The McGill Tribune TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020 | VOL. 39 | ISSUE 19
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Toward a harm reduction approach to drugs
Tame Impala time travels in ‘The Slow Rush’
(Kathryn Elmer / The McGill Tribune)
Iskweu Project hosts vigil to honour victims of gendered and racialized violence
The uncertain future of Bar des Arts Students sign on to save the campus bar
Catherine Morrison Staff Writer For over a year now, many McGill clubs and services, such as Midnight Kitchen and Schulich Library, have been affected by indefinite construction. Among the impacted spaces is McGill’s beloved
Bar des Arts (BdA). Usually taking place every Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Arts Lounge located in the basement of Leacock, BdA has closed its doors due to renovations happening throughout the building. In the face of these developments, BdA staff initially worked to find other locations on campus, including McConnell Engineering, Ferrier, and
the Education Building. The staff even looked at venues within the Milton-Parc neighbourhood such as Le Coin Social, Apartment 200, and La P’tite Grenouille. However, while BdA managed to hold a couple events at other locations, they ended up facing constant deadends and high costs when looking for a permanent location for the bar, forcing them to halt the occurrence of weekly events. PG. 11
From the Brainstem: Scientific publishing is broken
Sports are political
Publishers reap massive profits at public expense Amir Hotter Yishay Staff Writer A $25 billion industry with profit margins that put Silicon Valley to shame, academic publishing is big business. For years, library budgets have buckled under the growing strain of
price-gouging subscription fees, while scientists remain at the behest of a cabal of companies for the sake of their careers, caught on the wrong end of a business model that exploits their labour to cut costs and extract maximum profit. The genius of this
business model lies in its evasion of traditional publishing costs in other sectors. First, scientists write up publicly funded research and send it in article form to journals. It is then voluntarily assessed by other scientists through peer review. PG. 14
McGill alumnus and Super Bowl champ LDT is misuing his platform by intending to visit the White House Kaja Surborg and Kevin Vogel Sports and Arts & Entertainment Editor McGill Faculty of Medicine alumnus Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (MD ‘18) is, as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, the first Quebecer to win a Super Bowl title. The victory
has placed the Chiefs’ offensive linebacker in the spotlight, with McGill administrators sparing no expense in promoting Duvernay-Tardif’s ties to the university with a banner unveiling ceremony and advertisements. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante even hosted a public celebration for him in Parc Jean-Drapeau
on Feb. 9. While DuvernayTardif acknowledged that this attention offers him an unprecedented amount of privilege—which he hopes will benefit his foundation’s work promoting youth sports and art education—he also stated that he would visit US President Donald Trump if his team was invited to the White House. PG. 16
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Divest McGill holds rally protesting invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory Protest part of International Fossil Fuel Divestment Day
Kate Addison Staff Writer A small crowd of demonstrators braved the cold on Feb. 13 and gathered outside the James Administration building for a Divest McGill rally. The group called on the university to withdraw their investments in Coastal Gaslink and Teck Mining. In the midst of the ongoing conflict between Wet’suwet’en land defenders and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) over the construction of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline in British Columbia (BC), the rally was intended to draw attention to the social consequences of the fossil fuel industry. Following a land acknowledgment and a performance by the activist group The Montreal Raging Grannies, the rally hosted several speakers from different groups within the McGill community. First to address the crowd was Morgen Bertheussen, a member of Divest McGill, who emphasized the important role that Indigenous communities have played in climate activism. “As students and activists at this university fighting for climate justice, we stand on the shoulders of many Indigenous land defenders before us,” Bertheussen said. “Here, the Kanien’kehá:ka and Mohawk have laid the foundation for resistance to oppressive and destructive colonial powers for the past four centuries.” The tone of the rally, which was held on International Fossil Fuel Divestment Day, was set by recent friction between the BC government and the Wet’suwet’en Nation, located on unceded territory in Northern BC. RCMP arrests of Wet’suwet’en members protesting the construction of TC Energy’s Coastal Gaslink pipeline, a company in which McGill has substantial investments, has sparked outrage across Canada, prompting other protestors to blockade nationally-owned railways in Quebec and Ontario.
“The Canadian government is siding with TC Energy and is calling the RCMP to violently raid and remove people from their land,” said Bertheussen. “McGill’s endowment [in TC energy] is directly complicit with this violence.” In December 2019, the McGill BoG announced its decision to not divest McGill’s $148 million dollar endowments in the fossil fuel industry based on a report by the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR). The committee’s report found that the activities of fossil fuel companies failed to meet the criterion of creating ‘social injury’ and thus did not recommend divestment to the Board of Governors. For Heleena De Oliveira, U2 Arts and member of the McGill Black Students Network (BSN), climate and social justice issues are inextricably linked. “Most people at this protest, myself included, [...] will not be the ones feeling the most severe impacts of the global climate crisis,” De Oliveira said. “The worst effects of climate change will be felt by people whose race, gender, and class puts them at a politically condemned position [...] as I see it the intersectionality between race, gender, sexuality, class, and the environment is quite clear.” On-campus support for the divestment movement has generated increasingly public actions in the previous year. In April 2019, Derek Nystrom and Darin Barney, two academic staff representatives on the BoG, resigned from their positions due to the university’s continued investment in fossil fuels. Similarly in January, following the CAMSR report, tenured professor Gregory Mikkelson announced his resignation. Ehab Lotayef, a current member of the BoG and a supporter of divestment, praised the actions of those staff members who had come out in opposition to divestment and called on the university to reconsider the
Four speakers addressed a crowd outside the James Administration building. (Divest McGill / Instagram) issue. “It is very disappointing to see McGill falling back behind other Canadian and Quebec universities,” Lotayef said. “I believe it is the time for McGill to take [the] position [of divestment]. It is never too late, now is the time to do it.” Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier’s office was contacted regarding the rally. She did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
SSMU Indigenous Affairs hosts Have A Heart Day for Indigenous youth Director of Montreal’s Native Women’s Shelter recounted intergenerational trauma Tasmin Chu Staff Writer Content warning: Mentions of racialized and colonial violence. The Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Indigenous Affairs hosted Have A Heart Day, a reconciliationbased event held at the First Peoples’ House on Feb. 14. At the event, some participants wrote Valentine’s Day letters with messages of support to Indigenous youth, while others wrote cards addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanding action. According to SSMU Indigenous Affairs Commissioner (IAC) Tomas Jirousek, Have A Heart Day provides a vital chance for participants to reflect on reconciliation more deeply. “Valentine’s Day is very commercialized, but I think at its core, it is centred on love, empathy, [and] caring,” Jirousek said. “[Have a Heart Day is an] outreach to First Nations kids who’ve been apprehended by the child welfare system or the foster care system, [and the idea is] kind of wrapping those kids in love and showing that there are people, First Nations and non–First Nations around the country, who really do care about them.” The event featured the Executive Director of Montreal’s Native Women’s Shelter, Nakuset, who spoke about intergenerational trauma and the continued separation of Indigenous families in Canada. Nakuset revealed that she was a survivor of the Sixties Scoop, a period in Canadian history when around 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families and placed into foster care or put up for adoption. “So, when I was taken, the government felt that it would
An estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were removed from their families during the Sixties Scoop. (Tasmin Chu / The McGill Tribune) be better that [they adopt me] into a Jewish family than to put me with [one of my] family members,” Nakuset said. “I had family members that were willing and able to take care of me, but that was the whole idea [of] assimilation.” In the 20 years that Nakuset has worked at the shelter, she has noticed an increase in the number of separated families. In particular, she became concerned by the frequency with which children were apprehended or taken away by Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, one of the provincially-funded organizations responsible for child welfare in Montreal. “When I went to meet the director [of Batshaw] back in 2004 [...] I told her there’s a problem here,” Nakuset said. “There’s a problem with the amount of kids that you have in care and the fact that the number is growing. She didn’t think it was a problem. [...] I started to notice that there was this thing where the women would have a child, [their] child
would get apprehended [...] and they would never be able to get the child back.” In an attempt to keep Indigenous families together, Nakuset developed a collaboration agreement between Batshaw and the Native Women’s Shelter in 2013 that would allow Indigenous women to access support at the shelter before child separation was considered. However, according to Nakuset, Batshaw continually failed to honour the agreement. “I [had] said, ‘All right, let’s sign a collaboration agreement, let’s say that Batshaw and the Native Women’s Shelter are going to work side by side,’” Nakuset said. “And so a couple of weeks after I signed the agreement, a mother called the shelter complaining, ‘Look, [Batshaw] took my child away. I told [them] that I wanted to come to the shelter, and they said, ‘We don’t know what you’re talking about. We never heard of such an agreement.’” Following this conversation, Nakuset worked with Dr. Elizabeth Fast at Concordia University to publish a study called “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” in Nov. 2019, about Batshaw’s practices of apprehending Indigenous children. “We published the report and we went to the media with it,” Nakuset said. “And now they won’t talk to us. They’re refusing to meet with us [....] Throughout all this, our women are still suffering.” After her talk, participants wrote their Valentine’s Day cards. Hamza Bensouda, an exchange student who attended the event, addressed his Valentine Day’s Card to Justin Trudeau demanding justice. “[Justin Trudeau] said [...] that [the federal government] can always do better,” Bensouda said. “That’s exactly the sentence from his mouth, and [so] the question that I’m asking is about giving respect to people [in the spirit of that statement].”
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
AUS Legislative Council demands new space for Bar des Arts C-JAM pushes for GA to organize climate strike Kaja Surborg Sports Editor The Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) Legislative Council met on Feb. 12 to discuss finding a new permanent space for the Bar des Arts (BdA) and to consider banning blood drives that discriminate against 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals on campus. A presentation from co-chairs of the BdA Mercedes Labelle and Ethan Casey highlighted the lack of attention paid by university administrators toward student issues. “[BdA is] a meeting place for a diverse community of students,” Labelle said. “The bar has become a platform for student clubs and services to promote their organisations to the student body [....] It seems that the McGill administration does not understand the scope of the community we foster.” The motion to request a new permanent space for BdA passed, and had previously been circulated online in the form of an open letter that students could sign. Next, a presentation from Climate Justice Action McGill (C-JAM) requested that department representatives and the AUS work together to organize a general assembly (GA) in order to vote for another climate strike
to take place April 1-3. “We don’t want to have it be [AUS] councillors calling a [general assembly],” C-JAM co-organiser Mo Rajji said. “We want [department representatives] to go out into the world with packets of petitions. We have the motion attached that we’ve presented and you can have people in your departments sign them.” Arts Representative to the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Shreya Dandamudi and AUS Vice-President (VP) Services Haidee Pangilinan inquired about the nature of the strike and picket lines. “[We are pushing for ways of] forcing classrooms to shut down without creating physical barriers, because that [can often] result in some unpleasantness,” C-JAM co-organizer Noah Fischer clarified. The legislative council then moved on to discuss a motion put forward by History Students Association (HSA) VP External Dalton Liggett to condemn blood drives that discriminate against 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals while operating on McGill’s campus. This first motion was accompanied by another, requesting that it be put forward by Arts Representatives at SSMU Legislative Council. Liggett explained how Canadian Blood Ser-
vices discriminates against certain groups. “The current policy [...] of both [Canadian Blood Services] and Héma-Québec is to not allow any blood donations from any men who [...] are deemed as having sex with other men,” Liggett said. “[The policy] is also to actively misgender trans women as men for the purposes of blood donation.” The council debated the possibility that this motion may be seen as discouraging blood donations. Several councillors pointed to the possibility that putting pressure on policy makers would ultimately allow more individuals to donate blood in the future, and the motion passed. “We are allowing a volunteer blood service, which can be a fantastic thing, to target students at McGill and [exclude them from donating],” Political Science Student Association (PSSA) VP External Cate Steblaj said. “[Discriminatory actions include] intentionally misgendering trans women. I think that the impacts go a lot further than just having a simple blood drive [....] We need to be able to protect those who enter these spaces and receive harm, especially when trying to do good for the community.” The AUS legislative council will reconvene on Feb. 27 in Leacock 232.
SOUNDBITE “I have a blood condition [...] that could potentially, at any moment, require a blood transfusion. I’m also an openly gay man, so I am very torn by this resolution as we stand here today, because I know that at any given time I might need a blood transfusion. I’m also very aware of the harmful exclusionary policies perpetrated by [Canadian Blood Services] and Héma Québec [....] I would [urge] everyone to consider that these discriminatory practices are bad, but that there is also a blood donation crisis in North America.” - Canadian Studies Association of Undergraduate Students VP External Brent Jamsa on the motion put forward by HSA VP External Dalton Liggett.
MOMENT OF THE MEEETING After approval from the chair, AUS VP Services Haidee Pangilinan called a motion to ask the Society of Math Undergraduate Students VP External Alyzeh Jiwani to be her date to the AUS-SUS Graduation Ball, all while “Love Story” by Taylor Swift played from a Bluetooth speaker.
Board of Governors convene to address plans for reducing carbon emissions The board discussed recommendations for environmentally sustainable investments Maya Abuali Contributor A report of the Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) that recommends actions to decrease the overall carbon emissions of the McGill endowment portfolio was discussed at the university’s first Board of Governors (BoG) meeting of the year on Feb. 13. The meeting covered four board committee reports including those of CAMSR and the Investment Committee, which plan to operationalize the recommendations for sustainable practices. Vice-Principal of Administration and Finance Yves Beauchamp presented a report on the Investment Committee’s collaboration with CAMSR in a meeting held on Jan. 13 that focussed on two of the recommendations: To reduce the overall carbon emissions of the university’s endowment portfolio and to invest in funds that are either low-carbon or contribute to decarbonization. The collaborating committees discussed options for the implementation of the recommendations with the understanding that quantifiable targets and timelines would be presented to the BoG in April. CAMSR Chair Cynthia
Price said that the result of the Committees’ work will first be presented by members of the Investment Committee to CAMSR on Feb. 18 to advance the operation. “In our January meeting, we undertook a discussion on our work plan in order to develop an implementation plan that will operationalize the recommendations that were made to the BoG and approved on Dec. 5,” Price said. “And our goal is to submit a report to the board by the Apr. 23 BoG meeting that will include the targets and metrics and timeline.” Price noted that during their meeting, the committee reviewed the status of other universities regarding their divestment from the fossil fuel industry. “In this case, we were looking at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Concordia in particular,” Price said. “There are letters from the community that come in, there are updates in the divest movement within our universities in North America and abroad.” Nikulas Dworek, an observer of the meeting, asked the board if CAMSR would be more inclined to divest should universities such as UBC fully divest. Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier
responded that while the BoG will keep an eye on the divestment trends of other universities, they intend to adhere to a data-based plan specific to what is best for McGill. “Of course, we will keep track of what’s happening, but we have a course of action that is one where we are going to do our work,” Fortier said. “We are going to make decisions based on data and evidence, not based on what others are doing because they may have a different portfolio than we do.” The BoG also confirmed that McGill intends to be carbon neutral by 2040. When Dworek asked what this meant in terms of possible investments that included financial carbons, Beauchamp stated that the university’s complete divestment was not possible. “It cannot be zero, because there will always be emissions,” Beauchamp said. “We cannot have people not travelling [by plane], there would be upset [...] but regarding action that would reduce carbon footprint, for instance, as a matter of fact, we switched from natural gas to electricity and that will reduce almost 20 per cent emission [....] Those are the types of things that we are planning on [in the upcoming years].”
SOUND BITE “We review the feedback from the community that has been submitted to CAMSR [....] There are letters from the community that come in, there are updates in the diverse movement within our universities in North America and abroad. So we will continue to work; we have our [next] meeting with the Investment Committee on February 18, which will be very compelling in the work that we need to do going forward.” - CAMSR Chair Cynthia Price
MOMENT OF THE MEETING Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier began the meeting by announcing that the McGill academic staff members have been strongly advised against non-essential travel to mainland China to reduce risk of contact with the coronavirus.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Hundreds demonstrate at Prime Minister’s office against the RCMP
Activists urge Trudeau to intervene on behalf of Wet’suwet’en Pascal Hogue Staff Writer Over 300 people packed the entrance of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Papineau constituency office to protest against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who invaded northern British Columbia’s (BC) Wet’suwet’en territory. Gathered in foot-deep snow on Feb. 10, Indigenous youth and allies chanted and held signs demanding that the RCMP retreat from Wet’suwet’en territory and urged Trudeau to take action. Nakuset, the director of the Montreal Native Women’s shelter, recounted her own experience with the RCMP as an Indigenous woman. She told protestors that the fight against the RCMP invading Wet’suwet’en is part of a greater struggle between police forces and Indigenous communities. “The RCMP were the first ones who came and took the children away to residential school,” Nakuset said. “Now they’re blocking [and] taking our people to jail.” Nakuset also highlighted the need for the media to pay attention to the movements as a form of peaceful opposition to pipeline expansion projects in the region. “Like our people, we have been pushed out of sight [and] out of mind […]
Anti-pipeline protests have shut down Canadian rail networks. (Pascal Hogue / The McGill Tribune) but if we have more media out there and more people become outraged, this is not going to continue,” Sohkisiwin said. “We know how to take care of the land [and] that there’s a reason why we don’t want the pipelines. It is going to be disastrous. And I love the fact that everyone keeps coming up and voicing their opinion […] because it’s a reflection that it’s not just those big corporations that are trying to make money off of our land.” Alex G, a Mi’kmaq McGill alumnus, led the crowd with traditional Indigenous
songs. He feels that his songs act as both a form of healing for his community and a symbol of Indigenous resilience. “These [protests] are to generate action,” Alex said. “It is a reminder to the government that here is a group of people, as Indigenous people especially who have agreed to the United Nations’ Declaration of Indigenous rights and here [they] are forcefully removing us from our communities, from our territories.” Protest organizer Aneeka Anderson, U2 Arts, believes that the recent momen-
tum gathered by the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and previous sit-ins at Trudeau’s constituency office help explain the protest’s high turnout. “I was really blown away,” Anderson said. “We’ve been hurting as a community during the weekend […] but I think we all took a deep breath after that demonstration because it went so well and we felt so supported. The crowd was ready to cheer with us and to make sure we were heard from those inside the office.” Anderson noted the numerous police officers surrounding the demonstration. She believes that their presence was more to intimidate protestors than to assure their safety. “It felt like we were being surveilled,” Anderson said. “I think luckily the demonstration went so well that we completely forgot they were there, and that speaks to the power of [the] space that was created.” Anderson pointed out Trudeau’s late response to the protests across Canada, claiming that it demonstrates the federal government’s lack of concern for the issue. “It’s very shameful,” Anderson said. “[Trudeau] is abroad speaking about wanting to improve human rights internationally when there are huge injustices and human rights violations going on [currently] in the Wet’suwet’en territory.”
Iskweu Project hosts vigil to honour victims of gendered and racialized violence Survivors and attendees commemorate victims with music and speeches
Community members urged the Canadian government to take action on MMIWG . (Kathryn Elmer / The McGill Tribune)
Deisha Paliwal Staff Writer Content warning: Mentions of gendered and racialized violence. In collaboration with Missing Justice: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the Iskweu Project hosted the 10th annual vigil on Feb. 14 at the Native Friendship Centre, to honour individuals lost to gendered and racialized violence. The event was designed to create a space for survivors, family members, and
loved ones of the women, children, twospirit, and non-binary victims to gather and mourn. Four speakers shared stories about the loss of their sisters, grandmothers, and loved ones to violence. Their speeches recognized the lives of those they had lost and demanded that the Canadian authorities pursue concrete action. Melanie Morrison, who lost her sister, Tiffany, spoke about the lasting impact it had on her family and community. “The day [that] my sister’s remains were found, we did not get her back,”
Morrison said. “She was not returned to us; [only] her bones were. [This] affected everyone in our family, including our extended family. When you’re part of an Indigenous family, it extends generations. The whole family unit changed. That closeness was lost. We were broken.” Tiffany went missing from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in 2006. Melanie emphasized the need for the Canadian government to institute legislation to prevent similar instances. “Our reports should be taken seriously from day one,” Morrison said. “Everyone is human first, and should be entitled to the same treatment when a loved one goes missing. With these events, my hope is that people change the way they view these stories. These people shouldn’t be pushed aside, forgotten, or taken advantage of for political gains or campaigns. We need to change the process, thinking, and realities for our women, girls, twospirited, and non-binary people.” Between speeches, hand drummers and singers performed songs to honour those lost. After battling alcoholism and the loss of her sister, Tess Lalonde became involved with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). “I joined a healing circle with the MMIWG,” Lalonde said. “ They heard my story, and they wanted to know if I would testify at the inquiry. My big issue is not my sister’s suicide. [It] is mental health
and how easy it is to go down that stream and not be able to swim when it’s rocky.” She described the need to seek help from available resources when battling mental illness. “My message is, before you have those thoughts, seek help,” Lalonde said. “The MMIWG brought me on a journey where I got to liberate my sister’s spirit.” Jessica Quijano shared her experience with losing Donna Paré, an Inuk woman experiencing homelessness who went missing in December 2018. Her disappearance was only reported in March of the following year. “I had the privilege of meeting Donna a long time ago,” Quijano said. “Since her disappearance, flashbacks have been coming to me about how she was living on the street. It is difficult for me to hear comments about the circumstances regarding people going missing. There is this idea of the ‘perfect victim,’ which tears me apart.” She urged Canadian authorities to take action against the lasting impacts that colonization had on Indigenous communities in Canada. “Donna was a fighter who had to deal with the consequences of colonization,” Quijano said. “It is heartbreaking to speak to her family, who does not have a voice in the process. It’s up to us to put pressure on our politicians. They can no longer be unwilling to pursue [investigative] action, because families have put themselves through the pain of testifying.”
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
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Drug use is common across most universities, including McGill. However, the dialogue about safe drug use and harm reduction in the McGill community is sparse. The administration provides few resources to inform students about the possible effects of using certain substances, and no material resources, such as drug testing kits. What is stopping the creation of more robust information and safety resources regarding drug use at McGill is not cost or a lack of practical options, but stigma. The lack of resources the administration provides demonstrates that the university prefers to stray away from potential liability than ensure the health and safety of their students. McGill should overcome the stigma surrounding substance use, provide more extensive informational and material resources for its students, and begin treating drug use and addiction as a public health issue. On Jan. 30, the Student Wellness Hub updated their “Opioid Overdose Fact Sheet” in response to a succession of positive test results for fentanyl in street drugs acquired near campus. Fentanyl, a highly-potent synthetic opioid used to cut drugs like MDMA and Cocaine, makes overdoses more likely. The increased prevalence of fentanyllaced illicit drugs over the past several years has worsened the
effects of the current opioid crisis. The rise of fentanyl-laced drugs only heightens the necessity of comprehensive informational resources for drug use. The rest of the Wellness Hub’s Opioid Overdose Fact Sheet describes how to treat a fentanyl overdose and where one might acquire Naloxone, a reversal agent for fentanyl and other opioids. However, the sheet lacks any information on how students might avoid overdosing in the first place. Drug testing kits are a crucial resource for those seeking to practice safe drug use, and they can be acquired online and at some Montreal pharmacies. The omission of test kits from the fact sheet is unacceptable. McGill’s only other online informational resources for drug use are the Wellness Hub’s “Just say Know” page, which features a series of questions students should ask themselves before using a substance, and their selfhelp substance use page, which exhibits the results of a four-yearold survey of students’ marijuana use. “Just Say Know,” and the results of the survey are not up to date, and severely lacking in useful safety information. Many universities including the University of Toronto and Concordia University, have provided more expansive student resources for drug use, setting the precedent for McGill to expand their information available to students. McGill’s fear of
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Modern stories, modern media
ublication is the soleSTAFF responsibility ofThe McGilTri Kate Addison, Makena Anderson, Vanessa Barron, Adam Bur ton, Ruobing Chen, Tasmin Chu, Sarah Farnand, Jonathan Giammaria, Patrick Gilroy, Sophia Gorbounov, Alexander Hilton, Pascal Hogue, Amir Hotter Yishay, Benjamin Joppke, Scott Kennedy, Alaana Kumar, Shaun Lalani, Jackie Lee, Ronny Litvack-Katzman, Kennedy McKee-Braide, Catherine Morrison, Etna Ordonez, Deisha Paliwal, Chloe Marie Rodriguez, Veronika Sanada-Kailich, Taja De Silva, Iman Zarrinkoub
CONTRIBUTORS Maya Abuali, Sepideh Afshar, Jack Armstrong, Thomas Bahen, Kathryn Elmer, Verd Gashi, Matthew Hawkins, Lydie Hua, Sequoia Kim, Kellyane Levac, Adeline Li, Margaret Wdowiak, ET Wu
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Toward a harm reduction approach to drugs
Jonathan Colaco Carr Web Developer It is a cold and wintery night as my dad and I dart into SaintLaurent’s Mainline Theatre. We trudge up the narrow steps and slide into the foyer, just in time for the show. That night’s act was organized by the Confabulations, a Montrealbased storytelling collective. I always look forward to their shows; each night features a cohort of performers who, deprived of props, photos, and gimmicks, are forced to manipulate their tone, gaze, and posture to tell stories. With an abundance of online
ways to share ideas in my day-to-day life, I find this intense focus on the simple qualities of communication empowering. Through a series of workshops and mentorship sessions, storytellers craft their narratives in preparation for five minutes with the microphone, speaking to a crowd of half-lit faces. The audience squeezes into the box theatre, the lights dim, and the stories begin. Over the course of the next two hours, we are treated to the beautiful voices and experiences of doctors, photographers, and artists. Guided by the narrators, we explore the thematic consequences of owning goldfish, the pressures of being an astrophysicist, and the lessons learned from losing a family restaurant. Speakers share moments of vulnerability and growth while engaging their audience, carefully choosing silence, intonations, and gestures to convince and persuade. Meanwhile, the listeners expend no energy delivering comforting remarks, retorts, or anecdotes, but instead give our undivided attention to the voice in front of us. These storytelling events are
liability and preoccupation with its public image must not prevent it from providing life-saving resources for students. For many students, Frosh and other partying events during the first few months of school are their introduction to more normalized substance use. For this reason, orientation is a crucial time to provide students with education instead of misinformation. Since students in residence are required to attend workshop sessions on consent, race, colonialism, and alcohol use, informational sessions on the effects and possible consequences of using controlled substances would be an easy and relevant addition. An approach to drug use that recommends that students simply refrain from using drugs is both unrealistic and infantilizing. Students will use drugs regardless: The university’s approach to drug use should be one that seeks to inform, rather than shame those who choose to use illegal substances. In addition, marginalized individuals can be further discriminated against in the context of drug use. For example, if a student has a Quebec health card, they can get Naloxone for free at many Montreal pharmacies, but international and out-of-province students have to pay out of pocket for it. To protect their students, especially international students, McGill should provide Naloxone
a reminder that, in the digital age, I can still connect with the strangers around me—even if only for a few moments. These public events are not the staples of communication that they once were. The modern story has to be prepared with a delicate palette. At conception, it must be determined whether an idea can be enjoyed in 280 characters or less. When sharing a picture, an appropriate seasoning of filters and fonts should be considered: Or perhaps, if feeling more minimalist, it might be preferable to omit such garnishes, allowing raw pixels to cut the glitz and glamour of the Instagram landscape. Only a daring few messages will make it to my Facebook wall, before which they will have undergone meticulous inspection. I will agonize over the hints of candour, humour, and emoji-infused je ne sais quoi before posting. Often times, my message becomes so tied up with its medium that it is hard to distinguish between the two. It will become a ‘Facebook post’ or an ‘Instagram story’ before anything else.
to staff such as floor fellows and organizers of drinking events. While it would be unreasonable to expect the administration to provide the entire student body with resources, providing some to key support staff, such as Frosh coordinators, floor fellows, and Drivesafe or Walksafe volunteers would be a step in the right direction. In addition, McGill should institute very basic practical resources which reduce the harm associated with illicit drug use such as safe-needle disposal boxes in bathrooms and safe-injection sites, like the ones at Concordia. Additionally, the administration needs to adopt a stronger harm-reduction policy in residences, adequately equipping floor fellows with kits, Naloxone, and other necessary resources. In the meantime, the McGill community is making up for the administration’s shortcomings. Groups like Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy provide free drug testing kits to students and Richard Davy, a Social Work student, has run educational workshops and continues to perform outreach regarding safe drug use. For students who decide to use controlled substances, there are still some practical ways to stay safe. Use a test-kit, do not do drugs alone, and always seek to inform yourself on the effects and consequences of a particular substance using online resources.
Unbothered by these details, storytelling nights provide a setting for people to both share and empathize with themes that are inherently ill-suited to other platforms. From an early age, I was warned about sharing personal information online. My family explained to me that anything I type, text, or photograph will burden me forever. Since then, I have developed a stronger connection to my virtual identity, but the threat of irreparable damage prevents me from sharing moments of growth that are less aesthetically pleasing than travel photos. With storytelling, neither the teller nor the audience faces the consequences of eternal regret, yet the story lives on after the show. Ultimately, the imperfections of modern communication are a good thing. Instagram may never be able to simulate the warmth of the Mainline Theatre, and I can not enjoy a blackbox performance while waiting in line at the Burnside Soupe Café, but I think the world is a better place because of it.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
McGill should have a sexual health clinic on campus
Sequoia Kim Contributor I realized how important it was for McGill to have a sexual health clinic after hearing about how difficult it is for some students to get intrauterine devices (IUDs)—a small, T-shaped birth control device that is inserted into the uterus and only has to be replaced every three to 12 years. The IUD is becoming an increasingly popular contraceptive, yet the Student Wellness Hub is ill-equipped to help students who request one or other contraceptive alternatives to condoms. Students’ sexual health is just as important as other physical and mental health concerns, although the lack of physical infrastructure for sexual health on McGill’s campus seems to suggest otherwise. McGill should have a sexual health clinic to fill the gaps in health care resources left by the Student Wellness Hub and to promote sex positivity and reduce stigma on campus. The difficulty of getting an IUD is only one symptom of the much larger issue of inadequate sexual health infrastructure at McGill. Without specific sexual health resources such as gynecologists, the process of getting an IUD could potentially end up stretching on for months. For example, physicians can have trouble inserting IUDs and have to refer patients to gynecologists. Currently, there are no gynecologists or sex professionals at the Wellness Hub, only doctors, nurses, dietitians, counsellors, and psychiatrists.
Sexual health is stigmatized in a way that other health issues are not. (Paola Delucca / Refinery 29)
Even if a dedicated sexual health clinic is an infeasible project right now, if the Wellness Hub hired a gynecologist or sexual health expert, they would be a much more robust resource for students than what is currently in place. Birth control is a feminist issue: When people engage in sexual intercourse involving a penis, the onus is often put on the individual with
the uterus to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy. While condoms are free and widely available across campus, people without penises should also be able to protect themselves with equal ease. This sort of protection could certainly be provided by a sexual health-specific clinic. In the absence of accessible sexual health resources, students might choose to travel off-
campus to seek care. While it is resourceful of students to seek help elsewhere in the city, a clinic on campus would be much more accessible for students who may not be familiar or comfortable with navigating sexual health care in Montreal. Importantly, the presence of a sexual health clinic would help the McGill campus become more sex-positive and would reduce overall stigma surrounding sexual health. Stigma is harmful in itself: When people’s embarrassment prevents them from seeking help, many harmful problems can go unaddressed, such as dealing with STIs or genital infections. Further, having a frequently used sexual health clinic on campus could make sex less of a taboo topic, and could also help destigmatize sex workers and the sex industry: An open dialogue around sexual health would help students are sex workers, such as sugar babies or online work, feel less marginalized. The shift toward comprehensive sex education and harm reduction—that is, promoting safety, pleasure and wellness instead of guilt, fear, and shame—is an effective way to keep sexually active individuals comfortable and happy. Understanding that the stigma around sexual health stifles conversation and makes people feel alone in their struggles, it is crucial that campuses be leaders in promoting sex-positive environments. By reducing stigma and making sure that students get the help they need, a sexual health clinic at McGill would help students feel supported, healthier, and happier.
Erased by the administration: James McGill was a slave owner
Sepideh Afshar Contributor Although McGill takes superficial strides toward inclusivity such as participating in a Black History Month and Indigenous Awareness Weeks, the university still refuses to address its colonial history and practices. The history of this university is intertwined with racism and the enslavement of Black and Indigenous individuals—a fact that must be addressed. To truly honour and respect Black History Month, McGill as an institution should openly acknowledge its colonial legacies. McGill’s ongoing refusal to address its racist past and present demonstrates an inability to grow and learn from its origins. The university remains proud of its founder, James McGill, boasting about him in the history tab of their website, among other spaces. The web page commends aspects of his personal life, such as his choice to move to Montreal, his marriage, and even his generosity towards the orphan daughter of his late friend. Beyond this, McGill is praised for having a part in establishing a formal education system in Lower Canada. James McGill enslaved Black and Indigenous people and the wealth he accrued from their exploitation was left in his will to fund a university, namely, McGill University. There is no mention of his slave ownership on the McGill website; the lack of acknowledgement on the university’s part about their founder as a slave owner leaves students and staff with nothing to grasp onto concerning the matter. As an institution that prides itself on being ‘diverse,’ McGill has a duty to students of colour to be open, transparent, and honest. The administration’s silence has led to
students and staff trying to fill in the blanks and force acknowledgement on the school’s part through classes and student movements. In Fall 2019, the Black Students’ Network proposed the Black Students’ Bill of Rights to create a framework of institutional support for Black students on campus. The online consultation form for the proposed legislation cited James McGill’s slave ownership as one motivation for the bill. However, rather than openly acknowledging and using the university’s fraught history as a point of contact for framing an open discussion regarding racism and colonialism at McGill, the university avoided such a public conversation, allowing feelings of resentment and unease to collect within communities of colour on campus. In addition to this student movement sparked partly by McGill’s history, professors have also been given the burden to address McGill’s racist legacies. A current art history seminar called Canadian Art and Race: James McGill was a Slave Owner: Slavery and the History of Universities spotlights the issue in an academic setting. The fact that McGill’s involvement with slavery is not talked about openly in the university is acknowledged and addressed in the course’s description. As an international academic institution, the most responsible practice for McGill is to address its racist roots and remove the burden from students and staff who have been doing their best to accommodate those who deserve an explanation for the university’s racist history. Not only should McGill release a statement, they should also specify a plan to augment the university’s institutional structure in order to address colonialism moving forward. A plan to speak openly about their past while also vowing to pay reparations, having learned from the racist
McGill has built a consistent reputation of burying its legacy of colonialism . (Abeer Almahdi / The McGill Tribune)
actions of James McGill is doing the right thing for its Black and Indigenous students. Until now, Black and Indigenous students have not been given any kind of satisfying response to their concerns about McGill’s history. This plan would include concrete steps such as editing his biography on their website, a commitment to continued public acknowledgement of his involvement in the slave trade, and adjusting the university’s land acknowledgment to reflect this. The importance of a statement is not in shaming McGill for its roots, but in holding McGill accountable for its portrayal and praise of a man who enslaved people and profited from
doing so. Black History Month 2020 can be the month that the McGill administration defines their position as an institution that is willing to acknowledge and grow from their past. James McGill will never see true justice, but steps can be taken to show Black and Indigenous students that funding the university in no way erases the terrible things he profited from. Without a statement or acknowledgement from the administration, McGill is demonstrating its lack of growth, and students and professors will continue to do the work to make up for the administration’s shortcomings.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Heartbreak Museum brings some warmth on a cold Valentine’s Day
McSWAY Poetry Collective’s exhibit featured art pieces, poems, and relics from past relationships
Patrick Gilroy Staff Writer As the sun set on a cold February evening, a dim glow warmed the room in Building 21 where McSWAY Poetry Collective hosted their second annual “Heartbreak Museum.” The exhibit featured poems and artifacts from past relationships, revealing a challenging portrait of heartbreak and young love, and explored both the highs and the lows of intimacy. Of course, the timing of the event couldn’t be more appropriate, falling on the evening before Valentine’s day. “The timing is really symbolic,” Preksha Ashk, U3 Arts, and McSWAY executive said. “Not everyone is in a relationship [so] this is a really visceral way of visualizing and conceptualizing all the heartbreak that we’ve been through, at a time when we’re all thinking about it anyway.” The three tables in the room were set with empty bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin, Smirnoff vodka, and a glow in the dark sweater, among other things. Poems were thoughtfully scattered throughout the space on sheets of white paper. One poem featured a screenshot of some text messages, all outgoing, reading: “hey / can we just like / talk about some stuff / I feel like there’s so much left unsaid and i’m so tired of feeling like that / like just over coffee or something.”
ers and never gotten them back, or held onto a book that a partner recommended we read. “If you take these things out of context, you can look at them objectively and figure out why there’s so much symbolism in a bottle of soda or in a sweatshirt,” said Ashk. Even in a room filled with heartbreak, there is space for happiness. Almost everything on display was a memory, reminiscent of a time that has now passed. Perhaps calling the event “Heartbreak Mausoleum” would have been more apt. But, despite the talk of endings and broken relationships, the beauty of the exhibit lies in precisely in how much life each piece carries within it. Interacting with real objects, real conversations, and real memories makes each work feel alive, representative of things that have The heartbreak-themed exhibit ran Thursday, Feb. 13, in Building 21. (Nicholas Raffoul / The McGill Tribune). happened in the past, but that are also happening now, to different people, and Much like the blue iPhone message on the viewer’s perspective. will happen again. bubbles through which many of us have “Art is subjective, you can take it as Another sign of light—literal light— poured our hearts out, the artifacts in the you like,” Jhaish said. “We try to create is a sun lamp, tucked into a nook by the exhibit convey universal sentiments de- an atmosphere that’s not necessarily ethe- windows facing Sherbrooke street. It was spite their personal and intimate nature. real, but helps you get in your feelings.” unclear whether the lamp is part of the Nearly every item on display was preBoth the poems and the artifacts re- room’s usual decor, or had been placed served and held onto after a relationship vealed snippets of real, lived-in histories, here for this specific event. Regardless, ended, signifying a specific moment in inviting outside observers into the rela- it felt significant—a symbolic ray of light the life of the romance. One wonders if tionships of their owners. These snippets peeking through in the depths of winter, the exhibit is more cathartic, or simply allowed viewers to flesh out narratives in a room filled with bittersweet endmasochistic. Co-organiser Zeina Jhaish, that often carry universal significance. ings and lots of regrets, where all anyone U2 Education, explained that it depends After all, many of us have lent out sweat- wants is a little warmth.
Tame Impala time travels in ‘The Slow Rush’ Kevin Parker continues his commitment to perfection
Lucas Bird Opinion Editor If Tame Impala’s third album, Currents, is the outset of an interstellar psychedelic sugar-pop trip, then their fourth full-length release, The Slow Rush, released on Feb. 14, is that trip’s arrival. In his most recent offering, Kevin Parker, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist behind the band’s music, has delivered another genre-defying album that reflects his continued radical commitment to perfectionism. While Parkers psychoactive sound has come to help shape contemporary rock and pop music, The Slow Rush sounds like it was made for an era that has not yet arrived. The shift in production style between Tame Impala’s sophomore album Lonerism and Currents is a sharp, but welcome, divergence into more avant-garde territory, as Currents borrows elements from modern electronic-synth pop. In The Slow Rush, the production has become even more futuristic; synthesizers and phazers feature heavily, and sounds like that of a laser gun firing are incorporated into the soundscape. Tracks like “Glimmer” and “Is It True” find more footing with groups like Crystal Castles or Neon Indian than they do with long-cited comparisons of Parker’s sound such as The Beatles. The album’s lyrics are still themed by a melancholy yearning present in past Tame Impala tracks. Yet, rather than focusing on an individual person, Parker’s emotions seem captured by a broader sense of nostalgia, as he reflects on the idealization of memories and recognizes the fleeting nature of the present. The album opens with the massive humming vocal synths of “One More Year,” as Parker
questions: “Do you remember we were standing here a year ago?” As the bridge opens, the synths give way to a sparse piano melody, and the sonic gap begs the listener to anticipate the impending drop and sets the tone for the rest of the album. In the final track, “One More Hour,” the intense guitar chords matched with heavy snare and bass hits, which one can’t help but compare to Current’s “Eventually,” seal the record in an appropriately bombastic fashion. Everything about The Slow Rush—its lyrics, its melodies, and the emotions it evokes—suggest a fruition of Parker’s artistic maturity. Tame Impala’s sound has evolved in astounding ways through each phase of their discography. As a record, it transcends easy categorization because it so fluidly blends elements of traditional indie rock with futuristic electro-pop. Parker, like no one else, is making music which seems to come from another place and another time.
‘The Slow Rush’ was released on Valentine’s Day. (magneticmag.com)
CHANGING LANES Learning to integrate autonomous vehicles into our streets Miya Keilin, Managing Editor
ver the summer of 2019, Transdev, a France-based company that operates public transportation projects in 18 countries around the world, ran two autonomous shuttles connecting Montreal’s Olympic Stadium and Maisonneuve Market. Transdev’s 2019 endeavour built on the success of a project they had executed the year prior, that drove autonomous vehicles around the Olympic Park grounds. These kinds of pilot projects for autonomous vehicles have been allowed in Quebec since 2018 and are subject to approval from the Minister of Transport. The red Transdev shuttles, however, were the first self-driving vehicles to operate on the streets of Montreal. Equipped with sensors and a navigation system, the cubic red buses could carry 12 passengers along its seven-stop, 1.4 kilometre long route and offered free rides every day of the week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A Transdev operator was always on board, since the shuttles could not make emergency stops or restart themselves. More autonomous vehicles like the Transdev shuttles are coming: As technology develops, we will see more self-driving vehicles on our streets, seamlessly integrating themselves into society. The advancement is exciting, but the true impact depends on how the industry, and world around it, will navigate the new technology. According to Quebec’s Bill 165, unanimously adopted on April 18, 2018, autonomous vehicles are defined as those that fall into Levels 3, 4, and 5 of SAE International’s six levels of autonomy. Cars in Level 0, 1, and 2 of the standard are fully driven by humans, though they support features such as cruise control and automatic braking to various degrees. In those cars, the driver must actively watch the road and monitor the autonomous features, even if they are not physically pressing the pedals or holding the wheel. Level 3, 4, and 5 cars are not driven by humans. As the levels increase, the driver has fewer responsibilities and the cars can operate in a broader range of conditions. Companies developing autonomous vehicles require a variety of environments in which to test them, including private campuses, public roads, and simulations. A network of lasers, sensors, cameras, radar, and sonar help the car develop a map of its surroundings. Factors such as traffic levels, road quality, and slopes all present different challenges to self-driving cars. The car then processes such information by using complex algorithms to determine what actions it should take. To ensure that all these systems are working, companies attempt to train their cars for every possible situation.
“Cities are just environments where there’s a whole lot going on,” Andrew Holliday, a PhD student in the School of Computer Science, said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “Things moving around from all sides, people moving around, pedestrians, cyclists, so this certainly makes for a more challenging environment than a suburb or a countryside where there’s relatively less to deal with.” Holliday is studying ways to improve public transit systems using AI. Cities are useful environments for training cars, but mistakes in the real world are costly, as human lives are at risk. Since 2016, several Teslas in Autopilot mode crashed, resulting in fatalities. Elaine Herzberg was crossing the street when an Uber-owned self-driving car struck and killed her in Tempe, Arizona in March 2018. However, testing in self-driving cars in the situations they will have to face in the real world is necessary, so companies rely heavily on simulations, which are a safe, affordable, and time efficient option that come very close to reality. Waymo—an autonomous car launched by Google in 2009 before it spun off and became its own company—has driven over 10 billion miles in simulations. Cruise, a self-driving car company under General Motors, runs about 200,000 hours of simulations per day. Other companies design specific simulations to improve their cars’ specific functions or reactions to situations. For example, Apple recently used simulations to train cars to merge lanes. However, the value of the training relies on the quality of the simulation. Companies collect data from driving on physical streets to help make their simulations more realistic, from imitating real-world physics to making drivers in their simulations act as the average human drivers would. Companies can then analyze how their autonomous driver reacted to a certain situation compared to what actions a human driver took. Despite all of the advancement, however, researchers agree that there is still a lot of work to do. “I think the public perception of how far off the technology is right now from being road ready is perhaps
overly optimistic,” Holliday said. “Technology is still not quite at the place where it could be as safe as a human driver [....] It’s conceivable that [self-driving technology] may require theoretical breakthroughs [...] because the range of conditions that can arise out there in the wild on the street almost inevitably throws up something that the engineers won’t have thought of.” Quebec’s Bill 165 added provisions regarding traffic rules, vehicles standards, and issues insurance and liability with the intention of opening the door to pilot projects in the province. Additionally, Propulsion Quebec was founded in 2016 with a goal of “positioning Quebec as a global leader in developing and implementing smart and electric modes of ground transportation.” Another self-driving vehicle pilot project in the province led by Keolis Canada ran from Oct. 4, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2019 in Candiac, Quebec. The project was financially supported by the Quebec Ministry of Transportation, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification, and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). The shuttle itself was fully electric, h a d heating and air conditioning systems, and could
carry 15 passengers along its two-kilometre route at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. Since it drove in regular traffic, the shuttle could adjust its speed based on its environment, slowing down or coming to a complete stop when it encountered obstacles such as nearby cyclists or pedestrians. Like the Olympic Park shuttle, an operator was on board in case of emergencies and to answer passengers’ questions. The Candiac shuttle continued to drive through the winter but did not carry passengers as it was still being tested in snowy conditions. The support from the government for projects like the Transdev and Keolis shuttles is critical. According to Léonie Gagné, a Montreal-based lawyer practicing insurance as well as product, civil, and professional liability law, the city is already well-positioned to have an impact in the autonomous vehicle industry. “We have a big [artificial intelligence] hub composed of varied bodies, from the bigger international companies, to the smaller boutique type firms,” Gagné wrote in an email to the Tribune. “We have many universities in a small radius, the Quartier de l’innovation and the Centre d’essais pour véhicules automobiles [....] We have the people and the knowledge to make projects grow and be successful.” Montreal’s weather also
makes it an ideal city for testing selfdriving vehicles. “Snow is actually a big challenge for [autonomous vehicles],” Gagné wrote. “AVs use many tools to be able to circulate (such as radar, lidars and sound sensors). [Autonomous vehicles] also use cameras, [whose] main focus is to centre the car in lanes. So we can imagine that with snow on the ground, it makes it that much more difficult for an [autonomous vehicle] to drive.” As the autonomous vehicle industry moves to tackle such weather challenges, it seems obvious that the future of transportation has incredible potential. In fact,
Intel predicts that it could be worth $7 trillion by 2050. In a survey conducted from 2005 to 2007, the US Transportation Department found that 94 per cent of road collisions were a result of human error, including distracted, reckless, and drunk driving. Self-driving vehicles could help minimize the number of lives lost every year from traffic accidents. Autonomous cars also make transport by car accessible to those who cannot drive, increasing the mobility of millions of people. Furthermore, since cars currently cannot operate without a person behind the wheel, they spend a lot of time parked; self-driving cars would be able to constantly serve people, which could help reduce the number of total cars a population uses. Self-driving cars can improve fuel efficiency and improve the reach of public transportation systems. “If we apply these technologies to automating public transit, having self driving buses for instance, a public transit system [...] could actually be much more efficient than present public transit systems [...] because they’d be a lot cheaper to operate,” Holliday said. Using self-driving vehicles would allow public transit systems to operate smaller buses. In a city like Montreal, which experiences harsh winters, this change could be hugely beneficial. “The delays that you inevitably get due to the adverse weather conditions here would have less of an impact on transit riders if there were more vehicles running more frequently,” Holliday said. “That would make people much more willing to consider taking transit in the winter as opposed to other means [....] Especially because you have to stand outside longer and if there are delays, which
there almost always are, you’re standing out even longer, [and] you’re freezing.” However, a self-driving society is not without consequences. More accessibility could mean more cars which, even with improved fuel efficiency, could increase the total carbon emissions from vehicles. Without the fear of time wasted commuting, people would be more willing to live greater distances from where they work, further increasing fuel consumption. “I think if we see a model whereby, as much of it is now where people travel via personal automobiles or ridesharing or some other form of small cars that carry a few people, it’s going to be pretty bad,” Holliday said. “We know from history of studying urban development and transportation in the 20th century is that when you make it easier for people to travel via automobile, they do it more, and this induces congestion, actually making travel times worse in the long run.” Furthermore, millions of workers in the transportation and car maintenance industries could lose their jobs. Cars could be controlled by malicious hackers, and the technology’s struggles with bias could be fatal. “Autonomous vehicles will invariably face the same scrutiny that AI-enabled systems are subject to today,” Yuan Stevens, B.C.L./LL.B (Juris Doctor) ‘17, a research consultant specializing in public interest law, emerging technology, and
computer security, wrote in an email to the Tribune. “There is bias in the data collection and analysis process, which can result in autonomous vehicles that don’t recognize and can harm people of colour, for example.” With all of the possible negative effects in mind, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a set of seven principles, intended to guide companies and lawmakers alike in their pursuit of integrating self-driving vehicles into society. The principles address a range of issues, from reducing emissions of transportation systems to recognizing the need for tangible support for workers who lose their jobs as a result of a changed industry. Beyond the technical challenges, there are also numerous legal and ethical issues that regulators and companies must address before the widespread use of selfdriving vehicles. Decisions about who to harm and who to save in the event of a crash is one question that ethics researchers are still trying to understand. Such debates also bring up concerns over liability. “[I]n the province of Quebec, the law regulates the same for [autonomous vehicles] and for traditional cars,” Gagné wrote. “[...] In short, the [SAAQ] will indemnify the victim of a bodily injury, and the owner of the car at fault will be liable for the material injury, unless he demonstrates the fault of the victim, of a third party, an act of God, or that the AV was actually under the possession of a mechanic or ‘a third person for storage, repair or transportation.’” Moving forward, legislators may consider different approaches. Ignacio Cofone, assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, argues that the law is more concerned with the possible consequences of the vehicles rather than the technology itself. “The most important applicable legal precedent for self driving vehicles is not about self-driving vehicles, but rather the rules of automobile safety regulations and product liability,” Cofone wrote. “Each jurisdiction will have to decide whether it
considers that these rules are sufficient for dealing with self driving vehicles or other, more tailored rules are warranted for this specific technology.” Policymakers have their work cut out for them. Even if society is years away from having fully integrated self-driving vehicles on the street, the painfully slow pace of bureaucracy may fall behind the rate of technological change. “The main challenge about regulating AI is for the legislator to keep up with the speed at which innovation changes,” Gagné wrote. “Laws take time to be drafted and passed, while technology is ever changing.” Widespread integration of autonomous vehicles in our cities is coming, regardless of whether or not lawmakers keep pace with technological advancements in the industry. However, Cofone argues that the progress that engineers are making is not the most important evolution to consider. “One thing that we should keep in mind as the law changes (or as it stays the same) with technological change is that we are not regulating technology, we are regulating how people use technology,” Cofone wrote. “Technological change in itself matters less than how social relations morph by technological change, and how this affects existing relationships of power.” The invention of the wheel, the discovery of electricity, and the development of the diesel engine all seemed preposterous once, too. However, today we can see how they irreversibly changed the world—we simply would not live the way we do without such advancements. Selfdriving cars are no different: We just have to make sure that we are ready. (Sabrina Girard-Lamas / The McGill Tribune)
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Gilbert and Sullivan remain fresh in ‘The Gondoliers’
The Savoy Society’s latest production is both an escape and an engagement Matthew Hawkins Contributor Gilbert and Sullivan are ubiquitous in the theatre world and beyond. Much of the charm of a Gilbert and Sullivan production comes from its Victorian history. The McGill Savoy Society’s production of The Gondoliers is no different: Stepping into Moyse Hall is anachronistic in and of itself, and adding a Victorian-era operetta to the mix heightens the nostalgic atmosphere. Yet, escapism is only part of the appeal of The Gondoliers. More than 130 years after it first premiered, the play remains relevant. Themes of gender, agency, and love are just as fresh as they were when the show premiered in 1889. The Savoy Society conveys such stories wonderfully though dance numbers featuring a fantastic chorus, as well as genuinely emotional pieces sung by its leads. As with other Gilbert and Sullivan works like Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore, Gondoliers satirizes class differences, bureaucracy, and the monarchy. As anyone who has seen coverage of Mexit (Meghan Markle and her husband’s choice to leave the royal family) can attest, all of these themes are equally present today. There is something uniquely comforting about stepping back in time to confront issues of the present. A production like Hamilton
Imperial Japan. Racist stereotypes ensue. “You can’t avoid the racism or sexism” Markbreiter said, “but what we try to do is shine a light on the aspects that hold up their comedy, which is where a lot of the personal relationships come in, and emphasizing elements that don’t punch down.” Luckily for the show, Gilbert’s libretto has jokes that have survived the test of time, which, coupled with Heiler and co-director Stefania BerThe Savoy Society is one of the many student-run theatre troupes on campus. trand’s staging, succeed in unveiling (Adeline Li / The McGill Tribune) and critiquing dated attitudes behind them. comes to mind, which effectively by Coralie Heiler, who is also a coThough asking any busy stuuses modern music to update its director. Performing in the chorus in dent to take two and a half hours out historical setting. The music of Gon- a production of this scale is no easy of their schedule might seem like a doliers, however, is very much con- undertaking. As is typical of Gilbert tall order, Gondoliers is worth the temporary to its staging, and rightly and Sullivan, the play is comprised commitment. It is the perfect comso. It would not be Gilbert and Sulli- of two cohorts divided down 19th bination of escapism, political satire, van without jaunty patter-song, clev- century gender lines. A crowd of physical comedy, and catchy music er twisting rhymes, and cheeky nods young women lines up, hoping to be in a space that often feels mysterious to the audience. The Savoy Society chosen as the wife of one of the titu- behind its heavy doors in the cenexecutes these fantastically. lar gondoliers in one scene and go to tre of the Arts Building. The Savoy “It’s as much about the person- great lengths to be with their lovers Society’s production is a showcase al relationships as it is about bigger at their own personal risk, and the di- of hard work and most importantly, themes,” Ben Markbreiter, U2 Arts vide is clear. As expected, it’s also a fun. If you have ever caught yourand the president of the Savoy So- source of comedy through flirtation self trying to sing the Modern Major ciety, said. “The chorus is even more and rejection often in slapstick form. General song, this is the show for important.” While Gilbert and Sullivan, to you, and if not, this show might enMarkbreiter is correct; the cho- their credit, did challenge imperial- courage you to learn. rus shines in this staging, providing ist and monarchical ideas, they often background comedy, often in the did so at the expense of another culThe Gondoliers is playing in form of slapstick, as well as intricate ture, most notably in The Mikado, a Moyse Hall Feb 14–22. Tickets are ensemble dances choreographed critique of the establishment set in available at mcgillsavoy.tickit.ca.
The Yellow Door hosts their model drawing session — a great opportunity to hone your skills in anatomical sketches or discover a new hobby. Feb. 19, 6-8 p.m., The Yellow Door, 3625 Aylmer $5
Street Photo Outing
Join the MUPSS for a chance to practice street photography in Montreal’s metro system. Feb. 21, 10:30 a.m-12 p.m., Métro McGill, 2055 Robert-Bourassa. Free
Vernissage: Snapshots from the Garden of Eden
Museum of Jewish Montreal debuts its new exhibition, exploring the similarities between popular fairy-tales and Jewish folklore. Feb. 20, 7-9 p.m., 4040 Boul. SaintLaurent Free
New Reads Book Club: Frying Plantain
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly hosts their monthly book club on contemporary literature. Join for a discussion about the recent Frying Plantain Feb. 26, 7-9 p.m., 176 Rue Bernard O. Free
‘Medea’ perfectly blends classical tragedy with the contemporary Classics Play returns with Euripides’ sequel to Jason and the Argonauts Lydie Hua Contributor Continuing its acclaimed annual tradition, the McGill Department of History and Classical Studies held its McGill Classics Play, Medea from Feb. 5-8 at the Mainline Theatre. This classical text, written by Euripides, is a sequel to Jason and the Argonauts—the Ancient Greek myth where he finds the golden fleece. This time, the story focusses on Medea, Jason’s now ex-wife he returned with from his quest. He then goes on to dump her for a Corinthian princess once she has left her entire world and kingdom behind for him. The play follows Medea navigating the consequences of this catastrophe and enormous insult, which she does in a very Greek tragedy way. While Professor Florence Yoon from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Professor Lynn Kozak from the McGill Classics Department oversaw the production as a whole, two student directors, Marina Martin (B.A. ‘19) and Michaela Drouillard (U3 Arts), translated Medea from the original Ancient Greek text. “Translating Medea was weird,” the pair wrote in their directors’ note. “Throughout the process, we learned that it was less important for a play to look and sound like the original world it claims to
represent.” Martin and Drouillard found that they were able to take what they needed from the Greek text in order to give themselves room to voice their message and to be able to have fun with it.” The play perfectly blended the contemporary into the classical and tragic setting. The presence of podcasts, text messages, and plenty of other anachronisms did not feel forced. Rather, the production felt mature and comfortable in its own skin and, at the exception of certain outdated plot points and archaic tones adopted for the purpose of dramatic effect: The juxtaposition of lines such as “You wanna get an Uber?” and “I killed those dragons for you” often feel contrived. Besides that, the play could blend perfectly into today’s setting, as seen impressively in the chorus. Featuring a cast of undergraduate and graduate students, the group fully functioned as one, and yet it was executed in such a way that impressed with its normality and ease. The group acted like friends gossiping, producing a continuous dialogue that was quick, witty, and entertaining all the while maintaining a necessary commentary that made its role feel as whole as it did. Of course, the two main characters that occupied the centre of the stage were
Co-directors Marina Martin and Michaela Drouillard translated Medea from the original Greek text. (Verd Gashi / The McGill Tribune) Medea (Niamh Power, M.A. Psychology) and Jason (Tom Giles). Giles played a heinous Jason, and yet the pain he felt at times was so well communicated that he was able to shift the feeling of the entire theatre from one extreme emotion to the next. Power’s portrayal took up all the stage and her Medea was a loud and powerful character furthered the blending of modern and ancient as well as pain and
revenge into a seamless and smooth work. Perhaps the play could have lasted a bit longer as it was only a bit more than an hour which only revealed a small portion of what could’ve been possible for the actors and for the play. All the while, it remains a great play that did not disappoint in maintaining the presence of Classical texts and Greek mythology in today’s world.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Celebrating Black history in the new decade
Organizers of McGill’s Black History Month hope conversations continue beyond February Scott Kennedy Staff Writer On Feb. 3, the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), the Black Students’ Network (BSN), and the McGill African Students’ Society (MASS) commenced McGill’s fourth annual Black History Month (BHM). Under the theme “Rooted”, this year’s celebration aims to continue the tradition of bringing together students, staff, and community members to commemorate Black history. Since 1995, BHM has been celebrated in February to honour the important achievements and contributions of Black folks across Canada. BHM was only institutionalized at McGill three years ago. Shanice Yarde, the Equity Education Advisor in AntiOppression and Anti-Racism at McGill University, explained the need to recognize the complete history of this celebration at McGill. “There have always been Black folks organizing and celebrating Black History Month at McGill,” Yarde said. “So there is something important about not erasing those legacies and [remembering] that [BHM] existed way before 2017.” This month will host events and material that seeks to immerse people from McGill and beyond in the rich history of Black people, something that Yarde and the organizing team deemed crucial. “It’s exciting that we get to host these very different events every year, and [what’s] also important is that there’s something for everyone,” Yarde said. Yarde highlighted that having a diverse event schedule is also vital in facilitating more spaces around McGill and Montreal at large. “There is so much more happening around campus [in this year’s BHM],” Yarde said. “It’s kind of exciting to see the ripple effect of people being engaged and interested in creating spaces within their own communities.”
To foster a sense of togetherness within the Montreal community, BHM is hosting an annual Community and Family Day on Feb. 23. “We [will spend] the whole day at La Citadelle,” Yarde said. “It’s a free day and open to [all members of the Montreal] community. It [will be] a beautiful day of celebration, history, culture, and food, so I’m really excited for that [event].” Involvement of the student community is key to facilitating this year’s BHM’s event. To achieve this, Yarde worked closely with two assistant co-coordinators, Shona Musimbe (BA ‘17) and Catherina Musa, U2 Arts and President of the MASS, who were crucial in facilitating this year’s celebration. “So much of what we’re able to do is made possible because of students mobilizing and organizing,” Yarde said. “I think there’s something really important about making sure that students are not only involved, but [also] have real decision making power.” Yarde remarked that a vital takeaway of BHM is that the events and content encourage people to carry on the spirit of advocacy for Black communities past February. “As an [Equity] Education Advisor, [...] I want people to leave [BHM] inspired and excited about learning more, taking action and getting engaged,” she said. The organizers emphasized the importance of continuing the conversations raised by BHM outside the boundaries of February, since prejudice does not stop after the month’s end. “Anti-Blackness [and] systemic racism [...] continues [past this month],” Yarde said. “The momentum of the conversations that happen in February [is] a really important part of challenging that kind of systemic oppression that exists in and beyond February.” For more information on Black History Month 2020, students can contact Shanice Yarde at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s Black History Month has a diverse range of events under the theme “Rooted”. (Glowzi)
The uncertain future of Bar des Arts Students sign on to save the campus bar
Catherine Morrison Staff Writer Continued from page 1. Known for its cheap drinks and delicious $1 grilled cheeses, BdA has held many iconic events, most notably last year’s “BdAll In This Together,” a High School Musical-themed evening and “BdA and Boujee” in February 2018, a special Migos-themed event serving $1 glasses of wine. For many, BdA has become more than just a bar. During its 13 years in operation, it turned into a place for a diverse community of students to come together. Like Gerts, which was forced to close due to HVAC, electrical, and asbestos issues found in the University Centre, the closure of BdA has had a large impact on many at McGill. For Mercedes Labelle, U3 Arts and BdA Co-Chair, the bar’s indefinite hiatus represents a loss for the student community. “BdA was often the only time I saw a lot of my friends from Arts outside of class,” Labelle said. “It made me feel connected to the community in a deeper way and made me want to come and stay on campus for something other than class. With the SSMU Building, Gerts, and now BdA gone, McGill is slowly losing its campus culture and community—something that is essential to
have written an open letter to the McGill Administration—in particular to Fabrice Labeau, McGill’s Campus Planning and Development Office—explaining the importance of finding the bar a home. BdA staff are demanding a consultation with administrators, a construction timeline, a guaranteed date of re-opening, and monetary compensation if alternative venues are not financially feasible for their notfor-profit bar. Through following these measures, the staff hope to bring BdA back to the McGill community as quickly as possible. The open letter also described how BdA’s forced closure highlights McGill’s deprioritization of initiatives that foster student communities. In fact, even after having meetings with seven members of the McGill administration, BdA staff received no help in finding a new venue for the event. The indefinite hiatus of Bar des Arts is part of the long-running saga of McGill clubs and services being “The lack of Bar des Arts constitutes negatively affected by constant construction. (Iman Zarrinkoub / The McGill Tribune) more than students not having a place to drink alcohol on campus,” the letter stated. everyone’s university experience.” in a setting that is inclusive,” Casey said. “It plays into the bigger discontent with the Ethan Casey, U3 Arts and BdA Co- “Whether you need to destress and play administration’s disregard for student life Chair, explained that the loss of the Arts pool, [...] have a quick nap, or escape the and wellbeing.” Lounge extends beyond the weekly events stress of McLennan and eat your lunch At this moment, McGill students can of BdA. peacefully, Arts students could always rely only hope that their beloved BdA will find “Moving past just BdA, the Arts on the lounge as a humble home for the a home soon so that we can all get back Lounge in itself has always been a place largest faculty on campus.” to singing “Dancing Queen” while eating in which Arts students can be themselves In response to its closure, BdA staff gooey grilled cheese sandwiches in no time.
12 STUDENT LIFE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
An existential understanding of love
How conscious projects affect how we love ourselves and others
ET Wu Contributor As I spent the night before Valentine’s Day writing about the topic of being single, I struggled to find words for such a nuanced idea. The works of the great French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre come to mind; his idea of ‘projects,’ which are internal choices made from one’s individual values, may have something to say about love. “It is only in and through this project that the fatigue will be able to be understood and that it will have meaning for him,” Sartre wrote in his book Being and Nothingness. To me, this quote means that our choices affect the way we see our personal experiences. In the context of love, though, I think the idea of making a conscious decision, better encapsulated as a ‘project’, can apply to people, be it yourself or others. To explain my point, I want to share my personal version of How I Met your Mother. It revolves around a hard-working man from New York whose name was ET the First. After earning his licence, he got a job in Hawaii as a Port Engineer and fell in love with someone there. Although Hawaii was, at first, just a place of work for him, ET grew deeply in love with this woman as he spent months living with her. At the time, she was his world.
Being a marine engineer, he was a frequent traveler who had to go across the globe to investigate ships. However, many of these trips end up being promiscuous. One day, ET got the news that he had gotten someone pregnant. Knowing he had to take responsibility, he gave up his love in Hawaii and moved to Hong Kong to become my dad. Every part of this story is his own project, though done for someone of great importance to my dad’s life. As a hard worker, the conscious project he placed for himself was self-development and self-care. He found meaning in developing his career. While New York was where his roots were, the project was for his lover in Hawaii. Eventually, although it was a difficult decision, he left Hawaii for Hong Kong because his personal values called him to be there for his son. Whoever it was, whether it was for himself or someone else, my dad always had somebody in mind; someone that he wanted to dedicate a project to because that is what his consciousness chose. When he found meaning in introspective decisions that were not about him, he lived for the sake of others, making other people the centre of his responsibility. This is the meaning of a relationship: Making the special someone your project, your meaning, and your choice.
Values surrounding love can change and that’s okay; what matters is that your decisions today reflect who you are. (Jean Dubuffet) Sarte’s explanation also gives a good excuse for us to love ourselves, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or just a normal Friday evening after a long week of work. It may be that our consciousness determines that we desire a night of binge-watching The Big Bang Theory instead of going out on a date. It may be that our consciousness determines that we just want to sit home and develop our introspective skills rather than socialize. Whatever it is, humans exist with personal
values. These values change, and at one moment, you may be valuing yourself over others and that’s okay. Valentine’s Day is an annual celebration of love. In my view, love can be defined as making meaning through the most important of your conscious projects. It doesn’t matter if the project is yourself or others; what’s important is that you recognize your priorities and give love to whoever you feel deserves it.
Love in the time of PowerPoint at Datemyfriend.pptx CSUS hosts alternative to online dating
On the night before Valentine’s Day, Bar des Pins was filled with presentations of silly slides for hopeless romantics. (Leanne Young / The McGill Tribune) Josephine Wang Contributor In today’s world, we have different types of dating apps that provide plenty of ways to search for love, all at the tips of our fingers. From the comfort and safety from our own homes, we have the power to look for love and showcase only the best parts of ourselves to potential mates. There are still plenty of romantics who reject these modern comforts and believe that the best way to find love is through the old-fashioned way of going to a bar with a friend as their wingman. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, Thurs, Feb. 13, the Computer Science Undergraduate Society (CSUS) hosted datemyfriend. pptx at Bar des Pins, providing students with the chance to show
off their single friends with the use of a PowerPoint. Within the span of two hours, a dozen presenters clicked through slides extolling the dating criteria of their best friends. Playing as their friend’s wingman, presenters highlighted any aspect that a future soulmate should know such as their achievements, idiosyncrasies, and athletic ability. The pitches for love had no shortage of sarcasm or creativity. One especially hilarious presentation came in the format of a scientific research paper. The hypothesis was “A six pack makes you hot,” and their results were provided with Instagram-worthy visuals. Ghida Monla, U4 Computer Science and President of CSUS, explained the story behind this successful event. “Last year, [the CSUS executive team was] at a meeting, [thinking about] what we can do for Valentine’s Day,” Monla said.
“Someone just said at the meeting, ‘Let’s do a ‘date my friend’’ and everyone was so into the idea. We put the event up, and it went viral. It was a full house last year, and it started [this] tradition [that] we’re going to do [...] every single year [from now on].” Just 20 minutes after the event started, the bar was filled with students buzzing about whether they would find the one. The crowd was made up of people dressed in different styles: Some dressed to the nines, donning a full suit and tie, while others took a more relaxed approach with just a sweater and jeans. Although some were taking down phone numbers and sliding into direct messages (DMs) , the intent behind this event was just to host a comical event in the midst of midterm season. “We just really want this to be like a high school event [...] because it’s just a joke,” Monla said. “You just go through the slides and make fun of your friends, you know?” Some participants, however, were a little more determined to find a partner. Arielle Lok, U0 Management, took it upon herself to be her own wingman, ensuing a booming applause from the crowd at the conclusion of her presentation. Lok prefers this style of showcasing herself in front of a large crowd rather than the use of impersonal Tinder biographies. “[This event] follows the business model of ‘Subtle asian dating’ where you auction off your friends,” Lok said. “I feel like this is a more localized, [...] physical way to meet people. It’s a fun time [....] I’d rather do this than dating apps [...because] I am more on the serious side.” Datemyfriend.pptx provided an alternative to dating apps, which can leave people feeling frustrated and yearning for more real-life interaction. Although there were numerous presentations, it remains a mystery how successful people were on their endeavor to find love. “Someone here is pretty cute, but I haven’t slid [into their DMs yet],” Lok said. “I usually wait for the first move to be made.” Whether students came with the intention of finding a Valentine’s date, cuffing their single friends, or simply enjoying the hilarity that ensued, one thing was certain: Everyone had a great time.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Linking physical exercise to video games
McGill researchers find evidence that exercise can increase gaming skills Thomas Bahen Contributor After another record-breaking year for revenue and involvement in the industry, it is clear that video games are an increasingly large part of North American culture. Despite a wide acceptance of video games across all demographics, the majority of players are still children and young adults. Gaming’s young demographic is concerning to some, as over half of Canadian youth fail to meet the federal government’s sedentary behaviour guidelines. According to Health Canada, extended periods of sitting to watch TV or play video games are primary causes of inactivity in youth. This leads many parents to assume that avoiding sedentary activities such as gaming is best for their child’s physical health. Despite health consequences of excessive gaming, such as poor posture and weight gain, physical exercise and video games have an important link. In a study published late last month in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, a group of McGill researchers demonstrated that physical exercise before a session of League of Legends improved performance at a specific, highly mechanical task. Marc Roig, Associate Professor in the School of Physical & Occupational Therapy at McGill and senior author of the article, was quick to credit his students in The McGill Memory Lab. “The idea came from my students,” Roig
said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “They are familiar with [League of Legends] and were able to come up with an easily quantifiable task [.…] It gets around the fact that most research games are boring.” The task chosen would be familiar to any League of Legends player, a community that contained an estimated 100 million monthly players worldwide at its peak. To help win the game, characters deal the final blow to enemy minions in a move known as ‘last-hitting.’ Even without enemy players, the act of last-hitting is difficult. To normalize for player familiarity, the unpopular character Soraka was selected for all participants to play. Since all the characters in League of Legends have different attacks, playing a new character for the first time is often a challenge. The study’s participants also varied in League of Legends rank, a measure of a player’s skill. Having developed a quantifiable and difficult video game task, the team was then able to formulate their exercise regime. “We wanted [the participants to do] something short and sweet but not super fatiguing,” Roig said. “Three minute intervals of intense exercise and then rest for a total of nine minutes.” On two different days, participants either had a period of rest or exercise before their video game session. The results were clear: Individual performances in the game sessions that followed exercise were more successful. The success of this experiment has left
Playing video games is one of the primary causes of inactivity among youth. (Kellyane Levac / The McGill Tribune) Roig and his team hopeful that they can expand their research by looking more closely at exact motor functions and skills. While it may be difficult, one clear way forward is to create an interesting and fun video game designed specifically for research. Roig suggested that such a platform could be integrated into other research projects at the Memory Lab such as experiments on Parkinson’s disease.
Roig is also optimistic that the main takeaway of the team’s research will have a positive impact on young people. “You can combine exercise and video games,” Roig said. “A lot of people think they are opposed, but really, we are failing our younger generations. The hope of this paper is to show parents and younger people that you can improve at both [video games and exercise] simultaneously.”
Montreal start-up Aifred Health is applying AI to mental healthcare New AI model works to match patients with the right treatment
Margaret Wdowiak Contributor Mental health treatments for conditions such as depression are currently based on an arduous ‘trial and error’ process. Matching people with the right care is difficult: An individual experiencing depression might consult different specialists who may recommend various different kinds of treatment, none of which could actually work. Aifred Health, a Montreal-based healthcare company, has perhaps found a better way. The company is developing a treatmentagnostic artificial intelligence (AI) model that helps make personalized treatment more widely available and match patients with the best care. Specifically, it is a machine learning model, a mathematical algorithm trained on sample data to make predictions about the most effective treatment. “Once the clinician has made a diagnosis, we assist in the process of treatment selection,” Dr. David Benrimoh (M.D, C.M, 2016), Aifred Health’s Chief Science Officer and a Resident in McGill’s Department of Psychiatry, said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. Medical professionals collect a number of data when a patient visits the doctor, including symptoms and sociodemographic information. Aifred Health’s job starts with assembling this data using an AI model to predict the prob-
The AI tool is a machine learning model that predicts the most effective treatment based on sample data. (telanganatoday.com) ability of remission with different treatments. Afterward, the clinician receives a report that helps them make a more informed decision with the patient about their treatment. “The clinician still makes the choice with the patient, but we help give them more information to make a better choice that is more likely to work than without the tool,” Benrimoh said. Currently, the treatment-agnostic AI model is only intended for one condition. “Right now, [it is designed] for depression, with plans to expand to other conditions
such as anxiety and schizophrenia in the future,” Benrimoh said. At the moment, there are no widely accessible methods of personalizing treatment for patients. Aifred Health’s model’s main advantage is that it tailors treatment to the individual, increasing the chance that patients will receive the right medical care. What’s more, the new tool does not need huge amounts of time-consuming data collection, as it only requires patients to fill out a questionnaire. Despite the huge potential of this technology, the model still poses many challenges to
the Aifred Health team. According to Benrimoh, the biggest obstacle they face is adoption of the technology. Thus, it is essential that the tool they build is one that doctors and patients actually want to employ. “If no one uses it, it could be the best model ever, but it’s not going to do anything,” Benrimoh said. Still, Aifred Health has a few steps to complete before worrying about consumer reactions. The company is currently conducting a feasibility study in which they are using the technology for the first time in real clinics. Computer simulations and tests at McGill’s Arnold and Blema Steinberg Medical Simulation Centre have already yielded promising results. The Steinberg Medical Simulation Centre simulates authentic health care settings using the latest technologies to enhance the skills of healthcare professionals. Indeed, most doctors that participated in tests at the Simulation Centre found that the AI model was useful and were willing to use it in their practice, though they will have to wait a few years. “Within roughly two to three years, the full AI tool will be market ready,” Benrimoh said. Aifred Health’s treatment-agnostic AI model has the potential to revolutionize mental health treatment. Although still currently in the testing stages, they will soon be providing millions of individuals with more effective treatment.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
From the Brainstem: Scientific publishing is broken Publishers reap massive profits at public expense Amir Hotter Yishay Staff Writer Continued from page 1. Upon publication, the research is sold back in exorbitantly priced subscription packages to, for the most part, publicly funded institutions. Access to this research is then withheld from the general public—whose taxes bankrolled it— by paywalls charging as much as $30 to read a single article. In effect, the general public pays for the research, the salaries of those reviewing it for publication, and institutional access to it. It is no wonder, then, that Elsevier, the largest academic publisher in the world, regularly posts profit margins between 35 and 40 per cent, greater than those of Google, Facebook, Disney, or Amazon. Scientists are incentivized by the nature of academia to play into this system. To secure tenure-track positions, researchers are expected to publish often. The more prestigious the journal the better, as scientific clout is all too often conflated with one’s number of publications in top journals such as Nature and Cell. The pursuit of this journal-appointed prestige encourages scientists to orient their research towards the journal editors’ demands. The journal editors receive a massive amount of submissions,
Publishing companies have spent millions lobbying against open-access. (blogs.frontiersin.org) the majority of which will languish, unpublished. These editors effectively act as gatekeepers of scientific knowledge, yet they are ultimately beholden to profit rather than principle. Elsevier dominates the industry. A 2015 report from Vincent Larivière of the Université de Montréal (UdeM) showed that Elsevier controls roughly a quarter of the scientific journal market, while competitors Springer and Wiley-Blackwell own nearly another quarter between them. The stranglehold that these com-
panies have on the industry has allowed them to charge astronomically high subscription fees to universities, which had to field a 215 per cent increase in such fees between 1986 and 2003. These fees have come to claim an ever larger portion of university library budgets; in the 20182019 school year, McGill paid nearly $1.9 million to Elsevier alone for a subscription to ScienceDirect. The backlash to this backlash to escalating fees publishing oligopoly has seen a push for open access to research—
a prospect Elsevier has spent millions lobbying against—and the rise of openaccess journals. Yet just one year ago, the University of California (UC), the largest public university system in the US, decided to cancel its subscription to Elsevier in a move that sent shockwaves through the world of scientific publishing. The deal fell apart over the UC’s desire to secure open access for research published in Elsevier journals. Meanwhile, large-scale open access initiatives are underway, such as Plan S, launched in 2018 by an international consortium of research funders seeking to eliminate paywalls for all publicly funded research. On the more unofficial side of things is the controversial website SciHub, which was founded in 2011 and bypasses paywalls to provide free access to millions of articles, regardless of copyright. Unsurprisingly, SciHub has been embroiled in a litany of lawsuits, including with Elsevier. As things stand, public institutions and scientists are being fleeced by publishers, to the enduring detriment of the scientific community as a whole. It is incumbent upon schools to follow the UC’s example and make good on promises to finally secure open access for all publicly funded research: The time has come to tear down the paywalls and stop paying into a broken system.
Uncovering the mysteries of deep space with CHIME
Canadian telescope detects new astrophysical bodies far outside the galaxy
Sophia Gorbounov Staff Writer For the first time ever, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope detected a repeating fast radio burst (FRB) that follows a regular 16-day cycle. The Feb. 13 discovery comes a month after the CHIME telescope detected the second ever FRB from deep space. It adds a new clue to the mystery of FRBs, indicating that they could orbit celestial bodies or emit from objects that have some sort of cyclical routine. First observed in 2007, FRBs are very intense, short bursts of radio waves produced from unidentified bodies in outer space. These detections represent new and unknown astrophysical phenomena and can provide answers to previously detected radio waves, whose sources were once a complete mystery. A group of over 50 scientists from universities across Canada first used CHIME in 2017. One such scientist was Victoria Kaspi, a professor in the Department of Physics at McGill. Kaspi explained how the telescope works and how it manages to translate
signals obtained from billions of light years away. “CHIME is made of cylindrical reflectors that reflect the radio waves coming from the overhead sky into 1,024 antennas that are suspended above the reflector surfaces,” Kaspi wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “These antennas are then read out into sophisticated electronics […] and then a custom-built supercomputer.” Kaspi noted how the supercomputer spewed out data that she and her team would then have to search through in real time to detect the presence of FRBs. Using sophisticated software, including artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, researchers were successfully able to reveal an FRB. FRBs, when detected, only last a few milliseconds. Though not completely understood, Kaspi explained that scientists are increasingly discovering FRBs, suggesting they are very common in the universe. “FRBs can be used as novel radio probes of the structure of the universe,” Kaspi wrote. Using telescopes like CHIME, scientists are discovering that FRBs come from ‘spe-
Scientists are increasingly discovering FRBs, which suggests that they are very common in the universe. (blogs.frontiersin.org) cial’ regions of the universe, representing very powerful explosions like supernovas or even black holes. Another key concept observed in this experiment was the scattering of detected FRBs. Scattering, as the name suggests, is when waves or particles hit a new medium and disperse in different directions. This physical phenomenon is most commonly seen in light when it hits a surface. The scattering of FRBs led Kaspi’s team to conclude that the bursts represent large astrophysi-
cal bodies in places far outside our galaxy. The pattern of scattering indicates what material the FRBs have passed through on their journey to Earth. “We found that the shapes of the first few bursts indicate that the radio waves in many cases were mildly scattered by plasma, and that this plasma must be different from the plasma we typically find between galaxies,” Kaspi wrote. “[FRBs] provide brief ‘snapshots’ through the plasma in the intergalactic medium as well as in the haloes of
intervening galaxies.” Since the discovery of the second FRB, hundreds more have been detected and are now being analyzed to understand why they occur and the physics behind the astrophysical explosions that they represent. Kaspi explained that researchers are also attempting to make sense of the environment from where FRBs originate, which, when better understood, could provide new ideas for what is going on in the depths of outer space.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
A guide to becoming a cold-weather athlete Staying happy and active in the dead of winter
Adam Burton Staff Writer The sky is dark when you leave your lecture at 5:30 pm, you have seen more MTL Blog headlines about the cold than you can count, and you might even have had your eyelids freeze shut on the way to school. It is February in Montreal, and constantly fending off the elements can make tasks as simple as grocery shopping arduous. In such conditions, it is easy to give up on sports and wait for the warmer days ahead, but you don’t have to: Here is The McGill Tribune’s guide to staying sporty this winter. Intramural sports Many students are unaware of the various intramural leagues that run throughout the year in the McGill Sports Complex. From activities as obscure as innertube water polo to more mainstream sports like soccer or basketball, there are a wide variety of sports and levels of competition to choose from. Getting involved is easy: Simply pick your sport and find a group on Facebook or declare as a free agent directly on the website. Indoor yoga Whether you are a seasoned veteran with a closet full of Lululemon gear and a yoga mat to your name or a complete
beginner who has not even thought to touch your toes since high school gym class, yoga is for everybody. Luckily, there are plenty of options in Montreal. Modo Yoga and ensō yoga are just a few studios offering everything from hot to bar yoga. Yoga is not just a way to increase your flexibility: It improves breathing, posture, and boosts endorphins to fend off the threat of seasonal affective disorder. If you are looking to experience any sort of warmth this winter, take advantage and get your stretch on. McGill Ski Club McGill boasts the largest ski club on the east coast of North America and has the mission of providing as much skiing at the lowest cost possible to McGill students. For a relatively inexpensive initial membership fee, the SSMU Ski Club offers free transportation and significant discounts on equipment rentals and lift passes. A day on the mountain isn’t just about shredding that pow; it is also about forging friendships on the bus ride there and the drinks at aprèsski. Cross-country skiing The nearest downhill ski mountains are out of range for most McGill students looking for a quick day trip, but what many don’t realize is that you can crosscountry ski right behind campus. Mount
Outdoor rinks, indoor yoga, and cross-country skiiing are just some of the ways McGill students can stay active in the winter. (Chloe Rodriguez / The McGill Tribune) Royal boasts miles of serene cross-country ski trails free for all to use. The tracks are maintained on a daily basis, and the views are pristine. In addition to being a fantastic workout, cross-country skiing is cheap and accessible: The McGill Gym and McGill Outdoors Club both offer great deals on rentals for an entire season, or for just a day. Pick-up hockey The sheer volume of rinks in Montreal
is a marvel, so it is no wonder that the pickup hockey scene is robust. Even on McGill’s downtown campus, students can take time between classes to lace up, shoot some dingers, and skate their worries away for a few hours. Montreal also maintains over 100 rinks throughout the city and updates conditions daily on their portal website. Next weekend, grab your skates and stick and head down to your nearest rink—you’ll be sure to find some competition and meet new friends.
McGill wins quarterfinals series opener Last period defensive efforts see McGill win 2–1 over Concordia Shaun Lalani Staff Writer The McGill Men’s Hockey team (20– 15–1) beat the Concordia Stingers (16–19) on Feb. 13 in a nail-biting opener of the OUA East quarterfinals at McConnell Arena. The game saw tempers boil over, but McGill held off a barrage of shots in the final period to clinch the Game 1 win with a tight 2–1 victory. However, two losses on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 saw McGill end their playoff run early. The first period got off to a laboured start as both teams struggled to find their rhythm. McGill managed to maintain possession of the puck and forced a string of saves by Stinger goalie Kyle Jessiman. Concordia picked up the first of what would be three penalties this period and McGill took advantage of the resulting power plays by controlling their offensive zone. Their passing allowed them to create a series of opportunities. The team struck gold a minute before the end of the power play, when a well-executed sequence between third-year forward Keanu Yamamoto and fourth-year defenceman Nathanael Halbert put the puck on second-year forward
Second-year forward Jordan-Ty Fournier and fourth-year forward Samuel Tremblay scored for McGill. (Iman Zarrinkoub / The McGill Tribune)
Jordan-Ty Fournier’s tape, to put McGill up 1–0 before the break. “[Concordia’s physical play is] something we’re used to with [our] rivalry,” Head Coach Liam Heelis said. “They’re in the
MOMENT OF THE GAME Fourth-year goalie Louis-Philip Guindon pulled off a spectacular
same city as us, and we play so many games against them. Sometimes, things tend to fizzle up, but in the end, we’re [focussed] on playing our game.” The McGill offence began the second
QUOTABLE “I’m really proud of the effort they put in tonight and the
double save in the dying minutes of the game to seal the victory for
effort they put in [preparing] for the [game]” – Head Coach Liam
Heelis on the team’s work ethic in and out of the game.
period right where they left off, nearly doubling their advantage when a slapshot clattered off the goalpost. Halfway through the second period, captain and fourth-year forward Samuel Tremblay scored off of a dribble down the right to extend the lead. The goal seemed to be a wake-up call for the opposition, kicking off a period of dominance from the Stingers. Called into action, fourthyear goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon made save after save. The visitors finally broke through after a lapse in defence, which allowed them to tap the puck past Guindon. The period ended 2–1 for McGill. The final period saw an electric Concordia team come out energized looking for the equalizer, but McGill’s defensive lockdown did not break. Tensions rose through the roof in the final five minutes after McGill picked up two penalties. The Stingers nearly scored on the power play, striking the goalpost with two minutes remaining. However, Guindon remained solid in the net, making three saves in the final minute, to secure a victory for McGill in the series opener. “That was a great win for us, we played really well and as a team today, and I think the results really just speak [for themselves,]”
STAT CORNER Guindon was on top of his game, making 34 saves to keep an unrelenting Stinger’s offence to just one goal.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 2020
Diarra leads Martlets to RSEQ playoff berth McGill women’s basketball defeats Concordia 60–57 at home
Martlet Basketball (7–8) continued their fantastic form on Feb. 15, defeating the Concordia Stingers (4–10) by a score of 60–57 at home. Fifth-year transfer centre Sirah Diarra led the way with 14 points and 11 assists as McGill prevailed in a tight game that featured 39 turnovers and 10 lead changes. This is the Martlets’ fifth win in six games, and improved their season record against the Stingers to 4–0. With the victory, they secured a spot in the RSEQ playoffs. “It’s not necessarily the sweep that was special, it’s special because that [game] is where we just clinched the playoffs,” Head Coach Ryan Thorne said. “They were battling for a playoff position, and we needed to stop them right here. That is what is most important.” The Martlets started the game strong defensively, keeping Concordia scoreless for the first three minutes. McGill raced out to an early 4–0 lead, but a series of missed shots allowed the away side back into the game, and the Martlets found themselves trailing 17–14 at the end of the first quarter. McGill continued to struggle offensively, trailing for most of the second quarter due to precise three-point
shooting from the Stingers. The home side responded well, however, capitalizing on their size and physicality to dominate in the paint. Diarra scored off of her own offensive rebounds on consecutive possessions to regain the lead, and the Martlets entered halftime leading 30–28. The third quarter mirrored the second, with McGill controlling the lane and playing stifling defence. The Martlets looked poised to run away with the game on several occasions, but numerous costly turnovers kept Concordia in the contest. The Stingers then hit multiple three-pointers to go up 44–43 heading into the fourth quarter. Both teams went into the final quarter on defensive lockdown; with nearly four minutes gone, McGill had scored the only basket. Finally, the home side found a breakthrough. With five minutes left to play, Diarra materialized out of nowhere to block an open layup, before dishing the ball to first-year forward Nadege Pluviose who scored through heavy contact. Pluviose took over from there, and after a couple of tough shots, the Martlets found themselves up by six, with the score at 52–46. A late surge from Concordia, fueled by outstanding three-point shooting, cut the McGill lead to one. The Martlets remained resolute though, and with 30 seconds left to play, fifth-year guard Geraldine Cabillo-Abante drained a three as the shot clock expired, putting the Martlets up by four.
Another steal and free throw saw the Martlets walk away victorious. Despite stand out performances from Diarra and Pluviose, Thorne stressed that the win was a team effort. “I think we have greater depth,” Thorne said. “If you look at the numbers, their top players played 40, 35, 32 minutes, and that’s a lot of minutes to be playing out there.” The Martlets aim to finish the regular season strong against UQÀM at home on Feb. 20. A win is likely to give the Martlets the third seed and an easier schedule in the playoffs.
MOMENT OF THE GAME
Fifth-year guard Geraldine Cabillo-Abante beat the shot clock with a deep three to put the Martlets up by four with 25 seconds left, securing the win.
“We just kept subbing people in and our depth came through in the end.” - Head Coach Ryan Thorne on the team’s effort.
The Martlets set the tone early on defence by recording three steals and a forced shot-clock violation, while not allowing a single shot during their first four defensive sequences of the game.
Jack Armstrong Contributor
Fifth-year guard Geraldine Cabillo-Abante scored a crucial three-pointer in the final period, helping to secure the win for the Martlets. (Gabe Nisker / The McGill Tribune)
Sports are political
McGill alumnus and Super Bowl champ LDT is wasting his platform
Kaja Surborg and Kevin Vogel Sports and Arts & Entertainment Editor Continued from page 1. “I’m not going to talk about my political opinion about the States and everything, but I’ve never been to Washington,” Duvernay-Tardif told fans at the Montreal celebration. “I want to know what it’s like.” Duvernay-Tardif’s decision to meet with Trump, should he be invited, is a missed opportunity to make a clear statement against bigotry. As a multimillionaire and professional athlete, Duvernay-Tardif can visit the American capital and see ‘what it’s like’ without having to play into a racist and misogynistic president’s rhetoric. Athletes from a variety of leagues have refused to visit the White House during Trump’s tenure without career-ending backlash. Sports are not apolitical and do not exist in a vacuum. On a domestic and local level, fan bases are diverse communities that are affected unequally by past and present political realities. By not actively denouncing policies based in prejudice and bigotry when presented with the opportunity to do so, Duvernay-Tardif and other privileged athletes create environments where fans from marginalized communities may not feel safe or welcome.
Anti-Indigenous racism is prominent in many North American sports, both at McGill and in the NFL. (Scott Winters / Icon Sportswire)
A McGill football alumnus like Duvernay-Tardif should know better than most athletes that sports cannot exist free of scrutiny and personal politics. The #ChangeTheName campaign at McGill, led by Indigenous activists, is a recent illustration. Indigenous students have spoken about the feelings of isolation
and insecurity that come with racist team names. The university refused to address the team name until April 2019, when the office of the Principal finally released a statement saying that the men’s varsity teams’ name would be changed. Anti-Indigenous racism is a
prominent feature of North American sports, extending well beyond McGill, and Duvernay-Tardif’s current NFL franchise is another perfect example. “The Chiefs” as a team name, along with the accompanying fan tradition of the “tomahawk chop,” is a caricature of Indigenous peoples. At a time when unceded Indigenous territory is being invaded in Canada, and traditional burial grounds are being demolished for a wall along the US–Mexico border, professional athletes with financial security and large platforms have an opportunity to openly denounce these practices rooted in bigotry. For Duvernay-Tardif to say that personal politics can be put aside at this time is to completely ignore his own privilege and disregard the very real consequences of passively endorsing the Trump administration. Feeling unwelcome in stadiums and unsafe on one’s own land is a personal reality that many Indigenous individuals simply do not have the privilege to ignore. It is naive to think that DuvernayTardif’s refusal to visit the White House would create any long-term political difference at the national level. But, for fans from marginalized communities, knowing that the players they have come to watch and possibly admire do not endorse discriminatory policies can make a significant and positive difference.