ANPS, BIOL, HLTH, PHYS, PSS (yes, we speak your language)
The Community Action Toolkit, SSMU and Milton-Parc Citizens’ Committee present: An open, free, bilingual space for public conversation where everyone is an expert and everyone can learn.
Tuesday, April 5 at 5:30-7:30 pm th
“How can communities bridge the intergenerational gap?”
UVM Summer University offers a variety of science courses in medical, health, biological & physical sciences with credits that can transfer back to your institution. This summer, focus on the requirements that you really need. Post-baccalaureate summer premedical programs available, as well as over 400 general requirement courses. Registration begins February 15. Summer classes start May 23.
Catch Up. Get Ahead. On Campus. Online. uvm.edu/summer/mcgill
Guest Speaker: Sheri McLeod Director of The NDG Senior Citizens’ Council With staff and volunteers from the Elderly Project
The project offers services to decrease the sense of isolation experienced by many inner city elderly and to help in preventing premature institutionalization.
Location: The Yellow Door Coffeehouse (3625 Aylmer) Come for a stimulating discussion around a steamy cup o’ joe!
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Volume 100, Issue 42
April 4, 2011 mcgilldaily.com
One hundred years since 1911
Published by The Daily Publications Society, a student society of McGill University.
ASSÉ tuition protest ends in arrests 5
SPVM cracks down on Sherbrooke O.
Election 2011: Montreal’s candidates 10 Western media’s faulty coverage of Japan 15 McGill professors exposing sensationalism
39 Publishing digital scholarship Who owns and pays for reproducing academic work?
40 New approaches to sex education Grassroots improvements to Quebec sex curriculum
Commentary Sports Hebrew University 22
HMB responds to The Daily’s editorial
On campus discourse 24 Perspectives on Haaris Khan
42 Beating them at their own game The patriarchy of sports culture
44 Laser tag Living out a fantasy
Features Science+Technology The water crisis 26 Dangers of water commodification
Culture Music and protest 31 Tracing the evolution of protest songs
Resistance in Palestinian art 33 Examining art in the face of injustice
47 Concordia unmasks e-criminals Research capable of identifying authors of emails 48 BP oil spill A look at the crisis one year later
Compendium! 53 Stories The Daily didn’t print Important news coverage from throughout the year
Keep your eyes open throughout the issue for special Centennial content, including “The Daily Through the Decades” and alumni memories
53 So long everybody Last crossword puzzle!
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
New union prepares for collective bargaining with McGill Research employees struggling to contact members, begin negotiations Madeline Spence News Writer
cGill’s newest union, the Association of McGill University Research Employees (AMURE) is gearing up to initiate collective bargaining with the University in the coming months. They will be holding an information assembly on April 7 at Moot Court to discuss effects of their recent unionization and to consult with members on demands for collective bargaining with McGill. The information assembly will be the first time that all members of the union – both research associates and research assistants – will be meeting. Matthew Annis, president of AMURE, stated in an email to The Daily that the research employees
have had “common grievances and concerns, including salaries and working conditions, for a very long time.” Negotiations for AMURE’s first collective agreement with the University are due to begin in the next few months. Both sides hope to begin negotiating in June. Lynne Gervais, McGill associate vice-president (Human Resources), stated that until a date is set McGill will not be able to release its collective agreement proposal to AMURE or the members that will be on the committee. AMURE will be sending out questionnaires to all research employees to ascertain their demands. The administration is also currently involved in collective agreement negotiations with the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM), the Association of McGill University Support Employees
(AMUSE) and the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA). Prior to unionization, research employees dealt with issues either directly with their supervisors, or with the McGill administration. While there are options to have disputes mediated by Advocacy McGill or the McGill Ombudsperson, not all staff and students were made aware of these options. McGill initially opposed the union of these two groups. AMURE was accredited July 15, 2010 for research associates. Research assistants were included following a referendum December 20, 2010. The two will comprise separate units within the union, with separate collective agreements. With the inclusion of the research assistants, AMURE now represents approximately 1,100 members.
McGill’s dedication to fostering research makes the unionization of the RAs especially significant. McGill receives more than $432 million annually in research funding. The campaign to unionize was initiated in June 2008 in collaboration with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). PSAC has been involved with research employee unions at the Univeristé de Montréal and Concordia. Annis stated that the experience with the Syndicat des employé(e)s de la recherche de l’Université de Montréal – the research employee union at Université de Montréal formed last year – proved that unionization of research employees was possible and provided a precedent for AMURE. AMURE has had difficulties contacting all research employees to inform them of the union since McGill has not yet provided a com-
prehensive list of employees. AGSEM and AMUSE have also encountered this difficulty. Gervais explained in an email to The Daily, that they “provide all unions with monthly membership report…but we can only give them what we have in our system. It is the employee responsibility to keep his/ her personal information up-to-date.” Annis explained the future role of AMURE as to “represent the interests of its members with a united voice to McGill.” According to Annis, the union will also function as “a forum to deal with grievances, fight for gender parity with respect to wages, job security, and build relationships with similar university unions across Quebec.” Since AMURE’s certification, members have already come forward with a number of grievances, which are taken up by union staff.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Students occupies CREPUQ office Thousands march for accessible education in ASSÉ led demo; police confirm five arrests, investigate two injuries Rana Encol
The McGill Daily
ver 2,000 CEGEP and university students marched through downtown Montreal last Thursday to protest the Charest government’s education policy in a demonstration that ended in a police clampdown and five arrests. The same day, student and student -faculty associations at 11 Quebec post-secondary institutions joined a one-day strike for a provincial day of action. The day was organized by the Association pour un Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ) – with support from the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) and the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) – in protest of Quebec Minister of Finance Raymond Bachand’s St. Patrick’s Day budget. The tabled budget provides for a 25 per cent increase in funding for university operating revenues, to be mainly financed by a 75 per cent hike in tuition. This hike will see students paying almost $3,800 in basic Quebec tuition by 2017. Alex Trahan, a theatre student at UQAM, spoke to The Daily as he sat in
front of riot police guarding Charest’s office on McGill College, where protestors had symbolically cut through wads of yellow caution tape. “Today is just a warning strike. We considered a longer strike, but it probably wouldn’t be effective until the fall,” he said. As part of the day of action, around seventy students organized a sit-in at the Montreal offices of the Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ) housed in the Loto-Quebec building at 500 Sherbrooke O. Thirty to forty students made it past security; the remainder sat in the lobby. One receptionist fractured her wrist while trying to block the doors during a student rush, according to embedded Rue Frontenac reporters. A UQAM student who only wanted to be known as “Frank,” was part of the occupation and said that it was intended as a political action against CREPUQ’s stance, and that there was no intention to harm employees. He added that the occupants received no formal eviction notice but left the CREPUQ offices after an hour. Hundreds gathered at the entrance of 500 Sherbrooke O, chanting “liberez nos camarades” at the riot squad guarding the doors while occupants and employees
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
2,000 students march in downtown Montreal last Thursday. looked on from the glass windows. After asking those assembled outside the CREPUQ office to disperse, police charged at demonstrators, journalists, and photographers with batons, bottlenecking them against police cars parked immediately below the building steps. The riot squad fired stun grenades and pepper spray at unarmed protestors – most of whom fled east along Sherbrooke and south on City Councillors. A handful of protestors were tackled to the ground and one man was packed into a police car. ASSE coordinator Élise Carrier-
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Martin felt the use of force was disproportionate. “It was completely unnecessary to do that because we were already leaving,” she said in French. Eyewitness reports confirm that similar arrests happened earlier during the march. Police spokesperson Raphael Bergeron declined to comment on the method of arrests, but said that three warnings were given during the altercation at 500 Sherbrooke O. Five people were arrested on charges of mischief, contempt of police officers, and breaking municipal bylaws. Four were released
Thursday night on promises to appear in court. One man went to court Friday on charges of mischief. CTV reported that police are investigating an officer who knocked down an elderly woman during the earlier part of the demonstration. CREPUQ agreed on a pro-tuition hike stance last fall, arguing that funding for Quebec universities falls short by $620 million in comparison to other Canadian universities. McGill Principal and CREPUQ member Heather Munroe-Blum has said that the organisation’s position has been increasing tuition rates “while maintaining a strong commitment to accessibility.” Carrier-Martin disagreed. “The system of loans and scholarships is inadequate, and will not be adequately increased to ensure genuine equality in access. Although the government might claim they are expanding financial aid, there are a lot of barriers to admission,” she said. Although Education Minister Line Beauchamp was unavailable for comment, a government spokesperson said that her position was not going to change as a result of Thursday’s actions.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Canadians planning return to Gaza Israeli blockade and fears of weapons trafficking hindering relief efforts Zach Lewsen
The McGill Daily
he Canadian Boat to Gaza initiative is in the midst of fundraising for its contingent in the Freedom Flotilla II, a multinational humanitarian fleet with boats from Greece, the U.S., and Denmark dedicated to breaking the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Thus far, the Canadian Boat to Gaza has raised $240,000, with a goal of $300,000. The fleet is set to depart in mid-May. Ehab Lotayeff, an organizer for Canadian Boat to Gaza, spoke of the necessity of such an endeavor. “The blockade is unjustified; it’s a punishment towards the people and that’s why we see that sending a boat to Gaza is very important, and challenging the blockade is very important,” said Lotayeff. “Our number one goal is to challenge the status quo here
NEWS BULLETIN New PGSS executives elected PGSS elections closed this Friday, and resulted in the appointment of a seasoned executive committee and the approval of all referendum questions. The strength of next year’s PGSS executive committee will likely come from their previous experience working for the Society. Next year’s president Roland Nassim has been involved with PGSS for over seven years, and has already served as VP External and VP Academic. Nassim talked about his many plans for next year, which include creating stronger ties between the PGSS and their members. “We have a problem now where our members don’t feel associated with the PGSS, and that creates apathy and lower participation rates,” he said. “I want to start building this appreciation for the PGSS as a community for graduate students.” Marieve Isabel, elected VP External, said she has high hopes for the executive committee next year. “I think next year we’re going to have a quick start,” she said. “We’ll be able to build on everyone’s experience, so it should be a very short transition period.” Daily columnist Adrian Kaats was re-elected for the position of VP Finance, with former PGSS President Daniel Simeone the new VP Internal and Lily Han the new VP Academic. Both the Post Graduate Student
[in Canada] that the blockade in Gaza is legitimate...another goal is humanitarian aid and moral support. Even though we might not deliver enough aid, [the people in Gaza] need to know that the world is not leaving them alone,” he continued. Operation Cast Lead, the December 2008 to January 2009 conflict in Gaza, left numerous hospitals, libraries, and schools destroyed. Since the war’s end, Israel has maintained a blockade in the region, only allowing a minimal amount of goods to enter. The blockade was ruled illegal under international law by the 2009 UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. According to the UN report, the blockade violates the Fourth Geneva Convention that governs the protection of civilians in a war zone. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has previously stopped or attacked Gaza-bound flotillas.
One of the most violent incidents occurred in May 2010, when the IDF attacked and killed nine activists. Glyn Secker, an executive member of the Jews for Justice for Palestinians, spoke on March 25 at an event organized by the McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. He described an incident in September 2010, when he was the captain of a boat to Gaza, where the IDF surrounded the boat, tasered one of the crewmembers, and forced the boat to dock in the Israeli port of Ashdod. Some pro-Israel organizations, including campus groups, fear the security threat from Gaza and do not support ships coming to the strip without being inspected by the IDF. “There’s a difference between delivering aid into the Gaza Strip and deliberately trying to break a military blockade and endanger Israeli security,” said Zach Paikin,
VP External of the McGill Friends of Israel. Rex Brynen, a McGill Political Science professor who travelled to Gaza in January 2010, said the Israeli restrictions on economic goods were in fact making it easier to get weapons into Gaza. “I say that because there didn’t use to be so many tunnels,” said Brynen. “The reason there were so many tunnels from Egypt is because Israeli restrictions on imports meant that goods had to be smuggled from tunnels.” Paikin defended the blockade, saying he believed aid can be sent to Gaza through Israel. “If [humanitarian organizations] want to bring aid into the Gaza strip they are welcome to do so, yet they just only have to do so through the appropriate crossings...they should not go directly to the Gaza strip because that’s how weapons are transported,” Paikin said.
Brynen, however, described how non-military goods, such as construction materials, were being held up. “There’s multiple cases where it’s clear that construction materials will be in the custody of the UN and Israel has not allowed it in...if it’s a UN reconstruction program, there’s no risk that those goods somehow leak into paramilitary use,” Brynen said. “There’s no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Paikin said. “If you go to the Gaza strip, there are nice beaches, five-star restaurants and hotels, and new shopping malls.” Lotayeff has visited Gaza twice since Operation Cast Lead in 2009. “Schools and farms are destroyed to no recognition, there’s lots of damage in Gaza city and more so in refugee camps,” said Lotayeff. “Because of the blockade, the people of Gaza cannot build anything.”
Life Fund – a fund to repace fee levies that Graduate Student Associations are no longer allowed to apply – and the Mental Health referendum question, increasing the Mental Health service fee by $7.50 for full-time students, were approved. The Health Plan referendum question was renewed with the coverage changes recommended by the PGSS Health and Wellness Committee. This year’s elections also saw an increase in voter turnout, according to PGSS elections commissioner Tarek Hamade. “Last year we had nine per cent of the graduate population come out to vote, and this year that number went up to 13 per cent,” he said. Hamade credited the increased numbers to a more aggressive advertising campaign launched this year, and hopes to see it continue to climb in years to come.
been opened, angering midwives across the province. Lysane Grégoire, President of Groupe MAMAN, identified two major obstacles to opening new birthing centres: insufficient provincial funding, and opposition from doctors. “They have no confidence in us, they think it’s unsafe for women to give birth outside of the hospital with a midwife,” said Grégoire. “There’s not enough money for birthing centres and we think it’s because he doesn’t want to upset the doctors. He says, ‘Yes, we want to have 13 new birth centres in the next ten years,’ but he never says he will put in the money. We can’t make miracles.” A press attache for Yves Bolduc said the Ministry of Health was working on opening birthing centres in collaboration with midwife agencies, whom they are asking to pay half of the cost of the new centres. “It’s important to us that there be midwives throughout the province,” said the attache. Members of Groupe MAMAN doubt that the province will follow through on these promises. Adding to their concern is the fact that students graduate from the midwifery programs will have difficulty finding jobs. According to Groupe MAMAN, only one in five applicants in Montreal are given work each year. “The others are put on waiting lists and may never get placed,” said Grégoire. “It’s kind of crazy. There’s an enormous demand for jobs in Montreal.” A petition to Bolduc from midwives across Quebec is currently circulating, and will be submitted May 5.
“We’re going to demand a meeting with [Bolduc],” said Grégoire. “We want to meet with him so that he can see the citizens impacted by these projects in Quebec.”
injection site in Vancouver – will likely be made. This could both put a delay on Cactus’s plans to go forward with the site this June, and determine the legality of their operation in the future. “It has been proven…that it will at least stabilize the [rate of infection],” said Dion. “In several countries – Switzerland, Germany, even Vancouver – they’ve had a lot of positive outcomes. Were talking about 200 overdoses, 2,000 overdoses that should have been fatal if they hadn’t been supervised.” Jean Francois-Mary, director of Community Organization and Outreach at Cactus, said he was uneasy about Bolduc basing his future decision on the federal verdict. “It’s a question of morality for Mr. Bolduc. It’s not a question of expertise,” said Francois-Mary. “The Ministry of Health should be concerned about the health of its population, and the experts say that this is a critical improvement for the health of the most marginalized.” So far the Institut national de santé publique du Québec and the AIDS advocacy group COQC-Sida have both come out in favour of self injection sites, emphasizing their effectiveness in decreasing health threats to IV-drug users. He emphasized, however, that a rejection from Bolduc would not stop Cactus from opening the site without his permission. “Cactus has been around for 22 years. The Ministry of Health’s budget has been in place for two years,” said Francois-Mary. “Bolduc’s term is going to be short anyway. We’re going to last longer than he does.”
— Jessica Lukawiecki
Quebec midwives demand more facilities Groupe MAMAN staged a symbolic birthing strike March 25 at UQAM, demanding better working conditions for midwives in Quebec. Groupe MAMAN (Mouvement pour l’Autonomie dans la Maternité et pour l’Accouchement Naturel) is an organization which supports the interests of practising midwives and women who choose to make use of their services. In 2008, Quebec Minister of Health Yves Bolduc promised to open 13 new birthing centres across the province by 2018. As of now, no new birthing centres have
— Emily Meikle
Montreal campaigns for safe injection sites A local health advocacy group is stepping up its campaign for a safe injection site in Montreal. On March 21, members and allies of the group l’Association pour la Défense des Droits et l’Inclusion des personnes qui Consomment des drogues du Québec (ADDICQ) marched through eastern downtown and Old Montreal, demanding that the city government and police respect the rights and dignity of drug addicts in the streets. The protest took place on the heels of a pending decision from Quebec Health Minister Yves Bolduc about whether he will allow downtown needle exchange site Cactus to open a safe injection program this summer. The march concluded at a city council meeting, where members asked about safe injection sites and were refused concrete answers. “It’s not a moral question, it’s a health question,” said ADDICQ spokesperson Kevin Dion. “63 to 72 per cent of users have Hep C and between 15 and 20 per cent have HIV. … Why don’t we arm them better for health?” Bolduc has said that he will postpone his decision about safe injection sites in Quebec until May, when a federal ruling concerning the existence of Insite – a safe
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Concordia elections marred by controversy Students allege that campaign violations were ignored, campus media was vandalized Mari Galloway
The McGill Daily
ex Gill led her slate, Your Concordia, to victory in the Concordia Student Union (CSU) elections for the 2011-12 school year amidst allegations of campaign violations and targeted vandalism by the opposing slate. Gill won by a margin of 350 votes. Your Concordia won the majority of seats on council, and the student seat on the Board of Governors. The opposing slate, Action, took all six seats from the John Molson School of Business. Precise numbers are not yet available, but Concordia’s The Link reported that voter turnout was on pace to set record-high voting levels. However, since voting closed some students have come forward stating that they received multiple
ballots when voting. The Link published an email sent to them by student Mihai Cristea on Thursday, explaining how she had been supplied with multiple ballots. Unlike McGill, the CSU conducts elections with physical ballots and in-person voting Cristea also sent the email to the CSU’s Chief Electoral Officer Oliver Cohen, the presidential candidates for Your Concordia and Action, and other campus media outlets. “When I voted [on Wednesday], after having signed in, I was given ten ballots–one for Arts and Science Senate candidates, one for Arts and Science Council candidates, [but] two for Board of Governors candidates, two for CSU executive slates, two for the first set of referendum questions, and two for the second set of referendum questions,” wrote Cristea. In the days leading up to the vote, the election grew increas-
ingly controversial. In fact, the final day of campaigning was cut six hours short amidst allegations of voter intimidation, campaign violations, and vandalism against campus media. “Up until about a week ago the campaigning was competitive but not malicious, and those things changed very quickly,” said Gill. “I think that when the other team realized there was a chance of us winning, tactics got a lot dirtier. There were rumors being spread that were patently untrue, accusations about me getting arrested. Never was, never been arrested.” There were reports from students who claimed they saw members of Action campaigning within twenty feet of polling stations – a practice that is a campaign violation. Campus media have also been the target of vandalism during the campaign. Concordia University Television (CUTV) had two televi-
sions damaged – one when a magnet destroyed the screen, and the other when a wire was torn out and frayed. CUTV station manager Laura Kneale believes the vandalism was politically motivated. “A lot of people have come to talk to us about these things, and a lot of them have alluded to a link with the political situation, and we definitely think there would be a link between these two things just because of how hostile the elections have been. But in terms of a specific person I really couldn’t say,” she said. Gill believes that The Link was targeted specifically because she is in a relationship with former editor-in-chief Justin Giovannetti. While she acknowledged that it was unfortunate that the newspaper was targeted, she maintained that Giovannetti has never been involved with any of the newspaper’s coverage of her campaign. “I guarantee that if I weren’t a
women nothing like that would have ever happened. But there is this assumption that the only reason that I could possibly be politically influential is because I am sleeping with a journalist, and not because I have political ideas of my own,” she said. Before the vote was counted Thursday, Cohen said he was not overly concerned with any of the conflicts, attributing them to the nature of the political arena. “I can assure you that there are no electoral violations, everything is being managed accordingly. Whatever issues do come up between the parties, obviously we deal with that between those parties and make sure that whatever that issue is, is resolved,” he said. “In regards to the safekeeping of the ballot and the ballot boxes, we take the highest security measures probably in North America,” he added.
McGill alumnus versus Héma-Québec
Adrian Lomaga says Quebec blood bank’s deferral policy regarding homosexuals is discriminatory Henry Gass
The McGill Daily
ix years after initiating a lawsuit against Héma-Quebec, McGill alumnus Adrian Lomaga will meet the provincial bloodbank in court today over what he describes as a “moral injury.” This injury is the result of the lifetime deferral from blood donation Lomaga received after admitting that he had had sex with a man at a Héma-Québec blood drive in 2004. Moral injury is defined in Quebec law as injury to one’s dignity. Lomaga filed his suit for $1,500 in Quebec small claims court under this definition. “At that time I wasn’t really comfortable with my sexual orientation. I thought that the denial of allowing me the opportunity to give blood was an affront to my dignity, I felt like a second class citizen,” said Lomaga. “I felt even worse thinking, ‘I may be gay, this is how I’m going to be treated in society.’” Anyone wishing to donate blood in Canada has to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions asks: “Male donors, have you had sex
even once with another man since 1977?” If donors answer that they have, they are subject to a lifetime deferral from blood donation due to potential risks of infections such as HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C, and syphilis. Heterosexual donors, meanwhile, are subject to a six-month deferral if they’ve had sex with someone whose sexual background they are unsure of. Deferrals are imposed to prevent people who may have contracted dangerous infections recently enough that the infections would pass undetected through biological screening from donating blood. Marc Germain, Vice President (Medical Affairs) for Héma-Québec, would not comment on Lomaga’s suit since it is currently in court. However, he did comment on the reasons behind Héma-Québec’s deferral policy. “In the case of a man who had sex with men, it’s well-recognized, there’s a very wide consensus – not only consensus, but it’s actually a fact – that this particular population is at higher risk, at much higher risk for certain infections that can be transmitted through transfusion, in particular, of course, HIV,”
said Germain. Héma-Québec categorizes incidents like Lomaga’s as an “MSM deferral.” MSM is an acronym for “men who have sex with men.” “We’re using that term because, basically, that is the activity at risk. It’s not the fact that someone is gay or not,” added Germain. “In fact, we do not have similar selection criteria for gay women simply because the sexual activities related to women having sex with women do not entail a risk such as exist with men who have sex with men.” Lomaga argued, however, that improved screening technology has eliminated the need for a lifetime deferral for MSM donors. “The problem is that the tests used to pick up those diseases are no more accurate or no less accurate than when applied to gays or heterosexuals,” said Lomaga. “These tests will pick up the diseases, and if you’re comfortable with a six month deferral period for heterosexuals, well, why isn’t it the same case for gays?” According to Germain, HémaQuébec tried to reduce the length of the MSM deferral to five years in 2009, but the Héma-Québec vigilance committee voted the propos-
al down. “If a man did not have sexual relationship with another man in the last five years he would become eligible for blood donation,” said Germain. “We think that it would be just as safe for the recipients if we were to go in that direction.” Lomaga questioned the impartiality of the Héma vigilance committee. “My understanding is that the Héma vigilance committee is composed of stakeholders – such as the Hemophiliacs Society, and other individuals who are more prone to require blood donations, blood transfusions rather – and they just weren’t comfortable with any possibility of increasing risk into the blood supply,” said Lomaga. Germain also noted that HémaQuébec had to consider the concerns of transfusion recipients. “The system as it is is extremely safe, and any change to a less-safe selection criterion could be detrimental to the recipients, and for those reasons they don’t agree,” he said. “They’re the ones that run the risk, maybe a very small risk, but
they’re the ones who risk this. And why should they accept that there is even a very small increase in risk? And I think we have to listen to those arguments.” Lomaga maintained, however, that there is“no scientific explanation to justify the 33 year deferral period.” “What it boils down to is imposing a standard of perfection on gay and bisexual men, when a much lower standard is applied to heterosexual donors,” he said. Lomaga majored in History and Political Science as an undergraduate at McGill. In 2007, he received a Masters Degree in Law. He has been in contact with organizations in Montreal’s queer community – including Queer McGill – to try and drum up support for his cause. Lomaga said part of this approach would involve trying to determine whether a “reasonable” gay person would find the current ban on MSM donations discriminatory. “Héma-Québec can succeed in winning their case if they can portray me as a super sensitive guy, who is just kind of an oddball activist out there,” he said.
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The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The 2011 campaign trail comes to Montreal David Huehn | The McGill Daily
David Huehn | The McGill Daily
David Huehn | The McGill Daily
Almudena Romero | The McGill Daily
Election campaigning begins with action-packed first week
The candidates, from left to right: Stephen Harper, Gilles Duceppe, Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton. Not pictured: Elizabeth May.
Mari Galloway and Erin Hudson The McGill Daily
he first week of the federal campaign proved to be tumultuous for all five of the major parties. Liberal Michael Ignatieff, Bloc Québécois Gilles Duceppe and Conservative Stephen Harper all visited Montreal last week to kick off the six-week campaign period leading up to the May 2 vote. Following three consecutive minority governments, this will be the fourth federal election in seven years. Harper held a rally Wednesday afternoon, amidst sudden media scrutiny of two of his party’s Montreal-region candidates. Agop Evereklian, the Conservative candidate in Pierrefonds-Dollard riding, replaced his campaign manager Giulio Maturi after Le Devoir made public Maturi’s work in Benoît Labonté’s 2009 mayoral campaign in Montreal. Labonté dropped out of the race for accepting kickbacks from local construction entrepreneur Tony Accurso. The same day, Larry Smith,
the Tory candidate in Lac-Saint-Louis riding, also caused a stir when he said to Le Devoir, “What is important is the world, not the protection of French in Quebec. That’s a thing of the past.” Also on Wednesday, the broadcast consortium organizing the leaders’ debates announced that Green Party leader Elizabeth May will not be included in the debates scheduled for April 12 in English and April 14 in French. May’s exclusion is the result of the Green Party not currently holding a seat in the House of Commons. On Thursday, Duceppe faced backlash against the Bloc when exiting Bloc MP for Northern Quebec, Yvon Lévesque, commented on the Cree background of the riding’s new NDP candidate Romeo Saganash. Lévesque said in an interview to Rue Frontenac that “certain voters will not vote for the NDP now that they have an Aboriginal candidate.” The NDP is now pushing for Lévesque to leave the party for his “very startling comments,” as NDP MP Thomas Mulcair said.
“They are in full flight, not a position [the Bloc] is used to,” Mulcair added. Meanwhile, Harper continued to denounce Ignatieff’s plans for a “reckless,” “illegitimate,” and “dangerous” coalition with opposition leaders despite Ignatieff’s repeated statements he has absolutely no interest in forming a coalition. NDP Thomas Mulcair, who has been an MP in Outremont since 2007, embraced the idea of a coalition of opposition parties. “Jack is the one who proposed the coalition back in 2008 and for us it’s a constant in our political activity,” he said. “This is not any ordinary election we are facing right now. We’ve got to get rid of Harper, we’ve got to be smart about it. That’s why our signs say ‘Work together,’” Mulcair added. Harper’s biggest policy announcement came last Thursday when he announced that if reelected, the Conservative government would seek to complete negotiations on a free trade agreement with the European Union by 2012
and India by 2013. Reaffirming his party’s commitment to the economy, Harper went on to criticize the Liberals’ economic policy. “The choice is clear,” said Harper. “Canadians can choose between a stable national government with a low-tax plan that will create jobs by expanding trade, and Michael Ignatieff’s high-tax agenda that will put our businesses and workers at a severe disadvantage relative to our international competitors.” Subsequently, Michael Ignatieff has been campaigning hard to convince Canadians that his party will focus on “the things that really matter to Canadian families.” He says this includes issues such as education, health care and job creation, but not billion dollar fighter jets. One of the most ambitious promises so far is the Liberal party’s Canadian Learning Passport. “The Canadian Learning Passport is taking a billion dollars and investing it in a registered education savings plan so that every Canadian student that chooses to go to university, college or CEGEP will get a thousand
dollars a year over four years, over $1,500 a year for low-income families,” explained Liberal Youth Critic and MP for Papineau Justin Trudeau. “It’s money upfront, it’s not a tax credit, it’s not reimbursable, it’s $1,000 cash per year towards education.” The plan would do little to address rising tuition fees, however. Other opposition parties, including the NDP, were skeptical of the Liberals’ proposal. “Tuition fees increased four times faster than inflation during the 13 years of Liberal governments,” said Joanne Corbeil, NDP candidate for Westmount-Ville Marie. Liberal candidate for Outremont, Martin Cauchon, defended his party’s platform. “You have to be able to strike the right balance. That’s why I like the Liberal party. We’re not far, far left, we’re not far, far right. We’re in the middle and when needed we go left in order to keep the balance in our society,” said Cauchon. “You can’t have unity among the opposition parties because our standing point is so different.”
Carlos Fuentes: fighting drug cartels will not solve problems Nobel Prize nominee speaks to McGill about law and literature Jane Gatensby News Writer
arlos Fuentes spoke at the McGill Law Journal Annual Conference last Wednesday. “I told my father I wanted to become a writer,” said the 82-yearold writer in French. “He told me, ‘You’ll die of hunger.’” One of Mexico’s foremost literary figures, Fuentes is the author of two-dozen novels and numerous short stories, essays, and plays. He has been suggested as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature several times in the past few years. He is also a journalist, a political commentator, and has
held diplomatic posts with the Mexican government. Fuentes spoke to current Law students Wednesday as a former Law student himself. In English, French, and his native Spanish, he spoke of his education – of teachers, formative experiences, and books. He entertained the crowd, reciting a bawdy monologue about love and lust from the perspective of Niccolò Machiavelli. A diplomat’s son, Fuentes talked of studying the internationalist tradition in Geneva at twenty, discussing matters such as “the tension between the equality of states and the hegemony of big powers,” and working as a junior member of the Mexican delegation of the
International Labour Association. He ended his time in Geneva as secretary to the Mexican member of the international law commission of the United Nations, continuing his internationalist education. Fuentes returned to literary pursuits while writing about issues of will in his law thesis. “The heart of the country was calling me and saying ‘Please, write for me,’” he explained. Asked what makes a good writer, Fuentes responded, “Dilligence. I get up at 6:30 or seven, and start writing at eight. I work from eight to twelve, read all afternoon, then go to the movies. ... I don’t wait for inspiration from the heavens.” Law and literature, he says, are
similar in that they are both “part of the civilizing process,” in contrast to events like the “tremendous violence” of the Mexican Revolution, which were part of the “de-civilizing” process. On the subject of the drugrelated violence that is plaguing many areas of Mexico, he said that “forbidding drugs and fighting the cartels violently will not solve the problems. We’re not offering alternatives to drug consumption. It is more than a criminal act. We need to start thinking of new policies and go forward with small steps.” Concerning Mexican migration, he attested that, “It is the problem of Mexico, of Latin America, to retain our workers. ... Some people
leave, but most people stay. Latin America is moving, it is not an empty continent. ” Fuentes called for a “reformed” United Nations to better equip us for the realities of the 21st century. “What can we say about the future, knowing that it is changing so quickly?” he asked the audience. “We’re going to see a lot of things we have never thought about before.” “I ignored completely what was going to happen in Northern Africa,” he added. “This came as an enormous surprise...we had no inkling! The fact that there are societies that are forming themselves in order to act democratically – this is going to be a major factor in building this century’s politics.”
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
FEDERAL ELECTIONS 2011
Meet your local candidates PAPINEAU
Chopra has been working in the public sector with various community organizations for thirty years. “Prime Minister Harper has shown a lot of confidence in cultural communities. The Conservative Party and Mr. Harper asked me to run for this riding and I took the challenge,” Chopra said, explaining how she became a candidate for the Conservatives. She noted that she had not always been a supporter of the Conservatives. “For the last 17 years I’ve been supporting the Liberals but they haven’t given us anything. They never offer us anything,” she said. “There are great people in this riding [and] they need a lot of help. They need a worker and I really want to work for them,” Chopra said. One of her plans if elected include giving 25 per cent of her salary towards causes such as providing basic items to new immigrants. Other issues Chopra plans to address include language learning and the plight of small businesses. She described voter sentiment as being “energized,” and expressed her desire to use her candidacy to inspire women in the Indo-Canadian community. “We need the women and the youth to come out and participate in politics, so here I am inspiring them and telling them to come out and vote this time,” she said.
Shama Chopra, Conservative
Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party The current MP for the Papineau riding, Justin Trudeau believes that the economy and democracy will be the two major issues of this campaign. Locally he hopes to gain support by making it a priority to be knowledgeable of the issues and accessible. As the Liberal Youth critic, Trudeau says that he is pushing very hard for the development of a national youth policy. For him, a strong step toward that is the announcement of the Liberal’s Canadian Learning Passport, an initiative that offers Canadian university, college, or CEGEP students a thousand dollars annually over four years. Trudeau says that he will also continue prioritizing fighting youth apathy in his politics. “Young people are idealists and we need to reach out to that idealism in order to bring them into the political conversations and strengthen our capacity to actually address the big problems,” he said.
Vivian Barbot, Bloc Québécois Barbot was elected the MP of Papineau riding in 2006. She served in various capacities for the party until elections in 2008, when Liberal Justin Trudeau won the riding. Barbot later became Vice President of the Bloc in 2009. Apart from Bloc politics, Barbot has served as the general director for the la Fédération des femmes du Québec and as president of Fédération des enseignantes et enseignants de cégeps. Barbot worked as a language teacher; she is fluent in French, English, Haitian Creole and Spanish. “We see the enthusiasm of people,” Barbot said after campaigning with Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe at Jean Talon market recently. “It’s a long time that we’ve had enough with the government of fear and I think that it is really necessary to do something.” Barbot was born in Haiti and has worked closely with large Haitian community in Montreal. She is the first Haitian woman to be elected to Canadian Parliament.
Irwin Cotler, Liberal
The following candidates were contacted, but were not available for comment: - Élise Daoust, Bloc Québecois, Outremont - Garbriel Dumais, Bloc Québecois, Mont Royal - Brian Sarwer-Foner, Green Party, Mont Royal - Saulie Zajdel, Conservative, Mont Royal - Marcos Tejada, NDP, Papineau - Danny Polifroni, Green Party, Papineau
Jeff Itcush, NDP Mount Royal is one of the youngest ridings in Quebec. As a result, Jeff Itcush – the NDP candidate for the riding – is prioritizing the needs of young Canadians. “I’m taking a lot of my orders from young people, and enjoying it immensely because they are on the cutting edge,” he said. However, as well as being a youth driven riding, Itcush emphasized that Mount Royal is also a very pluralistic community, home to many new Canadians. As a result, the integration of cultural communities into the job market and the streamlining of a more humane immigration system are all high on Itcush’s list of priorities. For Itcush, one of the biggest issues facing young people is the decreasing accessibility to education as a result of tuition hikes. Itcush and the NDP are proposing the reinstatement of federal transfer payments, cut under the Chrétien government, as a solution to this problem. “The shortfall in revenues for the universities is coming as a result in part, and to a large part in the reduction of those transfer payments,” he said. “You also have to keep in mind that the NDP has really campaigned for the reduction of tuition fees,” he added.
Cotler, an internationally known human rights lawyer and former McGill Law Professor, was first elected in Mont Royal in 1999, and served as Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General between 2003 and 2006. Cotler said his priorities reflected those of his riding. He explained his practice of holding “open mic nights” to consult his constituents and garner their feedback on issues. Cotler explained the objectives of the new Liberal Canadian Learning Passport. “We want to reduce barriers. The overall objective is to build the besteducated and most highly skilled work force in world. It’s part of a larger strategy,” he said. Cotler also said that taxes would not be levied as a result. “When you’ve got $15 billion going to mega prisons, or you’ve got $30 billion going for untendered Stealth 130 fighters, the $1 billion is very easy to find,” he added. Cotler said he was disappointed by the lack of accountability on the part of the Conservatives. He plans to “help restore integrity to Parliament.” “We would bring better ethics and governance.”
Who you are actually voting for
In an an incre being th “I wa which ar Spea students is seriou Corb much fa Rega Ville-Ma “Our non-con Refer Quebec
The Green Party platform is consistent with the platform that the party ran with in the 2008 election. Pilon said that the ideas are not new in themselves, but pointed to their consistency as in line with what he believes is the need for a long-term philosophy to emerge within government. “Every time there is an election the government itself is on stop for elections – and in the past four or five years it’s been three elections, so there isn’t much time to decide what is the best for the future and the future generation,” he said. Pilon also emphasized the importance of getting young people involved in politics especially because it is young people who will end up paying for the consequences of decisions made now. “What I would like to have is one or two candidates from the Green Party elected to be able to change a little bit the behaviour that is happening in the House of Commons,” he said.
Thomas Mulcair, NDP Mulcair served as the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks from 2003 to 2006 and was a Liberal representative to the Quebec National Assembly for 13 years. He has sat as the MP for the riding of Outremont since 2007. Speaking to the problem of low voter turnout among a younger generation, Mulcair said that it is the “number one problem” with over 60 per cent of 18-25 year olds who did not vote in the 2008 elections. Though he noted that “the discourse of the NDP around sustainable development is something that connects a lot with younger people.” Mulcair stated that pursuing the NDP’s agenda within the context of Quebec means engaging with issues traditionally associated with the Bloc. “Our approach is that we want to create winning conditions for Canada within Quebec,” he said. In response to the Liberals’ Canadian Student Passport, Mulcair was skeptical. “The Liberals are not in a position to speak with any credibility with what they’ll do on post-secondary education,” he said. “They settled their budgetary problems on the backs of students across Canada. That’s the reality of the Liberal record.”
Rodolphe Husny, Conservative For Husny, education, infrastructure and the economy are top priorities for this election. As the Conservative Candidate for the Outremont riding since 2009, Husny is a strong advocate for youth engagement and social inclusion within Montreal. According to Husny, a good example of the Conservative Party’s commitment to both the economy and education is Canada’s Action Plan, which has invested millions of dollars in upgrading infrastructure across university campuses. “It’s really giving good infrastructure and good technology so that those students can have the skills to be as innovative as possible, so that when they join the workforce they are as efficient as possible,” he said. While Husny sees this as an “unnecessary” election, he also feels that it’s a good opportunity for the Conservative’s to achieve a majority government. “We shouldn’t be in election right now. We should be working, the ministers should be in Ottawa working to make sure that we continue this fragile recovery,” he said. “I’ve been a candidate for nearly 19 months and people are fed up with an election…it’s time that we do what we think is best. I’ve been told by the people that is to focus on the economy, and that’s what the government wants to do,” he added.
François Pilon, Green Party
Martin Cauchon, Liberal Party Martin Cauchon has returned to run as the Liberal candidate in the Outremont riding because he feels the Harper government is leading Canada in the wrong direction. “We need to protect our country, our values, our social safety net. I believe that the government has a role to play in our nation,” he said. “The way they [the Conservatives] look at government is not the way that most Canadians look at government.” Cauchon reiterated that the Liberal party was not interested in forming a coalition, and instead highlighted their ability as a centre party to balance the interests of a wide range of Canadians. “If you want to stop Harper, I believe you should vote for the Liberal party. You should vote for the alternative. During this campaign our leader and our party will show that we are ready to go back in power,” he said. Cauchon insisted that there is no one issue that defines the Outremont riding, but pointed to immigration as one overarching theme. Cauchon spoke of his desire to address the needs of students, seniors and individuals of all occupations.
Victor Tangermann, Mari Galloway and Erin Hudson | The McGill Daily
Marc Garneau, the Liberal critic for Industry, Science and Technology, is running for re-election in the Westmount–Ville-Marie riding. Nationally, Garneau wants to focus social programs with an emphasis on education and environmental sustainability. “The Canada of tomorrow has to be as educated as possible,” he said. “I have a commitment that Canada should take its responsibility…I’m a committed environmentalist.” Garneau highlighted the importance of having healthy infrastructure in the Westmount–Ville-Marie riding. Although he acknowledged that infrastructure is largely a municipal responsibility, he emphasized the need for proper federal funding in this area. Locally, the emphasis is also on preserving the unique aspects of the riding, including its universities, research hospital and cultural community. “It’s a vibrant cultural community,” he said. “Whether it’s painting and sculpture, or writers, or dance or music … we have to support our arts.”
Andrew Carkner, Green Party Carkner attributed more serious sentiments toward voting to recent events in the Middle East, but said he does not think this will have a big impact on the election process. “People come out, they vote, they use their voice and then, when the dust is settled, the government is exactly the same,” said Carkner. Carkner pointed out several structural flaws in the voting system that were implemented by Harper in the last five years, including heightened secrecy laws. He explained the “true democracy” plank of the Party platform and reforms that are aiming to “bring back more democracy.” The Green Party campaign has changed its campaign strategy since the 2008 elections, when Carkner says the strategy was to spread resources across the country. This election the plan is to focus resources and have different party wings organize themselves independently. According to Carkner, the Green Party has “traditionally” been a phenomenon in English Canada and had trouble rendering their message to a French Canadian demographic.v “Now that we have Quebeckers...running their own campaigns on issues that Quebeckers care about, we’re seeing much more understanding and much more support of the Green Party,” he said.
e Corbeil, NDP
n email to The Daily, Corbeil explained the NDP’s platform as “a financial ease on everyone’s wallet” and ease in “front line health care.” She pointed specifically to students, families, and small businesses as he main beneficiaries of the platform. ant to support local initiatives and find ways for local groups to take full advantage of federal programs, re not always known, understood or easy to find.” aking to student tuition increases, she stated, “Education is key to ensure the future of our country. If s must deal with financial problems over and above spending over 12 hours a day studying, our future usly jeopardized.” beil said she plans to keep her constituents up-to-date on all her campaign activities, giving them as ace-time as possible. arding the opposition, Corbeil addressed Prime Minister Harper and Liberal candidate for Westmount– arie, Marc Garneau, in turn. r country needs a unifying leader, not a leader who divides the country with fear. Also, the motion of nfidence clearly shows that [Harper] doesn’t have much respect for our democratic institutions.” rencing a Globe and Mail article from March 7, Corbeil pointed out, “Among the top ten MPs from c who missed the most votes in the House of Commons, you find... PLC’s Marc Garneau!”
Marc Garneau, Liberal
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Véronique Roy, Bloc Québécois Roy is a teacher representing the Bloc. In regards to the toppling of the Harper government, Roy said, “To stay in power without the support of other parties – it makes no sense. … It’s not a question of the budget. It’s really a question of what has happened with the elected government.” Regarding tuition hikes, Roy stated that the provincial issue was outside the jurisdiction of the federal Bloc. However, she added that “the Bloc would like there to be financing of the education network and would also like the government to stop intervening in the jurisdictions that are not their own.” Roy noted that the Bloc’s platform has facets that are applicable to any voter. She highlighted immigration and refugee policies as examples of this, but did not dilute the sovereignist nature of the party. “The Bloc is really the only party to defend Quebec’s interests at the federal level,” she said.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
#ssmupocalypse The Daily’s News team reflects on this year’s SSMU executive
he SSMU executive has been an adventure for the News editors this year. The team had a strong start, uniting against the closure of the Arch Café. Ultimately, however, a talented executive – readily available to student media – had difficulty overcoming internal divisions, which overshadowed a largely productive and groundbreaking year with dramatic and polarizing internal divisions. President Zach Newburgh began his term by fending off allegations from the McGill chapter of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights in a Judicial Board case, and is ending it amidst threats of a second case leveled by fellow executive Myriam Zaidi. Newburgh has been a visible President all year, and brought the issue of the Arch Café closure to Senate, trying determinedly but unsuccessfully to engage the administration. Reforming the General Assembly was a yearlong goal of Newburgh’s, but his introduction of a motion to abolish the process entirely – and failing to inform three of his fellow executives – was cause for concern (although it has led to attempts at reform), and splintered the executive. The revelation that Newburgh had been working in confidence with internet startup jobbook.com irreparably split the
executive, and alienated multiple Councillors. SSMU’s newfound focus on transparency, as well as campuswide debate about structures of policies and procedures, will help future executives avoid the mistakes that plagued Newburgh’s term. VP University Affairs Josh Abaki may have been one of the strongest executives this year. Abaki started out the year by helping to form the Student Consultation and Communication Working Group during the Arch Café aftermath, followed through on his campaign promise to extend library opening hours, and, just last week, succeeded in extending 2011-2012 Winter break to January 9. Additionally, he was as unequivocal in his opinion on the Jobbook controversy as any executive. Abaki could have worked to educate students better on the SRI, and questioned McGill’s ad hoc decision to accept pro bono work from two McKinsey and Co. consultants more rigorously, but overall Abaki has been a tireless and effective VP University Affairs. With his main initiatives being the organization of events like Homecoming and two Four Floors parties, VP Internal Tom Fabian has spent much of the year under The Daily’s radar. Fabian has overseen a complete revamp of frosh activi-
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ties for next year, changing Frosh to Orientation Week, with a greater focus on leadership and introduction to McGill rather than drinking. Fabian’s engagement with SSMU Council was minimal at best, but he contributed to the division on SSMU Council later in the year, through his defense of Newburgh and his support of the motion to abolish the GA. In his campaign for VP Finance and Operations, Nick Drew highlighted three main priorities: to streamline the SSMU budget and increase its transparency, negotiate the expiring lease agreementsfor the Shatner Building, and continue ethical investing. Two major campus initiatives under Drew’s purview are Gerts and SSMU Mini Courses, both of which were managed successfully, with the help of a professional marketing consultant. Though a revitalized Faculty Olympics suffered a loss of about $2,000, the event was reported to be money well-spent, and Drew has capably maintained SSMU’s financial security. VP External Myriam Zaidi has struggled against both student apathy and the stonewalling Quebec government and McGill administration this year, but has enjoyed a great deal of success nonetheless. Her victories include organizing a strong McGill presence at the two biggest tuition hike protests of the year – the December 6 rally in Quebec City and the March 12 rally downtown – and the launch of info-site tuitiontruth. ca. While Zaidi has been open with the student press all year, she could have made a greater effort to engage
with students who are less informed on the issues in her portfolio, and gone to greater lengths to explain why students should protest, instead of just stressing that they should. With campaign promises focusing on student service and improving student space on campus, VP Clubs and Services Anushay Khan has delivered. In the wake of the Arch Café, Khan was proactive in helping Midnight Kitchen create an ad hoc student lounge and study space in the Shatner ballroom. The portfolio is one that tends to lend itself to concrete results being achieved on alter-
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nating years, but Khan has overseen the renovation of the student lounge and the break-out room in Shatner, as well as retrofitting the lighting in the cafeteria to improve its sustainability. She is currently working on a plan to install student-accessible computers within the building, and has worked to protect the McGill name for student clubs and services. Despite a minor hiccup with Midnight Kitchen, when provincial license misunderstandings caused it to be closed for a day, Khan has managed what is possibly the hardest portfolio with the least concern.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Repairs, not reconstruction, for Champlain Bridge Project takes on new role as election campaign begins Jordan Venton-Rublee News Writer
epairs to the surrounding Champlain Bridge, the busiest bridge in Canada and an economic lifeline for the area, has become a hot button issue in local political campaign ahead of the May 2 federal election. The bridge has needed repairs since 2000, and there has been significantly increased repair work in the last three years. Yet, it is becoming apparent that repairs will not be sufficient, and local politicians have begun to lobby the government in hopes that a durable solution will be found. Larry Smith, Conservative Party candidate for the Lac-St-Louis riding, announced on March 18 that the government would be adding an additional $158 million to the prior $212 million in funding that was announced in 2009. There has been no announcement of plans to build a new bridge. Given the upcoming elections,
some have interpreted the funding pledge as an attempt by the Conservatives to gain seats in Quebec. “It was pretty insulting,” said Shawn Murphy spokesperson for Alexandra Mendes, Liberal MP for the Brossard-La Prairie riding. “We all know we need funds for repairs, but they made a big show of this announcement when it didn’t make much of a difference.” Catherine Bérubé, spokesperson for the office of Catherine St-Hilaire, the mayor of Longueil, compared the efforts to repair the bridge to “putting a plaster in a big injury. It’s not really durable.” “We are asking for a new bridge now because we need to stop patching and start finding solutions,” she said. Deputy Mayor of Brossard Alexander Plante explained the time sensitivity of constructing a new bridge. “They have to be ready to announce the construction of a new bridge now so it can be ready in ten years,” said Plante. This echoes a report from the Delcan Corporation, which con-
ducted an in-depth study on the safety of the bridge. The study concluded that the deficiencies and associated risks with the bridge would warrant its replacement as soon as possible, with ongoing repair work needed in order for the bridge to remain safe. Jean-Vincent Lacroix is a spokesperson for Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, which is handling the Champlain project. Lacroix said he was aware of the calls for a new bridge, but that multiple options for a long-term solution should be considered. “We need to think of the future of the bridge,” said Lacroix. “Our main goal is to finish the studies in the next few weeks and give them to the government that will be in place after the coming election.” According to Bérubé, both Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff have pledged their support for the bridge’s reconstruction. The Conservatives have yet to announce anything other than monetary support for repairs, though that may change as May 2 nears.
Lindsay Cameron for The McGill Daily
The Champlain Bridge has been under repair for 11 years.
Quebec sovereigntist website PGSS votes to increase condemned for anti-semitism health services fee
Vigile.net received over $1,000 in donations from PQ
n March 25, McGill’s graduate students approved two referendum questions that will enact major changes to the PGSS health and dental plan and raise the student fee to improve service at McGill Mental Health Services (MMHS). The health plan costs will rise 14 per cent to a total of $413.50 per year. The PGSS council drafted the referendum questions based on recommendations made by its Health and Wellness Committee (HAWC). The PGSS’s health and dental plan, which automatically enrolls every full-time Canadian graduate student, is voted on every year by students in order to be renewed. The PGSS’s Health Commissioner and HAWC chair, Jonathan Mooney, had promised to review the plan while campaigning for his post last year. “This year, because of an increase in claims in the prior year, it was predicted that the costs [of the health plan] would increase substantially,” said Mooney. “One
of mandates of the Health and Wellness Committee is to make sure health plan costs don’t become onerous to the members of the PGSS. We have to try to control those costs.” The committee decided to reduce or remove coverage of certain medical services. Coverage of biological drugs, which treat major illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis, will be maintained despite climbing costs while low and frequent coverage for eyeglasses and contacts will be reduced. PGSS’s Student Service Fee was also raised to improve the level of care graduates receive from MMHS. In 2008, graduate students rejected a fee increase that undergraduates accepted, resulting in a disparity in how the two groups are received at MMHS exists. Graduates face longer waiting times and no access to the staff hired as a result of the fee increase. The issue came to the attention of Elizabeth Cawley, the HAWC’s liaison to McGill’s Mental Health Advisory Board, who encouraged HAWC to propose changes to the PGSS council last year.
The McGill Daily
ro-sovereignty website vigile. net was condemned last week by Liberal Quebec National Assembly (MNA) member Lawrence Bergman for publishing a controversial article claiming Jews were not “true Québécois.” Bergman put forth a motion denouncing the comments and calling on the Parti Québécois (PQ) members who donated to the site to stop their financial support. The PQ did not sign onto the motion. The website published an article on March 23 entitled “Are there any Québécois Jews?” The piece claims that there are no Jews who are real Quebecois because, among other reasons, they do not speak French with the right accent, do not subscribe to French newspapers like La Presse, and do not recognize famous French figures. Some comments on the website include declarations that Jews “control the banks” and caused the recent financial crisis. “The Quebec I know and love is tolerant, accepting, and against
all forms of racism. This is the Quebec that my party believes in… we must stand up and condemn the site because nobody in our society should tolerate anti-Semitism or racism,” said Bergman. Several PQ MNAs, including Bernard Drainville, Agnès Maltais and Louise Beaudoin, have donated a total of more than $1,000 to vigile.net. “The leadership in our society should show that this [hate speech] is not acceptable. The PQ didn’t sign on to the motion, and we have to ask, ‘Who are they trying to protect? Are they trying to protect the radicals in their party and certain MNAs?” said Bergman. PQ house leader Stéphane Bédard said in a Gazette story that he would not condemn the website based on a few articles. “I would never condemn people who have at heart to spread profound ideas and reflections on Quebec, on its society and its future, for what I would call a marginal number of texts,” Bédard told the Gazette. This issue speaks to tensions within Quebec between the Montreal Jewish community and
other groups, including francophone nationalists. Earlier this year, six Montreal Jewish institutions were vandalized, causing damage to four synagogues, a Jewish school and a daycare center. In 2004, Montreal’s United Talmud Torah School was firebombed. A 2009 League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada report to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism showed that incidents of anti-Semitism have been rising in Canada. In 2008, 1,135 anti-Semitic incidents were reported, increasing 8.9 per cent from 2007. There were also 405 reports of hate incidents online, an increase of 30 per cent from the previous year. According to Bergman, however, relations between Montreal’s Jewish and francophone communities are fine. “The relationship between the Jewish community and the Québécois society are good. There are always examples of anti-Semitism or intolerance or racism, but this is not something that is predominant. When it happens from time to time, we must stand up and condemn it,” he said.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Student equity panel condemns “Too Asian?” article Maclean’s says incident is “all in the past” despite calls for funding cuts from community groups Eric Wen
The McGill Daily
n March 26, a panel discussion titled “Too Asian? And Beyond: Stereotypes and Representation of Asian North Americans in the Media” was held as part of the Equity and the Media Conference. The conference was cohosted by the Equity Committees of SSMU and PGSS. The panel was held amidst nationwide condemnation of Maclean’s November 2010 “Too Asian?” article, which addressed the increased enrolment of Asian students in Canadian universities. McGill students and Montreal communities are circulating a petition to pull Maclean’s $1.5 million in federal funding. Ed Lee, a coordinator and panelist of the “Too Asian? And Beyond”
discussion, said the panel “was a good way to start a conversation and a dialogue around the issues,” and to raise awareness. Following the publication of the “Too Asian?” article in November, groups from across the country formed the Community Coalition for the Elimination of Anti-Asian Racism, and drafted an open letter to the magazine asking for a public apology. In response, Maclean’s sent the Coalition a letter, demanding an apology and a retraction of their open letter. The magazine wrote that the Coalition’s letter was a “deliberate and obscene misrepresentation of Maclean’s journalism” and that it was “clearly objectionable and…defamatory.” The magazine’s legal counsel, who authored the letter, could not be reached for comment. In December, the Coalition
organized a petition to pull federal funding from Maclean’s. Karen Sun, Executive Director of the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) – a member of the Coalition – expressed why they felt the need to start the petition. “We’ve tried to have conversations with Maclean’s; we invited Maclean’s to attend a community forum so that they could actually speak to the community directly, [but] they don’t seem to be interested in talking to us. So we’re talking to the government,” said Sun. “It would be great to have a national magazine that actually represents the views of the Canadian public in the broadest sense, [but] I’m part of the Canadian public and I’m not happy that my taxpayer dollars are going to a magazine that’s offending me,” she continued. As stated in the petition, the
SUS election criticized for unfair treatment of candidates
The McGill Daily
The McGill Daily
Henry Gass } The McGill Daily
SUS elections were run by outgoing executives this year. dealing with subtle interpretations of the rules, “you’re going to be more lenient with your friends than with other people.” None of the winning candidates received sanctions, though nearly every other candidate did. The candidate that spoke to The Daily did not file a complaint because they felt that there was not enough hard evidence to support a case. In the future, however, “there’s no way that people on SUS should be running [elections],” the candidate said. Ingrid Tam, a candidate for VP Communications, agreed with
these sentiments. “I hope that by coming forth, changes can be made so that any individual who has the initiative and courage to run for a position can do so,” Tam said. “I am currently meeting with members of the SUS general council to suggest amendments to electoral bylaws, in hopes of moving in a positive direction.” The issue was presented at General Council on March 31. Council amended some aspects of the SUS Constitution, and plans to issue an open letter explaining the situation in the near future.
government has set up a grant with funding guidelines that state that if a publication prints offensive materials, it will become ineligible for funding. “We want to ensure that…the rules are being followed,” said Sun. A spokesperson from Maclean’s declined to comment, saying Maclean’s sees the incident as “all in the past.” Lee estimates that he has close to 150 signatures; 25 signatures are required for submission to an MP. “We’re going to try to do it before the election,” said Lee. “If we are able to get at least 150 or more signatures, then we can send it before May 2 and perhaps write a little note attached to it that says that we’re also paying attention to the elections that are coming up. I think that it’s good timing.”
Abaki announces longer winter break Maya Shoukri
anagement of the recent Science Undergraduate Society (SUS) election has resulted in allegations of unfair treatment of candidates. Two current SUS executives, President Dara Djafarian and VP Academic Heather Johnson, acted as Chief Returning Officers (CROs) after the resignation of the appointed CRO, Andaleeb Shariff. Shariff resigned from her position in order to run for VP External. The CRO is responsible for running and administering elections. According to Djafarian, graduating members of SUS are allowed to act as CROs. “Technically there’s only supposed to be one [CRO] but I decided to have two, I decided to appoint Heather as co-CRO,” said Djafarian. “I felt it was a good idea to have another party so that all the decisions didn’t come from me.” Concerns stemmed from the fact that candidates included two of Djafarian and Johnson’s fellow SUS executives, Akshay Rajaram and Maria Zamfir. Rajaram, outgoing VP External, won the presidential race. Zamfir, the current VP Communications, was reelected to her position. One candidate, who did not wish to be identified by name, said that while “technically, every single rule was followed,” some participants felt that rules governing the elections were interpreted differently for various candidates. “[The CROs] tried to be impartial,” said the candidate. But, when
Ministry of Canadian Heritage can revoke funding from periodicals for publishing offensive content that denigrates identifiable groups. The Coalition feels that Maclean’s has a history of publishing offensive materials. Among its complaints are an article about corruption in Quebec, and articles that the Coalition deemed “Islamophobic.” Janet Lumb, a panelist at the discussion and director of Accès Asie – a Montreal Asian heritage festival spoke to The Daily. “They don’t say that about Harper, they don’t say that about Michael Ignatieff, they don’t make these proclamations with the more established,” she said. “Maclean’s is supposed to be more representative of the Canadian population, but it’s picking on minority organizations and minorities…to provoke and sell.” According to Sun, the federal
he penultimate meeting of SSMU Legislative Council took place last Thursday, where VP University Affairs Joshua Abaki announced that the 20112012 winter break will be extended for McGill students. Students will not return to class until January 9. To allow for this, evening exams will be administered during the final examination period. In his report to Council, VP Finance and Operations Nick Drew expressed concern about the increasing number of students opting out of SSMU fees. In an interview with The Daily, he noted that the opt-out rate increased by roughly 3 per cent over the past year, and suggested that the QPIRG Opt-Out campaign has played a role in this. “The QPIRG opt-out is spilling over into all of the groups. People are just randomly opting out of things without making an informed decision…It makes SSMU look bad. Opt-out campaigns are hurting everyone across the board,” Drew said. Drew also discussed Gerts’ upcoming renovations, since recent cost estimates exceeded
the expected budget for the project by $300,000. Multiple councillors, including Clubs and Services Representative Max Zidel, expressed concern about the financial feasibility of the endeavour. “I actually don’t think [SSMU has] the money. I’m under the impression that it doesn’t exist. We’re committed to several other projects right now from CERF [Capital Expenditure Reserve Fund]...I think [Gerts] is a huge part of campus life, we just don’t have the money,” Zidel said at Council. Drew explained that Gerts is a priority for SSMU, noting that the Society has already paid $8000 in architect fees for the project. He went on to emphasize the bar’s increased revenues this year, and stressed its importance for student life. The approval of an increased budget for bar renovations was ultimately tabled. Simon Gosselin, who is running for Secretary General of Quebec Student Roundtable, and Lauran Ayotte, running for Vice-Secretary General, were present at Council. The candidates presented their goals for next year, but voting on the subject was postponed due to a loss of quorum.
Coltrane, Fitzgerald, Thelonius, Armstrong: Thank you for the music.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
McGill professors fight sensationalizing of Japan disaster Slow response, insufficient resources blamed for misrepresentations in Western media Mari Galloway
The McGill Daily
rofessors at McGill and Concordia are working to translate Japanese media coverage of the recent disaster in Japan to supplement major gaps they seenin mainstream Western media coverage. They believe that Western reporting on Japan’s triple disaster – earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident – was crippled by a lack of preparedness and journalistic resources in Japan. The consequences of which have been a reporting style from some media outlets which sensationalizes and generalizes the Japanese experience. “Part of the initial problem was that they wanted to report on this event but they didn’t have anyone who could speak Japanese, so then they start, you know, madly scrambling around looking for people and they picked really strange people,” said Thomas Lamarre, a
professor in McGill’s department of East Asian Studies. “It seemed like their lack of ability to get anyone to speak helped shape the kinds of things they would say subsequently,” he added. The idea of the Japanese as stoic, or having samurai-like qualities, surfaced early in stories such as ABC’s “Nuclear samurai recalls meltdown struggle” or the Melbourne Herald Sun’s “Japan nuclear crisis: Atomic samurai not afraid to die.” “Their experience is being generalized in two ways: the emphasis on their Japanese-ness – going much further with the samurai cliches than the more subdued Japanese press has – and a hesitance to interrupt the heroic narrative,” said Matthew Penney an associate professor at Concordia specializing in Japanese history. Reducing the Japanese experience to cliches overshadows important issues and trivializes the significance of the individual’s experience, explained Lamarre. “It gives you this huge distance, this kind of mastery of knowledge.
It objectifies people, it takes real courage and transforms it into national narrative,” he said. “Obviously it portrays this really kind of simple picture of what the Japanese are like that is easy to digest for foreigners, like ‘Oh, all Japanese are stoic, so this is how they are going to deal with things,” he added. Striking a balance between accessibility and accuracy is a long-standing battle in journalism. Ian MacDougall, a Canadian freelance journalist in Japan, said it’s difficult for journalists to not simplify their coverage. “Television, in particular, is always up against the attention span of its audience. If that audience has a broken leg in its understanding of Japan, you need to give them crutches. Newspapers can do more, but there are only so many column inches available,” he wrote in an email to The Daily. MacDougall also pointed to financial constraints placed on news bureaus. “Ideally, you would have a large number of experienced full-time
reporters and a network of stringers, all who are fluent in Japanese and well-connected in the community. You would also have a desk staff back home that had the wit, the experience, and the time to background themselves on the area,” said MacDougall. “That never happens, of course; you go with what you have, and you react as best you can to what is coming across the desk.” Stephen Northfield, the foreign editor for the Globe and Mail, acknowledged the dangers of gross generalizations, but maintained that contextualizing a country’s unique social or political contexts is one of the great insights that foreign correspondents can provide their readership. “I would agree with the criticism that if people drop the idea that Japanese people are stoic people culturally and so nobody is going to be showing any emotion or any sort of concern about this and that. If anybody made a sort of blanket statement that’s obviously not true,” said Northfield. “I think if people said that gen-
erally speaking there is a political context of stoicism, and I think that it is probably accurate that politically there is a tendency for them to try and present the face of calm and assurance that we saw,” he added Most recently, the political and social response concerning the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has dominated Western media at the expense of much of the humanitarian context. “The media outside Japan has been overemphasizing the nuclear accident,” said Penney. “Coverage from some corners has been seeking to contradict Japanese government and TEPCO accounts, not to help resolve the problem.” MacDougall agreed that the nuclear accident has eclipsed most other news from Japan. “A few things have thus got lost in the shuffle...for example some of the good news, such as how quickly road, rail, and air links are being restored,” he said. “The effect has been a lot of sensationalized fear-mongering.”
Coalition rallying to close Quebec’s only nuclear plant Nuclear Safety Commission to review Hydro-Québec’s proposed refurbishments Henry Gass
The McGill Daily
n nine days, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will entertain public opinion on proposed refurbishments to Quebec’s only nuclear power plant, the Gentilly-2 plant, in Bécancour. Hydro-Québec has slated nearly $2 billion for work on the plant. A coalition – including Greenpeace Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and the Parti Québécois – is criticizing the proposal, claiming that the power plant is dangerous to the environment and human health, as well as being an unnecessary fiscal burden. “Quebec has no need for the risks associated with rebuilding Gentilly,” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Nuclear Analyst for Greenpeace Canada. Opened in 1982 outside TroisRivières, Gentilly-2 currently provides 3 per cent of Quebec’s electricity. Hyro-Québec’s planned refurbishments would replace the nuclear reactor inside the plant, which has been in use since it first opened. According to Stensil, the CANDU reactor – the type of reactor used in all 22 nuclear reactors in Canada – is comprised of 380 “pressure tubes” that host the nuclear reactions. These tubes create heat, which is turned into steam and harvested by turbines to make electricity. However, Stensil said the pipes
were increasingly likely to bend or crack, considering that the pipes are over 25 years old and are in a highly irradiated environment. “Your probability of accident is going up the longer they run this plant. … So they have to basically rebuild it; it’s a heart transplant,” he said. According to Stensil, the principal reason for the steep price tag is the delicate and dangerous nature of the proposed refurbishments. “It’s a highly radioactive environment; that’s one of the reasons it costs so much,” Stensil said. “You have a maximum dose [of radiation] that you’re allowed to have as a nuclear worker, so you can’t be in there very long. So it means you have to hire a lot of workers, or spend more money on really expensive robots, that also break.” Hydro-Québec needs approval from the CNSC to begin the refurbishment project. The CNSC will hold a public hearing on April 13 and 14. Aurèle Gervais, spokesperson for the CNSC, emphasized that the Commission’s responsibility is to protect the health of the workers, the public, and the environment. “We listen to all information that is presented to the Commission, whether it be from CNSC staff, Hydro-Québec, and the public, and based on that information there is a decision made,” said Gervais. “Our role is to make sure that the work that is going to be carried out is done safely, to protect the workers, the public and the environment.” Financial concerns are central to the argument against the
refurbishment. According to Karel Mayrand, Quebec director general for the David Suzuki Foundation, a similar refurbishment project in New Brunswick at a twin power plant, the Point Laperle project, is two years behind schedule and already $1 billion over the initial projected cost. “I think [Gentilly-2] is a crazy idea, financially,” said Mayrand. “HydroQuébec is telling us that they’re going to refurbish Gentilly for $2 billion. We could expect $3 billion, we could expect more than this.” Gervais said the financial aspect of the refurbishment project was “not something that [the CNSC] take into consideration,” although Stensil questioned the impartiality of Canada’s federal nuclear power regulator. “We have a lot of problems with the [CNSC],” he said. Stensil described how, in 2008, the Harper government had fired CNSC president Linda Keen “for applying modern safety standards to reactors in Canada,” putting the independence of the CNSC into question. He also said that he had acquired correspondences between Hydro-Québec and the CNSC from 2004, where Hydro-Québec told the CNSC that “the economic case for refurbishing for Gentilly was… weak.” Stensil said Hydro-Québec’s correspondences implied the company wanted the CNSC to “loosen the safety requirements so the project would be economical.” “So here is a very important point: there’s a conflict of interest between safety and cost, and
reducing the cost of Hydro-Québec means increasing the accident risks for Quebeckers,” said Stensil. In a press conference on March 24, Hydro-Québec President Thierry Vandal said they were following developments in refurbishment projects at twin power plants at Point Laperle in New Brunswick and in South Korea, as well as at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Daiichi plant in Japan has been struggling to prevent a meltdown in several reactors since the country was hit with a massive earthquake on March 11. “We’re going to provide all the information that is required by the government to provide a thoughtful and informed decision on this very, very important project,” said Vandal. Both Stensil and Mayrand attributed part of the survival of nuclear energy in Quebec and across Canada to an effective government lobbying effort. However, neither Stensil nor Mayrand could give a clear answer as to why HydroQuébec is choosing to continue to rely on nuclear power, when less expensive and safer renewable alternatives exist. Currently, the Nuclear Liability Act in Canada caps the maximum possible compensation to victims of a nuclear accident from the power company at $750 million. Stensil pointed to this act as evidence that those involved with nuclear power believe that there is the real possibility of an accident. “The truth I think Canadians need to remember, to turn this around – the industry believes nuclear accidents are a realistic pos-
sibility in Canada. … So while they’re claiming publicly their reactors are perfectly safe, their accountants and their investors know accidents are a realistic possibility,” said Stensil. “I trust what their investors say, and I’m skeptical of their public [statements], and I think everyone else should be too,” he continued. Opponents to refurbishment also point out that the Gentilly-2 provides such a small amount of electricity to the province that a surplus in electricity makes its contribution optional. “One thing that’s notable is the state of Vermont voted to shut down their one reactor, Vermont Yankee, last year, and Quebec has recently signed a deal to export power to them. So we have the power,” said Stensil. Mayrand also identified multiple health risks associated with Gentilly-2. “We know that there is radioactive contamination happening, and it’s allowed under Canadian law,” said Mayrand. “In Canada, the regulation for the level of radioactivity contained is 7,000 becquerels per litre, and in the U.S. it’s 700…and in Europe it’s 150.” “Our regulations on what is allowed in terms of radioactive contaminants in the environment is much higher here than elsewhere,” she continued. “So basically, we have this false ceiling of security, but it may not be as secure and as healthy as some people would like us to believe.” —With files from Mari Gallowayv
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
THE YEAR IN REVIEW 2010
Streetwalkers come indoors
Frosh season never goes by without some flak, and this year was no exception. Management Undergraduate Society Frosh planned a tribal frosh that drew accusations of racism and cultural insensitivity for its overt thematization of indigineous culture: MUS president Céline Junke apologized online, and the theme was subsequently toned down to “Superheroes.” In the meantime, Nampande Londe Arts Undergraduate Society VP Events resigned after announcing that AUS frosh was severely in the red.
Architecture Café closed
Students returned to school to find that the historic cafe in the basement of the Macdonald-Harrington building – and the most popular meeting place relatively free of the homogenizing hand of McGill Food and Dining services – was permanently shut down. Morton Mendelson told the Reporter that “there was no such thing as a free lunch,” and revealed his stance on student-run enterprise outside of Shatner to the Daily: “I assume it was being run in good faith by students who were really dedicated to the enterprise… but the café was essentially run like a lemonade stand.” SSMU endorsed a lively boycott of McGill Food and Dining Services and students retaliated with a hundreds-strong protest outside of two Senate meetings. Later in the semester, The Daily found that the cafe was running a minor deficit after MFDS took their cut (they partly managed the operations). Emails revealing back-and-forth between the ASA, the EUS, and the administration over the cafes future were obtained from an Access to Information request.
Stephanie Lopez | The McGill Daily
Students complained about the lack of consultation when the administration began enforcing a campus ban on bike riding, coupled with the rhetoric of a greener, more pedestrian friendly space.
Abidor v. Napolitano
Pascal Abidor – a McGill Islamic Studies PhD student and American citizen – took on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after being detained at the U.S. border and having his laptop held for 11 days in May 2010. He was challenging American policy that allowed for border searches without reasonable suspicion.
Ontario Superior Justice Susan Himel struck down three provisions of the Criminal Code that placed sex workers at risk in the now historic case Bedford v. Canada. The three provisions – communicating to solicit sex, running or working in a brothel, and living off income procured by sex work – were ruled to be in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when they were challenged in court by Terri Jean Bedford, a dominatrix, and two former sex workers.
OCTOBER Union drive
The Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM) began to organize a union for course lecturers – McGill’s are among the lowest-paid in the province – but faced obstacles from the administration. After an altercation involving the removal of AGSEM posters, more than twenty faculty members signed an open letter stating their support for AGSEM’s campaign and denouncing the administration’s behaviour.
Former child soldier and Canadian citizen Omar Khadr pleads guilty to a military commission on five charges – including the murder of American medic Sargeant Christopher Sheer – on a plea bargain deal that reduces his sentence to eight years, with permission to apply for transfer to Canada after one year. Khadr was 15 when he was captured by American troops in 2002 in Afghanistan after throwing a fatal hand grenade and has spent over eight years at the detention centre at Guantamo; Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeatedly stonewalled court decisions to repatriate Khadr.
“The fact that the trial of a child soldier, Omar Khadr, has ended with a guilty plea in exchange for his eventual release to Canada does not change the fact that fundamental principles of law and due process were long since abandoned in Omar’s case.” Dennis Edney Counsel to Omar Khadr
NOVEMBER Construction Halted
Construction of the $1.34-billion McGill University Health Centre was halted after companies were issued a “stop-work order” for beginning construction on a temporary parking lot in the City of Westmount without a building permit.
State of emergency declared
On October 21, the remote First Nation community of Eabametoong is sent two OPP officers after Chief Lewis Nate declared a state of emergency. The declaration was made in response to a number of escalating issues the small community had recently faced, including the arson of a local school, two murders of local youth and the fire-bombing of a church minister’s house while five people were inside.
Pizza with the IDF
The Jewish Studies Student Assocation (JSSA), along with the Bronfman Israel Experience Centre – commonly known as Birthright – hosted a pizza lunch and discussion with three IDF soldiers in the Jewish Studies building on November 4. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) organized a protest outside of the event to demonstrate against the presence of Israeli military on campus.
Bill C-300 – a private member’s bill – would have held Canadian mining companies accountable for infractions against the environment and human rights, if enacted. The bill was first brought forward by Liberal MP John McKay with assistance from the University of Ottawa, McGill, and the University of Toronto. Stephen Harper, who normally does not vote on private members’ bills, was present and had his caucus vote against the bill. Canadian mining companies have close relationships with the economy and the federal Canada Pension Plan. The bill was defeated 140 votes to 134 votes.
Quebec City protest
On December 6 student and labour unions gathered in Quebec City to protest the second Rencontre des partenaires en éducation – a meeting of provincial government ministers and university administrators regarding austerity measures and tuition increases. Over 60, 000 students were present; most were members of the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ). The strike was province-wide. Representatives from student, professor, and labour unions walked out of the meeting due to what they saw as the government’s unwillingness to negotiate on proposed tuition hikes.
Arch Cafe’s docs revealed
After two of the biggest campus rallies in recent memory, getting access to the Arch Café’s financial books, and continuous sleuthing, The Daily received a document dump that finally broke the story wide open. The documents included personal emails between administrators and student politicians, internal memoranda, and reports. The documents came after filing an Access to Information request; the new information shed light on the decision-making process surrounding the closure and detailed the coordinated media strategy on the part of the administration.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
JANUARY McKinsey and Co.
Management-consulting firm McKinsey and Co. offered its services pro bono to the McGill administration as a result of several alumni holding senior positions at the firm. The company helped with McGill’s Strategic Reframing Initiative, despite an attempted GA motion calling for the University to reject the offer.
Thousands of supporters of the Jasmine Revolution gathered in Montreal’s Dorchester Square after Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted on January 14.
“The Tunisian people had no help from any outside power whatsoever, but now there [are] a lot of powers, especially in the Arab world… that don’t want this experience to succeed. So now we’ll have new things to deal with. … Intelligence services are going to try to destroy the experience.”
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Protesting tuition hikes
SSMU President Zach Newburgh revealed his involvement with internet startup Jobbook in a six-hour closed session of SSMU Legislative Council. Council introduced a motion to impeach Newburgh, but amended this to a public censure. Newburgh disregarded numerous calls for his resignation, maintaining that he had not violated any SSMU regulations.
Haroun Bouazzi Rally organizer and member of the Collectif de solidarité au Canada avec les luttes sociales en Tunisie
Montreal celebrated the ousting of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The end of Mubarak’s thirty-year reign came after weeks of massive protests across Egypt, and rallies worldwide in solidarity with the Egyptian people.
Quebec Minister of Finance Raymond Bachand announced the 2011-2012 Quebec budget. Tuition hikes were included in the budget; tuition will increase $325 per student per year for five years, beginning in 2012. Students from l’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ) demonstrated in and occupied the offices of the Ministry of Finance in Montreal; in Saguenay – Lac-St-Jean, students of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) occupied the premises of Serge Simard, Quebec delegate Minister for Natural Resources.
Amid chants and songs in Arabic, English, and French, several hundred from Montreal’s Egyptian community converged in front of Montreal’s Egyptian consulate. Protesters celebrated the four consecutive days of mass protests in Egypt against the government of Hosni Mubarak.
“We’re all here to support them. We’re all here to help this revolution, and it’s going to happen.” Ihab Khandil McGill student and Cairo native
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Maggie Knight won the SSMU presidency by a landslide, winning 67.2 per cent of the vote, over the 25.8 per cent taken by her opponent Cathal Rooney-Céspedes. The remainder of the SSMU executive elected was VP External Joël Pednault, VP Finance Shyam Patel, VP Internal Todd Plummer, VP Clubs and Services Carol Fraser, and VP University Affairs Emily Clare.
Student Haaris Khan was investigated by the McGill administration and Montreal police after he tweeted from a campus film screening, threating to shoot students in attendence. Khan later deleted the Twitter account and apologized.
Harper government in contempt
The conservative government of Stephen Harper fell when Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff introduced a motion of nonconfidence. The government was also found to be in contempt of Parliament, for the first time in Canadian history.
Disaster in Japan McGill fined by province
The Quebec government imposed a $2-million fine on McGill for raising tuition in the MBA program. MBA tuition was increased by about 900 per cent, violating Quebec budgetary laws.
A 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami hit Japan on March 11, resulting in mass destruction and a death toll of over 27,000. The earthquake caused the collapse of nuclear power plants, prompting fears of radiation and nuclear leaks.
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The Daily Through the Decades
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
!"The first editorial board As the “official organ” of the student union, The Daily’s first editorial board mostly took positions on issues like the need to increase support for McGill sports teams and the ugliness of postering on campus trees.
he Daily made its campus debut on Monday, October 2, 1911 for the price of five cents. Back then, the paper was often only four pages long, and for the first year came out four days a week. By 1913 the paper was publishing every day of the week except for Sundays. The paper described itself as the “official organ” for the McGill Student Union, and students could subscribe to The Daily for $2.50 a semester, with the rest of the paper’s revenue coming from ads for various Ste. Catherine department stores, and products like Horlicks Malted Milk. Along with a heavy emphasis on university sports and the student union, The Daily’s coverage of World War I dominated the decade. Starting in October 1914 The Daily covered the formation of student regiments on campus (drills were conducted at Mac Campus), as well as reports of deaths of McGill students and alumni. General troop movements and briefs from the front formed an almost daily section named “Reports on the War at Old McGill,” with coverage culminating in a March 1915 special “War Contingent Supplement.” The more than thirty-page issue that featured pro-war articles from principal William Peterson and professor Stephen Leacock.
#"October 1911 The paper frequently reported on visits of senior figures in the University, Canadian politics, and international figures, particularly British royalty. This headline refers to an October 1911 address by McGill’s then Chancellor, Lord Strathcona.
!"March 1915 The Daily’s 1915 editorial board called on McGill students to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on several occasions, although there was no coverage of the 1918 Conscription Crisis.
!"October 1914 The Daily published frequent, informal obituaries for McGill students and alumni serving in the war, as well as reports from students and alumni at the Front.
t a time when higher education was expanding, The Daily spent most of the twenties firmly ensconced in a deeply conservative mindset. The overwhelming majority of the paper’s stories had to do with sports news – everything from Varsity games against Queen’s and Toronto to a constant stream of inter-faculty competitions. In those years, the paper had a mandate not to espouse any sort of political opinion. Nor did it cover much in the way of off-campus news. Occasionally there would be a dispatch from a former McGill student spending time in another part of the world, but the predominant form of global news came by way of covering lectures given on campus (not so different from today, perhaps). Women’s rights and their role at McGill was the single largest issue of the decade. By 1929, almost evry issue of The Daily discussed the future of female students, but though The Daily offices were the only space not restricted to men in the Union building, this was no guarantee of progressive politics.
#"November 1929 A week after the stock market crashed on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the Daily ran an editorial calling for charitable donations. Despite the gravity of the crisis, the paper was confident in opining that “St. James Street,” then the financial centre of Canada, “has not much influence upon McGill students in money matters.”
$"Februrary 1924 What seem like breaking headlines more often than not turn out to be the latest development in McGill’s mock parliament, the closest The Daily came to covering politics beyond the Roddick Gates.
#" December 1929 Geopolitics were a minor concern for The Daily in the twenties. International news tended only to be covered when it was the subject of an on campus debate or lecture. The paper made no mention of Mussolini’s coup in 1922, or Hitler’s putsch attempt in 1923.
#"February 1923 In a progressive gesture – if little more than that – The Daily put out an issue written and edited entirely by female students. The tone of The Daily’s discourse on female enrolment may be shocking to contemporary readers, but the paper’s offices were also the only space in the student union building not restricted to men.
!"September 1922 Though McGill and The Daily come across as bastions of conservatism, the popularity of jazz was insurmountable.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Re: “Students question Hebrew University partnership” | News | March 28
If the anti-Israeli apartheid movement wants to blindly apply political belief to an entire nation’s culture, education system, and technological industry, then it can go right ahead. Jordana Globerman U3 English and History
Islam is not monolithic Re: “Women in Egypt” | Commentary | March 14 Davide Mastracci’s romantic appeal for a secular state in Egypt is admirable, but his approach to Islam is similarly subjective. He claims that Sharia law is incompatible with democracy, freedom, and human rights and blames the Muslim Brotherhood’s departure from what he would no doubt deem secular values on its strict adherence to Islam. While fundamentalist interpretations of the Qur’an may support misogynist policies, as Mastracci fears an Islamic state would, there is a definite difference between the texts and traditions of a faith and how they are re-appropriated. In claiming that the misogyny of the Muslim Brotherhood is inspired by Islam, Mastracci accepts as authoritative and normative their interpretation and approach to Islam itself and the faith’s position on issues like women’s rights and roles in society. This is a common theme in scientific-atheist critique of religion, as epitomized by the works of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. However, in proving wrong a particular interpretation, particularly a hyper-literal one, one does not prove an entire faith or a scripture invalid – especially when discussing a text like the Qur’an that cannot be confined to one interpretation alone. His citation of Bill Maher situates Mastracci firmly in this camp, though perhaps he should have chosen someone more academically qualified to present the party-line. The irony is that in implying that Islam, and by extension the Qur’an, oppresses women, Mastracci is in agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood on how the Qur’an demands to be interpreted and applied, though their values precipitate opposing conclusions. I do not necessarily disagree with Mastracci’s conclusion that a secular state would be best for Egypt, but the blame for the shortcomings of a fundamentalist political movement should not be placed on the shoulders of the faith it claims to represent and expound. Surely Mastracci would agree, just as the Muslim Brotherhood’s vision of “democratic values, freedom and equal social justice” does not contaminate those values in their abstract form; so neither should fundamentalist re-appropriations of Islamic texts and traditions define Islam. Elena Dugan U1 Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Languages
We must think critically about the energy of the future
There are more sustainable solutions available
Re: “Nuclear choice is our prerogative” | Commentary | March 28
Re: “Nuclear choice is our prerogative” | Commentary | March 28
I was heartened to learn from Alexander Kunev’s recent article that the “main drawback” of nuclear power is the potential damage to ecosystems that stems from inland plants’ excessive water demands. I guess I was confused because I was under the impression that the main drawbacks of nuclear energy were potential core meltdowns and where to safely store nuclear waste for a few millenniums. But apparently Kunev doesn’t see those things as problems. Proponents of nuclear energy assume the world will remain both free of nuclear catastrophe and politically, socially, and economically stable because that has largely been their experience. This is an unsound and dangerous way of approaching the future. While nuclear energy has been safer per unit time than other energy sources, it is illogical to call it “safe” when its destructive potential and future unknowns are also factored into that calculation. It is especially poor logic when that calculation is extended out for millenniums. When considered from a proper long-term perspective, nuclear power is actually incredibly dangerous. As a simple what-if thought experiment, consider the predicament of sea-level nuclear plants and a seven-metre rise in sea levels? If that’s easy enough for the engineers to answer, then consider your favourite case of political and social turmoil and spent nuclear fuel. Then consider any unexpected and improbable event that you cannot even fathom or plan for. Repeat that thought experiment for thousands of years. That is the reality of the nuclear situation. In the end, maybe everything will be just fine. But to be safe, I’d prefer to think critically about our energy consumption and its sources instead of selling out our future so we can maintain today’s energy levels. Jesse Pratt U3 Agricultural Economics
I would like to point out that nuclear energy is not the only solution to the climate crisis we face, and its efficiency is not reason enough to settle for it. It is true that we must act now to fight climate change, but nuclear energy is not a stable long term-solution to energy production. The environmental harms of nuclear energy production aside, it has been reported that the amount of uranium (from which nuclear power is produced) known to exist would last between 42 and 72 years at current levels of consumption. Many proponents of nuclear energy hope to dramatically increase the use of nuclear power, which would cause this resource to be depleted much more rapidly. Thus, we will be facing the same issue with uranium that we currently face with fossil fuels – a huge dependence on a resource that is quickly running out. Additionally, nuclear waste poses a huge problem. This waste, unshielded, will remain a hazard for 12,000 human generations, or 360,000 years, which is longer than the human species has even existed. It is also linked to dramatic peaks in cancer and other diseases in areas surrounding nuclear plants and disposal sites. To prevent exposure to nuclear waste, governments have developed underground storage sites, but face opposition from locals. If we cannot propose successful solutions to these problems now, how will we be able to deal with that much more nuclear power and waste? Renewable energy must continue to be a growing field of energy production, for it does not rely on a source that can become depleted, and it does not produce waste. While the technology surrounding renewable energy is not yet able to produce all of the energy we consume, it would be irresponsible to create such problems for future generations, and foolish to settle on a reliance on nuclear energy when we have another, less dangerous solution at our fingertips.
Don’t cut off your nose!
It was fun, Daily!
Re: “Students question Hebrew University partnership” | News | March 28
Queen Arsem-O’Malley’s article on March 28 refers to student condemnation of McGill’s recent partnership with Hebrew University for its alleged support of Israeli occupation. An editorial in the same issue reiterates these beliefs. However, these voices of opposition neglect to mention the vast changes McGill needs to implement before it is fully detached from the “apartheid state.” Since no one likes half-baked activism, I suggest they consider implementing the following: First, McGill needs to rethink computers; the Pentium processor and a majority of Windows software owe their creation to Intel Israel and Microsoft Israel, respectively. Considering McGill is mostly stocked with PCs, we may want to consider joining team Mac to end apartheid. USB flash drives and instant messenger will also need to be scrapped: they too are Israeli products. Sustainable McGill might be irritated when the University decides to boycott solar plate heating and drip irrigation, which they inevitably will have to, considering both are Israeliborn modes of sustainable energy and agriculture. There will also need to be sanctions against many lifesaving drugs, such as those most often prescribed in treating multiple sclerosis. We will also have to negotiate the very fabric of the universe, since the smallest components of it, quarks, were predicted by an Israeli scientist. Also, McGill will be forced to ban cherry tomatoes. If the anti-Israeli apartheid movement wants to blindly apply political belief to an entire nation’s culture, education system, and technological industry, then it can go right ahead; I just hope it understands all that is entailed in cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Hello and Goodbye, My four years at McGill are just about up, and I want to thank The Daily for eight semesters of mostly enjoyable reading. The Daily has been by my side, reminding me of leftist student discontent, through 120 credits, one faculty switch, and three different majors. Thanks for the good times, it’s comforting knowing that one of my more permanent legacies at McGill is my handful of wiseass and sarcastic letters that I wrote to The Daily now and again. They all can be easily reread on the online archive... that and a few scribbled Sean Turner jokes ain’t a bad thing to leave behind. My biggest regret is not writing The Daily article that I’ve been researching my whole time here: The search for the best bathroom on campus. Bon Voyage, P.S...The best bathroom on campus is next to MMR, the underground sound stage in the new music building. It’s two stories underground, extremely clean, quiet, underused, always empty, and has great acoustics. Peter Fusco U3 Political Science and Jewish Studies
Jordana Globerman U3 English and History
Allison Filler U1 Linguistics and History
The Daily is going on hiatus for the summer (and we hope you are, too)! We’ll resume printing in the new school year, so until then, please send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, and keep them to 300 words or less, but know that you’ll have to wait until September to see them in print!
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The black bloc undermines mass action
Individual terrorism is not a substitute for collective struggle Red star over Asia
kidnapping, airplane hijacking, et cetera – that has dominated Middle Eastern politics for the past
on the streets and in the factories, have brought back that lost tradition. All the cynics who have dismissed the ability of the Arab masses to organize themselves
ne hundred years ago, in October 1911, the first issue of The McGill Daily hit the stands. Shortly after, across the ocean, Leon Trotsky wrote a piece entitled “Why Marxists Oppose Individual Terrorism” for the German social democratic newspaper, Der Kampf. In light of two recent events: the revolutions around the Arab world and Sam Neylon and Al Blair’s defence of the black bloc (“Arresting anonymity,” Commentary, March 21) – though not comparable in their scope – the question of individual terrorism is being posed once again. Marxists do not oppose the method of individual terrorism because of moral consideration. Trotsky explained it aptly: “In our eyes, individual terror is inadmissible precisely because it belittles the role of the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes towards a great avenger and liberator.” The outbreak of revolution in the Middle East has broken the clutch of individual terrorism – assassination, suicide bombing,
are defending black bloc tactics, which are nothing but another form of individual terrorism. Neylon and Blair did just that with their recent article. Anarchist theorists can argue all they want about the so-called “propaganda of the deed,” about the stimulating effect of
Ian Murphy | The McGill Daily
three to four decades. The Arab world once had a proud tradition of mass political action, one based on the democratic and militant mobilization of the masses. The recent Arab revolutions, with millions of people mobilized
are now silent. Revolution has demonstrated the superiority of mass action, and it is therefore unacceptable that there are still people out there who
such action on the consciousness of the masses. In his piece, Neylon and Blair argued that the presence of black bloc “represents an attempt to reclaim the bodily sovereignty.” Others argue that the physical destruction of capitalist symbols – McDonald’s, banks, et cetera – is a protest against consumerism, and that it
Good government in ten steps The character of community Adrian Kaats
n the past year, I’ve tried to keep the character of the column I’ve written for the illustrious Daily fairly constant. After having reviewed my year’s work, I think there are a few recurring messages, often derived via criticizing governments and their policies. Here, I’m going to summarize what I think our governments should do in response to these criticisms. Industry flourishes when there are competent people to staff it, infrastructure to support it, and material resources to sustain it. If government is not responsible for ensuring those things are provided and well managed, then it’s left to industry. As individual industries are left to tailor their resource bases to their own particular needs, when an industry fails, which often happens, and no other industry has been cooperating in supporting its resource base, that base dies too. It’s when it is too late that the role of gov-
ernment becomes very clear, even more so when the maintenance of a resource actually conflicts with industrial interests. We’re talking here about human resources as well as material and infrastructure. People often cite the idea that, if left to their own devices, free market industrial players will ensure maintenance of the elements required for their own existence. Short-term mistakes in tending to the health of those elements are supposed to be “self-correcting” when the financial consequences of not doing so kick in. Even if that is true, in the intervening time, those elements can wind up in pretty bad shape. Once again, the role of government comes into focus. However, by separating corporate governance and financing from the physical activities of corporations (e.g. in the mining industry), globalization has proved time and again that self-correction doesn’t often happen – plundering and destruction does. As long as companies extract significant wealth, they don’t care what it destroys even if they risk destroying themselves. In order to change things, people need to be informed. But, 80
per cent of people aren’t capable of reading a moderately complicated text that explores an issue’s complexities. Moreover, even if people could and were willing to take action, there are fewer and fewer informative texts around. Take the Montreal Gazette’s recent article on the city’s March 12 rally. It reported that students protested tuition hikes – yawn. But the protest was about more than tuition; it also decried several expected initiatives that would gut Quebec’s social systems. Over 50,000 people participated in the rally, only about 5,000 of which were students, and was attended by organizations representing over 1.25 million Quebeckers. That’s not what the Gazette led us to believe. We, the people, might stop our companies and our governments from misbehaving both at home and abroad, and might require that something be done about it when they do, if we were properly informed. But that requires a few things: people that can read, meaningful information to read, and a desire to be informed and act on that information. None of these ingredients seem to be around in sufficient quantity. !
will act to alter people’s frame of mind. Nevertheless, however one wants to justify it, the black bloc is nothing but a group of great avengers and liberators that belittles the role of mass organization. I am sure that Neylon and Blair believe in mass mobilization. But one cannot believe in mass action and individual terrorism (i.e. the black bloc) at the same time. This smacks of vulgar eclecticism. This is not a question of diversity of tactics, another word that the proponents of black bloc like to throw around. Diversity of tactics assumes that the black bloc tactic is not counterproductive to the cause. Yet it is. The black bloc tactic, as Trotsky pointed out, “reduces the interest of the masses in self-organization and selfeducation.” Why would you organize, why have mass meetings, why class struggle, why strike when you can challenge the system just by donning a black mask and smashing windows? Police brutality and indiscriminate arrests are something to condemn, but don’t justify black bloc tactics. I will be the first in line to demand the release of the arrested black-clad protesters, but I will also be the first one to vigorously point out the mistake of the black bloc, and to fight against their tactics without mercy. !
Here’s what our government should do to remedy the situation:
1 2 3 4 5
Tightly regulate (and decrease) the amount of advertising and marketing we are exposed to in order to free up the time and space to actually contemplate the real world, instead of creating false realities and expectations. Tax capital accumulation, so wealth can’t be hoarded and sequestered from the society that generated it.
Cap inheritance so that birth doesn’t overly influence socioeconomic status, and so that we are forced to care for each other instead of just our own kin. Makes all levels of education free so that all individuals have the opportunity to develop the capacity to both contextualize their existence and plan their contributions and withdrawals from the society in which they live.
Enforce the same standards of operation for companies abroad as at home. Make them clearly and responsibly serve the societies in which they operate. Don’t allow them to exploit resources.
Implement heavily progressive personal and corporate income taxes instead of regressive consumption taxes. Consider raising a child the most important full-time job in a society and compensate for that job (and “opportunity cost” if you must call it that) accordingly. Provide free health care and prescription drugs, and regulate the hell out of the industries that spuriously drive up costs (e.g. biotech and big pharma). Require a referendum in order to engage in a military offensive, and require renewal of the mandate by the same means at regular intervals. Recognize that health, safety, education, child care, dignity, access to government, access to meaningful employment, environmental protection, and a social safety net are the top priorities of a civilized society.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
A rejection of cowardice
McGill’s principal responds to calls to cut ties with Hebrew University Heather Munroe-Blum Hyde Park
s Principal and as an academic, I fully disagree with your editorial of March 28, “McGill should cut ties with Hebrew University.” Your suggestion that our participation in a program focusing on human rights and diversity could exacerbate the plight of the Palestinian people is without foundation. Your inability to separate geopolitical issues from knowledge-based research projects
conducted by respected scholars is evidence of clouded vision. McGill is a globally focused university that engages around the world with a multi-dimensional mosaic of international universities, networks of brilliant researchers and individual academics, and gifted students. We are an integral part of humankind’s building out of knowledge and discovery that transcends specific political situations, promotes human understanding, and advances the civilizing power of knowledge.
I fail to see what would be gained by extinguishing promising research between McGill and Hebrew University on issues of food safety and water management (along with a resulting joint project in Kenya). How could shutting down a joint research project in the emerging field of epigenetics – in which McGill is a world leader – help anyone? Some students have expressed concern about a summer program in Law that will focus on human rights and diversity – themes on which McGill has historically led and supported with unrelenting commit-
ment. It is this view – that we should avoid engaging with any scholars on such important issues – that every member of the McGill community should find most troubling. Our own experience of diversity and human rights, in Quebec, and in Canada broadly, is different from the experience in Israel – as is the experience of diversity and human rights in China, India, France, or the United States. Building academic engagements in which McGill’s scholars have the opportunity to share their knowledge and their experience is an essential step in our continuing
effort to promote the values that McGill holds most dear. The suggestion that McGill cease to engage with another bona fide university – any bona fide university – because of political controversy in that university’s geo-political environment, goes against everything McGill stands for. It suggests a cowardice that I, as Principal of this great university, categorically reject. Heather Munroe-Blum is Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill. She can be reached at email@example.com.
!YEAR IN REVIEW
Don’t depoliticize campus politics Why The Daily will continue to take controversial positions
Olivia Messer | The McGill Daily
Emilio Comay del Junco Comment
n the weeks before the 1921 federal election, The Daily ran an editorial urging all those eligible to vote, while strenuously declining to endorse a party. The credo of the newspaper was at that time to “remain non-partisan and never to take a side in political affairs.” A lot has changed in the ninety years since then, and most of what appears in The Daily proudly wears its politics on its sleeve. Rather than trying to feign neutrality, our mandate “recognizes that all events and issues are inherently political, involving relations of social and economic power.” It’s because of our commitment to making these relations transparent that we try to focus on marginalized groups, both on and off campus. It’s also why we endorse candidates – in student politics just as in federal elections. This can provoke strong negative reactions. Our yearly SSMU endorsements often receive the most
scathing criticism on our website, with commenters taking The Daily to task for perceived favouritism. The pressure to find a supposedly neutral centre is strong everywhere, and growing stronger. In a repeat of last year’s call to be “green together,” the latest candidates for SSMU President ran platforms based on issues like sustainability, cooperation, and transparency – hardly objectionable ideals, but totally meaningless. Cooperation, sustainability, and transparency should be taken for granted, not presented as innovative platforms. Following a similar logic, calls to abolish the General Assembly were couched in a neutral language of reform, ignoring the fundamentally political question at the heart of any matter to do with misrepresentation and legislative processes. At a time when the overwhelming impulse is to take the politics out of politics, The Daily’s approach can seem antiquated. But the desire to transcend politics is neither harmless nor apolitical; it’s one of the most politically motivated and consequential positions out
there. It limits what can and can’t be said. People who continue to focus on topics outside the boundaries of acceptable political debate are branded either as extremists, members of a radical fringe, or pedants needlessly harping on about something that should be buried away and forgotten. This applies to the Jobbook scandal just as it does to the question of IsraelPalestine. Principal Heather MunroeBlum’s article in this issue of The Daily is a case in point. (For argument’s sake, I’m going to set aside the fact that her article is also just misleading:, since The Daily’s call for McGill to cut ties with Hebrew University wasn’t due to “political controversy in that university’s geopolitical environment” but because of concrete – and highly political – actions made by the institution itself.) Munroe-Blum’s response engages in all too common patterns of depoliticization when she writes about “knowledge and discovery that transcends specific politi-
cal situations, promotes human understanding, and advances the civilizing power of knowledge.” This is either the naive hope of a political neophyte or a calculated measure to remove a controversial situation – the role of Hebrew University in Israel’s ongoing occupation – from the realm of what can be addressed in political discourse. Heather Munroe-Blum is no neophyte. On the contrary, the Principal’s response is an attempt to limit what’s acceptable to say, what opinions are valid, and ultimately what role students have in shaping the future of our university. But the fact that the principal of a 35,000-student university would take the time to write such a response also points to something else. What is most significant about the Principal’s response is not her obvious defensiveness, nor her disrespectful tone (accusing your students of cowardice, really?) What’s most striking is that it demonstrates that student voices can make those
in power listen. Whether or not you agree with the editorial that provoked the principal’s response, you can’t ignore its effectiveness at making the administration pay attention. Giving up on politics means abandoning the possibility of change. Agreeing to neutrality means accepting that only those with power – like university administrators – can make decisions and shape the future of our University. Given the looming prospect of tuition hikes, it’s vital that we resist these paradoxically political moves toward depoliticization. Regardless of your own political bent, The Daily is one place where this can happen. Our editorials take up one page, and they’re going to remain as political – and potentially controversial – as ever, but what we print on the others is up to you. Emilio Comay del Junco is a U1 Arts student and The Daily’s Coordinating editor. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Steven mocks the process of equity Behaviour of the Opt-Out! Campaign after filing an equity complaint shows bad faith QPIRG Board Hyde Park
e are writing today to clarify the position of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group-McGill (QPIRG) regarding the ongoing SSMU Equity complaint process involving a member of our board of directors, Maddie Ritts. The Opt-Out! Campaign complainants have received a great volume of alarmingly dishonest publicity regarding this matter, both on the Prince Arthur Herald blog and in campus papers. Their representations of the matter have amounted to a brazen and intentionally misleading defamation of Ritts’s person. Their pursuit of the complaint is based on an unsettling distortion of the concept of equity. Given these facts, we find it imperative to clarify the events and to put this issue to rest, once and for all. Brendan Steven’s equity complaint was filed in regard to an event that he did not himself witness. The committee refused Steven’s request to treat QPIRG as an organization as the respondent to the complaint. As the commission has already clarified, they recalibrated the process to make Ritts the sole respondent. Further, the accusation of “acts of racism” central to Steven’s complaint was not substantiated, and was subsequently thrown out by the committee, as they could not corroborate what was said, by whom, or to whom (though the phrase “fucking rich white boy” was floated by the complainant). Steven and other bloggers at the Prince Arthur Herald continue to attribute anti-white “rac-
Steven and his companions have made abundantly clear the contempt they have for the entire equity project, and their cynicism in attempting to appropriate yet again the language of social justice for the sake of cheap political gamesmanship is dishonest and offensive to legitimate complaints of discrimination. ism” and diverse (though always unspecified) “other slurs” to Ritts – despite this accusation having been refuted outright by the Committee and the fact that she was never at any time considered a party to it. What remains of the complaint, despite the appellant’s insinuations, is that Ritts damaged posters. Discussions between Ritts, the Equity Committee, and QPIRG are ongoing, though the process has itself been frustratingly inconsistent and taxing for those involved. Meanwhile, members of the Opt-Out! Campaign continue to publish malicious and slanderous misrepresentations of Ritts and her actions without shame or consequence from the Equity Committee regarding the treatment of their complaint. When the Opt-Out!/Prince Arthur Herald executives were
finally called out on their blog by the Equity Committee for their deliberately false accounts of both the alleged incident and the Committee’s findings, Steven’s editorial response was to slip a snide caption beneath the SSMU Equity logo, mocking the Committee’s audacity in correcting the lies being posted about their working decision. Earlier this semester, the same coordinators appropriated the name of the Black Students’ Network (BSN) in their campaign fliers directly against the wishes of that organization, accompanied by imagery the BSN denounced publicly as racially discriminatory. Steven and his companions have made abundantly clear the contempt they have for the entire equity project, and their cynicism in attempt-
ing to appropriate yet again the language of social justice for the sake of cheap political gamesmanship is dishonest and offensive to legitimate complaints of discrimination. Many formal judicial processes have policies barring filers whose complaints have been found frivolous or vexatious: that is, those brought forth regardless of their merit, solely to bring hardship upon and harass an adversary. We have been informed that the OptOut! Campaign has been bombarding the Equity Commission with filings since the beginning of the year. The entire basis for the Opt-Out! Campaign’s existence is to strangle organizations like QPIRG, dedicated to the very same struggles against systemic oppression as the SSMU Equity Policy. In light of this, it should be clear that them filing and trumpeting complaints against the social justice group they seek to destroy demonstrates bad faith. As the Equity Committee drafts a proposal to increase confidentiality in its complaints processes, they ought to adopt measures to reject outright similar accusations meant only to harass and defame. More fundamentally, however, we feel compelled to publicly take issue with the repeated references by Herald bloggers to alleged acts of “intimidation” and “racism.” Jon McDaniel goes so far as to reduce the serious and painful reality of racism to what he crassly terms “a two-way street.” As an organization rooted in antioppression theory and practice, we utterly reject the conception of our society as an equal playing field assumed by Steven’s public statements. As anyone actually interested in equity would
know, equity policies are written and implemented to counteract the effects of structures that systemically marginalize and disenfranchise historically oppressed groups. As such, their primary concern has always been challenging the ongoing legacies of discrimination against women, people of colour, queers, trans people, people with disabilities, et cetera. To trivialize these very real experiences by insincerely claiming similar persecution is sickening and offensive. We can only hope that in the future, the SSMU Equity Committee will more readily reject such perverse manipulations of their principles, and that the campaigns of the campus far right will no longer be legitimized by the progressive institutions they seek to erase.
Signed by the QPIRG-McGill Board of Directors: Coordinators Anna Malla (External) Andrea Figueroa (Internal)
Student members Patrick DeDauw Dan Kunda Thagard Mahtab Nazemi Kira Page Farid Rener Maddie Ritts Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan Sarah Woolf
Community members Jessica Blair William M. Burton Maddie Guerlain
Members of the QPIRG-McGill Board of Directors can be reached at email@example.com.
Debunking corporate nonsense Nestlé Canada clearly needs to get its facts straight before they attack their critics Adrian Kaats Comment
think John B. Challinor (the second!) should probably read my article about illiteracy. He may be among the unfortunate 80-plus per cent of Canadians that find themselves below reading level one, unable to comprehend even a moderately complex text. Let’s debunk his nonsense, shall we? First, to the best of my knowledge, the Polaris Institute, Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the Council of Canadians don’t deal in “mythology.” While they may be “anti-bottled water,” trying to label well-respected advocacy
and research organizations and huge labour unions as a bunch of activist crackpots spouting lies, while simultaneously trying to brand Nestlé Waters Canada as anything other than a bunch of hucksters trying to distract from the fact that they largely hawk bottled tap water, is embarrassing. Who hired this guy? Indeed, Health Canada does discuss the regulation of bottled water. What is missing, however, is any discussion of enforcement of the regulations. They do tell us that if something terrible happens, they’ll be all over it, “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and other health officials could test for these bacteria when the manufacturer is out of compliance and/or has been involved in food borne outbreaks.” So
I guess we’ll just have to trust Nestlé until something awful happens. Phew, I’m relieved! Nowhere in my article did I write that money spent on bottled water is not spent on infrastructure. This clown invented an argument, pretended I wrote it, and then said it’s illogical. What I was plainly referring to was the following, from the Polaris Institute: “The shift toward bottled water helps deflect from the need to call for increased funding and prioritization of safe public water services, leaving the door open for neglectful governments keen on transferring public service costs over to the private sector.” Probably Mr. Challinor (the second!) didn’t even read my article, and thought I was talk-
ing about Polaris’ “exposé” about how our government spends millions on bottled water... which I didn’t. This guy reminds me of the main character in Thank You For Smoking, “Gentlemen, practise these words in front of the mirror: Although we are constantly exploring the subject, currently there is no direct evidence that links cellphone usage to brain cancer,” or Robert McNamara, “Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked of you.” The major difference is that this Challinor (the second!) character sucks at re-spinning. But by far my favourite part of Nestlé’s answer to my article is that Challinor (the second!) calls upon me and other concerned
citizens to make a number of demands of the government in order to protect our public water supplies and delivery infrastructure. I love this part because Nestlé, with its multi-million dollar marketing budget, as far as I can tell, doesn’t do this themselves (go ahead, check their website). I wonder why? Challinor (the second!), I leave you with a quote from my grandpa, “You’re seldom sorry for what you didn’t say,” or in this case, write. Sometimes it’s better marketing to just keep your mouth shut. —Adrian J. Kaats (the One & Only!) Adrian Kaats is a Daily columnist. He can be reached at adrian. firstname.lastname@example.org.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Perspectives on campus discourse In response to Haaris Khan and the resultant media backlash Tom Acker Comment
learned, like many of my fellow students did, about the Haaris Khan Twitter incident from the Tribune article “Student investigated for hateful tweets” (March 14). Immediately following the incident, I was quickly presented with two views of what had happened. The first: that Khan was never a real threat and that the right was making much too big a deal out of a relatively small issue. The second: that Khan is an antiSemitic crazy person who threatened the lives of other students, and that the left didn’t make a big enough deal about it. As in most debates, neither side is completely correct on the issue: what Khan did was a very big deal – racist tweets and death threats are not something to be taken lightly. The idea that what Khan did wasn’t serious is preposterous. However, one student does not represent the views of an entire group of people, and to use the incident to justify a belief that anti-Zionism is equivalent to antiSemitism is a gross over-generalization and a manipulation of the situation. The event worked to bring up a much broader problem on campus. In a recent letter to students in the McGill Reporter, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum stated, “While I am often impressed by the civility, sensitivity, and compassion that generally characterizes the actions of members of our McGill community, in recent years I have become increasingly concerned by the general societal escalation of rhetorical excess, the distortions in political arguments, and the harsh tenor of discourse, intended apparently to demonize and destroy.” There has been a growing rhetoric on campus of “us versus them,” as if somehow the left and the right must be diametrically opposed to one another on all aspects and issues. Fueled by editorials from both The Daily and the Prince Arthur Herald, there seems to be an idea that there is no common ground between the two sides, and that even if there were, there would still be disagreement. The second the left and the right begin to
see each other as campus enemies, political discourse is cheapened. If we allow irrational and baseless separation into “left” and “right,” we are looking at a future where group allegiance rather than critical thought determines how and what students support and believe in – a future where students choose political stances based upon who their friends are instead of personal political conviction. Toning down alarmist rhetoric is the only way to stop campus discourse from devolving into a series of knee-jerk reactions and op-ed pieces that function only to point out each other’s flaws instead of furthering constructive discussion. It is important that we as individual students be critical not only of others’ views, but also of our own. It is too easy to quickly post an angry comment on a web site, blog, or publish a response to a story, or even to send ill-advised tweets while at a film screening. When confronted with alarmist rhetoric, we all need to agree to take a breath, step back, think about and be critical of our initial reactions, and then respond, if we want to stop the deterioration of campus debate.
Courtney Graham Comment
he discourse surrounding the Twitter incident two weeks ago has been anything but collegial or positive on campus and social media platforms. Commentary has ranged from calling Haaris Khan an anti-Semite, to asserting that he is a terrorist, to criticizing The Daily for not printing a story for which there was no new information, to calling for new investigations into the admittedly threatening and racist tweets posted by Khan on March 14 and 15. Believe what you will about Khan’s beliefs or intentions – I don’t claim to speak on his behalf, as so many are wont to do – but please don’t make more Nicole Stradiotto | The McGill Daily of the incident than the Montreal Police or the administration did. We as students have no more insight into the incident than these entities – the ones appropriate for handling such things – and to claim that we do, or that they somehow erred in their judgment, accomplishes nothing. If anyone was in the wrong throughout this entire ordeal, it was those who came out violently against Khan without knowing the whole story. I do not wish to diminish the seriousness Tom Acker is a U1 Management student and of the event, or to undermine the fear felt by The Daily’s Web editor. He can be reached at those who attended the Libertarian club’s email@example.com.
screening of Indoctrinate U. I do, however, wish to criticize these individuals, and those who jumped on their bandwagon, for the way they have handled this particular event, and for what their behaviour says about the future of campus discourse. I am just as righteously indignant as any other student who writes for the campus media, though I cannot help but feel the need to distance myself from my peers who have commented on this incident in other outlets. Starting a Facebook group demonizing Khan and calling for his expulsion while simultaneously labelling him an anti-Semite is not constructive, nor is regurgitating the same information over and over again in the press. In this case, I think the issue is less about whether or not the charges of hate, et cetera, brought against Khan are true, and much more substantially about whether or not our commentary and behaviour – as both a student body and participants in the media, have been constructive – or just pointless and harmful. Through that lens, it becomes obvious that both what people have said about Khan and the way they have said it are just as hateful as the original act. I neither defend what was said in the tweets, nor do I believe that punishment is unwarranted, but I have no faith in my fellow students when they respond with more immaturity than the student against whom they throw their insults. I think we should all take principled stances on issues we believe in, but hate is not a principle I can stand behind, no matter who champions it – be it Khan or the bloggers at the Prince Arthur Herald. There is a difference between respect, civility, and downright cowardice in collegial campus dialogue, and I believe we would be remiss to ignore that difference. As such, if someone is wrong, I am going to tell them so, and will do so now: you are all wrong. You are needlessly cruel and blatantly biased and irrational. End of story. Courtney Graham is a U3 Political Science and IDS student and The Daily’s Commentary editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Khan’s tweets are hateful but not unique Anti-Semitic views are shared by others on campus Davide Mastracci Hyde Park
“In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
unter S. Thompson delivered this accurate summary of morality and law nearly forty years ago, yet his message is still extremely relevant to the McGill community today. Haaris Khan, the student who posted hateful tweets at a screening of Indoctrinate U hosted by Libertarian McGill, is guilty of stupidity; this is indisputable. His collection of racist and threatening tweets are a great example of this stupidity. Thompson’s brilliant quote is not only relevant for its
connection to Khan’s (hopefully) momentary lack of intellegence, but to the greater context of the issue itself. While in this case Khan is certainly the figurehead for stupidity, the thoughts he expressed on Twitter are not new, in fact, they are shared by some of the “band of thieves” to which Thompson refers. The band of thieves in this case, is comprised of anti-Semites, who appear to have given up their autonomy, becoming sheep in the herd of hatred. In this case, Khan’s incorporation of religious elements into his attack on Jews – such as the term jihad, or his disgust with a Muslim “co-conspirator” – draws focus to the particular trend of anti-Semitism within radical Islam. The opinions held by these “sheep” are present within our society as a
whole, regardless of how small in number they might be. This gives those targeted by Khan’s comments every reason to feel threatened. However, some have been critical of the reaction of certain figures who were directly targeted by Khan. This is absurd. For example, let’s say your house was robbed: valuables were taken, objects destroyed, and your perception of personal safety shattered. Your reaction would likely be to either move or to invest in a better security system to ensure that the thieves who have targeted you will have a lesser chance of being able to do so again. The reaction of those targeted by Khan – which has included numerous articles calling for action against him, Facebook groups, and legal complaints – have been the
equivalent of one protecting their house. In this case, the protection is aimed against thieves trying to rob individuals of their ability to feel safe. These actions are especially needed when one considers the lacklustre manner in which officials have dealt with the situation. McGill has left the front door of the house unlocked, Morton Mendelson’s address to students has left the front door open, and the “stern talking to” given to Khan by detectives has essentially broken the front door down, inviting further bands of thieves to make their way in. While the threats made are very real and serious, there is one important distinction to make that I sincerely hope will not be missed when students back at this event.
Khan’s Twitter updates went beyond the limits of freedom of speech. A great deal of criticism against Israel and its policies however, does not. I do not believe that the thoughts Khan expressed are shared by all or even most who criticize Israel, but rather by anti-Semites. It is critical that this event is taken for what it is: an example of hatred against Jews coming from an angry member of society, whose views may be shared by others just as angry, but not held by all who criticize Israel. React with caution to the thieves who target you, but don’t open fire on a Girl Guide scout who knocks at your door. Davide Mastracci is a U0 Arts student. He can be reached at davide. email@example.com.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Capitalism absorbs the environment A gradual change in values has turned “going green” into a selling point Morgan Ura Hyde Park
nvironmentalism has become an institution. The post-materialist values we observe in our generation have clashed with the legacy of the previous generation’s goal of seeking profit whenever possible. This article aims to shed light on this clash of values by applying the theory proposed by Ronald Inglehart in his book Globalization and Postmodern Values to the environmental movement and the debate it inspires. Inglehart claims that the impetus of economic development stems from our desire to increase levels of general societal happiness. Citing the direct positive correlation between the increase in development and levels of happiness, Inglehart questions what happens in “developed” nations when development stagnates after a constant increase begins to level. At this point of diminishing returns, economic development stops, leading to a fundamental shift in the basic values and goals of people in advanced industrial societies. Accordingly, as increases in levels of happiness begin to stagnate, societies begin to seek development in other areas, and to emphasize quality of life concerns such as environmental protection and lifestyle issues. Though economic growth is still valued, an increasing portion of the public is willing to give environmental protection priority over economic growth when the two conflict. Inglehart supplants this with two hypotheses regarding scarcity and socialization. The scarcity hypothesis claims that an individual’s priorities reflect their socioeconomic environ-
Nicole Stradiotto | The McGill Daily
ment; one places the greatest subjective value on those things that are in relatively short supply. The socialization hypothesis claims that the former relationship does not immediately calibrate – a substantial time lag is involved for one’s basic values to reflect the conditions that prevailed during their pre-adult years. Prolonged periods of prosperity tend to encourage the spread of post-materialist values. These new values reflect conditions of economic security. If one grows up feeling that survival can be taken for granted, instead of the feeling that survival is uncertain, it influences almost every aspect of one’s worldview. The outlook of modern industrial society has primarily emphasized economic growth and economic achievement. Postmodern values, on the other hand, give priority to environmental protection and cultural issues, even when these goals conflict with maximizing economic growth. Thus the clash begins. The infrastructure created by our parents’
generation was (and is) heavily influenced by conditions that no longer prevail in the general social psyche. The debate stirred up by youth in an attempt to increase corporate responsibility, increase environmental sustainability, and decrease harmful behaviour has been absorbed by the moneymaking, developmentdriven, and profit-inducing infrastructure of our predecessors. The former frame of mind is engraved into existing companies to such an extent that they cannot calibrate themselves with the level of change our generation is trying to induce. “Green” becomes a selling pitch; “environmentally friendly” moves from being an adjective to a marketing tactic to get people to buy into a product. Environmentalism has become an institution much in the same way that development has become an institution; although some means may have changed, the profit-driven end has yet to disappear. Evidence for this claim is abundant: Take a look at the packag-
ing of products while walking down grocery store aisles – bleaches, cleaning products, wasteful products are “green-washed,” in an attempt to convince consumer that their products really aren’t that bad. Such examples can be found at greenwashingindex. com/ads.php, a website put out by the University of Oregon. This issue is particularly resonant in the context of urban environmental development. As environmental awareness and action becomes a top priority, governments are faced with the opposing necessities of increasing the budget for “real” social issues, while needing to satisfy demands for environmental sustainability programs, caused by pressure from events such as the Climate Summit in Copenhagen last December. As such, governments begrudgingly increase their environmental resources and awareness. But actions definitely speak louder than words. The “Montreal Community Sustainability Development Plan” is an example of this. Taking a look at their sensation-
alized “Action Plan” demonstrates this perfectly. Montreal is taking the necessary steps to convince people that they are in fact implementing an environmental sustainability policy, but what can we see as a result of this? One look at the article written by Sariné Willis-O’Connor indicates the contrary. Our change-driven generation cannot claim that we have not been heard; rather, we have been absorbed and morphed into an ideal that is more profitable than it is beneficial. Nothing more than unfettered idealism and faith in our generational capacity for change will break this legacy. As we “move on up” in this world and begin to seriously influence the aforementioned infrastructure, we can reimprint it with our “for the better of the humanity” nature. Morgan Ura is a U3 Political Science and Philosophy student. She can be reached at morgan.ura@mail. mcgill.ca.
Underfunding departments is insulting Russian Studies’ merger with other language programs has reduced necessary course offerings Susannah Feinstein Hyde Park
hen other students ask me about my major, my response of “Russian Studies” always elicits either laughter or a string of questions, including (but not limited to): “Um, what?” “What’s so great about Russia?” “Do you even know Russian?” or my personal favourite, “McGill has a Russian Studies department?” As it is an incredibly small department, I usually laugh along with these confused Biology, International Development, and English majors. However, after checking Minerva on Monday afternoon, it seems as if those who had doubted the department’s existence would be proven correct. For the Fall 2011 semester alone,
five of about 13 classes open to Russian Studies undergrads have already been cancelled – four in Russian language, one in literature. Goodbye, advanced language intensive! Farewell, intro to Soviet literature! Who needs Russian syntax anyway? We do. These classes are integral components of an education in Russian Studies, and now the chances of a McGill student becoming proficient in Russian will be quite slim. The Winter 2012 schedule looks equally empty. There are unbelievably few classes for Russian majors to take in the last semesters of their program. It seems there is only one 300 or 400 level literature class listed for 201112 – Russian Drama, which is at 8:30 a.m. with a cap of 25 students. Students in the Russian program knew about the Hispanic-
German-Italian-Russian dysfunctional family of a department planned for next year, although the explanations for the motivation behind this consolidation were unclear. What we didn’t know, however, was that our department would nearly cease to exist. By eliminating instruction in higher-level language and in deciphering challenging novels, the McGill bureaucracy will essentially render the Russian degree useless. How could a Russian Studies major graduate unable to speak Russian? How are we to map out degree plans if the courses we need to graduate keep disappearing? How many holes must there be in our education as a result of underfunding? The fantastic Russian department professors, or at least those
who have not mysteriously disappeared, are equally distressed. I remember going to see an advisor in the fall for what should have been a routine scheduling visit. Instead, she looked at my transcript and woefully told me that I would essentially have to complete my degree playing it by ear. She said that many of the courses listed online would be cancelled, and the situation was beyond her control. It is unsettling to think of how little input professors might have in maintaining the standards of a degree in their own department. McGill is obviously having budget issues, but why these funds should be drawn from the language departments is unclear. I can only speak on behalf of McGill’s Russian Studies students, but I would imagine those in German, Italian, and
Hispanic Studies are feeling similarly disappointed. If the school doesn’t have enough money to maintain a decent Russian studies program, perhaps it would be less embarrassing to cut the department altogether. It has been painful to see the program’s deterioration, and even more unsettling to discuss with current Russian students their game plans for graduating. There is more to Russia than vodka, Stalin, and Crime and Punishment, but how are Russian majors supposed to convey their degree’s importance and relevancy without an adequate academic background to support this argument? Susannah Feinstein is a U2 Russian Studies student. She can be reached at susannah.feinstein@ mail.mcgill.ca.
coming to terms with THE WATER CRISIS Jenny Lu
The McGill Daily
hree quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered by water and geological evidence suggests that water has flowed on Earth for the past 3.8 billion years – most of Earth’s existence. For the majority of us, turning on a tap, flushing a toilet, or swimming in a pool do not strike us as anything miraculous, nor do they cause us to question the way water is treated. The reality is that we live in a world where there are more water refugees than war refugees, where glaciers as old as the Earth itself are disappearing before our eyes, and where we seldom hear about these problems. For the average North American, taking a five minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in an entire day. It is obvious that things cannot continue as they are.
Tom Acker | The McGill Daily
f the 1.39 billion cubic kilometres of water on Earth, only 2.5 per cent of it is drinkable. Of this drinkable water, 68.9 per cent is trapped in glaciers and 30.8 per cent is in groundwater aquifers. For years, humans and other animals have drawn their drinking water from the scant 0.3 per cent that remains in lakes and rivers. However, recent human activities have destroyed these resources through overuse and pollution. The pollution of surface water has forced us to bore into the Earth and extract ground water stored in aquifers. Fifty years ago the technology to extract ground water on a large scale did not exist. Now, however, drawing water from these subterranean reservoirs has resulted in their depletion on a massive scale. Not only does this decrease crucial reserves of ground water – it also causes an influx of salty ocean water where there was once potable ground water. In addition, much of the water we take from aquifers is often dumped into the ocean, further decreasing the amount of potable water we have as well as contributing to rising ocean levels. Many of these aquifers have taken thousands of years to develop, and do not replenish themselves on an ongoing basis. Even aquifers that can be replenished do so at a very slow rate. For example, the Ogallala Aquifer – which extends from Texas to South Dakota – contains mainly “fossil water” and is being depleted rapidly at a rate ten times greater than the rate at which it is replenished. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that the water table in the region has dropped by over 30 metres since extraction began, and some farmers have seen their private wells dry up. The depletion of the Ogallala has a direct impacts on all eight states which rest on top of the aquifer and depend on it for their water supply. That region is also one of the largest producers of corn, soybeans, wheat, and livestock; the depletion of the Ogallala means new infrastructure for other sources of water
must be built in order to avert an economic crisis. Climate change also threatens to exacerbate the water crisis. Global warming augments patterns of precipitation and evaporation, in addition to destroying glaciers – the largest source of drinking water. All in all, the answer is yes; we are running out of water.
he scarcity of water raises important questions about how we should treat this valuable resource. If we take a moment to think about how something as inconsequential as diamonds are coveted and treated, then our almost unbridled consumption of water, which is essential to life, looks ridiculous. We need not look far for a reminder of what can happen if we neglect to put proper water laws in place. Two years ago, a pulp and paper company called AbitibiBowater shut down its operations in Newfoundland, leaving factories and jobs behind. After the province began tapping into the river that AbitibiBowater had used at its former site, the company sued the Canadian government for $500 million in direct compensation and damages under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The claim alleged that the governments of Newfoundland and Labrador had expropriated the company’s hydro-electric, timber, and water rights. Premier Danny Williams tried to fight this claim, arguing that the company had been allowed to use the water, but did not own it. However, on August 24, 2010 the Harper government made an announcement that it would pay AbitibiBowater $130 million to withdraw its lawsuit, unwilling to even force the case to go to a NAFTA panel. “Is water a commodity to be put on the open market for sale like running shoes and Coca-Cola? Or is it a commons that belongs to everyone as part of our collective human heritage? Does it belong to the Earth and to other species? Does it belong to the future?” asks Maude Barlow. Barlow is National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, chair of the board of Food and Water Watch, executive member of the International Forum on Globalization, and Councillor with World Future Council. She devotes much of her time to fighting the commodification of water. Currently, water rights vary around the world and even within countries. Some places go even further and treat surface and ground water differently. Many places with common law heritage, like Canada and parts of the eastern United States, follow a system of riparian rights wherein water is allocated to those who own the land around it. In these places anyone who buys the land can have unlimited access to the water, draining it and other places in its vicinity. Other places, like Finland, disconnect water from the land, allowing direct ownership of water. In Australia, water was separated from land in order to privatize and sell it. Some farmers have wound up treating water as a cash crop and began selling water rather than growing food.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Barlow advocates disconnecting water from land to preclude the possibility that a single entity can buy a piece of land and drain all the water in, under, and around it. She adds that this separated water must be treated as a common public trust to further ensure that it cannot be monopolized. Already, places like Quebec and Vermont have been moving toward this public trust model in their treatment of water, Barlow says. It is easy to see how the privatization and commodification of water has already taken the place of a unified global treatment of water as a human right. In much of the world, water is already treated like a commodity. Some forms of water commodification are obvious – such as bottled water – while others are more subtle. According to Barlow, “One of these forms is the privatization of the utility itself. If you want drinking water or waste water treatment it’s run by a for-profit company, and those who can’t pay don’t get the service.” Other forms of water privatization, she says, can be even less obvious but equally nefarious. “It takes the form of water trading where you convert a license to water to a private trading right or a property right that you can buy and sell. That’s very common in California and Texas. Alberta is moving toward it, and B.C. is beginning to talk about it. It also takes the form of large land grabs, where big hedge funds or wealthy countries who are worried about running out of water, and therefore production capacity. So they buy up huge plots of land and water in third world countries and just hold onto them, grow food for their people on them, or sell the water out from under them.”
owever, many people are in support of water commodification, especially in a “water-rich” country such as ours. Given the United States’ growing need for water, there has been talk about bulk water exportation from Canada to the United States on both sides of the border. As Brian Milner, a senior economics writer at the Globe and Mail, has said in an interview, “Frankly the fact is if we say absolutely no to all exports it’s a pretty strange position to take in a world where water is treated like a commodity. The fact is there are shortages and there are surpluses that Canada does have. Despite what Maude would have us believe, we do have surpluses in water. We have enough water to sell at a reasonable level. We can’t sell tonnes and tonnes of the stuff, we have to keep enough to protect the watershed, but it is marketable.” He went on to say, “There’s sort of a myth that if we sell our water it’s all going to go to golf courses in Arizona. In fact, most of the water that is brought into the south-western or Midwest U.S. is used for agriculture that grows food, which we import. … So essentially if we did export water to the U.S. we’d be the beneficiary.” Milner raises an important point. Too often we are quick to blame others for wasting water when we are no better. Though it
is easy to accuse the United States of using too much water, we condone this usage with every food import we buy from them. It is equally easy to blame Alberta for destroying the environment in its production of oil and natural gas, all the while forgetting that that oil is used in cars across all over Canada. A 2006 Statistics Canada report shows that Quebec homes and business use 35 per cent more water than the Canadian average and almost twice as much as the Albertan average. Also, while only 16.5 per cent of resident clients and 36.6 per cent of business clients are metered in Quebec, almost 90 per cent of business and residential clients are metered in Alberta. Additionally, residential water usage exceeds the combined commercial, institutional, industrial, and system loss water usage.
uch of this is a result of the myth many of us believe in, that Canada is a “water rich” country, with 20 per cent of the world’s water. However, Barlow states that “The only way that we would have twenty per cent of the world’s water is if we drained every lake and every river in Canada and then we would be a big desert.” She goes on to explain that Canada can only be said to contain about 2.5 per cent of the world’s available fresh water. Despite this scarcity of water and our exorbitant use of it at home, bulk exportation of water to the U.S. remains a likely possibility. Water is already listed as a commodity under NAFTA. The fact that water exportation would currently be an unprofitable venture should not be a source of comfort, but rather another cause for concern. All it means is that the cost of water does not reflect its true economic value, which will invariably lead to further abuse and degradation of our water. In many cases where there are large governmental subsidies – as in agriculture – water is completely free. Even when water is not free, it remains senselessly cheap. In Ontario the price for industrial water is $3.71 for 1 million litres. If a bottled water company buys this and sells a 500-millilitre bottle for at least $1… well you can do the math. If the price of water is increased to reflect its true value, then there will be many more people who cannot afford the basic human right of water. None of these say anything of the fact that water is necessary for all forms of life on Earth, not just humans. It is becoming increasingly clear that our current treatment of water as a commodity must be reformed. If the current state of affairs is left as is, water will continue to be appropriated and abused in ways that will not benefit anyone, even the abusers. If the world continues to remain divided in its treatment of water rights, those who want to own water and use it beyond the limits of our planet will always be able to find willing hosts in different parts of the world. So now the question is: where do we go from here? How do we move forward in a
sustainable, just, and equitable way? Barlow gives us her three main suggestions of how we should establish water plans. “First, protect water where it belongs. We have to leave it as much as humanly possible where nature put it, […] where it’s needed for the healthy functioning of a hydrologic cycle. […]We have to protect, respect, and rebuild water sheds. […] We’ve got to learn to live inside nature in a different way than we have been,” she says. “Secondly, we need to declare water as a well-managed common, not a free-for-all common, and a public trust. It must be considered common property of the people who live there. It must be their local responsibility that is protected by law and higher levels of government so you can’t decide in your community to destroy the water for money.” Barlow realizes the necessity of water for commercial use and profit but states that we must set our priorities straight. Communities must come together and decide how water will be used for agriculture and by companies. She stresses the importance of ensuring that private interest groups are not allowed to own water; they should only be allowed to access it. Finally, she says, “We need to declare it to be a human right, so that no one is denied water or sanitation because of a lack of ability to pay while others appropriate it for profit. And in my mind if we can have those three fundamental concepts in place, then we start to build water plans and water law.” She goes on to state, “We have the water; we don’t have the will yet. We still have that myth of abundance in our minds, that we can just take, take, take, take. But when that changes – and it will change – we will approach this water issue differently.”
hile the AbitibiBowater case demonstrates clear cause for concern, we also do not need to look far for hope. The United Nations has recently recognized water and sanitation as a human right. Already there are many communities adopting local ordinances, laws, or constitutional changes that treat water as a fundamental human right and even protect nature. These communities are demanding more local control and reclaiming their water. Still, many challenges remain. Where do those people who do not live in a local community with water go? How do we ensure a kind of unity amongst all these different water communities? How can we adopt local water policies in a world where the effects of globalization are so pervasive and continually expanding? “There is no easy answer to the situation of our world with a growing population and growing consumer demand as the population gets more urban,” Barlow says. “I won’t pretend have an easy answer because I don’t think there is one. But whatever answer there is, it is going to be based on coming back to more local sustainable living. We’ve got to stop the notion of unlimited growth.”
28 100 Years of The Daily
LOOKING Former Dailyites sh Irwin Cotler (B.A. ‘61)
My tenure as editor-in-chief of The McGill Daily in 1962-63 was one of the most memorable experiences of my days at McGill University, and indeed has been a lasting one throughout my life. First, on a personal level, the friendships I made have endured to the present day. We lived then (and worked then) in the basement of the McGill Student Union (now the McCord Museum), and other occupants of the building included Gordon Echenberg, then president of the Student Society, while my roommates were Joe Oliver, who headed up my editorial board, and is now a Conservative candidate in Toronto, and David Goldenblatt, who like Gordon Echenberg and Joe Oliver were my classmates at McGill Law School at the time. So we literally lived and worked together and some of the things we shared have a hilarity about it that regrettably cannot be put into print! Second, these were my most athletic days. We would play touch football on the third floor of the Student Union, and the winners were those left standing after a set of particularly brutal exchanges, while The McGill Daily staff would challenge the then Student’s Executive Council to touch football in the snow (and ice) outside the McGill Library – yet another survivor experience. I played quarterback for The McGill Daily team – the first and last time that I played this position – given my ignominious talent as a quarterback. Third, The McGill Daily was a great intellectual experience – the discussions, debates, encounters on the campus issues of the day and also, I might add, however presumptively, on the great issues of the day – the CUCND Movement (the Combined Universities Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) which launched my involvement as a peace activist; the AntiVietnam War Movement, where several years later I was arrested for leafleting in a prohibited government space in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, which probably inspired my later involvement in the Anti-Apartheid Movement, where I got arrested yet again for a public talk I gave in South Africa in support of Mandela in 1981, when he was a “banned person” and any mention of his name, let alone advocacy for his case, was forbidden. As it happens, the Montreal Star went on strike that year and we began to publish not only for the campus community but also for the larger Montreal community, and for a three-week period published an edition that involved issues of concern to the city at large. Also, I was editor during the period of the assassination of the former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, which was a cataclysmic moment for us in The Daily and beyond. Fourth, and finally, editing The Daily was a great life-enhancing journey. I am sure that it refined my analytical, writing and advocacy skills as a student and then law professor – my work as a human rights lawyer – and even my most recent involvement as a Member of Parliament and Minister of Justice. It also has allowed me to regale my family, particularly my kids, with the great moments that I experienced then and have been able to share with them over the years. Happy Hundredth Anniversary McGill Daily. To paraphrase Leonard Cohen, my friend and himself a Dailyite, “I will not forget you old friend.” Irwin Cotler is the Liberal MP for Mount Royal.
Judy Rebick (B.Sc. ‘67) My first byline at The Daily was for an article covering a speech given by pioneer feminist Laura Sabia to the McGill Women’s Union in November 1964. The Women’s Union was a leftover from when women couldn’t be part of the student society. That was beginning to change. In 1964 Joy Fenston was the editor of The Daily and the following year Sharon Sholzberg was President of the Student Union. Mrs. Sabia was appealing to the girls, as we would have been called then, to stay in school. “The natural instinct to have children will be just as strong when you are thirty as when it is when you are twenty,” she explained. It would be a few years before the new generation of feminists, no doubt some of them in that very room began their revolution. But this was the fall of 1964 and in print it was still correct to call her Mrs. Michael Sabia and I did. I wasn’t a feminist then. I hadn’t read Betty Friedan or Simone de Beauvoir and before The Daily, I didn’t know any other girls who thought like I did. So I assumed that I was more like the boys I knew and that I could do anything they could do. It was working at the Daily that made me realize that there were other girls like me and that maybe we needed some change in the society so that we could have the same opportunities as men had. Judy Rebick is the founder of rabble.ca.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
G BACK hare their memories
Jan Wong (B.A. ‘74) The McGill Daily gave me my first journalistic break: an assignment covering a student blood-donor drive. I remember panicking – how do I make this interesting?! (Note: I failed miserably on the human-interest front, but at least I didn’t make any factual errors.) Another assignment had more potential: the arrival of the first exchange students from mainland China. It was 1973. I went to greet them at Dorval Airport (now Trudeau International Airport.) I was keen, having just spent a year at Beijing University myself as the first Canadian student in China during the Cultural Revolution. As a result, I was able to interview the new arrivals in Chinese. And if I remember correctly, I donned my blue Mao suit, which was quite the fashion in radical circles in the 1970s. I think The Daily ran a photo of us, myself being indistinguishable from the mainland students. Blending in was a sign of things to come. Years later, I ended up as a foreign correspondent in Beijing where I was able to operate incognito much of the time. Among the events I covered: the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Jan Wong is a former columnist for the Globe and Mail and author of Red China Blues.
Julian Sher (B.A. ‘75) I walked into the offices of The McGill Daily a few days before my first day of classes started at university – and I never really left. For the next few years, I spent long days and many nights helping to put out a newspaper and it changed my life. It was the early 1970s and the times, they were still a’ changing. My first year at the paper we lived through the 1970 October Crisis: I remember the police coming to pick up the FLQ communiques we received. Copies of The Daily were seized when we (following many other media outlets) published the FLQ manifesto but that became illegal overnight when the War Measures Act was promulgated. In the tense days that followed, I would be walking home in the early hours of the morning after putting the paper to bed – and had to explain to soldiers why I was out on the streets at such an hour. We saw the rise of the Quebec independence movement and the turmoil of general strikes; on the international front, we covered the coup in Chile and the end of the Vietnam War. On campus, we tackled everything from who gets into McGill (or not) to what gets taught (or not). We were ambitious and idealistic. We were sometimes doctrinaire but always devoted to a good story; sometimes strident or silly but always serious about good journalism. We got some things right and no doubt a lot of things wrong. But I learned much during those long nights in that basement office that I still carry with me, things they never really teach you in journalism school: Go against grain and question conventional wisdom. Do not be afraid to challenge authority. And have fun – it’s only journalism! I hope The Daily continues to teach those lessons to new generations of aspiring writers and investigators in its next 100 years. Julian Sher is an award-winning investigative author and journalist for the Globe and Mail.
Peter Kuitenbrouwer (B.A. ‘84) In the fall of 1993 a Gazette reporter contacted The Daily and told us details about a scandal in the microbiology department that were too hot for his paper to print. Three reporters: Albert Nerenberg (now a film-maker), Karen Bastow (now a criminal lawyer) and I had no such qualms. After some sleuthing, The Daily printed new revelations of a deal McGill struck with Irving DeVoe, chair of microbiology, and his colleague Bruce Holbein. Essentially the school tossed out its own rules, accepting shares of a shadowy company being run up on the Amsterdam stock exchange, in return for use of its name. The firm claimed it could extract gold from sea water. DeVoe freaked out and slapped The Daily, and us, with an injunction. We found the whole thing hilarious, and at the Palais de Justice laughed at all the lawyers’ galoshes. But they were deadly serious; Julius Grey, the constitutional lawyer and McGill alumnus, called and offered to defend us, with funding from legal aid. David Johnston (now Governor-General) was principal of McGill; the administration cowered in fear as we continued unravelling the “DevoeHolbein affair.” One morning the vice-president academic called us into his office. He looked distraught. We had been up all night carousing; I remember Karen wore a t-shirt decorated with little flying slices of pizza. “What do you guys want?” the VP asked. “Well, you could postpone all our December exams until June,” I suggested. “Done,” he said. “What else?” McGill later appointed a committee, which concluded the school had permitted “a major conflict of interest.” I had my first true glimpse of the power of the printed word. I have never looked back. Happy birthday, McGill Daily! Peter Kuitenbrouwer is a columnist for the National Post.
30 The Daily Through the Decades
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
h e Daily in the 1930s was a dynamic and energized paper. Its willingness to address political and international events paved the way for impassioned editorials and broad coverage that even included foreign correspondents on Broadway and “Paris-chatter” beats. In a Jubilee edition that commemorated the 100th issue of the 25th volume, a special was printed with “unique layouts” for the news page – a seven column sweep with a tabloid vibe – and a “jazzed up” sports section, as the most-read page of the paper. The biggest innovation throughout the thirties was the inclusion of a World News section, controversial within the McGill community and for former Daily editors. The decade also saw the beginning of political and non-McGill related editorials. Stories ran on developments in Germany, England, and South Africa as well as on tensions between Italy and Ethiopia. The economic woes of the Canadian wheat industry, the effect of “old man Depression,” and what was the best policy to see the government and economy through were recurring stories.
espite global upheaval, the 1940s were business as usual for The McGill Daily. Reporting on the war was primarily restricted to the “Around the Globe” column on the front page of every issue, which detailed both breaking news (“full scale war upon Japan must still wait upon the defeat of Nazi Germany”), and more humorous updates (“Rubber goods have been banned in Canada. Too bad boys!”). However, The Daily’s emphasis remained on university life, and much of the newspaper’s content was focused on sports, student literature, and events on campus. This content ranged from interviews with Shirley Temple and Frank Sinatra, to creative writing, to a series on modern and contemporary art by Order of Canada recipient Peter Oberlander. Despite occasional headlines alluding to the war, soldiers’ training schedules, and events on campus with a more global focus, the content of the newspaper was primarily lighthearted. A welcome diversion and (fairly undiscerning) forum for student contributions, The Daily maintained its commitment to McGill campus life, providing not only news, but humour and distraction as well.
!" October 1933 Fascism loomed large throughout the inter-war period. Coverage focused on campus-level analysis of World War I, and examined the rise of Nazism through speeches given on campus, though the coverage could be surprisingly uncritical.
!"January 1936 Amidst anti-Communist, anti-Semitic and anti-Anglophone sentiments, a McGill professor was attacked on the street, rocks were thrown at the McGill Union and meetings between the McGill Union itself and with the Montreal Police were disrupted. The Daily editorialized about the uprisings, calling out violent actions taken by certain Université de Montréal students and groups in the City of Montreal as endangering freedom of speech, assembly, and press in Quebec. “This paper and the McGill Union will continue to be open to the free expression of student thought. It is only when truth is sought in an atmosphere of freedom that progress is made.”
#"March 1936 By the late thirties, the situation in Europe had grown more dire, which The Daily’s coverage started to reflect. The Maccabean Circle hosted a guest speaker discussing the worsening conditions on the ground in Germany and Central Europe
!"October 1937 Gossiping between the stacks, eating food with loud wrappers and general shenanigans are nothing new. These age-old procrastination techniques were favourites in the 1930s, as this satirical brief outlined.
#"Fall 1937 The Daily led the first large-scale questionnaire in partnership with the Canadian University Press to get a pulse on student sentiment as war became more likely. Results showed “an almost complete censure of conscription” with indicators that conscription would be “actively opposed.”
#"1941 Though The Daily rarely mentioned the war, its effects were implicitly detailed through frequently printed training schedules. Set up like a course schedule, this time-table informs enlisted students when and what their training for the week will be – possibilities include first aid, marching and bayonet practice.
!"1942 The Daily primarily restricted its war reporting to the “Around the Globe” column featured on the front page of every issue. News included updates from the frontlines, as well as issues pertaining to those at home, such as a blackout on the Gaspé Coast.
!"December 1943 One of the only front page headlines pertaining to the war was followed by a critical piece describing the effects of the war on students, and the limitations on free speech enacted by the pro-German Norwegian government. “The students were not told of the reason for their arrest, or what was going to happen to them,” The Daily reported. #"December 1941 Throughout the war, The Daily often remained lighthearted, printing special interest issues like this one. Notable headlines on the same front page read, “Campus Cutie Chosen as Queen of Engineers,” and “Plumber’s Ball to be Held in RVC – Rumour.”
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
New songs, same old tune Jessica Lukawiecki traces the evolution of music in protest
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
rotest songs are often considered things of the past, nostalgic reminders of a world where idealistic flower children used music to express their discontent with the injustices taking place around them. They are relegated to a time when Pete Seeger, Neil Young, and Edwin Star were singing about issues that mattered, to a time when people actually cared. These are pictures of a very different world in which women and people of colour were fighting for their rights using music and art, when thousands would gather in solidarity to protest against war and apathy and prejudice. But does our world today really paint such a different picture? Has music really disappeared as a means of being heard in a time when individual voices are too easily drowned out by the larger powers of corporatization and globalization? Are protest songs truly a thing of the past? There is no doubt that there was a time when protest music was more readily accepted as part of the mainstream. Songs like John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” and Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind” were comfortable on Billboard charts throughout the sixties. Today, we turn on the radio and hear popular stations playing songs cen-
tred on sex, alcohol and drugs, and it becomes only too easy to assume that the mainstream is an accurate reflection of the masses – easy to believe we are as apathetic and devoid of ideals as the music that dominates our media. But to reach this conclusion is to make a gross misjudgment – one that ignores the thousands of grass roots movements bringing together suppressed groups around the world through music. Protest songs have not disappeared, folks – instead they have adapted to fit into a new and changing world. Out of the depths of inequality have risen some of the most unacknowledged and revolutionary forms of protest song the world has yet seen. This is not an instance of apathy – this is an exciting moment in time where pressures to keep silent have forced those at the bottom to use innovative ways to make themselves heard – turning defiance into brave, soaring gestures of solidarity and strength. Songs arising from the labour Union Movement have been documented as far back as 1879, but the more recent incorporation of technology into this trend has resulted in an explosion of protest music fighting for union rights. Crying out against Republican Governor Scott Walker’s budget cut proposals for trade unions,
protests in Wisconsin have resulted in a number of YouTube videos by local artists going viral. The Dropkick Murphys, an IrishAmerican Celtic band, have been leaders in this development, releasing songs like “Take Em’ Down” to support the struggles of the working class in Wisconsin. Other protest groups, like the International Raging Grannies, have been incorporating satirical humour into their protest songs and chants since they first began in 1987. One of the original founders of the Raging Grannies in Montreal, Joan Hadrill, told The Daily over the phone that the Grannies have found that the most effective way of getting their messages across is by keeping people entertained and engaged. The Grannies will often go to places they haven’t been invited, dressed in outrageous getups, to sing and chant about issues ranging from sweat shops and Native land claims to environmental activism and unjust wars. “Mostly what we do in our protests is sing, and mostly satirical songs to get our messages across,” Hadrill said. “We find it’s more effective than preaching to people because it keeps them entertained and interested. We use tunes from old familiar songs so that people can join in, and we share the songs we create across Granny groups.”
Similar movements toward incorporating music into protests have been witnessed in Montreal’s student population, where protests are quickly becoming more frequent and insistent. Representing more than 55, 000 students, the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) uses protests to fight against rising tuition fees and the loss of student rights. President Léo Bureau-Blouin told The Daily in an interview that he has noticed a strong musical presence in all their demonstrations. “The main objective of incorporating music is to make sure there is a rhythm to the protests, to create unity and to gain media attention,” he explained. Mob Squad McGill member Sam Neylon and former Daily editor said in an interview that protest songs have heatured strongly in local student protests this year, particularly with the Arch Café and tuition protests in Quebec City. “A lot of times it’s just about creating noise and being heard,” he said, “but it’s really interesting the kinds of songs and rhythms that get going when everyone’s together. The idea of a lot of protests is to counter order, to take back the streets as our space through songs and chants and dancing.” Neylon continued by explaining that he has seen two con-
verging trends in current protests - one that is interested in taking the aesthetics of leftist sixties protest songs and reinventing them, and another that is focused on the online media and sound demo’s in order to be heard through any means necessary, including megaphones, pots, pans, and drums. Perhaps our fast-paced, expanding world has led us to expect instantaneuous results, but if we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that movements don’t take hold overnight. The progressive folk movement which first emerged in the fifties took over a decade to develop, only really taking root when it was revived by singers like Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan amidst a population hungry for justice. We loften ament the lost ways of the past, the fuel that drove protesters and musicians in the sixties when groups cried out against war and injustice. But new movements are taking this energy, recycling it, and spitting out something completely new and inventive. Let us paint a very different picture – one of a future without apathy and silence, where voices are heard and accountability is demanded, and where the voices and frustrations of an entire generation are understood through the power of music.
The Advertising and Business Office crew would like to shout a big THANK YOU to all our readers and advertisers for their continued support throughout our 100th year. The McGill Daily returns September 1st Le DĂŠlit returns September 6th
Have a great summer!
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The heritage imperative
Historic Redpath House promotes discussion over the importance of architectural history Bipasha Sultana Culture Writer
istorical buildings. If you’ve ever taken a stroll within the parameters of downtown Montreal, you’ll rarely fail to notice one. Ghoulishly grey, sometimes with oxidized green roofs, ornately Victorian... A stubborn mass of stone full of character, like your 99 year-old great-grandparent who refuses to give up independent living for a nursing home. Redpath House is one of these buildings, standing ever so still in the wealthy area on the southern slopes of Mount Royal, generally known by natives as the Golden Square Mile. Once a striking but now matte red hue, the house was built in 1886 for a member of the affluent Redpath family. Characteristic of its age, the house is deemed to be one of few buildings in Montreal modeled on the Queen Anne style, an architectural aesthetic popular toward the end of the 19th century. Several decades following its construction, the house was abandoned, leaving it entirely deprived of interior or exterior maintenance and subject to menacing threats of demolition from its owner. This is where The Héritage Montréal stepped in. The nonprofit organization that seeks to protect and preserve “the architectural, historic, natural, and cultural heritage” of the city and its outskirts – intervened to defend the house’s continued existence, opposing impending plans for condominiums in its place. For more than twenty years, the organization has been involved in relentless back-and-forth negotia-
tions between Redpath’s neglectful owner and the City, ultimately culminating in a victory for Héritage Montréal. However, when we pass by such decrepit, idle structures, we may wonder – and quite reasonably – at the practicality of maintaining their existence. They may possess historical, emotional, and symbolic significance to their city and its inhabitants, but is it callous or shallow to ask that they also serve a practical purpose? In his Masters of Architecture thesis at McGill, Preserving Old Buildings: Adaptive Use for Residential Purposes in Montreal, Milenko Vujadinovic observed that from the 1980s onward, a greater awareness and appreciation for the city’s architectural heritage arose. Inhabitants sought a happy medium between heritage and usefulness by using outdated, abandoned buildings for residential or commercial purposes without demolishing them. He calls this repurposing of historic buildings “adaptive use.” Prospects for the Redpath House will likely follow the same trend of being adapted for “usefulness.” Dinu Bumbaru, policy director at Héritage Montréal, commented in an email that he is “quite confident that an interesting residential project can be devised for [the Redpath House] site that would respect the scale, character and heritage of the Square Mile, even enrich the area’s architectural heritage while meeting fair and reasonable business expectations.” The importance of preserving historical buildings as heritage sites lies in the maintaining of architectural diversity in metropolitan areas. It is possible
to make abandoned buildings useful again, repurposing rather than demolishing them. McGill Architecture professor Annmarie Adams also explained in an email that “in addition to the obvious ‘charm’ that older structures can bring to a city, the presence of historic buildings connects us to historic ideas, events, and people. They can be both explicit and subtle evidence of the ways people once lived; of the priorities societies set; of past standards of beauty. They are often comforting.” However, she continued that, “Preservation is an expensive business. It can be difficult to decide which buildings should be kept and which can be discarded… Older buildings often need to be brought up to the building code; they are notoriously hard to heat and maintain, and it is a tricky ethical issue to decide how much ‘modernization’ is the appropriate amount. Some cities have very strict historic preservation guidelines which can sometimes hamper development. To draw the line between preservation and so-called progress is a tough ethical issue today.” These difficulties are reflected in the proposals for the Redpath House site – conversion into condominiums is potentially easier and more profitable than retaining the 150 year-old original structure. Nevertheless, the preservation of historical buildings does not have to be viewed as a fruitless endeavor, devoid of any practical purpose. While the city asserts a strict view of heritage preservation, including that of old, abandoned “historic” buildings like the Redpath House, it aims – alongside organizations like Héritage Montréal – to render
Almudena Romero for The McGill Daily
The future of heritage Redpath House is in limbo them “useful” (however usefulness may be judged) for the benefit and enrichment of the surrounding community and city at large. In coming up with a solution to Redpath
House’s future, Héritage Montréal reflects a wider trend across the city: a growing realization of the importance and feasibility of preserving historical buildings.
was found that his home, a magisterial four-story building intended to house his three sons’ future families, was bisected by the planned wall. In an ironic twist, his house was spared by virtue of its strategic location, and was commandeered by the Israeli military as a base of operations. Halim still lives on the ground floor, but cannot access the upper floors. Halim’s lower floor is filled to the ceilings with beautiful furniture imported from Turkey, still in its original plastic coverings, the milky film capturing the essence of the state of limbo in which he now finds his life. Parry’s presentation comprised a striking combination of Palestinian and international art. Among the big names of the foreign street artists to have painted the wall are Banksy, Blu, Ron English, Swoon ,and New York’s
Faile Collective. But what strikes one immediately is the work of the Palestinian artists, which aims largely at uniting the local people in their struggle against Israeli state oppression. Among their works is the mural entitled “To Exist is to Resist,” which was featured on the poster advertising the event. It strikes a defiant chord, and reminds us that the amenities we take for granted – clean water, convenient education and healthcare, plentiful jobs, and easy access to our friends and families – must be fought for day in and day out by Palestinians, often in the face of overwhelming opposition. To exist in spite of such oppression is an act of resistance in and of itself.
This art is on the wall Exposing the creative expression of the West Bank Barrier Cole Powers
he Israeli West Bank Barrier stretches approximately 700 kilometres through the West Bank. It is a concrete wall eight metres high, and serves the ostensible purpose of protecting the Israeli settlers to its west from terrorist attack, although its real effect has been to cut off Palestinians from healthcare, jobs, education, irrigation, and clean water, as well as their families and communities. The wall is also prime real estate for graffiti artists, who’ve covered its expanse with thousands of images, slogans, cartoons, etchings, and art. The latter was the focus of the March 28 presentation “Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine,” given by William
Parry, a U.K.-based photojournalist. Published in the Independent, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail, Parry is originally from Canada, where he graduated from Queen’s University. The talk was organized by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and the Middle East Studies Students’ Association (MESSA) and was held in the Adams auditorium. In 2007 that graffiti artist Banksy’s charity organization “Pictures on Walls” was holding a charity art auction in Bethlehem, with proceeds going toward funding of a program in that area focusing on public and street art. The Christmas Eve auction – held in a derelict fried chicken restaurant opposite manger square – received contributions from a number of prominent street artists including the Italian street artist Blu, who
features prominently in Parry’s accompanying book. Parry decided to travel to Bethlehem, meeting Banksy there and observing that “a lot had changed” since his last visit. Specifically, he noted that the amount of art on the wall, erected in 2003, had exploded, such that the edifice was practically covered end to end in graffiti. He mused to himself that someone ought to document it all, and, on returning to London, decided to do it himself. The result is the 192-page Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine, a chronicle not only of the wall’s many instances of graffiti but also of the daily abuses faced by many who live within its spectre. One example Parry cited is the case of Abdul Halim. Halim’s house was built before the construction of the wall began, and when the barrier’s construction was started, it
William Parry’s book Against the Wall: the Art of Resistance in Palestine is available online.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Coming up roses
Chez Rose brings Haitian food to the Plateau in delicious abundance Victor Tangermann The McGill Daily
idden in a crevice on Pine, just across the street from the world-famous $2 chow mein, a neon sign invites in those who decide to leave the clamorous sidewalks of St. Laurent for a generous portion of steaming, scrumptious, Haitian food. For those looking for alternatives to take-out poutine and cardboard-flavoured pizza after a night out on the streets, look no further. Since last summer, Chez Rose has offered the lower Plateau community a taste of Caribbean casse-croûte. The Rose of Chez Rose, Rose Bien Aimée, came to Montreal at an early age. After a colossal plate of food, I sat down with Rose and she told me her story. “I grew up in the quartier since I was ten years old. When I was young, I asked God for a restaurant, and God gave me a restaurant.” The hysterics from a Just for Laughs episode on the TV completed the experience of our metropole’s multicultural cuisine as Rose told me about her business. Her daughter Sandra, a helping hand behind the counter, joined the conversation, helping me out with my broken French. “In this ’hood, they don’t have Haitian food a lot. That’s why she want to open a Haitian restaurant here.” The Plateau’s culinary range is rath-
CULTURE BRIEFS Junk got style This spring, campus can expect a couple of unique additions to its landscape. Debbie So and Thomas Rowlinson, former business and urban geography students, are constructing a pair of benches out of scavenged materials to be installed on McGill’s downtown campus. So and Rowlinson conceived of the idea for the Hitting The Benchmark project during a seminar on Sustainable Architecture last spring. The two creators are putting on the final touches in preparation for the launch on April 8. “Near the end of my degree, I realized I had a real lack of concrete experience working with these theories of urban design. This seemed like a natural opportunity for us to explore ideas about waste diversion and art,” explained Rowlinson. The benches are constructed from a bright assortment of refuse scavenged from the condemned buildings on McGill’s campus, as well as in Montreal’s back alleys. “We wanted to create something out of waste that was functional, interactive, and would inspire people to connect with their urban environ-
er limited in comparison to neighbourhoods such as Parc-Extension or St. Michel, where Haitian restaurants are well-established. From close family friends to students looking for an affordable but filling meal, a diverse clientele sits down to eat in Chez Rose’s clean and inviting diningroom. With white curtains partially blocking the view of the Jean Coutu pharmacy across the street, Chez Rose feels more like a living room than a small food joint. Sandra felt that the predominantly white residents of the Plateau, “don’t ever eat Haitian food. So they come here to taste, and after, they come back.” However, Rose assured that “all nationalities come here,” most of whom come to grab take-out after a long day at work. The doors seem to be constantly open, from the early afternoon until late into the night. One of the intriguing aspects of my visit to Chez Rose was discovering what exactly constitutes Haitian food. Chicken, turkey, veal, beef, and lamb are some of the meat dishes offered, each served with a mound of rice and beans, fresh lettuce, and two pieces of fried plantain. When asked about the distinguishing characteristics of Haitian cuisine, Rose described the cooking procedure, which she has evidently perfected over the years. The meats are thoroughly rinsed in water, dis-
ment. We’re using old bookshelves, table legs, broken chairs, milk crates even an abandoned shipping container,” said So. “We’re diverting from McGill’s wastestream to give back something new.” With the recent pedestrianization of campus, Rowlinson and So wanted to create something that embraced McGill’s green initiative while also being student-driven. After brainstorming ideas in their Sustainable Architecture seminar last spring, they decided to submit their project to McGill’s new Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF). Hitting the Benchmark is now one of 31 projects funded by the SPF, joining Campus Crops, the Farmer’s Market, and the Solin Hall Bike Collective. Rowlinson hopes every student will consider working with the SPF to re-envision their campus. “We want this project to continue on after we’re done. These benches are meant to inspire students to find new ways to interact with their environment. Student-driven change is possible!” he enthused. So elaborated, “Sustainability is about participatory practices, and not just bureaucratic planning. These benches are a creative expression of student involvement.” —Emma Quail The benches will be unveiled Friday, April 8 from 2 to 4 p.m., on the ter-
Eric Wen | The McGill Daily
Eric Wen | The McGill Daily
infected using lemon juice – which gives the meats a nice citrus taste – and then marinated in spices. “We use shallots, garlic, onions. You add it to a blender, and then you add a bit of oil, vinegar, and that makes the spice,” she explained. The meat is then carefully cooked to the point where it melts in your mouth. Combined with the prominent tastes of the accompanying sauce and plaintains, this makes for a dish that’s sure to please.
race between Morrice Hall and Leacock. There will be free kombucha and nachos.
Mirrors off the wall I have never seen an Elvis impersonator in real life before. Although an odd sight to greet an audience at a Sala Rossa show on a Thursday night in 2011, the grinding, wobbling pseudo-King crooning from the stage proved to be the perfect opener for Buddy McNeil and the Magic Mirrors. Alexis Roberge, the lead singer and guitarist, was approached by Buddy McNeil after playing with his former band, Les Modes, in Peterborough, Ontario six years ago. “You remind me of myself when I was your age!” the ageing songster enthused. “He said that if I wanted to, he would give me all the songs he had ever written,” Roberge reminisced over lunch. “So I said why not, I didn’t think it was true… A couple of months after I came back [from tour] I received a big box of tapes, but I didn’t remember the guy at that point. When I received the box I wondered what it was. So I opened the box, I saw it was a pile of tapes, so I start listening to them… I didn’t remember until I got a phone call from Buddy McNeil and then I remembered the touring and this guy.”
The meal as a whole may be presented in an intimidatingly large quantity, but this in no way detracts from the finesse involved in its preparation. Starting this summer, Rose plans to diversify her already comprehensive set of dishes. Some new additions will include Lambi, a typical Haitian dish that is made up of conch (think Lord of the Flies) served in a vegetable sauce. Chez Rose offers a unique taste
The material, Roberge described, had “a good feel. The bits and pieces were good.” McNeil had been signed to Sun Records – of Johnny Cash and Elvis fame – but after a disagreement with the owner Sam Phillips, his material was never released. Instead, it languished on homemade recordings, a man and his guitar. Roberge explained McNeil’s attitude: “for him, music was something that had to be made, had to be live. This is what he told me, that he never had recorded professionally because for him music had to be done the instant.” McNeil gave all the music to Roberge to do with as he wished. He and his bandmates have since manipulated the material to produce a distinctive sound that is of an entirely different age. “We take bits and pieces from songs and try to work something out,” he said of the composing process. “Sometimes they’re full songs, sometimes we take a part here, a part there. We don’t hear all the lyrics that he sings so we try to insert more, try to take it and make sense.” The result is both intensely familiar and wholly new. Listening to tracks such as “Buddy” and “Shoeshine,” I felt that nagging “where do I recognize this from?” feeling. These songs are of the style that defined an era, composed in the midst of the rock-and-roll
of Haitian food in Montreal in a very welcoming and genuine setting. “We feed to fill,” Rose promises me on my way out in French. At ten dollars, you are guaranteed to leave satisfied without spending a fortune. With such an array of meat and vegetable dishes, Chez Rose’s stews offer an authentic Caribbean meal right on Montreal’s Main. Chez Rose is located at 24 Pins E.
boom. As such, they can hardly be described as relevant to today’s listeners, but that’s not really the point – as evidenced by the eagerness of the audience at the album’s launch concert, people still want to jive. And the band obliged. With up to 13 people crammed on the stage at any one time – all dressed as sailors – with horns, choir, and chains as backing instruments, the Magic Mirrors certainly achieved their purpose of recreating the album’s sound onstage. On a first listen to the album, the unexpected tone of Roberge’s voice jars with the songs themselves – as they’re so dated to a particular time, our expectations of Elvis’s mellow lulling and seductive lilt are confused. The way to experience Buddy McNeil and the Magic Mirrors is to immerse yourself in a full-blown 50s revival: go to a live show, the way Buddy would want you to. Dance like it’s 1958. Give the band some energy; they’ll return it in spades. Then hop into the T-Bird with your best gal – or guy – and speed on over to a make-out point. What a swell evening. —Naomi Endicott The album Introducing Once Again is available now. Buddy McNeil and the Magic Mirrors’ next performance is May 27 at Divan Orange, 4234 St Laurent.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Bring the noise
McGill PhD student works with sound culture, in the classroom and out John Watson
The McGill Daily
im Hecker is a Montreal based electronic musician and sound artist. Over the last decade, he has produced and recorded over a dozen albums, both under the moniker Jetone and under his own name. His most recent album, Ravedeath, 1972, was released in February. He has also collaborated with other Canadian experimental musicians such Christof Migone, Martin Tetreault, and Aidan Baker. At the same time, Hecker is currently working on a PhD at McGill, as well as lecturing in the Art History and Communications Department on “sound culture.” He recently gave an interview with The McGill Daily in which he described his research, his musical career, and relations between the two.
The McGill Daily: Your research began in 2006 with Media@McGill, is that correct? Tim Hecker: Yeah, I’m a student in the department of Art History and Communication Studies. Media@McGill is kind of a research cluster but really I’m actually just a student in the department in general. MD: Your research project is on “urban noise.” Can you describe it? TH: It’s changed a lot since you might have found it online. I’m writing a history of loud sound at the turn of the 20th century. I’m looking at ways that volume or sound intensity was seen as a productive or generative force in society. That’s to look at sound in a way that’s different than most com-
mon historical works have been done, which is to look at sound as a form of irritation and annoyance – noise – against classical and conventional sounds. Most of those historians have focused on ways in which noise has been abated or controlled, or the attempts to control it. So I’m looking at ways in which noise was seen, or loudness in a more general sense, as positive or productive in a different way. So I’m looking at things like fog horns, that were invented by people who also invented musical devices. I’m looking at the linkage with monster pipe organs, and things like that. MD: Is your music career completely separate from your research, or does your research sometimes influence your work? TH: I would say there’s mild cross-pollination, but they’re really quite distinct things. I have no association whatsoever with the music department, for whatever reason. I work here [in the Art History and Communications Department]. But I do them in discrete avenues. I don’t use music in my thesis – it has nothing to do with that. I’m interested in broader historical questions. But you could ask “are they related?” and I think it’s a fair question. I’m interested in sound in music generally, so there are some sympathies there but they’re really quite distinct. Not hermetically separated, but quite different. MD: How has your new album Ravedeath, 1972 signalled a shift in your sound? As I’m sure you know, it’s received a lot of critical acclaim. Pitchfork recently placed it under their “best new music heading,” which can definitely do a lot for an
Clara Syme for The McGill Daily
artist’s career. TH: Yeah, that’s the second or third one of those that I’ve gotten in my time. Whatever value you put on that is nice, for sure. I think that reviews like that help, but they’re not the panacea to being a successful musician. It’s a brutal, long, hard challenge that very few bear. MD: Has the critical success of this album distracted you from your research here at McGill? Has it brought you more concert spaces, tour dates, et cetera?
TH: I have no shortage of opportunities to perform, for sure. That definitely helps. There’s a demand for playing concerts, and I don’t have difficulty booking a tour, for example. Those things help, and I’m really thankful that it’s being well received, but it’s not something I intentionally seek out to do. I try to do music that satisfies me spiritually and artistically. MD: Do you have immediate plans for the future? Are you going to work on a new album, or maybe
concentrate more on your research right now? TH: Things will slow down on all fronts. It’s the spring, so I’m going on tour in late April, once I wrap up teaching my class. I’ll probably release more material in the fall; I’ll tour pretty extensively in the fall, and probably try to finish my thesis. That’s my main focus for now. For more information on Tim Hecker and his tour dates, visit sunblind.net
Soupe Café ladles up soup for the soul, chicken flavour optional Amina Batyreva
The McGill Daily
ocated just a few minutes walk south from Lionel-Groulx station, two blocks before you’d hit Atwater market, Soupe Café is nestled on Notre Dame between small shops and restaurants. Its front window display is unassuming – St. Patrick’s Day clovers are still conspicuously painted onto the glass like dancing broccoli heads – and if you’re not looking, you could easily miss it. Soupe Café’s website explains that the restaurant’s owner, Jeannine Scott, graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in Dietetics and Nutrition, and in the interim between then and now worked in hospitals, restaurants, and weight loss clinics.
“Whether you’re interested in losing weight, or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle, our cuisine may be just what you need,” the website proclaims. “FAST food doesn’t have to be FAT food!” Inside, the decor is very much reminiscent of one of the trendy fro-yo places that have been springing up everywhere – light green walls give the place a warm, springtime glow in the March sunlight, and small artificial magenta flowers set in little vases on each table provide a delightful contrast. The chairs and tables are all sleek white plastic. While it’s not the rustic pioneer aesthetic that comes to mind when you imagine a hearty soup restaurant, the decor complements the space’s young, modern, and health-conscious soul. The menu of the day lists six soups, covering all the possible
niches – including seafood, chicken, beef, vegetarian, and vegan flavours. There are two tiers of soups, with Level 1 soups ranging from $2 to $7 depending on size, and Level 2 soups going from $3 to $10. According to the website, the menu changes from day to day. “We make everything in house, except for some stuff we buy in wholesale bakeries like the wraps and breads, but everything else we make. Like sandwiches, buns, all the soups and chilis. We have a cook that comes in Monday to Friday and she makes everything. And we do the baking on weekends,” said Nadine Schlager, who has been employed at Soupe Café since last fall, as she made a new batch of muffins before my eyes. I personally ordered the mushroom barley soup, which at a size medium totalled just over $3. My
friend bought a large butternut squash curry ginger soup with a corn jalapeno cheese muffin, totaling about $6. Alongside their soups, Soupe Café also serves savoury sides like shepherd’s pie and lasagna, and a gamut of pastries. With healthy, filling portions of authentic homemade soup accompanied by side dishes and pastries all for under $10, it’s hard to go wrong with Soupe Café’s menu. Two towering fridges set against the wall also stock frozen soups in hefty tubs, which Nadia D., another employee, assured me provide Soupe Café with a large portion of their business, as people come in or order delivery to stock up for the week. The added benefit of the refrigerated soups is that they are considered grocery items and aren’t taxed. “It helps that we’re close to Atwater market, or the Marché next
door, the organic place, [those customers] come in here when they’re doing their groceries,” Schlager added. Schlager commented that Soupe Café’s winter business had been their best in recent memory, though she predicted that the summer will be more relaxed as they won’t need to supply food to local universities, who are prominent customers throughout the school year. But with their adaptive menu, ultra-affordable prices, and health-focused business model, the restaurant seems tailored to students living on a tight budget and with limited time to cook for themselves – a demographic that is certainly plentiful in downtown Montreal. Soupe Café is at 2725 Notre Dame O. Visit soupecafe.com for more information.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The musicality of reality
Forget the cheese, Schwartz’s: The Musical has a wholly meatier purpose Susannah Feinstein The McGill Daily
here are at least two possible approaches to reviewing Schwartz’s: The Musical. One would be to discuss the details of the show as a university student foreign to Montreal. The second incorporates the sentimental value Schwartz’s can have for native Montrealers. The musical can resonate in drastically different ways with viewers, depending on who is in the audience. In assessing the entertainment value of Schwartz’s, it is important to take these different receptions into account. If you’re not a local, what is your first reaction to hearing about a two-hour-long celebration of smoked meat? Probably something along the lines of “Why does this exist?” or “ Will there be dancers in pickle costumes or something?” To you, as it did to me, this will probably seem like a confusing concept and a strange use of theater funds. How does one make a full-length story about a deli? Although I was unable to see the entire musical during their media call, I could certainly draw enough from the previews to determine elements of the missing scenes. The dialogue is consistently bad. For example, in one scene a woman orders a sandwich on white bread and the waiter responds, “Anytime someone orders smoked meat on white bread, a Jew dies.” He later explains to a customer that the restaurant “doesn’t have French
mustard, but they do have French’s mustard!” The lyrics are not much better, with lines describing the customers of Schwartz’s as “Hebrews or Aryans, but not vegetarians.” In another number, the only audible line in what seems like a stream of mumbling is “smoked meat and some other things.” So as someone who has little attachment to Montreal, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. How could someone survive this for two hours? But this musical wasn’t created for outsiders, and it can’t just be judged at face value. The flaws of my initial assessment became apparent after stopping at Schwartz’s to interview Traci Silva, a cashier and daughter of the restaurant’s current manager. Silva and all of the Schwartz’s employees had already seen the show in its entirety, as they were invited to view a dress rehearsal. She said that she had found the musical “very funny,” as she understood all the inside jokes. She added that she had “even learned a little more [about the restaurant’s] history.” About two minutes into the interview, a waiter quickly walked up to Silva and me. His liveliness, paired with his unusually theatrical mannerisms could have landed him a spot in the musical. Without introducing himself, he enthusiastically interjected, “Hey, yeah, I saw it. It was great, very entertaining! Good for the whole family! Do you want a sandwich? Here, I’ll get you a sandwich, YOU NEED A SANDWICH!” Before I could respond, he ran off to simultaneously serve customers,
Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
crack jokes with the waiters and get me my own mini sandwich. There is virtually no difference between Schwartz’s in reality, and its depiction in the musical. Meanwhile, a man waiting in line to pay for lunch told me he would be seeing the show that night, and couldn’t wait to see his buddy play “Vito.” At this point, the purpose of Schwartz’s: the Musical seemed obvi-
ous. It was not just created to attract tourists and publicity – Schwartz’s doesn’t need more advertising. Simply put, it is an almost beautiful, definitely schmaltzy present for those who for generations have called Montreal their home. Grandparents could take their grandchildren to see it and later nag about the glory of Montreal’s old culture. It is show dedicated to a Montreal icon with which
locals have formed an unbreakable bond over decades. The man then asked me what I thought of the show. I told him I loved every minute of it. Schwartz’s: The Musical runs til April 24 at Centaur Theatre, 453 St. Francois-Xavier. See centaurtheatre.com/42_schwartz.html for more information.
Poetic pandemonium National Poetry Month event fails to bridge linguistic divide Tamkinat Mirza
The McGill Daily
s National Poetry Month draws to a close, Montreal Poetry Pandemonium – a collaboration of three of the city’s indie presses – will bring together six poets and their creations. April in Canada is National Poetry Month. Established by the League of Canadian Poets, it aims to promote poetry in its many forms and to increase the publication, distribution, and sales of poetry within Canada. Helen Guri, part of the event’s line-up, believes that the idea behind National Poetry Month is to foster an engagement with a substantial proportion of society. “Anything that happens in a whole bunch of places at once is kind of exciting...like Earth Hour is kind of exciting and all that is, is just people turning out their lights...in that sense, National Poetry Month fosters a sense of community,” she said.
In Montreal this idea of community building is central, and the poets are a tight-knit group. Events like the Pandemonium bring together poets from different publishing houses, representing diverging stylistic preferences. Local presses often attempt to create diversity within their aesthetics, to allow greater flexibility and flow between different works at collaborative readings. “They’ll try to publish a number of quite different books in a batch, anything that can cross-pollinate between presses and bring people together whose work is [similar]... to allow those people to meet each other, and the audiences to see their work... it creates a sense of community,” Guri said. However, the longstanding linguistic divide of the city has its limitations for the local poetic scene. The Pandemonium features only writing in English, and so cannot be representative of Montreal’s poetry scene in its entirety. “There’s a language barrier for both sides...unless people are flu-
ently bilingual, it’s hard for [them] to fully enjoy poetry in a language they can’t understand very well... I have attended a lot of readings that are in French and English, and are collaborative... [where] it is difficult for a lot of the audience, who doesn’t have the language skills, to connect both sides... it is pretty insular,” said Gabe Foreman, another poet who will present his work at the event. The aim of this event is in keeping with National Poetry Month’s concern with engaging the wider community, as independent presses interact to expose readers to emerging poets within the Anglophone poetic niche. “A lot of poets [at the event] will be known by a few people. The [event] exposes people to what different presses are doing and the aesthetic of different publishing houses,” Foreman said. Foreman’s own book, Encyclopaedia of Different Types of People, which will be launched at the Pandemonium, is a stylistic combination of poetry and prose encountered less often.
Local poetry readings aren’t exclusive in their line-ups, presenting emerging poets with the chance to interact with established writers. “We get people from all walks of life and from all levels of experience with poetry, sharing their material,” Foreman said. This exists as a quality-control mechanism within the community, as critique from experienced poets in response to emerging poets’ work is available as feedback. Interestingly, the very structure of poetry readings is conducive to fostering a sense of community, as engaging the oral characteristics of a poem involves an audience with a profundity that reading off a page cannot. “When [people] come to something like a reading, it is sort of a different exposure for people who are not necessarily poetry readers in general...it’s just quite a different experience to go to a reading and then compare it to reading off the page. It’s more of a community setting, because a lot of the people are writers themselves, they’re poets themselves.
It’s more of a get-together of likeminded types,” Foreman said. Events like the Pandemonium are essential for the continual growth of Montreal’s relationship with the genre, but linguistic divides remain paramount. While the city’s English and French poetry scenes are substantial in themselves, they remain separated due to the city’s identity leading to the continuing implementation of three local poetic spheres: anglo, francophone and bilingual. Although National Poetry Month has not yet proved influential in fostering much intermingling between these spheres, the increased exposure to poetry and other writers it affords may well create a platform for cross-pollination. The Montreal Poetry Pandemonium will take place at Sparrow, 5322 St. Laurent, on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. The event will launch six new titles, and will feature readings by Linda Besner, Asa Boxer, Gabe Foreman, Helen Guri, David Hickey, and Joshua Trotter.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
CULTURE BRIEF A book to get real cosy with Walking into any commercial bookstore, you are likely to find a wide array of literature, from autobiography to fantasy, all neatly organized by genre. What you won’t find is Jamie Ross’s newly released novella, Coldwater. “It bends genres in ways that wouldn’t really be marketable traditionally,” Ross, a graduate of McGill, told The Daily about his first attempt at longer-form fiction. “It’s like queer erotica meets horror meets historical fiction.” The story itself is composed of three narratives, all of which are based upon, or interact with, a specific Canadian landscape. It deals with the current legal struggles surrounding the land involved in past agricultural experiments to which Métis populations were subjected. The novella conveys the history of these events, and of the people who have no relation to the land but inevitably encounter its history. While Canadian fiction often interacts with our nation’s landscapes, Ross feels his work departs somewhat from this literary tradition. “Most Canadian narrative writing...tends to de-politicize the landscape...I’m including, in a light that could be seen as critical, the present-day lack of understanding of the history and
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shallowness of our entry into the landscape.” This political consciousness served as a substantial influence on Ross’s writing. “The inspiration lies in my own personal activism,” he revealed. The book is more of a personal expression, however, than an attempt at affecting change. “The primary purpose wasn’t to raise awareness... compared to what we do in other ways to raise awareness... [the role of the book] is very minor, I’m not kidding myself about that. That was never really the primary focus. It was more of an artistic project that was grounded and rooted in activism and politics, but I mean in the way that I believe all art should be.” Even with its political leanings, Ross emphasized that Coldwater is not entirely austere. “This is the first real merging of a couple tangents in my writing, and that’s really important to make this kind of thick, serious, tough, and critical work sensual and really, like, beat-off-able. Something that will make people’s heart race at the same time,” he explained. “The intent of the book is to do justice to this important quirk in the past and to a very real hurtful reality for a lot of people who were dispossessed of their land, but at the same time it should be read in bathtubs, with a strained right hand.” —Fabien Maltais-Bayda See jamieross.org/index.php?/ project/coldwater for more information.
1924: The McGill Modernists The Daily’s annual literary supplement was arguably the birthplace of Canadian Modernism. Edited by Canlit giant A.J.M. Smith, it provided a springboard for authors such as A.M. Klein and F.R. Scott. Eventually, the Student Union cut funding to the Literary Supplement, and Klein and Scott moved on to found The McGill Fortnightly Review, credited with being the first journal dedicated to modernist poetry and criticism in Canada, and subsequently launching the Modernism movement of Canadian literature. !" Tuesday December 7, 1954 The winners of the annual literary competition included a 20 year-old Leonard Cohen, who completed his BA in 1955. The editors were “very disappointed at the small number of entries submitted” – 49 poems, 20 short stories, and eight essays. The Daily regrets that we can no longer pay those students selected for our annual literary supplement.
#" Wednesday September 26, 1962 Canadian poet Irving Layton studied Agriculture in the thirties. While at McGill, he edited campus journal The McGilliad – in which his first poem was published.
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Consolidating childbirth The Daily speaks with the Canadian Association of Midwives’ executive director on midwifery in Canada
he Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) is the national organization representing midwives and the profession of midwifery in Canada. It has spent years advocating the practice throughout the country and abroad as an essential and universal aspect of health care. The Association’s main goal is to ensure that every woman in Canada will have access to a midwife’s care. Similar efforts are being undertaken by the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NAMC), with whom the CAM operates in conjunction. The Daily had the chance to talk with Tonia Occhionero, CAM’s executive director, about the status, implications and advancements of midwifery in Canada.
The McGill Daily: Can you tell us about the current status of midwifery in Canada? Tonia Occionero: Midwifery is a very young profession. The first province to regulate midwifery was Ontario in 1994. Of course, midwifery has existed since the beginning of time, but in the sense of [a] legislated, recognized profession in Canada, it’s quite young. And just to give you an idea, in 2005, when I started with the association, we were 500 members, and today we’re a 1,000 members, so it’s already doubled in just over five years. There are now six four-year-baccalaureate programs across the country right now. But because it’s still young, it’s still a profession that is not necessarily known, or at least it’s not in the general knowledge of Canadians. They might not know what a midwife does, and that she’s a primary
health care provider (which means that a woman would not have both a doctor and midwife, it’s either one or the other), that services of the midwife fall under health care, that’s it’s a publicly funded service. So part of our mission is to advocate for the profession. MD: How do you advocate midwifery across the country? TO: Because we regroup the different associations across Canada, we do a lot more work for the midwives themselves and for the profession. We advocate mostly to governments, public health agencies, and we generally work with them to bring midwifery forward to their public agenda. We organize a yearly annual conference, and that travels from one province to another, so we try to travel across the country to give exposure to the provincial situation. Because health care is provincial, it’s a bit difficult to have a national organization to bring forward the issues because they can be very different from province to province. For example, if you go to Prince Edward Island, it’s not even legislated or regulated yet, so what we would do to help midwifery [there] would be very different from what we would do in Ontario, where there are currently 500 regulated midwives who have practices and it’s multiplying every year and very well established. Also, May 5th is the international day of the midwife, in which we try to gather all midwives across the country to work on similar initiatives. This year, there are going to be marches planned in communities across the country from coast to coast to raise awareness on maternal and newborn health
around the world. So it would be more of an international field to the marches and the message that we’ll be bringing forward on that day. MD: Can you tell us about the overall benefits of midwifery in pregnancies? TO: It’s been demonstrated in many different studies how it’s extremely cost-effective and the outcomes are better, and it leads to less complications. Also, the quality of health care is absolutely increased for midwifery, and for many reasons: the much lower number of interventions and complications, the cost-effectiveness of midwifery as opposed to hospital births, and also the quality of service. There’s actually a national study out on satisfaction rate with the health care provider for women who have given birth which was published not too long ago. Midwifery clients came out with a very high satisfaction rate. So, not only the financial aspect and impact on the health system, but the service satisfaction was very high. MD: How does the association deal with the implementation of cultural norms in midwifery practices, as seen in the goals of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives? TO: We’re the professionals’ association, looking out for the profession of midwives, and then there’s the regulators’ consortium, and they regroup all the colleges of the different provinces, look out for public safety, and really regulate – how a midwife gets registered, [the criteria she has to meet]. [Any] programs, be it any educational program including the programs for [bridging together] internationally-trained midwives, would fall under them.
Photo courtesy of Tonia Occionero
Now, aboriginal [contexts are] maybe different: there are aboriginal midwives in Canada who are registered through their province, who follow a recognized education program, and there are also traditional aboriginal midwives [in] communities in Canada that have come up with their own training programs within their communities that have been recognized by their provinces. So it’s a bit more complex. For
example, if you look up Nunavik in Northern Quebec, and there’s also a section in Ontario, those are communities that have been able to really bring birth back to their communities and also have a training program that identifies and teaches the core competencies and skills that a midwife needs within that particular cultural, traditional context.
it provides to the sense of personal accomplishment after a tough workout session. How can you get involved in athletics around campus? Consider SSMU Minicourses, or take advantage of McGill Athletics’ student-friendly pricing on recreational courses. Try out unconventional workouts, like Zumba or wall-climbing, and visit Fit@ McGill’s webpage for more ideas. In addition, here are some tips that might work for you during the exam period, perhaps the most difficult time of the year to find time to exercise:
rest of your studying ! If you start by changing into your workout gear, you’ll feel foolish not working out ! Keep in mind that exercise has been repeatedly shown to reduce stress levels ! Tell yourself you’ll only go out for 10 minutes (and chances are you’ll be out longer once you’ve gotten started) ! Psych yourself up – with music or self-motivation – for the most wonderful break from studying you’ll have all day; then go tackle your work ! Ensure yourself a reward for consistency and perseverance through exam season!
—Compiled by Valerie Mathis
Finding the motivation to get up and go work out Critical Condition Debbie Wang
ith a week left of classes, McGill is in the postmidterm calm before the frenzied storm of final exams. And with those marathon library sessions and oddball sleep patterns, even the most die-hard fitness gurus may struggle to maintain routine physical activity. Many of us are well aware from both personal experience and scientific research that exercise improves concentration and memory. Yet it’s still exponentially easier (and ostensibly more justified) to skip the gym during exams, and at many other times
during the academic year. Blame it on genetics – conserving energy was beneficial for survival eons ago during the critical period of human evolution, or cite research that suggests the structures within the brain’s basal ganglia divert us from activities that require physical exertion. But for each piece of evidence that points to a natural aversion to exercise, just as many pieces point in the opposite direction. For instance, children, often more inclined to act on their physiological cues, are usually quite active. On top of that, there are scores of reasons as to why exercise is beneficial to improving quality of life, such as the elevation of mood and self-esteem levels. All this should provide motivation to exercise, but why is it so difficult to work out?
It’s not always a question of time management and balancing one’s schedule. Usually, it’s the result of an internal debate that dictates whether or not you’ll grab your workout shorts and head outside. As a recreational runner, I know it’s all too easy to use poor weather or schoolwork as excuses to not exercise. Developing and maintaining a consistent exercise routine stems from a powerful source of self-motivation usually deeper than just purely aesthetic motives. According to runner and fitness expert Matt Fitzgerald’s book Racing Weight, competitive athletes rank weight loss “dead last” on their list of reasons for pursuing their sport. Taking a lesson from the pros, it’s important to find other reasons to enjoy sports and exercise – from the challenge
! Be conscious of the amount of time spent unproductively in a day. You can’t deny that 30 minutes of exercise will only serve to make you more focused for the
So create a workout schedule, find an exercise buddy, and use these tips to maintain your fitness!
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Academia in the age of digital reproducibility Scholarly publishing houses strive to keep up with an increasingly computerized world
Tom Acke r | The M cGill Daily
The McGill Daily
hen Access Copyright introduced a plan last spring to increase fees imposed on post-secondary institutions by more than 1,300 per cent, universities across Canada revolted. If accepted, the copyright collective’s new tariff would up the amount paid by every university outside of Quebec for reproduction rights to printed materials – like academic journals – from $3.58 per student to $45, a bid to stay on top of the widespread migration toward the digitizing of works. By September, 101 objections to the Access Copyright (AC) plan had been formally registered, including one by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). Ryerson University, the University of Manitoba, and many others prepared to let their licenses with Access Copyright lapse in a move that would likely mean shifting course pack materials online and leaving reproduction rights up in the air. In a December broadcast email, the University of British Columbia told students the institution’s annual Access Copyright fees would surge from $650,000 to $2 million, creating what they called “unacceptable cost burdens to student and institutional budgets alike.” AC has since bent to pressure, and has reinstated the previous fee structure while negotiations with the AUCC proceed. Quebec universities, including McGill, have not been immediately affected by Access Copyright’s tariff increase. They pay fees for licensing and reproduction rights to a separate collective, Copibec. But the current agreement is up for renegotiation next year, and it is
yet unknown what kind of changes Copibec will push for. Steve Drolet, a coordinator at McGill Course Pack Services, believes the collective is monitoring the situation with Access Copyright to determine the extent to which they can follow suit with their fees. “They’re a business, they’re not really a public service,” he said in an interview. “They’re fighting for changes to the copyright law, and my perception is that they’re trying to do that to protect their purview over it.” The uneasy situation with copyright collectives in which Canadian universities have found themselves is a strong indication of the current state of academic publishing. New possibilities and limitations on the use of scholarship are fundamentally restructuring how research is circulated, and the ways we think about access.
cademic journals are at the centre of the scholarly world. Regular publication is a mandatory part of almost all professorships, and academic careers hinge on the often-political world of peer-review. In an email to The Daily, Andrew Piper – German Studies professor and cofounder of the Interacting With Print research group – explained the history of academic periodicals. “The origins of the academic journal date back in a general sense to the eighteenth century,” he wrote. “Their proliferation was a bedrock of the Enlightenment ideal of the open access to knowledge.” But as the number of journals in circulation expanded and their contents became more specialized, questions of access turned to the issue of surplus – what Piper called “the equal and opposite problem of too much knowledge. How was one to contend with that?”
As the importance of journals within academia rose, publishers have capitalized on the burgeoning market. This has resulted in massive price increases – annual institutional subscriptions to journals published by Springer – a major for-profit academic publishing house – run from several hundred dollars to more than $8,500. In our current model, however, researchers depend on publishers for the organization of peer reviews, copy editing, and the storage and distribution of their work. Furthermore, escalating prices create problems that run counter to the original intent of periodicals. “The journal, which was once the bastion of access to knowledge, is now inhibiting access because of its high cost,” wrote Piper. “It also means we’re buying fewer books. And this impinges on the type of knowledge that is made – more journals and fewer books usually means more specialization. Specialization in turn often implies non-access.”
igitalization and sharing across the internet, often hailed as great democratizers, have forced publishers to change their game. To maintain profit margins, many companies bundle journals together and sell subscriptions to libraries, a high-priced option that Piper says only increases the gap between “academic haves and have-nots.” In response to the extension of publisher price controls on the web, the open access model sprung up in the 1990s, and has steadily grown since then. Under this model, the onus to pay to access scholarship is shifted from the reader to a third party, such as a university, society, or museum. Often, open access journals use the author-pay scheme, in which the researcher or the institution funding them pays for the
costs that go into copy editing and hosting their work. The fee ranges from a nominal $100 or $200, up to the £1500 that Cambridge University Press charges its contributors if they want to make their research openly accessible. This cost has hindered the total adoption of open access publishing: a 2010 study by Finnish economists showed that only around 20 per cent of academic articles had OA permissions. To ensure the preservation and accessibility of their researchers’ work, many universities have created institutional repositories – public, searchable online databases of the scholarship produced there. Amy Buckland, the electronic scholarship, publishing, and digitization coordinator of McGill’s institutional repository – eScholarship@McGill – considers this project a vital part of the school’s academic community. “We want it to be the showcase of the intellectual output of the university,” she said. “So if journals go under, if databases become too prohibitively expensive to subscribe to, the library feels that at the very least we should be able to make McGill’s work available to the public. ... Publicly-funded research should be available to the public.” EScholarship@McGill works by requesting professors’ CVs, then contacting the publishers of their articles to see which they are allowed to put into the repository. Buckland says most publishers will allow for the copying of the postprint – the version of an article that has gone through the peer-review and editing process, but has yet to be copy edited. But eScholarship@McGill’s archives are not restricted to professors: they also preserve graduate theses and dissertations, going back to at least 1965. “We wanted to give a bigger profile to our graduates,”
said Buckland. “So now you get good ‘Google juice’ on your name, whereas before you had to go to the ProQuest database, which not all libraries subscribe to, and which the general public can’t access.” Articles in the repository are accessible worldwide and “harvestable,” meaning they can be copied into other databases and further circulated. This helps provide exposure to professors and students alike.
ost people working in academia view open access distribution models as the ideal. “There is really no reason that all academic journals shouldn’t be published under an open access system on the web,” wrote Piper. “If you edit a journal today you have to be an agent in moving away from your corporate sponsor and toward an open, webbased publishing model.” But the ideal may not always be realistic. Private publishers are not going anywhere, Buckland says, just changing their rules. “They do a lot of the grunt work” in disseminating research, she added. And the cost of review and editing that the open access scheme imposes on universities is a massive burden. According to Buckland, “it’s not yet sustainable.” For the present, she envisions a collaboration between libraries and university presses, like the McGill-Queen’s University Press, which would decrease dependence on external publishing houses. The problem for Piper, however, exceeds questions of digitization, distribution, and access: “How are we going to address the crisis of academic publishing, not in terms of there being too few venues to publish research, but in terms of there being too much information for individuals to digest? This is something we have only begun to tackle.”
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The classroom takes on the bedroom Community groups create new strategies for sex education in Quebec Lisa Routly
n the evening of March 16, forty McGill Education students convened on campus for a student-organized teacher training event on a topic that continues to ignite controversy and concern amongst teachers and the general public alike: sex education. This event was the first of its kind at McGill, and was led by sex educators from AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM), a volunteerbased, community organization founded in 1987 whose aim, according to the organization’s mission statement, is “to enhance the quality of life of people living with HIV/ AIDS, to prevent HIV transmission, and to promote community awareness and action.” In 2007, a team of ACCM volunteers began the process of creating and assembling a Teacher Toolkit, which provides teacher-friendly sex education curricula, including lesson plans and multimedia resources designed with Quebec’s current education program in mind. Since October 2010, ACCM has expanded its services and has been training teachers in teaching sex education. The ACCM Teacher Toolkit, along with other similar community-based sex education programs, such as Montreal’s Head and Hands “Sense Project,” speak to the need for increased discussion and dissemination of knowledge and information over this sensitive topic. The issue has become increasingly salient since Quebec’s education reform in 2005, when sex education was removed from the province’s curriculum. “The idea [behind the reform] was that [sex education] would become a more holistic process, and would be infused throughout
the entire curriculum,” explained Lisa Trimble, a McGill instructor and sex education researcher. “The problem is that it is optional, and teachers are not given any training, resources, or support to teach sex education.” Furthermore, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir, et du Sports (MELS) indicates that it is now the responsibility of all teachers to “ensure that students develop a sense of responsibility for adopting good habits with respect to health, safety, and sexuality.” Additionally, with the increasing predominance of sexually-transmitted infections, teen pregnancies,
and bullying targeted on youth of various sexual orientations, “youth are on the frontlines,” commented Amanda Unruh, McGill’s Health Promotion Coordinator. “The need for quality sex education is clear.” This need has been met by community organizations, such as ACCM, which Trimble explained, “work with schools and other youth community organizations to get sex positive [and] queer positive sexual education workshops, based [on] a harm reduction philosophy, and youth empowerment praxis out to Montreal youth.” While these services have been effective in dealing
BOOSTER SHOT Alcohol medication gets discriminatory Results of a recent study conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre indicate that naltrexon – one of the few medications effective used in the treatment of alcohol abuse – may only be effective in women and those with a specific gene, the mu-opioid receptor gene (OPRM1). Alcohol stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain, which bind to opioid receptors, a kind of specialized protein. The activation of these opioid receptors creates feelings of euphoria and
pleasure, the same experienced in drunkenness. Naltrexone blocks the receptors and thus decreases the euphoric effects of alcohol. OPRM1 plays a crucial role because it affects the sensitivity of the receptor to the pleasurable effects of alcohol and the ability of naltrexone to diminish these effects, said Marco Leyton of McGill’s department of Psychiatry, the head investigator of the study. However, researchers are as of yet unsure as to why the drug is so effective in women, despite the fact that not all women have the OPRM1 gene. The benefit of these results is clear: “It will help us give the
right medication to the right people,” said Leyton. There is a possibility that further research could lead to a new drug that is effective for everyone, but “since there are probably many pathways that lead to alcoholism, there are probably also multiple treatments that will be needed,” he explained. Moreover, he does not advise that people currently taking naltrexone stop taking it until they have consulted their doctor. The results will be published in the June 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. — Veronica Winslow
er | A ck
with the questions, concerns, and curiosities of young people, Trimble added that “youth in Montreal have consistently called for more sex education and more access to conversations about emotions, pleasure, desire, and identities.” Yet while MELS has given teachers the responsibility to educate youth about sexuality, they have not provided teachers with a standard sex education curriculum that would provide the tools, information, and training to teach the subject matter with confidence and ease. Marla Schreiber, ACCM’s Teacher Toolkit Coordinator and
sex educator summed up teachers’ apprehensions well: “it’s one thing if you fumble a date in history… If you make a mistake in sex ed, there can be dire consequences.” Unruh was involved in the initial development of ACCM’s Teacher Toolkit in 2007, and emphasized that “not everyone is comfortable talking about sex. How can they be if they were never trained to do it? An English teacher wouldn’t be expected to teach Math without being knowledgeable in the field.” The reform has asked teachers to do just that. Though the Teacher Toolkit is a positive move in the right direction, Unruh highlighted the fact that the training is about two to four hours long, which may not be comprehensive. Robert Beaudry, a third-year Education student who attended the training event on March 16 echoed this concern: “I thought I knew everything, and I realized I didn’t, which is gratifying. But I also learned that this should actually constitute a full semester course, as part of the McGill Bachelor of Education.” While at present neither the province nor the university offer teachers standardized training in the subject of sex education, Fiona Benson, Director of the Office of Student Teaching at McGill, assured that she has been “trying for some time to organize a MELS-led workshop for faculty [at McGill]. I am hopeful that this will come about in the fall.” As evinced by the attendance at the ACCM teacher training, preservice teachers are demanding training and taking their education into their own hands. Though a sex education course is not presently offered, teachers can become aware of available training. As Schreiber emphasized, “you don’t need to be an expert. There is a universe of support out there.”
Go to mcgilldaily.com for Melanie Kim’s article on the BCG World Atlas and McGill’s step toward curing tuberculosis
The Daily Through the Decades
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
he McGill Daily in the 1950s was a large format broadsheet of about four pages, published daily with occasional supplements. Coverage was concerned with issues such as donations to the McGill Blood Clinic, reports on athletics, and the elections for the Winter Carnival Queen. Major interruptions to this pattern happened only when, for instance, then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to visit. Major world events like the Suez Crisis in Egypt and the Cold War more generally were given little attention. Only a short blurb at the bottom of the front page informed students about these issues. There were a number of celebrity appearances over the years: for example, a picture of Marilyn Monroe, a short biography of Edith Piaf, an article about Leonard Cohen’s new volume of poems published by the McGill Poetry Society. Student politics were often plagued by insufficient attendance at meetings of the Student Union, but given that around 50 per cent of students voted every year of this decade, the students at McGill showed concern for current events and student politics.
!" February 1951 Over the first couple of years of the 1950s, The Daily repeatedly reported on Student Society meetings struggling to attract enough students to reach quorum, reminiscent of recent SSMU General Assemblies. However, throughout the decade, voting remained around 50 per cent every year for executive positions.
#"November 1958 McGill students were offered free vaccines (three over a six month time period) at the newly opened Polio Clinic. Two nurses and two doctors administered provincially subsidized immunization against a disease that had affected increasing numbers of North Americans in recent years. $"The early years This picture of the first snowfall, used recurringly through the decade, caused great excitement among snow-hungry students.
#" February 1952 The Commonwealth was shaken by King George’s death, only about four months after Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip came to visit the McGill campus. “All social and public activities cancelled” reads the front page headline. McGill was effectively shut down until after the funeral. Winter carnivals, Model United Nations (back then a very significant event), and sports events were all affected.
t’s commonplace to say that the 1960s was a period of radical change, and looking through The Daily archives from that decade certainly reinforces the conception. The McGill campus and Montreal’s cityscape saw the construction of some of its landmark buildings, including the Shatner building, Place des Arts, and Place Ville-Marie. At the same time, The Daily was also changing. In the early part of the decade, it continued to cover mostly student politics and campus events. However as the years progressed, the paper changed along with the social and political movements. Front-page stories about varsity sports games and the Red and White ball were replaced with coverage of student protests and rallies. The Daily in the early 1960s was fairly apolitical – instead of Parliamentary elections and the Kennedy-Nixon debates, they opted to cover McGill’s Model Parliament and mock Presidential debates between Harvard and McGill. But the political climate at the end of the decade saw The Daily beginning to address important political and social issues of the time.
#"September 1962 Plans to build the SSMU building were finalized in 1962 despite some opposition to the proposed site. Previously, the student union was located in the building that now houses the McCord Museum.
#" October 1962 American politics throughout the sixties were often covered in The Daily, especially in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Many feared that the event would be the harbinger of World War III.
#" September 1967 In the summer of 1967, Montreal hosted the World’s Fair – known as Expo ’67. While many Canadians view the event as a major cultural achievement, many others took the opportunity of Montreal being on the global stage to protest against the Vietnam War.
#" January 1968 This image accompanied an article about the Black Power movement that satirically addressed the institutional racism in Vietnam War recruitment and drafting. !"November 1960 Coverage of McGill’s Model Parliament was common in the early 1960s. The newspaper still focused mainly on campus stories, without reporting on local, provincial, national, and global news.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Against the patriarchy of sports Women are not any less talented because they can’t beat men at their own game Caught offside Katie Esmonde
ike many of you, I have been sick for the past few weeks. Sick with March Madness, that is. After tirelessly pouring over Bleacher Report articles and carefully filling out my bracket, I tuned in for days on end to watch said bracket – which I had been sure was flawless – fall apart. I punched a wall when my bracket was busted, opened a consolatory beer when Purdue (the school where I will be plying my trade come the fall) went out in the third round, and celebrated when Duke lost in the Sweet Sixteen (because really, who doesn’t hate Duke?). Filling out brackets and obsessing over results is essentially what the month of March is about – 5.9 million brackets were filled out for the ESPN Bracket Challenge alone, and personally, I worry that I have lost a few friends for failing to let ten minutes go by without mention of “my bracket.” Of course I’m talking about the men’s NCAA basketball championships. But that goes without saying – watching the women’s tournament is hardly a ritual for most sports fans. For the majority, it barely registers that the tournament is even going on. Even I have to confess that I haven’t been following the tournament as much as I should, considering I write a column where I almost exclusively complain about sexism in sports. But, for all intents and purposes, no one really needs to justify why they’re watching the men but not the women; the answer is way too obvious: everyone “knows” that men are just better at sports. It has always been that way, it will always be that way, and there’s nothing that women can do to change it because women will always be physically inferior. We all “know” that men are bigger, faster, and stronger, making them better athletes, and therefore more interesting to watch. Women’s basketball sucks. It’s science, people. Take, for example, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. They were indisputably the favourites going into the tournament, and with good reason: this past December, they recorded their 88th consecutive win, breaking the record for most consecutive wins for an NCAA Division I basketball team. The record was previously held by the early 1970s UCLA men’s basketball teams coached by John Wooden. Of UConn’s 88 wins, 86 of them were by double digits.
Olivia Messer | The McGill Daily
“The men’s and women’s games may be different, but you can’t objectively say that one way to play is better than another.” But apparently, because UConn’s women’s team broke the record, it isn’t viewed as much of an achievement. Several media outlets suggested that, because the 1970s UCLA men’s team could obviously beat the UConn women’s team, they would not consider the record to really be broken. As David Whitley wrote in the AOL News story “UConn Victims of Realism, Not Sexism”, “The accomplishments of UConn and UCLA should not be compared in any way… and not because I’m a miserable bastard. I’m happy for the Huskies. It’d be fine by me if they won 8,800 straight games. Given the depth of women’s college basketball, they just might. That’s a big reason why their streak should not simply be called ‘The longest in college basketball history.’ It is the longest women’s Division I streak.” In responding to the assertions that he’s anti-woman because he doesn’t like women’s basketball, he replied: “I’m not anti-woman. I’m anti-boredom. There are too many set shots, bounce passes, missed layups, and below-the-net rebounds to keep me interested for 190 minutes, or however long a game lasts. I’d feel that way if five Martian eunuchs were playing.” It’s true. The men’s and women’s games can be incredibly different.
There are essentially no slam dunks – the NCAA record for most dunks by a single person in a women’s game is two, and it is held by current WNBA star Candace Parker and Baylor’s Brittney Griner (although you probably know her better for punching someone in the face during a game last March). Women tend not to be as physical around the basket, and don’t jump as high on the rebounds. The ball is smaller, the three-point line is closer, and in college ball, the shot clock is five seconds shorter than in the men’s game. But can you say that the men’s game is inherently better? A lot of people would say yes, as if some sort of objective criteria exists that could be used to evaluate such a thing. But sports are socially constructed; what we think of as a great and entertaining, or who we think of as the ideal athlete, are all ideas. There is nothing objective about it. Not surprisingly, men established what is considered to be a “good sport,” which is why strength, speed, and height are all requirements in most of the popular sports we see today. When it was men that wrote the rules, is it any surprise that they are the ones that can perform them best? There are many different aspects of sport that can be appreciated, not
only the more “masculine” characteristics. Take women’s hockey, for example. Cathy Chartrand, captain of the McGill Martlets hockey team, explained the differences between men’s and women’s hockey when I interviewed her last fall: “With girls it’s always nice plays, it’s a very strategic game, and a lot of technique is involved compared to boys.” The men’s and women’s games may be different, but you can’t objectively say that one way to play is better than another. Yes, we have personal preferences, but those are strongly dictated by what has been ingrained in our culture as to how sports should be played. Almost every time, it’s the women that are slighted in the athletic arena. I’m not arguing that women can’t be fast or strong or tall. I’m sure that Maya Moore, UConn’s star player, would probably make the men’s team at a number of good Division I schools. Women can be fantastic athletes; just because an athlete is a woman does not make her automatically inferior. What I’m trying to say is that men’s and women’s sports both have their merits, even if, perhaps, the UConn women’s basketball team couldn’t beat the UConn men’s team. Would they have to, in order to prove that they are worth watching? Does it really
take anything away from men’s sports to admit that women can be great athletes who are also worthy of our attention? People say that they don’t watch women’s sports because they want to watch “the best,” and it’s understood that women obviously aren’t. But the UConn women’s basketball team is the best in the women’s game, and this year they are well on their way to winning the NCAA March Madness tournament for the third year in a row (Note: this article went to print before UConn’s Final Four game on Sunday). When the competition is evenly matched, particularly at an elite level, how could it not be competitive and entertaining? I’m not saying that women’s sports are better than men’s sports, nor am I suggesting that there should not be separate leagues for men and women. And I am definitely not saying that if you don’t watch women’s sports, it’s because you’re “anti-woman.” All I want to suggest is that women’s sports don’t inherently suck. It’s pretty demoralizing to be a woman athlete and for it to be “common knowledge” that in spite of your accomplishments, men will always be better. I’m tired of the battle of the sexes in sports; there’s room at the top for both men and women.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Stretching the meaning of yoga On Western appropriation and maintaining yoga’s spiritual roots Olivia Messer
The McGill Daily
rom Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling novel, Eat, Pray, Love, to the newer (and slightly more cynical) Poser by Claire Dederer, it seems like everyone’s got something to say about their personal experience with yoga. Increasingly used as a form of aerobic exercise interchangeable with Pilates or jazzercise, today’s conception of yoga has traveled far from its roots. The more yoga becomes a part of Western culture, the more it takes on a commercialized form. B.K.S Iyengar’s informative Light on Yoga explains the etymology of this ancient tradition. “The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to bind, join, attach, and yoke – to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion.” Its origins are contentious, but many agree that the first recorded description of yoga dates back to the sacred Hindu scripture known as the Bhagavad Gita, written between the fifth and second centuries B.C. However, yoga isn’t normally conceptualized this way in western culture. Yoga isn’t alone – many
different Hindu traditions have also been detached from their original religious roots, including meditation, cremation, and beliefs such as karma and reincarnation. As a result, the Hindu American Foundation recently felt compelled to start a campaign, called the Take Back Yoga project. Given that yoga is so entrenched in Hindu tradition, the group encourages yogis (people that practice yoga) to become educated on its underlying history. This concern has been exacerbated by the corporatization of yoga. Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India, is one of the more famous cases of commercialization. Many call Bikram Yoga the “original hot yoga.” An article in Yoga Journal by James Greenberg explains how Choudhury “has copyrighted and trademarked everything from his name to the verbatim dialogue that accompanies the teaching of his classes.” Before Choudhury, Greenberg explains, “no one had ever tried to copyright a specific sequence of yoga poses.” Choudhury seems to feel that, even though none of the poses are actually his own creation, he still has a right to trademark the sequences. “It’s become the
Bikram system, but there’s no such thing as Bikram Yoga; yoga is yoga, yoga is hatha yoga,” said Choudhury. “It’s not anybody’s property; it’s like God, it’s love, it’s nature. But anybody picks up a few postures in a sequence and makes it a book, it’s a copyright, so somebody copies
Jessica Robertson and Ted Grand started Canada’s Moksha Yoga in 2004, and the first three studios were opened in Toronto. On the CBC radio show Q with Jian Ghomeshi, John Philp, author of Yoga Inc, debated
Ian Murphy | The McGill Daily
my book, I sue them.” Following Choudhury, many others have trademarked, copyrighted, and patented their forms of yoga, classes, and phrases. David Life, cofounder of Jivamukti Yoga, has also trademarked the Jivamukti name. Because of this, there are many different names (and brands) of yoga today. Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Bikram, Moksha, Hot Yin, and even Power yoga are all recognized disciplines.
with Ted Grand about the commercialization of yoga. Philp’s concern was that those practicing yoga today are more interested in “trying to look good naked” than in attaining enlightenment. Grand explains, however, that Moksha brings yoga “through the filter of a consumer society.” He doesn’t care if people come in “for a tight butt” or “to look better naked…our goal is to try and create more peace with people.”
But narrowing the practice of yoga into either entirely shallow or completely spiritual is a gross oversimplification. It’s hard to take the time to attempt communion with the divine when you have papers to write and midterms to take, but both aspects can be equally appealing. In order to aid those who seek both, Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison wrote an instructional and reflective guide called Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga. Like many yoga guides, it is filled with cheesy (and sometimes trite) quotes like, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” (Hopi elder), “The first step in this process of mindful awareness is radical self-acceptance” (Stephen Batchelor), “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult” (Seneca), or my personal favourite “I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul” (Cat Stevens). Many people don’t realize that you can embrace the spiritual nature of yoga, meditate and learn from it, and still find these kinds of quotes trite. It doesn’t have to be one or the other – it can be exercise and religion. And ultimately, everyone should define their own practice of yoga.
The history of The Daily’s Sports section
Left: A cover of The Daily from October 1911. Center: A headline from a 1968 issue of The Daily. Right: The return of the Sports section in September 2009.
he McGill Daily began as a sports rag in 1911. In contrast to The Daily we know today, the newspaper tried to avoid politics and instead focused on campus news and McGill sports almost exclusively. Despite its origins, The Daily stopped publishing a Sports section in 1986 and went without one for 23 years. “The Daily was always political, but then it became extra political and just went in a different philosophical direction,” said Earl Zukerman, the last sports editor before The Daily dropped the section in 1986, and currently the Communications Officer for McGill Athletics and Recreation. “They didn’t really believe very much in [covering] sports and I had an uphill battle to try and get the mainstream McGill sports into the paper.” Up until the early sixties, The Daily still covered McGill’s big teams. It was not uncommon to see game recaps featured on the front page. Zukerman, however, estimates that the change occurred in the eighties. The Daily’s priorities shifted from covering the big sports to alternative sports. “The Daily did not want to cover mainstream sports at McGill,” said Zukerman. “I remember I was asked to write an article about hacky-sack. They didn’t want to cover McGill Hockey, or McGill Football, or the McGill Basketball teams.”
Zukerman said that his tenure as Sports editor was marked by conflict between him and the rest o f the editorial board. In his last year, The Daily’s editorial board was impeached by a student referendum. While many of the impeached editors returned, Zukerman opted to walk away. “I gave up on fighting,” said Zukerman. “There’s only so much fight that you can give before you can think that it’s not worth the effort.” The next year in 1986-87, the Sports section was gone. Last year at the beginning of the 2009-10 academic year, The Daily decided to bring the Sports section back. Plans to do so began with the 2008-09 Editorial Board and finally came to fruition in September 2009. “There were probably two good reasons,” said Stephen Davis, The Daily’s 2009-10 Coordinating editor. “One was that it was with The Daily’s mandate – The Daily has a mandate to cover things dealing with issues of race, class, gender and that sort of stuff. Those things are all tied to sports as much as they’re tied to science, culture, health or education, or any of the stuff that The Daily covers. [Also], this wasn’t our main reason to do it, but it was sort of a bonus and it would help us appeal to readers we wouldn’t often reach. It was a way of reaching an audience maybe we haven’t tapped yet.”
Though last year’s editorial board also had a vision for alternative sports coverage, the decision was not contentious. The editors instead wanted to ensure that the section would not be simply highlights or coverage that you would get in most other media outlets. “I think there was a pretty strong consensus for what it should look like,” said Davis. “We knew that if we were going to do it, we were going to do it the way The Daily does things.” Just like The Daily, the Sports section has evolved in the last hundred years, and will continue to do so based on the needs of campus. —Compiled by Eric Wen
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Legends of laser tag Examining laser tag as a sport Jenny Lu
The McGill Daily
t is a warm night as I walk briskly along Ste. Catherine and step under the neon “Laser Quest” sign. Upon ascending a flight of stairs I am greeted by a scene that reminds me simultaneously of King Arthur’s Court and the arcade of every teenage boy’s dreams. I spend fifteen minutes trying to decide on the name of my new alter ego. This was a crucial decision: what would make me into a lean, mean, lasertagging machine? Finally, I give up and choose one of those suggested: “Nouille.” Versatile, elongated, limp, nondescript… perfect. I and the ten others of team “Touchdown” step into the “airlock chamber” where the marshal explains the Code of Honour to us: there will be no vulgar language, coverage of our sensors, physical contact, and we will all play hard but fair. As the rest of the group charges into the maze, I tentatively enter this new world. The maze is a five level labyrinth of walls, mirrors, ramps, grates, and holes all shrouded in a hazy fog. Despite my excellent form – modeled after Hollywood secret agents – I find myself playing against my own terrible sense of direction for a good portion of the game, timidly walking around deserted areas of the maze. Although I only encounter team “Flush” a few times throughout the game, each occasion ends in confusion for me. Did I get tagged? Did I tag anyone? Was that actually an active member of the other team? When the game ends I am both dismayed that the game is already over and afraid to see the results. As expected I come in last place and apologize profusely to my teammates, all the while crying silent tears on the inside. My laser tag experience is just one of many to be had. Andres Rodriguez, general manager of Laser Quest Montreal, explained to The Daily that the game never gets boring. Even if you play multiple times in the same arena, you can play a different game each time depending on your mood.
Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings Katie Esmonde Nader Fotouhi Michael Lee-Murphy Olivia Lifman Jenny Lu Jessica Lukawiecki Ben M a k u ch Erin O’Callaghan Kady Paterson Laura Pellicer Kristene Quan Reza Rasool
Victor Tangermann | The McGill Daily
Additionally, there are several different game types, such as the team game I played, the more prevalent solo missions, “Queen Bee” – where teams must protect a certain player, and “Captain” missions where a certain player is able to heal others. Each game gives players a unique experience. Often, groups or companies will come in wanting to relieve stress or build better team work skills and these different game types cater to each group’s purpose, said Rodriguez. In addition, Rodriguez said that school groups will sometimes come in for workshops where they are able to closely examine the technology behind the lasers, maze construction, and other technical aspects of the game. Taking into account the general public as well as these special groups, the overall age range for laser tag is between five and eighty-
Erin O’Callaghan John Watson Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings Katie Esmonde Nader Fotouhi Michael Lee-Murphy Olivia Lifman Jenny Lu Jessica Lukawiecki Ben M a k u ch Erin O’Callaghan Kady Paterson Laura Pellicer
five. However, for a company situated in the midst of large population of young people and students, Rodriguez estimates that 60 per cent of Laser Quest’s clientele is under the age of thirty. As a result of being open to such a wide range of people, Laser Quest inevitably receives a certain number of intoxicated clients. Rodriquez stresses that if he or other employees believe the Code of Honour will be violated, they will ask patrons to wait or refrain from playing. Ultimately, safety and fun for everyone come first. Laser tag is not only a recreational activity to be enjoyed by all, but is also a competitive sport for some. In fact there are professional laser tag teams that will play weekly, even competing in regional, national, and international competitions. Unlike traditional sports, however, laser tag invites an element of
Kristene Quan Reza Rasool Erin O’Callaghan John Watson Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings Katie Esmonde Nader Fotouhi Michael Lee-Murphy Olivia Lifman Jenny Lu Jessica Lukawiecki Ben M a k u ch Erin O’Callaghan
Kady Paterson Laura Pellicer Kristene Quan Reza Rasool Erin O’Callaghan John Watson Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings Katie Esmonde Nader Fotouhi Michael Lee-Murphy Olivia Lifman Jenny Lu Jessica Lukawiecki
fantasy and creates an unconventional experience. Choosing a new name, entering a new realm, and playing a unique game all make laser tag an immersive experience for players from start to finish. For twenty minutes, I was not Jenny Lu, McGill student, but Nouille, world class master of hiding in vacant corners. But this element of fantasy is not always met with approval, and many accuse laser tag of encouraging violence and evoking images of war. In response, Rodriguez asks us, “What shape is your hair dryer? What shape is a drill? They are shaped like guns but they are not guns.” He goes on to say that the Code of Honour ensures that the game is kept safe for everyone, and that packs can be shut down remotely if players are endangering others. He also says that at Laser Quest they make further efforts to
Ben M a k u ch Erin O’Callaghan Kady Paterson Laura Pellicer Kristene Quan Reza Rasool Erin O’Callaghan John Watson Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings Katie Esmonde Nader Fotouhi Michael Lee-Murphy Olivia Lifman
dissociate laser tag from war connotations through word choices. Instead of “shooting” or “killing,” the terms “tagging” and “deactivating” are used, and names that involve death, war, or other words with potentially offensive connotations are forbidden. And while the nature of guns conjures thoughts of war and violence, they are ultimately just another piece of sporting equipment. Ice skates, baseball bats, fencing foils are all potentially deadly weapons, but when viewed in the context of their respective sports are and essential parts of the game. Personally, though I will be retiring Nouille after her abysmal performance, I will not give up on laser tag entirely. Next time, a more intimidating name will definitely ensure my rightful place at the top of the scoreboard… or at least hopefully not at the bottom.
Jenny Lu Jessica Lukawiecki Ben M a k u ch Erin O’Callaghan Kady Paterson Laura Pellicer Kristene Quan Reza Rasool Erin O’Callaghan John Watson Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings Katie Esmonde Nader Fotouhi
Michael Lee-Murphy Olivia Lifman Jenny Lu Jessica Lukawiecki Ben M a k u ch Erin O’Callaghan Kady Paterson Laura Pellicer Kristene Quan Reza Rasool Erin O’Callaghan John Watson Adam Banks Jenna Blumenthal Lena Camara Drew Childerhose Christina Colizza Madeleine Cummings
THANK YOU, SPORTS WRITERS!
The Daily Through the Decades
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
s politics on university campuses across Canada continued their wide swing to the left, McGill students joined these ranks in full force: The American war in Vietnam, the Quiet Revolution, Israel-Palestine, language politics, unionization, struggles the world over, women’s rights, rape politics, the questions of ethical corporate investment and military research on campus. From South African apartheid to India-Pakistan – The Daily’s coverage of issues throughout the seventies seemed to know no bounds. Several issues did dominate the discussion, however. Women’s organizations on and off campus were highlighted as they struggled to further the demands of the feminist movement with regards to abortion. Other groups saw friction with the University as well: library workers, service employees and teaching assistants unionized and struck several times throughout the decade. There was also mobilization around tuition and fee hikes, as students fought for what they saw as their right to free public education. The Daily struggled with its own issues. Not yet an independent paper, both the budget and editorial board of The Daily were subject to review by the Student Union Council, and throughout the seventies the two organizations battled over power.
!" October 1970 Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Front de liberation du Québec (FLQ) in its confrontation with the province. He was found dead on October 17, seven days after his kidnapping. McGill students participated in protests around the city asking for his safe return. %" October A new campus bar was announced in the fall of 1974, though Gertrude’s tumultuous beginnings did not end there. It took until as late as March of 1976 and the following fall to turn Gertrude’s (now Gerts) into a fully-operational bar, run at one point by Gay McGill after its liquor licenses were revoked.
#" November 1971 The University, facing a budget crisis, decided to make cuts to certain programs while maintaining and increasing contributions to others – like Management, Engineering, and Law.
!"March 1975 Demands for a Women’s Studies program were met with the announcement that the University would establish a review of the potential for a new department.
$" September 1971 McGill students allied very strongly with the Pakistani resistance against Indian occupation.
!"March 1977 SSMU – the way we imagine it today – began to emerge after months of constitutional reforms and debates.
!"January 1973 As demands increased to have a daycare service on-campus for student parents, the McGill administration backed down on its funding commitments. A group of students staged a sit-in in the Leacock Building for over a week, which ended in the administration using force to oust them.
#"February 4, 1981 The Daily won legal and editorial autonomy in a 16 to 4 vote at Council, which was upheld through student referendum on March 4.
he Daily of the eighties started off big: divestment controversies, impending nuclear holocaust, sexual assaults in the ghetto, and rising tuition were major topics of discussion. By 1988, coverage had shifted from geopolitics to social issues, focusing on abortion, environmentalism, AIDS, and feminist and queer issues. Four new additions to the McGill community were the McPIRG – McGill Public Interest Research Group, later to become QPIRG – the brand-new SSMU newspaper the Tribune, a newly-autonomous Daily, and Mac computer labs, although all of these had teething problems in establishing themselves.
!September 1980 Pro-choice advocate Henry Morgentaler was interviewed under the headline “Abortion morality questioned” !1985$ After years of pressure, McGill’s Board of Governors voted on November 14 to divest from companies dealing with or based in South Africa, only to acquire thousands more stocks in companies linked with the apartheid regime ten months later.
$March 1986 Due to a clause in The constitution, a group of students attempted to impeach the entire editorial board. The motion failed during a referendum.
#"September 1986 Aside from the ongoing feud with the administration over their investment portfolio most student strife was directed against SSMU. Despite a petition signed by 1,592 students in protest, the Students’ Society voted to support a tuition increase that would raise fees to $2,500 by 1990.
!" September 10, 1981 SSMU launched its official mouthpiece, the Tribune, to make student government less opaque. However, students were divided on its usefulness.
46The Daily Through the Decades
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
!"October 1995 The Daily’s coverage of the Quebec referendum is an indication of how divided Canadians were on the issue of Quebec sovereignty. Editorials both supported and rejected the referendum. The referendum failed by the narrowest of margins with 50.6 per cent voting “no” and 49.4 voting “yes.”
he Daily in the 1990s covered a broad scope of issues from campus politics, to national crises and to international news. One of the pressing campus issues of the era was the rising cost of tuition and the corporatization of campus – something still debated today between students and the administration, but The Daily did not shy away from covering important issues happening outside the McGill community, like the Oka Crisis and the 1999 Quebec referendum. The Daily was also critical of corporatization, speaking out against globalization and the growing corporate presence on campus. The 1990s was a time when personal computers and the internet were becoming more accessible, which is evident when looking at The Daily’s coverage of technology and the privacy issues that arise from it. Perhaps the technological advances seen in the nineties and greater connectivity to far reaches of the world allowed The Daily to cover a broader range of important global topics.
#" January 1994 Many articles in the 1990s condemned the increasing corporate presence on campus at McGill – a debate that still rages on today.
#"September 1990 In 1990, the town of Oka, Quebec began developing plans to expand a golf course onto Mohawk land, including a burial ground. A violent conflict resulted between protesting Mohawk people and armed forces that lasted for two months. #"February 1994 One of the biggest stories of the nineties was the end of South African apartheid and their first election with universal suffrage in 1994.
#" November 1992 This article was written in response to the North American Fair Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that furthered globalization. The author of this article was Naomi Klein – author of No Logo – when she was a student at University of Toronto.
!" November 1993 Though computers and the internet became more accessible in the nineties, privacy was often a topic of discussion. The concluding line of the article that accompanied this illustration reads, “Attention Users: Please check in your rights at the door, and maybe Big Brother will admit you into Orwell’s Airstrip-1, a.k.a. McGill.”
$"2005 As this headline illustrates, McGill’s traditionally academic reputation evolved throughout the aptly named noughties to include a shocking, and somewhat problematic, wild side.
he 2000s filled The Daily’s pages with social movements and international issues. Global events like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and subsequent foreign policies necessitated consideration of how such salient global events affect our own campus. Issues of environmentalism also came to the forefront of popular culture, as well as of The Daily’s coverage. Student movements – from student strikes to student control of food services – were all important issues on which The Daily was a promoter of student action and solidarity.
# 2001-02 The 2000s saw an increase in concern over environmental issues both on campus and off. The Daily was committed to covering the environmental movement, with features like the one that included this photograph from 2001, and headlines like this one from 2002.
!"February 2005 Quebec students mobilized to demand the reinstatement of provincial funding for financial aid, and The Daily’s editorial board urged McGill students to stand in solidarity with this initiative. The call was answered as McGill students picketed across campus to demand funding and support the student movement.
# Fall 2001 International issues touched down on campus several times throughout the decade. The events of September 11, 2001 caused myriad reactions, which The Daily attempted to cover, while surprisingly avoiding an editorial stance on the events and their consequences.
# 2001 Much today, the 2000s began with concerns over tuition increases and the accessibility of post-secondary education, as seen in this headline from 2001.
!"2001 to 2007 The trials of student run food services were a prominent issue on campus throughout the decade as this headline from 2001 and this editorial from 2007 illustrate.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Unmasking e-criminals Concordia researchers develop a means of linking anonymous emails to their authors John Lapsley
The McGill Daily
s criminals increasingly resort to email to send threats, scams, and ransom notes, researchers at the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering (CIISE) have developed a method that can link an author to their own unique “write-print” in every email they send. Given an email with a questionable source and a set of potential authors, the researchers’ method analyzes frequent patterns in the suspects’ previous writing to determine the email’s author with 80 to 90 per cent confidence. This frequent pattern analysis is distinct from other computerized authorship attribution in that it boasts high accuracy but is still easy to explain to a courtroom. “With our approach, we are not a black box,” said Benjamin Fung, professor and data-mining expert at the CIISE, in an interview with The Daily “We can explain how we derived conclusions.” The analysis method, a collaborative effort between Fung, Concordia cyber forensics expert Mourad Debbabi, and PhD student Farkhund Iqbal, mines an author’s past emails for bundles of features to determine their personal write-print. The
unique features of a particular write-print range from the richness of the author’s vocabulary, to the presence and structure of their salutations. The program can then compare a set of suspects’ write-prints to the email in question and determine who is most likely to have authored it. Fung freely admitted that there are ways around one’s own write-print, especially because the program can show exactly which stylistic techniques compose a given write-print. However, much like trying to disguise one’s handwriting, it would be difficult to resist falling back into familiar patterns, especially since the program looks for hundreds of bundles of attributes. Additionally, some attributes are tough to disguise. “For example, vocabulary richness is very difficult to fake,” Fung said. “It’s very difficult for me to suddenly increase my vocabulary.”
communicating” via tweets, comments, and text messages, Fung is not sure how much farther authorship attribution can be ported. “Whenever we port [the techniques] from one style of writing to another style – like traditional writing to email – we need to add stylometric features to capture the new writing styles,” Fung said. “[With] shorter messages, like SMS or Twitter…it’s definitely a challenge. Maybe there’s no solution.” The team’s authorship attribution techniques for email, however, proved highly accurate when tested on the Enron database, which contained over 200,000 real emails authored by 158 different employees. Following the program’s success, the CIISE began to field calls from around the world asking for help tracing anonymous emails. “Some private investigators [call with] real cases, some of the investigators just want to test the cases they have already solved,” Fung said. Victims of email harassment also contacted Fung for help. “I received many emails from many different people from different countries, saying, ‘Somebody is sending me a threatening email, would you please help me to solve this?’” Fung said. Yasemin Boluk | The McGill Daily
Fung and his colleagues developed the method with law enforcement applications in mind. Since most successful authorship-attribution techniques are tailored toward literary plagiarism, the researchers had to develop a method that could glean a write-print from smaller and less formal emails. Even in combing past emails to determine a write-print, Fung and Debbabi recognize that the method should protect the suspect’s privacy. Much of Fung’s past work focuses on balancing the valuable conclusions that data mining can draw with the individual privacy issues it may raise. “One research direction that we want to work on is how to…perform write-print analysis without compromising privacy.” With social trends moving toward “micro-
The metrics used to identify the author of anonymous emails:
Lexical Word or character-specific, such as frequency of capital letters, words per sentence, and vocabulary richness.
Syntactic Such as the distribution of function words like “upon,” “thus,” and “above.”
The overall layout and organization of text within a document, average paragraph length, and presence and structure of greetings.
Content-specific Words and phrases you use frequently.
“They just read the newspaper title and send me an email.” So far, there has been no concrete collaboration between the team and law enforcement or private individuals. The team is currently focusing on applying their methods in a second scenario: using an email to infer certain characteristics about the author – such as nationality or education – even when there aren’t any suspects. Fung stressed that this procedure would be significantly less accurate, though “it would be useful for the early stages of investigation,” he said, “where the investigator has very little clues.”
The investigation of conflicts of interest The Daily talks to a McGill graduate student about uncovering bias in pharmaceutical studies
tudies of studies – metaanalyses – are important to medical research: they help physicians, clinical policy makers, and the keen consumer by consolidating large amounts of information done in separate trials. Clinical guidelines are considered more valid when they are based on a meta-analysis rather than on just a few individual case studies. But Michelle Roseman, a McGill graduate student in Psychiatry, found that in the aggregation of information, something critical is lost. When a study is published, its authors are required to include their source of funding and any ties they might have to the pharmaceuti-
cal industry. However, unlike trial results and methods, this information about the individual trials is not often included in the meta-analysis. Roseman looked at 29 meta-analyses published in high-impact medical journals, and found that only two reported who funded the trials, and seven included only trials that were industry-funded. Not one discussed the author’s personal financial ties. The Daily sat down with Roseman to discuss her role in the investigation of conflicts of interest, and the importance of making their existence known. The McGill Daily: Is the presence of conflicts of interest
in these studies something that’s of concern in the research world? Michelle Roseman: It wasn’t on the minds of the authors of the meta-analyses. We sent an email to survey the authors of the meta-analyses that we included: we asked whether or not they had extracted this information as part of their protocol – regardless of whether or not they ended up publishing it. Most said that they thought that was a great idea, but they hadn’t thought of it. MD: How did you decide to do this particular study? MR: My supervisor was looking to do a meta-analysis, and he was in contact with one of the major journals, and was discuss-
ing whether or not they would be interested in this. In their discussions, the journal said, “Actually, too many of the studies that you would want to include are industry-funded.” This prompted him to want to study this systematically. I was a research assistant in his lab at the time – he discussed the project with me, and it sounded really interesting. I became a grad student in the lab and continued to work on it as my thesis project. MD: What are you hoping people who read your study will take away from it? MR: We’re hoping that researchers will start including the funding sources of the indi-
vidual trials. There are guidelines that already exist on how to write up a meta-analysis, called the Prisma guidelines – the standard in the industry on what information should [be] included in a meta-analysis. What we suggested is that these guidelines need to be updated. MD: How might this change the way physicians operate? MR: In many cases, there might only be industry-funded studies of a drug – the industry currently funds about 70 per cent of the clinical trials that occur. But certain meta-analyses could be looked at with a more critical eye. – Compiled by Shannon Palus
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
The BP oil spill: one year later
“B Cells are Regulating Innate Resistance” Thursday, April 7, 11:30 a.m. Duff Building, room 507/509 Guest Speaker Jörg Fritz, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
Mini Science: What is the Role of Climate Scientists in the Climate Change Debate? Friday, April 8, 11 a.m. Broadcast exploring why climate change is in doubt, and focusing on the necessity of curbing the damage. Stream at canalsavoir.tv.
Cutting Edge Lecture: Structure and Dynamics of Supramolecular Systems one Molecule at a Time
The continuing consequences of Deepwater Horizon’s mismanagement Prose Encounters of the Nerd Kind Andrew Komar
he first anniversary of the massive explosion aboard the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon is approaching. The April 20, 2010 explosion, caused by a failure of the blowout preventer, ruptured the oil well at a depth of 1.5 kilometres below the ocean’s surface. The resulting gusher at the well head eventually dumped nearly 5 million barrels (some 700,000 metric tonnes) of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Efforts to stop the flow were hampered by the technical difficulties of working at such an extreme depth, and the well was only capped when a relief well was drilled five months later. Since then, the Gulf oil disaster has largely faded from the public eye, but we are only now seeing the beginning of long-term problems that will affect the region for years to come. Despite technical increases in the ability required for oil companies to drill at ever-increasing depths, the technologies to clean up spills have not fundamentally changed in more than thirty years, even since the Gulf disaster. The offshore drilling in the Gulf approved by the Obama administration features the same blowout preventers that we now know are prone to blowout. The safety report from BP that is cited in these latest applications is dated 2009, before the Deepwater Horizon failure. This failure to enforce standards is unsurprising in an industry where the “impartial” regulators have significant connections to lobbyists. As for their advertised commitment to safety, BP’s research budget to address oil spill issues in the past twenty years was exactly zero dollars. Nevertheless, the cleanup effort was undertaken by BP in conjunction with minimal oversight by the U.S. government. From the beginning, troubling patterns of behaviour emerged in BP’s
Edna Chan | The McGill Daily
Thursday April 14, 6 p.m. Redpath Museum, Auditorium Gonzalo Cosa, professor of Chemistry at McGill, lectures on the field of Single Molecular Spectroscopy, and the techniques uses.
Neuro Film: Das Experiment efforts, all seemingly aimed at minimizing the visible impact of the spill. There were instances of journalists being barred from taking photos of public beaches by BP-employed private security, and reports of BP cleanup workers illegally destroying the remains of spill-affected endangered species such as sea turtles. The greatest effort at masking the true impact of the spill came with the scientifically dubious use of the oil dispersant Corexit. Oil dispersal agents such as Corexit work by breaking up dense clumps of oil and allowing them to dissolve in water, forming an oil sheen. In theory, oil-eating microbes are better able to digest this dissolved oil, but this had never been tested at the temperatures and pressures seen at the Gulf well head. At least 4 million litres of dispersant were used around the gusher to disperse oil before it could reach the surface, with an additional 4 million litres of dispersant used to break up oil at the surface. Far from being harmlessly eaten or taken away by currents, much of the oil and dispersant remained in the deep areas in a 50 kilometre zone around the spill site. At that depth, most microscopic oil particles remain neutrally buoyant, neither sinking nor floating to the surface. Paul Montagna, a Texas A&M scientist specializing in contamination due to oil spills, remarked, “We can see it. There was a really large plume that stayed mostly in the deepest areas.” Marine scientists on the research vessel Oceanus found a layer of oily material up to 5 centimetres thick coating the entire seafloor and stretching for dozens of kilometres around the site of the well. The vessel took hundreds of samples and in many instances, dead sea creatures were found. Corexit is notably toxic and carcinogenic, classified by the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) as a hazardous material that induces burning and skin irritation. There have been no toxicological or environmental impact studies performed on the dispersants used so heavily in the “cleanup,” but
the WHMIS safety data notes that Corexit “is known to ‘bio-accumulate’.” Bio-accumulation is the process of toxins building up in the organic tissue of animals, which can result in increased concentrations of these toxins at higher levels of the food chain. Preliminary research conducted at the University of Southern Florida on a mix of dispersant and oil similar to that in the composition of the plumes found that bacteria and phytoplankton are particularly susceptible to their combined toxicological effects. The dispersed oil is composed of droplets that are small enough to be consumed by these microscopic creatures. Bacteria and phytoplankton are the basis for the entire Gulf Coast food chain that includes over 15,000 species, some of which (such as four species of endangered sea turtles) can be found nowhere else in the world. Tiny blobs of oil have already been found in “almost all” of the larvae of blue crabs collected on beaches from Texas to Florida since last July, according to the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. The value of the blue crab catch alone is worth $39 million to the region, with the total financial loss to the fishery in the Gulf estimated at over $2.5 billion. The spill has drastically affected the marine mammal population as well. The first birthing season of marine mammals since the spill began this year in February, and instances of dead dolphins appearing on the shores has increased as much as eight times compared to pre-spill levels. Over 100 dolphin, whale and porpoise bodies have appeared on Gulf shores; over half of them were stillborn or immature babies. This number of recovered carcasses is a gross underestimate of the total death toll, and traditional estimates of death rates based on recovered bodies suggest that the true body count may be fifty times higher than we can confirm using those recovered. If this estimate is true, this would mean that over 5,000 marine mammals have already been killed due to the effects of the spill, not even mentioning the effects
that the spill would have on the thousands of other species present in the Gulf. Perhaps most disturbingly, any forensic analysis being performed on the recovered animals is currently the subject of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gag order due to an impending court case against BP. Analysis could provide evidence to link the deaths of the animals to the spill using the oils chemical footprint. Unfortunately, there is a backlog of thousands of samples collected by scientists since the spill that have sat untested at the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS). A letter from the NOAA to the institute says, “Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented, or discussed.” Even a year after the spill began, no laboratories have been selected to perform these forensic tests that are so important for understanding the impact of oil spills. What this means is that the results of the investigation may not be available to independent scientists for years, and the long term consequences of a deepwater drilling accident may never be known. The offshore drilling business has continued to surge virtually unabated since the disaster, with BP recording profits of $1.7 billion in the third quarter of 2010 alone, despite the nearly $40 billion spent on the cleanup. The Deepwater Horizon was just one of nearly 4,000 rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico, and new exploratory deepwater wells have been proposed off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Arctic circle by BP. This exploratory drilling is continuing despite the known lack of remediation technologies in case of disaster, or the existence of proven safety technologies. The reason is clear: the 4 million barrels of oil that have caused so much environmental devastation in the gulf represents about 75 minutes of average daily global oil consumption. Unless society can be weaned off of oil, companies such as BP will haveclear financial motivation to drill ever deeper, endangering lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems in the process.
Thursday, April 19, 6:30 p.m. Montreal Neurological Institute, Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre Oliver Hischbiegel’s 2001 film about a social prison experiment, based on Mario Giordano’s novel Black Box. Hosted by assistant professor of Neurology Thomas Stroh.
MusicArtColourScience – Marvin Duchow Music Library Exhibit Until Saturday, April 30 New Music Building, Marvin Duchow Music Library A multimedia exhibit devoted to auditory perception, musical composition, performance, and the invention of musical instruments.
Thinking Beyond Pipes and Pumps Sunday, May 8, 3 p.m. Redpath Museum, Auditorium Opening of the McGill Sustainability project “Water is Life,” a travelling exhibit about water sustainability at McGill, and presentation by Joanna Eyquem from ActionH2O Montreal.
Science Documentary Film: Les porteurs d’espoir Sunday, May 8, 3 p.m. Redpath Museum, Hodgson Seminar Room A film about an experimental teaching method being tested in a Quebec elementary school. Showing in French. $2 suggested contribution for students, includes a muffin and drink.
Science Documentary Film: The Force of Nature Sunday, May 15, 3 p.m. Redpath Museum, Hodgson Seminar Room Director Sturla Gunnarsson’s biography of David Suzuki. $2 suggested contribution for students, includes a muffin and drink.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
A brief history of Sci+Tech The Daily’s science and technology coverage from the 1980s onward
s early as the 1980s, The Daily published special monthly science editions which explored a specific topic – such as space, energy, or death – in depth. Though published nearly thirty years ago, the special editions discussed issues that remain relevant today. The equal representation of gender in the sciences, the environmental impact of our energy usage, and the safety and efficiency of nuclear power were all of just as much concern then as they are now. On September 12, 2004, The Daily debuted the Science+Technology section in its current incarnation with the headline “Greenpeace wraps up
glacier research, challenges Bush on gas emissions.” As the “newest addition to The Daily universe,” the section was included in the paper in an attempt to “tackle the rapidly shifting worlds of both science and technology. From its inception, the Science+Technology section claimed to provide the “down-low (or, “d-l”) on everything from nanotechnology to the significance of that nebula they discovered last week.” Though times have changed (we were once very excited about this new thing called “podcasting”) and things that seemed new are now considered outdated, The Daily’s treatment of important and relevant science and technology news remains the same.
McGill receives $1-million grant to fight parasitic diseases in Africa Parasitology department will help develop medicines using African biodiversity Nicole Leonard
cGill recently received a $1-million grant to extend research aimed at developing medicines that will combat parasitic diseases. Timothy Geary, a scientist in McGill’s Parasitology department, will guide the project, which – by combining research in both Canada and Africa – aims to harness components of African biodiversity. Parasitic illnesses – which include Lyme disease, malaria, and scabies – affect approximately 1 billion people worldwide in disease-endemic countries that lack the capacity to eliminate them, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
These debilitating diseases primarily stem from parasitic worms, called helminths, which live inside the human body. Geary’s research, which was jointly conducted with Éliane Ubalijoro, professor in McGill’s Institute for the Study of International Development, focusses on developing new drugs to combat these increasingly resistant parasites. The researchers intend to identify and harness compounds from microbial and botanical sources that occur naturally in African biodiversity in order to develop cures. Funding for the grant is provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Grand Challenges Canada, both nonprofit organizations that seek to address the many challenges fac-
ing the developing world. This represents a significant humanitarian effort on behalf of the Canadian government, because it has allocated $225 million over five years to the Development Innovation Fund. Grand Challenges Canada is responsible for delivering that money in partnership with the International Development Research Centre and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The research was conducted in partnership with African scientists, notably Kelly Chibale of the University of Cape Town, and Berhanu Abegaz and Kerstin Marobela of the University of Botswana. Despite impressive contributions from McGill, the majority of the research is to be conducted in Africa at universities
and in the field. “We hope to allow people who have these diseases to lead the discovery process for new cures for them,” Geary explained in an interview with The Daily. The proximity will likely allow for more successful research and effective implementation of cures, once they are found. “We want as much of the ownership of the intellectual property as possible to be theirs.” The initiative indicates the significant role of both McGill and Canada on the international stage. It emphasizes the capacity of the Parasitology department at McGill and includes qualified professors from a variety of branches within the field. These professors are capable of making significant differences in global health and tropical medicine. Additionally, it
highlights McGill’s effort to integrate advancements in science and technology from around the world. “International collaborations are very important for McGill, not just in the sense of going to Italy to view art, which is nice, but also in developing global research initiatives that can help solve significant health problems in other countries,” said Geary. Furthermore, the project promotes Canada’s presence on the international stage as a whole and specifically in the area of global health. By addressing the parasitic diseases that plague so many, Canada continues to be a vital and capable actor in the international community that outside organizations and governments are eager to collaborate with.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
An end to landmines in sight
New research could contribute to the safe removal of improvised explosive devices Nicole Leonard
wo Colombian doctoral students at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a device capable of harnessing electromagnetic energy to remotely detonate makeshift landmines. If applied in humanitarian situations, this technology could significantly lessen the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are widely used by guerilla and terrorist groups. Work was conducted at EPFL’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory in conjunction with two Colombian universities, the National University of Colombia and the University of Los Andes. Motivated in part by ongoing revolutionary conflict in their home country of Colombia, Nicolás Mora and Felix Vega decided to complete their thesis on the subject after being awarded Swiss research scholarships. Their professor, and the director of the project, Francisco Roman, guided the development from Bogotá. The researchers’ work came to fruition in late 2010, as successful system tests were carried out in Colombia last November. Their device emits short and intense pulses of electromagnetic energy in order to induce currents in the mine’s detonator and set off the bomb. Although they are crafted out of a variety of materials – which originally made a universally effective device difficult to conceive of – the scientists learned that all IEDs are detonated at around the same frequency. Thus, the waves are focused at a limited range of the radio spectrum in order to both conserve enough energy to effect detonation from a distance and function for an array of landmine types. Remote explosion differs from other more tedious de-mining methods, which often entail neutralization rather than detonation and can be dangerous, since there
may be a secondary switch on the mine. Because guerilla groups typically construct their bombs out of uneasily detectable materials like plastic and do not chart their location, finding IEDs traditionally entails extensive fieldwork. Locating mines requires removing vegetation with unorthodox tools, including hooks, cords, dogs, and even human hands. Because of this clearing one square kilometre of land can take months, since it must be completely secure for inhabitants to return to afterwards. The new device allows for detonation from up to twenty metres away without these uncertain logistical difficulties. While IEDs are utilized in conflicts spanning the globe from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, this development would be particularly useful in the doctoral students’ native Colombia, where the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been active since the 1960s. Like similar rebel groups from the time period, FARC was inspired by Marxist-Leninist teachings and sought to displace established oligarchs in favor of the rural poor. Group composition has transformed over time, however, and their precise demands have become unclear in recent years. The 2006 election of President Juan Manuel Santos saw the beginning of a successful persecution of the rebel groups, whose presence has been lessening as they retreat to the countryside. Despite this decline, scientists closely involved with the project have been required to agree to confidentiality contracts, even though they are happy to receive media attention. Vega explained in an email, “Low-intensity wars, landmines and scientific initiatives from third world countries are not on the main spot of the media every day. However, the sponsors of the research ask us to stay away from the media, because – here is the paradox – this may expose the team working in Colombia.” In an interview with The Daily, a researcher involved with the project, who wished to remain anonymous, further attributes the controversy to the fact that the project is being
Nicole Stradiotto | The McGill Daily
undertaken in part by the National University of Colombia. According to this source, the University has been the centre of various political movements over the years and has consequentially been accused of mentoring guerilla leaders and aiding their efforts. In fact, one of the most prominent FARC leaders, Alfonso Cano, attended the university in the 1970s. Clearly, this scientific development has significant political implications. Among these implications, the most important is the device’s ability to save and improve lives. Colombia has the highest number of landmine victims reported each year in the Western Hemisphere, with civilians accounting for one third of the annual 1,000 victims. An additional aspect of
landmine detonation does not receive much attention is displacement, as dense IED implementation has led 4 million Colombians to be driven from their neighbourhoods due to the risk of accidental detonation. All over the world, thousands die each year from improvised landmines used in present and past conflicts. Even when fighting has ended, leftover mines threaten civilians who attempt to reinhabit the effected areas. While researchers hope to eventually distribute the device to regions like these, they acknowledge difficulties posed by different and uncertain terrain, rebel patterns, and political climates. The source speculated that it will take a few more years to put the development into action –
“You’ve solved the scientific part, now you have to get [the device] in the back of a truck somewhere.” This somewhere is intended to be an inactive conflict zone in a humanitarian setting, so that the electromagnetic waves would not trigger accidental detonation or interfere with civilians and combatants. Representatives from governments and private enterprises have already contacted directors of the project to investigate potential distribution of the technology. Now that the science is completed, it will be the market’s job to coordinate dispersal of this technology and dictate the extent to which it helps clear dangerous areas and save civilian lives.
Spidey senses are tingling Spider toxin creates a new opportunity for studying ion channels in the body William Dickerson
ecently, researchers from the University of California, Riverside have discovered a useful tool for developing drugs to treat pain and diseases like congestive heart failure: venom from the American funnel web spider. The team, led by Xiao Zhang, professor of tumor development at the Del Web Centre for Neuroscience, purchased their spider venom in bulk instead of using the conventional “spider
milking” technique to obtain the venom. This allowed the researchers to purify large amounts of the toxin to examine the way it interacts with ion channels. The information gained from the study may lead to the development of new drugs. Every living cell comes equipped with a set of specialized proteins that govern the flow of ions in and out of the cell membrane. These proteins, called ion channels, are essential to the functioning of every organism: they control neural synapses, or the way the brain communicates
with the body. A single cell contains over 300 types of ion channels, and when one stops functioning properly, the results can be fatal. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) – the toxin found in raw puffer fish meat – will cause vomiting, muscle paralysis, and possibly death when consumed. It works by binding to sodium channels in nerve cell membranes, stopping the transmission of electrical signals to the muscles. Venom from the American funnel web spider works similarly to TTX, but blocks the calcium channel that is used to control the heartbeat and
release hormones. Ion channels are sometimes only one or two atoms wide at their narrowest point and, because of their small size, their structure has only recently been made clear. Researchers were able to observe the way toxins block channels to gain insight into the way the channels work, and to develop drugs to treat channels that have stopped functioning properly. When a new toxin is isolated, researchers have a new tool with which to study channels; in this case, it was the calcium channel.
While researchers have suspected the channel-blocking nature of the American funnel web spider’s venom for a decade, they have been unable to convert the toxin to a usable form. In a phone interview with The Daily, Zhang said that in purifying and isolating the toxin, the team was able to overcome a “research barrier that has been blocking progress for ten years.” The team hopes that with the information gained from this study, they will be able to isolate new toxins, and develop better drugs for heart failure, epilepsy, and pain.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Ringing up solutions for the developing world Innovative uses for cell phones, from diagnosing health to replacing credit cards Alexander Kunev
The McGill Daily
e live in a time when technology has become so intrinsic to our everyday lives that even relatively basic devices such as cell phones are gaining new and unexpected capabilities. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to use your phone to play games, surf the internet, or have video conversations with friends. However, the biggest change in the cell phone market comes not from tech meccas like Silicon Valley, but rather is driven by the continuously increasing cell phone usage in the poorest countries in the world. According to a study done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, subscribers in developing countries now represent the majority of the 4.6 billion mobile phone users in the world. The cell phone represents, above all, a connection to the world. People who often work away from their families can stay in touch with their loved ones with a simple device the size of a small box that they put in their pocket. It gives people security, ensuring that even if they are in the most remote place, they can still call someone, get help, and
connect to the rest of the world. Farmers in Uganda are now using cell phones to exchange information about markets and prices, and where they can get livestock and crops. This mobility offers the possibility of creating infrastructure where it is missing: building cell phone towers is much cheaper than building land lines, which do not exist in many regions in Africa. In this same vein, a new program for producing animated educational videos that can be watched on most cell phones has been developed by a team from the University of Illinois. The Scientific Animations Without Borders program is a new way to engage the public in developing countries, and spread education to places that lack other channels of communication. In one video, safe insect control methods are demonstrated, while in another farmers are taught how to use neem tree juice to spray as an insecticide on cowpea crops. Such initiatives empower individuals by letting them obtain vital information, no matter where they are. Mobile payment represents another popular way in which cell phone technology is changing how people around the world
are living. Though near-field communication (NFC) – a shortrange wireless technology that allows for, among other things, credit card payments, is currently the most ubiquitous way of using cell phones as wallets – a new system that has been gaining ground in Africa, and does not require any kind of additional hardware improvement on phones. This system does not require credit card numbers, but relies on the simplest concept every phone user shares: the phone number. “Everyone knows their cell phone number. Not everyone knows their credit card number,” Mark Britto, chief executive officer of the startup Boku, explained to the New York Times in 2009. The company uses a system that receives a customer’s phone number after a purchase and sends it to the buyer to confirm. In South Africa, only half of the adult population has a bank account, and in Thailand only a quarter do, making mobile banking the safer choice for most people. But one of the most innovative ideas for cell phones is to use them for health diagnostics. Developed by the University of California, Berkeley’s Bioengineering department,
CellScope, a mobile microscope attachment can use any regular cell phone camera to analyze samples for diseases such as tuberculosis or sickle cell anaemia. The idea is that medical experts will be able to perform complex high-resolution light microscopy on blood or sputum samples placed on a slide in real time, rather than waiting for days for assistance when in remote areas. In the near future, cell phones will likely become an even bigger part of our lives, with internet on-thego and geolocation evolving to create new social norms. We will be much more connected, with the developing world leading the way. The cell phone revolution in developing countries will spark new forms of entrepreneurship, due to the platform’s low cost and its potential to replace the comput-
Jessica Lukawiecki | The McGill Daily
ers that many people don’t have with a device that can perform simpler, but still necessary, tasks.
Architecture in Uniform DESIGNING AND BUILDING FOR THE SECOND WORLD WAR 13 APRIL – 18 SEPTEMBER 2011
Architecture in Uniform documents the wide range of architectural activities that occured during the Second World War. Drawings, photographs, posters, books and models reveal the extent of the architects’ engagement in all the aspects of the conflict. cca.qc.ca / uniform
Centre Canadien d’Architecture Canadian Centre for Architecture 1920, rue Baile, Montréal 514 939 7026
The CCA gratefully acknowledges the support of the ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, and Hydro-Québec. Hedrich-Blessing, photographic studio. Chrysler Tank Arsenal, Detroit, by Albert Kahn Associates and Chrysler Corporation, 1941. © Chicago History Museum, HB-06539-C
In collaboration with
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Lies, half-truths, and teary-eyed goodbyes
McGill evicted from campus
RBC forecloses on all building assets on the downtown campus due to high debt levels Stefan Goulet
The McGill Daily
n Friday, McGill administrators revealed that the Royal Bank of Canada is foreclosing on McGill’s downtown campus because the University has defaulted on its loan payments. Students and staff now have thirty days to leave the premises. Many have been speculating for months that the University was not in good financial standing. The Arts Buildings windows were boarded up when University officials vacated the building last month. Since then, it has become a popular spot for squatters. They are currently living off of the leftover gerkin in the abandoned basement Subway. “Dude, I didn’t ever go to class in the Arts building, but now that it’s, like, ‘empty,’” says Raymond McIntyre, currently a squatter on the third floor in the Arts Building, “I’m pumped to live there.” Reports indicate that McGill’s poor finances were a result of unsound investments, including investments in Lehman Brothers, plans to build a three-story high gold statue of Principal Meather Bunroe-Hlum at the Y-Intersection, and building a skee-ball arcade in James Administration. Bunroe-Hlum was not available
for comment. In an email to The Daily, Provost Chanthony Dansi only offered, “Sorry. Our bad.” McGill attempted to cover their budget deficit by raising MBA tuition by over 900 per cent. However, the government of Quebec then levied a $2-million fine, increasing McGill’s debt. The University is now looking for new locations to relocate the downtown campus. Currently, the administration is considering the possibility of moving to the Olympic Stadium. While the stadium currently sees sporadic use, the Monster Truck Rally Promoters Association (MTRPA), the only semi-frequent occupants, are trying to prevent McGill from moving in. “We need the Olympic Stadium, but not just for monster truck rallies,” said Ed Braun, head of the MTRPA. “We’ve also hosted the Grey Cup, Bruce Springsteen concerts, and the Canonization of Brother André.” If McGill is unable to secure a lease for Olympic Stadium, some insiders speculate that they will turn their attention to Habitat 67 or the Olympic Village – next to that delicious-smelling POM bread factory. Students interested in joining the hackey-sack round on the second floor of the Arts building should contact Raymond McIntyre.
Bikuta Tangamann | The McGill Daily
McGill student: Harper comparable to urinal cake Photo by Oläf Cørtèz
midst campaigning ahead of Canada’s May 2 federal election, student art has adopted a political flavour. Art as political debate is a marginalized discipline in the community, but this sample exhibits all its common features. The lower inscription could mean multiple things. Overtly, the artist/activist could be associating the Prime Minister with a urinal cake, or could be alluding to the Harper governments sweeping budget cuts. However, the student could also be expressing his subconscious desire to urinate on the Prime Minister. —Henry Gass
April Fool’s prank goes horribly awry Janvier LaRochène The McGill Daily
All windows have been boarded up to prevent break-ins.
Federation Party may overtake Conservatives in next election
fter the federal election was announced last week when the Conservative government was found in contempt, reports indicate that the Federation Party is currently leading in the polls. “We think this is an important time for the Canadian people and we hope to have a strong showing at the election on May 2,” said James Kirk, leader of the Federation Party. Many analysts think that Kirk is a strong candidate for Prime Minister because of his record of reaching
across the aisle. He has experience working with Vulcans within his party and has adopted their credo of, “Live long and prosper.” Their strongest opponents in the election currently appear to be the Klingon Empire Party. However, recent polls estimate that the Federation has a 40 per cent favorability rate among Canadian voters with the Klingon Empire trailing with only 25 per cent. Despite the strong lead in the polls, many people on Parliament Hill believe that if the Federation does not win a majority in the upcoming election, the Klingons will form a coalition government with the Borgs and also the Romulan Star Empire. —Stefan Goulet
anic gripped the galaxy Friday morning in the wake of an elaborate April Fool’s joke. At 7:42 a.m. SST (Space Standard Time), the Daily Continuum announced that Mars was withdrawing itself from the Solar System. The response from the intergalactic community was swift: “what the fuck?”s resounded from Houston to Betelgeuse. The Continuum quoted the red planet as saying, “my decision to withdraw from the Solar System stems from personal reasons. I ask that the public respect the privacy of myself and my family during this difficult time.” In a statement to the press, Mars described its reaction to the article as one of “surprise” and “confusion.” “I have never considered withdrawing from the Solar System. I enjoy the benefits and solidarity it provides, and have no wish to abandon my fellow planets at a time when unity is so paramount.” This reporter assumes Mars is referring to the recently-passed Bill S-518. The Bill has enforced stringent austerity measures across the Western Spiral Arm of the galaxy, including funding cuts to hyperspace and the elimination of bursaries to the Milky Way–Andromeda transfer student program. “My fellow planets and I are firmer than ever in our joint opposition to these unacceptable policy changes,” Mars continued. “Yeah,” agreed Venus, although its sleepy voice was muffled beneath the crumpled bedclothes of Olympus Mons. “Mars is, like, totally going to win.” “Well,” Mars blushed. “I am the god of war, and stuff.” The intergalactic community received the “news” with disbelief and ire. “Kids these days!” fumed Sirius in a comment on the online version of the article. “In my day, Solar Systems were fucking heroes. Whole neighbourhood’s gone downhill.” Despite initially reacting with excited joy, Pluto, upon realising it was all cooked up for shits and giggles, was reportedly crushed. “It could barely handle it,” Uranus whispered, trying not to wake the planet sleeping off a hangover in the next room. “After being relegated to a dwarf planet, it’s been lonely for a long time. It just wants companionship, and all those lumpy dead meteors chilling in the Kuiper Belt are no good company for a planet. And Pluto is a planet!” Uranus continued defiantly. “It is and always will be, in my heart, a bona fide planet. Charon, back me up.” Charon could not be reached for comment, as it was so almost finished this like totally hard boss level on Super Mario Galaxy 2.
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Stories The Daily missed A recap of the news we stupidly overlooked John 'n Alex
The McNill Faily
he Daily has recently come under fire for overlooking certain high-profile campus events on the grounds that they received too much coverage elsewhere. To correct these errors in the year’s last issue, the following are synopses of important campus stories we missed this year: When McGill was mentioned on The Simpsons in October, The Daily refused to cover it because Lisa neglected to also mention the campus’s oldest student-run newspaper. U2 Philosophy student Sam Williams had a really bad back pimple in September, but the situation had been remedied with a mathematical compass by the time The Daily went to print. Despite repeated emails from those involved, The Daily did not have space to print the fact that Eric, Alex, Cameron, Ben, and John finished a 1500-piece puzzle in, like, three fucking days, even though basically all the sky pieces looked exactly the same. The Daily neglected to highlight that the following campus cafes remained open all year: all of them except architecture’s. Late on October 15, U3 Marketing student Cameron Huot was spotted speaking to a rock in the middle of campus – the rock, however, did not respond to The Daily’s requests for a comment. The Daily may have drastically
under-represented the views of the overwhelming majority of students who didn’t know or even give a shit what “Jobbook-gate” was. Also, for some reason almost every news source in the city except The Daily made a huge fucking deal every time it snowed... in January, no less. (Our bad?) It is regrettably The Daily’s policy not to report on protests with less than two people in attendance, which is why there was no coverage of the pro-tuition-hike rally, the anti-kitten coalition, and the “Give MySpace A Chance!” sit-in. The year’s best “that’s what she said” was reported in late November near Redpath Library, but the source could not be verified before The Daily went to press. For obvious reasons, The Daily was the only campus publication that did not report on The Daily’s egregious misprinting of “aunt” in January. Due to its annual printing schedule, The Daily was unable to cover December’s hotly-debated “howbad-do-exams-suck” issue. The Daily’s Point-Counterpoint “Should we bring back the Arch Café?” was omitted once it became clear that it was in fact a Point-PointPoint-Point-Point. The Daily was unable to print its interview with former Prime Minister Paul Martin because once you bleeped out all the racial epithets it really didn’t make sense anymore. U3 Architecture student Catherine Rothweiler famous-
So Long, Everybody Miss Nomer and cryptoMAM
ly neglected to mention in the Facebook invite that her Valentine’s Day party was BYOB, but unfortunately The Daily wasn’t even invited and wouldn’t have wanted to go to that stupid party anyway. Russia’s pretty big – The Daily missed that one too. When the price of peanuts climbed almost 28 per cent in October, despite cover-page stories in Peanut Enthusiasts Monthly, Nuts! magazine, and The Daily Legume, The Daily did not even give the issue a news brief. Some bathrooms on campus are soooooo much nicer than others, and The Daily ought to have mapped those out for the freshmen. No, The Daily has yet to ask its photographer where he’s getting all those close-ups of the infamous Spiderman. The Daily admits it under-represented the viewpoints of students who were pro-tuition hikes just because the fucking protest blocked all the fucking roads. The Daily missed the whole Charlie Sheen thing because to be honest by the time we heard about it it had already progressed from “funny” to “kind of pathetic.” The Daily regretfully admits that its campus-newspaper-election coverage was biased in favor of its own. The Daily neglected to remind readers that Sunday and not Saturday comes afterwards. The Daily regrets these omissionz.
Courtesy of The McGill Daily’s 1950s archives
The Year in Pro-pros, abbrievbrieved:
ir-fir, there were pro-pros for foo-foo. We all got really hunghung, and things got kind of cray-cray. The ad-ad wouldn’t lis-lis, and the Dai-Dai published lots of stostos. We had lots of ral-rals, but peeppeeps got ti-ti. We had a cot-cot of Redpath, but that made us more hunghung. Now peep-peeps eat at sin-sin. We also pro-proed for the MidMid, which went cray-cray and needed soli-dar dar. The peeppeeps in the Mid-Mid did a pretty good job, because some of their
Across 1. Bolshevik foe 6. Bars 10. Gawk at 14. Trite 15. 70’s do 16. British insult 17. Escaping by this, during a close call 20. Weapon 21. Stork delivery 22. Sign of life 25. Fragrant compound 26. ___ Bear 30. Auditory 32. Game plan 35. Greek personification of the sky 41. Event brought on by an unplanned 21-Across 43. Present and future 44. Relating to bug feelers 45. Diplomacy 47. Whirlpool 48. Pilfer 53. Transformation 56. Canada’s biggest independent Ski and Snowboard shop 58. Actress Shields 63. Day the Prez gets sworn in 66. Party 67. Delhi wrap 68. Practical 69. Angers 70. Church song
gov-govs got de-po poed. In December, we started proproing for tut-tut. We drove to QueQue. That was also pretty cray-cray – the ral-ral was huge! We kept proproing in the Win-Win. Some peeppeeps got restied, so we pro-proed again, even though we were ti-ti. We’re going to keep pro-proing in Sep-Sep, because things are going to get even more cray-cray. Get lots of rest over the sum-sum, and bring some sna-snas so that you don’t get hung-hung at the next ralral. —With files from Flo-Flo and Fab-Fab
71. Subdues, with “down”
Down 1. Cookbook abbr. 2. Pseudonym of H. H. Munro 3. Spanish liqueur 4. Diatribe 5. Sailing vessel 6. Foot the bill 7. Transport in a 48-Down 8. Pacific sultanate 9. Achy 10. Tennis tournaments 11. Something Alexander is 12. Starbucks order 13. Early anesthetic 18. Kind of shot 19. Don’t step on this 23. Kind of cloth 24. Place butterflies may be 26. Attention-getter 27. Be sore 28. Lowly worker 29. Colony members 31. Thing found on a golf course 33. Biographical stat 34. Pipe problem 36. Poetic contraction 37. Fork part 38. Kind of job 39. Old-time expletive 40. Count (on) 42. Against 46. Off course
48. Video store section 49. Contents of some cartridges 50. Clear, as a disk 51. Borders 52. See 64-Down 54. Secretive org. 55. Rainbow ___ 57. Rear 59. Not fooled by 60. Norse war god 61. Leafy green 62. Things kept peeled 64. It’ll cost you a this and a 52-Down 65. Food container
Email naomi.schaffer@mail. mcgill.ca for the solution!
Solution to “Alchemistry”
The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
volume 100 number 42
editorial 3480 McTavish St., Rm. B-24 Montreal, QC H3A 1X9 phone 514.398.6784 fax 514.398.8318 mcgilldaily.com coordinating editor
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Mai Anh Tran-Ho firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors
Queen Arsem-O’Malley, Amina Batyreva, Yasemin Boluk, William M. Burton, Lindsay Cameron, Edna Chan, Christina Colizza, Katie Esmonde, Susannah Feinstein, Jane Gatensby, Adrian Kaats, Melanie Kim, Zach Lewsen, Hatty Liu, Jenny Lu, Jessica Lukawieki, Davide Mastracci, Valerie Mathis, Emily Meikle, Tamkinat Mirza, Heather Munroe-Blum, Ian Murphy, Kady Paterson, Cole Powers, Emma Quail, Almudena Romero, Maya Shoukri, Robert Smith,Madeline Spence, Ted Sprague*, Nicole Stradiotto, Bipasha Sultana, Vicky Tobianah, Morgan Ura, Jordan VentonRublee, Debbie Wang, John Watson, Veronica Winslow *Pseudonym
Shaina Agbayani, Quinn Albaugh, Eric Andrew-Gee, Samuel Appel, Queen Arsem-O’Malley, Sam Bennett, Alex Briggs, Stephen Brophy, Juan Camilo Velasquez, Andra Cernavskis, Jennifer Chan, Portia Crowe, Alexander Dawson, Eduardo Doryan, Lola Duffort, Lendon Ebbels, Steve Eldon-Kerr, Ethan Feldman, Margaret Fraser, Jane Gatensby, Salman Hafeez, Erin Hale, Emma Ailinn Hautecoeur, Stefan Hnatiuk, Brett Howie, Humera Jabir, Alexia Jablonski, Nick Kandel, John Lapsley, Michael LeeMurphy, Zach Lewsen, Hatty Liu, Laurin Liu, Jessica Lukawiecki, Whitney Mallett, Valerie Mathis, Emily Meikle, Farah Momen, Anna Norris, Erin O’Callaghan, Laura Pellicer, Xavier Plamondon, Bora Plumptre, Emma Quail, Justin Reeve, Rachel Reichel, Farid Rener, Paul Sara, Nastasha Sartore, Misha Schwartz, Nouran Sedaghat, Maya Shoukri, Robert Smith, Madeline Spence, Maria Surilas, Kartiga Thiyagarajah, Vicky Tobianah, Adrian Turcato, Aaron Vansintjan, Nic van Beek, Jordan Venton-Rublee, Alexander Weisler, Melissa Wils-Owens, Adam Winer
Casey Adams, Quinn Albaugh, Timiebi Aganaba, Shaina Agbayani, Beth Austerberry, Sam Baker, Adam Banks, Irkar Beljaars, Marie-Jeanne Berger, the Black Students’ Network, Jon Booth, Alex Briggs, Jamie Burnett, William M. Burton, Trevor Chow Fraser, Jonah Campbell, Emily Clare, Marc-Antoine Cloutier, Christopher Coaloa, Julien D.-Pelletier, Nicholas Dillon, Philip Duguay, Nicole Durocher, Susannah Feinstein, Carol Fraser, Jane Gatensby, Lynsey Grosfield, Erin Hale, Salman Hafeez, Mallory Hennigar, Ben Hanff, Lily Hoffman Simon, Michael Hunziker, Adrian Kaats, Matthew Kassel, Haaris Khan, Susanna Klassen, Alexander Kunev, Faiz Lalani, Noah Lanard, Diane Le Gall, Derrick Lovell, Jenny Lu, Davide Mastracci, Jamie MacLean, Daniel Meltzer, Midnight Kitchen, Michael Morgenthau, Heather Munroe-Blum, Zina Mustafa, Kerwin Myler, Wyatt Negrini, Holly Nazar, Ivan Neilson, Sam Neylon, Kevin Paul, Amara Possian, Queer McGill, Slawomir Poplawski, Robin Reid-Fraser, Farid Rener, Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan, Carol St-Gelais, Sana Saeed, Ian Sandler, Lily Schwarzbaum, Murtaza Shambhoora, Russel SitritLeibovich, Natalya Slepneva, Ted Smith, Ted Sprague (Pseudonym), Isaac Stethem, Brendan Steven, Kali Stull, Pierre-Paul Tellier, Ryan Thom, the Union for Gender Empowerment, Morgan Ura, Aaron Vansintjan, Eleanor Vaughan, Sariné Willis-O’Connor, Sarah Woolf, Koat Keat Yang, Mary Yang
Features Ariel Appel, Eric Andrew-Gee, Ian Beattie, Jeffrey Bishky-Aykul, Lola Duffort, Rebecca Falvey, Megan Galeucia, Seble Gameda, Jane Gatensby, Dana Holtby, Jenna Horner, Charlotte Hunter, Kristin Li, Jenny Lu, Katie Marney, Sam Neylon, Natasha Sartore, Rosie Simms, Adam Sobchak (Pseudonym), Bridget Sprouls, Ryan Thom, Aaron Vansintjan, Adam Winer
Culture Amina Batyreva, Tim Beeler, Ian Beattie, Julia Bloom, Alex Borkowski, Lena Camara, Laura Chapnick, Christina Colizza, Madeleine Cummings, Edward Dodson, Lyndon Entwhistle, James Farr, Susannah Feinstein, Emma Fiske-Dobell, Adrian Fogelquist, Ben Fried, Allison Friedman, Seble Gameda, Jane Gatensby, Tim Gentles, Philip Greene, Kayan Hui, Nicholas Jeffers, Matthew Kassel, Anna Leocha, Nicole Leonard, Sophia Lepage, Brendan Lewis, Ming Lin, Laurin Liu, Jessica Lukawiecki, Oliver Lurz, Laura Macshane, Whitney Mallett, Davide Mastracci, Kate McGillivray, Carolina Millan-Ronchetti, Tamkinat Mirza, Alexis Montgomery, Erin O’Callaghan, Aditi Ohri, Laura Pellicer, Abby Plener, Cole Powers, Emma Quail, Kristene Quan, Tiana Reid, Zoë Robertson, Ian Sandler, Ari Schwartz, Misha Schwartz, Carly Shenfeld, Evelyn Stanley, Bipasha Sultana, Gillian Teo, Amanda Tucker, John Watson, Aaron Vansintjan, Anqi Zhang
Science+Technology Malcolm Araos-Egan, Jenna Blumenthal, Alex Bratianu-Badea, Mehur Chahal, David Cornu, Anthony Cotter, Hariyanto Darmawan, William Dickerson, Ethan Feldman, Marzieh Ghiasi, Jonathan Katz, Melanie Kim, Andrew Komar, Alexander Kunev, Daniel Lametti, John Lapsley, Nicole Leonard, Jenny Lu, Jessica Lukawiecki, Alexander Mehta, Iain Martyn, Tamkinat Mirza, Erin O’Callaghan, Shannon Palus, Farid Rener, Gemma Tirney, Debbie Wang, Veronica Winslow, Serena Yung
Illustrations The Daily is published on most Mondays and Thursdays by the Daily Publications Society, an autonomous, not-for-profit organization whose membership includes all McGill undergraduates and most graduate students.
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The McGill Daily | Monday, April 4, 2011 | mcgilldaily.com
Your tuition is on the rise
Vote Harper out of government
On March 17, the provincial government announced in the 2011-12 budget its plan to increase base Quebec university tuition by $325 per year for every student for the next five years, in order to “catch up” to the national average.
Stephen Harper has called the May election “unnecessary,” and claims he wants to get back to the job of governing. In the past year, Harper’s government has had four senior Conservatives charged by Elections Canada for intentionally exceeding campaign spending limits in the 2006 election, barred his ministers from speaking to the press, and acted with complete disregard for the principles of accountability. These events culminated in the Conservative government becoming the first in Canadian history to be found in contempt of parliament, as a result of the refusal to publicize the full cost of crime legislation and corporate tax cuts.
Base Quebec tuition has been increasing $100 per student per year since 2007. Because every McGill student pays this base fee with any additional statusbased fees added on, everyone suffers when Quebec tuition rises. McGill has also deregulated supplemental fees for international students in six programs – with hopes to deregulate tuition fees for all programs – and increased tuition in its MBA program from roughly $2,000 to $29,500 in the last year. All forms of tuition increases need to be stopped. If we fail to act now, there will be no ceiling in place to prevent tuition fees from skyrocketing in the future. In the U.S., for example, between 1964 and 1979, tuition fees only increased by $300, to just under $600 on average for public universities. Starting in the 1980s, however, tuition fees increased by roughly $100 per year, reaching $4,000 in 2006. In 2009 the average annual tuition for a public U.S. university was around $7,000, and in 2010 the average cost of tuition and fees for private U.S. universities was over $26,000, up from $20,000 in 2006. Even more startling, university in the U.K. was free until 1997, when a £1,000 fee was imposed. This fee was tripled in 2004, and is set to be tripled again starting in 2012. Even today, as a university education is fast becoming the minimum requirement in the job market, governments are enacting policies that limit the ability of people to pursue degrees. Exclusivity in post-secondary institutions does not breed quality. Enrolment is increasing along with tuition in order to raise revenues, potentially off-setting many improvements in quality of education and services. Under this model, our student body will grow larger, more affluent, and less diverse, and face increased competition for face-time with professors and for research opportunities. Students should not have to pay for the Quebec government or McGill administration’s financial mismanagement. As more universities worldwide continue to regard higher education as an investment, we, as students, need to remind them that education is more than that – it’s a right. Tuition increases are not set in stone, and students around the world have recognized this fact. In February, four students began a month-long hunger strike outside the U.N. Development Office in Caracas, which involved them sewing their own lips together to demand funding for public universities. In the summer of 2009, German students succeeded in stopping tuition fees from being levied on their education. We need to add our protestations to these movements, and demand that education continue to be accessible in Quebec. With the lowest tuition rates in Canada, Quebec has the potential to be a national leader in establishing policies that endorse accessible and progressive education. To achieve such a system, current students must prevent the Quebec government and university administrators from starting the province down the slippery slope of tuition hikes that have burdened students in the U.S. and U.K. We elected a SSMU executive dedicated to the student movement and intent on fighting tuition increases. We must hold them to their promises and get informed, involved, and join with other students in a global resistance movement to revolutionize education policy. In September 2012, all tuition will increase by $325, and by 2017 the base Quebec tuition will have almost doubled. We have 17 months to act to stop these hikes from turning over 6,000 students province-wide away from university. See tuitiontruth.ca for more information on tuition increases and how to get involved.
This style of government has given us five years of large-scale funding cuts to key social programs – such as arts funding, Aboriginal women’s programs, and programs to help immigrants – and the abandonment of any environmental responsibility, exemplified through the government’s continued support of the Tar Sands. This election is crucial. If granted a majority, the Conservatives will take it as a mandate from Canadians that their style of governance, their lack of transparency, and their lack of social responsibility are acceptable. We have a duty as voters to tell them that this is not the case. To prevent the Conservatives from winning a majority and unseat the Harper government, it is both a viable and legitimate option to cast your vote strategically. We, as students, have a unique opportunity because we can both choose where to vote – in our home ridings or here in Montreal – as well as which party to support. Of all the major parties to choose from in this election, however, The Daily believes the NDP’s policies to be the most appealing. If elected, the NDP has promised to end federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and is working on legislation that would train more family doctors and expand student loan forgiveness for those who go on practice in Canada after their studies. In this election, the threat of a Conservative majority adds a sense of urgency to the choice that every voter must make. Every vote matters, but an uneducated vote can do more harm than good. Before going to the polls in May, we must all make a calculated decision about where our vote will make the biggest impact.