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STUDENTS… COURSE EVALUATIONS MAKE A DIFFERENCE! AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL DECEMBER 3RD INCLUSIVE! One purpose of course evaluation at McGill is to provide students with a voice regarding the quality of their learning experiences. Student feedback helps instructors improve future course offerings and is an important part of tenure and promotion decisions.

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6

News

The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

WHAT’S THE HAPS

Montreal cuts bikes off trees City cracking down on illegally parked bikes in Plateau-Mont Royal borough Jeff Bishku-Aykul The McGill Daily

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he Plateau-Mont-Royal borough is cracking down on bikes locked to trees, a protocol in line with a legislation in effect since 1999. Genevieve Fabio, spokesperson of Plateau-Mont-Royal, explained that it is illegal to lock bicycles around trees because the force exerted by the bike on the plant is potentially harmful. “If its a tree, it’s alive,” Fabio said. “If you do something bad with your lock you ruin the trees. That’s why we have the rule and that’s why we enforce it.” According to Le Journal de Montréal, the first major crackdown occurred in August when 15 bikes were confiscated. Ten more were seized in the last week of October. The rule may apply anytime an inspector spots an offense, according to Fabio, and the rule applies everywhere in the borough. As of yet, bikes have only been reported confiscated from Mont-Royal and Parc avenues.

Fabio was unsure whether there was a fine, but said confiscated bicycles can be reclaimed at the pound. According to McGill Bogdan Smarandache, U1 history, who repaired bikes over the summer at the Cycle Pop bike and repair shop on Rachel, the municipal legislation on locking bikes to trees is typical of the city’s negligence toward bicyclists. “I do think it’s part of a bigger picture,” he said. “I think the reason that a lot of people are locking their bikes to trees is because there aren’t enough bike racks, or proper designs for bike racks.” The city recognized the lack of parking spaces for bikes, and pledged to convert 10,000 parking metres into bike racks in the coming years. Whenever the city expands or creates new bike paths, additional spaces to lock bikes must be installed. Another bicyclist in the Plateau, Harrison Wood, a second year McGill student who bikes in the Plateau area, said he felt enforcing the rule was unnecessary.

The McGill Daily

I

t was after midnight when SSMU Council came to their 18- 5 vote against calling for Dick Pound’s resignation as McGill Chancellor due to his August statement referring to Canada 400 years ago being “un pays de sauvages.” “We can either tolerate it one more time and give this guy the benefit of the doubt, or we can take a stand,” said Arts Representative Stas Moroz, who favoured Pound’s resignation. Yet while some councillors focused on whether his comments were “racist,” many centred on asking for an apology, as Pound is recognized as having supported aboriginal rights and being in line with student opinion against the administration. “To kick someone off the administration who has been so great to us is a little overly dramatic,” said Alexandra Brown, a Clubs and Services Representative. “He’s on our side; he’s been on our side.” Marie-Dominique Giguère, the Social Work representative, noted that aboriginal justice isn’t contingent on punishment. “In the aboriginal community, justice is restorative,” Giguère said, explaining how those who commit wrongs go before the community and the victims to discuss their actions, ask for forgiveness, and be readmitted into the community. Councillors

mentioned how Pound has been more than willing to sit down with students and talk about what he said, as he did the afternoon of Council with the students organizing the call for his resignation. Because the motion was only about calling for Pound’s resignation, it could not be amended to ask for an apology, or for Pound to meet with Council. After the vote was announced, some councillors tried to amend the agenda to immediately discuss what other measures could be taken, but they did not get the two-thirds majority required. Council did, however, overwhelmingly approve talking about it at their next meeting, on November 27. A last-minute alteration of the fall referendum questions – which opened Friday morning – was passed in order to strike an administrative charge ancillary fee increase from the ballot. The question, crafted by the administration after several redrafts, asked for a $5.25 yearly fee increase instead of the intended $5.25 per-semester increase. They sent a last minute update two hours before Council asking to double the fee increase – but SSMU could not change the question because doing so, so close to the opening of polls, would have violated their bylaws. SSMU VP University Affairs Nadya Wilkinson requested Council strike the question entirely. “The question would be lying to students because it promises

U.S. financial crisis panel Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 p.m. Room W-215, Arts Building Professors Velk and Handa discuss factors contributing to the financial crisis with plenty of time for questions. Complimentary snacks and refreshments for all. Women Without Borders panel Wednesday, November 19, 4:30 p.m. Room 232, Leacock Building Three panelists from McGill Mental Health Services, McGill, and UdeM merge medical knowledge with social experiences. No cost.

Dominic Popowich / The McGill Daily

If you left your biked locked to a tree today, it might be confiscated. “I’ve locked my bike to a lot of trees,” Wood said. “Trees can take a lot, and it seems like the most of the ways that you could find to lock your tree to a bike couldn’t hurt it a lot. From that perspective it seems like a

petty measure.” While Fabio asserted that the rule is publicized and that inspectors are not required to post notices when a bike is confiscated, both student bicyclists were unaware of the rule.

Referendum period opens one question short Nicholas Smith

Cinema Politica - Radiant City Tuesday, November 18, 8 p.m. Room 101, 3475 Peel McGill’s Cinema Politica screens the film Radiant City, which examines modern suburbia and sprawl. Free.

things they won’t be able to do with the money they asked for,” said Wilkison. Councillors then brainstormed ways they could pose the question without violating their rules, even considering suspending their bylaws, which requires a two-thirds majority of Council. Although no one mentioned or seemed to notice that changing the wording of a question or adding a new one would also violate section 26.2 of their constitution – which neither Council nor the Executive can suspend for any reason – Council eventually agreed they should not bend their rules for the administration’s error, especially considering the administration would be unlikely to return the favour. “If they didn’t feel these questions were important enough to bother proofreading, I don’t think we should be suspending our by-laws for them,” said Wilkinson. While President Kay Turner said Council could always call another referendum period later this fall – which happened last year when SSMU and the Sexual Assault Centre of McGill Students’ Society forgot to put up the latter’s expiring fee levy for reapproval – councillors seemed unwilling to fund the extra expense. The earliest that voting for another referendum could have started was December 4, two days after the last day of classes, and it would have continued into the exam period. McGill may decide to levy their

increases anyway – it is allowed to raise ancillary fees by $15 a year without student approval, something they requested to show their good faith, according to Turner and Wilkinson – or it may propose the increases during an exceptional referendum period that Council can approve with a two-thirds majority, likely to run concurrently with the Winter referendum period. Two other ancillary fee increase requests – on the Student Services Fees and the application fees for prospective students – will remain on the ballot. Council voted to approve two remaining General Assembly questions – supporting the Association of McGill Undergraduate Student Employees and a motion on transparency in military researching – as well as another motion supporting indexing financial aid to the cost of living and tuition increases, and one on SSMU’s constitutional obligations to bilingualism. Former SSMU Environment Commissioner Trevor Chow-Fraser also presented the environmental assessment of SSMU’s building and its operations that he co-wrote with fellow commissioner Derina Man. Council also voted for Haven Books, which has already hit 85 per cent of its projected sales for this year, to continue its operations until its lease expires in February 2011. It is unlikely to break even, but keeping it open will likely be cheaper than closing it and paying the fixed costs until the lease expires.

Monitoring Human Rights in Serbia Panel Wednesday, November 19, 12:30 p.m. Room 204, New Chancellor Day Hall, The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and Human Rights Working Group present two young lawyers from Belgrade to discuss their human rights monitoring experience. Free. AMUSE Beer and Pizza Thursday, November 20, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Gerts Bar, Shatner Building, 3480 McTavish Undergraduates who work at McGill are welcome to come out and chat with student labour union organizers. Free for workers. Red Herring comedy concert Thursday, November 20, 9 p.m. Barfly, 4062 St. Laurent McGill’s only comedy rag showcases three talented acts to fund their next publication. Avoid your boring existence. It’s $6 at the door. Protecting rights in Israel Friday, November 21, 11 a.m. Room 16, Old Chancellor Day Hall, 3644 Peel Street Tel Aviv University professor Neta Ziv speaks on protecting economic and social rights from the grassroots to the Supreme Court, and the development of human rights practice and law in Israel. Free. Got Soul? A Cappella Concert Friday, November 21, Doors 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Gerts Bar, Shatner Building, 3480 McTavish Soulstice a Cappella and the Potsdam Pitches from SUNY Potsdam present an evening of song. Tickets are $5 at the door. Do you have an upcoming non-profit event you want to see advertised here? Send it with “Haps” as the subject to news@mcgilldaily.com.


Like painting, only faster

Quebec: Stay or Leave

photos@mcgilldaily.com Mondays at 5:30 in The Daily office B24 Shatner building

With the permission of the McGill University administration, a reporter from The Gazette will be visiting the campus Nov. 17-19 to ask students if they plan to stay in Quebec and build a career here after graduation. The reporter will be sitting at a booth bearing a Gazette logo on Monday Nov. 17 in the McConnell Engineering Building, Nov. 18 in the Leacock Building and Nov. 19 in the William Shatner University Centre.

University of Ottawa

Student participation is strictly voluntary. While students of all mother tongues are welcome to participate, anglophone students are of particular interest to us, given the latest census data involving Quebec. These data show that for the first time in 35 years, the English-speaking community of Quebec is experiencing population growth. One of the reasons: far fewer young anglophones are leaving Quebec now than was the case in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. From 2001-2006, the Englishspeaking community of Quebec (i.e., those speaking primarily English in the home) grew by 5.5 per cent.

Master’s in public and international afairs

It starts here.

This suggests the so-called anglo exodus is over. But is it? We want to ask students what they plan to do after graduation. Is your French good enough to stay? Will you go wherever economic opportunity brings you? Would you miss Montreal? Come and tell us your story between 11 am and 5 pm. For more information, phone David Johnston at 514-987-2488 or 514-214-7194, or via email at djohnston@thegazette.canwest.com

stay on track!

The Graduate School of Public and International Afairs is one of a kind: t"OJOOPWBUJWFQSPHSBNXIFSFDMBTTFTBSFPòFSFEJOCPUIPóDJBM MBOHVBHFToUIFDIPJDFJTZPVST t)JHIRVBMJUZUFBDIJOHCZXPSMEDMBTTTDIPMBSTBOE4FOJPS'FMMPXT CSJOHJOHFYDFQUJPOBMFYQFSJFODF t"OJEFBMQMBDFUPQSFQBSFGPSBDBSFFSJOQVCMJDBOEJOUFSOBUJPOBMBòBJST t(FOFSPVTÜOBODJBMTVQQPSUUIBUDPWFSTUVJUJPOGFFT

Get your International Student Identity Card (ISIC) from Voyages Campus or select student union offices BEFORE going to the train station in order to access VIA Rail’s student rates, as the ISIC is no longer issued at VIA Rail stations.

For information on programs and admission:

www.socialsciences.uOttawa.ca/api 613-562-5689

check your expiry! The 2008 ISIC expires when the New Year rings in, so remember to renew your card before heading home for the holidays.

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The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

A dark chapter, revisited Two weeks ago, a member of Antifa Montreal – a branch of an international anti-fascist movement – was attacked by a group of neo-Nazis after leaving an anti-racism bloc party. For many Montrealers, this recalls similar events from an era of an economic slump in Montreal during the late 1980s and mid 1990s when factories closed and some disempowered workers turned to extremist groups – on both the left and right – as a way to channel their frustration. Antifa, though, says neo-Nazis are still a problem in East Montreal. “When Antifa formed three years ago, it was because of a [neo-Nazi] presence in the neighbourhood. People were being intimidated in bars; there were reports of black people being assaulted in the metro. Last year, community space was attacked two nights in a row and had their windows broken,” said John, a member of Antifa. While Antifa is currently working against the remaining presence of neo-Nazis in East Montreal, John said the heavy lifting was done several years ago by Red and Anarchist Skinheads (RASH). He pointed out that many skinheads are not in fact racist, and resent their association with neo-Nazis. The Quebec City branch of RASH was quick to point out, though, that the interactions between nonracist skinheads and their racist counterparts is far more complicated then people assume. “Journalists tend to present us as the left-side counterpart of the neo-Nazis boneheads. They tend to have a rather thin treatment of the subject, just insisting on the spectacular angle of the matter, forgetting the complex political side,” wrote Alex, a member of RASH, in an email. Their interactions are also not necessarily peaceful in other cities, according to an article in The Mirror, though Antifa Montreal focuses exclusively on nonviolent tactics like graffiti. – Photos and text by Erin Hale

Photo Essay

9


Université d’Ottawa

University of Ottawa

Medicine is always evolving. Current thinking tells us we can prevent many illnesses through diet, exercise, stress reduction or other lifestyle choices. Is this changing the way health care professionals treat their patients?

seektoknow.ca

FYCC and referendum questions! Regular polls: November 18th to 20th Results will be announced at Gerts’ on November 20th at 5:00 pm Polling stations: McConnell — November 18 th Burnside — November 19 th Leacock — November 20 th

Vote! www.vote.electionsmcgill.ca


12 Features

Small world

Kian Slobodin remembers her upbringing on rural Denman Island, and worries about the future of such tiny, eclectic communities

Photos by Kian Slobodin and Courtesy of the Walkley-Slobodin family

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s a child, I was mystified by Wonderbread. Growing up on Denman Island, B.C., I was weaned exclusively on my father’s crumbly, homemade brown bread. Through the television at my grandmother’s house in Vancouver, I glimpsed an alternative reality: a fascinating world in which children drank soda pop and ate white bread and were so, so clean. As I flip through family photographs, I am amused by images of my sister and me – smiling, tangle-headed flower children. I once asked my mother, “Didn’t you ever brush our hair or wash our faces?” “We just let you be,” my mother replied. This was a sentiment echoed by most of my friends’ parents at the time. Within the Denman counterculture, some brought the ethos of laidback childrearing to a whole new level. Some of my friends’ parents were so nonchalant that they rarely answered the telephone. In con-

trast to this, my parents were considered relatively straight – even conservative. They didn’t grow weed in the backyard, and they hadn’t named me or my siblings after river systems or tree varieties. Still, I am grateful for the small eccentricities of my childhood, and for the quirky, alternative bubble within which we lived. Denman Island is one of many small Gulf Islands scattered between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. It is home to approximately 1,000 full-time residents. There are no police, stop-lights, or chain franchises; instead, the island is filled with artists, hippies, and old people. It was against this eclectic backdrop that my friends, siblings, and I were raised. We attended a four classroom elementary school, and referred to our teachers, janitor, and secretary by their first names. After elementary school, we had to choose

between homeschooling and a daily commute via ferry to Vancouver Island. Town kids sometimes asked us if we were bored, deprived as we were of video arcades and shopping malls. I recall my childhood as far from boring; it was vibrant, messy, and full. In truth, we received a large part of our education through interaction with the natural environment. My sister and I waded through the marshes, forests, and fields that surrounded our house. We helped with the haying and the gardening. I recall watching a trembling calf emerge from its mother’s slippery, red placenta. On the beaches, we dug for clams and gooey-ducks, and hunted purple sea-shells, shards of beach glass, and smooth, white stones. We flipped over barnacle-encrusted rocks to reveal scuttling masses of glistening black crabs. If you held a crab carefully, with a finger and thumb on its lower back and stomach, it couldn’t pinch you. In the summer, we swam in an ocean that was about as warm as glacial meltwater.


The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

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t the General Store, we side-stepped sweating, sunburned tourists while we lined up to pay for popsicles and five-cent candies. Mike, the store owner, hit small children on the head with the stack of brown paper bags that he kept next to the cash register. Every so often, we were allowed to hit him back. Old men sat in the café at the back of the store, drinking black coffee, gossiping, and killing time. In such a small community, local figures have the capacity to become legends. With the aid of a walker, Dora Drinkwater of the Dora Drinkwater Library trekked from the little yellow house on the corner to the General Store every day. When she died, the community restored the little yellow house and converted it into an arts centre in her honour. Similarly, people become known according to their professions or other distinguishing features. Among Denman’s cast of characters were Bill from the Bakery, Peter the Volunteer Fire Marshall, and Doreen the Doctor. One man who worked for some time at the café was known simply as Café Pete, and could be found under this listing in the local telephone book.

I

t’s hard to write about the spirit and activities of any community without resorting to generalizations; it’s even more difficult not

to romanticize. Denman was, and is, plagued by the same ills which beset any community: alcoholism, drug abuse, and alienation. As a child, if you did not get along with the ten to 12 other individuals in your peer group, you literally had nowhere else to turn. Despite this, Denman provided a soft place to fall for the many individuals who might have a hard time fitting into mainstream society. As unlikely and clichéd as it may sound, the Denman community embraced diversity in the truest sense of the word. The message that was imparted to me by the adults who surrounded me in my youth was that people were first and foremost people. A drunk was not merely a drunk – he was a member of our community and an individual with feelings and needs, even as he wobbled unsteadily along Denman Road at nine on a Sunday morning. Growing up within such a community broadened my understanding of “normal.” I was not expected to view a woman with multiple cheek piercings and facial tattoos as any more significant or interesting than my kindergarten teacher.

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he gap between my idealized memories of Denman Island and its actual reality grows larger with time. Like many who have grown up and left home, I expect the people and places I love to remain fixed in time dur-

ing my absence from them. When I return to the island to visit my family, I often feel like an outsider. “When did that get torn down?” I’ll demand. “Who said they could put that there?” Whether I am there to witness it or not, the offbeat community of my childhood has evolved with the passage of time. With the rising cost of gas and ferry tickets, many lower-income families can no longer afford to live on the island. As a result of this demographic shift, the four-classroom elementary school has shrunk down to two. Twenty years ago, many families moved to Denman Island to raise their children away from the mainstream in a beautiful, serene location. This same beauty and serenity has attracted tourists and summer people with available funds to invest in oceanside property. Summer houses, largely the second homes of the affluent, have popped up like toadstools in recent years. It’s hard to view these “outsiders” without hostility. “Who are all these people?” I asked my brother during a trip to the Store. “Where did they all come from?” Locals joke wryly: “How come its called Tourist Season if you can’t shoot them?” Although it is clear to me that such prejudices are no different from the views articulated by mainstream culture against “dirty hippies,” it’s hard to come from a rational place when considering the recent

13

changes in a community so close to my heart. Still, I recognize that these biases are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of the community. To some, summer visitors provide an essential source of income. When I am home, it is clear to me that the apparent differences between the island and the “rest of the world” have begun to shrink. In the years before the Internet really took off, I grew up without television reception and was largely ignorant of the ways of the world. In third grade, I thought Sailor Moon had something to do with intergalactic space navigation. My little brother, on the other hand, seven years younger than I, was exposed to the Internet since an early age. He downloads from iTunes and watches silly videos on Youtube. In these respects, he is not much different from a suburban 13-year-old, minus the fact that his house is surrounded by trees. My mother assures me that Denman is not changing nearly as much as I think it is, that my anxiety about its supposed transformation has more to do with my nostalgic view of childhood than anything else. To some extent, she is probably right. Yet I continue to watch apprehensively for signs of modernization and gentrification on Denman. With globalization swelling to its peak, I hope that the core characteristics of small communities can survive.


Commentary

The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

New hiring policies await implementation Aviva Levy

HYDE PARK

I

n theory, McGill has made a leap forward with its new Equity Policy, which was approved by the Senate and Board of Governors in Spring 2007. Unlike the former Gender Equity Policy, which only targeted women, the new policy aims to attract all “historically disadvantaged groups in Canada,” including visible minorities, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, disabled persons, persons of minority sexual orientations, and gender identities and women. Yet, looking at the composition of staff at McGill, one wonders how effective this new policy has been. There is no doubt that the McGill student body is more diverse than its faculty. Though the Employment Equity Policy is one mode of combating this, it has had few tangible results thus far. Gathering information is even more difficult. Since this policy was established, a report on hiring has yet to come out, and McGill Human Resources refuses to provide data on a regular basis, making it difficult to compare the faculty make-up before and after the policy’s implementation. Two years ago, the Senate Subcommittee on Women published a shocking report on the hiring and promotion of female faculty at McGill. But following a pleasant presentation of the findings to the deans, the report was quietly filed away. While over 40 per cent more females than males were receiving PhDs in the Faculty of Music, male professors outnumbered female professors by 69 per cent. The ratio of students interested in these fields clearly isn’t represented in the faculty. The report also pointed out that even in disciplines where women were underrepresented – of which there were many – there was no increase in the hiring of women. Perhaps as then-chair of the subcommittee Dr. Kathy Cullen optimistically suggested, this wasn’t due to systemic biases, but instead the fact that “faculty tend to hire people similar to them.” The problem is universal. Even in Sweden, a country at the top of the list for providing equal opportuni-

ERRATUM In “McGill Mental Health cleans up” (News, Nov. 10), The Daily wrote that HeadSpace

ties to men and women, female postdoctoral fellows had to be two-anda-half times more productive than their male counterparts to receive the same opportunities. Cullen also pointed out that while there are few women at McGill, there are even less women of colour here. Some universities are working to reverse this trend. Dr. Evelynn Hammonds, Dean of Harvard College and former Senior Vice-Provost of Faculty Development and Diversity there, who recently spoke at McGill on the topic of women in academia, began a Task Force on Women at Harvard. The Task Force assists in retaining and hiring women at Harvard, and was created following former Harvard President Lawrence Summers’s controversial remarks about why there were fewer women than men in many science and engineering fields. Summers granted Hammonds a whopping budget of $50-million to create and head the Faculty Development and Diversity office. Might this be an approach for McGill to emulate? The University could follow this route, but as a public institution constantly struggling with its finances, it is more concerned with paying for maintenance repairs than establishing task forces. A recent article in The McGill Reporter featured blurbs on seven new professors, four of whom were women. It was a promising start, especially considering all four were from overseas: Korea, Japan, India, and Germany. However, this could just be yet another attempt to boast about our allegedly-diverse faculty to prospective donors. These women all fall under many of the “designated groups” McGill aims to hire – female visible minorities with non-French or English mother tongues – allowing the University to increase its rate of staff in each of the “designated groups.” In spite of these new hires, problems continue to arise. The Senate Subcommittee on Race and Ethnic Relations has yet to get off the ground, or even find a chair. “McGill suffers from benign neglect,” Cullen said. Aviva Levy is a U3 Canadian Studies and Sociology student. She can be reached at aviva.levy@mail. mcgill.ca.

offers peer counselling, when in fact they do not offer one-onone counselling. However, the group does offer confidential discussion and support groups. The Daily regrets the error.

15

It’s fee votin’ time The referendum voting period began Friday and runs until Thursday. Students can vote on a variety of student and administrative fee renewals and increases, and decide which first-year students can pad their C.V. with a spot on the First Year Committee to Council. With no conveniently assembled list of the fees available in one place, we thought we’d break it down, fee-by-fee, and offer our opinion on how to cast your clicks at vote.electionsmcgill.ca. Plus, a lot of the preambles to the fees are super jargony, which is annoying. Last winter the Quebec government required increases in university ancillary fees of more than $15 per year be approved by students, and SSMU and the faculty associations agreed to allow students to decide through referenda when the increase is greater than inflation. Two ancillary fee increases are up for approval, as are three others.

Endorsement

Application Fee increase - No The first would increase application fees for prospective undergraduate students to from $80 to $85 for students from outside Quebec, and from $60 to $85 for students from inside Quebec. The Daily strongly opposes this increase. Though it will not affect any of us, we don’t see why our soon-to-be-fellow students should be forced to pay, as the administrative double-talk puts it, “significantly improve the effectiveness of communication to prospective students through new communication tools and media and by leveraging existing technology.” While the other claimed benefit – speeding up application and scholarship decisions – is laudable, we wonder what they will precisely do that they could not have done already. The six per cent increase for students from outside Quebec is high enough, but the 42 per cent increase for Quebec students – many of whom are admitted days if not hours after the application deadline – is far too steep.

Student Services Fee increase – Yes The other administrative fee increase would add $10 per semester to the Student Services Fee, for a total of $125.50 per semester. McGill has been quietly raising the fee from eight to 12 per cent annually since 2005-2006, and with the aforementioned provincial government’s ruling requiring student approval on such increases, for the first time the decision is in your hands. Six dollars of the increase – 1.5 times the rate of inflation since 2005 – will go toward maintaining the current level of service, while the other $4 will improve the Student Aid Office, the Office for Students with Disabilities, and Student Health, on both the Downtown and Macdonald campuses. The Daily strongly supports these causes, and thus supports the fee increase. However, there are several problems with the question. The University should provide a breakdown of the fee to inform students how this money will be used specifically – and even split up the various uses, not all of which we support, to allow students to make specific decisions of where they’d like their money spent. For instance, we take issue with many of the the Student Affairs Office using student funds in “stewarding donor relations,” or to “benchmark [McGill’s] position within the G13 Universities.” These should be the administration’s responsibility to fund, not students’.

McGill Undergraduate Students’ Fund Fee renewal - Yes The first SSMU question asks students whether they want to renew the $19 semesterly fee that SSMU collects to support three worthy funds for the next five years. Here’s how the money breaks down: $8.50 for the Access Bursary Fund, $2 to the Campus Life Fund – including funding for clubs, productions, events, and more – and $8.50 for the Library Improvement Fund. The Daily strongly supports this fee, as the three funds support important purposes. However, we encourage students to take action on these issues beyond the fees. For instance, while the Access Bursary Fund allows SSMU to lighten the financial burden for those in need, the Students’ Society should continue to lobby at the provincial and federal level for accessible education for all students.

QPIRG Fee increase – Yes The Daily strongly supports this 75-cent fee increase for Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) McGill, the first since the organization – which supports student groups on and off campus focused on social and environmental issues – was established via a student vote in 1988. Even though QPIRG hasn’t raised its opt-outable fee since the majority of U1 students were born, the small increase doesn’t even cover inflation. Yet, QPIRG continues to sponsor a wide array of working groups that you hear from often in these pages, including the Barriere Lake Solidarity Collective, Coalition Justice for Adil Charkaoui, and Greening McGill, to name a few. And SSMU clubs and services like the Plate Club, the Black Students’ Network, and the McGill AIDS Coalition were once QPIRG working groups. QPIRG also co-hosted this year’s Culture Shock with SSMU and the McGill Anti-Racist Coalition, hosts the annual Radical Frosh, and produces the School Schmool agenda. All this proves QPIRG’s work extends beyond its office on University, and has become an important aspect of student life.

Athletics and Recreation Facilities Improvement Fund renewal - Yes/No This question asks students to contribute $10 per semester for the next five years to complete the Athletics Complex and to create more student space in Athletics, which we hear is very popular for those who have time to go the gym. The McGill Fund Council has matched this student fee dollar-for-dollar since 1982, and now the fee is up for renewal. The Daily supports the intentions of the fee, but we could not reach a consensus on the issue. The 70 per cent of students who participate in some kind of sport or activity certainly deserve good facilities, but we’re unsure as to why this SSMU fee is necessary on top of the administration’s mandatory $107 semesterly Athletics fee. We do not contest the importance of students having access to athletic facilities, but the descirption includes few details on the fee’s application and the justification for them. We’re also unsure where this money goes, and whether it is fairly distributed. Students should vote their conscious on this one.


16 Commentary Hey friends, mcgilldaily.com has blogs!

The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

Jabs at Honours Poli Sci., Obamadness, and Tadamon!

Check out Second Opinion every Monday!

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Criticism in three parts 1. Two weeks ago the Quebec government announced that it would make all new immigrants sign a pledge saying they agree with some of its common values. These values include things such as separation of church and state, a pluralistic society, and gender equality (what’s up with the lack of coverage on that by the way? The Daily usually gets on that shit pretty quickly). And when was the pluralistic society thing and gender equality achieved? Kind of hypocritical for the government to hold immigrants to values that the majority of the country is still struggling with accepting, no? This is kind of like getting people to sign your petition to “End our dependence on foreign oil” while you drive around in an H3 Hummer. 2. Please bring back the Club Sommet Ads that were promising cheap condos to students at low prices and low interest rates with no money down. There’s nothing more ironic than a company trying to sell $140,000+ condos to people who clearly have no money while the entire financial system is collapsing around us partly due to a housing bubble. This is like...wait what am I saying? I don’t need an analogy to illustrate how fucked up that is. 3. Hey Obama realists, please shut up and let me bask in the illusion for a while. Just give me like a month where I can pretend that Obama’s the messiah who will end racism, bring peace to the world, end poverty, and create heaven on Earth. White people had the Friends, Seinfeld, and Sex and the City years to give them the illusion that New York City had no minorities, why can’t you guys let us live in a fantasy land for a couple more weeks? Duong Pham U3 Economics

Good job, and keep it up I just wanted to commend The Daily on last Monday’s special issue on mental health. Mental health is an area that is underrepresented in academic discourse and in activist communities. The Daily’s informative and non-judgmental investigation into the student experience as well as other experiences (such as that of homelessness) was very much appreciated. As a suggestion, however, if The

Daily wishes to look into these issues in the future, an interesting angle might be to investigate access to mental health care on a provincial or national level. It’s also important to talk about the systemic barriers faced by other visible minorities, and to investigate whether counsellors are queer or trans-positive. Indeed, systematically oppressed people often complain about having therapists make assumptions about their gender, sexuality, or culture. Basically, I just wanted to say good job, but please continue to write about mental health – there are tons of issues out there that people may not have thought about before. I also wanted to commend Sara Mortimer for her bravery in writing about her experience accessing McGill Mental Health Services (MMHS). It was an interesting and eye-opening piece. Finally, I’d like to commend James Albaugh for his good job reporting on the mental health structure at McGill – except for one minor correction: at this point, HeadSpace does not offer any peer counselling. We do offer confidential discussion and support groups, but this is different than peer counselling, which would imply that we actually sit down one-on-one with students. We do not have the proper training to do that. If anyone is interested in helping HeadSpace plan action and advocacy on campus or attending one of our discussion groups, feel free to email us at safe.minds.mha@gmail.com. Headspace can also refer people to different clinics and programs that exist in Montreal outside of MMHS. Iris Erdile U3 Education Headspace Collective member

Let’s call the whole thing off Re: “Did you read my article, Ezra?”” | Commentary | Nov. 6 Mr. Huntington, eh? You know I was down for a civil discussion about mainstream sexuality, the hijab, women’s rights, and whatever else you might have wanted to talk about, but when you up and called me “a culturally insensitive person,” the joy drained out of me like the pee out of a five-yearold. Admittedly, I had to look on Wikipedia to find out that Samuel P. Huntington is the author of Clash of Civilizations and a man from the “praise the lord and pass the ammunition” school of thought. Listen, I’m not in Honours Political Science, so I take liberties like using the terms “East” and “West.” I now know that I should have included a thesis with well-sourced arguments regarding where the East ends and the West begins, including a section on the dynamic and reciprocal inter-

action between the two localities – but gosh darn it, I just don’t have the intellectual resources. So how about we just forget the whole thing. The issue of a woman’s right to choose what to wear in the “East” is a non-issue; it doesn’t exist. Excuse me while I go out back and bury my head in the sand. Finally, I am by no means a proponent of mainstream sexuality, but what exactly are you insinuating about nuns? Ezra Black U4 History

Why I’m voting against QPIRG’s fee increase My issue is with QPIRG is their pet-project, Tadamon! As a first-year, I skipped around between various froshes, and didn’t much like any of them, but that’s beside the point. My point is to relate my experience with Tadamon! I had at one of the discussion sessions during Rad Frosh. The discussion was supposedly about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, but it was really an indoctrination session to convince wannabe radicals that Hizbollah was their ally and Israel was the enemy. I don’t want anyone looking at my name to think I’m a hawkish Zionist. I came to that session ready to criticize Israel. I was involved with a group of Jewish students opposing the Israeli invasion. We collected thousands of signatures for our petition. I opposed the war, oppose the occupation, and am generally what I would think of as the target audience for efforts at finding a middle ground. But QPIRG isn’t interested in that. Tadamon! quickly turned the discussion to propagandizing about why Israel shouldn’t exist. I was the enemy, and they didn’t want my support. Tadamon! contributes to a simplistic binary of innocent native Arabs versus alien colonizing Jews. What is most troubling is how this reinforces the Western-Oriental divide by holding (Western) Israelis to one moral standard while allowing Hizbollah (or other perpetrators of heinous acts in Darfur, Congo, etc.) to absolve themselves of any responsibility by virtue of being the “other.” This reserves responsibility and morality as beyond the capabilities of non-Western peoples. Any truly radical voice would destroy this barrier and seek allies from all backgrounds. When I emailed my concerns to the event organizers, I received no response. I am deeply disappointed in the so-called radical and left voice QPIRG brings to the discussion, and am asking all of you to vote against their funding increase. Isaac Binkovitz U3 Geography (Urban Systems)

Previewing Obamadness Re: “Obama, after that beautifully singular night” | Commentary | Nov. 10 Hey Daily, reading Ricky Kreitner’s skeptical column gave me the strength to comment on all this Obamadness. I’ve got a secret to admit. I moved to Canada because it appeared that public opinion had turned against my glorious President and fearless leader, George W. Bush. I was scared for the prospects of my country. I feared that after what would be eight years of impeccable and flawless leadership, my country would turn against the stalwart defender of America that is the Republican Party. And boy did it ever. The GOP got trounced worse than I do in NHL ‘09. My main woman, Anne Coulter, tells me that Barack Obama is a commie, pinko, lefty, terrorist, better known as a CoPiLeT. Obviously, this makes him inherently opposed to America, as we have always been in the driver’s seat since we told the British to bugger off. Furthermore, if that coalesces into a word so disastrously, imagine what his presidency will be like. I know I’d personally feel much better with a WASP at the helm, which, in case you haven’t noticed, forms an actual word quite nicely. Come January, America will enter something I call “The Baracky Horror Picture Show.” The sweet virgin purity of Brad and Janet (collectively America) will be shattered by Baracky (Barack) and Dr. Frankenbiden (you know who), all because we’re letting Riff Raff (the Democratic Party) take control. It’s going to involve singing/dancing, fishnets, the warping of time, and many other things our Puritan forefathers and Dr. Scott would gravely disapprove of. The only thing vaguely American in this whole situation is that we’ll all be eating Meatloaf. So my fellow Americans, and by that I mean real Americans (Joe Plumbers, Tom Hunters, and Dick Corporate-Executives), if you too have fled the coming disaster, give me a call. I’ve got a hastily built bomb shelter that will keep us safe until Revelations kicks in. We can all share a laugh when those Democratic asses get Left Behind©. Logan Clark U2 Political Science

More letters were received for this issue than could be printed – actually, it was just one letter from Manosij Majumdar. Hang tight man, we’ll print it soon. Please send letters from your McGill email address to letters@ mcgilldaily.com. The Daily edits for style and brevity, and does not print letters that are sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise hateful.


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The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

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Quebe...quoi? Political correctness can go to far in Tête du tuque Pamela Fillion Culture Writer

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Courtesy of RIDM

Left in the cold The lasting impact of the High Arctic relocation Pamela Fillion Culture Writer

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ce jour je ne sais toujours pas comment nous avons survécut” – Martha Marquise Lepage and Productions Virage’s Martha qui vient du froid gives a firsthand account of the High Arctic relocation of Inuit families in the 1950s. The film revolves around Martha and her family, their experience of the relocation, and its continuing effects on their lives. In the 1950s, the Canadian government brought families of Inuit peoples to the High Arctic with promises of plentiful game and better living conditions, as a means of establishing sovereignty over these islands – thus misleading them into accepting the “temporary” and “voluntary” relocation without being informed of the political stakes. The families were

moved to locations supposedly chosen by “experts of the North.” Once in the High Arctic, however, these families were subjected to horrible living conditions, worsened by laws on the prohibition of hunting, and the government’s striking lack of understanding for the Inuit way of life. Martha qui vient du froid follows Martha as she journeys back to the places of her youth, the sites of extreme hardship that shaped her childhood and adolescence. Using footage of Martha’s journey as well as black and white reenactments of her youth, the documentary achieves a personal feel and quickly brings a face and a name to a story too few Canadian citizens have heard. Archival footage and photographs are used to quickly establish a link between the past and the present that underlines the vast and lasting impact

of the events discussed in the documentary. Throughout the film, scenes from Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922) are spliced in alongside the words of Martha’s family and friends, using irony to relate the extent of the Government’s mistreatment of the Inuit. While Martha qui vient du froid deals with suffering and injustice, it is at once a personable, enjoyable, and important film to watch. The documentary both sheds light on a legacy of subjugation and demonstrates the effects of this subjugation on a personal and familial level. It speaks powerfully to the general public who does not know nearly enough about the human rights infringements committed by and still happening in a country that celebrates its Great North, a land over which Canada claimed sovereignty from the sweat and blood of families like Martha’s.

Life after Saddam Waiting for the “future Iraq” in Life After the Fall Jacqueline Bird Culture Writer

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n 2003, the whole world watched, awestruck, as American forces overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein. After 35 years of dictatorship and war, the Iraqi people dusted off their hopes for economic prosperity and a democratic nation. Unfortunately, despite their expectations of the “future Iraq,” citizens found themselves being hurled, once

again, into disappointment and chagrin. Kasim Abid, director of Life After the Fall, offers a thorough psychological portrait of the first four years after the fall of Baghdad. Because he interviews his own middle-class Iraqi family, they are uninhibited in front of the camera and allow Abid to document all aspects of their life and family interactions: celebrations, funerals, and employment. The director takes a step beyond the gore and destruction of the Iraq war and focuses on the mental impact it has had on the country’s people. He covers issues such as abounding unemployment, religious tensions,

political corruption, and terrorism, through the personal anecdotes of his extended family. As the film progresses, so does the depth of the heartache and the desperation among Abid’s family members. Life After the Fall humanizes the people in the country that has been the subject of endless discussion and scrutiny in the media. If your heartstrings are ready for a few yanks, take this cinematic voyage through Iraq as it hopscotches from one despotic rule to the next. Head to the Cinémathèque québécoise on November 22 for a screening of Life After the Fall.

hrough the perspective of the children of first-generation immigrants, Pierre Mignault and Hélène Magny present a documentary about the clash of immigrant cultures and dominant culture in the province of Quebec. The film, entitled Tête du tuque, offers some insight into racism and the problem of being considered an outsider in one’s place of birth. Overall, however, it comes off contrived, in ways that carry some troubling implications. The documentary opens with the Quebecois song “Mes Aïeux” and a typically Quebecois scene: a horse sled in a rustic town. The people aboard the sled are not typical Quebecois, but rather high school kids whose parents immigrated from Tunisia, Haiti, China, and Vietnam. The teenagers, however, were born in Quebec. As the child of an EnglishCanadian mother from the Yukon Territory and a pure laine (“dyed in the wool”) Quebecker from Saguenay, certain elements of this film caused a visceral objection in me. The filmmakers undo what they seek to create. Throughout the documentary there is a latent attack on what constitutes a Quebecker. Fundamentally, there is a difference between a person who is from the province of Quebec and a person who is considered and considers themselves a Quebecois pure laine. On the subject of pure laine, the filmmakers assert that this concept is ridiculous and of no real value, employing comments in narration and the spiel of one professor to this effect. However, I completely and fundamentally disagree. The insightful points brought forth by the high school kids who discuss the hardships of dual identities and a métissage of values are buried deep beneath the intentions of the filmmakers and their disrespect of pure laine Quebecois. First of all, the filmmakers did not, as I have done in this article, admit their biases. This is inherently problematic to me and especially alienating in the closing sequence. In this scene, the filmmakers take the teenagers to a cabin in the woods and have them put up a Christmas tree and do typically Quebecois things. At the end of the sequence, the narrator’s voice asks the viewer: “Are these children not our future?” Seemingly, in a rudimentary documentary with contrived sequences, the filmmakers try to tell the audience that a culture isn’t important because all people are

alike. This is a utopian and misleading way of thinking. Attacking the integrity of a group of people in order to claim that all peoples have equal access to a label is just frustrating. People have equal access to fundamental human rights, but not to claims on a particular history. Perhaps the filmmakers are trying to define the term “culture.” Perhaps they have some great insight on what “cultures” are and their validity. If so, I’d like to see some credentials and several published volumes. What a “culture” is has been the subject of intellectual inquiries for centuries. Interestingly enough, the teenagers the filmmakers follow seem to have a better understanding of what is relevant than the filmmakers themselves. I would argue that it is precisely this kind of ignorance that causes increasing racism when it comes to immigration. What is the point of attacking one culture’s right to exist because other, different cultures are coming into contact with it? Racism and cultural divides crop up when cultural identities are threatened, and this documentary adds lighter fluid to the fire. Just as it would be unfair to declare that suddenly all immigrants’ cultures are irrelevant once they are Canadian citizens, it is unfair to argue, even if subtly, that pure laine culture is irrelevant. Reasonable accommodation has been a divisive issue in Quebec recently, invariably fraught with racism from both sides. However, a middle ground does establish itself. New groups form around the shared experiences of people who at once belong to two different groups – such as the Métis – and are liminal to both. Just as the pure laine were once both part of France and not part of the country, the second, third, and fourth-generation children of parents who immigrated to Quebec will perhaps consider themselves Quebeckers – where the term Quebecker will be understood as something else than synonymous with pure laine Quebecois (the terms are not synonymous and have not been for decades). Perhaps these groups will have a different way of creating cultural identity. Cultures cannot be made open to all and there are valid functional, structural, psychological, and historical reasons for this. The only valuable part of the film for me was the youth recounting their experience of growing up between the culture of their parents and that of their surroundings. These teenagers are bound together by commonalities, like having to obey certain rules of conduct that may not make “sense” to the culture of their Quebecois friends. In a way, they are proof of how cultures are created: through shared experiences. The beauty of the captured images lies in the stories from the mouths of babes, not of filmmakers.


Culture

The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

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Free fallin’ Skydive destigmatizes disability through theatre Jacqueline Bird Culture Writer

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ver since I learned that it was possible to jump out of a plane and survive, I’ve had an imperishable yearning to do it. Skydiving has flourished as an extreme sport, perhaps because of the adrenaline rush it provides, perhaps because of the potential fulfillment of a death wish, but most likely because of human beings’ innate desire to fly. Realwheels Theatre Company aspires to create and produce worldclass art that deepens the audience’s understanding of the disabled experience. The company pursues the universal desire of flying with its innovative play, Skydive, as a means of furthering its raison d’être. Skydive has conquered the West Coast – Vancouver and Calgary – racking up stellar reviews and award nominations and wins, and has finally landed in Montreal for us to enjoy. The two-actor play unfolds in the 30 seconds of a skydiving free fall, frequently reverting back to moments that preceded the jump. With the technological help of ES Dance Instruments, the characters rarely touch their feet to the stage. Morgan, played by the quadriplegic James Sanders – the founder of Realwheels – is the older brother; Bob Frazer plays Dan, Morgan’s hermetic, agoraphobic, younger sibling. Morgan, a middle-aged couch-

surfer, acts as Dan’s therapist. He decides that the ultimate therapy technique for his younger brother is to jump out of a plane and face his fears. The two brothers embark on a trip down memory lane and discover what caused their falling-out as adults, reconnecting as brothers as a result. Skydive consists of a wry and witty screenplay, very believable actors, and an incredibly pert eighties soundtrack (from Tom Petty to Corey Heart), but the underlying message is of a more serious nature. Skydive attempts to defy attitudinal barriers that persons with disabilities often face. Sanders doesn’t try to overcompensate for his lack of physicality by presenting himself as a excessively intelligent. In fact, the character of Morgan is lacking not only in smarts, but in all aspects of life. The ablebodied Frazer plays a quirkier, neurotic character who is very intelligent, but manifests all sorts of psychological problems. Skydive destigmatizes disabilities by demonstrating that all people have them, from phobias to paralysis. Skydive has everything to do with physicality; the actors swing vertically and horizontally throughout, and break out into classic dance moves at times. If the constant movement isn’t enough to keep your attention, the sharp and amusing dialogue is. Para means “beyond” in Latin, and in my opinion, Skydive is a parafantastic show. The play not only maximizes the physical ability of quadriplegics, but also allows two actors to fulfill the innate human desire to fly – for 90 minutes straight. Skydive plays at the Centaur Theatre in the Old Port, and runs until December 7. Visit centaurtheatre.com/skydive.html for more information on schedules and prices.

the importance of

being cultured.

show off your steez at culture meetings, every tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the daily office.

CULTURE BRIEF A musical meal Have you ever been walking through campus on your lunch break and suddenly had the desire to listen to organ music? Admittedly, neither had I – until I went to my first Noon-Hour Organ Recital, that

is. Most students have no idea that if they walk into Redpath Hall on any given Friday at 12:30 p.m., they will be greeted by organ music. But it’s true: the Schulich School of Musicsponsored Noon-Hour Organ Recital Series features a different organist each week that classes are in session. Though admission is free, a lack of awareness about the concerts means that they are anything but full. This is unfortunate, because stepping into Redpath Hall

during the organ recitals is an amazing way to spend your lunch hour. The dimly lit, cavernous space feels almost otherworldly after the hustle and bustle of campus. People sit scattered throughout the rows of seats, some with their eyes closed, others reading books while they listen. To join them, visit mcgill.ca/ music and check out the schedule of upcoming performers. – Amelia Schonbek


22 Culture

The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

Beginning to see the light A brief history of architecture and illumination Jaime MacLean Culture Writer

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ur perception of light is dramatically shaped by human tradition. In western culture, light has positive connotations. It represents good as opposed to evil, and knowledge as opposed to ignorance. The absence of light is often used to represent negativity. Toplight: Roof Transparencies from 1760 to 1960 is an exhibit at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) that explores the relationship between natural light and the way that modern society has developed a need for it. The CCA is housed in an impressive building that looks onto Boulevard Réné Lévesque. As cars drive by on the busy street, the CCA’s enormity is striking. Inside the building, which the museum-goer enters from Rue Baile, Toplight is found in the Octagonal Gallery. The exhibit starts with drawings for the Halle au Blé, which was built in Paris from 1763 to 1782. The idea for this building was developed from traditional urban grain markets, where grains were kept in contain-

ers with open roofs in order to dispel rumours of stockpiling. The theme of transparency in this first building begins a trend apparent throughout the exhibit. The next part of the exhibit deals with overhead lighting in museums, and the best ways to illuminate art on display. The exhibit takes a look at the lighting used in exhibition halls, such as London’s Crystal Palace, and the problems that arose from their skylights. From museums and exhibition halls, the display goes on to examine the effects of overhead lighting in railway stations, factories, department stores, and working class tenements. It is interesting to observe the architectural changes that take place alongside social ones during this period. 1760 was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, a period when the middle class grew and moved to the city, as manufacturing emerged as a prominent industry. Pierre-Edouard Latouch, assistant curator of collections at the CCA, says in his introduction to the exhibit: “Time and time again it seemed clear to us that these glazed openings, used to illuminate the

bourgeois lifestyle from on high, were somehow linked to the harsh material realities of the nineteenth century – a period marked by the disintegration of traditional alliances but slow to establish new ones.” We can see how the functions of these buildings are linked. The exhibition halls, railway stations, factories, and department stores all had ways of separating different social classes. The use of overhead lighting illuminated what had been covered up for centuries, and the upper class tried to use light to clean up the working class. Architects even thought that making natural light available to New York’s workingclass tenements would reduce alcoholism and abuse among families cooped up in small apartments with few windows. Through an impressive array of photographs, sketches, and models, Toplight reveals how light has shaped our lives since the late 18th century. “Toplight” runs through February 15 at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (1920 Baile). Admission is free to the public. Additional information can be found at cca.qc.ca.

Courtesy of Clara Gutche / SODRAC

An interior view of a storage area on the fourth floor of a warehouse on Smith Street in Montreal.

The greatest hits of the 1880s McGill’s Savoy Society present comedic opera The Yeomen of the Guard

Frances Kim Culture Writer

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ne happy marriage, two reluctant engagements, and one broken heart – this is the premise of Gilbert and Sullivan’s eleventh operatic collaboration The Yeomen of the Guard and the McGill Savoy Society’s upcoming 2009 production. For those who had the opportunity to see last year’s The Mikado, this may be familiar territory. Less Savoy-savvy readers may, on the other hand, already be fraught with confusion. Exhibit A: yours truly. I initially thought that Gilbert and Sullivan were the names of two old men running an accounting firm, and couldn’t even pronounce the word “Yeomen” (pronounced “yo-men,” as opposed to the attempted “yee-o-man,” “yow-man,” “yah-men,” or “yay-man”). Consider my mistakes your gain – I did my homework, and now I can fill you in. The McGill Savoy Society is a nonprofit vintage musical theatre group

that is now celebrating its 45th year at McGill. It is dedicated to the works of Sir William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan – a librettist (one who writes the text for an opera) and a composer, respectively. Together, Gilbert and Sullivan created 14 comic operas which came to be known as the Savoy Operas. The Society puts together one or two high-profile productions every year, one of which is always a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and another which usually consists of a smaller ensemble. This year’s piece, The Yeomen of the Guard, is considered to be the most emotionally charged operetta of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works. It takes place in sixteenth century England, where the young soldier, gentleman, and scientist Colonel Fairfax is sentenced to execution on a false accusation of sorcery by his cousin who wishes to inherit his estate. Colonel Fairfax aims to marry a maiden – any maiden – within the hour before his death, so as to prevent his fortune from going to his

cousin. This request is fulfilled with the help of supporting characters and a successful escape plan. In this piece, not all endings are happy and sacrifices must be made to maintain order and peace. In comparison to other theatre groups at McGill whose productions err toward the contemporary, one wonders what makes this operetta appealing to a younger audience demographic. “Regarding the text, many of the jokes are timeless in their brilliant satire, and there is a long-standing tradition for the stage director to update some of Gilbert’s politically and socially charged jokes,” says Alexandra Fol, Yeomen’s musical director. “In terms of the music, its appeal has lasted almost 400 years and shows no sign of retreat.” She offers the existence of Montreal’s three Gilbert and Sullivan societies as evidence. The McGill Savoy Society is a part of the growing and thriving theatre

community at McGill. Being a part of this small community, however, does not come without its conflicts. Recruitment, in particular, has always been a problem within the Society. “[We are] chronically understaffed

In this piece, not all endings are happy and sacrifices must be made to maintain order and peace

and short on performers,” says Fol. “Working in an amateur production can be very rewarding, but there is constant stress that there won’t be enough performers or rooms to rehearse in,” Fol states. Indeed, the shortage of rehearsal rooms available to student groups was voiced as a major concern at the beginning of the academic year. As a result, the advo-

cacy group McGill’s Student Theatre Artists, Groups, and Executives was formed to represent the University’s theatre community. However, the show must go on, and the production of The Yeomen of the Guard will successfully continue Savoy’s 45-year tradition. In last year’s Gazette review of The Mikado, the Society was called “A laboratory for an ongoing social experiment, a connecting point between academia and the city at large, [and] a social club with a fun-filled annual project that showcases worthy, rising young talent….” From this glowing review, it’s clear that McGill and the rest of Montreal can continue to expect great things from this society. The Yeomen of the Guard will be performed in February from the 12- 14, and the 19-21 at Moyse Hall. The McGill Savoy Society is currently looking for more performers for the Yeomen Chorus ensemble. Please visit mcgillsavoy.ca for more information.


Compendium!

The McGill Daily, Monday, November 17, 2008

Lies, Half-truths, & Sporrans

23

My journey through faith Rupert Common on the age-old tension between female temptations and the Good Book

U

p until age nine, I went to church every Sunday in a kilt. I enjoyed singing the songs, but whenever the minister came up to speak I would lose focus, achieve an erection and then flex my manhood in order to move my sporran up and down. A sporran is a Scottish fanny pack exclusively worn by males. It consists of a leather pouch with a buttoned flap, and resembles a purse hung around the waist by a silver chain. My sporran contained marbles and troll figurines. These were no regular trolls; my friends and I applied war paint (in the form of white-out) to their faces, and gave them haircuts so that they didn’t look like such pansies. No feeling surmounted that of running home from church with my schoolmates, tearing of our itchy socks and the elastic garters which suspended them, and putting trousers back on. It’s the Scottish equivalent of removing ski boots. My family’s move to Canada saw the end to our Sunday rituals, but I did continue to pray before bed and if a rugby match was getting a little close. On one occasion, I got down on my knees in the mud of the field, clasped my hands together and uttered a silent prayer to the heavenly father. We lost the game in the last seconds, apparently God is dead. I wasn’t very impressed with the architecture of the Canadian churches, they looked like normal homes and I was used to the stone masonry

of Britain’s historic cathedrals. A few years passed before I realized what the New World had to offer in terms of religious enlightenment. It came in the form of summer camps, Christian summer camps. So from age 12 to 15, the B.C. wilderness became my place of worship and Christian doctrine was accompanied by water sports and really long games of co-ed bump. Christian camps in British Columbia are filled with heathens and subsequently, are very fun. I went from singing “all things bright and beautiful” alongside post-menopausal women and their aged companions to executing choreographed dance moves with a hoard of virgins. The church organ was replaced by a rock ensemble, and one time I touched a girl’s hand. On a post-camp date with this very same girl, we hugged and I saw her friend’s nipple piercing. To this day, when these girls see me around the neighbourhood they say: “Oh, you’re Rupert. You dated Kelly, right?” Um, “Dated?” I don’t think so. If we dated, then I cheated on her with my dad. Christian camp counsellors knew how to make us listen to the teachings of God because they allowed us to eat nerds and twizzlers at the same time. I distinctly recall pouring nerds into my sprite, biting off parts of my twizzler, and then drinking the concoction through my liquorice straw. The total one hour of actual Christian teachings was dwarfed by activities such as the following: loitering, rock

Musical Misdemeanors Regina Phelangi

climbing, and using swear words. When it wasn’t summer I went to youth group. This was held during the week at the local church. They had a make-shift skateboard park and access to video games, which

drew in a lot of young teenagers and people that were in the last stages of being 12. Also, hot girls that wore Miss Sixty jeans and were rumoured to give blow jobs attended these youth groups. The knowledge that I got to

hug many of these saucy dime pieces if I simply attended the gatherings was more than enough to ensure my consistent attendance. It’s a shame I didn’t have my sporran with me during these heated encounters.

Sterling Street appears every Monday. Send your birthday wishes to margot.nossal@gmail.com.

Across 1. Checked out 6. Cezar’s legacy 10. Pigeon’s home 14. Fertilization site 15. Uppity anger 16. Soon, to a bard 17. Chart anew 18. Knowing, as a secret 19. Fluff 20. Marked 22. Balcony section 23. Schuss, e.g. 24. Group study 26. Play 31. Backstabber 32. Chill 33. Make, as a putt 35. “Master” 39. Twisted metal 40. Like “The X-Files” 42. Acute 43. Bar, at the bar 45. Auction cry 46. Way, way off 47. Center 49. Nederlands, e.g. 51. Frame 55. Cloak-and-dagger org. 56. Doctor Who villainess, with “the” 57. Throat disease 63. “Idylls of the King” character

64. Alliance 65. Chilled 66. Ask 67. Elliptical 68. Aquatic mammal 69. Ticket info, maybe 70. “ Like It Hot” 71. Choker Down 1. Company name 2. Affirm 3. Clash of heavyweights 4. Brio 5. Oust 6. Threes 7. Brass component 8. “A Lesson From ” 9. Furnish 10. Go home 11. Part of “the works” 12. Island nation east of Fiji 13. “Come in!” 21. Decree 25. Plural moms 26. Miles per hour, e.g. 27. Freudian topics 28. Abrupt 29. Think again 30. Become a member 34. A thousand reps 36. LP player 37. Persia, now

38. “Lulu” composer 41. Astronomer Hubble 44. WBC’s 48. Ring 50. Black water locale 51. Inched 52. Asian capital 53. Biscotti flavoring 54. Artillery burst 58. Be itinerant 59. “What’s gotten you?” 60. Josip Broz, familiarly 61. Frosty cake 62. Arid

Solution to “Themeless”


Turn up the colour. iPod nano puts up to 4,000 songs or 16 hours of video in your pocket.

Visit the McGill Computer Store at 3420 McTavish Street or online at www.mcgill.ca/mcs and start saving today.

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