failed attempt to re-direct the resultant public backlash, the Times’ public editor linked a discussion on Reddit, but its commenters eventually accused Broder of being influenced by oil lobbies. It’s common, and easy to bash old media these days; and publishers of ‘new media’ are eager to oust their predecessors as the final word in criticism. While there has been a certain democratization of commentary, with Twitter opinions abounding, people still enjoy reading an authoritative take on pop culture. Recognizing this, publishers such as VICE and Pitchfork are willing to pander to the skeptics. VICE co-founder Shane Smith summed up this strategy, recently stating: “I think that its[sic] a changing of the guard in media and its about time … f**k the mainstream media, we can tell our own stories now.” Unlike car reviews, music criticism doesn’t receive much fact-checking. Alternative cultural journalists get away with a good deal. When weighing in on topics that have been thoroughly digested by the opinionated blogosphere, there is an incentive to write in extremes, or at the very least employ disjointed metaphors to add spice to a review. VICE’s music channel Noisey has recently given up on serious album reviews, and instead, publishes crude, juvenile rants by a guy named The Kid Mero, who was likely hired to shake up a bland catalogue of middling reviews occasionally punctuated by an A plus (for Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange “Finally, an album with the deserved weight to make the music industry cave in on itself”), an F minus, or sometimes both simultaneously (for DJ Khaled’s Kiss The Ring). Pitchfork Media, another influential cultural commentator, has lately been manufacturing its own little controversies by publishing reviews that give Childish Gambino’s Camp a
1.6 out of 10 and Chief Keef’s Finally Rich a 7.5. Both rappers, with opposite personalities and styles, were exploited by Noisey in an awkward ‘back and forth’ interview, where the more articulate Gambino tried to elicit more than a few words from the mumbling Keef. Pitchfork, however, took the exploitation to an extreme, by taking the quiet 17-yearold to freestyle at a gun range, while he was on probation for gun related charges. This culminated in a 60-day jail sentence for Keef, and an eventual retraction by Pitchfork. One might defend these outlets by saying that they need controversy to attract views—after all, both provide free content, and have a proudly anti-corporate stance. But while no one is accusing them of being influenced by Big Oil, VICE has its own record label, VICE Records, which is affiliated with acts such as Justice and Snoop Lion, and holds a partnership with CNN. Pitchfork, meanwhile, moonlights as a concert promoter for its Pitchfork Music Festival. In a cutthroat moment for media, reviews may not pay the bills, but in conflict of interest cases like these, I’ve lost just as much faith in their critics’ opinions as Musk has lost in those of the Times. One critic that stands out in the sea of noise that is online music commentary is Anthony Fantano, who runs the video blog The Needle Drop, and calls himself the internet’s “busiest music nerd.” He reviews a variety of genres, consistently churns out thoughtful reviews, and most importantly, is prevented by the blog’s video format from employing flowery metaphors with a straight face; instead, he comments in depth about the structure and pace of an album, the context of its release, and ultimately, whether or not he found it entertaining. In a media atmosphere cluttered with commentary fluff, the no-nonsense approach appeals to Fantano’s 100,000 YouTube subscribers. The independent and personal nature of the reviews lend to Fantano’s credibility, while the legacy, professionalism, and broad reach of the New York Times supports theirs. Ultimately, the consistency and quality of both types of commentary are strong points. Where criticism falls apart, however, is when an outlet attempts to combine personal candor and humour with professional weight, when neither is present in their writing.
arts & entertainment
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 |
arts & entertainment
| Curiosity delivers.
Depression and disaffection in Italy’s lost generation
Italy: Like It or Leave It takes on the country’s many problems with nothing more than a camera and a voiceover Ilia Blinderman A&E Editor “Che te dice la patria?” asked Ernest Hemingway in 1927. The question of what the fatherland— Italy, under the yolk of Mussolini— had to say was, in those years, of seminal importance; doubly so for Hemingway, a man whose first taste of love and death came on the Italian front during WWI. In one of his (unfortunately) lesser-known short stories, Hemingway recounts the end of a ten-day automobile trip he had taken with a journalist friend named Guy Hickok across the north of Italy. Neither the beauty of Raphael and Titian, nor the poetry of Dante, figure here—rather, the pair’s every interaction is marred by the squalor and corruption that fascism has wreaked on Hemingway’s beloved country. All roads lead to Rome, and each is caked in dirt. Reading Hemingway’s pithy account, one develops a palpable sense of disgust—not only with the regime’s lack of scruples, but with the iniquity it fostered throughout the country.
Gustav and Luca look out to the sea. (www.inalonelyplaceencounterswithfilm.wordpress.com) Such depth of feeling, however, is not only lacking, but is almost antithetical to Gustav Hoffer and Luca Ragazzi’s documentary, Italy: Like it or leave it. The premise of Italy is simple: Hoffer and Ragazzi are a homosexual couple living in Rome, who learn that they have six months to find another apartment. The more volatile of the two, Hoffer is frustrated with Italy’s corruption, cronyism, and
priggish religious traditions. He attempts to convince Ragazzi to move to Berlin, but Ragazzi feels a deep bond with his country and demurs. For the next 70 minutes, the duo drives around Italy, in an attempt to discover its many facets and decide on their course of action; if you will, a “Che te dice la patria de Berlusconi.” The film’s numerous problems stem from Ragazzi and Hoffer’s
desultory approach. The couple drives from one city to the next, seeing the mountains of uncollected waste in mafia-infested Naples, pro-Berlusconi rallies in Milan, and the impoverished immigrant shacks of Rosarno. The transition scenes, however, feature toy cars and quaint animation more fitting to a Discovery channel Eye on Italy special. The narrator, speaking for Ragazzi with elegant British diction, further
detracts from the gravity of the situation—rather than communicating the population’s vast frustrations, the disembodied voice gives one a sense of being given a tour of a prim English garden. Italy is not sure where it’s going—while the film can’t decide whether to treat its subject with humour and levity, the country seems to be falling apart under the weight of its bureaucratic glut. Whether Ragazzi and Hoffer move to Berlin or remain in Italy becomes irrelevant as soon as their indecisive heavy-handedness turns the film into a blend of limp humour and half-formed national criticism. It’s not that the two have nothing to say—Ragazzi and Hoffer simply can’t articulate it. For a tender elegy to Italy’s greatness, the pair should have looked to Hemingway. Italy: Like It or Leave It opens Feb. 22 at Cinema du Parc (3575 Avenue du Parc). Student tickets $8.50
McGill’s Savoy succeeds with uproarious comic opera Fairies and politicians mingle in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe Chris Liu A&E Editor
As senate reform once again makes its awkward, halting round through this country’s public consciousness, it is perhaps timely to reflect on this peculiar institution’s elder brother: the British House of Lords. No longer a bastion of the hereditary aristocracy—though they still hold a seventh of the seats—the upper chamber of peerage and privilege is nevertheless as ‘undemocratic’ as it has ever been. Many wonder what it is the little Lords do. They check power, review bills, and conduct research? Wonderful! Do they need 800 of them just for that? With the (at last) creation of the UK Supreme Court in 2009, this critic maintains that the idea of a ‘useful Lord’ is best regarded as a flight of fancy, a magical creature of fairy dust and imagination. Iolanthe, the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, does exactly that. Esteemed peers consort with fairy maidens, and by the end it is impossible to say which group is more absurd. The McGill Savoy Society’s production is delightful, acute, and assuredly accomplished, helping the sharp political commentary go down smoothly
with the ambrosia of satire. Though the aristocracy is a target of ridicule, Iolanthe is at its heart a story of love. Strephon, a lowly shepherd, must contend for the hand of Phyllis with the Lord Chancellor and several Lords of Parliament. An ostensibly unfair fight, Strephon is, in theory, assisted by his half-fairy heritage and his fairy mother, Iolanthe—though this causes significant confusion and turmoil in itself. Under Emma McQueen’s direction, the impressive cast is notable for their excellent grasp of character. Performers aren’t simply waiting for their turn to speak, but fully take on their roles, frequently charming the audiences with subtle quirks that nevertheless do not distract. Volume is occasionally a problem, and the technical equipment which aims to remedy this appears to only have sporadic effectiveness. However, the actors are mostly able to compensate with clear and nuanced articulation. As the Queen of the Fairies, Claire Rollans is a staggering presence on stage, one worthy of a true monarch. Rollans’ speech is mesmerizing, evincing both commanding power and soft allure, sometimes in the same sentence. Stefano Saykaly’s Lord Chancellor displays
impressive comedic sensibilities, and while sometimes struggling with the challenging patter characteristic of Gilbert and Sullivan, possesses an otherwise radiant voice. The sprightly stepped Strephon, played by Scott Cope, easily wins hearts with his amiable and quirky demeanour. Led by the bold conductorial gesticulations of music director David Matthew Brounley, Savoy’s orchestra is supremely accomplished, breathing life into Sullivan’s light and melodious score. Maria Mejia’s choreography is intricate, inventive, and often peculiar in the best of ways. Though Alan MacMillan’s lighting is curiously staid and static, Jean Claude Olivier’s set design features impressive paint detail, and successfully conveys the fairytale setting. Elizabeth Barter’s costumes range from the ornate robes of the Lord Chancellor to the perhapstoo-barren outfits of the fairies, but all are rightly rich in colour, with the cloaks of the Lords an outright sumptuous visual feast. Through memorable music and healthy doses of humour, Savoy Society’s Iolanthe turns the often bitter pill of political debate into an immensely pleasurable experience.
Phyllis seems discomforted by her popularity with the Lords. (Remi Lu / The McGill Tribune) The McGill Savoy Society’s production of Iolanthe runs Feb. 21 to 23 at Moyse Hall, 7:30 p.m. with
an additional 2:00 p.m. matinee on Feb. 23. Student tickets $12.
Curiosity delivers. |
arts & entertainment
| Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a reputation as tame, dust-covered fossils that shirk from innovation and gravitate towards the crowdpleaser. This was true for the Best Picture winners of the last two years—both The Artist and The King’s Speech are fine, but not spectacular, eulogies for a golden age lost to time—and results are likely to be the same this season. Still, if there is anything to be learned from Meryl Streep’s (Iron Lady) surprise win over Viola Davis (The Help) last year, it’s that there is no such thing as a sure-thing with the Oscar races. With that in mind, the Tribune tries its hand at some Oscar prognostications.
by chris liu
Best Actress Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) Could Win: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) Should Win: Chastain or Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) Lawrence has been praised for her role as a troubled nymphomaniac in David O. Russell’s self-consciously unorthodox rom-com. Chastain, however, is nipping at her heels, as the CIA operative who found Osama bin Laden—an understated performance that belies formidable talent. Riva seems unlikely to win, but her crushingly poignant portrayal of mortality is both terrifying and mesmerizing.
Best supporting Actress Will Win: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) Could Win: n/a Should Win: Hathaway
Best supporting director
All the nominees have memorable moments in their respective films, such as Jacki Weaver’s “crabby snacks and homemades” from Silver Linings Playbook, Sally Field’s Mrs. Lincoln and her fierce tongue-lashings, and Amy Adams’ nowinfamous bathroom handjob in The Master. But no moment is as memorable as Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream,” a devastatingly raw swan song that leaves one reeling from its power.
Will Win: Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) Could Win: Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) Should Win: Lee Jones Lee Jones and De Niro are more or less neck-andneck at this point, though the former began as the early favourite, playing the delightfully scathing congressman Thaddeus Stevens. De Niro gives his best performance in years in Silver Linings Playbook—but is that really saying much? Sadly overlooked is Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), whose commanding performance would be a strong contender were it not for the juggernaut that is Lincoln. Images from telegraph.co.uk, awardsdaily.org, slantmagazine.com, filmofilia.com, popdust.com
Best Actor Will Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln Could Win: n/a Should Win: Day-Lewis Not many are daring enough to bet against Day-Lewis’ win at this point; even fewer are able to make a compelling case for another. Nominees are strong of course, particularly Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables). But Day-Lewis’ magnanimous portrayal of America’s 16th President is on a plane of virtuosity all of its own.
Will Win: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln Could Win: Ang Lee, Life of Pi Should Win: Michael Haneke, Amour
Will Win: Argo Could Win: Lincoln Should Win: Zero Dark Thirty Smart money was on Lincoln, Spielberg’s glowing tribute to the eponymous emancipator, until Argo—Ben Affleck’s white-washed but thrilling portrayal of Iranian history—began picking up key awards. The clash of these two historical dramas have sidelined Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, an accomplished and masterful telling of “history’s greatest manhunt” that is easily the strongest of this year’s bunch.
Spielberg seems poised to add to previous wins for Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998) with a third statuette come Sunday. Though unlikely, some have pondered whether the Academy might feel guilty for snubbing Lee’s Brokeback Mountain in 2005. The only true auteur of the nominees, however, is Haneke, whose Amour continues in his tradition of uncompromising, brutal portraits of human frailty.
The 85th Academy Awards will take place Sunday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m. For the rest of the Tribune’s predictions, check out the online version of this article at www.mcgilltribune.com
could be good FILM The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology
MUSIC Passovah Productions’ anniversary
FILM Germany’s top films
MUSIC Arcade Fire DJ set
FILM Zabriskie Point
Featuring Slavoj Žižek, the documentary explores the ideological implications of various films, including Titanic, Jaws, and The Sound of Music.
Passovah Productions, a small concert promo company whose shows are priced under $10, is turning five this year; come celebrate the musical milestone!
The Goethe-Institut will showcase a trifecta of films from the Berlin International Film Festival. Selections include Barbara, Mercy, and Home for the Weekend.
Arcade Fire will be playing a show this Saturday, but good luck finding a single ticket for under $100. For the budget conscious, afterparty tickets still available!
This week, Montrealers have a rare opportunity to view acclaimed Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, a classic ode to 1960’s counter culture.
Feb. 28, Cinema Excentris (3536 St. Laurent). Admission $9.25
Feb. 22, 8 p.m. at Il Motore (178 JeanTalon West). Admission $8
Feb 22-24, at Cinema Excentris (3536 St. Laurent). Admission $9.25
Feb. 23, 11 p.m. at PHI Centre (407 St. Pierre). Admission $30
Feb. 19-21, 9 p.m. at Cinema du Parc (3575 Avenue du Parc). Admission $11.50
Hockey — Martlets 7, Concordia 1
McGill caps fifth undefeated season in school history Martlets head into playoffs with 26-game win streak over CIS opponents; RSEQ semifinal begins Wednesday Remi Lu Contributor So how does it feel to be at the top? Leslie Oles grins, “It feels great.” She would certainly know. Oles and the McGill Martlets finished off the regular season this weekend at McConnell Arena, undefeated in conference play for the fifth time in school history. They enter the playoffs next week, riding a 26-game win streak over CIS opponents after routing the Concordia Stingers 7-1 Saturday afternoon in their last game of the regular season. The Martlets blazed to a quick start, with McGill’s Stefanie Pohlod, and Mélodie Daoust scoring one goal apiece in the first two minutes before the Stingers could even get their skates straight. Concordia was no match for the Martlets defensively, as McGill dominated their opponents with offensive pressure in the first period. The Martlets controlled the puck, zipping crisp passes to create open looks for teammates, as well as hustling to fight for secondchance opportunities. Fourth-year forward Kim Ton-That and rookie forward Gabrielle Davidson scored goals for McGill at 14:38 and 15:50, respectively, to close out the period 4-0. At this point in the year, this level of dominance is to be expected from the Martlet team, who have routinely blown out their competition throughout the season. “We’re a hard-working team. We have a lot of different compo-
First-year forward Gabrielle Davidson (15) scored two goals in the Martlet victory. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune) nents to our team, and that’s what makes us successful,” Oles said. “We have a lot of skill, and we have a lot of grit.” McGill did not miss a beat in the second frame. Davidson picked up right where she left off, netting her second goal of the afternoon two minutes into the period. The only bright spot for the Stingers came midway through the stanza as they put together a couple of solid offensive chances, amounting to a good number of shots. However, Martlet goalie Andrea Weckman was more than up to the task as she calmly denied all the Stingers’ attempts. McGill answered back immediately, as
SPRINTING — South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius was arrested, and charged in the murder of his 29-year-old model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Thursday. Pistorius was held in jail over the weekend, and will stand trial for bail on Tuesday. The story came out of nowhere, as Pistorius is revered in South Africa for being the first double-leg amputee to participate in the Olympics. The “Blade Runner” also competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London, and won gold medals in both the 400-metre race and in the 4x100-metre relay. The defence claims that the shooting was an accident, as Pistorius is known for his paranoia about home intruders. Police found a bloodied cricket bat at Pistorius’ home on Sunday, but have yet to identify whose blood it is. If it belongs to Steenkamp, it will undoubtedly become a key piece of evidence against him. Regardless, such a tragedy is extremely unfortunate, and almost unthinkable, especially considering that he is a national and Olympic hero.
In case you were too busy dodging a meteorite, here’s what you missed this past week in the world of sports…
Logan Murray tipped home a goal with 10:32 remaining to put the home team up 6-0. “We got contributions from everybody,” Martlet Head Coach Peter Smith said. “We had 18 skaters dressed … [and] all 18 skaters really contributed to [our] success today. Andrea made some good saves in net. [It was] good, Martlet-style hockey.” McGill continued to showcase their teamwork and cohesion in the third period. Daoust recorded her second goal of the contest at 4:52. The puck seemed to be around Concordia goalie Carolanne LavoiePilon throughout the period, as
demonstrated by McGill’s incredible 32-7 shot advantage. Concordia managed to net its lone goal of the contest a minute later, which ultimately proved to be a non-factor en route to the Martlets’ 7-1 victory. The Martlets boast a number of conference leaders, most notably second-year Daoust who has scored a league-leading 52 points, followed by Katia Clément-Heydra and Oles, to round out the RSEQ top three scorers. Goalies Weckman and Taylor Salisbury have also been outstanding this season, claiming first and second place in the conference with save percentages above .900. Beyond the dominating statis-
BASKETBALL — All-Star weekend took place in Houston this past week, as the NBA’s finest showcased their talent and fashion sense throughout the various events. Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq 163-135 in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night. Denver Nuggets high-energy forward Kenneth Faried was named MVP of the game after recording 40 points and 10 rebounds. We’d say about 38 of them were dunks, which is not surprising since no one played defence. Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving took home the threepoint shootout, while Toronto Raptors rookie Terrence Ross won the dunk competition. Ross paid tribute to ex-Raptor dunk champion Vince Carter, by putting on an old-school purple Carter-era jersey before throwing down a 360, one-handed windmill—yeah, no big deal. In the weekend’s final event, the West came out on top 143-138. Chris Paul dropped 20, and added 15 helpers, en route to MVP honours; and while everyone else took a breather on their defensive ends, Kobe blocked King James from behind ... so that was interesting.
tics, Coach Smith emphasized the importance of intangibles to the success of his team. “[Although] we have good skill, we work hard. Our practices are terrific. … I honestly can’t remember a sub-par practice that we’ve had this year; and I think that what you do in practice carries over into games.” When asked if the coaching staff would change its approach to games in anticipation of the playoffs, Coach Smith assured that the Martlets would stick to the keys of their success. “The biggest thing for us is that we stick to our plan. We’ve developed a plan over the course of the season, and I think that it’s important that we stick with that,” he said. “We’ve never really played according to the scoreboard. We play to do the right thing at the right time, and that’s what we need to continue [doing].” Despite all their wins, the Martlets have not given themselves a chance to bask in the success of their record. However, in recognition of their final regular season game, the team allowed itself a moment to take pride in its terrific play and 20-0-0 undefeated record. “[Our record] is not something [we] really think about every day, but today in the locker room we took a little moment … to really appreciate what we’ve done this year,” Oles said. The Martlets begin the RSEQ semifinals on Wednesday against Carleton in a best-of-three series.
HOCKEY — A devastating injury stopped the NHL world on Wednesday, as Ottawa Senators star defenceman and reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson had his Achilles tendon sliced by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke. The incident occurred after the two players were tangled along the boards. The NHL decided not to take disciplinary action against Cooke, since the injury appears to have been accidental. The NHL will be without Karlsson for the remainder of the year, but the Sens are hopeful that he’ll be ready for the start of the 2013-2014 season. Despite being deprived of watching Karlsson gracefully skate around NHL teams, the injury definitely improves the Habs and Leafs’ playoff chances. Sens fans, we feel for you.
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Curiosity delivers. |
| Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Basketball — Martlets 72, Bishop’s 31
Monster second half propels Martlets past Gaiters
McGill sits atop RSEQ; looks to clinch home court advantage Feb. 21 against Laval Tom DiNardo Contributor The conference-leading McGill Martlets faced off against the struggling Bishop’s Gaiters on Saturday at Love Competition Hall. Despite a sloppy start, the Martlets controlled the game in the second half, and finished off with a decisive 72-31 victory over the Gaiters to extend their winning-streak to three. McGill’s first field goal came from a deep three by second year point guard Dianna Ros. After an unsuccessful drive by first-year forward Mariam Sylla past two Gaiter defenders, the Martlets regained the offensive board, and kicked the ball out to Ros with the shot clock running down. She knocked down the bucket, scoring two of her nine points on the afternoon. She also added a game-high five assists in the victory. “I was just trying to be aggressive, and that’s it,” Ros said after the game. As usual, Sylla was a force to be reckoned with in Saturday’s contest. She dominated on offence, scoring 15 points and pulling down seven rebounds. She has now scored double-digit points in each of the past
Dianna Ros faciliated the Martlet offence throughout the win on Saturday. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune) nine games, and has become a staple for the Martlets on both ends of the court. Head Coach Ryan Thorne complemented Sylla’s effort. “Mariam Sylla is always going to do a good job inside, and on the glass,” Thorne said. “She hit some nice shots from the perimeter, too.” McGill struggled on offence in the first quarter, scoring only 13 points in the first 10 minutes. Nevertheless, hard defence in the paint
forced the Gaiters to take low-percentage perimeter shots. In the second quarter, the Martlets tightened up their defence, and allowed just one Bishop’s bucket while racking up 17 points of their own. McGill finished the first half leading 30-15. The Martlets stepped out on the court in the second half looking like a completely different squad than the one that exited after the second quarter. Good offensive ball move-
ment, leading to open shots and hard drives in the paint, gave McGill some easy chances. They converted more often than not, and extended their advantage to 49-19 by the end of the third. With a commanding lead in the fourth quarter, the Martlets turned to their bench for points. Coach Thorne was quite pleased with his subtitutes’ production. “Someone that impressed me
a lot was [third-year guard] Abena Addo,” he said. “She came in, and she worked hard on both ends. … [Third-year center] Valerie L’Ecuyer also did the same thing; so for me, that’s just a reason to give them some minutes over the next couple of games, and let me see how much they can do.” The bench contributed 20 points in the fourth quarter alone, en route to the Martlets 72-31 victory. The Martlets have just two games remaining in the regular season before the RSEQ semifinals on Feb. 27. Thorne spoke about the message he’s sending to his team as the playoffs loom. “I think the message that we tried to give them during this game was to play a certain level of excellence from [start to finish]. [This] is what we’re going to be preaching over the next couple of games and into the playoffs,” he said. “We can’t change our level [of play] depending on [our opponent]. We have to play at this level and above, no matter whom it is.” The Martlets will be looking to clinch home court advantage in the playoffs in their home regular season finale against Laval on Feb. 21.
Basketball — Redmen 78, Bishop’s 60
Execution key for Redmen in pivotal divison contest Balanced contribution puts Redmen within reach of first regular season title since 2001 Shen Chen Contributor Execution, poise, and defensive intensity marked a hard fought win for McGill over Bishop’s. The Redmen beat the Gaiters 78-60 in Saturday’s battle between the RSEQ division leaders, played out in front of a packed and stuffy Love Competition Hall. A highly contested and entertaining game throughout, the Redmen—sparked by the leadership of Adrian Hynes-Guery, and Te’Jour Riley’s inspired play—pulled away in the fourth quarter, to seal a second victory over Bishop’s this season. Both sides, having already secured playoff berths, played to gain home court advantage in the upcoming post-season. The weight of this matchup was evident from the getgo, as the teams started out fast in the early minutes with high energy and hot shooting. The visiting side started off by applying aggressive full-court defence, which the Redmen calmly thwarted with their agile guards and ball-handling forwards. McGill operated its offensive set to a tee, patiently swinging the ball from side to
side, and cutting from the perimeter. This execution was key in the Redmen victory. “The guys really listened to the game plan,” Assistant Coach John Dangelas said. “They listened to [Head Coach Dave DeAveiro]. They were told to move and cut, and they did. [Our success came from] executing the plan.” Riley was particularly impressive, and started off his great individual performance with seven points in the opening quarter. With the shot clock running down, he took charge, rambled into the lane, and scored in athletic fashion. In the hard-fought, high-energy first quarter, the backand-forth action favoured the Redmen as they led 26-18. With the starters on the bench, Bishop’s rallied in the second quarter, relying on their free throw shooting. Their 6’10’’ interior big man, Mike Andrews, scored 19 points on 8-16 shooting in the game. Andrews’ size presented the Redmen with unique challenges, and drew tons of fouls on McGill. With Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench due to early foul trouble, other players were forced to play bigger roles and
step up on defence. By the end of the second quarter, the momentum was clearly beginning to shift in Bishop’s favour. However, McGill remained hot from the outside, led by Hynes-Guery, who canned two back-to-back corner three-pointers. The Redmen led 39-34 at the break. The second half remained tight, with highlights coming on both ends. First-year guard Christian McCue— who went 4-4 from three-point range—hit a buzzer-beater near half court at the end of the third, capping a late charge by McGill and leaving them with an eight point lead. The fourth quarter belonged to Hynes-Guery and McGill’s stifling team defence. It was a gutsy defensive performance—stepping in to take charges, collapsing in the paint, and providing help defence all-around—which distracted Bishop’s flow and shooting rhythm. An emphatic block by Vincent Dufort midway through the quarter sent the home crowd abuzz, and was emblematic of the defensive effort down the stretch. “We just executed our strategy. It was a good team effort. And per-
Christian McCue spots up for the jumper. (Liam Maclure / McGill Tribune) sonally, I was able to hit the shots [I needed],” Hynes-Guery said. “Defensively, we stepped up to make key stops on [their big men]. And we never looked back from there.” Indeed, they never did look back in the fourth quarter, pulling away convincingly with defensive stops and timely baskets, culminating in a 78-60 victory. If there is anything to take away
from the Redmen’s impressive performance, it’s that they seem ready to execute and pull together down the stretch in order to make a strong run in the RSEQ playoffs. McGill has two games remaining in the regular season and needs one last win to secure their first division title since 2001. The Redmen host Laval on Feb. 21, before closing out the regular season at UQAM on Feb. 23.
OUA EAst Quarterfinal (GAme three) — Nipissing Lakers 2, McGill Redmen 1 (lakers win Best-of-three 2-1)
Playoff life nasty, brutish, and short for Redmen Injuries catch up to defending National Champions who fall 2-1 in first round against Nipissing Adam Sadinsky Managing Editor One year after bringing home the school’s first national championship in its 135 year history, the McGill Redmen learned that the only thing harder than winning a title is holding onto it. On Sunday night, the Redmen’s season came to a decisive end, as they lost 2-1 to the Nipissing Lakers in deciding game of the OUA East quarterfinal. To say they failed to deliver, however, would ignore the unprecedented rash of injuries that plagued the team towards the end of the season. All things considered, the Redmen played through adversity, leaving everything on the ice, but ran out of gas by Sunday night. “I couldn’t be prouder of a group of guys,” Redmen Head Coach Kelly Nobes said after the Game Three loss. “We’re playing with, essentially, our hands tied behind our back with so many guys out of our lineup. We just ran out of juice. I go back to what we’ve done over the season, but the last six weeks or so where we’ve been anywhere from seven to 11 guys out of the lineup, and that’s just unheard of.” After losing a penalty-filled Game One that saw a combined 86 penalty minutes handed out to both teams, the Redmen stormed back on home ice to tie the series in a
Hubert Morin will graduate after three years as the Redmen starting goalie. (Wendy Chen / McGill Tribune)
convincing 4-1 contest. On Sunday night, they jumped out to an early lead when rookie Jonathan Brunelle found a trailing Nicolas Biniek. Nipissing deserved more in the first period, and converted just under five minutes into the second on a power play, when Lucas McKinley picked up a rebound and slid it past McGill netminder Hubert Morin, to tie the game. The Lakers went ahead for good late in the second on a goal by Jeff Leaist that sealed both the game and the series.
THIRD MAN IN G
eorge Best was an incredible soccer player, most notably appearing for Manchester United through the ‘60s and early ‘70s. In fact, he was so good, that if the soccer adage, “Maradona good; Péle better; George Best,” is true, then he was the greatest of the day. Best combined a deft touch on the ball with incomparable pace, delighting audiences and fans across the globe. Unfortunately, he was also a notorious drinker. Often reported to have played matches hungover or skipping them entirely to party—once he even showed up on a primetime chat show shockingly inebriated—his alcoholism led to his undoing. In 2000, he was diagnosed with severe liver damage. For most, a condition of this magnitude would be the end; however, Best was not most people. Rallying behind him and his athletic genius, the public bolted him to the top of the donor list, and funded his transplant through the National
Leaving aside the devastating loss of manpower—the team lost 130 ‘man-games’ this season—the Redmen will still be left wondering ‘what-if’ as they contemplate their power-play, which went 0-for-24 in the series and 0-for-12 on Sunday night, including two five-on-three advantages in the third period alone. “We got some good chances on the five-on-three,” Benoit Levesque, who wore the ‘C’ in place of injured captain Patrick Belzile, pointed out. Coach Nobes also stressed that
for some members of the team, the strain of playing an abnormal 35 minutes took its toll on their execution late in the game. For some players, the loss means not only the end of the season, but the end of a career. After the team completed its customary salute to the fans in the centre-circle after the celebrating Lakers had left the ice, Morin—having just finished his fifth and final year at McGill—lingered on the ice, likely remember his time as a Redmen that had far
more success than crushing defeat. “It’s so confusing right now,” Morin said after the game. “I’ve always been to the finals, national championships, and now I’m a little lost. I started as a third goalie, and then in the end, I played three years as the first goalie … won a national championship and three Queen’s Cups. I don’t realize yet that it’s over, but at the same time, I can’t be upset because I left it all out on the ice.” For those who will return next year—the team loses Morin, Belzile, and Marc-Andre Daneau, but could potentially return the rest of the roster—the future is bright. “The blessing in disguise is that those younger guys who maybe wouldn’t have gotten as much icetime and opportunity that they would have if everyone was healthy,” Nobes said. “They played a ton in a bunch of different situations. They’ve grown as players, and that will serve our program well long-term.” While the curtain has closed on the 2013-2013 Redmen season, Nipissing will travel to Trois-Rivieres to face the Patriotes in the OUA East Semifinals starting Wednesday. McGill’s loss means that UQTR will represent Quebec at the CIS Men’s National Championship, scheduled for Mar. 14-18 in Saskatoon.
Why do we glorify athletes?
Health Service. Sadly, despite the success of the transplant and the obvious preferential treatment he received due to his celebrity status, Best refused to quit drinking, and ultimately died in 2005 from the interactions of alcohol and the immunosuppressant drugs one must take following a transplant. In a macabre twist of self-reflection, his final address to the masses before his death was a message that read, “Don’t die like me.” More recently, Baltimore Ravens star linebacker and Super Bowl XLVII winner Ray Lewis retired a champion. His final victory seemed hardly tarnished by his connection to the banned substance “deer antler spray” less than a week before the Super Bowl to help him get over a triceps tear he suffered earlier in the year. His hulking 37-year-old frame is almost certainly a product of years of steroid-induced muscle gain. In fact, the mere occurrence
of a triceps tear—which is generally far too small of a muscle to invoke a tear—and his miraculous comeback when doctors told him that his year was finished, lends greater credence to the banned substance claim. Shockingly enough, is that many of Lewis’s fans are unaware that in 2000, he and two friends were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault for the death of two men following an altercation outside a nightclub. Lewis’s bloodstained white suit, which witnesses saw him wearing, was never recovered, nor the blood of the victims in his limousine ever explained. Finally, after admitting to giving a misleading report to police the day after the event, and pleabargaining by testifying against his co-conspirators, Lewis pled guilty to a mere misdemeanour charge of obstruction of justice. The plea bargain was never proposed to the others involved in the case; and, unsurprisingly, Lewis returned to the NFL
to glowing reviews and undying adoration for his “killer” instincts and hard-hitting abilities. Yet, what does this all mean? This is assuredly neither a plea to promote sobriety, nor an embittered, sensationalist attack against Lewis. It is, instead, a critique of our glorification of athletes, and our unwillingness to recognize them as equals. With their status, they get off scot-free from mistakes—ones that deserve to punished in a fitting, and unbiased manner. This sentiment is not just damaging culturally, but ultimately hurts the celebrity, as his or her period of privilege comes to an end. No one can be the best forever, and when the skill that made that person sensational inevitably fades, that individual is often ill-prepared to combat the reality of being “normal.” 78 per cent of NFL players declare bankruptcy just three years removed from the league, with 60 per cent of NBA players joining them
after five years. This comes at a time when salaries are higher than ever, and are continuing to rise. Clearly, there is a rupture between what is expected of athletes in the league, and what is expected of them beyond the league. Whether this disconnect is related to addiction, the law, or financial planning; we, as the consumers of their great talent, can truly benefit from admiring sports stars for their athleticism—while remembering that they too, are just humans and therefore must operate under the same moral rules. So the next time you see Tom Brady out on the football field, remind yourself that he put that uniform on the same way you would— one leg at a time—regardless of how good-looking he may be once he does. Trust me, it’ll help him too. — Jeff Downey
Published on Feb 19, 2013