AVOID BRAIN FREEZE
Heat things up this summer at McGill www.mcgill.ca/summer firstname.lastname@example.org 514-398-5212
The SSMU is currently accepting applications for the Awards of Distinction! The Studentsâ€™ Society Awards of Distinction are designed to recognize students who have demonstrated a combination of strengths in both extra-curricular activities and academics at McGill University. Three scholarships, valued at $2000 each, will be awarded. To be eligible, a candidate must be an SSMU member who will have completed twelve (12) credits during the current academic year (as of May 2010) and be studying at McGill or another academic institution in an undergraduate program in the 2010-11 academic year. To ind out more about the application process, visit http://ssmu.mcgill.ca/about/funding-and-awards/ All applications are due by April 16th at 4pm.
Every day we hustlinâ€™ mcgilldaily.com
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Concordia, Calgary grads leave CFS Referendums slated at McGill and six more schools regarding federation membership Erin Hale The McGill Daily
oncordia students voted to secede from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) on Friday. 2,312 members of the Concordia Student Union (CSU) voted for defederation and 855 against. CFS is Canada’s largest student lobby group. CSU president Amine Dabchy felt the vote was the right decision for Concordia undergrads. “I feel very happy. I feel like students made the right and informed decision. We’ve been working all year to inform them,” Dabchy said. “I feel it’s only normal that [students] vote this way since they’ve seen all the [CFS] assaults on Concordia.” The CSU is the second student union, after the University of Calgary Graduate Student Association (Calgary GSA), to vote in a referendum to leave CFS. The federation will lose around 39,065 members – 7.8 per cent of its membership – and $340,000 if both votes are ratified. However, both referendums contravened a new CFS bylaw, known as Motion 6, that mandates only two member unions may hold referendum votes every three months. The bylaw was adopted at the federation’s annual general meeting in November – several weeks after some petitions to hold referendums had already been submitted. Though 11 student unions submitted petitions for referendums, sanctioned votes were only granted to the McGill Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) and the Alberta College of Art and Design Student Society. Nine known student unions in four provinces will vote on continued membership with CFS in the upcoming months, which will affect 20 per cent of all CFS members.
PGSS votes this week PGSS will vote on CFS membership from March 29 until April 1, though CFS mandated the Society to limit voting to two days, according to PGSS VP (External) Ladan Mahabadi. PGSS decided to extend voting, because executives were concerned they could not reach quorum in two days. On March 23, they published an open letter to PGSS members warning them that CFS supporters might attempt to interfere in the referendum. The current PGSS executive have been some of the loudest critics of CFS on a national level this year, accusing the federation of being corrupt, litigious, and antidemocratic.
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Past and present PGSS VPs External helped lead the movement to defederate from the Canadian Federation of Students. At the PGSS debates on continued membership, however, the pro-CFS committee leader Ben Akih Kumgeh criticized the reform motions PGSS executives presented at November’s CFS annual general meeting. “The list of motions all for transparency, accountability...points to the fact that PGSS doesn’t seem to understand the purpose of the organization. We should question the fact our representatives seem not to take a diplomatic approach when they bring issues forward,” he said.
Unions bypass Motion 6 Five student unions holding referendums this spring will bypass the Motion 6 bylaw. In addition to restricting the number of referendums held at the same time, Motion 6 also increased the number of signatures required on referendum petitions from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. It also mandated that membership referendums may only be held once every five years per union, up from once every two years. The five student unions, however, have moved to ignore Motion 6 because it was ratified after many had already applied for a referendum by petition. University of Regina Student Union president Kyle Addison said Regina students could expect a referendum in spite of the bylaw. “Basically what happened is the
CFS retro-activated part of their bylaws from November,” Addison said. “What our campus decided to do was to go ahead with a referendum without them, but also to invite them in every opportunity to take part in it.” Matt Musson, director of campaigns for the Calgary GSA, explained the decision of his union to hold a referendum despite a request by CFS to hold off on a referendum until 2011. Musson said CFS also asked that the university verify signatures on the petition to hold a referendum, and that the Society settle an outstanding debt of $30,000 to CFS. Musson added that although the Calgary GSA fulfilled both requirements, they were only informed afterward by CFS that they would be unable to hold a referendum. “It got to the point where we received a letter at the end of February [in which] CFS told us we might see a vote in 2011. We sent off a letter in response that said we are voting these days. They flat out refused to do anything about it,” he said. “[You could] probably say we broke bylaws with regards to the number of referendums allowable per year – but the exit bylaws were changed halfway through the game.”
CFS-Quebec in jeopardy? In addition to PGSS and the CSU, CFS-Quebec’s remaining members
will also vote. The Dawson Student Union’s president Carl Perks indicated that students could expect a vote in the fall. The Concordia Graduate Student Association (Concordia GSA) will also vote from April 6 to 8. Like the CSU’s, the Concordia GSA vote will bypass Motion 6. Last week, CFS demanded that both of Concordia’s student unions settle outstanding debts before they could hold a referendum. According to Dabchy, CFS claimed that CSU owed a debt of $1,033,278.76 in back payments, though financial records at the union indicate otherwise. “We decided to dismiss [the debt] because we have all the paperwork to back our argument [that] we don’t owe them anything,” Dabchy said. The Concordia GSA was informed this week by CFS that they owed $200,000 in debts dating back to 1995 – which accounts for approximately 80 per cent of the GSA’s annual budget, according to VP (External) Erik Chevrier. Chevrier said he was concerned with the tone of correspondence from CFS at the time. “[CFS] seem to give an impression that a referendum is not about democracy or our members, but about procedure – and that they can deny our members the right to vote. It doesn’t seem that they care about our members but more about applying our rules to them,” Chevrier said.
The Dawson Student Union will follow CFS bylaws when it votes next year, according to Perks.
Ontario and BC may vote Two CFS referendums may also be held in Ontario in the coming months. According to Brian Kombani, president of the Trent Central Student Association, students can expect a referendum next year. The Central Student Association at Guelph University (CSA) joined the list of unions holding spring referendums late Wednesday after the Ontario Superior Court granted them the right to hold a vote. The decision concludes a disagreement between the CSA, CFS, and CFSOntario. The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) may also see a referendum, according to UVSS Chair-elect James Coccola. Though UVSS has been a strong supporter of CFS in the past, a proreferendum slate won 11 of 15 possible positions at the student union this spring. “Our slate is very much in favour of holding a referendum because we have met the requirements to hold a referendum and [are] within the rights of the students to hold one,” Coccola said. As this story went to press, CFS national treasurer Dave Molenhuis and CFS-Ontario chairperson Shelley Melanson had not responded to The Daily’s multiple interview requests.
Summer program in Beijing www.studyabroad-china.org
Mona Domosh The Joan P. and Edward J. Foley, Jr. 1933 Professor of Geography Dartmouth College
The World was Never Flat: Global Encounters and the Messiness of Empire Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 4:00 pm Macdonald Harrington Building, Room G-10 815 Sherbrooke Street West For more information, please contact Pauline Nesbitt: 514-398-4114, email@example.com or Benjamin Forest: 514-398-4953, firstname.lastname@example.org The public is welcome. Admission is free. Conférence publique. L’entrée est gratuite. This lecture is made possible by a grant from the Beatty Memorial Lectures Committee.
LEFT OF CENTRE, ALWAYS RIGHT.
Chinese Business Law
The Department of Geography, in collaboration with the Faculty of Science, the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, and the Department of Sociology, is pleased to present
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Learn Business Chinese or Chinese in
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Activists fight for smaller Turcot Plans to reduce massive highway interchange unveiled, include increased public transit and less housing demolition Niko Block The McGill Daily
n alternative to Quebec’s plan for the reconstruction of Montreal’s Turcot interchange was unveiled at the province’s office of public health Thursday. The Turcot375 project – developed by urban planners Pierre Gauthier and Pierre Brisset – involves a major downsize of the highway superstructure and a citywide shift toward a stronger public transit system. The development comes two weeks into backroom negotiations between the province, which has sought to expand the vehicular capacity of the interchange, and the City, whose representatives are pushing for a plan that would accommodate an increased public transit alternative. Gauthier and Brisset asserted that their plan would be more environmentally and socially beneficial than the province’s blueprint for the interchange, which involves an 18 per cent increase in the Turcot’s vehicular capacity. “The foundation of our plan is a major reduction of the vehicles that use the interchange,” said Gauthier, an assistant professor at Concordia’s school of geography, planning, and the environment. The Turcot interchange connects the Ville-Marie and Decarie expressways, and is located between Westmount and St. Henri, adjacent to a smaller community known as the Village des Tanneries. With chunks of concrete fall-
ing off the elaborate 18-lane highway structure, it has been apparent that the Turcot would need to be refurbished for several years. Discussions of its reconstruction have been ongoing since 2001, though progress has been slow and contentious. The Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ), which is responsible for the province’s highway system, unveiled its plan for the Turcot in 2007. Calling for a massive expansion of the interchange, and the demolition of 160 housing units, the proposal was met with fierce opposition from numerous groups in St.Henri. On March 12, the CBC reported that the MTQ now plans to demolish 100 residences – 60 fewer than originally planned. The same story also reported that transport minister Julie Boulet is expected to announce the province’s final plans for the Turcot by the end of the month. The Turcot375 plan calls for the removal of eight of the interchange’s 18 lanes, four of its on- and off-ramps, and for its traffic volume to be reduced from 290,000 vehicles per day to 180,000 vehicles per day. The MTQ’s plan, by contrast, calls for an expansion of the interchange to accommodate 320,000 vehicles per day. “Based on data we have looked at, we know that there will be an increase in cars,” MTQ spokesperson Mario St-Pierre told The Daily in November. “That has nothing to do with any plan or will of the MTQ.” Following a public consultation last June, Quebec’s Bureau
d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) demanded that the MTQ go back to the drawing board and account for locals’ demands for an alternative that involves fewer cars and more public transit. The mémoire, presented to the BAPE commission by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, cited the MTQ’s 2003 estimate that the socioeconomic cost of traffic congestion in Montreal is approximately $1.4 billion a year, and went on to state that the final plan “must include carpooling and public transit lanes as well as accommodate rail transportation.” The BAPE’s final recommendations, released in November, echoed the City’s concerns and condemned the MTQ’s planned housing expropriations, and stated that the residents’ concerns about the pollution generated by highway system should also be heeded. “The City adheres to the same principles as we do,” said Gauthier. “The MTQ comes to it with a very narrow-minded approach: very technical and very focused on increasing highway capacity.” Gauthier added that modelling for a reduction in the Turcot’s traffic capacity demanded a reconceptualization of the city’s entire transit system, the details of which are included in the Turcot375 proposal. “We’re talking about sustainable urban development,” he said. Gauthier concluded that a substantial amount of transit infrastructure will have to be constructed during the renovation of the inter-
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Plans for the Turcot interchange have been in flux since 2001. change, and that this infrastructure will probably have to encompass an expanded transit system. “Nobody can expect this reconstruction to work without any disturbance. The capacity will be reduced on the interchange for
five years [during construction],” he said. “Urban transit is the solution…. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change people’s habitudes.” For the full version of this article, visit mcgilldaily.com.
Prison farms to be phased out Musicians fight for 130-year-old institution, saying it provides a good environment and fresh produce for prisoners Erin Hudson News Writer
anadian artists, academics, and activists gathered for a concert in Kingston last Saturday to oppose the closure of prison farms across the country. This action was initiated by the Canadian Musicians Support Prison Farms (CMSPF) campaign. In 2008, the federal government initiated a strategic review of Corrections Service Canada, concluding that prison farming was outdated and that the program would come to an end by March of next year. Prison farms have been operating in Canada since the 1880s, providing inmates with experience in the agricultural industry and the opportunity to learn hands-on skills. At present, six farms employ 300 inmates at minimum-securi-
ty prisons in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and New Brunswick. Produce from these farms is used within the prisons and supplied to nearby correctional facilities. “I think everyone in Canada needs to be aware of [the situation surrounding the prison farms], so that at least people can have a clear idea of what’s going on as opposed to just finding out after the fact. So hopefully this is one step [in that direction],” said Luther Wright, a musician who joined the campaign on Saturday. Conservative MP Vic Toews, recently appointed minister of public safety, issued a statement discussing the phasing out of the prison farming program. “We would better serve prisoners (and society) by having training focus on skills that lead to actual jobs in the community,” said Toews. “Very few inmates ultimately find
jobs in the agriculture sector, despite time spent on prison farms and the significant cost invested [$4 million annually] to operate these farms.” The statement prompted public outcry from local organizations, politicians, and the CMSPF. Action is being taken by many groups to engage the Conservative government and raise awareness among the Canadian public of the value of prison farms. Plans for similar concerts in Ottawa and Toronto are being considered after Saturday’s concert. “We know we’re not teaching them to be farmers. We’ve never for 50 years taught these guys to be farmers. It’s the work ethics– that’s what we’ve tried to instill in these fellas,” explained a farm manager, who wished to remain anonymous. “[The farm system] evaluates
these guys, because a lot of them are going to get out soon, so we work with the psychologists and parole officers and case managers, so if a guy is doing a good job then the chances of him getting out on the streets and staying out is a lot better,” he added. Many others – notably the Union of Solicitor General Employees (USGE) – have welcomed the rehabilitative nature of prison farms. The USGE represents the staff that work with inmates on farms, and while its members will be taken care of after farm closures occur, the group is actively campaigning to prevent these closures. “You can see [that the inmates] love the work that they’re doing, they love the interaction with each other, with their supervisors, and they have a real pride when they talk about what goes on [at] the farm. Not to put down the other programs, but making a hutch or
bookcase doesn’t give you the same warm feeling inside as working with an animal,” said Dominique Vidmar, communication officer for USGE. Andrew McCann, volunteer coordinator for Urban Agriculture Kingston, commented on the importance of prison farms as a local food source for inmates and the surrounding community. “This is about communities feeding themselves. If prisoners can feed themselves and have the tools to feed themselves, that’s a good thing.” McCann said. “That we’re still focusing on industrial export-based farming and food is really short-sighted in terms of where the world and our country are going. “If students put [these] pieces together then they would realize that there’s a lot at stake here in ending these prisoners’ ability to feed themselves.”
The Faculty of Arts presents A Maxwell-Cummings Lecture
Friending the Past: The Sense of History and Social Computing Alan Liu
ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝
Professor of English University of California, Santa Barbara Alan Liuâ€™s central interests include the cultural life of information including new media, literary theory and cultural studies. In a series of theoretical essays in the 1990s, he explored cultural criticism, the â€œnew historicism,â€? and postmodernism in contemporary literary studies. In 1994, when he started his Voice of the Shuttle Web site for humanities research, he began to study information culture as a way to close the circuit between the literary or historical imagination and the technological imagination. His most recent books include: The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2004), and Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2008). His web projects include: The Voice of the Shuttle, Palinuru: The Academy and the Corporation, The Romantic Chronology (co-edited with Laura Mandell), and The Agrippa Files. He is principal investigator of the University of Californiaâ€™s Transliteracies Project, a multi-campus research group on online reading practices and technologies, and founder of the UCSB English Departmentâ€™s curricular and research development project, Transcriptions: Literary History and the Culture of Information.
Thursday, April 8, 2010 6:00 p.m. Reception to follow
Stephen Leacock Building, Room 232 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal QC For more information, contact the Department of English Tel.: (514) 398-7135 Email: email@example.com
ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝ďż˝
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The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Campus group accuses Newburgh of violating responsibilities in student forum Humera Jabir The McGill Daily
ncoming SSMU president Zach Newburgh will face a review by SSMU’s Judicial Board. This decision comes after the McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) filed a petition contesting his impartiality as speaker of council at last month’s General Assembly (GA). The date of the review has yet to be announced. The Judicial Board is SSMU’s highest legislative body and is the final authority on interpreting its constitution and bylaws. The Board is charged with judging the legality of all actions taken by the Society, with the power to declare any action invalid and to reprimand SSMU leadership. SPHR filed the petition with the Judicial Board on March 17, after being granted a deadline extension by the Board. The group has argued that Newburgh’s association with Hillel Montreal represented a conflict of interest, compromising his position as speaker of the GA. Discussion of the motion for the “Defense of Human Rights, Social Justice, and Environmental Protection,” became heated when Newburgh was accused of a conflict of interest in his role as SSMU speaker since he is also president of Hillel
NEWS BULLETIN Harmful applications of research amendment defeated at Senate Senate voted down an amendment to McGill’s regulation on the conduct of research last Wednesday night. The amendment would mandate researchers to consider any potential harmful applications upon receiving a research grant and report them to their chair or dean. It was moved from the floor by Faculty of Law professor Robert Janda. “We have a solemn obligation stated in the preamble to the [conduct of research policy] to remain aware of the potential consequences of our research.... This is not the creation of an academic offense,” Janda said. “This is the kind of thing that institutions take on to increase the transparency around the externalities they generate with public funding,” he added. Though Janda said the amendment was conceived with military research in mind, military research was not explicitly men-
Montreal and his roommate is president of Hillel McGill – which led the campaign against the motion. The motion passed, but only after two clauses targeting McGill’s ties to unethical practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were stricken from its introduction. Jamal Daoud, a member of SPHR-McGill, said that decisions made by Newburgh during the GA demonstrated partiality toward those who opposed the motion. “He allowed [the motion] to go straight to a vote to strike the preamble clauses without debate and without amending any part of the motion itself…. This is a violation of Robert’s Rules,” said Daoud. “[He interpreted] Robert’s Rules to fulfill his biases against this motion, and in order to fulfill the grievances of his constituency.” “We feel there was very obvious procedural breach that resulted from a conflict of interest…and that SSMU is supposed to have safeguards against these occurrences,” he said. The SSMU executive appointed Newburgh speaker of council by early this year, along with co-speaker Lauren Hudak, who facilitated the fall GA. He received a copy of SPHR’s petition last Friday and said he was surprised by the Judicial Board’s move to review his conduct almost a month and a half
after the GA. Newburgh responded to the allegations, saying that he acted “absolutely impartially” and that he did not make any decision alone. “Every decision was made with my co-speaker of council with consultation. This is a step we take to prevent partiality,” said Newburgh. “I think we did a good job making sure that the room was tolerable for everyone that was involved, [in] dealing with a room of 650 people who are frustrated, tired...lashing out against each other, and directing their anger against the speaker of council.” Newburgh viewed the petition as an attempt to humiliate him as the speaker of council, and called on the group to settle the matter before it became a source of division among the student community. Daoud said, however, that the remedies proposed by SPHR were not meant to demean Newburgh but sought only to set a precedent of impartiality for incoming speakers. “The only thing that we are trying to remedy [through the petition] is future occurrences of the same nature. We don’t want any student on campus, or any group on campus, to feel marginalized or to feel that SSMU possesses a partial stance against them,” he said. “We’re not asking for any serious reprimand. We’re not asking for a
re-vote. We are going to let the past be the past.... This is solely an issue of SSMU integrity, and this is solely an issue of a clear and transparent conflict of interest,” Daoud added. According to Newburgh, the SSMU executive had raised and addressed concerns of a conflict of interest prior to the GA. SSMU president Ivan Neilson said he had full confidence in Newburgh’s ability to act impartially. “Considering in [Newburgh’s] case that he was the president of Hillel Montreal, entirely separate from the McGill context...[and] separate from SSMU, his involvement was separate so we had confidence in his impartiality,” Neilson said. He added that GA organizers received no indication that members wanted to reconsider Newburgh’s role as speaker. “I think if people have specific concerns or if they perceive a situation to be particularly troublesome...it is within their right of Robert’s Rules to bring a motion to remove the chair. We received no such motion,” Neilson said. As is standard in cases brought before the Judicial Board, Justice Daniel Mayer declined to comment.
tioned anywhere in the proposed amendment. Ellen Aitken, dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies, said that she was voting against Janda’s motion because, though she sympathized with its intent, its phrasing was ambiguous enough that it could be applied to almost anything. “Everything we do causes potential harm,” Aitken said. “Everything we do would have to be registered in this process.” Provost Anthony Masi said that the proposed amendment was “so imprecise in its wording so as to create real problems in the administration.” Arts senator Sarah Woolf proposed that the former military research clause be reinserted after Janda’s amendment was voted down by a great majority. Woolf said that the discussion made clear to her that the original clause, with its more precise wording, was most likely a preferable solution. “We hadn’t actually had a reason the clause was removed in the first place. It has the teeth and the action guidelines that were so useful over the last 20 years.” The motion to reintroduce the original clause on military research was defeated with 18 for, 38 against. —Braden Goyette
Post-docs to be taxed, classified as non-students: McGill responds
classified as non-students. “With very little advertising or forewarning, the government decided all post-doc income was taxable,” Kreiswirth said. “There was very little consultation done, and this flies in the face of other regulation of Immigration Canada.” Simeone asked Principal Heather Munroe-Blum during Senate for McGill to provide financial help for post-docs to offset the policy shift. Munroe-Blum replied that she appreciated the intent of the request and is “deeply concerned and committed” to the issue, though was not prepared to commit to monetary funding on short notice. According to Kreisworth’s presentation, 504 of McGill post-docs are in the faculties of medicine and dentistry, 106 in science, 67 in engineering, 44 in arts, and 31 in agriculture and environmental sciences. They make an average yearly income of $38,000. Along with the new taxation policy, the federal budget also created 140 post-doctoral fellowships, paying $70,000 a year each. “The number of fellowships is 140, compared to 6,000 post-docs across the country…[and] the wisdom of a $70,000 fellowship is questionable,” Simeone said. “It would have perhaps been better to fund more postdocs with a $40,000 salary.” Seemcgilldaily.com/articles/26559 for more on post-docs. —B.G.
McGill administrators confirmed at Senate that they will work to advocate for post-doctoral researchers, in response to a sudden federal policy shift that classifies post-docs’ income as taxable. PGSS president Daniel Simeone said at Senate that in the past, McGill post-docs were classed as students, were tax-exempt, and received no benefits – in contrast to non-students, who are taxed and receive state benefits. Now, with the release of the new federal budget classifying their income as taxable, they’re in the worst of both worlds, Simeone explained: being taxed, and receiving no benefits. “The imposition of the new taxation regulations will have a detrimental effect on McGill post-docs’ quality of life, and will make it difficult for the recruitment of qualified personnel to McGill labs in the future,” Simeone told The Daily. In a presentation on post-docs at McGill, Martin Kreiswirth, dean of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies, said that post-docs are the most internationally mobile of all types of students, and many post-doctoral fellows are not authorized to work in Canada. They must now also be
A version of this story appeared at mcgilldaily.com on Tuesday March, 23.
WHAT’S THE HAPS
Incoming SSMU president under review
Green Drinks Tuesday, March 30, 5 p.m. Thomson House, 3650 McTavish The PGSS environment committee presents Alex Oster (VP Sustainability, Concordia Student Union) on “A Concordia Degree: For Who and for What.” He will discuss “problembased service learning” at Concordia and how the sustainability movement has led the way in the use of this education model. Mixer at 5 p.m., talk at 6 p.m. Visual Impact: A Unique Showcase of McGill’s Creative Talent Tuesday, March 30, 6 p.m. Bronfman Building, Basement Come out to see artwork created by McGill students. Different media will be showcased such as fine arts, digital arts, interactive art, and mixed media. The event also features Montreal artist Holly Friescan, and a performance by Jonathan Emile, a McGill student and cancer survivor. The event will raise funds for Youth Action International, an organization that aims to rebuild war-torn African communities. Entrance by donation: $5 suggested. Free Panel on Alternatives to Tuition Hikes Wednesday, March 31, 2-4 p.m. Shatner Building, Lev Bukhman Room (2nd floor) Join Françoise David, co-spokesperson of Québec Solidaire, Julius Grey, eminent human rights lawyer and former SSMU president, and Gaétan Barrette, head of the Quebec association of medical specialists to discuss alternatives to increasing tuition. Wine and cheese will follow. For more information contact external@ ssmu.mcgill.ca or visit ssmu. mcgill.ca/tuition. Tuition Hikes Are Coming! Thursday, April 1, 1 p.m. Philips Square, Downtown Montreal (in front of the Bay) Come demonstrate against impending tuition hikes. Sign, placard, and banner making party at 11 a.m. at SSMU offices. Contact external@ssmu. mcgill.ca for more info, or visit ssmu.mcgill.ca/tuition. Punk Rawk Princess Benefit Concert Friday, April 2, 9 p.m. La Sala Rossa, 4848 St. Laurent Spend your Good Friday supporting a great cause and raising awareness of mental health issues. The annual concert will feature the musical talent of David Hodges, Pat Lehman and the Dropbeat Kings, Sandman Viper Command, and DJ Mike Vin in support of the West Island’s Friends for Mental Health organization. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $18.
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Sean knows me! Bathroom graffiti and social connections
Split brain Daniel Lametti
f you’ve ever sat down on the plastic seat of a toilet in Bronfman, Redpath, or Stewart Bio, you may have noticed a name written in black marker on the inside of the cubicle: “Sean Turner.” What started a few years ago as a joke among a group of friends snowballed into a campus-wide Sean Turner bathroom-graffiti extravaganza, which, for a time, almost every student at McGill seemed to be in on. In Bronfman, one piece of bathroom writing neatly read, “Sean Turner holds debt with no financial distress.” A Sean Turner scribble found its way into a stall at Biftek. Names that other people had graffitied in McGill bathrooms were crossed out with Sean Turner scrawled in their place. And whenever the name Sean Turner pops up in conversation, someone will inevitably ask if anyone has actually met the man – does he exist? Or is he simply the figment of some bored student’s imagination? Sean Turner, it turns out, was a McGill engineering student. And one evening last summer, chainsmoking cigarettes in the dingy liv-
ing room of a house party on Clark, I met the legend in the flesh. He was shorter than I’d imagined and, perhaps, a little thinner, but when a friend confirmed that he was indeed the Sean Turner, I had to go over and introduce myself. “Hey, um, are you Sean Turner?” I asked. “Yeah, that’s me,” said Sean Turner. “Crazy,” I said, suddenly feeling rather awkward. “The bathroom guy.” He nodded, slowly, and then we just stared at each for a few seconds. “I’m, um, Dan Lametti, by the way.” “Oh yeah,” said Sean Turner, “I’ve heard of you.” My mind exploded. Sean Turner had heard of me? How was this possible? He was the guy McGill students wrote about in bathrooms and I was just, well, a guy – no one had ever written my name on a bathroom stall (at least, not that I knew of). How did Sean Turner know me? The world, it seems, is a small place. Everyone has a story about
running into someone they know or someone who knows someone they know in an exotic location. In 1969, a psychologist at City University in New York named Stanley Milgram decided to figure out just how connected a random person was to any other random person. Milgram’s experiment, called The Small World Problem, was simple: he mailed 296 random Americans a packet with a set of instructions and the name of a “target” person and their occupation. If the recipients didn’t know the target – and none of them did – they were told to mail the packet to a friend or acquaintance who they thought might; whoever then received the packet was instructed to do the same, forming an “acquaintance chain” that hopefully ended at the target. Of the 296 people Milgram sent packets to, 217 agreed to participate in the study, thoughtfully mailing the packet on to a friend or acquaintance. In the end, a number of participants dropped out and only 64 packets reached the target, a stockbroker living in Massachusetts. But the packets that did make it only had to go through about six people, and Milgram famously concluded that only six people – or six degrees of separation – stand between any one American and any other American. Thirty-five years later, researchers at Columbia University used the Internet to replicate Milgram’s study on a global scale. Sixtythousand randomly selected email
users attempted to reach one of 18 targets located in 13 countries: an Ivy League professor, a policeman in Australia, and an archival inspector in Estonia, to name three. Remarkably, even though the targets were scattered around the world, the email message reached its destination in about six steps. So how did Sean Turner know me? Milgram noted that 25 per cent of the packets that reached the stockbroker ended up going
Help make Daniel Lametti a social connector. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
researchers of the early 20th century would not understand why we compare machines to the brain because they emphasized its intrinsic biological nature. Then, new cellular biology discoveries, along with Darwin’s theory of evolution, contributed to the popularity of a biological model of the brain. This analogy drew from the most basic organisms, linking a jellyfish’s feelers to sensory fibres and its tentacles to neurons. Non-visual metaphors, such as Freud’s, were also used. He invited people to try and simultaneously imagine all the buildings ever to have existed in Rome, stating that the brain could only be described with language. A new metaphor replaced all these when electroencephalography, or EEG, was first discovered. Brain waves paved the way for the most powerful and important technological analogy of all: the computer. Both body and
machine use electricity. The all-ornothing principle of signal transmission also agreed with the computer’s binary code. But paradoxically, it was an IBM computer’s victory over chess master Garry Kasparov that made this metaphor falter. While computers were more intelligent in their ability to perform calculations, they were also clumsier than humans, in the case of robotic bodily movements. These observations all led to the fall of the computer metaphor. Borck wonders what metaphor will be next – an iPhone, the Internet? Thankfully, the decline of the computer metaphor coincided with the rise of neuroimaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging. This powerful new tool showed both structural and functional details of specific brain activations. Models and metaphors failed at describing the brain because they focused on the differences between object and concept. These images conflated the object
with its representation. Neuroscience is highly efficient at complicating its subject matter. Every answer leads to many more questions. With so many neuroscientists around the world, the brain story is bound to get ever more complex. And in light of the historical persistence of different theories and “almost there” metaphors, maybe this new science isn’t very reliable. But Borck believes that neuroscience research should keep going, even if it means making the problem even more complex. “If anything, it is the hanger-ons of the imminent elucidation of the mind brain which limit the future,” he said. Who knows how people 100 years from now will scoff at our trust in coloured brain images, but even if these imaging techniques still leave the question open-ended, they allow neuroscience to keep moving forward.
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
through one person: his neighbour. The neighbour was a social “connector” – a term coined by New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell. In my case, the social connector was my best friend’s girlfriend, Brynn, who, being a socialite, happened to be good friends with Sean Turner’s girlfriend. Small world.
Mental metaphors Prof talks “new” neuroscience and technology Jenny Lu Sci+Tech Writer
rains lag behind. On March 11, approximately 80 professors and students gathered to hear Cornelius Borck’s talk about the technology used to monitor the brain – and how the technology’s speed surpasses that of the mind, yet is still unable to accurately understand it. In “Mind the Gap,” the fourth lecture of the cross-Canada series Trust in New Sciences, Borck provided insight about neuroscience itself, and whether or not we should trust this comparatively new science. “The title of this lecture series sounds morally charged and invokes a sense of obligation as if on behalf of good citizenship, so to speak, we should trust where the sciences are going,” said Borck, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy
and Language of Medicine. Proceeding to outline the past 150 years of neuroscience’s history, Borck began with Hermann von Helmholtz, a physicist who measured the velocity of nerve impulses in the 19th century. Helmholtz created a time gap between signal and cognition, and since then new technological advances have helped fill this gap. In fact, these advances even surpass the brain. We are sorting out the brain’s unknown future while still processing what has happened. Today, almost all of the theories we make regarding the brain are metaphors. Wilder Penfield used an electrode in an attempt to show that the brain was like a very special tape recorder, which recorded events from a subjective internal perspective. Over time, many similar mechanical metaphors have been used, such as Charles Sherrington’s enchanted loom. But
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Tampering with the genetic code Benefits and concerns for bioengineered food Alexander Kunev Sci+Tech Writer
ince Watson and Crick’s discovery of the DNA structure in 1953, tools to genetically engineer the fundamental code for life have been in development. Technology has always been used to manipulate the living environment, and now, for the first time in history, we can actually use it to genetically alter our food and bioengineer what we put on the table. We can enhance desired traits of crops, such as resistance to pests or nutritional content. That’s the promise of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But now that companies are patenting genetic sequences – the very code of life – there are risks that need to be addressed. Making a GMO is as simple as taking one gene from a plant or an animal and inserting it into the genome of another organism. But their potential is significant. Genetically modified (GM) plants are currently used in 25 countries, 15 of which have cultivation areas bigger than 50,000 hectares. Widely viewed as the future of food production, they could be incorporated into highly sustainable practices. An article by Peggy G. Lemaux in the 2009 Annual Review of Plant Biology explains, “Plants can be created that increase water use and fertilizer efficiencies, that remediate soil contaminants, increase no-till or low-till practices to help reduce greenhouse gases, and produce higher yields without increasing land usage, particularly in developing countries.” Hopes for genetically modified foods include being capable of alleviating world hunger and sustaining population increase. One of their biggest potential benefits is resistance to cold temperatures and droughts, making them perfect for regions where growth of traditional crops is difficult and subject to climate obstacles. In terms of the environment, GMOs could potentially help produce more food from less land, reduce the environmental impact of food production by eliminating the need for chemicals, and rehabilitate damaged or less fertile land. Another application is the production of fruits and vegetables with longer shelf lives, which could reduce waste incurred in transport and supply. DNA recombination, the process of GMO creation, consists of transferring the desired gene into the target plant or animal, essentially by invading the target cell and depositing the desired gene. In order to successfully invade the target cell, a transfer vector is used, most commonly a bacteria or a virus, with the DNA of the vector recombining with the cut-off DNA sequence of the desired gene. Because of the higher
Zara Meerza | The McGill Daily
Potentially adverse health and environmental effects are still unknown. success rates of bacterial transformation, this is the most widely used method today, and a source of the primary concerns with GMOs. The potential negative effects of GMOs are hard to overlook, and scientists still cannot agree on the consequences of releasing GM material into the environment. Nature is used as a laboratory. There is concern about the dangers that the uncontrolled spread of GMO cultivations can impose on the world’s biodiversity. The current genetic diversity of life on earth has evolved, and thrived, for millions of years. We have successfully domesticated numerous species of plants and animals through breeding. Now, through genetic engineering we are introducing genes into crops that will compete with the existing code of the crop; the seeds developed through conventional breeding, which are already starting to disappear, could be lost forever. GMO crops will be grown in the same regions as non-GMO crops of the same species, which leads to another major problem: interbreeding. The gene transfer to non-target species can happen between crops planted next to each other via pollen dispersal, and there are already several cases where farmers have been accused of cultivating GM patented crops on their farms from pollination without paying for them. Such transfer of GMOs in the environment can create possible problems for their traceability, and widespread use of herbicide-resistance genes, for example, could lead to the development of resistance in insect populations exposed to the genetically modified crops. The effects on human health are also problematic: most notably, the introduction of new allergies from traces of bacteria and
viruses used during the transfer of the DNA sequence, mixing of GM products in the food chain, and making plants antibiotic-resistant through accidental crossbreeding. The 1989 outbreak of L-tryptophan in the United States was triggered by toxic impurities from traces of GM material, and caused the deaths of 37 people, leaving 1,500 with permanent disabilities. The methods that are currently used to test the potential health risks with GMOs are ineffective because they are based on the concept of substantial equivalence, which maintains that a novel food should be considered just as safe as a conventional food if it demonstrates the same characteristics and composition as the conventional food. Most of the time, however, the product is tested with regard to general composition of the plant, with no special tests for human and animal safety, as with the case of L-tryptophan. The effect of GMOs on small farmers in developing countries should also be considered. Small farmers could lose their competitiveness in the market due to the patents of the big multinationals, and traditional practices in agriculture might be driven out because of their inability to cope with the GM plants’ higher yield. Since GM seeds are composed of intellectual property, access for public research may be restrained and patent laws could be enacted to act nationally, thus leaving whole countries at the mercy of biotechnology companies. That’s what happened in the United States when GMOs were officially patented in the ’80s with regulations stating that the provisions created by the three state agencies – USDA, FDA and EPA –
are enough, and no potential health or environmental effects need to be taken into consideration. The situation in Europe has been different from that in the U.S. for two reasons: the increased presence of ecological parties in the European parliament since the end of the ’80s, and a major outbreak of mad cow disease in Great Britain. The demand for GM food products has been significantly lowered because the European public has general mistrust and caution with regard to such products. So that’s why when the freshly appointed European commissioner on health, John Dalli, announced earlier this year that a new GM potato as well
as three sorts of GM maize were approved, the public cried foul, citing research showing that releasing these GMOs into the environment could raise bacterial resistance to life-saving medicines. Nobody knows what the future offers for GMOs, but the prospects are far too great to be neglected. We need more than ever to ensure the safety of GM products through unbiased, multinational testing. But before all that, we should examine the consequences of biotechnology companies having patents on the code for life so that they do not stiff public research. If there is anything that’s our common heritage, it’s the genetic diversity of nature.
Earth on tickertape
ew research suggests that hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are used in aerosol spray and have been phased in to replace ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, may cause acid rain. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are also 4,500 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. British plans to start drilling for oil off the shores of the Falkland Islands have ratcheted up tensions with Argentina, which maintains its claim to the archipelago. Argentina’s foreign minister has stated that “war is excluded from our horizon,” but the country has forced ships leaving British-controlled waters to file for a shipping permit before docking at Argentinian ports. According to a report in Nature magazine, the earth’s soil is releasing growing amounts of carbon dioxide, in what could turn into a self-perpetuating
cycle of climate warming. Another study has found that Antarctic ice sheets could release significant quantities of methane as they melt. China is sending emergency food to its southern provinces, where 18 million people and 11 million livestock have been cut off from adequate drinking water. It is the region’s worst drought since the ’50s. The recession has led to an 8.6 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom. Glenn Beck recently apologized to James Cameron for likening him to the Anti-Christ during their public spat over climate-change denialism. —Niko Block
Earth on tickertape runs every other week, covering climate change and current global environmental issues.
Misdiagnosing difference The new edition of the principal psychiatric manual, open to public comment for the first time, has the potential to revise stigmatizing diagnoses
Olivia Messer | The McGill Daily
Quinn Albaugh & Kevin Wyllie The McGill Daily / Features writer
n February 10, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a draft version of the fifth edition of its Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM). The DSM is widely-used both inside and outside the United States as a reference for mental disorders. The fifth edition (DSM-5) intends to add, remove, or modify many diagnoses, which would have sweeping effects on mental health. The DSM has an immense influence on worldwide health standards. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) attempts to synchronize its medical diagno-
ses, published in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), with the DSM. As a result, any changes in the DSM will likely have an impact on a diagnosis system used worldwide. In addition, the DSM affects other fields, such as law. This February, the U.S. Tax Court ruled that Rhiannon O’Donnabhain, a transwoman, could deduct transition-related expenses, like hormone replacement therapy and sex-reassignment surgery, in a decision relying heavily on her “Gender Identity Disorder” diagnosis. Terms popularized in the DSM also pervade popular culture, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention-deficit disorder. The DSM has a particular impact on which genders and sexualities our society considers
“normative” – the way gender and sexuality should be – due to its history of listing variations of gender and sexuality as mental disorders, like sadism, masochism, homosexuality, and transsexuality. Though the DSM revision team still has the power to determine which conditions are mental disorders, this time the revision process is more open to the general public. For the first time, a draft version of DSM is open for public comment before publication. The APA has also moved to increase the transparency of ties between members of the revision team and the pharmaceutical industry, likely due to critics’ concerns that such ties could lead to the creation of new diagnoses that fit the interests of drug companies rather than the public good.
A history lesson The idea of classifying mental disorders in the United States arose mainly from the need to collect census information during the 19th century. In 1917, a “Committee on Statistics,” the organization that became the APA, along with the National Commission on Mental Hygiene, developed a new guide for mental hospitals that included 22 diagnoses. During the Second World War, psychiatrists aided in the care of soldiers, an indication of a general move toward clinical treatment instead of incarceration in mental institutions. This shift led the army to develop a new classification scheme called Medical 203 in 1943. In 1949, the WHO published the sixth revision of the ICD, which contained a subset on
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010 mental health. The APA decided to modify the existing nomenclatures specifically for use in the United States, leading to the creation of the first DSM in 1952. This version contained 106 mental conditions and followed an approach to psychiatry that considered relationships between conscious and unconscious factors developed by Sigmund Freud, which lasted until the third edition adopted a medical model.
Diagnosing sexuality Paraphilias as defined by the current DSM are sexual conditions consisting of “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviours generally involving (1) nonhuman objects, (2) the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, or (3) children or other nonconsenting persons that occur over a period of six months” (Criterion A), which “cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” (Criterion B). This diagnosis arose from a history of linking sexual “deviance” with mental “disorders.” The inclusion of a “sexual disorder” within the DSM depends partly on the stigmas and perceptions of contemporary normative sexuality. The mainstream acceptance of only heteronormative, non-kinky sex often leads to alienation and resentment toward those of us who do not fall into that category. As a result, we’re critical of these developments, though we recognize that others may find psychiatric labels empowering or effective descriptions of their identities. Although descriptions of non-normative sexual desire have existed – probably – since the dawn of time, they did not reach widespread medical and psychiatric attention until the mid to late 19th century. In 1886, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, a famous German psychiatrist, published a groundbreaking but problematic book describing non-normative sexuality entitled Psychopathia Sexualis. This book coined the terms sadism and masochism, and is often erroneously credited with introducing the word homosexual (in fact, Hungarian writer Karl-Maria Kertbeny first used this word in a private letter in 1869). Psychopathia Sexualis paved the way for psychiatrists to label non-normative sex as deviant and a mental condition. The DSM-I listed sexual deviation as a diagnosis under personality disorders – its description is short and vague. The DSM-II created the category of “Sexual Deviations,” which included homosexuality, fetishism, pedophilia, transvestism, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sadism, masochism, and “other sexual deviances.” In 1973, the Board of Directors of the APA removed homosexuality from sexual disorders, a decision ratified by a vote in 1974. However, it retained ego-dystonic homosexuality – a condition in which the patient wants to engage in heterosexual sex, but cannot maintain arousal and where lack of arousal causes significant distress – until 1986. The most recent edition, DSM-IV-TR, lists many new forms of sexual “disorders” including frotteurism (touching or rubbing against a non-consenting person), and dyspareunia (a little-understood disorder that involves pain during sex). The DSM-5 preserves the same paraphilias as the current model. In addition, it adds the diagnoses of hypersexual disorder, paraphiliac coercive disorder (thoughts, and/or acts of forcing sex upon a non-consenting person), and sexual arousal disorders in men and women.
Diagnosing gender Transsexualism entered in the third edition of the DSM, created in 1980. Previously, transsexuality was only in the ICD, a medical rather than strictly mental health reference guide. Under the current edition of the DSM, mental health specialists can apply a number of diagnoses to trans individuals. The first is
“Transvestic Fetishism” (TF), which applies the paraphilia model to straight-male crossdressing. The second is “Gender Identity Disorder” (GID), divided into three categories: one for children, another for adults, and another called “Gender Identity Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified,” a catch-all label for anything the DSM cannot easily categorize and includes intersex people who reject their assigned sex. Each has had its own problems. For example, TF applies a double-standard to men and women, in which only men are capable of transgressing enough for the label to apply. It labels femininity as undesirable in a way masculinity is not; it’s not a disorder for women to dress as men. Children diagnosed with GID are most commonly not trans and instead are developing into adults with samegender attractions. This is largely because the criteria for GID in children relies heavily on divergence from gender norms. Under the fourth edition of the DSM, a child could receive a GID diagnosis based on wearing gender-variant clothing, preferences for “cross-sex roles” in play or fantasies, a desire to participate in the “games and pastimes of the opposite sex,” and preferring “playmates of the opposite sex,” regardless of whether they actually wanted to be a member of the “opposite sex.” The adult GID listing provides no way for diagnosed individuals to later lose the label. All the GID variants are subject to criticism because the word “disorder” has negative connotations that interfere with care. The DSM-5 is maintaining all of these diagnoses, though the names and criteria for them are changing. “Transvestic Fetishism” is becoming “Transvestic Disorder,” while GID is becoming “Gender Incongruence,” though with the same three sub-groupings. To some degree, these new definitions are progressive. The name change to Gender Incongruence reflects trans people’s criticisms that the term “disorder” stigmatizes their identities. A shift from “sex” to “gender” in the diagnostic criteria now allows trans people who have medically transitioned to avoid a lifelong GID diagnosis. The DSM-5 would also allow for people to have alternative genders besides male or female. These changes may lead to some more hopeful outcomes, though the inclusion of any trans diagnosis in the DSM can provide those hostile to trans people with an opportunity to suggest that gender variance is a mental illness. Transgender blogger Antonia D’Orsay has raised the possibility that a trans diagnosis, like Gender Incongruence, could be removed from the DSM due to belief changes within the mental health community, which increasingly sees a problem with society rather than trans people and notes that medical responses, such as hormones, are often more effective than psychotherapy. However, removing the diagnosis from the DSM is unlikely to occur unless the WHO includes a suitable diagnosis in its guidebook, the ICD, since a medical diagnosis is often necessary for insurance coverage. A draft revision of the ICD is due this May. The Gender Incongruence diagnosis will also recognize the possibility of intersex people seeking care, under the term “disorders of sex development.” However, some intersex advocacy organizations, such as the Organisation Internationale des Intersexes, oppose this terminology. This raises the question of what the DSM will do with its “Gender Incongruence – Not Otherwise Specified” listing, which remains in the draft version with a note saying that the revision team is still examining it. The DSM-5 has not removed any of the previous criteria for GID in children, though it now requires more criteria for diagnosis, including indicators associated with the adult diagnosis, such as dislike of one’s genitalia
or a “strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that he or she is of the other gender.” But Gender Incongruence maintains the sharp division between adolescents and adults, and children, who, according to the DSM-5 draft, cannot have gender identities besides male or female. However, the inclusion of “Transvestic Disorder” only serves to continue the stigmatization of wearing gender-variant clothing, with an even more devaluing label. The new diagnosis can apply to even more people – including both straight and queer men and male-to-female trans people. What’s worse, the revised listing includes references to “autogynephilia,” a theory that holds that transwomen attracted to women are really men aroused by the thought of themselves as women. Under this model, trans women
one member who openly states that they have bipolar disorder, ensuring that at least one member has experience on the other end of mental health care. Lisa Cosgrove, clinical psychiatrist and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has analyzed both the DSM-IV and DSM-5 revision teams for conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical companies. In a 2006 study, Cosgrove and her colleagues found that 56 per cent of the DSM-IV revision team’s members had financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry. Such ties include holding stock, providing expert witness testimony in legal cases, and gifts such as paid travel expenses, among others. With this revision, the proportion of contributors with financial ties increased to 70 per cent, according to a 2009 article by
The diagnosis of paraphilias arose from a history of linking sexual “deviance” with mental “disorders” attracted to men are really just “homosexuals,” and there’s no explanation of female-tomale trans people. Apart from these inconsistencies, however, this thinking devalues the self-identities of trans people. As a result, many trans people oppose “autogynephilia,” though some have taken the term as an identity (for an example, see autogynephiliac. blogspot.com).
Not-so-secret agents of revision The members of the DSM revision team have an immense influence on the conditions included, their names, and the criteria necessary for diagnosis. Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard, two psychiatrists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, received positions in the “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders” working group. Zucker, the head of the group, has advocated reparative therapy for gender-variant children, believing that transitioning is a bad outcome. Ex-gay organizations, such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, have featured his work. Blanchard, in turn, became the head of the sub-working group on paraphilias, and is one of the creators of the autogynephilia model of male-tofemale trans people. The DSM’s inclusion of “Transvestic Disorder” with reference to autogynephilia and “Gender Incongruence in Children” is unsurprising given the role that Zucker and Blanchard have played in the revision, but it’s troubling that the APA decided to include them. Regardless of their motives, these theories promote the idea that trans people’s self-identifications and reasons for transitioning are not worthy of respect, which contributes to societal biases against them. Shortly after the announcement of Blanchard and Zucker’s appointments in May 2008, trans people and their allies started a petition, “Objection to DSM-V Committee Members on Gender Identity Disorders.” It received 9,535 signatures over a two-month period. While that effort did not dissuade the APA from including them on the revision team, it demonstrates that their appointments are controversial. The demographics of the revision team also disproportionately favour members of dominant groups. For example, the DSM-5 task force, the group leading the revision, has 27 members. Of these, 21 present as male. A slightly smaller proportion of the group is visibly white. However, the task force does have
Cosgrove and Harold Bursztajn, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. These financial ties may have led to the creation of new diagnoses – or diagnoses aimed at providing customers for certain drugs. One such example may be post-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Pharmaceutical companies have advertised their products as ways of treating PMDD. But outside the United States, PMDD is seldom regarded as a medical issue. For example, the ICD does not include it. The inclusion of such disputed diagnoses seems to benefit the pharmaceutical industry. The APA now requires all members of the revision team to disclose their ties to other organizations, for-profit and non-profit. However, criticism of these financial ties remain. Cosgrove said, “Transparency is a step in the right direction, but transparency is not enough.” Each revision team member’s disclosure page also includes a pledge to limit pharmaceutical industry contributions to a maximum of $10,000 per year. However, the APA has not publicly detailed how it would enforce these caps. Cosgrove argues that social psychology literature shows that a small gift may not be irrelevant. Even receiving a slice of pizza from someone is likely to make you more favourable towards them. “We need to recognize that small gifts can affect behaviour,” she said. We can only wonder how the DSM-5 would differ if the revision team had been different. But these composition issues raise serious concerns about the potential biases of the revision team.
Speak your mind We believe that the DSM should not include any stigmatizing diagnoses of human sexuality, including the paraphilias slated to be part of the DSM-5 (except possibly pedophilia). We believe that APA should not apply the paraphilia model to trans people through “Transvestic Disorder” and its “autogynephilia” sub-classification. And we’re concerned about the inclusion of controversial figures in the revision, including Zucker and Blanchard, as well as people with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. You may disagree. Regardless, if you have any thoughts on the DSM, please participate in the public commentary process at dsm5.org. The comment period ends April 20, 2010.
Your mind isn’t colourblin Shaina Agbayani illustrates how images of empowerment can defeat subconscious racism
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
study just released by Statistics Canada projects that by 2031 at least one in three Canadians will belong to a visible minority group. Canada’s attitude toward multiculturalism is paradoxical, simultaneously promoting sustenance of cultural practices while espousing that we live in a colourblind society in which everyone is equal. As Canada’s cultural mosaic becomes more variegated, we must re-open our eyes (and not just our salivating-for-samosas-mouths) to the results of this diversity. Last year, Lawrence Hill, author of the prize-winning The Book of Negroes, told The Daily that “racial prejudice and racial discrimination still mark many aspects of Canadian life.” He added, “If you don’t believe it, just ask someone who at two o’clock in the morning is driving in a luxury vehicle, what it’s like to be pulled over because they’re black. I think it is a fantasy that is quintessentially Canadian to say that we live in a colourblind society.” The fact is that we have an urge to classify everything, and this includes racial classification. I categorize my high school philosophy teacher – one of the most eloquent, erudite individuals I’ve hitherto encountered – as black. Classification and categorization are
psychological inevitabilities that aren’t in themselves condemnable, affirms Michael Inzlicht, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto whose research focuses on the brain’s processing of prejudice and stereotypes. “Our need to classify and categorize is an essential part of being human. If we didn’t possess and employ this ability, we would literally be like children seeing the world for the first time every time we looked around,” says Inzlicht. “A vast majority of these images of classification are unconscious, arising without any level of volition. The framework of our brains which supports them is necessary for our survival. It only becomes sinister when we assert that one category is intrinsically better than another.” Because it’s no longer socially acceptable to express antagonism toward any one group, Inzlicht explains that prejudice has developed into two types, modern and implicit, “A modern racist is someone who hides their racism behind things like objections to social policies. But the deeper issue is that most people who are prejudiced and have stereotyped views aren’t aware of it themselves. This is implicit prejudice.”
These categorizations nestled into our crania are akin to filmstrips that play through our minds without much control. However, these filmstrips have been dubiously recorded. Charmaine Nelson, a professor of art history at McGill who has extensively studied Canadian racial politics, asserts, “We are socialized into a racist society.” Enter philosophy teacher anecdote: He’s driving with kids and wife in Toronto and speeding to get his kids to a game on time just like the white soccer moms beside him. He is stopped by the police. Having been through this countless times before, he prepares to read off what he dubs the script of Canadianness. The dialogue involves the statement “I’m sorry, I was rushing to take the kids to hockey” (emphasize the hockey), articulated with verbosity. According to him, this assumption of Canadianness, replete with a rich dose of exaggerated diction, lets him off the hook every time. The empirical evidence for the invented crime of “driving while black” is overwhelming. An investigative report on racial profiling conducted by the Toronto Star last month found that black Canadians are three times more likely than white Canadians to
be stopped by the Toronto police. It analyzed 1.7-million “contact cards” collected by the police from 2003 to 2008 that identified the characteristics of the individuals stopped by authorities. The study confirmed that belonging to a visible minority group is undeniably a red-card trait for possible criminal tendencies as evaluated by the Toronto police. This racism is felt by its victims. Statistics Canada’s Ethnic Diversity Survey found that 32 per cent of the Canadian participants who identified as black reported experiencing some form of racial discrimination, either sometimes or often.
espite these telling statistics, there are skeptics who rebut that these claims of discrimination are the paranoid, self-inflicted result of a bad case of imagined racism with which Canada is afflicted. One of these naysayers is the National Post’s Barbara Kay. In her article “Multiculturalism was Canada’s Biggest Mistake,” Kay states that “Multiculturalism is idealistic in theory, but its real effect has been the entrenchment in our intellectual and cultural elites of an unhealthy obsession with a largely phantom racism amongst heritage Canadians that no
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
nd amount of penance or cultural self-effacement can ever transcend.” However, the Toronto Star report proves that racism does exist. Furthermore, a study recently conducted for the Association for Canadian Studies came to the chilling conclusion that many people condone these racist practices. The study found that almost twofifths of Canadians support the use of racial profiling. Whether or not we choose to recognize it, inequality is widespread. A report issued by the United Nations concluded that visibleminority Canadians face rampant discrimination in policing, education, and labour, based on findings from visits to Canadian cities, including Montreal, in October 2009. Inzlicht notes that, psychologically speaking, this discrimination is the response of “racist attitudes which are a result of different parts of brain which contribute to certain emotional responses. For instance, in research subjects, the activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain in the frontal lobes in which activity is triggered by weariness and fear, spikes significantly more when presented with images of black people than when presented with images of individuals belonging to other racial backgrounds.” This phenomenon is a result of empirical reality and a deeply-yet-unconsciously embedded internalization of a history that has institutionalized racial hierarchies. The empirical reality in Canada is that Caucasian people still form a majority – five out of six Canadians are white. Human psychology is such that we discern things that are unfamiliar and conspicuous to us as discomforting. The white identity has been normalized and universalized as the ideal identity of beauty, power, and recognition.
in terms of its proximity to whiteness. Nelson explains that the underlying basis for modern racial socialization hearkens back to the early eras of slavery: “Slavery was extensively premised upon the institutionalized rape of black women by white men. These women were exploited as commodities, breeders of more slave labour. This was a built-in incentive for an owner to rape and impregnate black women. As slaves are getting lighter and lighter because of generations of miscegenation and gradients of blackness gradually lighten, terms such as mulatto, quadroon, octoroon emerge within European racial discourses to express racial proximity to whiteness. And the nearer you were to the white tip of the spectrum, the more beautiful you were considered.” This slave mentality undeniably penetrates into contemporary consciousness. Consider that the vast majority of black women within mainstream media, or at least those considered the most beautiful and powerful – Halle Berry, Tyra Banks, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Vanessa Williams – are light-skinned black women. This mentality has likewise infiltrated the field of interpersonal relationships. In an episode of Banks’s talk show, she interviews black men who actively pursue blonde partners, saying that they never find black women attractive. Never? You’ve met all the black women out there? “Desire is socialized,” Nelson declares, adding that, “If there is a black man telling you that he will never date black women – women who look like him – we must consider how this is produced in part from consuming white-dominated media and from a resulting self-loathing that comes from being forced to consume derogatory images of black people.”
he infrastructures of these institutions leave scant space for realistic understandings of racial politics. Due to centuries of racism, visible minorities often project inferiority onto themselves. In the book Crafting Selves: power, gender, and discourses of identity in a Japanese workplace, Dorinne K. Kondo, professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, asserts that, “People inevitably participate in their own oppressions, buying into hegemonic ideologies even as they struggle against those oppressions and those ideologies.” People of colour are the most racially-aware and racially-classifying because they experience race. Therefore, they are certainly complicit in sustaining a racial matrix. This matrix is the deeply-inscribed modern collective psyche which has been wired according to the vestiges of centuries of European racial “sciences,” which were created to justify the colonial projects. These “sciences” institutionalized a polygenetic consciousness that created and maintained a racial hierarchy with whites at the top and blacks – considered subhuman – at the bottom. Despite the fact that we now recognize the absurdity of these racially stratified theories (though for an anomaly, see current University of Western Ontario professor Philippe Rushton) our institutions have nonetheless inherited elements of this history. These Eurocentric hierarchies characterized “blackness” as a derogatory, monolithic identity whose worth was to be determined
n this respect, Nelson observes, “Interracial dating can be fraught with danger insofar as it can be a terrain where people replicate colonial fantasies of racial difference, or what is sometimes referred to for blacks as a ‘slave mentality.’” The residue of this mentality within the contemporary scope of media and interpersonal relationships was explored by a discussion recently hosted by the McGill Black Students’ network (BSN). The talk, titled “Shades of Black,” aimed to discuss if and how the media inscribes into the psyche of the black community the “vogue” merit of the varying gradients of black. In effect, the dialogue determined to question, first, whether these social divisions are a real issue within the black community, second, if and to what extent skin colour determines how “black” you really are, and third, how colour affects relationships and self-perception. One participant shared anecdotes about a friend who liked to date women of various hues, but wanted to settle with dark black women at the end of the day, for darkness bears connotations of stability and domesticity. Another participant from the Caribbean cited the advice she often hears from her elders to marry better, meaning to marry lighter to maximize the economic prospects of her children. Several individuals from Africa and the Caribbean articulated their confusion and unawareness of the black aggressive, ghetto stereotype. Another Sudanese participant shared the commentary a white friend offered up after
she spoke about being black: “But you’re not really black.” Really black? How do we calibrate how black one really is? And why do different gradients of black denote economic prospects and stability? Arash Abizadeh, McGill political science professor, notes in his essay “Ethnicity, Race, and Possible Humanity” that race does not exist independently from social beliefs about race. So although being a black person means a variety of things, beliefs about blackness are central to racial implications. During the BSN talk, one participant suggested that stereotypes are simply reflections of reality. He asked, who are the producers and entertainers in stereotypical black “ghetto” entertainment? Black people. So the stereotypes are true. This is true. Just as true as the fact that there are some white people who belong to the KKK, and there are some Muslim people who are terrorists. However, we choose to assign these traits as essential to certain racial identities on our own. Throughout history, white institutions have painted static images, which narrow the space for people of colour’s self-representation. Nelson therefore emphasizes the importance of critical spaces of visual consumption, which are often scarce. “Nuanced representation of ourselves is difficult to find,” she explains. “If we don’t consume critically – and this is difficult to do because we don’t have a variety of choices from which we can select our representations – we are easily brainwashed by what’s fed to us by the media. Therefore, visually uncritical consumers will perform and internalize these images.”
ven if think we are immune to these images, because we know they’re inaccurate, we must all acknowledge our complicity within these racial dynamics. Nelson explains how empowerment and change depend on all parties working to deconstruct these stereotypes: “Black people can do all they want for empowerment and selfadvancement.... However, until white institutions of power begin to actively critique their racial privilege and to value difference as an asset, our efforts will not have as much value as they should.” The myth around affirmative action policies – which in fact do not exist in Canada, where non-binding diversity policies are the norm – is that they force institutions to hire unqualified people. That’s absolute bullshit. There is an abundance of qualified visible minorities who will only be considered seriously if affirmative action policies are in place. Nelson asserts that “Perfect equity is not equitable,” adding that, “Excellence in contemporary society is defined Eurocentrically. Therefore, equity doesn’t have to do with the equitable playing field, because that field was initially plowed by white institutions to suit their needs.” Despite these virtues, in Canada, equity policies are novel and seemingly ineffective. McGill only ratified a formal Equity Policy that considers racial diversity in staffing in 2007. Look at our sea of professors while considering the international reputation of McGill. Nelson is the first visible minority woman professor I’ve encountered at McGill. And we are still being taught East Asian and African
history by white professors. Their positions could have been offered to individuals just as qualified, yet whose representational resonance would be substantially more significant. When I was first acquainted with the Benazir Bhuttos, Ayaan Hirsi Alis, Aung San Suu Kyis, Condoleeza Rices, and Adrienne Clarksons of the world, they replaced the Lucy Lius and Li’l Kims as the prevalent images of coloured female power. It was incredibly empowering to see that women of colour in positions of power existed, and to see that they were there not for their T ‘n’ A but for the good ol’ cranium. This leads to why Barack Obama’s election was of such importance to black communities around the globe (it always comes back to Obama, I know). That the patron of Western hegemony – symbolizing power merited for intellect and ability defined by white institutions – was for the first time a black man, offered the black community a reflection of their identity that formerly only encompassed negative, fear-inducing categorizations. Obama is an incarnation of the idea that normalized ideologies and identities of blackness could and should evolve into a power distinct from the depictions of blackness previously outlined. Placing qualified visible-minority individuals in positions of power provides images of empowerment for visible-minority communities. Moreover, it promotes awareness within the Canadian consciousness that excellence can be colourful. However, these benefits will only happen when Canadians decide to see colour for its virtues. We are governed by a prime minister who claimed last year that Canada has no history of colonialism. Do the terms “natives” and “residential schools” not ring a bell to Stephen Harper? We are citizens who claim that we are colourblind. That’s a huge problem. Colours paint onto their subjects a consciousness and experience. Those who do not undergo the same experiences have a responsibility to recognize these invisible dynamics. Unfortunately, this recognition is being deterred by Canada’s libertarian rhetoric of tolerance, which claims “we’re different, so let’s just live and let live.” However, this attitude gilds the concerns highlighted by critics of multiculturalism, namely that Canada is simply a culturally heterogeneous hotel in which no one has long-term expectations to commit to cultural solidarity or collective identity. According to Kay, Canada’s slogan appears to be: “We’re here to serve you, and ensure you have a pleasant, worry-free stay. Your family is our family. Our family is…not your problem.” To effectively rewrite this motto, we need to start seeing colour and creating ties based on it. Both Nelson and Inzlicht emphasize the importance of interaction with your “other” in promoting the dissolution of our unconscious classifications. Inzlicht asserts that policies prohibiting racism, for instance, are ineffective on their own in preventing the internalization of racism. “Literally being shoulder to shoulder with different people who have different social identities and categories and engaging with them [makes] them more human and more unique,” he explains, adding that this contact “personalizes them and humanizes them to exist outside these categorizations.”
Letters Re: “Naturopathic medicine is whack” | Commentary | March 15
Riva Gold’s piece articulates our society’s arrogant worldview regarding health and healing outside the realm of “conventional” biomedicine. Sophia Kehler U2 Environment
It is, in fact, Gold’s argument that is whack Re: “Naturopathic medicine is whack” | Commentary | March 15 Riva Gold’s piece that explicitly delegitimizes and ultimately denies efficacy to alternative forms of medicine is wrought with generalizations and misrepresentations, and articulates the arrogant worldview our society has regarding health and healing outside the realm of “conventional” biomedicine. Alternative medicine comprises a number of domains that Gold homogenizes. It can include naturopathic medicine, which encompasses a number of modalities: chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, and Ayurvedic practitioners. Each of these has their own system of education, entailing extensive hours of instruction and practice before they are allowed to practice and become legally licensed. Furthermore, the remedies must adhere to regulations not unlike those imposed on pharmaceuticals; however, due to the exceedingly low doses of active constituents, toxicology tests are rather insignificant. Indeed, remedies and alternative medicine can interact
Cannabis > no cannabis Re: “Nose candy and the Freudians who love it” | Science + Technology | March 15 I quite enjoyed the article “Nose candy and the Fruedians who love it.” I totally agree with the opinion that persons need stimulation and positive environments to avoid negatively medicating. Many of the negative characteristics associated with persons who use cannabis come from the lack of knowledge of the plant. I have always thought it so wrong to tell a person they are a loser for enjoying a plant they are biochemically engineered to receive. We must remember that no one has ever died from using cannabis itself. The act of eating cannabis seeds actually benefits the body with positive nutrition, superior to not having cannabis at all. Debby Moore Director of Research, Hemp Industries of Kansas USA
with pharmaceuticals as can any substance you put in your body. This does not eliminate efficacy; rather, it stresses the important role the patient has in disclosing all the information necessary for their health-care provider to prescribe the correct medicine. Contraindications are extensively researched within the realm of herbal and homeopathic remedies, and any legally licensed practitioner would be aware of these. Medicine outside of Western biomedicine predominates in most of the world, with 80 per cent of the world’s population relying on what Gold deems “alternative medicine” to meet their primary health-care needs. The dualistic representation espoused in this article is entirely unproductive. The two domains must complement rather than compete with each other. Alternative medicine holds immense import for the maintenance of health around the world and within Canada. It deserves scrutiny and analysis, but not through a lens that explicitly homogenizes the domain and displays a complete lack of empirical evidence.
I’d like to make a Water World/ Kevin Costner joke here Re: “World Water Day” | Editorial | March 22 & “Crossword-in-theworld” | Compendium! | March 22 I would like to commend the editorial board for their comments on World Water Day. It’s true Canada faces a myriad of water issues which need to be acknowledged and acted upon by our government. However, I would also like to challenge the editorial’s assertion that “Canada is among the most water-rich countries” and that we posses “abundant water resources.” Canada may posses 6.4 per cent of the world’s freshwater, but most of that water runs north and for all intents and purposes is inaccessible. This must by contrasted with the United States. So often referred to as our “thirsty neighbours to the south,” the U.S. possesses 6.4 per cent of the world’s renewable water, an almost identical supply. Conversely, most of that water is within access of major population concentrations. Southern
Canada has only 2.6 per cent of the world’s renewable water supply, putting our accessible water at total sum lower than that of the Democratic Republic of Congo! Perpetuating the myth of Canadian abundance not only hides the fact that many municipalities routinely face water shortages, but also serves to bolster governmental stagnancy on water issues. When politicians and the general public believe our water resources to be bountiful, acting on these issues slips from their priority list. The editorial board is right: we must act on water issues and ask our MPs to join us in this fight. However, an inaccurate portrayal of our water resources serves only to maintain a myth of abundance and weaken the imperative for action. P.S. What was with the crossword? Dana Holtby U2 Environment & IDS Uncharted Waters conference coordinator TAPthirst member
Sophia Kehler U2 Environment
In his Letter to the Montrealers, Paul condemns dismissing Cornett Re: “Paging Doctor Cornett” | Commentary | October 8 I write to join those who, like me, are troubled by the quite unfathomable saga of McGill University, my alma mater, and its stance toward the dismissed professor, Norman Cornett. I am the recipient of four academic degrees from McGill, all of which I am proud to have received: B.A ’58, B.D. ’61, S.T.M. ’63, and Ph.D. ’67. McGill provided me with the requisite mind and tools for my own academic career in theology, from which I retired seven years ago. But now, my pride in my alma matter is shaken: I am puzzled and deeply saddened that McGill is shrouding itself in silence in relation to
the dismissal of Cornett. I was one of the guests he invited to his classes and, however entrenched I was in my own academic teaching methods, I left those classes challenged into new ways of teaching and, more importantly, of seeing my students differently. It is troubling for a range of reasons, including theological ones, that the administration of McGill University has nothing other to say in response to questions, heartbreaking ones at that, but “No comment!” Why should pride in being a McGill graduate be diminished by the University’s silence about a dismissal that, unless it is openly explained, leaves deep suspicion and a concomitant angered sadness? Martin Rumscheidt Doctor of divinity Dover, NH
Let’s take a LEAP toward a sound intoxicant policy Re: “Montreal North focus of drug enforcement” | News | March 15 Kudos to Montreal activist Jaggi Singh; Eugene Oscapella, my good friend and fellow advocate; and The McGill Daily for speaking about the need to stop targeting our ethnic youth for doing the same thing the white folks have been doing for decades. Speaking as a retired law enforcement officer and one of the first medical cannabis patients in Canada, I think that the sooner we realize our youth are nothing more than scapegoats in the War on Drugs the better. Legalize and regulate all drugs today to keep them out of the hands of our children, away from the criminals, and off the street for good. Alison Myrden Retired law enforcement officer Speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Dank research, McGill Daily Re: “More than just chemicals on the brain” | Culture | March 15 Are your average McGill undergraduates smarter than most tenured professors at the best American universities? Congratulations: apparently you are. What’s the proof? One of your yet-to-be-degreed students, Aaron Vansintjan, recently wrote an article that boldly flies in the face of mainstream scholarship produced by history, classics, and women’s studies departments stretching across the United States. And it turns out he’s right. In “More than just chemicals on the brain,” an intellectual slap-in-the-face to respected academics from the U.S., Vansintjan attempts to reexamine the evolutionary relationship between humans and their long history of drug use. He accurately claims that many of the world’s oldest cultures promoted drugs that are now deemed dangerous, illegal, and addictive by the modern West; medicines, recreational substances, sacraments, and vehicles once used for the spread of culture have now become the great scourges of Christian modernity. And the historical evidence is squarely on his side. For example, the Greeks – the folks who created democracy and the scientific method – flourished while under the influence of strong hallucinogens, painkillers, stimulants, and anxiolytics. They had no drug laws and no cartels. How do I know this? I published a book on the topic after my dissertation committee demanded I remove an entire chapter on recreational drugs from my thesis on Roman pharmacy – it was an otherwise drab work on ancient pharmacology. In the words of the former head of the classics department at the University of Wisconsin, “They just wouldn’t do such a thing.” Congratulations, McGill: you are ahead of the American curve. And by the way, the Christian church waged the first drug war against women who were using plants and animal toxins to induce abortion. Due to your time at McGill, I’m confident you are not completely surprised. David Hillman Author of The Chemical Muse: Drug use and the roots of Western civilization
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Cornett’s dismissal sucked Re: “Paging Doctor Cornett” | Commentary | October 8 My seven years at McGill gave me innumerable gifts: the ability to think critically, to admire those who stood up for what is right, and to articulate what I found objectionable about unjust decisions. In the humanities department at Dawson College, I now strive to inspire my students in a similar way. Although I never took a course with Norman Cornett, I had many friends who did. Their praise inspired me to attend Cornett’s public lecture series during the past months, through which I have come to know his unique pedagogical style and unparalleled passion, which have inspired my own teaching. During this period, I’ve also come to learn the details of McGill’s unexplained dismissal of Cornett, which uncannily reminds me of a documentary I saw on the meat industry. In both cases, I was sickened at what existed beneath the surface. Once you know how the meat industry really works, you’ll think twice about eating a hamburger. This incident and the way the administration shamefully dealt with the 2008 TA strike (it took me 14 months to receive payment for work completed before the strike) have irreparably tainted my perception of McGill. It’s a true shame that my wonderful memories of the University must now contend with these unsettling facts – but these clouds cast very large shadows. We cannot point the finger at “the University,” as though it were some monolithic entity. What we can point to, however, is the atmosphere the administration’s actions create, which invariably influences its students and graduates. Would we want to live in a society where McGill’s graduates behave like their alma mater? As a worldwide leader in education, McGill’s example inspires me in countless ways. But its behaviour with Cornett is not one of them.
The Daily: the news no one else covers Last Friday, I came across one of the protests against The Daily’s fee increase on the sidewalks of lower campus reading: “No more Daily propaganda.” These demonstrations were explained to me as referring to The Daily’s coverage of too many “obscure” human rights issues. I have also heard direct complaints from students such as one classmate taking issue with the front page coverage of the new Ugandan homophobic legislation instead of the earthquake in Haiti or Chile. I however find that article to be an example of the best quality of The Daily. I found out about both earthquakes and the tsunami in Hawaii by unsolicited word of mouth. I did not need The Daily to notify me of any of these events as they were able to propel themselves into our everyday conversations, nor do I need The Daily to tell me how we are going to respond to these situations (though it might tell me what is wrong about our neo-colonial response). I find that the coverage of “obscure” humanitarian issues is far more relevant because, in the case of the queer Ugandans, nations such as the U.S. and Canada could actually use their influence to prevent potential humanitarian crises, whereas the earthquakes were entirely out of our control. It was because of their unorthodox coverage that my discovery of The McGill Daily as well as Le Délit was so refreshing. They were providing both topics and perspectives that fell so far out of the normal batch of stories that the media hands us that I found myself clipping and saving articles my entire first semester. I think The McGill Daily is doing us a far better service with its current approach than if it were to give us one more, but slightly different, version of the stories we already know. Margaret Waterhouse U1 Environment
Daniel Goldsmith BA ’05, MA ’08
Are you there, McGill? It’s me, Norman Re: “Paging Doctor Cornett” | Commentary | October 8 I had the fortune and the pleasure to have been invited as a speaker to two of Norman Cornett’s classes. Needless to say, and backed up by the testimony of his many students, Cornett is a remarkable, avant-garde, and extraordinary teacher. His dismissal from his position at
McGill University, without reason, is a tragic and shameful event. The blatant undermining of transparency, enacted with impunity, without showing any respect for a learned man who has devoted his life to teaching, is reprehensible. McGill University owes Cornett and his students an explanation, an apology, and a reinstatement of his position. Rawi Hage Writer and visual artist
The Daily wants you, needs you, anyone out there, any time? Send us your missives and epistles. Send your thinks to email@example.com from your McGill email address, and keep them to 300 words or less. The Daily does not print letters that are racist, sexist, classist, bassist, or otherwise hateful.
Hillel McGill, listen to Hillel the Elder Re: “Daily marginalizes Jewish students again” | Letters | March 18 To me, the desecration of Jewish symbols alluded to by Jamie Berk comes from efforts like Mookie Kideckel’s to liken a debate over state policy to “blood libel.” It is not writers in The Daily but organizations like Hillel McGill that seem to link Judaism and Zionism, often by linking antiZionism or Palestinian nationalism to anti-Semitism. For example, I served for two years on the Board of Directors for CKUT. The optoutable student funding for the entire station was consistently targeted by Hillel McGill and affiliated students for hosting one hour of Palestinian programming a week. Hillel did not seem to care that other timeslots were used for Jewish community shows or that myself and plenty of student volunteers and listeners were Jewish. Perhaps the Hillel organization forgot when their namesake said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” Hillel’s web site claims to represent a diverse Jewish community and support a democratic State of Israel. Am I not Jewish enough to be represented if I hesitate to agree with the second statement without further qualification? They weren’t representing me while ceaselessly attacking CKUT and other campus institutions that many Jewish students choose to be a part of. They do seem to unfailingly represent a Zionist voice, despite the fact that they were founded as a Jewish student union before the independence of the State of Israel. I have never equated Zionism with Judaism, except possibly during my years as a Zionist. However, Berk made this linguistic slip while discussing an alleged (and unsubstantiated) bias in the Islamic Studies department. I ask Kideckel and Berk to sincerely ask themselves: who is equating Judaism with Zionism? Ben Foldy U3 History and Political Science (joint honours) Daily columnist Associate editor, McGill Foreign Affairs Review
I’m compelled to write because Norman Cornett probably told me to Re: “Paging Doctor Cornett” | Commentary | October 8 Five years ago, I graduated from McGill with a degree in anthropology. In the time since, I’ve drifted around the world, as many arts grads do, patting myself on the back and discussing how my degree has helped me to shape sense out of the world, especially when convincing others to give university a go. A name that comes up often in my defense of arts is Norman Cornett, and it was with great sadness that I learned he was relatively recently, unceremoniously sacked without a word from University officials. I’m compelled to write to The McGill Daily because the lack of honesty around the University’s act is shameful. Cornett pioneered a new way of learning, placing the “dialogue” above all else: students explored the world of the arts and humanities through an open, honest, and respectful sharing of ideas, without the pressure of regurgitation demanded in the traditional classroom. Most students agreed that our classroom environments were electrifying. This was something new, something we’d never seen before. It was a face-to-face dialogue with heavy-hitting intellectuals, and it was free of the intimidation young students feel around great thinkers. Cornett had the guts to bend the University’s rules to maximize students’ exposure to new ideas. Should fresh approaches like these cost our professors their careers? It is ironic that the University should shamelessly shut down any attempt at an honest dialogue with someone who is so selflessly dedicated to the promotion of that very thing. I don’t think every class can be taught this way, but if there isn’t room at one of our leading universities for brave new ways of expanding our students’ perspectives on the world, then something is very, very wrong with this picture. Thomas Witte B.A. Anthropology ‘05
I am at wit’s end: no more Cornett titles can be found Re: “Paging Doctor Cornett” | Commentary | October 8 I’m hoping that the National Film Board of Canada can clarify Norman Cornett’s open-minded approach to learning. Granted that his approach is fundamentally different from the archaic style of teaching that we’re accustomed to, Cornett successfully made students enjoy school – a seemingly impossible task. So few have the opportunity to experience such a classroom in an otherwise dog-eat-dog academic setting. North Americans regard school as a monotonous and methodical duty. We have sacrificed thinking for good marks. It has become a test of who can absorb and regurgitate as effectively as possible. Instead of learning together, we are constantly tested against each other. This is breeding insecurity and an aggressive nature amongst ourselves. Ideally, a classroom should bring out the best in everyone and not only select for “the best.” It should be captivating, insightful, and produce confident and motivated young minds. Such is the case with Cornett’s classes. There is a level of communication, expression and of respectful dialogue that builds so much confidence. Even the most timid and discrete students could anonymously unleash their deepest thoughts – in public! It is a priceless technique to learn a tremendous amount about oneself and others. All the while, he engages in open discussion about such essential issues as sustainable development of Canada’s natural resources and habitats, not to mention special appearances and dialogue with prominent figures like Lucien Bouchard. At a time when the world is questioning North American academic standards, when other countries are producing statistically higher achieving students, and our very city (Montreal) is questioning such foundations as homework in elementary school, how can we disregard Cornett’s admirable attempt to challenge the formal structure of school and place a creative learning experience as the priority? Riccardo Pietro Ricciardi M.Sc.
Lay off the Link, man! Re: “Chalk artists all over campus” | Compendium! | March 22 He didn’t win. There’s no need to keep making fun of him. Raphael Dumas U2 Civil Engineering
Errata In the article “Vote Yes for the DPS” (Commentary, March 22), it was stated that the DPS’ fee had not increased since 2003. In fact, the fee has not increased since spring of the 2001-2002 academic year. The inflation rate referred to at the end of the article refers to the inflation from spring 2002 to the present. The Daily regrets the error. In the article “Able Movements” (Culture, March 22), France Geoffroy and Luca “Lazylegz” Patuell were both described as amputees. In fact, Geoffroy is a quadriplegic person and Patuell has athrogryposis, a disease that limits joint motion. The Daily apologizes for the errors.
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Disordered terminology Binary is for computers Quinn Albaugh
ver the past few years, the medical establishment has been moving away from the terms “intersex conditions” or “intersex people” toward “disorders of sex development” (DSD). The aim of this shift, according to the 2006 “consensus statement” in the journal Pediatrics, is to avoid using confusing or pejorative language to describe medical conditions. Another concern is that the term “intersex” might push an identity on people with different sex characteristics that they do not want. Intersex advocacy organizations do not agree on how to respond to this change. The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) shut down in 2007 due in part to the development of DSD. In 2008, former associates of ISNA founded a new organization, the Accord Alliance, which now uses the term “disorders of sex development” instead of “intersex.” Other organizations, such as the Organisation Internationale des Intersexes (OII), which has chapters in several countries (including Canada) oppose this terminology. I am skeptical of this terminol-
ogy shift. I’m particularly doubtful that we can ever use the term “disorder” in a way that does not result in stigmatizing the individual to which it is applied. I should note that I do not identify as intersex or as a person with a DSD. But I’ve seen enough problems with the use of the term “disorder” as applied to trans people to raise some concerns about how this terminology will affect care and social perceptions. I also have a particular concern with this case because some individuals have advocated that transsexuality be considered an intersex condition – effectively, transsexuality would mean having a cross-sexed brain. The term “disorder” stigmatizes people in such a way that discourages them from seeking care. I know that the possibility of receiving a “gender identity disorder” diagnosis made me conflicted about seeking help from health-care providers. I knew ways of improving my life were available – but only if I accepted that label. What’s more, if a characteristic gives someone a “disorder,” not having that characteristic becomes
“normal” and “desirable.” As long as we refer to intersex conditions as disorders, we are preventing the emergence of the notion that no form of sex variation is better than another. The terminology also reflects a particular medical model. The medical establishment tends to assign labels and diagnoses to various groups based on their own traditions and thinking, without taking into consideration the thinking of the groups affected. While the medical community collaborated with some intersex advocacy organizations, such as ISNA, the “consensus statement” ultimately was passed down from the medical establishment itself. Given the imbalance of power between the two, I’m curious as to how much the current phrasing reflects intersex people’s opinions. Under a DSD model, all intersex people, regardless of their bodily variations, have a disorder – which implies a need to fix, correct, or treat the “disorder,” the same way people attempt to solve, say, post-traumatic stress disorder. But not all intersex people want or need medical intervention. In fact, the urge to fix intersex people has led to surgeons modifying infants’ genitalia to what they think would be best for the child. A significant portion of these children have had to later seek “transgender” care in order to address the problems that surgeons made for them when they were too young to consent. We need to make several chang-
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
The word “disorder” unfairly brands intersex people. es to this model. Members of marginalized groups should be able to participate as equal partners in developing their own standards of care. Since communities don’t always agree on self-identification labels, health-care providers should respect how individuals refer to themselves. People with different bodies should have different care depending on their individual needs. We should avoid using stigmatizing language that would
interfere with care. And individuals should be the only ones who can consent to their own care; healthcare providers shouldn’t make decisions for anyone – instead, they should inform and assist. Without these changes, we won’t be providing the right care.
Church. Interestingly, although excommunication from the church was never used against actual rapists and child abusers, it was threatened as punishment against those who reported the offences to the state. That sure cracked down on the scandals. Since then, hundreds of appalling revelations have emerged from church abuse scandals in Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Poland, the U.S., and the U.K. For the Catholic Church to function as a moral and religious beacon, laypeople need to be able to trust their clergy, and clergymen need to have faith in their hierarchy. Sexual abuse doesn’t just injure its victims and their families; it erodes the entire Church’s ability to work meaningfully in communities or as a credible actor on the world stage. How can anyone preach the word of God with moral authority when its own scandals and abuses are so carelessly swept under the table? This is not to imply that pedo-
philia and sexual abuse are unique to the Church. Rape, violence, and abuse happen in a variety of large institutions where vulnerable people are in close contact with trusted authority figures, like schools and assisted-living homes. But the prevalence of this abuse outside the Church does not absolve the Pope of his duty to actively prevent and condemn it. Until the Church officially recognizes that no one is above the law, cases of rape will continue to eat away at the legitimacy of the institution and any claims it makes to representing Christ’s vision. In 1415, Gregory XII stepped down from the papacy to end the Western schism. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that can be done to restore the Church to order. At the very least, it would be a pretty ballin’ act of penance.
Quinn Albaugh writes in this space every week, but time is running out. To stay in touch, write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step down, Benedict XVI The Pope’s mishandling of sex abuse scandals is cause for abdication
Little bitter Riva Gold
he 1917 Code of Canon Law guarantees him the security of his office regardless of health, psychological state, or performance record. No one can impeach him or call for his resignation. Oh, and he has sovereign immunity – under canon law, he’s immune from prosecution for any crime. Talk about job security. So while firing him is next to impossible, Pope Benedict XVI should consider stepping down from the papacy if the post is to retain any legitimacy. To be sure, I do appreciate the Pope’s revival of the red cappello
romano, a highly fashionable outdoor hat with a wide brim. This hat has been neglected by unfashionable popes since the early ’60s. But there are also many things I find distasteful about Pope Benedict’s policies. His refusal to overturn the Vatican’s prohibition on condoms to combat the spread of HIV strikes me as grossly negligent. His motu proprio Summorum Pontificum allows the use of a prayer that asks God to “take the veil from [Jewish people’s] hearts” so they will convert to Catholicism, which creeps me out just a little bit. But while his hard-line conser-
vative and theological positions on divorce, Jewish people, homosexuality, and abortion don’t resonate with a lot of liberal sensibilities, this is hardly unique to Pope Benedict. It would be nonsensical to ask a leader to resign for simply carrying on the policies of his predecessors. Rather, it is Pope Benedict’s direct and increasingly public involvement in a series of church-wide sexual abuse scandals that demand his resignation. In 1979, an 11-year-old boy was drugged, stripped, and abused by his priest. Then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger simply transferred the cleric to Munich for “therapy”; he soon returned to pastoral work, where he continued to sexually assault children. As the cardinal in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop urging them not to report rape and torture, which he claimed were the exclusive jurisdiction of the
Riva Gold writes in this space every other week until next month. Write her at email@example.com.
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The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Reflections on IAW Zayaan Schock
he perennial problem with Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) seems to emanate from nomenclature: that is, the usage of the very word apartheid, with this last month’s IAW not escaping the usual criticism. The critics of IAW consistently assert that the Palestinian conflict does not correlate with that of apartheid South Africa, with many going on to say that it denigrates the South African experience and unfairly makes use of inflammatory language where none is necessary. However, as Na’eem Jeenah, a speaker at one of IAW’s events, so eloquently put it, “We black South Africans don’t mind the application of the word apartheid to Israel.” He went on to comment that in many ways, Palestinians under Israeli apartheid are in much worse shape than black South Africans were under white rule. Let me make one thing clear: the circumstances in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), especially those in Gaza, adhere to the criteria that define apartheid. In May 2009, the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRCSA) released a study stating that Israel conforms to the model of colonialism and apartheid in its dealings with Palestinians. The report demonstrates this by reminding us of the internationally accepted three-pillar classification system that regimented the South African apartheid regime and that today serves as a set of criteria for determining whether a state is an apartheid system. The apartheid South African government itself defined these three pillars (though the definitions given below are from the HSRCSA). The first pillar prescribes different rights for different races and correlates to Israel’s multitude of discriminatory laws and policies toward ethnic Palestinians. The second pillar concerns the separation of so-called racial groups into different geographical areas and is obviously manifested by “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT” while keeping the majority of Palestinians concentrated largely in these impoverished areas. The third pillar of apartheid describes the security and repression matrix of laws. It is fulfilled by “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association, and movement [to] mask a true, underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.” But apologists for Israel persist, saying, “The word apartheid is still too inflammatory for any good to come of it.” I can agree that it is hard to accept that an organization or state you support is participating in apartheid. It must, however, be acknowledged. The truth is that the enemies of IAW’s aims are not Jewish people, Israelis, or even Zionists. Opposition
to IAW comes from almost universal ambivalence, miseducation, blind nationalistic zeal, and a flawed ideology that thoroughly blurs the frontiers of religion, ethnicity, and politics. So let’s educate ourselves by starting with this: various comparisons between Palestine and South Africa have been made by many notable figures. Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, former attorney-general of Israel Michael Ben-Yair, and Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak have all referred to the system in place – or in Barak’s case, the future of the system in place – as apartheid. The government of South Africa referred to settlement-building in East Jerusalem as “reminiscent of apartheid forced removals.” John Dugard has described the situation in the West Bank as “an apartheid regime...worse than the one that existed in South Africa.” Dugard is a South African international law professor and judge ad hoc at the International Court of Justice; he made the remark while serving as special rapporteur for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Speaking as member of the IAW Montreal committee, I can honestly say that our usage of this term does not seek to alienate Israeli or Jewish students and instead should be viewed as an illumination of the Palestinian plight. I feel as though the unabashed usage of the word apartheid may have the effect of shocking the international community into action. Using “apartheid” means trying to avert the alltoo-common historical practice of looking back and wondering, “Why didn’t we act?” Jewish and Muslim people of all kinds – Arab and Israeli alike – are historically siblings. Although one might choose to oppose the Israeli government, doing so does not mean that one opposes everything Zionist or Israeli. Of course, I recognize that students here – and in fact most supporters of Israel as a concept – do not have a direct hand in the situation. However, their unbridled and misguided support has the effect of sustaining Israel’s racist politics. IAW is first and foremost a vehicle of illumination and should be understood as a learning experience. Indeed, many Jewish students have attended the events so far and have been treated as nothing more than inquiring minds, regardless of affiliation. I encourage my fellow students and community members to research for themselves the parallels between South African apartheid and Israel, as the many educated speakers during this year’s IAW attempted to do. After examining the situation, you can form your own opinions on the matter, but consider this: if Canada were an apartheid regime, if Japan were, if Egypt were (and I am strongly critical of Egypt’s leadership), it would be imperative on any socially conscious person to vehemently oppose such policies. Zayaan Schock is a U0 Arts student and a member of the IAW Montreal committee. Write him at zayaan. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Victor Tangermann / Text added by Adrian Kaats | The McGill Daily
Five consecutive PGSS vice-presidents (external) urge you to vote no. (Photo manipulated by A.K.) HYDE PARK
Real progressives say no to CFS Adrian Kaats
rom March 29 to April 1, McGill’s graduate students and postdoctoral scholars will be asked if they want to continue their membership in the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS). There are many obvious reasons to leave CFS: their policies are bad for graduates (they support taxing scholarships); they are notoriously ineffective at lobbying (they failed to do anything meaningful to stop the new tax on post-docs); their services are overpriced and scantily used by grads; they sue their own members, resulting in legal fees of thousands upon thousands of dollars; they are an autocratic, centralized bureaucracy that stymies genuine member participation; and they constantly and aggressively threaten journalists that report negatively on them. Unfortunately, the litany of CFS’s awful behaviour doesn’t seem to be enough to convince a handful of selfproclaimed “progressive” and “radical” students. Ironically, these ill-informed students, by supporting a largely corporate bureaucracy, have descended into the ranks of corporate conservatives, and they don’t even know it. In the world of activism, there is a special category of people I’ll call “slactivists.” Slactivists are the people who pontificate on Facebook about how radical and progressive they are. They rarely attend organizing meetings or rallies because getting arrested might get in the
way of their morning latte. Make no mistake, there are many ways to participate in radical organizing (and not all involve a megaphone in hand), but slactivists participate in none of them. They are a sub-class of scenesters, not fringe enough to be hipsters, not committed enough to be hippies. Slactivists wear the buttons, but don’t make them. They have been sold the “cool” of activism without any context or content. They use weasel phrases frankensteined from the legitimate talk of gender advocacy and left politics to “self-identify” as progressive, an insult to those too busy to flaunt the “image” of radicalism because they’re living it instead. But the worst part of this slactivism is that it lends itself so easily to co-optation by the corporate machine. Because the slactivists are too lazy to do research, they are easily bamboozled by slick-talking “cause salespeople” that need them to fabricate the illusion of popular support, and have the corporate cash to pay for it. Slactivists are one of the most horrific outcroppings of our material age and culture, posing a more existential threat to radical activism than the forces they fight. The slactivist erodes a movement from the inside out, creating an artificial division between “us” (slactivists) and “them” (anyone else) by adopting positions without serious thought. The machine has now made it stylish to “challenge the machine.” As my grandfather once said, “The boss doesn’t need to walk around with a sign that says ‘I’m the boss.’”
Real activists don’t need to participate in the spectacle. It is from the position of bona fide activism that a movement of hardworking, wellinformed people from coast to coast and across the political spectrum have come together to challenge the ugly beast that is CFS. CFS is an organization that is actively corporatizing and immobilizing our campuses, and doing so in a far more insidious way than Chartwells or Coca-Cola. By hiding more than $5 million in sales and merchandising from its members and masquerading as a “progressive” anti-corporate student lobby, CFS – national bastion of slactivism – has weaseled its way into our very student unions. The devil is in our kitchen. It is from the perspective of the ill-informed that the very real national anti-CFS movement is being criticized. Slactivists need to do some actual research about CFS. They can start with the hundreds of campus papers nationwide that have consistently slammed this draconian organization for its downright evil corporate tactics and general ineffectiveness. Enough is enough. Members of PGSS, vote no – only no – just no to CFS. PGSS members can cast their ballots online at ovs.pgss.mcgill.ca from March 29 to April 1. Adrian Kaats is a PhD3 Biomedical Engineering student. He’s a PGSS councillor, but the views expressed here are his own. Write Kaats at adrian.kaats@ mail.mcgill.ca.
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The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010 COMMENT
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Transnational abortion Hannah Freeman
ast Tuesday, a Liberal motion in the House of Commons to modify Stephen Harper’s maternal and child health initiative for developing nations, to be presented at June’s G8 summit, failed. Harper’s program intends “to save the lives of mothers and children” by reducing preventable deaths through improved nutrition, clean water, and health care. It is a promising move, one that should demonstrate Canada’s commitment to working toward global social justice. The Liberals wanted to make sure that “the full range of family planning, sexual, and reproductive health options” was included in the initiative. The elimination of any family planning or abortion services, however, will seriously undermine the potential effectiveness of this initiative. The Globe and Mail reported that Katherine McDonald, executive director of Action Canada for Population and Development, says that “no maternal-health policy can be effective without providing ways for women to space out pregnancies, because many childbirth deaths are caused by complications from having too many pregnancies too quickly or from unsafe abortions.” Giving women across the world the ability to control their reproductive health is an essential component of decreasing rates of death or disability caused by pregnancy and childbirth. “Of the more than 500,000 women who die [every year] during pregnancy or childbirth, 90 per cent occur in Africa and Asia,” the United Nations Population Fund reports on their web site. “The majority of women are dying from severe bleeding, infec-
tions, eclampsia, obstructed labour, and the consequences of unsafe abortions – all causes for which we have highly effective interventions.” Instead of providing preventative means of spacing out pregnancies, the Harper government has chosen to let the stigma still surrounding the many options for reproductive health limit the efficiency of Canadian aid. Helping women around the world have safe, legal abortions performed by trained professionals and with appropriate aftercare is a necessary step to reducing maternal and child mortality. A lack of access to reproductive health services also disproportionately traps children in poverty. Population Action International reports on their web site, “More than twice the proportion of the world’s children live in poverty (1 in 3) than do adults (1 in 7), in part because poor couples often lack access to family planning services and accurate information about contraception.” Pregnancies early in a woman’s life, or disability in mothers caused by untreated complications of pregnancy or childbirth, can seriously disadvantage her when it comes to receiving an education or providing for herself or her family. According to the National Post, International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda said the Conservatives rallied against the motion to explicitly include family planning and abortion because it contained “rash, extreme,
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
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anti-American rhetoric” intended, she asserted, to “reignite the abortion debate.” The motion rejected the Bush administration’s refusal to fund organizations providing contraceptives or abortion; the idea that this rhetoric is worth discarding an entire amendment with substantial benefits for women and children is both irrational and harmful. Between the global gag rule of the Bush administration; the recent decision to outlaw deliberate miscarriage or “illegal” abortion in Utah; and even the new U.S. health care reform package’s rejection of public health insurance for abortion, we should be looking to the U.S. – if only to learn how to prevent a similar erosion of reproductive rights, both domestically and abroad. Women, children, and families across the globe deserve the economic and social benefits of accessing their full range of reproductive rights. Hannah Freeman is a U3 English Literature student and The Daily’s copy editor. Write her at hannah. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Trading places on campus McGill student shadows Dean of Arts Bethany McKenna
s I was checking my email and surfing the Internet during a few spare moments at school one afternoon, an ad for McGill Trading Places 2010 popped up on the screen and caught my eye. The Student Organization of Alumni Relations (SOAR) holds this event every year. For a day, a senior member of the administration walks the halls of a faculty as an undergraduate; in return, a student shadows the administrator for a day in their work. This year, the administrator chosen was Christopher Manfredi, dean of the Faculty of Arts. As a U1 B.Mus/B.Ed (jazz saxophone) student, I knew very little about Manfredi’s faculty, so the concept intrigued me. I had not yet taken a course in the Faculty of Arts, but had been involved with the orchestra for the Arts Undergraduate Theatre Society’s productions of HAIR and Cabaret. I knew a little bit about the main
Arts Building from being around for those productions, but I had no idea what the Dean of Arts’ job involved. I put together my application immediately after seeing the web site, and was selected from the pool of applicants to trade places with Manfredi for a day. While shadowing Manfredi one Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to take part in many important meetings and to learn firsthand what the job entails. First of all, we met with the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) president Karina Gould and discussed the faculty and student life. It was satisfying to see that the dean takes a great interest in the development of student life within the faculty through AUS. There were also some upcoming AUS projects discussed in the meeting that could be very interesting to members of the Music Undergraduate Students’ Association. The rest of the morning was filled with meetings about developing alumni relations abroad through the Hong Kong DAR representative, and about budgeting for the Dean
of Arts Development Fund, which Manfredi has a significant amount of control over. I never realized how much travelling the dean’s job entails. It seems like a very busy position, but rewarding in that one does get to meet many different people, travel internationally, improve some aspects of McGill for arts students, and have an influential voice on many pressing issues that arise within the faculty. The entire experience was a great opportunity to learn about the goings-on in McGill administration that students never hear about. It was fascinating to learn about Dean of Arts position, and then to show a McGill administrator through some of the high points of an undergraduate music education at the Schulich School of Music. This article has been truncated. The full version is available online at mcgilldaily.com. Bethany McKenna is a U1 Music and Education student. Write her at email@example.com.
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Taking back fashion Filipino community organization fights oppression on the runway Madeleine Cummings The McGill Daily
n Saturday, April 3, fashion and feminism will fuse in “End the Exploitation! March for Liberation!,” a political fashion show happening in Pinoyville, Cote-des-Neiges. The show, organized by the Philippine Women Centre of Quebec (PWCQ), aims to raise awareness for the struggles faced by women in the Filipino community. Pinoyville is home to the highest concentration of Filipinos in Quebec, but the event will speak for Filipino women living across Canada. Most of these women are part of the LiveIn Caregiver Program (LCP), a government-run initiative that provides foreign women with temporary work as live-in caregivers. Some say the LCP provides many people with opportunity: employment, housing, and perhaps, eventually, Canadian citizenship. But the PWCQ believes that citizenship is a “carrot on a stick,” used to attract temporary workers to jobs most Canadians would not dream of taking. Workers in the LCP must live with their employers for 24 months of their first 36 months and receive minimum wage. The LCP also requires that its workers have successfully completed secondary school or a Canadian high school equivalent. Many women, however, have college-level education, but their credentials aren’t recognized in Canada. Because they can’t seek an education while they’re in the LCP, women are caught in a cycle of receiving little pay with little hope of leaving the program. Often, Filipino women in the LCP become their families’ primary breadwinners, and must send most of their earnings back home. Many women work for eight years before they can reunite with their families.
Consequently, it is not only the hardworking women who suffer under the LCP, but also their children, who grow up without their mothers. According to the PWCQ, the LCP “de-skills members of the community across generations, leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and forces them to live in slave-like conditions.” It is issues like these that will be incorporated into PWCQ’s fashion show. But why use fashion to address such inequalities? There are a variety of activities that lend themselves well to the feminist cause – talks, conferences, discussions, and protests all come to mind. How can a fashion show, something generally put on merely to showcase clothes, lead to liberation? “We wanted to do something different,” says Krystle Alarcon, one of the event’s organizers. Alarcon explained that the show challenges the objectification of women. Models will wear pieces that express the issues and emotions prevalent in the Filipino community. “There are dresses that speak of exploitation,” Alarcon says. One dress, blue with a long sash, engages in the theme of family separation. Blue is the overseas distance, and children hold on to the end of the sash, far from their mothers. The garments are designed by members of the community, and also incorporate materials of significant to a migrant group. There is one dress made up almost entirely of used phone cards, another that integrates transaction receipts and bills. But the event doesn’t only revolve around clothes. There will be theatre, visual
montages, narration, and live performances. Alarcon describes cardboard constructions that will serve as symbols for the hoops many Filipino women must jump through just to provide for their families. “It’s also a story,” she says of the event. It’s not one woman’s struggle, but an all-encompassing tale that represents everyone. Most of the models are young Filipino women, but there are youth who are boys, older women who have been through the LCP, and young academic types who have become aware and involved. McGill graduate student Ilyan Ferrer is responsible for outreach for the show, as well as prop and equipment preparation. “I became involved because the PWCQ always prepares creative, educational, and innovative events…. I wanted to help showcase the most prevalent issues of our community and to ultimately question whether Filipinos are able to achieve genuine settlement and integration into Canadian society,” he explained. The was originally going to be held two days before International Women’s day, but was later rescheduled. Still, the show’s organizers and participants hope to channel years of feminist history and mobility into their struggle. “We hope to basically ignite the feminist movement again,” Alarcon says. “It seems to have died since the ’70s and ’60s. We want to speak out against a policy that creates systemic racism, but we also want to create awareness in our own community.” Jillian Sudayan, who is participating in many aspects of the fashion show (including mod-
elling), became involved as a member of the PWCQ and Kabataang Montreal, a Filipino youth organization. “Being a Filipino woman myself, I have witnessed and experienced many of these issues. My understanding of these issues has helped me to look forward and empower myself as a coloured woman. Many women’s lives have been so negatively affected by demands to work overseas to help the economic crisis in the Philippines, whether it be working as domestic workers, being mail-order brides, et cetera. The reputation of Filipinas affects not just those who are experiencing these issues first-hand, but it branches out to even those women who were not born in the Philippines, like myself,” Sudayan said. The show is sure to remind us that while some women are freed from domestic work in Canadian society, others continue to be imprisoned and exploited every day.
“End the Exploitation! March for Liberation!” will take place at Studio LEVIER (4525 St. Jacques) on April 3.
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
When humour turns black Jokes in the classroom can get in the way of learning
Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
Gavin Thomson The McGill Daily
he worst professor I’ve ever had was a very funny man. He would have been likeable if it weren’t for the fact that he was supposed to teach political science. There are times and places for jokes, but a lecture isn’t always one of them. This professor was particularly fond of making jokes about George W. Bush. In a first-year lecture filled with impressionable young students, a joke is the perfect way to enhance biases. “George W. Bush is an idiot,” says the professor. “I knew it!” say a number of U0 students. “I was right all along!” Starting thus, it’s hard to do the very thing that is essential to learning: learning the other side of things. What? Lighten up! Humour enlivens, challenges, gives energy to otherwise boring material. Yes, it does. But a funny professor is not always better than a boring one. It depends on the context. In the political science class the professor’s humour was dismissive.
Saying “George W. Bush is an idiot” does not explain his actions or even provide a broad overview of them; it dismisses them under the label of “stupidity” and moves on. There is a Peanuts comic in which Lucy and Charlie are sitting on a couch. “I have three new philosophies,” Lucy says. “What difference does it make? Who cares? Life goes on,” she continues, smiling. “Profound, huh?” “Maybe a little too profound,” Charlie says. “What difference does it make?” Lucy says in response. “Who cares? Life goes on.” Dismissing something and moving on is antithetical to pedagogy. All the best teachers I’ve had promoted understanding all sides of an issue. But when a professor ignores this by glossing over an issue with a laugh, it’s often overlooked. The case is worse when the joke is meant to be ironic. That is, when the joke says one thing, but implies the opposite. When a professor says “Every great thinker has been a man” as a joke, the humour arises in the incongruity between what the joke says and what is actually the case. The joke has the potential to be funny, so long as the peo-
ple laughing do so because they recognize the incongruity between the joke and the truth. Clearly, however, these kind of statements can be detrimental to learning if the students don’t catch the irony. They can cause the person laughing to dismiss the significance of the claim or agree with it. It is not merely a shame that jokes can do this; in different pedagogical contexts which deal with more serious issues, this kind of humour is dangerous. I recently attended a voluntary lecture on feminism where the four professors made jokes about issues of sexuality. The jokes were made ironically and most of the audience caught on. But some did not. One presenter said that the distinction between how women and men are generally perceived is that the former are “something to fuck.” Everyone laughed, but not for the same reason. An ironic laugh sounds different from an unironic laugh, and I heard blurts of the latter. Perhaps someone who laughed without irony went home and repeated what the professor said to their friends. Maybe they had a good chuckle. How funny
that is! Women are something to fuck! And a feminist professor actually said that? Really? That’s hilarious! “In me it is made very plain / That parables are told in vain / To those who have but little brain,” said an unknown 18th-century didactic poet. There is a certain kind of elitism involved in pedagogical humour. “Women are something to fuck” would have been an okay joke to make so long as everyone understood the speaker didn’t believe it. But some people didn’t. They laughed for a different reason, namely, because they agreed. Racist jokes are racist to a racist. Those that did not perceive the gap between that the joke and the truth – that is to say, those that did not understand the joke was intended to be satirical – laughed because they thought women are actually “something to fuck.” They went to a lecture on feminism only to have their misogynistic views reenforced, just as many U0 students attended a lecture on politics just to have their old biases reenforced. Consequently, the same beneficial effect that humour can have on learning strength-
ened their misogynistic views; that joke gave energy to the view that “women are something to fuck.” Laughing gave it life. The word “elite” has connotations of exclusivity. But, to be sure, seeing satire as satire requires some degree of social awareness. Some regard South Park as making fun of, well, everything, and some take its irreverance literally. “Cartman is racist and homophobic and antiSemitic,” people in the latter category say, “so it’s okay for me to be like that too!” I am not arguing for elitist classrooms; I am arguing that professors should be aware that not everyone sees irony as such, so if a satirical joke has the potential to warp a major issue, it probably will. Of course this issue cannot be dichotomized so starkly, but that just emphasizes the degree to which humour is ambiguous in pedagogical contexts. The professor said “Women are something to fuck” in hope of satirizing a misogynistic view of women. But the sad truth is that it perpetuated the one-sided view of many audience members, who didn’t catch the satire.
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
The new zoo review Recently released anthology examines everyone’s favourite place through a literary lens Sheehan Moore The McGill Daily
or many students of the humanities, immersion into the world of academia means disenchantment and the systematic tearing-apart of everything they cherished as children: favourite authors become misogynistic racists, favourite TV shows become half-hour commercials for Pez and Hawaiian Punch, and – worst of all! – you have a crush on your mom that you’ll never get rid of. Held against these, Penned: Zoo Poems, a new anthology from Montreal-based Signal Editions, goes relatively easy on its readers as it looks at the zoo – that last vestige of childhood wonderment – through a dozen different lenses. “This is first a book of good poetry,” explain editors Stephanie Bolster, Katia Grubisic, and Simon Reader in their introduction. Penned isn’t out to ruin zoos. Nor does it aim to celebrate their novelty, praise their beauty, condemn them as depraved, or shove them under the boot of critical theory. It’s a testament to the trio’s editorial acumen, then, that the anthology achieves all of these things while skirting any explicit scholarly agenda. There are almost 100 poems in Penned, with new and emerging talents from Canada and beyond sandwiched between giants like Dickinson, Hughes, Plath, and
Cummings. All of the poems were written after 1828 (the year Regent’s Park in London opened its first zoological garden), with the bulk coming from the 20th century. Why just poetry, and no prose? “Poetry interrogates looking,” the introduction goes on to say. “[It] tugs at the bars, pries open the cage in infinite ways.” Poems, by their very nature, invite interpretation – demand it, even – and are nuanced and veiled in ways that even the most experimental prose will never be. And just as there’s no right way to look at a poem, there’s no right way to look at the zoo: it is simultaneously a reminder of the colonial past, a monument to anthropocentrism, and, for wide-eyed eight-yearolds all over the world, the only opportunity to ever see a real, live elephant. Joanie Mackowki’s poem “The Zoo” opens the anthology. “At the zoo, essence and ornament / meet,” she writes. Her lines are ripe with the awe every zoo-goer knows well, at “the strength it wields to be so self-contained.” But it also introduces a theme echoed to some extent on almost every page of Penned: zoos are, first and foremost, a place where nature is framed and hung on the wall, and three billion years of evolution are reduced to performance art. Some of the poets in Penned delight in this art. Irving Layton catalogues the plants
and animals at the zoo, declaring, “they speak to me of joyous impermanency / and of the ArtistGod who shapes and plays with them.” The majority, though, take a less idealistic tone. Marianne Boruch asks readers to “consider the metal bars. To keep / such wonders in, to keep us – small wonders – out,” and calls zoos “the saddest of worlds.” Jean Garrigue examines the patchwork of the zoo, a “false country... / Where Africa is well represented / By Australia.” At the zoo, a lion, a giraffe, and a gazelle may stand in for the entire savannah, and a glimpse of a single lazy crocodile is enough to convince us we’ve conquered the Amazon. Penned is refreshing for its ability to find middle-ground. It is broad enough in its scope to include the less-than-cheerful voice of Charles Bukowski alongside A.A. Milne’s light-hearted lines; it is discriminating enough to avoid that old anthology trap wherein every poem vaguely animal-related is thrown into a pile and sent to the presses. If anything, Penned is accessible, and the editors’ good-natured tone keeps us from getting too bogged down in the seriousness of the questions raised in its pages. They remind us, borrowing from the poet Lisa Jarnot, that “although there is much to question, to mourn, to fear, and to deplore in zoos, we love things shaped like tigers, and we love the zoo.” Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
Acadian alliteration Harry Thurston’s Animals of My Own Kind is a poetic journey into the Nova Scotian countryside Hillary Amann The McGill Daily
ith the onset of spring, the average person embarks on a rediscovery of nature, as temperatures rise and the snow disappears. It’s also a good season for discovering the poetry of Nova Scotian Harry Thurston. Thurston has for a long time been considered one of Canada’s best nature poets. Animals of My Own Kind, a 2009 collection of Thurston’s poetry, gathers almost 30 years of his work, with poems dating from 1980 through to brand new material. In its structure and tone, Thurston’s nature poetry differs
greatly from British and American Romantic traditions, embodying distinctly modern and Canadian ideals. Thurston’s affinity for his native landscape is characterized by loving renditions of the green fields, hills, rocks, and seascapes of rural Acadia. Thurston’s portrayal of nature is not so much idyllic as it is raw and moving – qualities that are also found in his poetics. Thurston’s biology degree from the University of Acadia gives him the unbiased perspective of someone who not only understands the human world around him, but also its scientific realities. This unique perspective informs the peculiarities of Thurston’s poetry, which communicates in vivid, unsentimental language the landscape, people, and
animals that inhabit his home. “The Marsh Suite”, a collection of eight short poems in Animals, each exploring a distinctive feature of the Acadian landscape – from its tidal pools to a wood duck – is particularly representative of his relationship to nature. Thurston’s poetry about the present wonders of his home carries with it a certain longing for a mythicized regional past. “A Ship Portrait,” another highlight of the collection, is a novella-in-verse of an imagined conversation between the long-deceased Maritime painter John O’Brien and a contemporary Maritimer. This exploration captures the poet’s fascination with his regional culture and its icons, building a bridge between the past and the present.
In “Atlantic Elegy,” Thurston muses that “perhaps only a poet could love the Atlantic’s sombre palette.” As an Albertan who has only ever seen the Atlantic out of the window of a plane, I can neither agree nor disagree. But I do remember, before coming to Montreal, what it was like to live closer to nature. Thurston has a way of capturing his environment with a matter-of-fact sensibility that speaks out of understanding on an intellectual level, as well as immense pathos for the natural world. In a landscape that is often hostile and unforgiving, Thurston seems to find life and beauty where others might have only found emptiness. There are no divisions between man and
nature in Thurston’s poetry, only a symbiotic and occasionally tragic unity. For an urban reader, Animals of My Own Kind is a window into some of Canada’s finest natural wonders. In a city where the largest swathe of green surrounds a hill onto which humankind has proudly planted its cross, it’s easy to forget the subtle cruelty or overpowering peace of a distant nature. Through his whirlwind tour of Nova Scotia’s cultural and natural landscape, Thurston lets the reader rediscover (or discover) the region, as well as nature in general, reminding us that perhaps the most precious thing about nature is that it is not and cannot be ours.
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Is this contemporary relevance I see before me? Alternative theatre company does Macbeth in Haitian Creole
he Other Theatre is a non-profit alternative theatre organization in Montreal. From April 7 to 28 at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, the company will present Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Set in modern-day Haiti and performed in French and Creole, this is an original adaptation that re-imagines Macbeth’s protagonist as a power-seeking soldier. The Daily talked to artistic director Stacey Christodoulou about the genius of Shakespeare, magic, and weird timing. The McGill Daily: What inspired you to set Macbeth in modern-day Haiti? Stacey Christodoulou: About two years ago, Bryna Wasserman – who’s the artistic director for the Segal Centre – asked me to do a classical piece for a studio that they were going to inaugurate. I’ve always wanted to do a classical piece, and my favourite play is Macbeth. Years before, I had done research on Orson Welles and I knew that he had done a production of Macbeth set in Haiti, in the ’30s. I did research on the Internet and I fell upon this newsreel of this show that was done in 1935…. I thought the idea, even though his production was a bit overblown, still has some merit to it because there’s a huge Haitian population here in Montreal. MD: How has the plot been altered to fit with its Haitian setting? SC: Well the thing is, the main parts of the plot have not been altered. What we did is we took out all these huge court scenes and political scenes and we just stuck to the action. But people double their roles – for example, everybody who is killed has a counterpart in the magical world. The idea of this constant transformation between the living and the dead is something that we wanted to emphasize. MD: The play started to take shape in March of 2008. Did the recent earthquake influence the play in any way? SC: Well, apart from making everybody feel really sad…no. The play had already been slated a year ago to be performed at this time.
The timing is kind of weird. Another time I did a play about lying and terrorism and it opened on September 11. What it has done is [create an interest] in Haiti and its culture. MD: Can you elaborate a little on the role of magic in the play? SC: The constant tension in the play is how much of this whole story is preordained and how much is free will. This is a question we face as a contemporary audience. [Magic is] still present in the Haitian culture…so certainly by putting it in this context, it’s not so strange, because you know it is actually a vital and living part of that culture. But in the play, the role of magic is tied with nature. And Macbeth, trying to fulfill his destiny, is kind of going against the natural order of things. MD: How does this play reflect the Other Theatre’s guiding principles? SC: Our company has always been very interested in how the political and personal kind of merge together in our world, and how conservative movements in politics are reflected in conservative movements in daily interaction. I mean it’s no coincidence that the new age movement was gaining a lot of popularity when there was a huge push toward capitalism because rich people really needed a “religion” to make them feel good about having so much money and not sharing it. And this play fits in with that. MD: What do you hope audience members come away with after watching the show? SC: The thing about this production is it’s very dynamic. It’s very visual. The characters are always transforming, and the set is beautiful. We ask really profound questions about what it means to be a human being. And I don’t believe in boring the audience! —compiled by Madeleine Cummings The Other Theatre’s Macbeth runs from April 7-28 at the Segal Centre (5170 Côte Ste-Catherine). For more information visit segalcentre.org
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
CREATIVE WRITING PRIZES AND AWARDS The MONA ADILMAN PRIZE IN POETRY, estimated value $700--or estimated value $350 for two students, is open to undergraduate or graduate students registered in the Faculty of Arts for the best poem or group of poems relating to ecological or environmental concerns. The CLARK LEWIS MEMORIAL PRIZE, estimated value $450, is open to major or honours students in the Department of English. The prize is awarded annually or from time to time for original plays staged in the course of the academic year. The CHESTER MACNAGHTEN PRIZES IN CREATIVE WRITING (two prizes, one of estimated value $700 and another of estimated value $400) are open to undergraduate students of the University for the best piece of creative writing in English, i.e. a story, a play, a poem, an essay, etc. Printed compositions are ineligible if they have been published before April 15, 2010. The PETERSON MEMORIAL PRIZE, estimated value $2,000, is open to undergraduate or graduate students registered in a degree program in the Department of English with distinction in English Literature (CGPA 3.30 or above) who has also shown creative literary ability. The LIONEL SHAPIRO AWARDS FOR CREATIVE WRITING, three prizes of estimated value $1,500 each, to be distributed if possible among the genres of poetry, fiction, screen writing and playwrighting. Each prize is to be awarded on the recommendation of the Department of English to students in the final year of the B.A. course who have demonstrated outstanding talent. (A note from your academic adviser verifying you will have completed your program requirements and the minimum credits required by the Faculty of Arts MUST accompany your submission. These competitions are restricted to students who have not previously won the First Prize. Forms to be completed are available in the Department of English General Office, Arts 155. Submissions must be IN TRIPLICATE. DEADLINE: Thursday, April 15, 2010.
First Last / The McGill Daily
Courtesy of The Other Theatre
The Other Theatre’s production moves Macbeth to modern-day Haiti.
The. Last. Culture. Meeting. Ever*. Tuesday 5:30 B-24! *(for the semester)
All culture all the time: mcgilldaily.com
The McGill Daily, Monday, March 29, 2010
Lies, half-truths, and shit around campus
Police rescue McGill from campus-bound bikes Admin calls in for help against clean-riding peace-mobiles
Concept: Sam Neylon / Illustration: Sally Lin | The McGill Daily
Blalaxendra Air | The McGill Daily
Harriet Rocco The McGill Daily
ears of March turning a little too nice and sunny prompted the University to call in about a dozen police vans to campus to dissuade folks from taking to their bikes before the expected active transport season. “We only budget the extra security personnel to be stationed at Milton and Roddick gates for April
“I can ride a bike too, my parents taught me how. Well, that’s what my aunt tells me anyway. Dadda? Momma? You readin’ this? If you are, I just want to sa–,” added U4 Physics student O’Ria McRean. “Wow, that was rude of you to cut me off, especially during that emotional plea. Anyway whatever. Here’s a question for your filthy rag: why does every physics student who enters the McGill public eye cause such a mess of the SSMU electoral process? Answer me that!” Forty-two.
until the end of September,” said one McGill admin. “You know the ones – they flap their arms wildly while trying to enforce a poorly understood policy on who is allowed to go through campus and on how many wheels?” But some are calling the police’s response a little over the top. “Listen man I was just trying to ride my fixed gear through campus and this cop totally stopped me – ahhahaaa okay talk to you later man take care,” said Bott Scaker, U5 Arts.
The Rite of Spring 2
This past Wednesday I was walking past Lower Field and my jaw actually, physically, dropped. The first day that people have been able to sit down and relax on the grass, and it gets TRASHED. Beer bottles, coffee cups, empty pizza boxes, cigarette butts everywhere. YOU GUYS ARE PIGS!! Learn to fucking pick up after yourself!! Do you have no sense of consideration?? Accountability?!? Cleanliness??!!? I am so disgusted in a student body that I believed respected their environment and their peers. You should be ashamed of yourselves – I certainly am.
Fuck homophobia (again) Fuck people who think that there can be something like “too gay.” Fuck people who want The Daily to get less gay or get lost. Fuck people who think decorum dictates a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Fuck the idea that talking about queer people getting killed is boring and should be replaced by pub guides. If you’re not interested in human beings dying, go fuck yourself. Fuck This! is a therapeutic anonymous rant column. Send your 200word-or-less philippic every week to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity guaranteed, but nothing hateful – just frustrated!
The Crossword Bunnies 1
Clean the fuck up after yourselves, God fucking damn it!
1. Muffin flavour 5. Goes on 10. Wind in the Willows character 14. The ___ Ranger 15. Boredom 16. Muslim holy man 17. ___ von Bismarck 18. In need of yoga 19. All there 20. What you need to use Google in Shanghai? 23. Three days later, he ____ from the dead. 24. Prickly plant 25. Clan textile 28. Every one has its thorn 30. Moby Dick setting 31. Ineffective vessel 33. Can be found in a jungle or around a drag queen’s neck 36. Tango or waltz, e.g. 40. 007, for one 41. Closest living relative to the whale 42. “What’s gotten ___ you?” 43. Pierre’s son 44. Street meat 46. ___ Jane 49. Central yoga concept 51. Good indicator of compatibility 57. ___-bodied 58. Clear, as a disk 59. Halftime lead, e.g.
60. Soap-making substances 61. Kind of rug 62. For___; Desolate 63. ___ Park of Solin Hall fame 64. Expels 65. Bed board
31. Absorbs, with “up” 32. Babysitter’s handful 33. Fasten 34. “I’m ___ you!” 35. All excited 37. ___plasty 38. Black gold 39. Fortresses 43. Most sharp 44. Eye colours 45. Beatles homewrecker 46. Church song 47. OPEC land 48. Lace tip 49. Period 50. Further shorten, maybe 52. Come clean, with “up” 53. Acid excursion 54. “American ___” 55. City on the Yamuna River 56. Copper
1. Alliance 2. Van Halen singer 3. ___disestablishmentarianism 4. Fresh out of the oven 5. “I’m gonna learn you a ___” 6. Chips in 7. Sharpshoot 8. Sedimentary rock 9. Go through 10. Pierre’s sadness 11. Muscat Solution to “Crossword-in-the-world” resident 12. Medieval weapon 13. Arab leader, alt. sp. 21. Victorian, for one 22. A Doll’s House playwright 25. Checks 26. “By yesterday!” 27. Count (on) 28. Make over 29. Egg cells
Published on Jan 7, 2011
Published on Jan 7, 2011
Every day we hustlin’ The SSMU is currently accepting applications for the Awards of Distinction! AVOID BRAIN FREEZE AVOID BRAIN FREEZE AVOI...