YEARS OLD AND UNDER
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FEBRUARY 10 TO 12, AT 8 P.M., FEBRUARY 13 AT 3 AND 8 P.M.
CHOREOGRAPHY GAVIN WEBBER, GRAYSON MILLWOOD, SARAH-JAYNE HOWARD
A car breakdown, a couple, an intruder. A car breakdown, a couple, an intruder.
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The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Emergency in Gaza Humera Jabir The McGill Daily
ads Gilbert and Erik Fosse became the eyes of the world in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli invasion of December 2008. As the only two foreign doctors in Gaza when the fighting broke out, Gilbert and Fosse reported to CNN, Al-Jazeera, ABC, BBC, and CBS from outside al-Shifa hospital where they worked, allowing the world to see the conflict through the eyes of those affected. Gilbert spoke to students Friday night at an event hosted by the McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. Gilbert described the interwoven nature of politics and medicine, and his belief that health is the most important foreign policy issue of our time. Gilbert’s political opinions stand out in a profession where neutrality is often the expected norm. But in his view, to be neutral would be tantamount to complicity – putting his patients in further danger. He has argued that the wall separating Gaza from Israel is a dividing line between those who have the right to health care and those who do not, and that pushing for an end to violence and the blockade of Gaza is just “good preventative medicine.” McGill Daily: Can you describe the scene at al-Shifa hospital once the first casualties started to arrive when the bombing began last year? Mads Gilbert: We were coming at New Years Eve, and at that time the damage from the bombing had been going on for days already, and we knew the first day, December 27, had been a complete nightmare with many injured going to the hospital…. The bombing of the al-Shifa mosque nearby had shattered all the windows in the surgical block. They were lacking everything and the patients kept pouring in, in waves, up to three, four, five hundred per day. It was a huge trauma, very painful trauma for us. I really can’t fully understand what kind of trauma it was for our colleagues. They had all their own people coming in, so devastated, so torn apart. But they had their own family members too, friends, neighbours, working colleagues killed, paramedics. I had the deepest respect for their courage and persistence….I don’t think many Western hospitals – my hospital – would have prevailed [through] three weeks of this enormous flow of victims coming in, and lacking so much equipment and capacity.
MD: How were people getting to the hospital? Were ambulances and emergency vehicles able to move freely? MG: No, ambulances were being shot at. They were not able to move freely. People were carrying children in arms, in private cars, any transport that was available. Often the injured could not [be brought in] because Israel was attacking the ambulances. It was complete chaos. It was mayhem, I would say, outside the entrance to al-Shifa. There were stretches of quiet…but we never knew if they would bomb or attack the hospital. They did bomb hospitals, the alQuds hospital. MD: Did you treat individuals who were victims of the use of unconventional weapons? What are their noticeable effects? MG: We were treating people who we think were victims of new weapons. The first time they were used was in Lebanon in 2006 – DIME weapons – dense inert metal explosives. They are a new generation of bombs that are highly explosive, very short range of action. But if you are in the range of action you are torn apart. A fair amount of children sustained these injuries, and it completely ripped off their arms and legs. Some of the adults could survive it with amputations. MD: There have been claims about Israel using white phosphorous gas, which results in severe chemical burns. Did you deal with any of these casualties? MG: I didn’t see any myself, but there were casualties. But phosphorous grenades are not illegal and can be used as smokescreens under international law, although they should not be used against civilian targets. I think all the focus on phosphorous bombs is a little bit illinformed, and not the main issue. The most important weapon that Israel is using, and has used against the Palestinians, is the siege of Gaza – that is illegal, against international law, and needs to be lifted immediately. As we are speaking, Israelis are still sieging Gaza, and it is a huge blockade. No building material is coming in, no food, cement, schoolbooks, pencils – security for the people. MD: What effect has the siege had on the medical infrastructure in Gaza, before and after the war? MG: First of all, it has caused a very severe and worrisome decline in the health condition of Gaza, stunting amongst children, malnutrition, anemia, and a general exhaustion. People are exhausted, the lack of freedom to
move around…. The fundamental condition of health has been weakened by the years of siege…. The hospital health care is deficient of important supplies, maintenance, spare parts, which makes it difficult to work as a doctor and nurse. MD: Do you believe that medicine and politics can be separated? MG: As a medical doctor it is my duty to see the world from the angle of my patients and to try to safeguard their fundamental needs for health…. If the first provisions are not in place, then as a doctor I have to talk about their living conditions so that they can change. It goes without saying that if you have unsafe water in Montreal, the general surgeon has to talk to the government, and that is a political process. All the patients who came in came in because of Israeli bombings. That was the main medical problem. It was not lack of materials, a lack of doctors. It was the ongoing destruction of human life, at the hands of the Israeli government and army…. Bear in mind that 13 Israelis were killed, whereas 1,400 Palestinians were killed. That is 13, and 1,400 too many. [The] power distribution in society, the distribution of access to health care, human security, all these aspects of life are political aspects. I think the medical community has a responsibility to take part in the decisions that affect the power distribution, and the distribution of wealth, access to fundamental provisions needed for a good life. So I think politics and medicine are interwoven and that health is currently the most important foreign policy issue of our time. MD: Why did you feel it was important to report what you were witnessing as a medical professional? MG: We had to tell the world what was going on in order to stop that, so as to safeguard the safety and living conditions of our patients, and we did what any doctor has the obligation to do: to be a spokesperson for the voiceless, to be a defender of the patients’ interests, and that is an outstanding tradition, and we did our best to inform the leaders of the world, so that they could see what was going on. Unfortunately they didn’t act, but we are convinced to this day that it was right of us to talk about this. MD: You have been criticized by the Israeli government, among others, for providing one-sided criticism while concealing your political stance. Should people see you as an
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
War doctor Mads Gilbert discusses the politics of health in the Occupied Territories
Mads Gilbert concluded a 15 campus tour at McGill on Friday. objective, third party observer? MG: Yes, we are being criticized by the Israeli government and by the Zionist lobby for being liars and what not, and that is an interesting illustration that medicine is indeed political. The doctor and the medical community should be concerned with prevention, with changing fundamentally the conditions for health that will only treat the patient. If we were to only stand there and patch up people and stop the bleeding, and not say anything about the causative factors, we would betray our patients. So it was our duty to speak, our duty to tell the world, why all these patients, why all these children were coming in and were dying, were so injured. It was not an earthquake, not a natural disaster; it was a deliberate manmade disaster, planned meticulously, and executed by the state of Israel. Nobody is neutral, really. While we have chosen sides with the Palestinian people, that does not mean that we won’t treat an Israeli soldier coming to al-Shifa. At the individual level we will always be
neutral. But at the system level we went to Gaza…because we think the Palestinian people have a just cause, that they are being occupied and that that is unjust, simple as that. What is the difference between me and Erik, and the Israeli doctors working in the army? They have chosen sides in their government, and for the oppressor, and for the occupant, and well, that is their decision. But it is a political decision too. Why should only we be criticized of being one-sided? Where are the discussions about the duties and the responsibility of the Israeli medical associations, Israeli medical community, of all the Israeli doctors who joined the army? Where is that discussion; where is the discussion about their medical ethics? All that happened in Gaza could have been prevented if the world had not kept silent, if the American administration did not keep silence, if the world had not keep silent, but told Israel to stop it, stop it, stop it. You have to come to the negotiation table, we have to find a solution, you can not kill all these civilians – period.
Shaare Zion Congregation, Montreal’s largest Conservative Synagogue seeks choral singers. Applicants must read Hebrew and have a thourough knowledge of the liturgy.
Leadership Skills Development Workshops If you are a student involved in campus activities as an executive, organizer or event planner, you qualify for the Leadership Training Program’s FREE Skills Development Workshops.
Please reply in strict conidence to: Shimon Radu, Music Director, Shaare Zion Congregation 5575 Cote St. Luc Road, Montreal, QC H3X 2C9 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Classifieds To place an ad, via email: email@example.com • phone: 514-398-6790 • fax: 514-398-8318 in person: 3480 McTavish St., Suite B-26, Montreal QC H3A 1X9 Cost: McGill Students & Staff: $6,70/day; $6.20/day for 3 or more days. General public: $8.10/day; $6.95/day for 3 or more days. 150 character limit. There will be a $6.00 charge per contract for any characters over the limit. Prices include taxes. MINIMUM ORDER $40.50/ 5 ads. Lost & Found ads are free. Other categories include: Movers/Storage, Employment, Word Processing/Typing, Services Oﬀered, For Sale, To Give Away, Wanted to Buy, Rides/Tickets, Lost & Found, Personal, Lessons/Courses, Notices, Volunteers, Musicians, etc.
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Apartment-hunting season is back and the Daily wants to help you out. Drop by our oﬃce, Shatner B-26, and we’ll place your housing classiﬁed on our website for free! Student ID required.
日本語を勉強しているカップルは日本 人ルームメートを探しています。英語 とフランス語の練習をしたかったら、 喜んで手伝います。 アパートはけっこう 広い2LKです。Plateau Mont-Royal の近所にあります。Laurierメトロに 近くて便利です。部屋は７月１日から 貸間なります。部屋代は月545＄で す。猫も一匹います。 メールをして下さ い：firstname.lastname@example.org
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Stay fit while travelling, with bicep curls in Germany. We’ll give you $300. You play, we pay. Book your Contiki Holiday at Voyages Campus and get cash to spend on your vacation. Visit your local Voyages Campus. voyagescampus.com McGill University, 3480 McTavish, 514.398.0647 Book your Contiki Holiday at Voyages Campus and get cash to spend on your vacations. 25-30 day trip earn CDN$200 prepaid-VISA giftcard, 31 day or longer trip earn CDN$300 prepaid-VISA giftcard. Valid for new bookings, booked and paid before Mar 31, 2010. While supplies last, not combinable with any other offer or discount. Some conditions may apply. Promo code CPLAY 5 or CPLAY A5. Permis du Québec | QC–7002238
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The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
McGill slashes employee benefits Negotiations between the administration, MUNACA, and teachers help soften the blow Jeff Bishku-Aykul The McGill Daily
plan to scale down McGill’s employee benefit plan went into effect last month, following a Board of Governors decision made in November. The revised plan affects all McGill employees. The McGill University NonAcademic Certified Association (MUNACA) first learned about the University’s intent to implement such a policy at a June 4 meeting. According to the union, the University’s administration began urging the Staff Benefits Advisory Committee (SBAC) to cut employee benefits costs by $1 million per year. University officials publicly indicated this position during the fall. Following a November 23 vote by the University’s Board of Governors approving such a measure, MUNACA released a letter stating that employees already financed half the cost of their own benefit package, and noting that the University’s cuts represented a saving of approximately $1.3 million, a greater amount than their original target. Upon further discussion in December between the administration and several organizations, McGill agreed to cut employee benefits by precisely $1 million. Groups involved in the discussion included MUNACA and the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT), a non-union organization to which approximately 60 per cent of University faculty belong. In addition, dental coverage for retirees, which had been removed from employee benefits in November, was once again incorporated into the benefit plan. “They agreed to make any adjustments due to the bad PR they received,” MUNACA president Robert Whittaker said. “I don’t think that they are ashamed or regretful. I think they are just upset for the bad PR they received for it.” The cuts still stipulate that “out-
Stephen Davis from The McGill Daily Archives
MUNACA demonstrates at the Roddick Gates last year. of-pocket” maximums – the highest possible fee paid by employees for their benefits – have tripled, increasing from $150 to $400 for individuals and from $300 to $800 for families. However, Faculty of Law professor Richard Janda, president of the MAUT, was pleased with the discussion process, despite the University’s unilateral decision to modify the employee benefits package. “We did indeed reopen the issue and come back with an agreed-upon solution,” Janda said. “For me the take home lesson is that a faculty association is still operating within
a collegial environment.” Janda also believes that the University’s administration faces a valid challenge from the Quebec government for fear of losing grant money. “The University has explained for the past two years that in its arrangement with the Quebec government, it must arrive with a balanced budget,” he said. “Unless the University proceeds to balance this budget, it will have less operating budget,” Janda said. Whittaker asserted that the SBAC must be restructured so as to better defend employee interests. The SBAC
is comprised of representatives from MUAT, MUNACA, the McGill Union of Non-Academic Staff Association, and other organizations. “The structure of the SBAC will have to be looked at and changed,” Whittaker argued. “We sit on a board that is incapable of making a decision. Even if it does, they don’t support the cuts.” While groups like MAUT can promote faculty interests, professors have not negotiated a collective agreement with the University. In contrast with many Canadian schools, McGill does not have a faculty union. Yet Janda does not believe this necessarily
weakens the community. “Most universities in Canada have become unionized because faculties have concluded that they are, at least for some purposes, in an adversarial position with the administration,” said Janda. “If you believe that the University is this self-governing community – students are participants, faculty members are participants – then you say this operates more like a polity than an adversarial structure.” Associate Vice-Principal (Human Resources) Lynn Gervais and Secretary General Stephen Strople were unavailable for comment.
Health minister will not pay Haiti volunteer doctors Eight to 10 Quebec doctors working in Haiti are unaffiliated with any organization Andra Cernavskis News Writer
n February 2, the Quebec Ministry of Health denied a request made by volunteer orthopedic surgeons in Haiti to receive remuneration of $700-$800 a day for their time and services. “Despite their worthy gesture, we cannot pay volunteers who went to Haiti on a voluntary basis, without coordination with the institutions responsible for this and without an official mission order,” said Karine Rivard,
the press attache for Yves Bolduc, Quebec’s Health Minister. Rivard explained that Quebec’s current involvement in Haiti ultimately swayed the decision of the ministry. “Since the tragic events in Haiti, the Quebec health and social services department has been contributing to the international aid efforts by responding to the needs expressed by the federal government and international organizations,” she said, noting that Quebec has worked closely with the Red Cross. The surgeons traveled with a
group of eight to 10 other volunteer physicians from Quebec, including orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and general surgeons, on their own accord without attachments to any particular organization. Bolduc has said the requests were made by the physicians with the belief that through compensation, the Quebec government could show their support for the relief effort in Haiti. Bolduc said the physicians have also argued that remuneration could help keep their offices open, allow them to stay for longer, and encourage other physi-
cians to join in the effort “There are many consequences to the decision,” Bolduc told the National Post on January 27. “Because there are many people who work in the aid scene and they are volunteers and they are not paid.” However, doctors who sign on with organizations like Médecins sans frontières (MSF) receive a small stipend for their time. “The doctors who are recruited by MSF receive compensation but not a real salary. On their first mission, physicians receive $1484 a month,” said an MSF spokesperson. Comparing MSF doctors to the
group of Quebec physicians, the MSF spokesperson suggested that doctors must understand the full implications of deciding to be a volunteer. “We are a professional organization. [The Quebec doctors are] something completely different. I don’t know who is sending them or which organization they are working for. If they decide to work for MSF, they have to accept the really low salary we offer,” they added. The Association des orthopédistes du Québec declined to comment.
Abdelkader Belaouni and his lawyer speak Wednesday, February 10, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. New Chancellor Day Hall, room 100 (Moot Court) Living in a Montreal church sanctuary for almost four years, refugee Abdelkader Belaouni describes his personal struggles as a blind man escaping civil war in Algeria. Years of repeated refusals by the Canadian government to grant him status left him secluded in St. Gabriel’s Church, entirely dependant on the community for care and support. His lawyer, Jared Will, will discuss Abdelkader’s struggles for legal status as a disabled man within Canada’s immigrant/refugee system. Part of QPIRG Social Justice Days. Coffee House in the Arts Lounge Wednesday, February 10, 5p.m.- 7 p.m. Leacock building basement Bring a friend, bring a guitar, study, or hang out. Get entertainment, caffeine and more – all in the confines of the scenic Arts Lounge. Sponsored by the AUS. QPIRG McGill’s library celebrates its 1,000th Title! Thursday, February 11, 1:30 p.m. QPIRG, 3647 University 3rd floor Browse through our collection of books, zines, films, and other resources covering topics such as social justice, activism and community organizing, environmental justice, anti-oppression, political thought, and more! Part of QPIRG Social Justice Days. Third World Debt: Who Owes Whom? Friday, February 12, 12 p.m. Lev Bukhman Room, SSMU building, 3480 McTavish This workshop delves into the history and origins of debt and poverty in the Third World. Through popular education and engaging illustrations, the audience participates in uncovering the complicated dynamics behind how the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and historical events contributed to Third World debt. Part of QPIRG Social Justice Days.
WHAT’S THE HAPS
H2Oil: What’s more important, water or oil? Monday, February 8, 12 p.m. Faculty of Education room 233, 3700 McTavish Writer and director Shannon Walsh joins us to screen the film and discuss the implications of the Alberta tar sands here in Quebec, and the growing global movement that understands the links between environmental and social justice. Part of QPIRG Social Justice Days.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Facebook privacy under investigation Complaint sparks debate on social networking site’s intentions and responsibilities Henry Gass The McGill Daily
he Canadian Privacy Commission (CPC) launched a new investigation into Facebook privacy policies and practices last week. The CPC acted in response to a complaint claiming that new default privacy settings introduced by the site in mid-December 2009 made the complainant’s personal information more available than his previous settings. “The individual’s complaint mirrors some of the concerns that our office has heard and expressed to Facebook in recent months,” said Elizabeth Denham, the assistant privacy commissioner, in a press release. Denham spearheaded a similar investigation last summer, which released findings criticizing how Facebook handles the personal information in its care, suggesting that the site also provide users with more control over their privacy settings. After intensive discussions in August 2009, Facebook agreed to modify the site in order to address the commissioner’s concerns. However, these changes have only evoked fresh concerns. “Some Facebook users are disappointed by certain changes being
made to the site – changes that were supposed to strengthen their privacy and the protection of their personal information,” said Denham, in the press release. The complaints raise questions over whose interest may be served in the operation of Facebook, a site with over 350 million users worldwide, 12 million of which are Canadian– a third of the country’s population. Michael Hoechsmann, a professor of media and technology in the McGill Faculty of Education, commented on Facebook’s intentions toward protecting the privacy of its users. “I think the investigation is warranted, but I have some misgivings about how the investigation will be conducted and what the implications will be for the Internet as we know it,” he said. “Facebook seems a bit brash. They have so much momentum and such a large user base they seem willing to make unpopular decisions if it’s in their corporate interests,” Hoechsmann added. Facebook generates revenue by selling advertising space they can target at specific users. The site is able to target users based on their personal information, to which the site has broad access. “At the end of the day, Facebook is a corporation trying to make money,” said Nick Kandel, U1 Arts.
Hoechsmann described Facebook as a new medium of market research. In the past, Hoechsmann said, markets would sample youth to find out their preferences. “Everyone gives [such information] up now [through sites like Facebook],” said Hoechsmann. Within the context of the privacy debate, some believe that responsibility for privacy settings should begin and end with the user. “Privacy settings are your responsibility,” said Kay Penney, U1 Science. Hoechsmann said he was hopeful that users would be careful when it came to their privacy. “Youth do make good decisions around setting private information,” he said. Hoechsmann, however, distinguished between the type of information displayed on sites like Facebook, and more sensitive and potentially damaging information, like credit card numbers and bank accounts. “[Information on Facebook] is more of a personal nature,” said Hoechsmann. “People aren’t worried about credit fraud. Here the issue is how we are represented to others.” Nevertheless, the CPC investigation has raised questions over how emerging media like the Internet should be regulated, if at all.
“We need to have some regulatory oversight [over the Internet], as we have had with old media,” said Hoechsmann. Taylor Stocks, U2 Arts, agreed with him. “There’s no dialog over what’s acceptable [on the Internet],” Stocks said. However, others feel that oversight or regulation could stunt the potential of the internet as a global, information-sharing medium. “There’s something exciting about an unregulated Internet that’s part of its potentiality…[and] its capacity to share and build new cultural forms through mass collaboration,” said Hoechsmann. Hoechsmann cited the examples of remix and mashup music circulating on the Internet as progenies of the medium that could be threatened by stricter oversight and regulation, whether by the hand of the government or the corporations with economic interests in the Internet. “Things like remix and mashup could be regulated right out of existence,” said Hoechsmann. “We could over-regulate the Internet to the point where we can’t use it like we do now. It could become a more restricted, corporate-controlled Internet.” The CPC could not comment directly because the investigation is ongoing.
CFS involved in three lawsuits in Quebec PGSS suit asks student federation to set referendum date Jacob Serebin CUP Quebec Bureau Chief
anada’s largest student lobby group will be in Quebec courtrooms twice next
week. The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is pursuing legal action against the Canadian Federation of Students-Quebec Inc. (CFS-Quebec), alleging that the group is using their name illegally. At the same time, the Post Graduate Students’ Society of McGill University (PGSS) is seeking legal action against CFS, asking the court to fix a date for a referendum on the society’s continued membership in the national federation. The PGSS was one of more than a dozen schools across Canada to launch a petition last fall to examine the possibility of exiting CFS. While CFS-Quebec was recognized by the national organization as their Quebec branch until as recently as last summer, a CFS lawyer sent a letter to the executive of CFS-Quebec on September 30, disassociating the organization from recognition as CFS-Quebec and demanding that the group stop using the CFS name.
CFS’s legal action against the Quebec component comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed last month by CFS-Quebec against CFS, seeking over $400,000 in membership fees that the Quebec group says should have been earmarked for Quebec initiatives by the national federation over the last three years. The September 30 letter accused CFS-Quebec of engaging “in activities which have caused and continue to cause damages to the CFS and are contrary to the goals and objectives of the CFS.” The letter also stated that since CFS-Quebec is no longer recognized by the national federation, it is no longer entitled to any portion of CFS membership fees. It went on to demand that CFS-Quebec “cease any and all attempts to collect, claim and/or deposit said membership fees from members of the CFS/ CFS-Services and any affiliated provincial component.” But CFS-Quebec executives say that because the group is recognized by the CFS members in the province, they should be recognized. “At the annual general meeting of the CFS, there was a decision taken, without opposition, by the members from Quebec explicitly
to the effect that the CFS-Quebec Inc. is the only legitimate arm of the CFS within Quebec,” said CFS-Quebec secretary-treasurer Andrew Haig. CFS bylaws require the national federation to transfer one-sixth of its membership fees from each province to the provincial component or to spend that money directly in the province. According to claims in the lawsuit filed by CFS-Quebec, CFS has done neither for three years. “It’s unfortunate that we were forced to take those steps,” said Haig. “But six months in, we have no records for what happened to the money that was provided to our organization.” The four CFS members in Quebec – PGSS, the Dawson Student Union, the Concordia Student Union, and Graduate Students’ Association – allegedly pay over $400,000 combined to the lobby group each year, though that figure is unclear. The newer case filed by CFS against the Quebec federation attempts to prove that CFS-Quebec has continued to work against the federation, in addition to not complying with the September ceaseand-desist letter. The case’s evidence includes a report from Ladan Mahabadi, the
PGSS VP External and a CFS-Quebec board member, submitted to PGSS council. The report states that the PGSS has had a poor relationship with CFS and CFS-Quebec. It also includes a blog post from CFS-Quebec president Gregory Johansson, written in defence of an unsuccessful motion package to reform the national organization that was presented at the CFS semi-annual meeting in late November. In early January, Johansson was denied entry to a meeting of the national executive of CFS, despite being ratified as a national executive member at November’s annual general meeting. In addition to seeking a referendum date, the PGSS action is also asking the court to impose different rules on the referendum than those set out in the CFS bylaws. “PGSS has a mandate from council to preserve the integrity of the process,” said Daniel Simeone, president of PGSS. He said they want to “ensure there is a fair set of rules that would allow adequate time for voting.” “Regrettably the situation is before the court at the moment,” said CFS national treasurer Dave Molenhuis. “We hope that these matters are resolved quickly.”
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
The Daily’s GA Recommendations The General Assembly will take place Wednesday, February 10 at 5pm in the Shatner cafeteria. Tar sands – YES
Discriminatory Groups – NO
This motion calls on SSMU to investigate all investments in excess of $15,000 for ties with the tar sands industrial development. It calls on all such investments to be screened by the Financial Ethics Review Committee (FERC) in accordance with the review process outlined in SSMU’s bylaws. The devastating environmental and social effects caused by the tar sands are too great to list here. Given that SSMU retains bonds of worth $32,000 in a company that owns and refines 98,000 acres of tar sands in Fort McMurray, it is imperative that SSMU investigate all its current and future investments for ties to this kind of extraction. FERC has failed to meet this year, and it is time that this group take the job of upholding SSMU’s financial ethics seriously. However, we would recommend lowering the $15,000 threshold so that investments of smaller amounts would also be subject to ethics review.
This motion argues that because Choose Life has used coercion and discrimination to prevent access to factual information regarding safe, free, and legal abortions, SSMU should ban any pro-life group or other group that violates the health of any person or engages in acts of discrimination. Choose Life has engaged in some reprehensible practices since its inception, but this motion makes the faulty leap of logic that all pro-life groups are the same. A pro-life group could exist on campus that respects students’ safety and provides beneficial medical services, like support for pregnant women. The poor wording of the motion could also be interpreted to condemn any group that might support the pro-life stance – for religious, political, or personal reasons. Everyone has the right to their personal beliefs, and as long as they express them in a constructive manner, SSMU should facilitate the discussion.
Restoration of $5 Bill ATM Machines on Campus – YES
All illustrations by Olivia Messer | The McGill Daily
This motion calls for SSMU to negotiate with the University for the return of $5 bills in ATM machines on campus – a practice which ended in September. This motion will not only help vendors – who will find it easier to make change – but students and student-run food services like Architecture Café. Having $20 is great, but not if you can’t use it.
Self-Funded Tuition Model – YES
The Defense of Human Rights, Social Justice, and Environmental Protection– YES This motion calls on SSMU to start using FERC to investigate McGill’s investments in companies that violate human rights – specifically those involved in Burma and the Occupied Territories – and if this fails, to create a new Corporate Social Committee (CSR) that will solicit freedom of information requests. The Daily supports the spirit of this motion, though we’re uncertain of whether it appoints appropriate tasks to the right groups. McGill should not invest money that students pay through tuition in companies involved in activities that violate human rights – and investment in Burma and the Occupied Territories should be condemned. Neither FERC nor any other SSMU body will have the power to change McGill’s investment policy, but SSMU should try all means to make McGill’s investments more transparent. A possible amendment to the motion might mandate SSMU’s representatives to the Senate – SSMU president and VP (University Affairs) – and the Board of Governors to make sure both bodies investigate the matter.
This motion calls on SSMU to lobby against the self-funded model proposed by Desautels Faculty of Management for its MBA program, and urge the University create a formal policy against this type of funding. The Daily supports this motion because education isn’t just a good for individuals; it’s a good for all of society. High tuition fees discourage people from working for the public interest in non-profits. Quebec may be in the midst of a funding shortage for post-secondary education, but we should look for provincial alternatives rather than immediately jack up the price of utition. Many MBA students may be fine with the tuition hike, but this could be an indication of more changes. At the University of Toronto, an MBA tuition hike was quickly followed by an increase in law tuition; we would hate to see that happen at McGill. This matter affects undergraduate and graduate students alike; SSMU must lobby against self-funded tuition.
SSMU for Free Quality Accessible Education – YES This motion calls on SSMU to unite with students from across Canada and Quebec to demand free, quality education, the reduction and eventual elimination of tuition, and greater support for students in financial need. It also calls on SSMU to lobby for better working conditions for students on campus. We support this motion in hopes that it will allow SSMU to work more closely with student unions like AMUSE or AGSEM and throw their weight behind them during collective bargaining. Working conditions on campus must be improved: student researchers do not receive standardized salaries, while bookstore employees need to formalize their relationship with their employers. Worse, McGill has shown itself to be a union-buster: when teaching assistants held a strike in 2008, McGill fired them from non-teaching assistant jobs. SSMU must also lobby for greater financial aid and bursaries provided by the University, and work with the student movement to achieve the ideal of free education, accessible to all. Quebec tuition fees will continue to rise until 2012, so now is the time to act.
Ancillary Fees – YES This motion calls for greater controls on the increase in ancillary fees, which go toward things like the athletics improvement fund and copyright charges. The provincial government imposed a cap on any increases, limiting it to $15 per semester. This cap is due to end in summer 2011. Students already pay high ancillary fees – $1,500 a year for out of province students. The motion demands that the maximum amount be maintained or lowered. Ancillary fee increases have been used by university administrations as a way to overcome the opposition to tuition increases by charging additional fees. SSMU should do everything possible to ensure that McGill does not use the expiration as a back door to increased tuition, especially given the University’s dismissive attitude toward provincial financial restrictions.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
The life-or-death stakes of transition Hormone replacement therapy is often essential
Binary is for computers N
hree years ago, Christine Daniels, a Los Angeles Times sportswriter, publicly announced that she was transitioning from male to female. When her friend and fellow sportswriter, Rick Reilly, asked her why she transitioned at age 49, she said, “Survival.... I had to do it. It was this or die.” (ESPN The Magazine, January 25, 2010). About a year after coming out, she started presenting herself as male again, returned to her old byline, then withdrew from the public eye. Last November, she committed suicide. We can’t know exactly what was going through her head. But her minister has stated that she was very clear that, even though she was publicly male, she would always be Christine (which is why I refer to her with female pronouns). We do know that she was facing a considerable amount of pressure and stress – from a divorce, from trans people who wanted her to be an activist, and from society at large. We also know that she, like other transsexuals,
faced a world that treated her as neither male nor female. These observations help explain why she returned to living as male, against her own wishes. In a perfect society, the social pressures that she confronted would not have made her life harder to live – because they wouldn’t exist. In the real world, however, that she survived as long as she did is surprising. Transsexuals have a much higher risk of suicide than the general population. No one who studies the issue really disputes this claim, though we have not yet developed a consensus of how much higher rates of suicides and attempted suicides are. Suicide rates among transsexuals are so high primarily because our society has constructed obstacles to transition. Since transitioning is the most successful way of addressing the depression and body image issues that many transsexuals face, any barrier to that process allows those problems to remain. Unaddressed, these problems can
lead to suicide. Social stigma undoubtedly plays a central role in preventing transition. For example, when I was first learning about transsexuality, I learned that other people had successfully transitioned. Despite this, I decided not to talk about my feelings – and eventually started pretending that they never existed – because I was afraid that my family would ostracize me. Because they are afraid of job
or housing discrimination, other trans people do not transition. Our mental health system has created even more explicit barriers. Psychologists, psychiatrists ,and therapists often vet trans clients for how well they fit into a specific narrative of transsexuality. For example, they often look at how young a person was when they first felt trans feelings. According to the traditional narrative, transsexuals are supposed to have “cross-gender” thoughts before the age of seven – and five is even more authentic. The medical establishment is likely to refuse treatment to anyone who reports these feelings at a later age. Many mental health “experts” have thought that “real” male-to-female transsexuals are only attracted to men. If they had their way, I wouldn’t have been able to transition physically because I’m generally attracted to women.
These mental health gatekeepers can and do block trans people who are depressed – and, consequently, at higher risk for suicide – from obtaining hormones when they need them. As a result, some trans people purchase hormones on the black market, endangering their health. Others simply go without hormones, which again, in severe cases, can lead to suicide. We need to tear down these barriers. Mental health providers need to expand their sense of who is eligible for hormone replacement therapy so that anyone who needs it can get it. We need to educate everyone about trans people to remove the stigma – and, in the meantime, pass laws prohibiting discrimination against those who need to transition. Whenever we think about trans issues, we need to remember the many transsexuals like Christine Daniels who have to choose between transition and suicide. Quinn Albaugh writes in this space every week. Send Quinn your thoughts at binaryforcomputers@ mcgilldaily.com.
Defending diversity, excellence, community engagement Victoria Meikle
write in response to concerns raised in Slawomir Poplawski’s article (“Town halls a sham unless backed by more than rhetoric,” Commentary, January 27) about the call for submissions for the Principal’s Task Force on Diversity, Excellence, and Community Engagement. Twenty-five talented members of the McGill community have undertaken to work with the principal to consider how McGill might better fulfil its academic mission by becoming a more inclusive community, by enhancing excellence in all that we do,
and by building stronger relationships with the communities we serve. The terms of reference for the task force require that members will obtain input from the McGill community through a call for submissions. The call for submissions was posted to the principal’s English and French web sites by October 23, 2009, and, as set out below, has since been extensively publicized. The principal invited submissions at meetings of Senate and of the board of governors, and submissions were solicited by letter from some 200 members of the community whose position or academic activities have provided an opportunity to reflect on aspects of
the task force mandate. In addition, the secretariat to the task force worked with the Office of Public Affairs to bring the call for submissions to the attention of the community more broadly. Together, we decided on the following steps to publicize the call for submissions: •featuring it on the home page of the McGill web site as one of the items that come up on a rotating basis when our home page is opened; •purchasing ads in each of the student papers during the month of November, and posting an electronic ad on The Daily’s web site, directing readers to the call for submissions; •publishing an article on the Principal’s Task Force in The McGill
Reporter in November, with a link to the call for submissions web site; •sending an Alnote message to all students in January, advising them that submissions would be accepted until January 31; and •including an item in What’s New @ McGill, delivered to the inboxes of all McGill staff, in each of the months of November, December, and January, with a link to the call for submissions. The Principal’s Task Force on Diversity, Excellence, and Community Engagement has now received 50 submissions. We have agreed to all requests to submit beyond the deadline date. Indeed we would not refuse a submission from a member of the
McGill community whenever it is received. Of course, the later a submission, the less impact it is likely to have on the deliberations of the task force, so we have therefore worked to bring submissions in as early as possible. I invite members of the McGill community seeking information about the Principal’s Task Force on Diversity, Excellence, and Community Engagement to communicate with me directly. Victoria Meikle is the senior policy advisor and secretary to the Principal’s Task Force on Diversity, Excellence, and Community Engagement. Send your ideas to email@example.com.
What’s pushing your buttons these days? We want to read about it, so get in touch. For more details about writing for the Commentary section, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Social justice & stock portfolios Members of Hillel and SPHR debate ethical investments at McGill Urooj Nizami
Mookie Kideckel is president of Hillel McGill and a U2 History student. Corey Omer is vice-president (external) of Hillel McGill and a Law II student. Write them at mookie. email@example.com.
here are few parts of the legislative process as controversial as the “rider.” Typically attached to bills that are politically impossible to veto or postpone, riders are unrelated provisos tacked on, usually in order to pass unpopular legislation that would not get approval by itself. The idea here is that politicians would rather pass the bulk of the bill than defeat the rider. This is how, for instance, a 2003 anti-drug law was tacked onto the U.S. bill that created the AMBER Alert system for missing children. Effectively, riders help eager legislators bypass democratic checks and balances. This week at the General Assembly (GA), SSMU has some legislation coming through, and among them is a piece loaded with a rider: “Resolution for the Defense of Human Rights, Social Justice, and Environmental Protection.” The resolved clauses themselves are probably commendable, though not groundbreaking. They reaffirm SSMU’s commitment to “human rights, social justice, and environmental protection,” and call for an expansion of the role of SSMU’s ethical investments overseer – so that it acts in an advisory capacity to the administration (supposing they’re interested). The problem is in the whereas clauses. These provide justification for the resolution, and so SSMU’s acceptance of the resolution is also an acceptance of this premise. But these cannot be debated or amended at the GA. This resolution’s preamble, in its outline of potentially unethical McGill investments, mentions SSMU’s previous divestment from Pepsi because of ties to the Burmese junta, before embarking on its only other example: two lengthy paragraphs on the Palestinian territories. Out of a
world full of disasters, Israel is singled out as the chief executor of the tragedy. Like all suffering, that of the Palestinians is deplorable. But demonizing Israel with no allowance for nuance, such as legitimate security concerns, or as if it is the worst or only global offender, is unfair targeting. This has been said before, but it begs repetition. There is also a methodological concern: the resolution asks SSMU to affirm a commitment to human rights, but only if it accepts the rider – condemning Israel. We are willing to accept that the intentions behind this resolution are benign. The result, however, is that under the guise of a moral imperative comes a convoluted excuse to bring up one group’s political agenda at the GA. Moreover, it effectively gets SSMU to accept a political position, but – by doing it through palatable, resolved, and un-amendable whereas clauses – avoids actually asking students at McGill for their permission. And we understand that the preamble merely outlines “facts,” but a fact is never simply objective – it is shrouded in context and narrative. When you vote on this motion on Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Shatner cafeteria, think about whether you want GAs to be used as forums for political groups on campus to air their worldly grievances, or as opportunities to make important policy decisions for SSMU. And even if it’s the former, think about if you want 600 students, speaking for thousands more, to take their positions because of a democraticallysought broad mandate – or because of a rider.
Mookie Kideckel & Corey Omer
he Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has found that, since 1967, Caterpillar Inc. bulldozers have destroyed 15,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories. McGill uses the company for much of the construction work done on campus. The money that students give the University in tuition and fees contributes in a tangible way to oppression and exploitation. As students in the Western world, we often fail to recognize and take accountability for the role that our actions play in international conflicts. The nature of globalization and the world economic system have created mechanisms through which dollars spent in Canada can have an impact in Burma, Mexico, El Salvador, and Palestine – nations where Canadian investment has been linked to widescale human rights violations. It is in this view that the McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) has put forward a motion for this Wednesday’s SSMU General Assembly. The motion for the defense of human rights, social justice, and environmental protection seeks to restore our agency in the use of our money worldwide. The motion is intended to increase transparency and accountability in University finances. For these reasons, the motion proposes that SSMU “will thoroughly investigate McGill University’s involvement with companies on the basis of negative ethical practices, and will, on behalf of the students of McGill University, call upon the administration to divest from companies that do not meet specified criteria for ethical investment.” The motion’s critics will attempt to portray this proposal as a radical or leftist condemnation of the State of Israel. They will argue
that SPHR has singled out Israeli human rights violations and not those of human rights violators like Saudi Arabia or Iran. SPHR names Israel’s illegal occupations in the whereas clauses because it fulfills our mandate to raise awareness about Palestinian oppression. Israel has simply violated more United Nations resolutions than any other member country. The motion’s strength, however, is in the breadth of its focus. It corresponds to ethical investment in all parts of the world, not solely the Occupied Territories. If the world’s most powerful countries refuse to abide by international law, this motion will at least ensure that SSMU and McGill do so. McGill’s commitment to the U.N. is longstanding; Faculty of Law professor John Humphrey was instrumental in the drafting of the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The motion further ensures that McGill’s primary financial contributors – students – can be assured that their money is not being used for the contravention of international law. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is mentioned here simply as a human rights violation in which we, the McGill student body, are particularly economically implicated. The spirit of the motion is not exclusive to SPHR McGill. It coincides with the Canadian Private members’ bill C-300, which intends to force Canadian corporations operating abroad to act in a manner consistent with environmentally ethical practices and with Canada’s commitments to international human rights. The student body must vote “yes” for the creation of a corporate social responsibility watchdog who will advocate for social justice, human rights, and environmental protection. Urooj Nizami is a U0 Arts student and the incoming vice president internal of SPHR. Write her at uro_ firstname.lastname@example.org.
the cybersexual revolution
Julie Alsop analyzes how fears and regulations remap inequalities online
girls1cup might be the defining cultural artifact of our generation. Viral, disgusting, and utterly compelling, the video’s popularity speaks volumes about the visceral thrills of our digital age. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of having a friend surprise you with the video, I’ll fill you in on the details.
he Internet meme features two girls shitting into a cup, feeding it to each other, and then puking in each other’s mouths. The video is often posted as a flame on Internet boards, where a clueless surfer may click the link without knowing what’s in store. For most viewers, 2girls1cup compels us because of our fascination at our own disgust. The girls in the video are transgressing bodily boundaries and consuming one another’s feces, things ejected not only from their bodies but also from our society. However, 2girls1cup is actually a trailer for a scat-fetish film called Hungry Bitches. One woman’s Internet junk is always another woman’s treasure. That cyberspace is full of weird shit isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s grown up in our information age. In fact, trolling the web for strange, glorious, and disgusting things is a common hobby among the young and the stoned. In terms of content, the Internet is mostly an unregulated space, and surfing it can be the equivalent of visiting your city’s seediest bar – without the physical risks. Online, you don’t have to leave your couch to be a voyeur or an exhibitionist. Our society’s fascination with the marginal is given free reign by the Internet’s vast archives of niche sexualities. As much as we revel in our own disgust at 2girls1cup, we must wonder at those who get pleasure from it. The video also inspired a series of reaction videos. The manner in which the video has been passed around suggests that the people circulating the video take pleasure in other people’s reactions. Trust me, people’s reac-
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Whitney Mallett | The McGill Daily
tions of disgust, shock, and horror are often the most titillating aspect for the fetishizer; the flasher or the exhibitionist get their rocks off on shock and surprise. Surfers passing around 2girls1cup for hilarious reactions are not as removed from the video’s target fetish audience as they may like to think. Marshall McLuhan argues that all media is a narcissistic circuit. Narcissus, staring into his pool of water, didn’t fall in love with himself. The pool mediated Narcissus’s view and obscured his ability to recognize himself. Our modern media work the same way. Our technologies trick us into thinking that we’re interacting with one another, when in reality, they are reflecting ourselves. The ironic stance taken to video memes like 2girls1cup masks our own fascination and compulsion toward sexual and bodily transgression. Mediating this fascination through a computer screen allows us to maintain an illusion of distance to these grotesque and sexual spectacles. An ironic stance is often coupled with a repetition and affirmation of how “funny” or “sick” something is. Trolling the Internet, we get to experiment with strange and socially unacceptable aspects of ourselves. ften this anonymous experimentation gets wrapped up in the rhetoric of liberation. Bodies can travel unmarked in virtual space, and thus can arguably free themselves from the burden of racism or sexism, which limit their mobility in corporeal space. Many web utopists view the Internet as a safe space, emancipated from the structural subjugations that inhibit material life. This is one argument
for why so many young queers experience their first coming-out online. A seemingly infinite and unregulated space, the Internet is an ideal home for alternative sexualities. A quick Google search for polyamory, queer, BDSM, or dog dates (where people try to find dates for their dogs!) results in numerous networking sites that reveal large online communities for each sexual niche. We think of cyberspace as a place of increased democratization and equal representation. The wide array of marginalized sexualities on the net is evidence that this open forum is most obviously used to explore sex and sexual identity. The Internet and sex remain close bedfellows: porn kickstarted the World Wide Web and “sex” is still the most commonly searched word. owever, new media often just reuses the content of old media. Though the Internet may help build communities and raise the profile of marginal sexualities, the web does not cause these identities. Even child pornography, which the Internet is sometimes demonized for proliferating, predates the web. By putting child pornography online, people are simply updating the sex they would’ve been fantasizing about anyway. Cyberfeminists Sadie Plant and Akkucquere Stone argue that while the Internet allows marginalized people to move freely and safely on the Internet, it also grants bigotry the same anonymity. A racist on the Internet has no fear of recourse. Hegemonic structures of power are often simply remapped onto virtual space.
The groups that have the most to gain from disembodied sexual exploration – women, queer people, sex workers, and teens – are frequently the purported victims of the unregulated Internet. “The kind of harassment that often plagues women in face to face communication has, not surprisingly, become perhaps too frequently a fact of life in computer mediated communication,” writes Laurie Finke in “Women: Lost in Cyberspace?” Virtual harassment is real. Female bloggers can receive comments that threaten gendered violence; sexual predators meet children online; avatars on Second Life are victims of online rape; a girl on chatroulette.com (a site that connects users’ webcams at random) is confronted by demands to see her tits or shown a masturbating dick. Because of these threats, women and children are told not to give out personal information online. However, advice cautioning on how to behave online can have the same drawbacks as the advice given to protect women from sexual violence in the real world: “Stay at home; avoid dark alleys, getting drunk, and wearing skirts.” While well-meaning, these warnings are misinformed and do little to protect women from sexual abuse. Sixty-nine per cent of rape survivors are assaulted by someone they know and sixty per cent of assaults occur in a private home, according to the Ontario Women’s Directorate. Fear-mongering about both virtual and realworld threats often does little to keep women safe, and only restricts their mobility on and off the web. Zillah Eisenstein, a women’s studies professor at Ithaca College, writes of a woman student who entered a chatroom, gave a fake name to protect her identity, yet still felt uncomfortable – she was too worried about the possibility of sexual abuse. The terror of virtual violence against women is a response to a variety of cultural fears surrounding the anonymity (and freedom) that the Internet gives to marginalized bodies. Our culture marks some strangers as more dangerous than others. One of the perceived dangers of the Internet is that we cannot classify and stereotype the “dangerous” and marked bodies of those who are raced, classed, or gendered as deviant or criminal. alls for increased regulation and stricter guidelines on Internet content can be to the detriment of the marginalized individuals they are intended to protect. For instance, the crimes of Phillip Markoff, dubbed the “Craigslist killer,” incited legislation in the U.S. that requires content on Craiglist’s erotic classified ads to be regulated. Markoff has been charged with the murder of Julissa Brisman. Markoff met Brisman through her erotic services ads on Craigslist. According to an Associated Press article by Don Babwin, police believe Markoff may have been involved in other crimes against women who posted ads on Craigslist. “This tragic incident will become yet another rallying cry for those who’d like to curtail freedom and openness on the Internet,” writes Leslie Harris, president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology. “A month after the killing of a masseuse who advertised on Craigslist, the classified ad site announced plans Wednesday to eliminate its ‘erotic services’ category and screen
all submissions to a new ‘adult services’ section before they are posted,” writes Babwin, adding that under the new system, posting adult ads will also carry a fee. This legislation was passed in January 2010, but a quick browse over the Craigslist adult services section reveals that sex work and escort services are still regular content on the site. If this legislation is enforced, it will put sex workers in danger. Craiglist provides a virtual space for solicitation that prostitution laws deny workers in the real world, and even a small fee makes the classifieds less accessible to those that need their protection the most. In Canada, while sex work is legal, public communication for soliciting sex is illegal. There is a correlation between the instigation of this law and reports of increased violence against sex workers. In both Canada and the U.S., online classifieds allow sex workers to make safe arrangements and decrease their chances of being put at risk. They can hash out who, what, when, where, and how much from the safety of their computer, and don’t have to worry about being apprehended for public solicitation. Sex workers can also request background checks and ask for references from their clients. Increased regulation on erotic classified ads would force the sex workers currently online back onto the street, and would increase their risk of violence. “The Internet took a lot of sex workers off the street and created the entrepreneurial age of sex work. Now, it’ll drive them right back to where they came from,” explains Robyn Few, co-director of San Francisco’s Sex Worker Outreach Project. he Internet, like real life, can be a site of both liberation and potential oppression. Increased regulation of the net will most likely harm those it’s supposed to protect. What’s really needed is equal access. Those who produce the software and hardware we use are a minority who make rules that govern the majority. A technocrati is currently being constructed as an elite club. Like most clubs of our society, it’s a boys club. Women are less familiar with computer technology – possibly in part due to the male-oriented computer game industry. In 2004-2005, less than 17 per cent of students enrolled in computer engineering, computer science, and software engineering were women, according to a report by the Software Human Resource Council. In order for the Internet to be a liberatory space for the marginalized, they must be instrumental in its construction. Adrian Ringland, a 36-year-old man from the U.K., used his technical skills to force young girls to send him naked photos. He hacked onto their computers and threatened to crash their systems unless they obeyed his commands. The young women’s lack of computer programming knowledge increased their vulnerability. Our media is a screen on which we can project both our fears and fantasies. Right now, we get to decide what we want the Internet to say about us – censorship and regulation or community building through the democratization of technical skills and sexual freedom? Let me put it another way: Do we want 2girls1cup to be erased from the Internet 4eva, or do we want 2girls1cup to be hacked on to a web broadcast of the Today Show?
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Conservative McGill doth protest too much QPIRG opt-out campaign is hypocritical Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan
he QPIRG opt-out campaign led by Conservative McGill and other campus organizations premises itself on a load of BS. It’s motivated by a disingenuous and vindictive logic and lacks the self-awareness to realize its own contradiction. If only the pro-opt-outers weren’t too thick to realize that QPIRG is in fact a lot like SSMU. (Full disclosure: I am a SSMU executive.) QPIRG levies a fee from students, much like SSMU does, and then QPIRG allocates the money, in line with its policies, to different groups according to their needs and in the interest of diversifying student expression. SSMU does exactly the same thing. Many people argue that QPIRG funds a number of fringe groups that people don’t know about and that are too radical for their moderate or right-wing tastes. Again, through the Club Fund, the Campus Life Fund, and other means, SSMU (read: student money) funds a wide variety of groups, many of which are also seen, by some, as fringe and radical. The fact is that SSMU and QPIRG fund both uncontentious groups (although Campus Crops has always raised my ire) and groups that are both contentious
and don’t appeal to everyone. What more do you want out of student life? A university is a venue for diverse expression, as long as it is safe. Brendan Steven’s ignorant column (“Opting out of QPIRG,” McGill Tribune, January 26) suggested that student groups should only receive money from students if they fundraise it themselves in hallways and on the streets. Now let’s apply that argument to his own Conservative McGill. This holier-than-thou club has been granted $750 of student money this academic year alone. They should give themselves a dose of their own medicine: they should spend days running around campus canvassing disinterested McGillians to give them a buck here and there. In order for Steven to avoid contradiction, I’d like to see cadres of blue-in-the face Harperites scampering around campus with buckets asking for money. What about bake sales with blue cookies that say “tax cuts” on them? How much time would their club members waste trying to raise money instead of engaging in activities that actually accentuate student life? Too bad all they seem to do with their time and their money is undermine groups like the Global AIDS Coalition’s access to funding. If Conservative McGill and their
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
I don’t see Conservative McGill begging for funds. allies are so damn incensed by the fact that students pay relatively small amounts of money to organizations that, later, redistribute smaller fractions of that sum to some groups that may not appeal to all students, then maybe they should put more effort into an “Opt-out of SSMU” campaign. Too bad you can’t opt-out of SSMU. After all, full-time students pay approximately $40 per semester to SSMU, money that is spread out
to a diversity of groups. Or maybe Conservative McGill has enjoyed the $750 SSMU (read: your student fees) granted it to finance its campaign against student life, among other activities. (By the way, they’ve also flagrantly violated SSMU Council’s supermajority decision to suspend Choose Life’s club privileges by providing a table for the group at the Y intersection.) I wish none of my money went
to Conservative McGill, but it just so happens that in the interest of student life, pluralism, and their club’s budget, I pay my fees. Shame on you, Conservative McGill!
of having an abortion regardless of personal circumstances. Personal circumstances are the only grounds for deciding what to do with an unexpected pregnancy. Our logic: Pro-life groups are necessarily opposed to abortion. Opposition to abortion necessarily consists of restricting women’s access to abortion services. By restricting access to abortion services, a woman’s right to decide what is best for her own body is compromised. This compromise affects more than morality: it affects a person’s health and life. We believe that any ban on abortion targets women who do not participate in their properly gendered positions as mothers. Throughout much anti-abortion dialogue, women who seek abortions are presented as uninformed or immoral figures who are going against their natural roles as
women, as mothers-to-be, to give birth and reproduce “life.” This poses serious limits to a woman’s understanding of her own sexuality and her ability to have sex outside of heteronormative, monogamous, and economically stable relationships. Pro-life groups aim not to help women make a choice, but to promote and ultimately establish conditions wherein women are not free to have sex on their own terms, to retain sexual control over their bodies. This motion seeks a stance where women’s health is not brought under public scrutiny: protecting, not forfeiting dignity.
Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan is SSMU VP (External), but the views expressed here are his own. Bash Conservatives with him at email@example.com.
Against pro-life groups Anti-abortion organizations have no place on campus Liam Olson-Mayes & Maddie Ritts
s co-authors of the GA motion re: discriminatory groups, we feel obliged to respond to resistance to our motion, which has crept up through The Daily and in heated conversations across McGill. The argument with which we are often first confronted, articulated most recently by Braden Goyette in her article “Stay classy, pro-choice crowd” (Commentary, February 4), waves a disapproving finger and accuses us of “encouraging” Choose Life. If only we had let this club run its pro-life course, they would have recognized the apathy as a sign of the futility of their position. The problem with this logic is that it requires that we, in addition to ignoring Choose Life, turn a blind eye to the harms that Choose
Life’s existence perpetrates, and disregard the precarious position in which access to abortion is currently situated. By not confronting those who seek to restrict access to abortion services, we would be further legitimizing the abysmal accessibility of abortion services in northern and rural communities. To expand on the idea that the very existence of Choose Life or any other pro-life’s group existence harms women, we thought a few definitions might be helpful. We define pro-life groups by their opposition to the accessibility of abortion services. We respect individual choice regarding abortion. We do not respect any organization, movement, or individual who tries to impose their decision regarding abortion on other people. We are not against people who believe abortion is the wrong choice for themselves; we are against people
who believe abortion is the wrong choice for everybody. Abortion is an individual decision. By advocating against pro-life ideology, we are protecting each individual’s right to do what they will with their body and their right to feel supported and not judged by whatever decision they make in the end. We understand the following to be tactics used by those opposed to abortions: the criminalization of abortion; disseminating false health information; shaming women who enter abortion clinics; exploiting post-abortive women and simplifying their experiences as a way to manipulate women dealing with unwanted pregnancies; publicly casting abortion as immoral. By making public statements or mounting public displays decrying the immorality of abortion, women are presented with a moral judgment that tries to coerce them out
Liam Olson-Mayes is a U2 Women’s Studies and History student and Maddie Ritts is a U3 Cultural Studies and Political Theory student. Write them at liam.olson-mayes@mail. mcgill.ca.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Leçon de sexe
The French connection Joël Thibeault
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
Pour savoir frencher, il faut savoir en parler.
et article est en fait la suite de celui qui j’ai écrit il y a quelques mois et qui portait sur le pick-up français. Vous avez donc réussi à ramener une personne canon à la maison. Certes, il y a une barrière linguistique qui vous sépare, mais cela n’empêche rien au fait que la passion est bel et bien au rendez-vous. Vous brûlez de désir. Vous êtes enfin de retour chez vous et vous descendez de votre voiture en l’invitant à monter. Quelques minutes plus tard, vous vous retrouvez dans votre chambre, et les vêtements que vous portiez, eux, sont maintenant sur le plancher. Je vous pose donc la question suivante: qu’est-ce que vous êtes sur le point de faire?
Vous visualisez le tout, j’en suis sûr; toutefois, savez-vous l’exprimer en français? Mes amis, c’est ici que j’interviens. Toute bonne relation sexuelle doit commencer avec une session de préliminaires. Vous caresserez, toucherez et découvrirez timidement le corps de l’autre. Il est important de mentionner qu’en français, on utilise le verbe «s’embrasser» lorsqu’on pose nos lèvres sur celles d’une autre personne. Le verbe «baiser» fait plutôt référence à l’acte sexuel complet, même si le nom commun, «un baiser», ne représente qu’un simple kiss. Lorsqu’il y a contact de langues dans ce baiser, on emploiera le verbe «frencher» au Québec.
Maintenant que vos quelques minutes de préliminaires sont terminées, vous avez envie de passer à l’acte. Vous délaissez donc les lèvres de votre partenaire et vous entamez une descente lente et particulièrement sensorielle pour votre partenaire. Vous vous attardez quelques secondes aux mamelons et vous continuez jusqu’à ce que finalement, vous arriviez à l’entrejambe. Ici, la terminologie que vous devez employer dépend du sexe de la personne avec qui vous êtes. S’il s’agit d’un homme, vous lui ferez une fellation. Toutefois, les locuteurs francophones vont souvent préférer des expressions familières telles que «faire une pipe» ou encore «faire un pompier». L’organe
masculin est communément appelé «pénis», mais le français québécois de registre familier nous donne le mot «la queue». Le français européen, lui, recommande «la bite». Si votre partenaire est une femme, vous êtes sur le point de lui faire un cunnilingus. Malheureusement, les expressions familières sont plutôt rares. Cependant, vous pouvez faire référence au vagin en utilisant le mot «chatte», ce qui rend quand même une image mignonne de la chose. Et puis vous arrivez finalement à la pénétration. Qu’elle soit vaginale ou anale, il est difficile de trouver des mots de registre familier qui la décrivent et qui ne soient pas vulgaires. Par conséquent,
si vous devez en parler, utilisez les termes que je vous ai donnés. N’oubliez surtout pas d’utiliser un condom, qu’on appelle aussi «un préservatif» (attention, il ne s’agit pas du preservative anglais, qui se traduit par «agent de conservation» en français), car on ne sait jamais ce qui peut arriver. Rappelez-vous de vous détendre et de profiter de chaque seconde. Vous avez maintenant les connaissances de base pour bien baiser en français!
money is not speech,” which is nice and easy to remember. But in a very real sense, corporations are some of our parents. Because of my parents’ jobs, I’m at McGill, writing about this stuff – money is talking in The Daily right now. If we’re going to take a stab at money, we had better do with a realistic understanding of its place in our other goals. Daily authors have demanded money for education, arts, health, and the environment, among other things, and these will not pay for themselves without the help of a global economy. “Montreal hosts Haiti aid talks” (News, January 28) criticized U.S. involvement while quoting sources that called for more aid dollars, and so showed a situation where money, with all its unseemly entanglements, is indispensible – a natural disaster. The past fortnight’s additions to The Daily’s sex oeuvre have been uninspired. Moderate sexual novelty, which drove us to read on in spite of the truly horrifying illustration that accompanied “Make the next decade sexier” (Mind and Body, January 20), no
longer suffices to float a Daily article. This is probably for the better. The more risqué articles, like the call to go kinky, seemed out-oftouch at places. People have been doing kinky stuff since the dawn of time, or at least since the sixties, and the authors’ depictions of “kink” as appertaining to a particular category of people was entirely counterproductive to the article’s ostensibly missionary – haha – aim. The Daily excels at making simple things more complicated and obscure, but this strategy has proven itself incompatible with sexhelp writing. Other articles have tended to make simple things out of complicated issues. “Binary is for Computers” criticized a Los Angeles Times article for mentioning the gory details of gender reassignment surgery (“Mind your own business,” Commentary, February 1) with the author expressing their personal exasperation with frequent questions about transsexual sex and identity. At one point the author reports: “Our society cannot conceive of a man being pregnant.” Perhaps it cannot – until recently, men did not have babies. Until recently, a penis could not be created out of a thigh. Some people
are revolted by these ideas; other people can get over them. But if we are truly walking into a brave new world beyond gender, then everybody will be curious, and according to us, everybody should be. If activist authors don’t deign to address the mainstream concerns related to their theories, or are tight-lipped about their details, then they will be assured the public’s disinterest (or otherwise its antagonism) when it comes time to put their ideas into action. Privacy is another issue entirely, and it’s big, very personal kind of like “freedom of expression.” The two are not dissimilar – Western worries about China’s Google situation, for example, are spurred by concern for both. There have been smart articles dealing with each but these have been drowned out by a mass of lesser attempts. Longer columns are not always better, but even the most perfectly-written 300-word letter “on the nature of free speech” will be necessarily full of platitudes and vagaries – we have all the time in the world (two and a half months) to give each issue its due, and we should make full use of it.
You can write to Joël at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like reading in French? Why not read Le Délit? Find it on stands tomorrow.
Money and sex Public editor Mike Prebil
hough Li’l Hyde Parks have been somewhat redeemed by a memorable statement on Choose Life’s resurrection (“Stay classy, pro-choice crowd,” Commentary, February 4), they might be a wrong turn for The Daily’s current-events journalism. They have been confrontational and heavy on ideology – roughly equivalent to full-size Hyde Parks. Samantha Burton’s ordeal was recounted angrily and succeeded in inspiring anger at Americans, represented by Floridians, who treat women not as “a human being but a shell around a fetus.” The next li’l guy briefly mentioned the Supreme Court decision on campaign funding before proclaiming the U.S. “a country where the Congress is already composed of plutocrats who
by and large rose to power on huge piles of cash.” (“Three big losses,” Commentary, January 28). “True enough,” we say – after that, there isn’t much to say. So the bigger problem with this genre is that for as much discussion as the articles should raise, there won’t be any, because you just don’t argue “for” a pregnant woman being confined to bed rest, a Supreme Court order to let politicians have more money from corporations, or Howard Zinn dying. There are issues here, buried inside, but stating your belief and some bad news to back it up will not get at them. Money has been a hot topic. The first line of the piece on the Supreme Court ruling proclaimed: “Corporations are not people and
Erratum In the piece “I get knocked down, and I get up again” (Sports, February 4) the illustration was credited to Lukas Thienhaus. The artist was in fact Sally Lin. The Daily regrets the error.
Mike Prebil is The Daily’s public editor. He lives and breathes readerresponse. Send him your thoughts: email@example.com.
Apply for funding today!
Looking for a church home while attending University? Maybe we’ve got just what you’ve been looking for!
After processing dozens of applications throughout the year, SSMU still has thousands of dollars to allocate:
And if you visit us this Febuary 14th we’ll treat you to lunch following the service!
Service begins at 11:00am
$20,883.15 Space Fee
(Sherbrooke St. @ Bishop) 3415 Redpath St. Montreal, Quebec H3G 2G2 514-842-3431
$49,077.19 Ambassador Fee
For more information :
Check us out on the web :
Campus Life Fund
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To fund your SSMU Club for the whole semester
For green initiatives
To improve spaces around campus
For conferences and competitions
For individual events, projects, Tier III teams, journals - anything that contributes to campus life
To find the applications & criteria, visit the “Club Funding” tab at ssmu.mcgill.ca
The Faculty of Arts presents A Maxwell-Cummings Lecture
Nineteeth Century Concepts of Citizenship: Classical Models, Contemporary Practices, Legacies Andreas Fahrmeir Professor of Modern History University of Frankfurt
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Andreas Fahrmeir (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) currently holds the Chair in Modern History at the University of Frankfurt. He has published extensively on political corruption in Europe over three centuries, the transformation of urban space in British cities during the 18th and 19th centuries, the evolution of migration control in the North Atlantic world, and most recently, the changing concept of citizenship. His more recent book, Citizenship: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Concept (Yale, 2007), provides full historical perspective about immigration and the nature of citizenship, demonstrating the contingency and changeability of the concept in the past and today.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 6:00 p.m. Reception to follow
Stephen Leacock Building, Room 232 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal QC For more information, contact the Department of History Tel.: (514) 398-3975 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
news culture commentary features mind&body sports sci+tech compendium! The McGill Daily Mondays&Thursdays
Consider the Church of St.Andrew & St.Paul. We are a vibrant Christian community located in the heart of Montreal’s downtown. Our College & Careers groups meet regularly for Bible Studies, social events, and retreats.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Jerry Gu for The McGill Daily
Give me a book, not an interface Nostalgia for a world without virtual bookshelves and e-reading
Plus or minus sigma Shannon Palus
love reading books. I love collecting books. Books are adventures, companions, references, trophies. I love the way that the titles are embossed on the spines of hardcovers. The jackets of hardcover books are just wrapping, like shrinkwrap or blister-packaging: meant to be removed after purchase. I love the way that the corners of pages retain a little crease line if they are ever folded over at the corner to mark the reader’s place. If the launch of Apple’s iPad, and along with it, the Kindle-rivaling iBook application, is the future, consider me unimpressed. The iBook application features a virtual blonde oak bookshelf, which can be filled with little icons of books, purchasable from Apple’s own iBookstore, for about $10 a pop. The browsing experience mimics that of iTunes – optimized through top-selling lists, searches, and reviews. No comfy chairs and shelves and soft lighting. No floor-to-ceiling shelves decked with yellowing paperbacks, like those in any used bookstore. The future sounds sterile, homogenized. I’ve used the iPhone version of the iBook app, while attempting to read H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine on a car ride from New York to Philly. After four pages of small print and a creepy page-turn flicking sound, I opted to look out the window. Though the iPad version of the application promises life-size pages that even look like a real book when the device is held in portrait, I still can’t imagine curling up with a tablet and scrolling through a sci-fi novel. Books – of the perhaps soonto-be-old-fashioned material kind – record a history. My used copy of
Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams has entire pages doused in yellow highlighter. It belonged to someone else – someone else who not only read the very same words, but turned the very same pages. I have books that are signed by the author: Freeman Dyson’s scrawl in the front of The Scientist as Rebel, E. O. Wilson’s stick-figure rendition of an ant in the front of Nature Revealed. The back pages are filled with notes: “Soccer moms are the worst enemy of natural history – Wilson, June 2006, Natural History Museum,” jotted across the top of the index. At my parents’ house, there are boxes filled with the likes of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8, and Lois Lowry’s Anastasia Krupnik, boxes that serve as a historical record of what I grew up reading with a flashlight after my bedtime. The inside front covers have my name written in them, in giant scrawl containing backward letters, in smaller neater print, in messy cursive, in smudged pencil, in gel pen ink. The copy of Ella Enchanted is severely water damaged from the time that I took it outside to read on the swing set, and then forgot about it. I’ve held onto a National Geographic picture atlas titled Our Universe that bears the inscription: “Happy Eighth Birthday Shannon! Love, Dad and Mom.” I have pictures of my eight-year-old self holding the book and grinning; I remember chasing after my sister some years later upon discovering a bouquet’s worth of dandelions pressed between the terrestrial planets. I have titles that I wouldn’t purchase for myself: two copies of the Bible, each a gift from Quaker meet-
ings that my family has attended. A “Special 150th Anniversary Edition” copy of On the Origin of the Species printed on cheap paper was a gift from a friend, who acquired it free of charge just outside the University of Chicago’s campus. A quick examination reveals the true intention of the edition’s distribution: a 54-page “special introduction” of beliefbased cliché statements on why evolution is wrong. I lent out a copy of Kenneth Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God at some point in high school, and never saw it again. I sometimes wonder whose hands it wound up in. In the future, will books not have pasts? Or colours, smell, ink? Will they become cheaper? Will they be pirated? Will novels go the way of free Internet blogging content? Will the children of tomorrow not go to the library and fill tote bags with picture books and Judy Blume, not grow up to fork over several summer paychecks on a semester of books? Is that really so bad? Two strangers on the train who start conversing about Kurt Vonnegut is an improbable scenario without the prop of, say, an actual physical copy of SlaughterhouseFive. Imagine leaning over someone’s shoulder as they stare at their tablet. Sometimes technology destroys privacy. Sometimes it increases it. One can view, read, write anything in public under the guise of a slick 8x11 interface. Apple’s web site exclaims that the iBook application and the iPad represent a magical new technology, but when talking about the technology, Steve Jobs sounds underwhelmed and uninspired. The iPad
keynote dedicates approximately two of its 92 minutes to the iBook app. Like the rest of the keynote, the two minutes are bland. Even Jobs’s dig at the Kindle is soft, almost complimentary: “We’re going to stand on their shoulders, and go a bit further.” Jobs explains that the iBook application is great for reading books, great for buying books on the bookstore. Emphasis on bookstore, emphasis on buying: “We’re going to have a lot of books in the bookstore. We’re very excited.” Is that really all that Apple can promise? Maybe in the future, virtual books will be cheaper than their paperback counterparts. Maybe in the future, we’ll save whole forests by distributing bestsellers exclusively in iBook format. And in an online bookstore, there is unlimited storage space: maybe enough publishers will get on board, and maybe even the most esoteric titles will be accessible with just a click of a mouse. Perhaps one day, sitting on the train, or at the beach, or sprawled on the couch after a long day of work, reading a novel on the iPad won’t feel so awkward, or foreign, or new. But Apple isn’t talking about any of the real advantages, or possibilities: the description of the iPad’s potential is limited to buzzwords: “revolutionary,” “magical.” It’s hardly enough of an argument to make me think I’ll be starting a library of iBooks anytime soon. Shannon Palus’s column will be back in a few weeks. Tell her your life’s history in books at email@example.com.
Earth on tickertape
he Himalayas reached their highest temperature on record. The glacial melting will likely lead to flash floods and drought in the region. Two hundred and fifty thousand carbon permits worth over $4 million were stolen from German firms in an online phishing scheme. The Pentagon stated that climate change is likely to increase political instability around the world. Osama bin Laden reportedly called for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, prompting conservative bloggers to wonder, “What is the difference between bin Laden and Al Gore?” Barack Obama called for an expansion of offshore oil drilling. A recent study found that trees in the eastern U.S. may be growing faster as the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises. Scientists proposed releasing particles of sea salt into the atmosphere in order to reflect solar radiation back into space. Tidal waves in the Pacific are growing in amplitude. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has led to increasing acidification of the oceans, threatening aquatic life globally. Climate change is harming populations of butterflies in California and the Indonesian capital of Jakarta is sinking due to excessive groundwater extraction. —Niko Block Once a month, Earth on tickertape covers global climate change and environmental issues.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
The best burrito in town Beggar’s Banquet Eric Wen Culture Writer
have a confession to make: when I first heard of Burritoville and its vegetarian dishes, I wrote it off. The prospect of vegetarian interpretations of Mexican food was unappealing. Hopefully you won’t make the same mistake. The short but varied menu ranges from spinach and mushroom quesadillas to sweet potato burritos, Burritoville’s signature dish. In fact, the restaurant was opened by a school teacher couple who originally cooked up sweet potato burritos for their children. It is now run by Jono Aitchison, the original chef and creator of the current menu, along with his cousin Steve Aitchison and their friend Dave Tamas. In September 2008, the restaurant moved from its original NDG location to Bishop, just north of Maisonneuve. Steve Aitchison explained that they had “always wanted to be near Concordia because we felt like there was a large portion of the student body that shared our ethics and morals.” In keeping with the student clientele, the food is affordable; tacos are $3.50 and the most expensive item is two quesadillas for 8$. Stepping inside their brownstone building, through the foyer, and into a back room is like being invited into a friend’s home, especially if you can ignore the sign on the wall. Each time I’ve visited, Aitchison’s brother James has greeted me and taken my order – he seems to recognize and know everybody who comes in. The main dining room is laid-back, with music like Neil Young or the Flaming Lips playing softly as the friendly staff chats with customers. Burritoville is currently the only fully organic vegetarian restaurant in the downtown area
and offers an alternative to the many greasy fast food options near Concordia. Don’t be fooled by the “vegetarian” part. Though the conception is that vegetarian food is bland, these meals are delicious and satisfying, even for committed carnivores. When I asked if everyone who worked at Burritoville is a vegetarian, Steve Aitchison informed me, “None of us are vegetarians, actually.” “We don’t actively advertise the fact that our food is vegetarian,” says Aitchison. “Some people have biases about what vegetarian food is. Sometimes people come in, find out that it’s vegetarian, then turn around and leave. Though a lot of the time, people come in, try it once, and then come back every week after that.” Despite my initial prejudice, I’ve tried most of the menu and have never been disappointed. All the food is filling, but not greasy. The sweet potato burrito in particular achieves a good balance of sweet and savoury. A sign above the cash register says that “our mission is to nourish, through providing a space open to all who love food, music, and art” and Burritoville is as much an art space as much as a restaurant. Its architectural layout certainly suggests as much: the dining area occupies only one of its three levels. Aitchison explained that “the idea was always to be both a restaurant for people who choose to eat and live well and a space to support local artists.” The second floor is an entertainment area equipped with a stage, PA system, piano, and Hammond organ, in order to provide a space for various performing artists, ranging from musicians to drama groups to comedy acts and more. Though modest in size, the space is roomy enough for shows – or for someone to just to bang out a few tunes on the piano. In the hallway, a different Montreal visual artist is featured
Dominic Popowich | The McGill Daily
More than just a restaurant, Burritoville offers a space for performance. every month. The third floor, currently under construction, is soon to be a free lending library, a new and improved transplant from their old NDG basement. Burritoville is committed to serving both appetites and the local community – when the cost of pay phones went up in Montreal, the owners installed an old fashioned rotary phone booth to make
free local calls. An important aspect of this community involvement is their emphasis on following an environmentally friendly business model. They even have a sustainability charge of $.25 for take out orders to offset the additional waste. So if you’re looking for delicious meals for under $10, performances, visual art, and soon
a lending library, don’t make the same mistake I did and disregard Burritoville. You would be missing out not only on one of the tastiest socially conscious restaurants, but also on one of the staunchest supporters of local arts in Montreal. Burritoville is located at 2055 Bishop.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Here is where New exhibition places viewer at focal point of multiple mediums and stories Kasra Sammak Culture Writer
ija-Liisa Ahtila has arrived at the right time. History got tired of definitions and boundaries. What society wants now is some confusion. We love the question because we love figuring out what the question is. Ahtila has her own questions, and this era is hungry for them. What Ahtila has in store for us in her latest video art installation, called INT. STAGE-DAY, is visual art, but it’s also cinema. She describes herself as a visual artist in the way that she works – she’s not trying to make a Hollywood showcase. Instead, she is an artist trying to express herself with the right paint, but the paint she happened to stumble upon is the moving image. What makes Ahtila’s work cinematic is not necessarily the moving image, but rather the involvement of the narrative and the role that it plays in the construction of her story and the communication of her message. Ahtila inadvertently diffuses the boundary between visual art and cinema in order to synergize the two. The form that results is hard to categorize – it’s something of its own. What’s important is where it takes you, and how it takes you there. INT. STAGE-DAY makes full use of this blending of mediums. The work is comprised of a series of multi-screen narratives that dramatize the ordinary lives of her protagonists. She describes her
works as “human dramas,” whereby common human emotions are accentuated and darkened by the protagonists’ fragile inner voices, to the point that they resemble psychosis. Such a style of narrative engages the viewer’s own emotions and places them inside the art, as part of the art. There are, in addition, two photographic series within the installation which, though they are static, retain the same aesthetic of movement that she undertakes in her film works. Ahtila is careful about the space in which she presents her narratives. The placement of every screen, as well as their relationships to and synchronicity with each other, are deliberately constructed so that the viewer can navigate her way through the piece individually. Ahtila’s work is not one-sided, and it is important for the viewer to actively absorb as much as they can in a way that works for them. Even the location of Ahtila’s exhibitions within the city plays into the physical construction of her work. INT. STAGE-DAY is spread throughout 3 different sites in Old Montreal. Two of the locations, both at the DHC/ART Foundation, cluster together all of her shorter narratives, which she has been putting together since 1992. Her most recent and arguably most ambitious work to date, “Where is Where?” (2008), is an hour-long narrative about how children interpret the absurdities of war. Engulfing you from every wall in a dark rectangular room, it
Both Ahtila’s photography and video art capture the same aesthetic of motion. is located a few blocks away at the Darling Foundry, the third and final site of Ahtila’s exhibition. By grouping her shorter works in close proximity to each other, Ahtila has prepared you for the captivating yet demanding experience of her longer, central piece. There is much to see, and much to miss. Each person works as a collective to make the art hap-
Courtesy of Crystal Eye Ltd.
pen. Some people are looking at the left screen, others at the right. Others are closing their eyes and listening. Others won’t be here until later today. It is impossible to attend the installation and see everything. However, the missing is just as important as what is seen, because the installation is truly about you, me, and us. The art is everyone at the three sites
experiencing it at once, and this aspect of INT. STAGE-DAY is what differentiates it from many other works of art. You won’t understand until you are here. So be a part of it. Be here, with us.
ing like I’m being pushed out the door. Desiree Gordon: There is definitely a problem with that. A bunch of places are very cute and small, which is great because it’s all part of the atmosphere. The problem is that you’re pushed up against other people; no one pays attention to you. There is a common trend of people waiting in the door, watching you eat, just waiting to come in, which is also a little unsettling. MD: So overall, so far, what’s the best priced, best quality breakfast place? DG: I think Sparrow. The Sparrow (5322 St. Laurent) had amazing food. It was very rushed but the fact that everything is homemade makes it delicious. It’s an English gastro and they have a
revolving menu, which is interesting. This is the kind of the stuff that they did right, which makes up for the fact that it was crowded. MD: What are some of your goals for the blog? GJ: We plan to continue this. There are four restaurants in each issue. That’s a month of brunch. It is something we enjoy and would like to continue. This isn’t our job; we are not making money off this. DG: We’ve been relaxed about it. It’s something we are doing at our own pace because really, that’s what brunch is all about!
INT. STAGE-DAY is up through May 9. For more information, visit dhcart.org.
The goods on good breakfasts Montreal bloggers launch zine dedicated to brunching around the city Chelsea Blazer The McGill Daily
here’s nothing better than going out for brunch: the greasy diner joints, the steaming hot hash browns, the limitless coffee, and the gathering of friends and conversations after a night out. After waking up on Sunday morning in a hazy state of mind, the hearty meals and pleasurable ambiance of going for brunch is often just what you need to sustain you for the rest of your day. So then, where do you go? Garrett Johnson and Desiree Gordon share this enthusiasm for brunch. They recently collaborated on a zine dedicated to helping you pick the perfect Montreal
breakfast. Recently I had the pleasure to talk to Johnson and Gordon about their explorations of M00ontreal’s mouth-watering brunch restaurants and the process of creating a zine to share this passion with the rest of us. The McGill Daily: Where does your love of food and restaurants come from? Garrett Johnson: It comes from loving to eat. For me, it is the form of art I most relate to. I am not a painter or a writer; I’m more into cooking because of the colours and the textures. It is something I can do that is not pretentious and I don’t need to it back up any sort of artistic statement. MD: What was behind your decision to put together this zine? Why breakfast? GJ: We are both brunch cooks;
this is what we do professionally. There’s something about brunch that is so social and exciting. It is very down-to-earth. There are a lot of places that serve brunch and so we decided we wanted to find out which one was the best. MD: What is your criterion for a good breakfast place? How do you grade and compare the food? GJ: You need to take everything into account. Yes, it’s going to be the standard eggs with home fries, but it’s more than just the meal. It the whole brunch experience. When you go there, are you relaxed? Is the price-ratio good? How is the service? A lot of the places we go to, you go and are waiting to be seated and once you’re seated it feels like they are just trying to push you out the door. I’m kind of an anxious person and very sensitive to feel-
Gert & Dersy Do Brunch is due to be released on Valentine’s Day and will be distributed in a variety of cafés and restaurants in the Plateau.
The McGill Daily, Monday, February 8, 2010
Lies, half-truths, and generosity
Another lesson from psych class
Students give back to Milton-Parc through community mural Photo by Dominatrix Poopoowitch Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
Sugar never tasted so good Across
The Crossword Fairies
1. Its motto is “Industry” 5. Hold off 10. Indian attire 14. After-bath wear 15. “Home ___” 16. What we do for midterms 17. Lightbulb? 18. Purl stitches 19. Largest of seven 20. Post hook-up action 23. Habits 24. Dogie catcher 25. An ___ function 28. Attempt 30. The Kennedys, e.g. 31. Luster 33. Shade 36.Characteristic of 20-across 40. It may be easily bruised 41. Camus’s problem 42. Tempers 43. Bro 44. Crack 46. Kelp substance 49. Fire starter 51. Army rank, below captain 57. Loneliest numbers 58. French graffiti artist aka Monsieur A 59. Purlieu 60. Crown molding 61.Mr.____s Neighbourhood 62. Catchall abbr. 63. Cute ones 64. Head and shoulders,___
and toes 65. “___ of Eden”
of mins 33. Achilles, e.g. 34. Brought into play 35. To be, in old Rome 37. Hangout 38. Armageddon 39. Moniker 43. Slurs 44. Archivists 45. Before, of yore 46. At hand 47. Vernacular 48. Receive 49. Marsh plant 50. Blender function 52. Caper 53. Knowing, as a secret 54. Opera solo 55. Loch monster 56. Boor’s lack
1. Pee acid 2. ___ list 3. Biblical shepherd 4. Cycling impediment 5. Nymph loved by Apollo 6.“The Wasteland” poet 7. Concentrate 8.Hydroxyl compound 9. Abbr. after many a general’s name 10. Sacred beetle of ancient Egypt 11. Cath___ 12. Torrents 13.Adult insect 21.Prodigal __ 22.African Solution to “Santa and Freud walk into a bar” antelope A S C I P E R C H A S E 25. Advil tar- B A R N O R Z O L E M M A get P U R L O L I O S E R A S 26.Country’s L I B I D I N A L E N E R G Y insignia G E N E P E N 27. A seaport in F I A N C E P R O A W O L south Portugal N A A C P A B A A M N I A 28. C A N A D I A N W H I S K E Y Cobblestone E L V E S T H E S E 29. __-ball : E G O L E D W I E N E R excellent child- S O Y A hood game D Y E A R E A 31. Wise man F A T H E R C H R I S T M A S 32. R A G S H I F I A L O E S Agglomeration S T O R E A L O T E L A N T O T E S
G O T
S E R E
COMING SOON! BEARD CONTEST! SHOW US YOUR BRISTLES! STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFO...!!!
February 10th , 5:00pm – Shatner Cafeteria (2nd ﬂoor) Come out and raise your voice on issues that aﬀect you! Please bring McGill ID New Mo�ons to be discussed include (in no par�cular order): Resolu�on re: Discriminatory groups
BE IT RESOLVED THAT sec�on 4 of the SSMU’s Equity Policy be amended to include, a�er the sentence “No student organiza�on should have the eﬀect of limi�ng dialogue on these legi�mate topics provided that such discussion is conducted in a respec� ul and non-coercive manner,” the following paragraph: “The SSMU further resolves to condemn any group, student associa�on or organiza�on whose goals and methods compromise the safety and health of any person or engage in acts of discrimina�on, such as, but not limited to, pro-life groups; the SSMU will not grant full or interim club status to any such group.”
Resolu�on re: Tar Sands BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SSMU condemn the environmental and social destruc�on currently underway in Alberta in the context of the Tar Sands industrial development and, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT all investments currently held by the SSMU in excess of a price of $15,000 be submi�ed to a review process by the Financial Ethics Review Commi�ee for �es with the Tar Sands industry that: “…the [Financial Ethics Review] Commi�ee shall review and submit its recommenda�ons on any proposed business transac�ons of the Society of a value greater than $15,000 (with the excep�on of personnel contracts).” BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SSMU strike a subcommi�ee of the Financial Ethics Research Commi�ee to inves�gate �es that McGill University may have with the Tar Sands industrial development of Alberta (for instance in the form of research collabora�on or through stock ownership).
Resolu�on re: Restora�on of $5 ATM Machines on Campus
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SSMU nego�ate with the McGill Administra�on to restore the former policy of withdrawing $5 bills from the ATM machines around campus.
Resolu�on re: The Defense of Human Rights, Social Jus�ce, and Environmental Protec�on
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SSMU issue a statement reaﬃrming its commitment to human rights, social jus�ce, and environmental protec�on, and its inten�on to take the necessary steps to demonstrate its leadership in these areas within the next academic year. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SSMU moves to expand the mandate of the FERC to also act as an advisory board to McGill University with respect to the ethical prac�ces of corpora�ons with which McGill University conducts business, whether presently or in the future. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT if the expansion of the FERC’s mandate is not feasible, the SSMU commissions the crea�on of a Corporate Social Responsibility commi�ee, hereby known as the CSR Commi�ee, which will inves�gate the ethical prac�ces of corpora�ons with which McGill University conducts business, whether presently or in the future. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the FERC or the CSR Commi�ee will thoroughly inves�gate McGill University’s involvement with companies on the basis of nega�ve ethnical prac�ces, and will, on behalf of the students of McGill University, call upon the administra�on of McGill University to divest from companies that do not meet speciﬁed criteria for ethical investment as determined by the FERC or the CSR Commi�ee.
Resolu�on re: Free Quality Accessible Educa�on
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SSMU commit itself to ﬁgh�ng for free, quality, accessible educa�on through mobilizing McGill students and through uni�ng with other students in Quebec and Canada in order to pressure the government to reduce and eventually eliminate tui�on, forgive student debt, and reinvest in educa�on to maintain the quality and accessibility; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SSMU provide the necessary services to student parents, working students, etc. in order to ensure the con�nued accessibility of educa�on at McGill, including but not limited to free quality daycare and greater emergency bursaries for students with ﬁnancial needs; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SSMU support the eﬀort to be�er the working condi�ons for students who work on campus, including through suppor�ng organiza�ons doing such work, such as the Associa�on of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE) and the Associa�on of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM).
Resolu�on re: Ancillary fees
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SSMU oppose any future increases in mandatory ancillary fees required of students by McGill University, unless such increases have been duly approved by majority vote of a referendum open to all members of the Society; and let this hold regardless of whether or not said fee increase would exceed the current limit of $15 per semester per student set by the government of Quebec on such increases, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SSMU oppose any future legisla�on that would allow for the ancillary fees billed to students by McGill University to increase beyond the current limit set by the government of Quebec and, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the SSMU lobby the government of Quebec to either maintain or lower the maximum dollar amount per semester per student, by which McGill University may increase mandatory ancillary fees.
Resolu�on re: Self-funded tui�on model
BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SSMU take a formal policy against the self-funded tui�on program model to guide its lobbying on the University, Provincial, and Federal level. For full text or more informa�on, please see www.ssmu.mcgill.ca/ga