AUIF Renewal – Every 3 Years
Referendum Questions FACL Renewal – every 3 years Whereas the Faculty of Arts Computer Lab fee is the sole source of funding for all computers, computer labs and equipment available for student use in the faculty of Arts; Whereas the FACL was born out of the division of the AUIF into two separate opt-outable fees by referenda in fall 2009 and in such is bound for a question on its renewal every three years and was last renewed in Winter 2007; Whereas a ‘no’ vote would lead to the termination of the fund and a discontinuation of the Ferrier computer labs and the computers around Leacock and Arts; Do you agree to renew the opt-outable Faculty of Arts Computer Lab fee for $9.80 for full-time students and $4.90 for part-time students each fall and winter semester for the next three years? Yes/No
Whereas the Arts Undergraduate Improvement Fund (AUIF) is the primary source of funding for capital investments in student spaces in the faculty of arts, such as the AUS lounge and other departmental lounges; Whereas the AUIF was split into two separate funds by referenda in Fall 2009; Whereas the AUIF has contributed to such things as the benches throughout Leacock and Arts as well as tools that benefit the life and learning of students in the faculty of arts; Whereas the AUIF fee is bound for a question on its renewal every three years and was last renewed in Winter 2007; Whereas a ‘no’ vote would lead to the termination of the fund;
Do you agree to renew the opt-outable Arts Undergraduate Improvement Fund fee for $14.70 for full-time students and $7.35 for part-time students each fall and winter semester for the next three years? Yes/No
Substantive Constitutional Changes Whereas the Arts Undergraduate Society has grown in recent years in its reach and scope of activities, and new and vibrant committees have been created to accommodate and assist this growth;
Do you agree to the following amendments to the AUS Constitution? Yes/No
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Ontario MPPs condemn Israeli Apartheid Week Organizers defend term “apartheid,” cite South African support Stephanie Law The McGill Daily
he Legislative Assembly of Ontario unanimously passed a resolution condemning Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) last Thursday, taking particular issue with use of the term “apartheid” in conjunction with Israeli policy. The province’s actions have prompted Conservative MP Tim Uppal from Edmonton to announce that he will table a similar motion in the House of Commons next week. IAW is an annual series of educational events that take place at over 40 universities and colleges around the world with an aim to “educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement,” according to the IAW web site. Montreal’s sixth IAW begins today with events held at McGill and Concordia. MPP Peter Shurman, who tabled the motion in Ontario, argued that the use of the term “apartheid” in relation to Israel bordered on hate speech and offended those who experienced apartheid in South Africa.
“It’s a provocatively charged word and it’s presumptive: if you say something is apartheid then, hey, it must be – there is certainly not consensus on that. If we’re talking about Israel, let’s discuss it – let’s not have a one-sided diatribe about it, which is what IAW is about,” Shurman said. According to Shurman, the resolution passed in the Ontario legislature is intended to have moral suasion, but does not prohibit IAW from continuing. It is likely that student organizers in Ontario will continue with the week as planned. “It’s ironic how these politicians can find the time to condemn [IAW] and silence student activism and student voice, but they can’t find time to condemn Israel’s crimes on and systematic oppression of the Palestinian people,” said Yafa Jarrar, member of the Students Against Apartheid at Carelton University. “They are trying to systematically suppress our freedom of speech and our activism. But we will not be silenced.” Organizers of IAW in Montreal argued that the event is meant to be a week of open discussions and that the decision to use the term “apartheid” is based on the policies implemented in Israel that have segregated Palestinians living in the region.
“The reason we’re calling it Israeli apartheid is because it is what it is. The policies that Israel has been implementing against the Palestinian people show a systematic tendency of alienating and separating them. Apartheid means separateness, and the racial policies that Israel has passed have an unquestionable goal of segregating the Palestinians,” said Nina Amrov, a member of the IAW organizing committee and of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Canada. Scott Weinstein from Independent Jewish Voices said there are many Jewish individuals who support IAW and are involved in organizing the week. He also explained that the term “apartheid” is intended to be provocative and spark debate – though it has not been as successful as hoped. “[We] have begged, pleaded, and invited our counterparts in the Zionist movement to debate us… [but] they absolutely refuse. They don’t want there to be a public discussion about any profound criticism of Zionism and the nature of racism in the Jewish state,” said Weinstein. “If they would guarantee a public debate on the issue and they don’t want us to use the word apartheid, then sure, that’s not an issue – but they won’t debate with us, not yet.”
MPP Shurman warned that apartheid does not exist in Israel and that the association the term creates between Israel and the South African apartheid regime is inaccurate. “You cannot make something true just by saying it is. Just because there’s a week called Israeli Apartheid Week doesn’t support that there is apartheid in Israel – because there isn’t; apartheid has only taken place in one place: South Africa,” said Shurman. However, supporters of IAW were quick to point out that “apartheid” is a term that has been used to describe Israel by many individuals involved in the fight against South African apartheid, and that Israeli policies fit the definition of apartheid as articulated by the UN International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1973. Emanuel Lowi, a former editor at Haaretz in Israel who describes himself as an observant Canadian Jew, discussed the criticism of Israel by South African leaders. “The best people [to judge whether it is] apartheid are the people in South Africa who fought against apartheid. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has come out very strongly against Israel. [Tutu said that]
what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people in many ways is not only reminiscent of South Africa, but is worse than it. Nelson Mandela has come out against the Israeli’s treatment of Palestinians,” said Lowi. Mookie Kideckel, president of Hillel McGill, pointed out that Jewish students on campus often feel singled out and targeted by talks of Israeli apartheid. “Israel is a democratic country; it’s made a lot of efforts for peace. It’s also something that’s emotionally tied to the majority of Jewish students,” Kideckel said. “By seeking to delegitimize Israel, [IAW] effectively makes a lot of Jewish students feel delegitimized. A lot of the agony and fear from the week comes from the idea that it really obsessively singles out Israel, and makes a lot of Jewish students connected to it feel singled out unfairly,” said Kideckel. Lowi tried to address the fears that Jewish students are experiencing. “The students who are scared, they have to think about what it is they should do to protect our people from being discredited by being associated to despicable acts committed in our names [by the Israeli government], and it is to speak out against it,” Lowi said.
McGill Tribune fights for independence Editors resign as paper campaigns for fee levy in referendum Erin Hale The McGill Daily
en editors at the McGill Tribune resigned at midnight Monday to help run the newspaper’s fee levy campaign in the winter term referendum. According to SSMU electoral bylaws, editorial staff of major campus publications or on-air personalities must resign during the election period. The week-long resignation has been challenging for the publication, but editor-in-chief Thomas Quail, who resigned last week, said the newspaper’s greater concern is whether or not students will approve their proposed $3 non-optoutable fee. “A ‘No’ vote means you support the cessation of the publication of the McGill Tribune. It’s a referendum on how valuable the Tribune is as a student service,” Quail said. The Tribune is currently supported by funds provided by
SSMU. Two years ago the Society mandated the paper to become independent by January 2010. The date was later pushed back to September 2010 in order to provide the newspaper with more time to plan for the change. The fee levy will allow the newspaper to support itself after independence. According to Quail, the newspaper’s move to independence was motivated both by concerns over a conflict of interest, since the newspaper reports on SSMU while also depending on the Society for funding, and the fact that SSMU is legally responsible for the newspaper. “If we publish something legally libelous or slanderous, we are not accountable for our actions,” Quail said, noting that legal costs would come out of the SSMU budget. “If we’re sued that threatens club funding.” The mandate for independence was originally dictated by SSMU without consulting the Tribune editorial board. However, Quail said that the publication is now looking
forward to the change. “It’s a valuable, natural step for a newspaper that’s 30 years old. The best papers across Canada are independent – and in order to do that we need to separate from SSMU,” he said. According to Elections McGill chief electoral officer Mike Vallo, the Tribune’s independence bid has run smoothly to date, though he suggested the campaign may have been unduly complicated by SSMU’s strict election laws. “Personally I think the rules could be loosened a bit. The campaign rules are pretty narrow,” Vallo said, although he explained that universities with looser regulations have had problems containing campaigns. “We’re trying to avoid the situation at Concordia, where they have billboard trucks [for candidates],” said Vallo. Quail said that he was informed of the bylaw that required staff to resign several weeks ago at a meeting with Elections McGill. Editors will return to their positions when the campaign period closes.
Mars Armstrong for The McGill Daily
An under-staffed, overworked Tribune prepares for the referendum.
WE NEED A NEW COPY
EDITOR get in touch: Coordinating @mcgilldaily.com
Annual General Meeting The Annual General Meeting of the Daily Publications Society (DPS), publisher of The McGill Daily and Le DĂŠlit, will take place on For more information, please contact the Chief Returning Officer, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 16 in Leacock 232 at 6pm. Members of the DPS are cordially invited. The presence of candidates to the Board of Directors is mandatory.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Signatories support boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israeli government Niko Block News Writer
n February 25, Montrealbased Palestine solidarity group Tadamon! announced that 500 local artists had signed a declaration of support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against what they call Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians. The statement argues that there are parallels between South Africa and Israel’s systems of segregation, and that support for the Palestinian struggle for human and civil rights should mirror the international anti-apartheid movement of the 1970s and eighties. “A matrix of Israeli-only roads, electrified fences, and over 500 military checkpoints and roadblocks erase freedom of movement for Palestinians,” it states. “Israel’s apartheid wall, which was condemned by the International Court of Justice in 2004, cuts through
Palestinian lands, further annexing Palestinian territory.” The statement goes on to reference the Israeli military’s blockade of the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, which has been ongoing since 2007. “Israel continues to impose collective punishment on the 1.5 million Palestinians of Gaza, who still face chronic shortages of electricity, fuel, food, and basic necessities.” “These 500 artists signify a very critical shift in our society: a shift toward questioning in many ways the Israeli government and its policies and Canada’s support for Israel and Israel’s policy of occupation and apartheid,” said photographer and Tadamon! member Stefan Christoff. He added that the artists are not calling for the boycott of Israel to be all-encompassing. “Is this a boycott of all Israeli artists? No. It should be on a case-by-case basis. It should target institutional structures,” he said. The BDS movement began following a 2005 request by
Palestinian civil society groups that Israel conform to international law by withdrawing from the Arab territories it annexed in 1967, and by permitting the return of Palestinian refugees to the homes they lost in 1948. Several of the artists in attendance stated that support for the BDS movement has become necessary due in part to the Canadian government’s unwavering support for Israel. “I think the BDS movement is something that will permit us to slowly take back the reins of control and help pull back the money that is flowing into the government that is propelling this occupation,” said Yassin Alsalman, a local hip-hop artist who goes by the anonym The Narcicyst. Fortner Anderson, a poet who also signed the declaration, echoed Alsalman’s statement, and added that the letter should be seen as a first step in a broader, global movement. “The 500 Montreal artists, who create the climate of ideas that we
live in, have said enough is enough – something must be done,” he said. “This cannot be left to the governments because the governments are incapable of resolving the problem.” Freda Guttman, an installation artist and Tadamon! member, said that the 500 signatures were a significant accomplishment given the pressures artists often face from their patrons. “There are people who wanted to [sign the letter] but couldn’t to protect their jobs,” she said. “[Blacklisting] is happening more and more because Israel realizes it’s working.” Anderson agreed that the political statements artists make can adversely affect their professional lives. “A lot of artists in Canada survive entirely off government largess, so for people to take positions like this can, for some, be of concern,” he said. The list of signatories includes members of local bands Kalmunity Vibe Collective, Nomadic Massive, Silver Mt. Zion, and The United Steelworkers of Montreal.
Concordia may owe CFS $1 million Current executives say they will fight the charges, prove fees were paid Amy Minsky The Concordian (CUP)
ecklessness,” “carelessness,” and “negligence” are the words being used to describe the actions of last year’s Concordia Student Union (CSU) president’s behaviour. Those strong words were what lawyers for the current CSU wrote in a letter sent by bailiff and addressed to the 2008-2009 president Keyana Kashfi before informing her that she is being held liable for over $1 million. That letter was drafted after the CSU was informed it owed $1,033,278.76 to the Canadian Federation of Students, a student lobby group the CSU has been a member of since 1998. An accompanying document — signed by Kashfi — said that the debt was a result of unpaid membership fees and outlined the repayment structure, which would have the CSU paying one-tenth of the sum each year for 10 years beginning September 2010.
“It’s impossible,” current CSU president Amine Dabchy said of the alleged amount owed. “It’s some number they made up and got her to sign…. I have difficulties thinking she’s that stupid, though. It’s obviously a stalling tactic.” The CSU was informed of the debt after trying to set a date for a referendum on its continued membership with CFS, after 17 per cent of Concordia students signed a petition calling for a vote. In response, lawyers for CFS said that in order for their client to facilitate a referendum, it would have to receive full payment for the outstanding membership fees. The CSU is holding Kashfi liable for payment of the debt because, according to its lawyers, entering such an agreement on her own, without consulting council, demonstrated a “clear violation” of the CSU’s bylaws and standing regulations, as well as her duties under the Civil Code of Quebec. One of the CSU bylaws in question stipulates that the president must consult with council before
signing anything worth more than $15,000. While Kashfi said she is aware of that bylaw, she maintains she did not violate it. “That document I signed is for services rendered,” she said. “I wasn’t buying anything, I wasn’t spending the money. I simply acknowledged that we owe them this money. Whether or not I signed it, the money is still owed.” As of February 16, Kashfi had not received the CSU’s mandate holding her liable. She was adamant in saying that the total amount owed is accurate. The $1 million discrepancy in membership fees, according to Kashfi, was brought to the CSU’s attention when a “university official” told her the university had not been collecting the fees properly. Part of the debt was incurred when past CSU executives neglected to adjust the fees to the Canadian consumer price index, as is required according to the membership agreement. Not once since the CSU joined CFS has it adjusted the fees. Another sizeable portion of the
We have eight issues left. Still time to get involved email@example.com
debt, according to Kashfi, was accumulated from the failure of the CSU to pay any fees for students in the John Molson School of Business and the faculties of engineering and computer science. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s what’s owed,” Kashfi said. “If anything I did a service to the CSU by stopping the CFS from collecting the debt all at once.” A question that stayed with Dabchy, however, was why his executive was never informed of this large debt. “If the next executives will have to be paying $10,000, it’s something we should know.” While Kashfi remains confident she acted appropriately and even served to benefit the union, Dabchy won’t budge on his assertion that she acted “maliciously.” “She is helping the CFS. This gets them more time before we can hold our referendum.” The CSU announced this week that it will be seeking a court order forcing CFS to set a referendum date. CFS could not be reached before press time.
500 MTL artists protest Israeli policy
UC San Diego students occupy admin office Crowds of students stormed and occupied the office of a University of California, San Diego chancellor for six hours Friday after a noose was found hanging from a bookcase in the main library. The noose is only the latest in a string of incidents over the past few weeks. UC San Diego has the smallest percentage of African American students in the nine-campus UC system. —Democracy Now! Utah abortion bill could punish women for miscarriages Utah lawmakers have approved a measure that would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit an “intentional, knowing or reckless act” that causes a miscarriage. Critics fear the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner. —Democracy Now! Net puts Kenya at centre of Chile rescue efforts Within an hour of Saturday’s massive Chilean quake, volunteers at a crisis group called Ushahidi sprang into action. The group shares a name with an online mapping tool that can be used to collect and plot reports coming in from citizens via email, SMS, or even Twitter. Messages plotted on Ushahidi’s map of Chile already include: “Send help. I’m stuck under a building with my child. We have no supplies.” The intention is that emergency services can then use that information to target their efforts. —BBC E.U. endorses Greek austerity efforts amid protests The European Commission indicated Wednesday that the way was clear for the first bailout in the history of the euro, if one is needed, after Greece announced fresh austerity measures aimed at generating cash to ease its budget problems. Protests against the austerity measures continued Wednesday on the streets of Athens. Teachers at state secondary schools held another protest outside the Education Ministry and taxi drivers stayed off the job for a second day. These follow national public and private sector strikes that shut down Greek airports and schools, and saw police fire tear gas into crowds of protesters who were throwing rocks and paint in February – after the last round of austerity measures. —The New York Times
6 SSMU Election Coverage 2010
Meet your 2010 SSMU candidates for... PRESIDENT
Hey McGill, I’m Sarah Woolf, and I’m running to be your president of SSMU. I’m a current SSMU councillor and McGill senator and next year is an incredibly important year for the SSMU for three reasons. First: the minister of education has made it abundantly clear that tuition hikes, and huge ones, are headed our way. Second: next year we will be renegotiating our lease with McGill. This happens only once in a blue moon. And third: we are financially poised to do new and adventurous things in a way we haven’t been before. So vote Sarah Woolf for the relevant skills and expertise to make next year the best it can be.
Hi, my name is Zach Newburgh and I’m running to represent you as the president of the Student Society of McGill University. Let’s think big, and build community together, increase accessibility to our student society, and give green and sustainability initiatives a chance on campus. This is our opportunity to create memories that last a lifetime, and to ensure that our student society is something that we are proud of. Vote Zach Newburgh for president, and be proud of your student society.
Ladies and gentlemen, students and friends, this is Trip Yang and I’m running to be your SSMU president. I’m a motivated, passionate, and qualified individual, who has dedicated his last four years to student service and enhancing student life. As SSMU president, I’ll focus on hosting more campus-wide events, reforming the dysfunctional GA process, and introducing flash fundraisers. For a SSMU that appeals to you, please vote for Trip Yang as SSMU president.
Hey guys, I’m Tom Fabian. I’m running for VP (Internal.) I’m the red thunder guy, and hopefully I can bring that athletic event, program, experience to this position. I’m super excited for Frosh, and the new year. So vote yes. Thanks.
I got 99 problems but the SSMU ain’t one. My name is Marta Gruntmane and I got mad flow, so let me tell you guys about what I know. I’m running for SSMU, Internal is the game, this fool Tommy boy is really lame. Hey guys! I’m running for VP (Internal) of SSMU. Main points of this platform are increasing attendance at Frosh, and making Frosh more inclusive for everyone; sustainability at all events; as well as bettering relations with the Milton-Park community. Vote Marta for VP Internal.
All photos Stephen Davis | The McGill Daily
My name’s Stefan Link, and I’m a U3 student in a joint major program of physiology and physics. I’ve decide to run for student president; I’m not happy with the basic student services. We need a 24-hour library. We should have healthy and affordable food in a student run food co-op where we design the menu. We should also lobby the government for increased funding for education because we are the taxpayers of the future. Vote for the missing link – Stefan Link for SSMU president. This is your chance to make a difference – please come out and vote.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
V.P. EXTERNAL AFFAIRS Hello everyone, my name is Tedi Angoni, and I’m running for this year’s SSMU Vice President (External) position. I intend on bringing a new point of view to SSMU – an original and fresh point of view – and making SSMU more involved in the federal position. So if you have any more questions, Facebook me and I’ll add you! Vote for me!
Hello, my name is Eric Jinsan, I’m currently running for VP (External Affairs) of the Student Society at McGill University. There are three things I would like to do when I get elected. One is to create a transit pass program, two is to stabilize the tuition fees, and three is to create more job opportunities for students looking to work in the summer. If you want more information, you can go visit www.ericjinsanonssmu.com.
Hi my name is Myriam Zaidi and I’m presenting myself as VP (External) for SSMU next year. Right now there’s a lot of talk about increasing tuition and there’s a huge campaign being done through the media in favour of these tuition [increases], so I think it’s really important to have a good leader – someone who has experience in lobbying with the government in education-related issues – so don’t forget to vote for Myriam Zaidi.
V.P. FINANCE & OPERATIONS Hi, my name is Nick Drew and I’m running for VP (Finance and Operations) at SSMU. I want to make sure that SSMU is working for the students. I’m going to do this through streamlining SSMU’s operations as well as making sure there’s increased accessibility. I also want to make sure that we’re increasing the transparency to our students and this is basically going to be done through workshops to increase the accessibility to making budgets workable. So vote for me on March 5. Thank you.
V.P. UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS Hi, my name is Josh Abaki and I am running to be your Vice President (University Affairs.) Currently I represent science students on SSMU Council. If you elect me as your vice president I plan on addressing the planned tuition increase, and to push for longer library opening hours and advocate for more work study positions, as well as promote accessibility initiatives on our campus. Thank you very much for your support, and In Swahili we say, asanti sana. Thank you.
My name is Matthew Crawford and I’m running for VP (University Affairs) and I approve this message. My dear friends and colleagues, McGill is suffering from a democratic crisis. While we claim to support democracy, the vast majority of students remain ill-informed and apathetic. If you elect me, Matt Crawford as VP UA of SSMU, I promise this will change. Visit my FB group, voteformattcrawford-ssmu or email at votematthewcrawford@ live.com for more on my platform and experience. Together, we can make a SSMU that we’re all proud of.
I’m David Lipsitz and I’m running for the position of Vice President (University Affairs.) This year I sit on the Senate representing the faculty of Arts. I am also the chair of the SSMU external affairs committee. I know SSMU politics internally, I know SSMU politics externally. If I’m elected to the position of VP (University Affairs,) I will push for the prioritization of accessible education, an improved undergraduate experience, as well as the continuation of sustainability policies at SSMU. Please vote for me, David Lipsitz, starting on March 5, for the position of VP (University Affairs.)
V.P. CLUBS & SERVICES Anushay Khan
My name is , and I’m running for Vice President (Clubs and Services.) I feel I have ample experience to work in this portfolio, because I am an avid fan of student politics, have been involved from the very start, and was the interest group coordinator last year. I chaired the clubs and services committee, and attended Council. This gave me the necessary experience to deal with issues in the portfolio. Working in the office helped me deal with some of the problems and to also discover what was wanted and to address student needs and concerns. So March 5, you know what to do. Vote for me, Anushay Khan.
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AUS ELECTIONS SPRING 2010 March 3rd:
Campaign period begins
Notice of pen sketches and referendum questions
March 11th: Advanced polling begins March 12th: End of campaigning and advanced polling March 15th – 17th: Polling period
VP Events NAMPANDE LONDE Reasons I should be AUS VP Events 2010-2011: - I was VP External of New Rez this year, and we planned some sick events (Rez-Erection, Advanced Screening of New Moon, Glow Job, Assassins, Toonie Yoga, Midnight Munchies, SuperBowl Party, Valentine’s Candy Grams, IRComedy, KissKissBANGBANG...). - I like fun. - I know all of the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme Song (extended version). - I am a firm believer that “you can do it, put your back into it”. - I’ve heard that Sexy has gone missing, but don’t you worry, I’m determined to bring it back.
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Call for Candidates The Daily Publications Society, publisher of The McGill Daily and Le Délit, is seeking candidates for
student positions on its Board of Directors. The position must be filled by McGill students belonging to any faculty other than the Faculty of Arts, duly registered during the upcoming Fall term, and able to sit until April 30, 2011. Board members gather at least once a month to discuss the management of the newspapers, and make important administrative decisions. Candidates should send a 500-word letter of intention to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15th. Contact us for more information.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Sexquisite corpses The shock-and-awe capitalism of BODIES the Exhibition
Aristotle’s lackey Sana Saeed
f there is anything sexier than a naked human body, it’s clearly the skinned and chemicallypreserved human body. At least according to disturbingly exploitative displays such as BODIES the Exhibition, currently being held at the Eaton Centre. BODIES offers med-school failures the opportunity to explore “the amazing and complex machine we call the human body” using “actual human specimens” (apparently of the Chinese prisoner persuasion), allowing “access to sights and knowledge normally reserved…for medical professionals.” While I have not had the chance to visit the exhibition itself, I have heard some interesting remarks regarding the morbidly alluring smell that fills the exhibit, the predominant representation of a particular ethnic group, and the general awe inspired by the sheer complexity and muscular synchronization of the human body. While the exhibit certainly seems as though it would be worth a portion of my pay cheque, I find myself hesitating. There is only one reason why the BODIES exhibit is as popular as it is and has received the sort of attention and acclaim that it has: the use of “actual human speci-
mens.” As a friend recently, and heatedly, mentioned, we have the scientific ability to perfectly recreate the human body from within; we have the ability to even create the required tissue – so why use cadavers, formerly referred to as human beings, as educational models on display to teach the non-medical world? Because sex sells. BODIES sexes up science. It adds to the growing sexual commodification and morbidity to which we are becoming increasingly desensitized. We are constantly looking for a selling “schtick” for our products. Shock-and-awe – albeit the name of a military strategy – is perhaps the best way to characterize this socalled “century of the self,” in which to garner attention for and to sell a commodity means constantly pushing the bounds of the shocking. The human body itself has become a huge marketing point, used to get people to purchase products and services in varying ways and to various degrees – thereby promoting the sexualization of capitalism, beyond sex itself. See also: Lady Gaga. Now, I’m not trying to promote any sort of moral Puritanism, but there is something sincerely and deeply unsettling about the con-
Olivia Messer | The McGill Daily
Sexed-up cadavers are a sign of culture’s obsession with the shocking. cept behind BODIES. For a few dollars, you can see once-living human beings skinned, preserved, and arranged in positions highlighting our own bodies’ intricacies. Just as I stand outside the looking glass, if I were once the unfortunate inmate of a Chinese prison, I could very easily be standing on the other side – frozen in formaldehyde. What is ironic is that the very same field – medical science – which claims deep respect, understanding, and love for the human body
has completely dehumanized it and made it into something worth consuming without the added bonus of being referred to as an establishment of “pimps.” What does this exhibit – and displays like it – say about our priorities and values as a society? What does it say about us as a people when we use a military strategy to sell products, especially those that are a source of entertainment, using the human body and its various functions? We’re approaching a thresh-
old that will force us to ask: what else is left to sell for entertainment value? And I’m unsure if I want to be around when the answer to that question is known. No apologies for any self-righteousness that may have been displayed in this column. Sana Saeed writes in this space every other week. Does BODIES violate bodily sovereignty? Inquiring minds want to know: aristotles. email@example.com.
The intersection of gender and climate change Environmental catastrophe will strike women hardest Zaren White The Muse (CUP)
T. JOHN’S — Knowledge of climate change’s irrevocable damage is becoming more common and widely shared. In spite of this, many of us are stuck thinking of climate change as a purely environmental issue, distancing ourselves from the fact that we’re completely dependent on the environment. Just like any other species, our survival is jeopardized by environmental degradation. It’s time to see climate change as what it essentially is to us – a human issue. A human rights issue. As the damage to the planet and the depletion of its resources accelerate at a dangerous rate, the distinctly gendered repercussions of climate change are coming to the fore. Beyond the impact on all human
beings, climate change is directly linked to women’s rights and gender justice. Because it exacerbates preexisting inequalities, it is an urgent global issue that needs to be framed with attention to gender. The Oxfam publication Climate Change and Gender Justice notes that “climate change is not happening in a vacuum.... It is one trend interacting with many others,” including economic liberalization, globalization, conflict, unpredictable government policies, and health risks. Climate change means great injustice for both women and men, but women will bear the burden disproportionately. It poses an increased threat to those suffering from poverty in developing nations – those who have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions. And 70 per cent of the 1.3-billion people living in extreme poverty around the world are female, according to Oxfam.
As a social development issue, climate change is pertinent to women’s equality. The minimal feminist and gender-focused study and input on issues and policies related to climate change to date has resulted in the omission of gender issues from the overarching discourse developed globally. For example, 1992’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change omits gender perspectives from its analysis. Our collective interaction with the environment affects every aspect of our existence as humans, so it’s crucial to explore how gender equality will be factored into the discussion as we move forward. The current climate crisis reflects issues of women’s disadvantage, such as access to resources and domestic responsibilities, and underscores the need for the inclusion of gender-based viewpoints in environmental policy development. We’re endangering our very
survival by failing to curb limitless economic development and industrial expansion, insatiable use of resources, and the effects of global warming. This estrangement from nature that allows humans to feel impervious is especially true of those of us who are far removed, in terms of geography and wealth, from the immediate consequences of global warming. As a privileged Canadian, I do not and will not experience the repercussions of climate change as intensely as a poor farmer in Asia whose crops are ruined by drought or flood, or a woman whose household workload increases due to prolonged searches for increasingly scarce water. All human beings will become threatened, but it is in poor nations that livelihood depends immediately upon farming, reliable rainfall, and nature’s resources. It is in poor nations that people are more vulnerable to the detrimental
changes induced by global warming. Women, being the world’s primary farmers, according to the 2009 report by the United Nations Population Fund, are in turn particularly vulnerable. Climate change, poverty, and gender are interconnected. With climate change aggravating existing inequalities, like gender inequality, many social scientists, scholars, and women’s rights advocates have reached a consensus: climate change must be understood as a human rights and social development issue first and foremost. As the global community moves forward, issues of gender equality should be prioritized in the development of strategies and policies to adapt to climate change. Zaren White writes for the Muse at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This article originally appeared in the Canadian University Press.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Free university won’t solve our problems We need to deal with education issues at their roots Adrian Kaats
ur post-secondary education (PSE) system is in jeopardy. Higher education is being cast as a financial investment rather than a societal good, and students are once more paying the price. According to the current political powers, deregulating tuition is a viable solution to the PSE funding crisis. The upper- and middle-class students filling the ivory towers, they argue, can either afford the increase or should accept – based on access to higher income in the future – the cost of their education. Classical neoliberal arguments for the benefits of deregulation run roughly as follows: increased tuition entails a decrease in public funding, at least partly due to decreases in enrolment. Increased tuition maintains overall institutional revenue. Decreasing enrolment allows more resources to be allocated per student. A larger labour pool drives down wages, which spurs economic activity and increases employment. Increased employment and industrial activity increases tax revenues. The money cut from PSE, they argue, was actually a subsidy for the education of privileged students attending a chronically under-funded and over-utilized system. Now – so the argument goes – we could easily take those funds and bolster loans and bursary programs, allowing disadvantaged groups an equal opportunity to receive PSE, all thanks to tuition deregulation! It sounds great, but what’s the catch? Even if this strategy were philosophically sound, a paradigm shift of this magnitude requires at least a decade to bear any fruit. Practically speaking, ordinary voters are unlikely to hold the government accountable for education in the long term, and those the issue does affect (students!) don’t vote. Any political actor worth their weight in “Drop Fees” buttons knows this. Although this model purports adherence to the principle that education should be equally accessible regardless of socio-economic status, it relies entirely on budgetto-budget commitments to social spending initiatives that will relieve socio-economic barriers to PSE. Given the nature of our political system, this proposal is a gamble
only a fool would make. But what about other models? And how can we fix our current, obviously ailing system? First, we must all agree on the following criteria: PSE should be equally accessible to all, regardless of socio-economic status; and the debt accrued by students who can’t afford tuition, acquired with the promise of higher future earnings, does not satisfy the former premise of equal access. Simultaneously, the quality of education should not suffer for the satisfaction of the promise of equal access. These are the founding principles of the student movement, and I agree with them heart, mind, and soul. Unfortunately, the models put forward by the student movement cannot satisfy these principles. Their argument is that PSE should be entirely publicly financed (“free”), not merit-based, and remain high quality. Statistically, those having completed some level of higher education tend to earn more, pay more taxes, and are less likely to draw on public resources and social services. Free higher education seems to pay for itself in the long run. Although the statistics hold true, this analysis is tragically classist. The playing field needs to be levelled at the entry point to the education system, and we are nowhere near achieving that basic goal. To claim otherwise is selfserving and defeatist; it results in the development of unsustainable models and proposals for the PSE system’s structure and funding. More than that, we need to work to create viable, enriching vocational programs that are not seen as “fallback” plans to university studies and do not fuel an implicit value judgment about the possession of a degree. The lack of a university diploma has become an elitist barrier to workforce entry, and we must dispel the myth that all students need, or even want, a university education. There is only one way to determine if higher education is the panacea the institutionalized student movement claims it to be. We need to make a truly universalized, genuinely inclusive system. I can think of only one way to do this, but it requires the student movement and lobbies like the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Association of University
Jerry Gu | The McGill Daily
Not charging tuition could break the bank without improving quality. Teachers to cease patterns of selfserving insularity, and to see the education system holistically. We must admit that our primary, secondary, and vocational education system is badly ailing. We have not succeeded in creating an accessible, high-quality primary, secondary, and vocational education system, despite the fact that it is largely free. By no means is this a criticism of the teachers and administrators that hold these systems together with a shoestring and commitment. Those employed in this sector will attest to the fact that there are far too few resources; the resources they have are too thinly stretched. The PSE system does not need the care and reinvestment so desperately missing at lower levels in the educational system. We need to halve class sizes, to feed every student at least two proper meals per day (regardless of what they get at
home), to equip our schools with state-of-the-art resources, to develop high-quality after-school programs and in-house social services. We need to give massive pay raises to our teachers and support staff. Our children need urgent attention – and need it far more than those with the privilege of gracing the system as university students and professors. We must reinvest directly in the primary and secondary education system, vastly improve opportunities for vocational studies, and work to make post-secondary completely free for those who want it (not those who feel obligated to pursue it). This is an immensely successful model, tried and tested by our siblings in Scandinavia. The benefits are myriad: decreased time for degree completion, higher graduation rates, and an overall decrease in system cost. In order to do this, we need
to recognize various aptitudes that guide students on their path through our education system. I can already see the red flags being hoisted up by the student movement. Indeed, as with any systemic shift short of revolution, the upper and middle classes will temporarily be advantaged because their socioeconomic status affords them better opportunities to develop measurable aptitudes. However, equal support for and development of our individual talents is the only thing that will lead to a system that is truly and universally accessible, one where people end up doing what they actually like and are good at, rather than what they think they should do. Adrian Kaats is a PhD3 Biomedical Engineering student. He’s a PGSS councillor, but the views expressed here are his own. Write Kaats at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Re: “The Daily’s silence on Iran” | Commentary | February 18
Look, I read all the papers on the stands – even the Plumber’s Faucet (which I often regret, especially the issue with an article about penis-measuring). Leigh Miller U1 Engineering
Campus’s newest independent media: The McGill Kreitner
What is the long end of reporting accuracy?
Re: “The Daily’s silence on Iran” | Commentary | February 18
Re: “Minister may increase tuition” | News | February 18
Dear Ricky, Maybe you should give The Daily a list of stories that will fulfill the Statement of Principles. Or hell, just write the whole newspaper. Maybe then it can be as great as the Tribune. Look, I read all the papers on the stands – even the Plumber’s Faucet (which I often regret, especially the issue with an article about penis-measuring). While there is a large spectrum of quality, you are all student journalists. So please stop hating on The Daily; it just makes you sound like a dick. At least they have crossword puzzles, however horrible, which is more than I can say for the Tribune. By the way man, we should hang out some time: I haven’t seen you in forever. Love,
I’ve always been a big fan of The Daily’s work. Unfortunately, I’ve often found myself and the VP External portfolio on the short end of reporting accuracy. In February, The Daily reported on a solidarity rally organized by the mobilization committee to raise awareness on campus and protest the possible upcoming tuition fee hikes. Though I clearly informed the reporter Eric Andrew-Gee that this event was not TaCEQ-organized, the sub-header displayed: “A handful of students respond at TaCEQ protest.” If the mistake was intentional, then I applaud The Daily’s opportunism in promoting visibility for the TaCEQ. However, the inaccuracy persists: the rally was organized by SSMU and the mobilization committee. In the last paragraph, the article also implies that the turnout was a result of the last-minute planning of the rally. Andrew-Gee seemed to forget the timeline that had been explained to him. The decision to hold the rally and flyer had been made by the mobilization committee on the Monday, February 15, two business days after the news broke about impending tuition increases and one business day after student associations across Quebec decided to hold events throughout universities and CEGEPs. So, yes, the rally was organized at the last minute, but I never “concede[d] that students could have been given more notice,” given the shortness of time available.
Leigh Miller U1 Engineering
Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan SSMU VP (external affairs)
Re: “The Daily’s silence on Iran” | Commentary | February 18 Ricky Kreitner’s triumphant return to The Daily is undermined by the same argument proposed in its closing sentence. What is more interesting are the “notes it doesn’t play.” Darling Ricky writes as though The Daily has conspired to prevent “the truth” getting out about Iran (which I’m presuming Ricky sees to be the “Enemy of Israel”), choosing rather to showcase the humanitarian catastrophe imposed on the Gaza Strip. As someone who has written for The Daily, even in a columnist position, he should know that the impetus is largely on student authors to write on Iran if they choose to do so. I used the Tribune’s search function expecting a myriad of instances in which Kreitner had used his new position at the paper to showcase his expert opinions on Iran only to find – wait for it – there are none. If Ricky Kreitner wants to write on Iran, I’m sure that he’s more than welcome to do so, as is any other student. In the meantime, there is no shortage of McGill students willing to write on Israel-Palestine, so The Daily ends up running articles that, you know, have been written and thus exist to be published. Are these students writing on the topic because it has nothing to do with McGill? Seems highly improbable, even operating under the (faulty) assumption that the connection to McGill is the prominence of the debate on campus. To close with a shameless plug, there is an interesting article on the recent events in Iran in the upcoming issue of the McGill Foreign Affairs Review, soon to be available free on campus. Maybe that will assuage Kreitner’s righteous indignation. Ben Foldy U3 History and Political Science (joint honours) Daily columnist Associate editor, McGill Foreign Affairs Review
Errata Due to an editorial error, n the endcap of the article “The Daily’s Silence on Iran” (Commentary, February 17), the word “somehow” appeared. The Daily apologizes for any insult caused by this mistake. In the article “Minister may increase tuition” (News, February 18), it was implied that a rally had been organized by TaCEQ, when in fact SSMU and the mobilization committee organized it.
Kreitner’s silence on Iran
In the last paragraph of the same article, it was implied that turnout was a result of the rally’s last-minute planning. In fact, the rally was planned shortly after the announcement of tuition increases. In the same article, it was also written that SSMU VP (External affairs) Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan “concede[d] that students could have been given more notice,” but this was not the case. The Daily regrets the error.
No, but seriously, Zionism is racism
If you don’t toot your own cornet, who will? Not me
Re: “Zionism is not racism” | Commentary | February 12
Re: “Paging Doctor Cornett” | Commentary | October 8
Riva Gold asserts that “Zionism is not racism.” Zionism is an ideology of romantic nationalism in which certain individuals have natural ties to a place from which others are naturally excluded. But let’s place Zionism in the context of historical reality and its actual application in the Middle East to determine whether or not it is a racist ideology. The creation of the State of Israel by Zionist forces in 1948 was accomplished through the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population of Palestine. Furthermore, the Zionist movement then created a state that gives Jews a privileged status, ensuring fundamentally undemocratic and racist social and political relations. An example of such a racist policy would be Israel’s Law of Return, which states that any Jewish person may move to Israel regardless of whether or not they have any actual connection to the land, while millions of Palestinian refugees have been forbidden to return to their homes and properties since their violent expulsion in 1948. Palestinians in Israel are not allowed to own most of the land; are prohibited from using “Jewish-only” highways; have to pass through checkpoints every time they want to go to work, school, or to the hospital; and have had unequal access to jobs and education based on their non-Jewish status. I would go further than to identify these individual policies as racist – I would call it a system of apartheid. The concluding claim that antiZionism is a form of racism is no less foolish, or predictable, than the more regularly heard assertion that criticizing Israeli state policies is anti-Semitism. Apologists for a long history of oppression, colonization, and apartheid in Palestine may use both of these terms, but they become meaningless.
For a very long time now I have been pondering the saga of McGill University’s firing of Norman Cornett. I have known Cornett for many years and have always known him to be a person of absolute integrity. Cornett backs his opinions with research. He reads extensively; he meets with modern authors; he challenges them; and he works to incorporate what he learns into a unified whole. His mind is so far-ranging that he takes this progress of learning, investigating, and challenging into multiple realms of thinking: theology, history, literature, music, and the arts. If this were all, Cornett would be a fascinating thinker. However, Cornett brought his approach to McGill and translated this same farranging intelligence into an amazing pedagogical style. I have been fortunate enough to sit in on several of his classes. Cornett didn’t just present material and then require his students to learn it. He brought writers, artists, poets, politicians, and musicians to his students. He allowed them to deeply experience the material and then to dialogue with the artists. To sit in on one of his classes is a truly profound experience. One not only gets a glimpse into the creative process of the artist, but also into one’s response to that creativity. McGill students who took his courses had an exceptional experience. So it was with disbelief that I heard that McGill had let Cornett go without saying why. What are their charges? McGill claims to support freedom of speech. Yet they have kept these things secret. Where is the open, searching, free bastion of academic integrity that McGill portrays in public? McGill University needs to make their charges open and public. Cornett needs to be given the opportunity to respond to those charges.
Zayaan Schock U1 Middle Eastern Studies
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Gay genocide The Daily’s William M. Burton gives the low down on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
his Monday, a group of Ugandan leaders, including Africa’s first openly HIVpositive religious leader and a retired major in the army, called on Uganda’s parliament to reject the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill. They also presented members of parliament with a petition signed by nearly half a million people from around the world. David Bahati, an MP from Ndora West, tabled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill on October 14, 2009. Homosexuality is already a criminal offence in Uganda. Under section 140 of the Penal Code, practitioners can face up to life imprisonment. Bahati’s bill would create the offence of “aggravated homosexuality.” Conviction on this count would carry the death penalty. Under the bill, homosexuality would be completely outlawed, queer rights groups banned, and failure to report a homosexual known to you within 24 hours of discovery would carry a fine as well as a prison sentence of up to three years. Attempting to have sex with someone of the same sex carries a sevenyear sentence – accomplishing the act, a life sentence. Do it twice, and you’re dead. And this, even if you’re outside of the country: Ugandans convicted of homosexuality abroad will suffer the same penalties. But it’s not just queer people who are targeted. The “aggravated homosexuality” provision entraps anyone and everyone who associates with non-heterosexuals by virtue of its two-strike system. Strike one – jail. Strike two – death. The offence is defined very broadly, giving the state the right to execute “serial offenders” – anyone who “has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences.” Related offences include everything from failing to disclose to the government that someone you know is homosexual to touching someone “with the intent of committing the act of homosexuality.” Certain offences carry an automatic death penalty, including raping a child, having sex while HIV-positive, or having sex with a disabled person of the same sex. Several of the measure’s sponsors have objected to characterizations of it as the “kill-the-gays” bill, claiming to hate the sin and love the sinner. Bahati complained on the Ugandan TV show Matters of State in December 2009 that there has been “a lot of
distortion.” He said that the death penalty will only be applied to adults who rape minors or commit a rape while HIV-positive. No one should be fooled. This law does nothing less than lay the groundwork for gay genocide. It is part of a much larger scramble for power in Uganda, one that is enmeshed in conflicts over Western influence and money, one that pits American-backed clerics and politicians against a maligned and marginalized minority.
ahati has defended his bill by claiming it will prevent the promotion of homosexuality in schools and reinforce alreadyexisting prohibitions on sex with minors and homosexual activity. Given that 95 per cent of Ugandans are opposed to decriminalizing homosexuality – according to a 2007 poll by the Steadman Group, at least – Bahati says this law will simply codify “the aspirations and values” of the Ugandan people. The bill has received a warm welcome in Uganda. It’s found ample support at all levels of government and religion, and comments on news media web sites have been by and large enthusiastic. A massive rally in Kampala planned for February was cancelled due to security concerns, but hundreds demonstrated in favour of the bill in Jinja days later. GayUgandan, a pseudonymous blogger in Kampala interviewed by email, says that people “openly talk about killing us, express disgust, spit, and do all their things when we are right there in the middle of them.” Bahati is a congregant at the church of Martin Ssempa, an evangelical pastor, former breakdancing champion, and HIV/AIDS activist. Ssempa is the flamboyant heart and soul of the anti-homosexuality movement in Uganda. In lively public presentations in churches and community centres, he shows audiences blackand-white photos of gay fetish pornography – mainly fisting and rimming. Ssempa claims these activities are the daily bread of same-sex love. He has come under fire recently for his porno presentations, but promises to bring them all the way to Parliament, because, he says, once legislators see what homosexuals do, they’ll ban the activities right away – just like they did with female genital mutilation in December 2009, after viewing a slide show presentation on the practice.
Ssempa has connections: Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor of the Saddleback Church in California who delivered the benediction at Barack Obama’s inauguration, is a friend and partner; Janet Museveni, the first lady of Uganda, is another. During the heyday of his anti-AIDS activism, when he burnt condoms in the name of Jesus and promoted abstinence and fidelity, Ssempa was the darling of U.S. aid programs. Now he’s repudiated the West, denounced Obama for preaching “a gospel of sodomy,” and chided Warren for condemning the bill (though Warren took his time doing so). According to Ssempa, the stakes of homosexuality are high. “In Africa,” he told the BBC last month, “what you do in your bedroom affects our clan; it affects our tribe; it affects our nation.” Paul Kagaba, another of the bill’s highprofile backers, thinks Westerners are seducing young people into homosexuality. He claims that there is an “ongoing recruitment of young people...funded by European and American organizations, which bribe [them] into sodomy with offers of money, iPod[s], and laptops under the guise of ‘sexual and reproductive rights’ seminars.” Kagaba is a member of Ex-Gay Uganda and a former member of Integrity, a queer-rights organization. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, originally a firm supporter of the bill, agrees with the broad principles Ssempa, Kagaba, and others have laid out: homosexuality threatens the integrity of Uganda because it is a dangerous foreign pollutant. “I hear European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa,” he told an audience of youth in November. “You should reject it because homosexuality is unnatural.” In recent months, Museveni has distanced himself from the “harshness” of the proposed measures as pressure to veto the bill from Western leaders – including Stephen Harper and Hillary Clinton – has ratcheted up. The Bahati bill has become “a foreign policy issue,” Museveni said in January.
hings weren’t always like this in Uganda. “Five years ago, no one was talking about homosexuality. Except Ssempa,” GayUgandan says. “And no one would say anything. He was just one crazy obsessed man.” According to
one queer activist now living in Nairobi, five or 10 years ago, people were so unthreatened by same-sex activities that there were even same-sex weddings. There is a long history of same-sex love in Uganda. “When we turn to the past, we find that, contrary to popular belief, homosexuality in Uganda predates colonialism and other forms of subjugation,” explained Sylvia Tamale, a women’s rights activist and lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Kampala in Makerere, Uganda, in her 2003 article “Out of the Closet.” “Historically...homosexual practises were neither fully condoned nor totally suppressed,” says Tamale. She lists the many ethnic groups in which homosexuality was accepted – including among the ruling class in the kingdom of Buganda – and concludes that “ironically, it is the dominant JudaeoChristian and Arabic religions, upon which most African anti-homosexuality proponents rely, that are foreign imports.” As more people have adopted queer identities in east Africa over the past forty years, they’ve become more high-profile targets for discrimination, suggests Tim McCaskell, an anti-homophobia and AIDS activist from Toronto who recently visited the region. (For the record, McCaskell warns that he is no expert on queer rights in east Africa.) Because homosexual identity didn’t exist per se, British colonial laws against homosexuality went largely unenforced. “[They] seem to have more relevance, because now there’s someone to target,” he says. The fight against AIDS has been impetus for queer-rights organizations to form, he explains. Local organizations attempt to avoid the “homosexual” identity label, preferring “men who have sex with men” (MSM) – but “MSM has now become a kind of an identity that very much parallels gay identity,” McCaskell says. An indigenous queer identity has also developed in Uganda: kuchuism. Partly basing their identity on repudiation of gender norms, kuchus – who are both male and female – have to be very secretive, especially with the prospect of the Bahati bill becoming law. But McCaskell cautions that the fight over sexual minorities isn’t just about civil rights; it’s about the concept of the nation. “As more people are picking up on these sexual identi-
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Whitney Mallett | The McGill Daily
ties,” he says, “other people are finding these things as threats to what they consider their national identity.”
lisabeth Engebretsen, a professor specializing in gender and sexuality issues in transnational contexts at the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, points out that “there’s a strong link...between so-called intimate sexuality – even if very transgressive – and actual political nationbuilding. I think it’s really a key relationship,” she says. “[The situation in Uganda] isn’t really about sexuality as such; it’s really about nationalist politics and stating a cultural identity against that which is ‘foreign’ and hence ‘Western’ and which tries to tell us how we should think about sexuality and freedom.” Ssempa and other anti-gay activists have made the national stakes in this debate very clear: “I care deeply about white people telling us what to do,” he said. “We really find that annoying. I want to say, we are a superpower!” He referred to Uganda’s oil reserves as a source of leverage. “America is bankrupt, deeply in debt to China, and soon to be completely dependent on African oil. The U.S. can’t afford to set preconditions now that Uganda sits on two billion barrels of crude.” If we look at the past 20 years, McCaskell says, we see the slow erosion of borders in the developing world. “You have to see [the Anti-Homosexuality Bill] against the kind of neoliberal structural adjustment programs that have been affecting these countries,” he says. “As social services and education and health services all decline for the majority of the population, we’ve seen a concomitant increase in the influence of church-based organizations.” Restructuring programs in Uganda date back to Milton Obote’s second presidency, which began in 1980, shortly after the fall of Idi Amin. These organizations are often funded and supported by American evangelicals – a relationship well-documented in Kapya Kaoma’s report, “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African churches, and homophobia,” released last month. Kaoma is a Zambian Anglican priest. McCaskell says that church-based groups redirect people’s frustrations to local targets. “If your life is becoming more and more precarious because
of what the IMF and World Bank have been imposing...you can’t get a hold of them, but if you can conceptualize ‘gay people’ as another foreign influence on your country, then all your anger goes against this foreign influence.” Profiting from this hatred, church leaders increase their clout. Their congregations grow in size, their power in the community expands, and they become important political players. In the process, the unstable boundaries of the nation are projected onto the body. The “foundational anxieties” surrounding nation-building in postcolonial contexts, as Engebretsen puts it, are transposed onto sex acts. Celebrated queer theorist Judith Butler has posited that the body – specifically its permeable parts, like the anus or the mouth – comes to stand in for the nation as a whole. Thus transgressive sex – the kind that crosses those unstable boundaries, like anal and oral sex between men – becomes “a site of danger and pollution,” Butler writes in Gender Trouble, her groundbreaking book on sexual subversion. “The real borders of the nation are being made permeable by neoliberalism and free trade and all of these deals that are being imposed by the Western world,” McCaskell says. To seize back the reins in national definition – a fraught process when your nation lies apparently helpless at the confluence of foreign powers – power-brokers in the developing world attempt to control the bodily borders within the nation. To do so, they scapegoat queer people. But there’s more: in addition to redefining Uganda as a nation, political leaders can distract from the pervasive poverty and corruption – which are often related to those very same structural readjustment programs. “The current fracas about...sexuality is a simple red herring that the government is using to distract attention from some very massive corruption and abuse of power,” GayUgandan says. “[Kuchus] are a distraction.” The law’s effects will spread far beyond Uganda as well. Witness what some African bloggers have called a pogrom against gays in Mtwapa, Kenya, last month. It will scare people away from getting treatment, setting up the conditions for AIDS rates to skyrocket. “People are going to have to go deep,
deep underground,” says McCaskell. “This could set them back years, and with the kind of transport and increasing economic ties in the east African community, it could mean a huge increase in AIDS cases in the whole region.”
aoma’s report on the role American evangelicals play in bankrolling homophobia in east Africa is compelling. Beyond funding, it discusses the close relationship between American church leaders, their African counterparts, and local lawmakers. He describes how “U.S. religious conservatives of all stripes have gone to Africa to lobby political leaders there to criminalize homosexuality.” In part, Kaoma relies on an effective rhetorical trick: turning the tables on the homophobes. “It is actually homophobia that is un-African,” he writes. Queer rights activists need to unmask these homophobia-peddlers, he says, and stop them from contaminating Africa with their hate. Both sides’ accusations of Western influence have some validity. It’s true that queer activists in Uganda have borrowed language and ideas from the West. But it’s also true that homophobic campaigners in the country, besides just taking money and gifts from evangelicals, have founded their ideology on the ideas of North American pastors. Though it’s important to use the homophobes’ rhetoric of foreignness against them, Kaoma’s tactic oversimplifies the situation. There is no meaningful distinction to be made between “indigenous” and “imported” attitudes or customs in Uganda (or anywhere), at least since colonization. All nations are in constant contact with others. “It’s kind of belittling people...to think that a discourse is just imported without their middle level of actually appropriating it,” says Engebretsen. “You have perhaps the same signs or symbols...but the ways in which people are locally appropriating what [those signs] say are totally different.” “[Queer identities] don’t have the same kinds of meanings [as in the West],” McCaskell says. “We’re seeing a dissemination of ‘gay identity,’ but we’re also seeing it taken up in ways that are pretty culturally bound.” The same goes for homophobic activism.
hat’s a concerned Westerner to do? Because any intervention from the West has been so problematic, it can leave onlookers feeling helpless. On the one hand, the enormous outcry from Western leaders has led Museveni and Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo, formerly a strong proponent of the bill, to soften their positions. GayUgandan thinks this is the best way to help the situation: “Whether we like it or not, Ugandans are very dependent on the West. For the U.S., we are fighting the War on Terror in Somalia – and the U.S. is giving us lots of military aid. That pressure is what works. So putting pressure on your governments puts pressure on the government in Uganda.” And there are some signs the pressure is working. Unconfirmed reports claim that Museveni plans to veto the bill, though Parliament could overturn that decision with a two-thirds majority vote. The bill should be voted on later this month – Ssempa wants it passed before Easter – but GayUgandan says no date has been set. “It’s supposed to be all dependent on how busy the parliamentary schedules are. But it is all relative. When the government wanted, they passed through constitutional amendments in a month.” But European and North American leaders’ attempts to influence the government in Uganda has only emboldened the bill’s supporters, who say the country will go without foreign aid if need be. So while we pressure our leaders to put the arm on Uganda’s politicians, we need to remember that our sexual-rights paradigm is inapplicable in that country. We often frame gay rights in North America as a private matter about personal choices, but the issue is national in Uganda – it’s about the country’s integrity. “To take our understandings of the sexual body into another cultural context, and especially when you have all of these historical connections with colonialism, is quite dangerous, because we really speak beyond each other,” Engebretsen says. “A body isn’t simply that sexual body [as we see it in the West], but is so much more.” Read the full interview with GayUgandan at mcgilldaily.com.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
The not-so-mythical G-spot Part one of a mini-series on vaginal ejaculation
Sex talks Maddie Guerlain and Amanda Unruh
few weeks ago we were standing in line waiting for food at Midnight Kitchen when a friend of our’s hurried up next to us all smiles. After exchanging pleasantries she finally exclaimed, “Last night I found my G-spot! And it was amazing!” While this may sound like a story straight out of Cosmo, in reality talking about vaginas loudly in public places, finding your G-spot, or being really excited about either of these things is certainly not the norm. The G-spot is often referred to like a myth-
ical place, a Shangri-La – something you can search for over a lifetime in hopes of someday getting close. Well, consider the Shangri-La discovered: the G-spot does exist. However, our friend’s story, excitement, and willingness to share it all is rather atypical. The anatomy of the vagina and environs can feel intimidating, with three different holes, multiple layers, and hidden sensitivities. On top of this come the shame or social stigma often associated with vaginas (i.e. fish jokes, demeaning labels, connota-
tions of passivity or of being the root of all evil). Vaginas might seem complicated, but this shouldn’t be cause to shy away. Rather, they can be a place of opportunity, exploration, and learning – both for those with vaginas and/or their partners. So what is the G-spot and what does the “G” even stand for? The G comes from Ernst Grafenberg, who published an article in 1950 titled “The Role of the Urethra in Female Orgasm,” which described the area on the inside wall of the vagina as an “erotic zone.” You can find the G-spot on the front wall of the vagina a few inches in by curling your finger toward the belly button. This area is the urethral sponge and is made up of tiny glands that produce fluids when aroused. It can feel like the outside shell of a walnut or the roof of your mouth. While the G-spot might not be some sort of secret, that doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s favourite body part. For some it’s the cat’s pajamas,
for others it just feels like you really have to pee (from the pressure on the urethra) and for others it’s just not their thing. Simple solution: go slow and communicate if you are with a partner. Steady pulses of pressure can often produce a better sensation with the G-spot than lots of friction or thrusting, but don’t feel limited in your exploration. The G-spot may be a touchy subject (haha) but it certainly isn’t a myth. Some claim a hierarchy of orgasms with the G-spot in top position and clitoral stimulation lower down, but this idea has the danger of delegitimizing how some people get off. As even talking about vaginal pleasure is still a relatively new phenomenon, we think it’s better to celebrate and enjoy all stimulation rather than try to categorize it. Curious to find out more about the G-spot and vaginal ejaculation: How does it happen? What is the fluid made of? Tune in next week for these answers and more.
Seeking indigenous studies Two decades after the Oka Crisis, McGill’s community for studying native issues is breaking ground Pamela Fillion The McGill Daily
few years ago, I saw a documentary for a Canadian cinema class that permanently changed me. Abenaki and NFB filmmaker, Alanis Obomsawim’s Kanehsatake: 270 years of resistance (1993) depicted the events of the Oka Crisis of 1990 in gripping detail. Scenes of military confrontations and incredible racism came to a horrifying climax as a young adolescent woman was bayonetted in the chest by an officer while holding her baby sister. Watching these images, I became painfully aware of how very little I knew about Canada, my “home and native land,” and its relationship with indigenous peoples of North America. Up to that moment, in my second year of anthropology and cultural studies, I had been largely interested in indigenous peoples of other countries. I realized that before I could study the relations between different cultures elsewhere in the world, I needed to take a critical look at North America. So I decided to declare my major in indigenous studies. There was, of course, one significant problem: there was no Indigenous Studies program at McGill University. In my third year, I began taking courses – essentially native studies courses – such as ANTH 436: North American Native Peoples and CANS 403: Canadian Material Culture First Peoples. It became obvious to me that almost 10 other students
were creating their concentration in native studies. Around this time, Dick Pound was criticized for using a politically contentious term for native peoples of Canada in an interview, during the preparations for the 2010 Olympics. Although this was distasteful, the incident brought about an incredible stroke of luck. On a political forum discussing the controversial articles Margaret Wente wrote following Pound’s remarks, I came into contact with an editor of the last edition of the Canadian Journal of Native Studies. This is where things really fell into place for the creation of KANATA, McGill’s indigenous studies community. In April 2009, the first edition of McGill’s Undergraduate Journal on Indigenous Peoples’ of North America was launched in the hopes of creating a ripple effect within and outside of McGill. The founding members of KANATA began working on a proposal for a minor program in indigenous studies at McGill with a focus on North American focused studies. For months, we contacted graduate students, faculty members, and teamed up with a representative on the Society for Equity and Diversity in Education-Joint Senate Board on First Peoples. Working on this proposal revealed some of the barriers facing the creation of a program, and somewhat explained the lack of a program. There is, in fact, administrative support for such a program as well as strong faculty support for
indigenous studies. The problem lies more in academia’s reception of interdisciplinary programs, and the relatively recent emergence of indigenous studies as it is understood in the academic tradition. The demographics of Quebec also play a role. The overall focus on native issues in Quebec and Ontario, for instance, is rather different than it might be in Alberta and Manitoba, where there is a greater population of self-identified native persons. It is precisely because indigenous people are often “invisible” in Quebec that indigenous studies is needed. In economical, political, cultural, environmental, humanitarian, developmental, and international sectors, knowledge of indigenous peoples is crucial. The presence of indigenous studies at a prominent university is crucial for how people will understand and create relations between native people and newcomers. In 2010, it is the twentieth anniversary of the Oka Crisis – and in the span of less than one year, things are changing at McGill for the better in terms of indigenous studies. KANATA is now established with a clear mandate: to act as a community for students interested in indigenous studies and advocate for the creation of a minor in indigenous studies at McGill, which we believe is part of creating and promoting equity and diversity in education. At the moment, KANATA is working on its second and third volume of the journal as well as preparing for next
year’s peer-to-peer conference. As well, KANATA is holding two events to commemorate the events of the Oka Crisis of 1990. KANATA is working on networking with important partners here in Montreal as well as nationally and internationally to open up learning experiences at McGill for students and the community. Other signs of positive change are visible in the recent Principal’s Task Force on Diversity, Excellence, and Community Engagement which took submissions on reaching out to aboriginal communities. A group of medical students have begun the aboriginal health interest group, which is holding a film series on the social determinants of aboriginal health. There is also the aboriginal working group, an indigenous studies seminar series held by post-doc scholar Kate Muller, and an undergraduate symposium on indigenous cultures planned for next semester, to be put on by Professor Michael Doxtater and Professor Michael Loft. An indigenous student network as well as an Aboriginal Law Association are growing. There is still ground to be gained for Indigenous Studies at McGill. If we can keep up with the growing interest and build on public and academic recognition of the excellent work done by students, it’ll become clear that it’s in McGill’s interest to follow their lead. Pamela Fillion is executive president of KANATA and editor-in-chief of the KANATA journal.
Aquil Virani | The McGill Daily
Looking for this week’s cheap and delicious recipes? There’s more Health & Ed online! Enjoy a delicious pineapple salsa burrito with The Budget Bon-Vivant at mcgilldaily.com/ articles/27839. “For a big eater with little money and discerning taste, burritos are a dream. They are cheap, and the possible combinations of ingredients are endless.” And learn to choose your wine with caution, as The Daily’s wine columnist takes on Du Marchand Red at mcgilldaily. com/articles/27841. “I’ll let you decide whether to pour it into a glass first or straight into your mouth.”
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
When the commentators fall silent How we are forced into a normative consumption of sports
Puttin’ on the foil Ben Foldy
here is no real break for the omnivorous sports fan. So I felt obliged to watch a fair amount of the Olympics, putting aside my seemingly de rigueur views on corporatism and nationalism so I could bear witness to the spectacle of short-track speed skating or bobsleigh. Somewhere between a Super-G qualifier and a curling final, I also watched Hal Ashby’s film adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s novel Being There. The film, which stars Peter Sellers in the role of a protagonist allusively named Chance, follows a 20th-century Kasper Hauser who engages with society strictly through what he saw on television during his years of isolation. He becomes a national sensation whose enigmatic tangents of television talk are taken as profoundly philosophical insights and inspirational guidance. Thinking on the philosophy of the film while watching later Olympic events, I kept track of how I was responding to the “presentation” of the events, rather than the events themselves. There is undoubtedly a degree of separation from the “real” athletic performance and the television programming presented by commentators bombarding our consciousness with “context” and constructed narratives. The Olympics as we know them would mean very little to any of us if we did not buy into these narratives. There would be no morbid fascination (or at least no more than usual) surrounding the sliding track if we were not told of the tragic death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili in the lead-up to the Games. Do we lose the poignancy of Canadian figure skater Joanie Rochette using all of her allotted minute to take her starting position if we are unaware of her mother’s untimely passing? Beneath these more salient stories – presumably unavoidable if you live within driving distance of a television, radio, local news-
paper, or WiFi zone – there is the fact that the presentation of most events is a combination of superficial pedagogy and preachy predictions. Commentators tell us what to expect before it happens, and when things happen we process them according to their explanations. We disregard the fact that, without their narration, most of us could never comprehend the subtleties in strategy or contingencies that separate world-class athletes from one another. But the online streams of this year’s Games offered a pleasantly surprising alternative. Besides offering English and French “coverage” of events on the CTVowned networks, the CTV web site also offered live streams that took the same camera feeds but played them without any commentary. The feeling of watching the feeds is hard to describe. For the first time, I was left alone with my thoughts in the middle of what is normally such a narrated event. It is not comparable to watching a televised event with the sound muted. The crowds still roared and the commanding yelps of defensemen on the breakout or women’s curling captains doing their best impressions of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally were not only still there, but felt more real – as if the athletes could speak for themselves. Suffice to say, after my first experience, I preferred it immensely to the customary cacophony of commentary. I became the opposite of Being There’s Chance, freed of the imposed expectations or even explanations of what I was seeing. Rather than relate to the athletes through artificially normative outcomes or highlight-driven lessons on the sport from some “expert” who cannot pronounce non-anglo names, I found myself coming to my own conclusions. I picked my own favourites for my own reasons regardless of the fact that in many events I had no idea what was really
Jerry Gu | The McGill Daily
Can we watch sports in our own way? going on. For example, a Russian bobsleigh team had a candid camera moment when their Canadian rivals crashed. The Russians knew that their tenuous claim to the bronze depended on missteps by their rivals, and one member of the team was caught smiling and clapping when the Canadians flipped their sled before wincing with a sympathetic grimace. Over the un-narrated stream there was no sanctimonious moralizing about bad sportsmanship – the only sound to the clip was a crowd member laughing at the footage as it played over the big screen. The raw emotions of competition were finally laid bare, without anyone telling me what to think of it. This made a lot more sense to me, as I could see how a team could win based on mistakes by others much easier than I could distinguish dif-
Get off the bench.
ferences between near identical runs down the course. It was a new way to interact with the realities of competition, and I cannot overstate how refreshing it was. Unfortunately, I do not think the trend will last. We will be forced back to our narrated feeds after the Games, but I can’t help but imagine this type of presentation for other sports. Putting aside my aversion to televised golf, I think the inevitable comeback of Tiger Woods provides a good example. Upon his return, I can already hear the circumscribed commentators, having been informed which stories will be told and which won’t after the very public disclosure of his recent indiscretions. How refreshing would it be to see him simply play golf the way he does? But deep down, we all expect the inevitable and insufferable narration of his comeback directed by
the sponsors that need him to be more than a golfer and less than a human being. I hope that this opportunity that was afforded by the Internet, that gloriously semi-anarchic and messy series of tubes, represented a preview of a future alternative to current sports media. That is not to say that I’ll stop bringing my portable AM radio to ballgames, or refuse myself the pleasures of Ron and Don on Hockey Night in Canada. I’d just never felt so much like I was “being there” myself just a little more, closer than ever to understanding myself as a viewer and the appeal of the sports we love. Ben Foldy is The Daily’s Sports columnist. He writes every other week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
The house that Al built Contemporary poets seek to preserve iconic sanctuary of Canadian poetry Laurin Liu Culture Writer
ack Kerouac had his ’49 Hudson; Leonard Cohen had his tower of song; Al Purdy had his humble A-frame cabin in Ameliasburgh, Ontario on the edge of Roblin Lake. The poet George Bowering writes that Prince Edward County, in which Ameliasburgh is situated, reminded him of “certain half-abandoned farm valleys of eastern British Columbia.” Purdy’s A-frame, Bowering adds, is composed of “lots of inexpert finishings made up for by the sense of talent and energy, and honest usefulness.” Its charm, apparently, was also appreciated by Bowering’s wife Jean Baird, who described it over the phone as “a true cottage in the sense of old-time Canadian cottages, with the extra cups and saucers from your real house.” It was a project that entailed years of work, and Al called it “the house that was never finished.” Today, 10 years after his death, this spirit continues in a campaign to preserve this heritage site, one that many argue is an irreplaceable artifact of Canada’s literary and cultural past. Lead by Baird and a number of other contemporary figures in Canadian literature, the program will foster new generations of poets through a writer-in-residence program, providing them with the same creative sanctuary that spurred Purdy’s leap into the Canadian literary canon almost five decades ago. Some say that Al Purdy was an underdog, or that he was, at least, an ally of underdogs. Al Purdy was a vital voice from working class, anti-authoritarian, and anti-establishment Canada. Bowering writes, “While [Milton] Acorn has found the search for beauty consistent with the proletarian cause, Purdy has supplied the robust humour without which the prol [sic] would be
unrecognized as the authentic Canadian item.” Purdy’s friend and poet Dennis Lee has been quoted as saying, “He broke with the old, colonial mode of poetry and recast our imagination, so that it seems perfectly rooted in the place we occupy. No one else in English-Canadian poetry had really done that.” It is difficult to resist mythologizing him as the quintessential Canadian poet, as many literary critics have done. A self-taught erudite with negligible formal education, he was among the many men who rode the rails to Vancouver during the Great Depression. Purdy also served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he wrote his first collection of poems, The Enchanted Echo – work that he retrospectively labeled “crap.” His best work was yet to come. What began as an empty plot that the Purdys bought for $800 in the late fifties later became the place where Purdy’s creative work f lourished. In the early years on the property, Purdy was indigent, foraging through dumps for food – he even admitted to eating roadkill. However, in the years following the construction of the A-frame, Purdy came to see increasing literary and financial success. An archived photo of Purdy from the University of Saskatchewan library shows the writer doing yard work, wearing sunglasses and a plaid shirt rolled above his elbows – apparently, the same way that he read his poems in front of university audiences. While he was building the house by Roblin Lake, Purdy also immersed himself in Canadian history and began to research Owen Roblin, grandson of a United Empire Loyalist and founder of “Roblin’s Mills” in Ameliasburgh. Purdy had deep roots in the loyalist bastions of Ontario: he himself was the descendant of loyalists and was born in Wooler, Ontario, a settlement near Kingston that has, by now, nearly disappeared. Baird claims that Purdy’s work on the
… it’s as if a man stuck both thumbs in the stony earth and pulled it apart to make room enough between the trees for a wife and maybe some cows and room for some of the more easily kept illusions – –Al Purdy, “The Country North of Belleville”
Olivia Messer | The McGill Daily
Al Purdy’s house was both a refuge for the poet and a centre of the Canadian literary scene. house and his inquiries into the community surrounding Roblin Lake changed him from a “failure of a man” into a prolific poet. Beyond its importance as Purdy’s artistic retreat, the A-frame famously nourished rising talent in Canadian poetry, a role that Baird and her collaborators hope to re-ignite. Purdy was a notorious host to dozens of guests, including Canadian literary A-listers like Margaret Atwood, Earle Birney, Margaret Laurence, and then-unknown Michael Ondaatje. Despite his open-armed hospitality, Purdy avoided coteries with other writers. Writing to his wife from Ameliasburgh on Milton Acorn, in a letter dated 1969, he writes, “Acorn is not like other acorns, he does not lie still on the forest f loor and shut his big yap… [he] stalks thru the house reciting poems, all of which sound
like the King James version…. I expect pity by return mail.” When I spoke to Baird, she said, laughing, that Purdy could be a “grump.” Despite this, he was indiscriminate with his houseguests, welcoming both renowned authors and virtual unknowns. On the Montreal poet Bryan McCarthy’s eight-day visit to the A-frame, Purdy wrote in 1966, “We spent two days consuming beer and the rest yak-yak, which consisted of 18-20 single-spaced pages of question and answer by the time he finished.” After Purdy’s death in 2000, the house continues to be visited in what Baird called “the Canadian poetry pilgrimage.” To maintain this emblem of Canadian poetic achievement, Baird and Howard White, Purdy’s publisher, have attempted to preserve the house by founding the A-frame Trust. Poets David
Helwig, Steven Heighton, Karen Solie, and Rob Budde have also designed the writer-in-residence program, in which chosen writers will receive a $2,500 monthly stipend to write while living in Purdy’s former abode. The A-frame Trust is an attempt to raise money to buy the house, make renovations, and establish funds for a writer’s endowment – a project that will cost $900,000 to carry through. If this writerin-residence project succeeds, it will be one of only a few similar projects that exist in Canada, alongside the Kogawa House and the Haig-Brown House in British Columbia and the Berton House in the Yukon. Purdy continues to be a name that is oft repeated and resonant in discussions about Canadian literature – but his legacy, hopefully, will live on as a “small whisper” in the woods near Roblin Lake.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Breakfast all day, all night Beggar’s banquet Adrienne Matei Culture Writer
G Stephanie Pallett for The McGill Daily
Many Montreal restaurants serve breakfast at all hours.
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rowing up, I rarely went “out” for breakfast. I suppose I can attribute the lack of venturing to weekdays of school-morning flurry: staple-less book reports, Froot Loops, and still-unsigned-by-mom-despitebeing-due-today field trip allowance wavers all jumbling together cacophonously. As for weekends, why would a little girl ever need to leave an environment where her father was arranging handfuls of M&Ms into smiling, melting pancake faces? However, university presents an unfortunate dichotomy: gin-basted yet ravenous students, who may well be too kitchen-daft to succeed at preparing more than pre-cut bagels (which, just sometimes, they hurt themselves trying to slice), craving the fortifications of a copious, comforting breakfast, and craving it 24 hours a day. After a concert, or a club, or just one of those long nights during which air freezes solid inside nasal passages, sometimes breakfast is just what we need to rejuvenate. I mean, if it really is the most important meal of the day, we may as well eat it twice. But where do we start off in search of eggs at three thirty in the morning? I tried the Concordia ghetto. I traipsed toward Moe’s Diner (2214 Maisonneuve O.) with the mindset of infiltrating a Concordia stronghold and stealing their breakfasts; a little out of the way? Yes, but while you’re there you can pick up bubble tea and a sexually-expressive performance artist, too. Moe’s, with its typical, vinyl-boothed “diner” décor and Dire Straits background music, was surprisingly friendly and unselfconscious. My dining companion and I were quickly served weak and warming coffee, and were presented with extensive menus, which we proceeded to hungrily exclaim about (“breakfast club with poutine!”) before ultimately settling on a plate of French toast and a “Classic” breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns. The “Classic” was predictably satisfying, especially since I take joy in the form of ultra-crisp bacon and white bread (buttered far more lavishly than I’d ever allow myself to eat at home, but that I will
gladly consume for the sake of journalism). The vaguely cinnamon-y, doughy French toast was tasty when dribbled with squeeze-bottle maple syrup. However, Moe’s is definitely not the kind of place familiar with dustings of powdered sugar and artfully arranged fruit. In fact, fruit, brown toast, egg-whites, and almost all vegetables save a grilled and cheese-draped tomato are conspicuously lacking from the menu. The food is simple, filling, and will not disappoint, as long as you’re not expecting anything too intricate or health-conscious – and at 3:30 a.m., I’m going to take a guess that you won’t be. Next, I decided to troll the Miami Deli (3090 Sherbrooke E.) with my dad, who was in town. Entering the retro-kitsch diner, we were immediately confronted with a tank of dopey-looking catfish and verdant plasticity, and were seated at a booth, a certain acid orange, which reminded my father of a chair his mom had in ’71. The breakfast menu consisted of predictable roadside diner offerings: eggs, bacon, piles of pancakes and waffles. Compared to Moe’s, however, Miami offers some positively healthy fare. I considered a fruit salad with cottage cheese, but went for a mushroom omelette, made with egg-whites for $2 extra. Though tasty, the healthiness of the thin fried omelette was probably negated by the oil it gleamed with and the bland cubed potatoes it lay flatly beside. The watermelon and honeydew served with my meal were really sweet, and my brown toast came drenched in a now familiar amount of butter. Dad’s eggs benedict were pretty impressive, coated in a thick, tangy hollandaise and served with asparagus upon request. Everything was large, satisfying, and lent itself nicely to indulgent lashings of ketchup. The coffee thermos was left on the table for us to continually pour, next to a little pamphlet, which assures that if you stumble in at night and haven’t quite finished getting your drunk on, the Deli has a liquor licence and surprisingly offers shots of cognac and sambuca to wash down your waffles. It’s a good place to go for kitsch and calories. After Miami Deli, I tried to be academic at a definite student hang-out: the 24-hour Second Cup
at Milton and Parc (3498 Parc). It’s accepted that 24-hour breakfast is a godsend after a night out, but what about those long, pre-exam evenings when you need to be provided with endless coffee and fortifications? Second Cup has a massive selection of coffees and teas, and makes an extremely creamy, comforting vanilla steamed milk. A wide variety of pastries are available, but do consider that by the end of the day, the selection is prone to being peaked. If a big piece of strawberry cheesecake doesn’t qualify in your books as breakfast, the coffee shop also offers yogurt and granola, fruit, and pre-made breakfast egg and cheese sandwiches. I opted for maple pecan instant oatmeal, which was kind of watery, but full of raisins and nuts, and warming after walking around in the cold. I snuggled into one of their couches and consumed it in the coffee house atmosphere, which was conducive to studying, if you can abide a bit of radio top 40 while you work. On a bright Sunday morning a few friends and I decided to try Chez Claudette (351 Laurier E.) – an extremely cute diner, which upon our arrival was sundrenched and comfortably full of locals, tucked into tables under walls decked with Elvis posters. The menu presented a variety of specials and sides, including healthy options such as brown toast and fruit with cottage cheese. As a group, we opted for a tripledecker BLT with a fried egg, served with crunchy, vinegary coleslaw and flavourful, crispy hash browns; an egg-topped breakfast burger served with absolutely coma-inducing hash brown poutine; a big crêpe filled with fromage blanc, generous amounts of ham and real maple syrup, sunny-side eggs, and baked beans; and, for the carnivore, the “Clau” special: two eggs and potatoes coddled by ham, bacon, sausage, and liver pâté. The only item that disappointed was the doughy, slightly soggy French toast, which lacked cinnamon-y, vanilla-hinting goodness. Even after finishing everything we ordered, we still ventured to try a “Pauper’s Pudding” – a dense, crumbly white cake served warm in a sugary toffee sauce – to conclude on a sweet note. Maybe not typical breakfast fare, but I would recommend ordering it and a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you visit Chez Claudette at any other time of day. This is definitely a casual environment, with a movie playing on a TV propped in the ceiling corner, and the adorable proprietress, Claudette herself, ready to pose for a photo with us. Thankfully, this gem is close enough to party streets St Laurent and St Denis to visit frequently at all hours.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
like a YACHT of fun
Aquil Virani | The McGill Daily
Dâm this looks
McGill alumni-run LOOKOUT organizes a weekend of music Tiana Reid The McGill Daily
ontreal is crowded with event promoters – a fact that can make weekend planning a chore. Recognizing this, McGill grad Jesse Walden co-founded LOOKOUT in 2004, a creative services company that strives to foster the crème de la crème of Montreal nightlife. They hold their own by hosting Montreal weeklies – including Tokyo Thursdays – as well as one-off special events, and have worked with DJs including Kid Cudi, Jokers of the Scene, and Peer Pressure. LOOKOUT is not alone in its mission, but Walden aims to set his company above the sea of competitors. “For our club nights, we pride ourselves on working with the best DJs. And for our shows it’s always about the right act that’ll bring some element of surprise or impressiveness to the table,” Walden says. LOOKOUT has also made a conscious decision to react against the suffocation of the McGill bubble; it aims
to appeal to a variety of audiences by offering distinct events. “We try not to be too in your face,” Walden says. This weekend, LOOKOUT is putting on two shows for the nobullshit music fiends of the Montreal hub, hosting “modern funk” royalty Dâm-Funk and the ever-evolving band YACHT.
Dâm-Funk L.A. native Dâm-Funk (né Damon Riddick) is stopping at Montreal on his current North American tour. Dâm, (pronounced Dame), who sports killer hair à la Super Fly, is a DJ/producer/musician signed to Stones Throw Records, and has worked as a session musician for Ice Cube and Mack 10. West Coasters may know him for one of the liveliest weekly L.A. parties, Funkmosphere. His 2009 debut album, Toeachizown, is a two-hour, five-volume tour de force of “modern funk”. Dâm goes by the maxim “Funk is not a fad…. It’s a way of life” so it’s no doubt that for Dâm, funk is more than just music – it’s an ideology. “The funk way of life,” says Dâm, “is about staying true, stay-
ing classic, and staying dependable. Sometimes a pair of 501 jeans from Levi’s is really all you need.” Essentially, he’s not into the trend-of-the-moment music or the temporariness of emerging fad genres of music, both of which permeate our contemporary A.D.D. culture. “Funk has a rich history, and I want to try to continue that,” Dâm says. Indeed he has – he is currently working on an album with legendary Steve Arrington from the seventies Ohio funk group Slave. “He was already aware of what I was doing, which is what made me really excited about working on the project. I wasn’t chasing him down. We both hooked up because the funk allowed it to happen. He’s a friend, like a big brother I never had. That’s what makes the project so special,” Dâm gushes about his dreamcome-true collaboration. Funk is not a fad, and neither is Dâm-Funk. He’s here to stay.
YACHT Claire L. Evans and Jona Bechtolt’s inspiration for their latest album, See Mystery Lights, came from the para-
normal phenomenon of the Marfa Lights in Texas. The bandmates are fascinated by the tendency of our generation to expect explanations: “When we couldn’t Google or Wikipedia the Marfa Lights and we couldn’t have a solid answer, that was really inspiring and strange for us. We take a lot of information for granted and its nice to be humbled by something frighteningly mysterious,” Evans says. See Mystery Lights is a bouncy and feel-good album that delivers finger taps, foot jiggles, head nods, and suddenly whole body engagement. Engagement is indeed YACHT’S master plan. “There is a ritualistic aspect to indie culture. Everyone acts a certain way and people feel like they need to be an audience member as opposed to part of a secret society or whatever else. We do everything we can to break down those divisions between audience and performer because it’s really alienating and it’s hard to overcome,” she explains. YACHT throws itself wholeheartedly into this objective, incorporating tools like video, PowerPoint, and audience participation. Evans elaborates, “We do a lot of physical
contact and try to get them out of their comfort zone and shake them up.” Their often surprising choices of venue complement this – YACHT is known to perform in unconventional spaces like underwater and in museums. Their current North American tour, YACHT & The Straight Gaze, is once again going to break preconceptions. They’ve rearranged the form of YACHT by adding The Straight Gaze, which is made up of Rob “Bobby Birdman” Kieswetter, Jeffrey “Jerusalem” Brodsky, and D. Reuben Shynder of Rob Walmart, to their live performances. “Around every six months, we get a revelation that we have to make a dramatic change to YACHTmai in some way,” Bechtolt explains. By challenging the audience through content and surroundings of shows, YACHT creates “a special zone that is independent of what people’s expectations are.” Dâm-Funk performs on March 5 at Club Lambi (4465 St. Laurent). YACHT performs on March 6 at Le Belmont (4483 St. Laurent). For more information, please visit lookoutpresents.com.
The McGill Daily, Thursday, March 4, 2010
Lies, half-truths, and it’s Comics Thursday
Our regular cartoonist has flown the coop! That’s right: Mallory’s gone to Moncton. So we’re in desperate straits: we need cartoonists, and we need them stat. We need them like the General Assembly needs quorum. We need them like thunder needs lightning. We need them like love birds need a nest. Get in touch – soon. Concept: Cutter Deuce / Illustration: Nadezhda Poplawskaja | The McGill Daily
Mallory loves pulp
Mallory Bey for The McGill Daily
AUS ELECTIONS SPRING 2010 March 3rd: March 4th: March 9th:
DAVID MARSHALL As a Senator for the Faculty of Arts, I’ve worked to increase student accessibility and community integration, by revisiting our Macdonald Shuttle system, improving linkages between McGill’s various online learning and productivity tools and showcased student work, by spearheading a student design challenge for our campus bar. My goals include expanding the visibility of Arts’ myriad departmental associations and revitalizing our freshman program to include long-term academic skill development. I also plan to work with University services and alumni relations to improve department-related career resources as well as a sense of community that outlast our short time at McGill.
JASON LEUNG I’m Jason Leung and I want to be your AUS VP Internal next year! I’m a U2 IDS student and currently serve as the VP External of the International Development Studies Student Association and the VP External - Arts for the Bachelor of Arts & Science Integrative Council. Through my work on these departmental associations and AUS General Council, I have grown to be very familiar with the AUS and its operations. My aim if elected is to improve student spaces such as the AUS Lounge and broaden the scope of support and resources for departmental associations’ events and initiatives.
Howdy! To speak, call, text, IM, FB, tweet… Communication’s speedy, yet I want communication for AUS to be avant-garde! Like any organization, transparency is key: the word should not only get out fast but clear; not only about events, but also about How awesome AUS is (as well as the Who What When Where Why!). Also, I’m hoping to communicate more with other undergraduate societies/ clubs to carry out inter-beneficial collaborations. Most importantly, I hope to be the voice of social awareness on Council, to add the Cherry of Care. Make AUS a parfait and vote Frances.
Hi, my name is Alexandra Hastings and I want to be your voice in the Arts Undergraduate Society! I am currently a second year student majoring in both political science and sociology. This past year, I became deeply involved in the AUS as well as SSMU through volunteering at Bar des Arts under the Events Committee, giving guidance as an international buddy, and working as the Logistics Staff for Discover McGill. I know that I can effectively communicate the goals and activities of all Arts students. So, vote Alexandra Hastings, VP Communications!
VP External TODD PLUMMER
Being VP Finance for the Department of English Students Association this year has been a great opportunity, allowing me to organize events and demonstrate my attention to detail. But I am looking to take the next step. As a PR intern for one of Montreal’s most celebrated fashion designers, I will bring real world “representation” experience to the portfolio of VP External. In addition to inviting more and better schools to the Graduate School Fair, I will be committed to showing Montreal what an important resource AUS can be. Service, fundraisers, activism, events and communications are ALL my middle names.
Hi, my name is Connie Gagliardi and I want to be your AUS VP External! I am U2 History /Art History Honors Student and am currently your Arts Rep to SSMU and HSA VP External. This year, I have become familiar with the operations of the AUS and SSMU; I hope to improve upon the representation of Arts Students and continue to work on bridging the gap between Councils. Also, I hope to expand the position to focus on relations with the Montreal community. Arts has a lot to offer and I want to show everyone how great we are!
VP Finance MAJD AL-KHALDI Polling stations available in buildings around campus OR vote online at ovs.ssmu.mcgill.ca
If elected, I’m planning on making the AUS’ finance matters more transparent, securing more funding for all the Arts departmental associations (that means more events of all kinds for you) as well as for various student projects. I shall also continue with the initiative of decentralizing fund management through bank account externalization, which would give individual departmental associations both more freedom & responsibility. Finally, I believe a better management of SNAX is necessary.
Campaign period begins Notice of pen sketches and referendum questions Candidates’ debate
March 11th: March 12th:
Advanced polling begins End of campaigning and advanced polling March 15th – 17th: Polling period
VP Academics JADE CALVER Hey everyone! My name is Jade Calver and I’m running to be VP Academic for the AUS. The VP Academic is responsible for all educational matters of the AUS and serves as a liaison between the Administration and Arts students. Why vote for me? This year I served as the interim Arts Rep to SSMU, and I am currently VP external for the Canadian Studies Association. I’m involved both at school as well as outside the McGill community. I’m bilingual- an essential quality for an AUS exec. I am open-minded and accountable which makes me best choice for VP Academic!
BRITTNI MARTIN Brittni Martin is a U2 Arts student double majoring in Anthropology and Women’s Studies. She is hard-working, persistent and always ready to hear from her peers. A Montreal native, she was the VP Academic for her Student Union at John Abbott College, and she is ready and excited to perform a similar function at a higher level and to a larger degree. If any student has concerns about their curriculum or other academic affairs, she promises to always be efficient in bringing concerns to the administration.
Arts Representative to SSMU SCOTT MYERS My name is Scott and I want your vote. As Arts Rep to SSMU I will bring a stronger voice for less unnecessary spending from both SSMU and AUS. A vote for me will be a vote for more efficient spending within both societies. Say NO to more fees for students that don’t end up benefiting us as a whole! WHY HAVE LESS THAN WHAT YOU’VE GOT, KEEP YOUR MONEY AND VOTE FOR SCOTT! THEY WILL SPEND MORE IF YOU DO NOT. DR. SEUSS HAS TAGGED THIS SPOT.
ZACH MARGOLIS My name is Zach Margolis, I’m an Arts & Science student in my 3rd year, majoring in Environment and minoring in Economics, and I’m running for Arts Rep to SSMU. I know many students at McGill are skeptical towards both AUS and SSMU, but I think that there’s a role for both in the “McGill experience,” whatever that is to you, and I want to help with that. I’m currently the McGill Environment Students’ Society representative to AUS, and I hope that I can use what I’ve learned over the last year to do the best possible job next year.
ROBIN REID-FRASER I am currently a first year student from Whitehorse, Yukon. This past year I was VP Environment on my residence council, and that gave me a great opportunity to get involved as a student representative. I’m excited by the efforts the AUS has been making in promoting composting and recycling in the Leacock building and I’d like to build on those projects. I’m fascinated by the diversity of the student body, and I would love to have more of a chance to understand the many concerns and passions of McGill students, and hopefully represent them on the SSMU council.
While talking to Arts students, I have heard their concerns. Many worry about the degree to which their needs and opinions are represented within SSMU and the AUS. Arts students need to be a larger part of the ongoing dialogue between these councils. I am committed to expanding students’ accessibility to this dialogue as well as increasing their ability to affect it. As a student of Political Science and English, and through my involvement in multiple SSMU clubs, I have familiarized myself with the workings of CHARMAINE BORG both SSMU and the AUS to represent students Charmaine Borg is a U0 Arts with the utmost transparency and efficiency. student planning to major in Political Science. If there is SPENCER BURGER My name is Spencer Burger, I am one thing she does best, it is from Toronto and I am running for to be a voice for those seekthe position of Arts representative ing to be heard. She is curto SSMU. I am a bit new to McGill, rently VP Communications of having transferred here this year from the University of Chicago, but I NDP McGill, a member of the NDP Quebec Youth plan to make up for that by bringing Executive and has earned the Lieutenant-Govercreativity and organization to most nor-General’s award for community service. efficiently represent Arts students -Facilitate communication between the AUS, at SSMU. Specifically I want to push for two important iniSSMU and students tiatives. First off, I want to improve the Arts lounge itself -Advocate for lower tuition fees, especially for which is definitely in need of a change of scenery. Second, I want to push for greater accountability for Teacher’s Assisinternational students tants by 1) strengthening the importance of TA evaluations -Work towards a greener and more ethical and 2) opening avenues where students’ complaints to TAs McGill can be directed and, if necessary, pursued. In general, as -Advocate against the decrease in funding for Arts representative to SSMU, I will strive to be available and transparent to Arts students. If you have an issue, an idea, or the humanities a particular complaint about SSMU policy, I will be available -Diversify local and healthy food choices on to turn your opinions into action to ensure a Student Society campus that is responsive to your needs and concerns.