Volume 102, Issue 24
January 10, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
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NEWS 03 NEWS SSMU budget in the red
McGill student files grievance over protest protocol
The Daily’s SSMU Midterm Review
Envisioning McGill’s future
True confessions of a gaysian
The struggles of migrant workers
Philosophy students against the protocol
Questioning refugee health cuts
12 HEALTH&ED Can your cellphone be the end of you?
Bringing STIs into the digital age
Talking underground electronic with Valentin Stip
The Daily opposes McGill’s protest protocol
American researcher attacks McGill’s asbestos investigation Eric Andrew-Gee The McGill Daily
he ongoing debate over McGill’s role in producing flawed, industry-funded asbestos research erupted in a shouting match between McGill faculty and an American researcher at the Faculty Club on Monday. The dispute centered on the research of retired McGill professor J. Corbett MacDonald, conducted with nearly a million dollars from the asbestos industry, about the health effects of asbestos extraction in Quebec. A CBC documentary last year suggested that MacDonald tailored his results to suit industry interests. In a landmark paper published in 1998 after decades of research, MacDonald concluded that the kind of asbestos primarily mined in Quebec – chrysotile – was “innocuous” at certain exposure levels. Under the chandeliers of the Faculty Club’s Gold Room, Brown University associate professor David Egilman called on McGill to retract MacDonald’s paper. Egilman, who booked the room himself, called MacDonald’s paper “garbage” and said it used outdated measurement methods and relied on manipulated data. Egilman also objected to the fact that data on the location of mines containing differing levels of tremolite – a form of asbestos universally recognized to cause cancer of the lung lining – in the Thetford Mines area has not been made public. MacDonald’s conclusions about chrysotile hinge on the existence of these high- and low-density tremolite mines. Egilman has been attacking McGill’s asbestos research for over a decade; in 2003 he wrote a long study, “Exposing the ‘Myth’ of ABC, ‘Anything But Chrysotile’: A critique of the Canadian asbestos mining industry and McGill University chrysotile studies.” Egilman noted that MacDonald’s
paper is being used by the asbestos industry in Brazil and Canada to downplay the health effects of chrysotile exposure. “I’m not here because I care that he cheated on his research. I’m here because the research is being used in a way that is counterproductive from a health perspective,” Egilman said. “If McGill withdraws the paper, it’s over. It’s over.” The Harper government has cited MacDonald’s research to oppose the inclusion of chrysotile in the Rotterdam Convention, the UN’s treaty on dangerous substances. The government abandoned the position last September. Based on MacDonald’s research, the official position of the Brazilian government has long been that the controlled use of chrysotile is safe. Last semester, an internal investigation conducted by McGill’s own Research Integrity Officer Abraham Fuks cleared MacDonald of any research misconduct. Egilman has called the review “a shameful cover-up.” During his presentation, Egilman referred to Fuks as Inspector Fox and included a cartoon in his slideshow of a henhouse guarded by a grinning fox. “Fuks, by the way, is German for
Fox,” Egilman said. “I extremely resent that,” said Eduardo Franco, Interim Chair of Oncolgy at McGill, interrupting. “Dr. Fuks is one of the most distinguished scientists we have at McGill. You could have made your point without that.” “I could have, but it’s funny,” said Egilman. Wayne Wood, an Occupational Health lecturer at McGill, also called Egilman’s presentation “flawed” and “dishonest” in an emotional exchange during the question period. He said Egilman should not have attributed the view that chrysotile was “safe” to MacDonald, as MacDonald did not use the word himself. Egilman’s talk was in response to a lecture earlier that afternoon by Bruce Case, an asbestos researcher at McGill currently on sabbatical. A long time colleague and backer of MacDonald, Case defended the reputations of several asbestos researchers he feels have been unfairly maligned, MacDonald among them. Case called on the audience to “remember them as the not-always-perfect heroes they are” for pioneering the study of asbestos’s health effects. At the end of Case’s presentation, held at Purvis Hall, Egilman stood up at the back of the room and invited
the audience to his talk. Egilman and Case have a long history of sparring over asbestos research. In 2005, while Case gave a deposition in Dallas, Texas as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in a case about chrysotile exposure – arguing that chrysotile had not been proven to cause mesothelioma, a cancer usually associated with asbestos exposure – Egilman entered the courtroom wearing a “flamboyant” orange t-shirt bearing a moose and a McGill “M,” according to court documents. One of the defendants’ lawyers accused Egilman of trying to “provoke” Case. In last year’s CBC documentary about McGill’s asbestos studies, Case said, “I wouldn’t give Dr. Egilman the time of day…because he’s not an honourable person.” Six scientists who signed a letter to McGill in December requesting that Egilman be invited to speak alongside Case cited Case’s attacks in the CBC documentary as a reason for their “concerns” with the McGill scientist’s lecture. Egilman called on the press to weigh his claims against those of MacDonald’s defenders, such as Case and Fuks. “One of us is an asshole,” he said.
Source of leaks in Shatner building disputed, costs still unknown
Riot police: a deconstruction
Revolution and vending machines
Asbestos debate rages on at the Faculty Club
Old cranks in the media
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Photo Hera Chan | The McGill Daily
The McGill Daily
Michael Lee-Murphy The McGill Daily
hat a McGill official described as a fluke accident in the Shatner building over the winter break has resulted in damages to several rooms in the Shatner building. The costs of the damages are as yet unknown. Rooms damaged include the SSMU ballroom, cafeteria, student lounge, the Muslim Student Association’s
(MSA) prayer space, and The Daily/ Le Délit office. According to Luc Roy, McGill’s director of Building Operations, a buildup of water around the pipes on the third floor caused the leak. Roy said the leak was not caused by changes made to the building’s heating system over the winter break. Both SSMU’s General Manager Pauline Gervais, and SSMU Security Supervisor Wallace Sealy disputed this, saying that the heat had in fact been lowered over break, and that
this was likely the cause of the pipe bursts. Sealy added that he had to wear a hat and coat during a visit to the building over winter break. The leaks became apparent the night of January 4, as cleaning staff discovered water spewing into the SSMU ballroom from a burst pipe in the southeast corner of the room, as well as from a pipe in La Prep on the first floor. The damage led the MSA to host its prayer services in a different room of the Shatner basement
while repairs are made to their prayer space. The student lounge on the ground floor was also damaged, and cleaning crews have been working there and in the prayer space all week. Gervais said that repairs are expected to be completed today. Because McGill owns the Shatner building and leases it to SSMU, the University will pay the full cost of the cleaning and repairs. Gervais said that damage to the floors in the ballroom would require them to be replaced, most likely over Reading Week.
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The McGill Daily | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
SSMU over $200,000 in the red Ongoing lease negotiations cited as main reason Dana Wray The McGill Daily
he Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has budgeted a deficit of $211,320 for this fiscal year, according to the revised fall 20122013 budget, which was released in late November. SSMU knew last year that they would be facing an initial deficit of $274,751 due to higher expenses and lower revenues, as well as uncertainty surrounding ongoing lease negotiations with the University. To reduce the deficit, the budget underwent two phases of cuts, where non-essential services and expenditures were abolished, and the position of one full-time building manager was removed. Money was taken from the Student Life Fund, which is accumulated surpluses from differents SSMU services. “We could probably slash completely the majority of the services and most of the events we run, and still not make the deficit,” SSMU President Josh Redel said at one of SSMU’s biweekly Legislative Councils, November 29. “There is no way to account for a quarter million dollars.” The Capital Expenditures Reserve Fund (CERF), part of SSMU’s budget which is set aside for renovations, student projects, and long term investments, will cover the remaining $211,320 to ensure that quality is not sacrificed during cuts. In an interview with The Daily, SSMU VP Finance and Operations Jean-Paul Briggs said, “the budget is lean and effi-
cient while maintaining the same or greater levels of service.” The CERF includes the investment portfolio, annual budget surpluses, capital assets, and an annual contribution of $50,000 from the Operating Budget. It is designed to allow SSMU to fund large projects and equipment expenditures beyond the scope of annual operations. “The fund has ample room to cover the deficit without affecting our long-term financial plans,” Briggs said. The revised fall budget stated “CERF is capable of covering the deficit with ease and this is precisely the type of situation a reserve fund is meant for,” although only as a short-term solution. According to audited financial statements, CERF has over $5 million. According to the revised fall budget, the bulk of the deficit stems from the ongoing lease negotiations with McGill. SSMU has yet to sign a contract with the University for the Shatner building, and has not paid rent or utilities for the past year. “The budget is created conservatively to reflect the potential cost of utilities based off the direction of last year’s negotiations,” Briggs said. Due to the uncertainty, SSMU must remain flexible about its measures in the long-term, Briggs said, adding, “It’s impossible to know what the results of the negotiations will be and what exact strategy the outcome will ultimately require.” Deficit notwithstanding, the revised fall budget passed in the Legislative Council meeting on November 29 without any initial
2011-2012 Revenue: $1,632,243 Expenses: $1,297,577
Revenue: $1,715,733 Expenses: $1,927,052 Graphic Rebecca Katzman | The McGill Daily
opposition. Science Senator Moe Nasr was alone in challenging the bill, and failed to secure any support from his fellow councillors. Nasr expressed concerns about dipping into reserve funds, and argued instead for more cuts. He highlighted a $25,000 expense for Plank, a new room-booking software, as an area where more cuts could have been made. “Every dollar makes a difference,” Nasr said. In the meeting Briggs said, “[the] expenses in here are justified by the people responsible.” The revised fall budget presented a series of increased expenses across all areas of the budget. Notable variations from last fiscal year’s budget include $16,000 for
new work stations in SSMU, and the loss of a donation from La Prep that brought in $10,000 per year for three years. General Manager Pauline Gervais explained at Council that SSMU also saw a loss of revenue due to a lack of summer rent during the turnover of restaurants on the second floor. This turnover was also accompanied by extensive repairs, maintenance, and cleaning of the vacated space. The replacement of old equipment also accounted for heightened expenses, but Briggs assured that this was part of the long-term financial plan for the second floor cafeteria. More expenses stemmed from the hiring of more student and
permanent staff this year, resulting in a significant increase in salaries and benefits. As a non-for-profit corporation, SSMU is not allowed to run a deficit; however, when asked by The Daily about this, Briggs provided no comment. He did state in an email to The Daily that “the deficit has no immediate impact on the Society… the budget was created using very conservative projections in a time of extraordinary uncertainty.” “As such, I felt that the benefits of showing a projected deficit and drawing from our reserves far outweighed the cost of further cuts that would be detrimental to the level of service the Society is able to offer,” he added.
McGill’s protocol on protests faces renewed criticism Student files grievance, citing human rights violation Laurent Bastien Corbeil The McGill Daily
he Quebec Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights group based in Quebec, expressed concern on Monday over McGill’s decision to implement new regulations on campus protests. The regulations, first introduced in provisional form in response to the five-day occupation of the James Administration building last February, drew the ire of three of the University’s thirteen unions and of major student groups shortly after its announcement. In an interview with The Daily, Philippe Robert de Massy, a lawyer and spokesperson for the group, described the protocol as “unreal-
istic” and “seemingly authoritarian.” “There’s already plenty of laws and charters that regulate freedom of speech,” he said in French. “It gives the impression that McGill wants to turn the screw [on protests.]” Some of the protocol’s most controversial passages stipulate that the more “intense” the protest, the greater the “likelihood that it will be deemed not to be peaceful.” “It seems that [the University] wants protests that aren’t bothersome. It’s not realistic. [Protests] are obviously political and they usually involve a certain degree of emotion,” he added. Another clause in the document states that the University might notify “civil authorities” if protesters “refuse to comply with instructions from Security Services personnel, such as requir-
ing demonstrators to reduce the level of noise, to identify themselves, to leave a particular location, to move to a more suitable location or to disperse.” “For me, the fact that [McGill] reiterates these rules in a protocol signifies that it won’t be the same in [future demonstrations],” de Massy said. “It means, ‘next time, if we find that the level [of noise] is too high, expect us to intervene and watch out if you haven’t obeyed the rules.’” In December, U3 Philosophy student Eli Freedman filed a grievance to the University Senate alleging that the new set of regulations violates the school’s charter of student rights, and likely infringes on provincial as well as international law. The Montreal Gazette quoted prominent civil-rights lawyer Julius
Grey as saying that he agreed with Freedman’s cause. Grey noted a shift in the University’s attitude regarding protests. “It is the nature of students that they protest and this should be understood and accepted,” he added. “I’m not asking for a better policy, I’m asking for no policy,” Freedman told The Daily. “This isn’t about me, it’s about any one that needs to use space at McGill… [McGill] needs a healthy tolerance for dissenting views.” Freedman was told by the Senate grievance committee that he would be notified after winter bre ak concerning whether or not he would be granted a hearing, though he had not yet received further communications from them as of yesterday. Vice-Principal (Administration
and Finance) Michael Di Grappa, who is in charge of revising the protocol along with Provost Anthony Masi, told The Daily in an interview in December that he did not believe the protocol “violate[d] any rights,” and that instead it effectively “[balanced] between the rights of all parties.” According to an email sent on the behalf of Di Grappa and Masi on November 30 to the universitywide community, the last date for students to return comments on the protocol via a confidential email address was January 7. The document is set to go before Senate on January 23 and to the Board of Governors – McGill’s highest governing body – on January 29 for final approval. —with files from Lola Duffort
The McGill Daily | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
SSMU Executive midterm review haley dinel vp univeristy affairs
Josh Redel - President
edel arrived in office with a divided and politicized student body and what seemed to be a politically divergent executive team. However, Redel has been successful in keeping the executive working together smoothly, although this has often been done at the expense of tackling divisive issues. Redel also oversaw the implementation of a new General Assembly structure last fall – with online ratification and a mood watcher. However, these measures failed to effectively help maintain quorum, which was lost halfway through the year’s first GA. As the only undergraduate student representative on the Board of Governors, Redel has fostered friendly relationships with the administration, although we will see – most likely, when a renegotiated lease for the SSMU building is finally released – if this has come at the cost of real student advocacy. Some of Redel’s projects, such as the “roaming councils” and the “Green GA,” were more fluff than substance. It is reassuring to know that Redel seeks to engage the wider McGill community, but these initiatives might not be the most effective approach. As president, we would like to see Redel facilitate more productive discussions at SSMU Council.
jean-paul briggs vp finance and operations
ne of the biggest projects for Dinel last semester was working with the SSMU Indigenous Studies researcher, the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) office, and other parties in the implementation of a North American Indigenous Studies program. The joint effort resulted in the creation of a minor for next year and increased awareness on the subject on campus. It is troubling to see that the executive responsible for relations with the University is heard so little during Senate, which has been exceptionally controversial this year. That being said, she should be commended for seeing her Senate livestreaming initiative through.
Dinel has also taken up the responsibility of negotiating the lease for the Shatner building along with Redel. Despite reporting “good progress” in the negotiations – confidential so far – the lease has yet to be signed. SSMU also faced controversy during the 4Floors event last fall when a student attended the event wearing blackface. As the executive in charge of enforcing the equity policy, this was an important failure for Dinel, especially given that the prior executive had successfully prevented this sort of incident by publicizing the equity policy before 4Floors and informing participants to be sensitive regarding their costume choices.
riggs started the year with the renovation in Gerts, an increase in sales for the bar, and the creation of Gertrude’s Corner. However, he faced some of the biggest challenges in the executive team, with the studentrun cafe and the revision of the budget. Despite initially appearing hesitant about the feasibility of a student run cafe, given the lease negotiations which render SSMU’s finances so uncertain, Briggs now appears much more dedicated to fulfilling his campaign promise to see the initiative through, though likely with an extended timeline. The budget revision was presented late last semester, and although reduced, still has a deficit of $211,320. In the coming semester, Briggs should improve his communication efforts with the student body and especially with campus media.
The McGill Daily | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
allison cooper - VP clubs & services
ooper’s first challenge was to run the Fall Activities night, which went smoothly, despite the expected long lines outside the building. The challenge for this semester is to have a widely attended Winter Activities night, which plans to feature performances and interactive activities. Cooper also started initiatives aimed at helping clubs, such as the clubs workshop, which assisted new club executives navigate SSMU bureaucracy, as well as a services round-table, and the “Club Hub” project, an online portal aimed at alleviating turnover problems by helping new club executives, which has however yet to be fully implemented. Cooper has been active in her advocacy for groups like CKUT and M-SERT, even when SSMU Council did not endorse a yes vote for the former. Along with Briggs, Cooper has changed the financial audit for clubs to happen once a semester, instead of yearly. The change will allow clubs to receive funding based on their more recent performance. Cooper oversaw a lot of the building renovations planned last year, which saw the expansion of the Legal Aid Clinic and new flooring on the fourth floor of the Shatner building. Despite having small initiatives like overseeing the office re-allocation on the fourth floor started by last year’s executive, Cooper has not undertaken many large projects aimed at improving the status of clubs and services.
robin reid-fraser VP EXTERNAL
michael szpedja - vp internal
rientation week, Szpedja’s first event of the year, saw a major overhaul with increased participation from the administration and the implementation of à la carte events. Frosh was, as usual, not without its major incidents, though it is hard to separate what we can pin on organizers and what is inevitable given the nature of Frosh week. Since Frosh, Szpedja has worked on big events like 4Floors, which sold out quickly but also proved controversial. As VP Internal, he has focused on traditional events but students would have benefited from initiatives of a different nature, such as speaker events mentioned in his campaign platform. Szpedja needs to make better use of social media and other communication means to fulfill his campaign goal of building school spirit.
Photos Shane Murphy | The McGill Daily
eid-Fraser’s most notable achievements have been in SSMU’s relationship with the Milton-Parc community, such as the creation of the position of community ambassadors. She has also worked with the Community Affairs Coordinator in initiatives like the creation of French conversation classes with members of the Milton-Parc community and videos about the neighbourhood. Although Reid-Fraser planned a candidate’ debate early in the semester with members of other
student unions, she should strive to have a stronger relationship with other student unions in Montreal and Quebec to create similar initiatives. ReidFraser should also encourage stronger participation in Table de Concertation Étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ) next semester. Reid-Fraser’s role as a liaison between SSMU and the provincial government could have been better. Despite the abolition of the tuition hikes by the Parti Québécois, concerted efforts to mobilize McGill students during the fall semester were absent.
—Compiled by Juan Camilo Velásquez
The McGill Daily Thursday, January 10, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
What should McGill look like? A new year is not just a reflection on the past – it can stimulate conversation about the possible future, and what world we want to live in. McGill professors were asked to respond to the prompt, “What should McGill University look like in the future?” Here, “the future” may refer to a distant future (say, the year 2050), or a nearby one (next year). The idea was to gather diverse and creative thoughts on what function a university has in society, what it should have, and where McGill should go from here. In addition to contributing critical thought about the role of the university, such an exercise may allow readers – staff, students, and professors alike – to think beyond the faults of this
institution, and to think about the possibilities within. Professors are well respected in our society, but while their opinions are heard at conferences and in lecture halls and journals, they are often not heard in the public discourse of the university. Professors are often disinclined to engage in public and political discussions. Education, it is often said, ought to be neutral, and therefore teachers must be silent on contentious topics. These responses were solicited to break that silence. Hopefully these pieces are just the beginning, and the conversation can continue throughout the new year. If you are interested in contributing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. —Aaron Vansintjan Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
t 78, it still feels good to stretch my legs and walk across campus at McGill. The year is 2050, and while the student outfits have changed since 2005 when I started working here, their concerns for the well-being of their fellow students, the environment, and people around the planet have not. On my walk across campus, I see installations about the work that various teams are doing to improve their environment and the lives of others. I stop to read the plaque describing one such initiative, and am pleased to see that the team undertaking this project to recycle phosphorus in campus waste to be used as fertilizer on the campus gardens is composed
cGill should look however the people who work and study here want it to look, while serving the interests of the larger societies and ecosystems that contain and sustain us. How can we tell, and then get, what we want? Only by having the final say, by democratic vote, over the matters that most concern us. This idea applies not only to the university community as a whole, but to
We are all McGill.” It was a line invoked by many parties over the previous academic year – a year that included the MUNACA strike in the fall, the February occupation of the sixth floor of the James Administration building in response to the voiding of student referenda, and the various protests and picket lines throughout the year associated with the Quebec-wide student strike against tuition hikes, which in November occasioned the first incursion of riot police onto the McGill campus since 1969. While each of these events had their own cause, they all also raised crucial questions regarding how
of students, professors, physical operations staff, and administrators. Gone are the days when it was primarily students participating in these types of activities. Since McGill initiated a policy to recognize and reward staff involved in such betterment projects, both campuses have become flurries of activity and everyone gets involved. The results are dramatic, and not only because of the projects taken on formally. One of the most important effects has been the increased casual communication between students, staff, and the administration that happens while they are working on the projects. In addition to this policy to seriously reward professors and staff for
involvement in local service, McGill has undertaken other important initiatives in the past 35 years. McGill’s decision in the twenty-teens to become the premier place to study ecological agriculture and environment in Canada has really paid off. The Macdonald Campus, still home to programs in agriculture, environment, nutrition, and agricultural engineering, is now also home to programs like ecological agriculture and global food systems. Students and staff now grow, harvest, prepare, and serve most of the food consumed on campus as part of a learning laboratory. People come from around the world to participate in this hotbed of new ideas about food
from all perspectives. High-speed rail lines linking downtown to the West Island has made it even easier for students to move back and forth between the two campuses, ensuring that these Macdonald Campus programs are enhanced by strong linkages to existing downtown campus programs. Invigorated by my walk across campus, I sit on a bench and am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this university at such an amazing time in its history.
its various departments, faculties, et cetera. One important area of concern is of course who our leaders and representatives are. In our municipalities, provinces, and nations we take for granted the right to elect our mayors, legislators, and presidents. Is it not shameful and absurd that in universities we students, staff, and faculty tolerate anything less than the right to elect our chairs, deans, principals,
and a majority of our governors? Businesses that run democratically not only promote far greater equality, but also fulfill their missions more successfully than firms adhering to the standard model that subordinates workers to both managers and shareholders. The germ of democracy cannot, and should not, be quarantined to the ‘political’ sphere. We must bring it into our places
of work and study. Our experiences there will make us more effective in larger polities as well. Leonard Cohen wrote in a poem that “Democracy is coming to the USA.” Let us bring it now to his alma mater.
matters of collective concern are addressed and discussed at McGill, and how decisions are made. One of MUNACA’s demands, after all, was to have greater say over the handling of their pensions; the sixth floor occupiers sought greater student control over the status and funding of their organizations; the student strike and ensuing social movement it awakened sought to reinvigorate the very processes of democratic participation. I would argue that the protests, picket lines, and other forms of dissent we saw last year at McGill were (among many other things) attempts to create public spaces for the consideration of these issues. Their par-
ticipants were engaged in alternative forms of what the University likes to call “shared governance,” particularly by giving voice to those who are currently without substantial institutional power. What should McGill look like in the future? In light of these events, I’d say that it should look like (and be) a place that really shares governance. For starters, in my future McGill, faculty, students, and staff would hold more seats on the Board of Governors (the body that has final authority over all university matters). Senate would have its power extend beyond academic affairs. There would be involvement of McGill’s
various unions in institutional governance protocols. University initiatives would be developed from the ground up, not through “consultation” but through democratic processes that are laid out with some transparency. And the administration offices would share physical space with faculty and students, rather than operating behind a wall of security guards. What should McGill look like in the future? It should enact the slogan “We are all McGill” in its institutions and its decision-making practices.
—Elena Bennett Assistant Professor, Natural Resource Sciences and McGill School of Environment
—Gregory Mikkelson Associate Professor, McGill School of Environment and Department of Philosophy
—Derek Nystrom Associate Professor of English
True confessions of a gaysian queen
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Warning: this article contains potentially triggering material regarding sexual violence.
Ryan Thom Memoirs of a Gaysian
The second of a two-part piece. the night you should start rethinking your life is the night you ask your rapist to come home with you because, well, he cared wanted desired saw enough to rape you
ou are friends with your rapist on Facebook. Sometimes he sends you messages asking how things are going, telling you how cute you are, wondering if he’ll see you at the party this weekend. Your replies are brief and noncommittal to the point of being devoid of personality. This is fitting, because that is how you feel when you think about what happened: how you let him into your house just because he told you to, how he refused to wear a condom, how he asked if you were in pain and then continued when you said yes, how he held you down and did it again and again and again. How, after a while, you just stopped saying no. How some of the friends you told did not believe you. How they looked you in the eye and gently asked if you were lying, because you are known for making up stories for attention. You feel like you are not a person, like you have no options, like every emotion is inappropriate. As though even words, which have always been your greatest strength, have become empty of meaning. there is some kind of loving in the places between your skin and a pair of clenched fists Months later, the same questions cycle through your mind: why did it happen? How could you let it? Again? How could you lie there, barely fighting, as he pushed himself inside, as you felt something tear and start to bleed? The memory swims and shifts as you try to grasp it, searching for answers. You start to question yourself. Maybe you are making it up – not all of it, but certain, crucial details. Maybe you never said no, or not loudly
enough for him to hear you, maybe you enjoyed yourself just enough to make it not rape. Perhaps you ought to consider yourself lucky to have had sex at all – because beggars can’t be choosers, and how many people will want to sleep with an Asian, cross-dressing freak like you? It’s amazing, what time and denial will do to the mind. All pain will scar over, become silent and immobile, if you let it. The story of this assault is eager to slip away, just like the first and the second and all the rest. little boygirlboygirlboygirlboy, your body is a garden; you’ve understood since the beginning the violence of flowers Yet something inside you refuses to settle this time, to let this story go. You don’t know why. Perhaps because, this time, you are an adult, or almost, and the thought of living out an adulthood where this can happen, anytime, inside the communities that you live and love in, is just too much to add to a childhood spent thinking that rape is normal. Perhaps because you already feel like you are responsible for every rape you have experienced, and if you don’t speak up now, then every future assault you encounter will also be your fault. You know that this isn’t true, objectively speaking. But it is the way you feel. you overflow with the pain of touching you are barren for lack of touch you think you’ll die from the pain of touching you think you’ll die from being untouched (when you were little, your daddy taught you never to touch another boy except with your fists) Your rapist is a member of the queer, activist, and student communities in Montreal. You see him all the time, at parties and political rallies and clothing swaps and dinners. Sometimes he flirts with you. Sometimes he ignores you. Sometimes, you overhear him talk about the prevalence of racism, classism, and rape culture in the community, and you are frozen more with surprise than anger at the hypocrisy that surrounds you. You are paralyzed by the reign of
normalcy over these proceedings. Experience tells you that you can name your rapist to all your mutual acquaintances (these things never stay confidential) and begin a long process of name-calling and side-taking, during which someone will question your sanity and call you a whore. Or you remain silent. Or you can leave. your body is the night time flower burning like the cold starlight reaching as the shadow reaches As you wonder, and rage, and cry, and rage, you are struck by the thought that you are not alone. You are not the only person who has experienced rape, and yours is not the only community that harbours rapists while isolating victims and survivors. You think of your own initiation into sex, of drunken fumblings that you were told you should want, were not ready for, could not stop. You believed that this was the only way sex could be – at least for you, ugly and freakish as you were. You begin to question how many friends have been raped. You begin to question whether any of your partners have been raped by you. You question, also, the stories of survival that have been offered to you – the stories that say you must be either silent and stoic or brave and confrontational. The stories that ignore the responsibility your community, your people, had to protect you, to keep you safe. You begin to understand that there is another option, another story. You begin to think that storytelling might be the most powerful kind of healing, and the best kind of revenge. The story you want to tell begins like this: You met your rapist in a place that was supposed to be safe. Your best friend’s boyfriend is your rapist. Your anarchist feminist queer lover is your rapist. You are friends with your rapist on Facebook. tonight you asked your rapist to come home with you tomorrow you look for loving in a pair of open hands
Ryan Kai Cheng Thom is a queer survivor and storyteller. Contact them at memoirsofagaysian@ mcgilldaily.com.
The McGill Daily | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
tra ti o
Use and abuse The life of migrant workers in Canada Ralph Haddad The McGill Daily
used to think of Canada as a country that could do no harm, as a place of equal opportunities, a place with a surplus of equality. A screening of The End of Immigration at Cinema Politica Concordia showed me otherwise. What do you think of when you hear the term ‘migrant worker’? The United Nations’ broad definition of a migrant worker is a person pursuing work outside of their home country. However, migrant workers’ experiences in Canada are much more difficult than this overly simplistic definition suggests. Becoming a migrant worker in Canada is a long process that begins
in the labourer’s home country (most migrant workers depicted in the movie are Filipino). They first submit an application to one of the many employment agencies that select applicants to forward to potential employers in Canada. What most people don’t know is that alongside these applications and countless interviews, the applicants also have to pay hefty sums of money to the employment agency; one worker testified that she had to pay more than $5,000 to an employment agency. The same worker was later threatened by her employer in Canada with deportation if she ever disclosed to anyone that she had paid any sum of money to an employment agency. After the agency finds a job, the migrant workers are sent to Canada
and given lodging with other migrant workers. They are then expected to pay more money under the table to their new employer. Jonathan, a migrant worker interviewed for the documentary, said that he and his three roommates had to split rent of around $1,600 a month, while the apartment next door, in the same complex, went for around $750 a month. Even worse, migrant workers get paid less for doing the same job, for the same hours, as their Canadian counterparts. They are also often paid less than minimum wage. The migrant workers that worked on the construction of the Canada Line (a rapid transit line in Vancouver) were paid a measly $3.50 an hour for difficult manual labour; most of these people also
had families to feed back home. At a meatpacking plant in Red Deer, Alberta, a migrant worker is paid $11.50 an hour, while a Canadian citizen is paid $18 an hour for doing the same work. One migrant worker said he packed around 500 cow tongues a day – work he found degrading and physically exhausting. The twist is that he cannot switch employment without breaching his original contract, which results in deportation, no questions asked. A lawyer who was interviewed for the film said that this is essentially slave labour. Worse still, these migrant workers’ contracts do not permit them to even apply for a Canadian permanent residency. The same labour lawyer attributes this to an “elitist system that makes it impossible for
migrant workers to obtain a permanent residency” – the Canadian government accepts migrant workers within its borders only to “use, abuse, and throw them out.” The only way for these workers to have their rights heard is through rallies that they, or their Canadian supporters, hold in the streets. But rarely anyone listens, and the problems remain. The question posed by the filmmakers still stands: are we going to abuse workers in Canada, or treat them with respect and acknowledge their vital role in our society? Ralph Haddad is The Daily Health & Education editor. He can be reached at ralph.haddad@mail. mcgill.ca. The views expressed here are his own.
Detached, disturbing, and vague An open letter from the Philosophy Students’ Association Philosophy Students' Association Commentary Writers
e are writing to you on behalf of the Philosophy Students’ Association in order to voice our disagreement with the proposed implementation of the new draft Protocol on Demonstrations, Protests and Occupations in the strongest possible terms. Our community holds open meetings on Tuesdays in our lounge – Leacock 931. We attempt to make decisions in a non-hierarchical manner and do our best to run by consensus. During the Winter 2012 semester, we voted to take up a one-week mandate to strike our departments’ classes and simultaneously develop new spaces for alternative education during the period of March 28 through April 3, 2012. The ability for the PSA to con-
tinue to act autonomously is at risk under the draft protocol. On December 4, 2012 at our final general meeting of the fall term, we voted unanimously to take an official position in opposition to this protocol and to act in solidarity with other campus groups who have adopted similar mandates – including the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), the Association of McGill University Support Employees (AMUSE), the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Assocation (MUNACA), the Association of Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM), plus the McGill Tribune, The Daily, and Le Délit. In what follows, we would like to outline some of the key reasons our members expressed in the course of adopting this position. First of all, the proposed protocol outlines criteria for the assessment of demonstrations which are in many instances exceptionally vague, including the sections which attempt to delineate what constitutes a “peaceful” demonstration.
The factors chosen by the administration for judging the legitimacy of an action are detached from reasonable markers of peaceful assembly. The size, duration, location, or emotional level of a demonstration bear no necessary relation to its peaceful character. Large, noisy, and emotionally-charged demonstrations can be both inconvenient and wholly peaceful. Furthermore, no consideration is given as to how these provisions will be interpreted – or who will be making these decisions. In our view, this leads to an exceptional and dangerous arbitrary power being granted to senior administrators when they react to demonstrations from behind a cloud of obfuscation. As it stands, the Protocol systematizes the University’s habit of deploying security guards or armed police agents against people, instead of allowing for listening and discussion. The only thing McGill can promise to demonstrators is
dents. It is already tough enough that they will call the police. We find the language and vague- for students to participate in ness of the draft protocol disturb- McGill’s bureaucracy during the ing. The University plans to limit semester – when they’re actually our rights, under the guise of sup- on campus. Drafts of this document have porting free and open expression on campus. The document itself circulated since February 12, offers no clue as to who decides 2012 – and they have seen no when a half-dozen on a picket or significant changes since then, a thousand with tambourines are despite the ongoing roars of campus dissent through every availdeclared to be “not-peaceful.” We would also like to note able channel. This style of smoke-and-mirthat the proposed “period of consultation” is being held at a time rors consultation is the last gasp most inconvenient for authen- of a senior administration which tic community discourse. The feels power slipping from their senior administration likely does grip. This process is not a legitinot actually believe that the pro- mate method for vetting a docuposed Protocol is “an important ment. The Protocol will have fardocument that deserves thought- reaching consequences on camful consideration,” as they have pus – for labour unions, student groups, and any other member of written in official communiques. And so we have taken up the McGill community that seeks where they have left off. We write to genuinely hold a position. to The Daily because the creation of an anonymous feedback e-mail The Philosophy Students’ account during exam period is Association meets every Tuesday at not sufficient to give voice to stu- 6 p.m. in Leacock 931.
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Poorly researched and impulsive Asking questions about refugee health cuts Rafiya Javed Commentary Writer
he federal government recently dealt a blow to refugee health by cutting the budget of the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), a program which previously provided healthcare coverage to resettled refugees. At the same time, the federal government also cut supplementary services to asylum-seekers. In December, it released a new list of countries that are classified as too safe to produce genuine refugees. Asylum-seekers from these nations will be categorically refused any healthcare from the IFHP.
According to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, the cuts are necessary because Canadians should not be expected to “pay for benefits for protected persons and refugee claimants that are more generous than what they are entitled to themselves.” In response there has been an outcry among health professionals across the country, who claim the IFHP cuts are unfair and ineffective because they force interim refugees to seek healthcare only in extreme medical emergencies. By that time, not only is the patient’s life in much greater danger, but treatment is also much more costly and the bill is footed by the provincial govern-
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ment. The new legislation is also surrounded by misinformation: people are being turned away from hospitals and doctors’ offices even in cases when they still have some federal coverage. The point of concern isn’t simply that our policy is neglecting the needy. Someone has to pay for federal programs and we can argue endlessly about when it is time to draw the line between generosity and self-preservation. But one cause for worry is that these cuts are bad healthcare policy for Canadians. They do little more than serve as a symbol of austerity and provide a feeling that something is getting done. What is actually getting done,
however, is largely unclear. If cost savings were the goal, then the increased load on provincial governments make it unlikely that this move will succeed in saving much money. As a medical student, it is discouraging to find the federal government making a poorly researched move when people’s lives are at stake. In the past, Canada’s health coverage was an example for others. It seems that the future of healthcare will lie in models based on preventative and inclusive medicine. Whatever the solution is, it should be based on expected health outcomes, not reactive impulses to tighten the federal belt. The billions of dollars Western countries waste treating
obesity-related illnesses every year may be a lesson in how investing early in health builds the strength of a nation before costs rise. In order to justify these cuts, Kenney paints a xenophobic picture of asylum-seekers as invasive migrants. In response to this, the Canadian Federation of Medical Students has attempted to give the refugees a face and a voice by publishing a book detailing the personal stories of 12 newcomers to Canada and their experiences building a new life. More information can be found at CFMS.org. Rafiya Javed is a Med-1 student. Send comments about this article to email@example.com.
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Are our cellphones killing us? Cellphone radiation may be linked to cancer and other diseases Nirali Tanna Health and Education
hen I was in high school, barely anyone had cellphones before the age of 15; today, most ten-yearolds without a mobile phone are considered an anomaly. Whether awake or asleep, cellphones are deeply embedded in the fabric of our daily lives. With a technology so seemingly dependable, hardly an hour goes by where I don’t reach for my phone to check the time, to text or call my friends, or even just to check the weather. We never question the technology running our phones as damaging in nature, because in some form or another the use of telecommunications is accepted as the prevailing norm of communication and thus inherently safe to use. Since everyone uses it, it’s supposed to be safe right? A growing body of research, however, has raised questions on the effects of the exposure of radio frequency energy or radio waves from cellphones on our bodies. Cellphones emit these waves as a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, a form of energy emitted by charged particles, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held. Debate over the potential risk that cellular technology presents has grown in recent years, based in instances of cellphones causing minor illnesses such as headaches or fatigue. There is also a growing worry that cellphone radiation can cause more serious illness such as various forms of cancers. Studies like the Interphone study have tried to prove this – it is the largest study linking cellphones to brain tumours. Types of cancers include glioma, brain tumours that start in the brain and spine; and meningioma, tumours in the central nervous system, which coordinates all our motor and sensory functions. Despite the debate, there is still no consistent evidence that the radiation emitted by cellphones increases the risk of cancer. This lack of conclusive evidence makes it difficult to decide whether we should limit our usage, or ignore all cases claiming danger. At present, the only known biological effect of cellphones on humans is heating, but the heating is too minimal to measurably increase body temperature. However, if there exists a non-identified threat, we may be putting ourselves under more risk than we realize by pushing the problem under the rug. The debate over cellphones specifically, as opposed to
microwaves and other electronics, is especially worrisome because of our frequent daily use, and the consequent proximity to body tissues as we lift the phones to our ears. On a global level, the number of cellphone users has risen to 6 billion people, according to a UN report based on 2011 data – enough for an epidemic of far greater reach than any we’ve seen before should radiation pose a health risk. Not to mention that over time, the number of cell phone calls per day, the length of each call, and the amount of time people use cell phone have increased. Ultimately, it’s up to the informed individual to decide on whether cell phone use needs to be checked based on the cautionary anecdotes that occasionally crop up. The general public is unaware of the possibility of danger, and expert organizations such as the American Cancer Society have concluded that “there could be some risk associated with cancer, but the evidence is not strong enough to be considered causal and needs to be investigated further.” Another problem in measuring this data is that most people don’t know how much they actually use their cellphones. When people are asked how much on average they use their phones, they are usually inaccurate in their perceptions, which gives studies a lot of recall bias. The latter, coupled with the lack of evidence surrounding the issue, presents the average consumer a dilemma. Would people reduce their cell phone usage to less than fifty minutes a day because they read it in a few studies or news reports, or would they take their chances by waiting for the experts to come up with more satisfying research? As far as our daily lives are concerned, there are steps we can take to prevent health risks, at least to some extent. According to recommendations by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Communications Commision (FCC), exposure to radiofrequency energy can be reduced by reserving the use of cell phones for shorter conversations or only for times when a landline phone is not available. Also, using a hands-free device may be a good idea, to place more of a distance between your head and the phone. Apart from trying to reduce our dependence on cell phones, another way of prevention might be to put more pressure on cell phone companies to both monitor their tech-
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
nology standards and inform us, as consumers, of the potential risks. Various efforts have been made to inform consumers of the risks, but more at the institutional level than within local communities. In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that radiofrequency radiation is possibly a precursor to cancer. Since then, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) backed a U.S. House bill entitled the Cell Phone Right to Know Act. This bill proposed that “radiation warnings be placed on mobile devices.” It also initiates the creation of research programs to study the effects of cellphone radiation, while forcing the Environmental Protection Agency to review radia-
tion guidelines. The AAP has also raised concerns about the lack of revision in cellphone standards of cellphone companies since 1996. Cellphone companies are seemingly phoning it in on the research and safety of their products. As we see this debate unfold at a relatively early point in our lives, it is important that we take the initiative with preventative measures now, before long term exposure from harmful radiation results in later life complications. Waiting for the scientists to figure it out may just never happen. Who knows what might occur as a consequence? It is notable to mention that mostly everything in the 21st century carries risks to humans.
Why do we pick out of a vast number of threats and single cellphones out as the one thing everyone should be afraid of? Cellphones might inherently carry a threat, true. We didn’t know the drawbacks of cigarettes when we first started consuming them in mass quantities. Cellphones are a relatively new technology, and it is safe to assume that based on that one fact alone the threats related to these powerful mobile devices will be uncovered with time. Seeing as cellphones are slowly replacing our laptops, we can’t get rid of them altogether. We have to be wary of everything, and the bottom line is that moderation is key.
The McGill Daily | Thursday, January 10, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
A Chinese medicine doctor, and pharmacist by trade, chats amicably about the correct way to boil Chinese medicinal herbs and simple cures for everyday ailments. He runs one of the oldest and most wellpreserved Chinese medicine shops in Kowloon, Hong Kong. “Business is of a different kind today,” he says, “with this generation’s increasing reliance on Western medicine.”
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A lil bump ‘n’ grind Exchanging STI histories with only a click Ralph Haddad The McGill Daily
icture this: you’re walking down the street, a gorgeous person catches your eye, and – on the spur of the moment – you decide to make a move. First, you make eye contact, you get nearer and nearer as the suspense and adrenaline build up in your system: will they stop, or won’t they? To your surprise, they do. Seems like you caught their eye as well, but wait – there’s a plot twist. They don’t ask you for your phone number, they don’t ask you to add them on Facebook. Instead, they ask to trade STI histories with you. How you might ask? People don’t just walk around carrying a list of everyone they’ve slept with. Like everything else in this fast-paced, technology-driven world, when it comes to sharing sexual history, there’s an app for that. MedXCom Patient is a physician-created smartphone application that allows for the storage of all your personal, doctor-certified medical records, right on your mobile device. A specific feature of this app, MedXSafe, allows users who have previously installed this app on their phone to ‘bump’ devices and exchange each other’s STI status. The founders claim that “This physician-created, free app is helping college students, responsible adults, and divorced singles learn if the person they meet is free of sexually transmitted diseases.” It also allows for the exchange of more mundane information, such as email addresses and telephone numbers. When you download the app, you are asked to build a profile – your name, date of birth, numbers – before building a health
profile. What’s your blood pressure? Are you a smoker? Do you have any allergies? Have you ever had surgery? After you are done, you are asked to add a “Health Team”, where you authorize a doctor or clinic to view and update your health profile. Just like that, all your medical records, whether STI related or not, can be stored on this one app, with the help of your physician. It also reminds you when to take your medication. Granted, the MedXSafe feature of this app would facilitate a smooth flow of medical information between two consenting individuals who decide to engage in something more intimate together. Maybe it is easier than recounting all your past encounters with people and sharing their histories in turn. It has all the attributes of the 21st century: efficient, cheap, and fast information. In a world where most, if not all, of our personal information, is no longer private, can we expect any less? Users can always refuse to bump phones, and what happens then? Do the lines of communication between people instantly break on the basis of a lack of mutual trust? If two mutually consenting people decide to bump phones, and one of them turns out to have an history of STIs, what would be the reaction then? There is nothing stopping the second party from spreading news about this person’s records to everyone in their immediate circle, effectively marginalizing the person with an STI-positive history. Michael Cody Clarke, a McGill Health Services employee at the Shag Shop, recommends conversation if a person’s STI medical history is extensive. “A lot of couples,” he says, “live with herpes, a common STI, and it doesn’t affect their lives nearly
Illustration Joanna Schacter | The McGill Daily
as much as they think it would.” It’s up to the couple: they can either let their STI histories get in between them – and be the elephant in the room that no one talks about – or learn to live with it and help each other. As Clarke put it, knowledge is power. “You can either share just your symp-
toms or just the STIs that you have, depending on whether you are being more promiscuous. Just let people know what they’re getting themselves into.” Nonetheless, he admits that this shared information can get out of hand, “just like any tool, [the app] can be misused.” So,
would he recommend McGill students download this app onto their smartphones? “I recommend for them to download the app and at least learn about it, and they can make their own choices concerning it. For some it might be worthwhile, for others it might not.”
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Asking around Valentin Stip on Montreal’s underground electronic scene Kaj Huddart The McGill Daily
ne of the best things about being young today – despite the onset of climate change, the faltering global economy, and the depletion of the world’s oceans – is being present for a golden age in electronic music. Computers have granted the means of music production to the masses, a process that has leveled the playing field between established artists and amateurs, fostered a highly fertile creative environment, and eroded the corporate elitism of the music industry. Ever since the advent of Napster, the whole corpus of recorded music has been inexorably moving out of the CD store and onto an online commons of file sharing. One of the results of this cultural shift has been the rise of a new generation of very young and talented producers, who are enabled by easy access to music and production software. Many of them, like McGill U3 Philosophy student Valentin Stip, are still in university as they gain prominence through self-publishing on the internet or releasing tracks on indie labels. 21-year-old Stip, who is finishing up his degree, publishes his music through the New York imprint Clown & Sunset. Only two years old, Clown & Sunset was founded by Stip’s friend Nicolas Jaar. Jaar’s 2011 debut LP, Space is Only Noise, was an evolutionary landmark in the
world of electronic music, selected by Resident Advisor (a prominent dance music website) as their Album of the Year. The album was hardly danceable, as it ticks along at about 80 beats per minute. But Jaar succeeded in pushing the boundaries of the genre: the album’s groove is undeniable. Jaar’s music combines a huge array of elements, drawing broadly from soul, jazz, and blues; as well as rarer ingredients such as Mulatu Astatke’s Ethiopian jazz and the Situationist speeches of Guy Debord. The resulting sound is far more identifiable by its mood – reflective, smooth, and conspicuously dark without being maudlin – than it is by any definable genre. Clown & Sunset’s artists, including Stip, share some of Jaar’s stylistic characteristics, as well as his devotion to experimentation beyond the limits of the genre. Their shared vision is at least partially a result of adolescent proximity, as most of them attended the Lycée Français de New York, a posh school that also graduated Julian Casablancas of The Strokes and the lead singer of Nada Surf, along with several former French presidents. But while Nicolas Jaar’s jazzinspired sound maintains a consistent groove, Stip is more ambient, less funky, with a noticeably classical element. Growing up, Stip studied piano, eventually deciding that he wanted to be a concert pianist at 17. After being told by his instructors that his playing wasn’t good enough to apply to
conservatory classical performance programs, Stip abandoned music and moved to Montreal to attend McGill. After spending a few morose months here without his piano, he decided to re-introduce music to his life by learning how to use Ableton and other music-production software. Although it began as his life’s side project, Stip is now planning on launching himself into a music career after university, with the goal of supporting himself solely by playing shows and releasing music online. As an electronic artist, Stip explained, living in Montreal has a particular set of advantages and limitations. Musically, the city’s reputation is inextricable from the great indie successes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Arcade Fire, indicative of a tendency toward traditional instruments and small-venue concerts, rather than the type of club scene found in London, Berlin, or New York. But the city’s laid-back music culture and relative lack of pretension create an encouraging atmosphere for a developing artist, and the mental proximity between artists and crowds can make it seem as if he is playing “to a group of good friends,” according to Stip, who is more used to the self-conscious clamour for attention among crowds in Manhattan. But the dearth of good venues for electronic music, driven partly by a lack of interest in this indie-loving city, and partly by the ongoing crackdown against illegal parties by the
police, keeps the local house scene well underground. Afterhours haunt Stereo, which opens at the crack of three in the morning, is a nice illustration of how liquor laws exclude all but the most devoted electronic fans. “Either you have to go to sleep at 7 p.m., and wake up at 1 a.m., or you take drugs,” Stip said. “The way the city is set up is not to the advantage of places like this.” So Stip and others rely on the nomadic after-hours scene to both play and listen to music. They are forced to change locations frequently, because the police like to make an appearance wherever people are setting up paid-entrance parties and serving alcohol without the consent of authority. Yesterday, the venues included the Torn Curtain or the Silver Door; today the scene has moved elsewhere, as police have shut those down. One effect of this policy has been to push the electronic scene outside the city’s core, north of Mile End to Jean-Talon and beyond, where the SPVM is less accustomed to shutting down illegal fun. It’s unfortunate that in a time when music is available so freely on the internet – creating both unparalleled access for listeners, while eliminating the album as a source of revenue for artists – that it is so difficult to see emergent producers in the informal spaces where electronic music thrives. Artists and collectives often don’t have the money to rent more formal, legal spaces, and the cost of venue licenses is prohibitive.
So the scene remains inaccessible to thousands of potential fans, while artists lose out on exposure and much-needed financial support. But the scene has long been adapting to its conflicts with the law: nomadism and the temporary repurposing of the city’s many abandoned industrial structures have kept it ahead of the police. Stip is a founding member of the Booma Collective, a group that specializes in putting on shows that feature both live acts and DJ sets in informal locations. Although Booma has a Facebook page, many other groups are more protective of their anonymity, giving the city’s electronic scene a sort of tight-knit, underground flavour. This, Stip believes, may actually be an advantage, as it ensures that artists regularly attend each other’s shows, and keeps the atmosphere friendly and intimate (as long as the police don’t arrive). Despite the high level of precaution, artists love having people attend their shows, Stip said, and knowing the “right people” will go a long way towards finding yourself some underground fun for the weekend. So if you want to attend a night of great house music, and continue drinking and dancing until six in the morning, ask around. Check out Valentin Stip’s music at soundcloud.com/valentinstip. Follow the Booma Collective at facebook.com/boomamusic.
TNGHT MATHIAS KADEN MISS KITTIN CASPA JOY ORBISON CHRIS LIEBING JOE GODDARD [HOT CHIP]
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All hail the echo chamber Because there’s nothing the media loves more than talking about itself Hillary Pasternak The McGill Daily
eneath the robots and the black holes and the mysteriously humanoid greenskinned alien babes, a lot of old -school American science fiction had an undercurrent of genuine political optimism. Plenty of authors during the Cold War, enamoured with the superiority of democracy, devoted significant effort to creating and describing the world they saw on the horizon: one where democracy was embraced by all sentient beings, on earth and elsewhere. And if they had to create a distinctly strange civilization tailored to the peculiarities of democracy, so be it. Christopher Stasheff’s novel The Warlock in Spite of Himself did just this, in an attempt to bring direct democracy out of classical Athens and into outer space. It posited an interplanetary society
in which illiteracy was a thing of the past, and 72 per cent of the population had earned a graduate degree. Each citizen was assigned a Tribune to represent them in public affairs, who, by the Wonder of Space Age Communication Technology (essentially modified radios – this book was published in the late 1970s, and it shows) they could squawk their educated, elegantly phrased opinions whenever the fancy struck. These Tribunes served as a direct conduit from the common man to the Powers That Be. Whether these opinions ever went on to have an effect on policy is never touched upon. Amid the triumph of achieving universal discourse, the aftermath doesn’t seem important. Thanks to the widespread internet access that’s come with the 21st century, we might never need those Tribunes to stay true to the spirit of direct democracy. Possible downside: now we all have to deal with the 24-hour squawk. And
it’s not just about politics. Digital ink is spilled over the trivial and abstract. Anyone with a keyboard can become a cultural critic or philosopher. They can also vent their impotent, expletive-filled rage. This is the true nature of democracy: every voice a venue, regardless of coherence and usefulness. But there’s only so far technology can take us. The media’s old guard (the big newspapers, magazines, and networks) still have something of a monopoly on respectability, and the appearance thereof. They’ve got the public trust, and more importantly, the name recognition. And the people they lend their clout to are the intellectual elite, whether they know what they’re talking about or not. Case in point: the trend piece. A print meditation that, more often than not, concerns the habits and tastes of youth, but is written by someone who hasn’t been young for quite a while. Professor Christy Wampole of
May or may not have face
No apparent emotions
Princeton University, if we’re to believe her November trend piece for the New York Times, is not a fan of the Millennial generation’s worldview. “If irony is the ethos of our age – and it is – then the hipster is our archetype of ironic living.” She goes on to bemoan the perceived cultural markers of the class we call “hipster,” everything from digital photo filters (“Nostalgia needs time. One cannot accelerate meaningful remembrance.”) to a decline in the art of conversation (a particularly puzzling claim, for which no real explanation is offered). “Inwardness and narcissism now hold sway,” she wails, as if unaware how many times this very thing has been said of the young by the old throughout the ages. This article is not written for hipsters, or even the people who have to deal with them on a regular basis. This is a middle-aged woman writing for others of middle age, disregarding everyone
else. It’s a bit like sitting next to an elderly couple in a movie made with the 18 to 49 demographic in mind (i.e., just about all of them.) Often, the two will spend the movie whispering to each other: explaining plot points and references, recapping missed dialogue. They’re pooling resources to attempt to understand something spawned by a popular culture that isn’t their own. The couple can find this film interesting, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever consider it a defining work of their generation. They already have those. She writes with a whiff of smug nostalgia. “We did things right when I was young!” So the technology’s caught up to Stasheff’s vision of completely democratic communication, but will the essentially hierarchal nature of our media ever manage the same? For the time being, it’s not likely. The view of the older, richer, and bettereducated is still prized, whether they have the authority to speak on a subject or not.
Anatomy of a riot cop Art Essay
Freudian symbol, or possibly carrot
Judge Dredd chic Nobel Peace Prize Generally unpleasant; do not attempt jokes Other Freudian symbol
Shin guards for playing soccer with your rights
Soul crushing boots of capitalism
Joanna Schacter and Hillary Pasternak
The McGill Daily Thursday, January 10, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
lies, half-truths, and we will try to do better
New Rez couple transcend Limits of self-expression, ethics, and alcohol tolerance breached Euan EK The Twice-a-Weekly
he New Rez couple had an alright few hours at Gert’s last night. The New Rez couple, whose relationship was kick-started with an evening “chock-full of excitement” at Juliette et Chocolat last October, decided to go out to the bar named after feminist wonderwoman Gertrude Stein because of a burgeoning interest in anti-authoritarian politics and non-liberal political theory. Coincidentally, The Twicea-Weekly can exclusively reveal that the couple were also “bored, and Braden said Gert’s would be fun.” The New Rez couple, who have
taken the Rez-world by storm since announcing their plans to spend “at least two nights a week together... for January probably,” began the night by strolling briskly toward Gert’s. Onlookers remarked at their speed of step, grace of stride, and elegance of gait. “Like Bambi’s mother before mankind shattered the delicate symbiosis of the natural world with their death-technology,” said one. “They walked with that same unity.” Despite some critics claiming that the New Rez couple represent nothing more than the triumph of Spectacle and Empire, the couple themselves remain philosophical about their time in student bars. “Drink, the drunken, drunkeness, being drunk, at once imbibing and yet also having imbibed, is noth-
“Let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love...We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.” Che Guevara Compendium Editor
ing less than the true revolutionary measure,” said one half of the New Rez couple. “A shot against stasis.” “Expressing truth under Empire requires active confrontation with the multiple apparatuses necessary to Empire’s continued attempt to reduce political expression to choice, purchase, account balance; true political expression is ethical difference. We practice nothing but an ethic of being, imbibing, being, drinking, which is in fact also a drinking-inthe-world. Our drinking is, therefore, necessarily political, and, of course, it is easy to see, revolutionary.” “What she said,” said the other half of the New Rez couple. After splitting a pitcher of the remarkably low-priced yet alcoholic (8 per cent ABV bro) Maudite beer, the couple pro-
ceeded onto “shots!” “You could have a tequila, vodka, or rum,” said one member of the New Rez couple. “All three of them are fun. But it is whiskey, Irish whiskey, nectar from the Peninsula of Cooley, or dew from Antrim’s green fields or Tullamore town’s fields, where my heart lies, and where my spirit flies. You can keep your cheap liquors, fit for nowhere but dingy bars and sick-stained floors. Keep it with your broken dreams – keep it with your internet memes – for when I drink, I use whiskey, the drink of those who think.” Gert’s bar manager Isaac Rubixcube-Crusoe, who observed the Don Draper-like swagger with which the couple sipped at their Bushmills, confirmed that they did
indeed drink much whiskey, and that it made the pair “a little frisky.” So frisky, in fact, that the couple decided to call a halt to their early evening proceedings, and head home for some rather more risque dealings. The journey home was fraught with risks (not least with the old vending-machine tricks. Those peanuts...why...there are never enough?). But no, they did eventually get back to New Rez and they were totally so much fun and everyone thought they were so great except it is kinda unlikely that their relationship will last past February because when two great minds meet it kinda is hard for each to deal because of the whole ego thing and also because midterms get in the way of artistic and revolutionary expression. But yeah. Crossed fingers.
volume 102 number 24
The students doth protest too much
editorial board Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
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In the midst of the McGill University NonAcademic Certified Association (MUNACA) crisis during the early fall of the last academic year, a group of students convened in front of the James Administration building to protest. Provost Anthony Masi, in a rare display of accessibility, came downstairs to speak to the gathered crowd. When one student asked why a Securitas agent had threatened a recent peaceful protest with police action, Michael Di Grappa, VP (Administration and Finance) – who had been observing the unfolding events from the edge of the crowd, suitcase in hand – blurted out “Students don’t have the right to demonstrate on campus!” Another student, somewhat aghast, opened the student handbook he had brought with him and pointed Di Grappa to the section that reads “nothing in this Article or Code shall be construed to prohibit peaceful assemblies and demonstrations…” Visibly uncomfortable and left with nothing else to say, Di Grappa walked away. Following the events of last year, the administration learned something about their students, faculty, and non-academic workers: they know their rights. The tactic the administration has adopted in response is simple: redefine rights in more convenient terms. The revised protocol on protests released to the university-wide community on November 30, is, according to the protocol itself, the rubric by which a demonstration at McGill will or won’t be “deemed to be peaceful.” What are the metrics according to which peacefulness might be achieved? The bulk of the protocol includes things on which we might generally agree: safety, a respect for the freedom of others, the protection of property. But buried at the tail end of the protocol is the statement that the “degree of inconvenience to normal University activities, number of participants, level of noise, tone of discourse, level of anger expressed, etc.), and/or the more deliberately disruptive, and/or the longer (in terms of duration
of inconvenience) […] the greater the likelihood that [the demonstration] will be deemed not to be peaceful.” According to Di Grappa in an interview with The Daily in December 2012, the protocol is meant to be a “clarification” project, one meant to delineate the “expectations and responsibilities” of students, as well as those who might earn their ire. What the protocol actually does is redefine a peaceful protest as one which is not disruptive or inconvenient, not loud, not angry, short in duration, and sparsely attended. The protocol may not ban protesting on campus outright, but it bans any protesting which might conceivably be effective. Di Grappa and Masi, who are in charge of the project, solicited feedback on the protocol last semester in a series of preliminary consultations – groups consulted included SSMU, the Post-Graduate Students’ Society, and several staff and faculty unions. When all groups consulted highlighted the same concerns, the administration disregarded their feedback and released a protocol to the university-wide community that reflected no substantive changes. Canadian and Quebec laws, as well as the University’s own student handbook, already set limitations on demonstrations that protect bystanders and those being demonstrated against. The protocol, which is being brought to Senate on January 23, and to the Board of Governors for final approval on January 29, does nothing more to protect the rights of those who wish not to participate. It does, however, allow those most likely to be demonstrated against – namely, the administration – the power to define the parametres when dissenters voice their grievances. —The McGill Daily Editorial Board
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