Volume 102, Issue 30
February 4, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
Existing since 1911
Published by The Daily Publications Society, a student society of McGill University.
Quebecâ€™s 99% page 3
SACOMSS Sexual Assault Center of the McGill Students’Society
LEADERSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM
Leadership Skills Development Workshops Take the opportunity to sign up for the Leadership Training
Program’s FREE Skills Development Workshops!
These workshops were created to give students the chance to develop and build leadership and life skills. These skills often SURYHWRHQKDQFHDFDGHPLFVXFFHVV$WWHQGDPLQLPXPRIÀYHZRUNVKRSV WKURXJKRXW DFDGHPLF \HDU DQG UHFHLYH D FHUWLÀFDWH RI completion. All workshops are on McGill’s downtown campus.
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Come and check out the following workshops ...
Successful Leaders: Leaders: Change Change Management Management 101 101
Free. Confidential. Non-Judgmental.
Tuesday, February 7, 5:35-7:35 pm The ability to implement change as a leader is a constant challenge in today’s world and, unfortunately, is often problematic. Learn some indispensable skills in this interactive workshop that will build your capacity to lead successful change!
We’re here to listen.
Knowing, Being Your Knowing, Beingand andDoing: Doing:Improving Improving Your Leadership && Emotional EmotionalIntelligence Intelligence DATE CHANGE: Wednesday, February 13, 5:35-7:35 pm A participatory workshop to explore the foundations of being a great leader: knowing oneself, being principled and inclusive, and doing or acting. Explore and expand your emotional intelligence (EI) at the same time and learn how you can lead in all the roles you play.
Pass itit on: on:Planning Planningforfora aNew New Executive Executive Wednesday, February 20, 5:35-7:35 pm Make sure that next year’s executives won’t have to start from square one! Plan, prepare and organize yourselves so that next year’s members will be able to learn and build from your experience.
Registration available online see all the workshops offered this semester & register via: ZZZPFJLOOFDÀUVW\HDUOHDGHUWUDLQLQJZRUNVKRSV For more info, drop by the Leadership Training Program in the First<HDU2IÀFH in the Brown Building, Suite 2100, or call 514-398-6913 Advertising – Media Management Alternative Dispute Resolution Event Management Fashion Management & Promotions Financial Planning Global Business Management Human Resources Management International Development
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The McGill Daily Monday, February 4, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
03 NEWS Students ask McGill to divest from Tar Sands DPS wins existence referendum
Update on labour unions at McGill
SSMU talks space allocation in Shatner
07 COMMENTARY Oppression within “safe spaces”
Arts cuts and neoliberal austerity Metrics matter for social movements
09 SPORTS Should fighting be banned in the NHL? Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
How the media treats fans who aren’t men
11 SCI+TECH Why talking about video game violence is deceptive Animal research in the biological sciences
Review: Two Spirits A social diagram of the city Ethnic radio in Montreal
Boycott the PQ’s Summit
16 COMPENDIUM! When adversity knocks Republicans blast Obama City of Montreal wins infrastructure award, lol
Gap between rich and poor widens More women part of 1 per cent but gender inequity persists Laurent Bastien Corbeil The McGill Daily
tatistics Canada released a report this week that reveals a widening gap between the rich and the poor across Canada. The report showed that the median income of the top 1 per cent is ten times higher than that of the remaining 99 per cent of filers. In 1982, the top 1 per cent was seven times richer, according to the report. Top income earners are also more likely to stay in the 1 per cent than they were before. 72 per cent of top income earners in 2009 remained part of the 1 per cent one year later. In 1982, that figure stood at 67 per cent. Quebec faces a similar situation, according to an analysis by the Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-économique (IRIS), a progressive think-tank. IRIS reported that the richest 1 per cent of Quebecers have seen their income rise by 59.3 per cent from 1982 to 2010. By comparison, the median income for the poorest 50 per cent of Quebecers has increased by 16.6 per cent during the same period.
“Quebec shows some relative stability during periods of [economic] crisis, which can be attributed to its social safety net that is stronger than in other provinces,” Simon Tremblay-Pepin, a researcher with IRIS, told The Daily in French. “But at the same time, inequalities [between the rich and the poor] have been on the rise.” “Unless there are significant political changes, these [inequalities] will persist,” he added. More worrisome, TremblayPepin said, is the fact that the share of federal and provincial tax paid by the richest 1 per cent fell to 21.2 per cent, down from a peak of 23.3 per cent in 2007. “In Quebec, like in Canada, investment in private businesses has also remained stagnant,” Tremblay-Peppin added. “It’s hard to say that lowered tax rates for the richest benefited [the poorest] in our society.” The Statistics Canada report also revealed that a greater number of women are now part of the top 1 per cent of income earners. The figure almost doubled from 11 per cent in 1982 to 21 per cent in 2010. In an interview with The Daily,
Gabrielle Bouchard, the Peer Support and Trans Advocacy Coordinator at the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, said that the increase was not “necessarily positive.” “I think that what this means […] is that a [greater] number of women managed to find a place within the capitalist system to stay in the 1 per cent,” Bouchard said in French. “[The 1 per cent] is a problem that societies like Canada, the U.S., Greece, and Spain have experienced, so I don’t see how this could be a step forward.” “We should try to talk about the 99 per cent instead of the 1 per cent. It’s more important than trying to look whether or not women can become the CEO of a bank,” she added. According to Statistics Canada, seven out of ten part-time workers were women in 2009. According to Tremblay-Pepin, the increased representation can be explained by the “massive arrival” of women in the workplace at the end of the 1970s. In 1982, he said, this “transition was not yet done.” “But it’s not because there’s more women in the workplace that they can find a workplace that is equitable, fair, and that
gives them the same standing as men. There’s still a wide gap between the current situation and equality,” Tremblay-Pepin explained. In 2011, women earned an average of $20.11 an hour compared to $22.81 for men, according to a recent study by the Quebec Institute of Statistics. The difference in earning on a weekly basis is even more pronounced, with an average of $666.21 for women compared to $851.68 for men. Queer McGill’s Trans* Working Group noted in an email to The Daily that income inequality is “too narrow a field to account for the societal effects of sexism” and that looking exclusively at gender “doesn’t reflect the ways that gender combines with race, nationality, educational opportunities, and other factors to affect one’s ability to earn money.” The absence of a third category for trans* people was also highlighted by the group. “If the study had listed trans* people […] the results would likely reflect the fact that trans* folks earn a disproportionately lower income relative to both cis men and cis women,” the group said.
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The McGill Daily | Monday, February 4, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
Divest McGill petition presented to administration Students demand divestment from fossil fuel industries and Plan Nord Hera Chan The McGill Daily
group of 12 students representing Divest McGill – a student-led fossil fuel and tar sands divestment campaign – submitted two petitions to McGill University’s Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility (CAMSR) last Friday and held a brief demonstration. The demonstration began with a chant, followed by a speech by Divest McGill member Bronwen Tucker. The petitions were presented to McGill SecretaryGeneral Stephen Strople by Divest McGill co-spokesperson Christopher Bangs. Divest McGill began its campaign in October 2012, and has since collected over 750 signatures for two separate petitions – one asking McGill to withdraw its investments from the tar sands and fossil fuel industry, the other seeking the University’s divestment from companies associated with Plan Nord, the Quebec government plan to exploit natural resources north of the 49th parallel. Many campus groups have endorsed the content put forth by the petitions, including SSMU and the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS). The divestment campaign is part of a North America-wide effort, run in Canada by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition and in the United States by 350.org. In total, 200 campuses across North America are involved. Two of these universities, Unity College and Hampshire
Photo Robert Smith | The McGill Daily
College, have succeeded in their divestment campaigns. Divest McGill co-spokesperson Lily Schwarzbaum said, “the process doesn’t end with just submission. We plan to make a wider campaign that continues positive messaging, unites the McGill community, and raises awareness on issues surrounding fossil fuels and tar sands.” Bangs said that the group is
expecting a response on the status of the petitions from Strople in two weeks. Strople will be bringing the petitions to CAMSR, which is chaired by Governor Emerita Brenda Norris. Bangs and Schwarzbaum are optimistic about working with CAMSR toward divestment. “We hope to see this be a positive relationship and so far it has been,” Schwarzbaum said.
Lola Duffort The McGill Daily
he Daily Publications Society’s (DPS) existence was ensured for another five years when it won its referendum by a resounding 76 per cent last Thursday. A ‘Yes’ vote for the DPS means that the society is able to renew its Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the University – which dictates distribution on campus – as well as continue collecting student fees, which account for half of the DPS’s total budget. Since 2003, the University has required independent student groups on campus such as CKUT, QPIRG, and the DPS – which publishes both The Daily and Le Délit – to hold existence referenda every five years as an indication
of student support. Voting began on January 23 with a hiccup when all 27,606 electors were sent a defective email ballot. Within an hour, DPS Chief Electoral Officer Faraz Alidina had received over 150 emails alerting him to the problem. “I doubt it affected turnout,” he told The Daily. A corrected ballot was immediately sent out, he explained, and reminder emails were sent out to electors who had not yet voted the following Saturday and Tuesday. Quorum was met within a few hours on the first day of voting. Ultimately, voter turnout totalled 18.8 per cent, with 5,202 votes cast. The DPS received similar results in its last existence referendum five years ago, when 80 per cent of the 5,729 votes cast returned a ‘Yes’ vote.
careful study by the members of the committee,” Mooney said. “[The University] has a specific role in taking an ideological stand and determining the future, our future. […] We see our investments as a really key and important place for McGill to make an example,” Schwarzbaum said. Non-student members of CAMSR and the administration were not available for comment by press time.
Thousands of unionized McGill workers still without contract
DPS wins referendum with 76 per cent Students support The Daily / Le Délit
Jonathan Mooney, student member of CAMSR and Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) SecretaryGeneral said his “understanding of the process would be that CAMSR would communicate with the investment committee after reviewing the brief and they would issue a recommendation.” “The sense that I get is that it’s going to be taken very seriously, that there’s going to be a very measured,
Michael Lee-Murphy The McGill Daily
t least a few thousand of McGill’s unionized workers are working without a contract, some for as long as two years. Four bargaining units from two different unions representing course lecturers, invigilators, research assistants, and research associates are all currently negotiating contracts for the first time. AGSEM, the union representing course lecturers and invigilators, has been at the negotiating table with the University since 2010. AGSEM has represented Teaching Assistants since 1993, but was also accredited to represent course lecturers and invigilators in 2010. The Association of McGill University Research Employes (AMURE), which represents research assistants and associates
won its accreditation in 2010. Union officials say that the slow bargaining process is primarily because the contracts in question are without precedent at McGill and need to be built from scratch. Negotiators for invigilators are chiefly looking for an increase in wages from $10 an hour to $15.25, which the union says is the provincial average. Negotiations have been under provincially supervised arbitration since last spring. Other issues of contention for invigilators include the posting of vacancies and a standardized seniority protocol. According to AGSEM negotiator Sunci Avlijas, the roughly 800 invigilators could see a contract by this spring. The timeline for course lecturers is a bit less clear, as union officials in their bargaining unit are keeping mum about negotiations. Bargaining for course lecturers is continuing “as usual,” according to Stefana Lamasanu, the bargaining
unit’s communications officer. When asked if the recently announced cuts to Arts classes – which are hitting course lecturers the hardest – were affecting the bargaining process, Lamasanu reiterated that bargaining was proceeding as usual. Lilian Radovac, president of AGSEM, says that the slow progress of negotiations is not a surprise. “McGill has a long history of delaying contracts,” she said, adding that the first TA contract took five years to negotiate. McGill’s 1,200 research assistants and research associates, the latter of which are classified as casual workers, may have a contract to vote on as soon as next month, according to AMURE President Matthew Annis. While research assistants and research associates are in two separate bargaining units, the two contracts will be finished at the same time, according to Annis, who is also on the bargaining committee.
Esther Lee The McGill Daily
ollowing the announcement of the departure of Travel Cuts/ Voyages Campus from the Shatner building, SSMU hosted a summit to discuss space allocation in the student union building last Friday. The “SSMU Summit on Space in the Shatner Building” – the start to a six-week-long consultation effort – featured discussions on the establishment of a student-run cafe and the financial challenge of operating infrastructure owned by McGill. The summit opened with a presentation on the history of the SSMU building – dubbed the William Shatner University Centre in a 1992 student referendum – and the various changes that have taken place as part of student initiatives throughout the years. Though its activities are operated by SSMU, the Shatner building is property of the University, with physical maintenance such as heating and cooling controlled by McGill’s Utilities and Energy Management. Financial reports from 20102011 budgeted $187,899 for chilled water for the building’s cooling system and $145,925 for steam used for heating. The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system has not seen major changes since the building’s construction in 1965, and their costs are not directly
Photo Robert Smith | The McGill Daily
paid for by SSMU. In an interview with The Daily, VP Clubs & Services Allison Cooper addressed the importance of maintaining Shatner as a student space in a university system where funding is becoming increasingly limited. “This building is different from any other building on campus. Yes, because different executives are [elected] every year, there are many changes to the building that you don’t see in the general university system. [That] is what makes SSMU progressive,” Cooper said. On the issue of McGill’s limited financial support for student unions, SSMU President Josh Redel commented, “There are other student unions funded by their university administrations. [The University of British Columbia] just signed a symbolic $1 contract
lasting 50 years.... The fact that the SSMU [building] is owned by McGill makes it restrictive.” SSMU also operated under a $1 symbolic contract until lease negotiations which took place in 1999 – after which the rent was raised to $100,000. Referring to the contentious closure of the popular Architecture Café by the administration, Redel urged the attendees to question the meaning of “student-run.” “It’s important to ask ourselves, is there still a desire for a student cafe over another interactive space, like a student lounge where people can eat and study at the same time?” Redel emphasized that studentrun operations should incorporate flexibility, with a vision less driven by financial profits. He also expressed his disapproval over the discontinuation in
financially unsuccessful studentoperated projects: “It seems that we’re afraid of this culture of failure...You shouldn’t discontinue a student [bake] sale, for example, because they make a mistake of going, let’s say, $5,000 in red. There should be a chance to learn from those mistakes.” Although the lease negotiations are still ongoing, SSMU looks to finalize the contract agreements by the end of Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Morton Mendelson’s term at McGill. Other events included a presentation on the History of the Building and Long-Term Visioning Efforts, Food in the Building, Prioritization of Room Categorization, Event Space in the Building, and Sustainability in the Building.
Former MP and Aboriginal activist discuss Idle No More Harper characterized as a despot by prominent Mohawk activist Dana Wray The McGill Daily
atsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel, a Mohawk activist, and Warren Allmand, the former Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development under Pierre Trudeau, debunked myths surrounding the Idle No More movement, on Wednesday. The event, which took place in the Leacock building, drew about fifty students, First Nations people, and other members of the Montreal community. The organizers, Madeleine Pawlowski, a U1 Arts student, and Chanel Fournier, a U0 Arts student, felt a need to inform people – especially students living in residence – about the Idle No More movement. “It’s hard for someone just reading the news and the media to know what’s going on,” Fournier said. “This event is as much for Montreal citizens as for international students who are coming here and don’t really know what’s going on in Canadian politics,” Pawlowski told The Daily.
The organizers and the speakers agreed that it was time for Canada to make changes. “I’m so fed up with being silenced because I am an indigenous person, and on top of that, I’m a woman,” Gabriel said. During the two-hour talk, Allmand and Gabriel spoke about social and political roots for dissatisfaction, environmental, and cultural concerns for Aboriginal communities across Canada. Allmand drew on his past experience as both a Liberal Member of Parliament, and a former minister involved with Aboriginal affairs. He focused his frustration on what he saw as a long-term trend of significant misconceptions by the general Canadian public. “Some Canadians say Indigenous people are just another minority. They’re not a minority, they were here before we arrived!” Allmand said. “All these resources in the land, all this land, belongs to another people. They offered to share it with us, but not to take it from them!” Gabriel also addressed discrimination against Aboriginal communities in academia, the media, and the
general public. This discrimination not only stemmed from vitriolic attitudes, but from simple ignorance, Gabriel argued. “It’s as if we are slowly being wiped away from history, and [being] put into the museums. That’s one of the things I’m really scared of happening, that our language and our culture will one day be in the museums,” she said. Gabriel blasted Harper for his treatment of Indigenous communities in Canada, characterizing the prime minister as a “despot” who ruled cruelly and maliciously. “Stephen Harper has put a price tag on the human rights of Indigenous peoples,” she said. She also accused the Canadian government of failing to properly atone for past sins. “Thank you for the apology for the Indian residential school system, but it has to be more than mere words. You apologized for something that is classified as genocide…. You are apologizing for saying that we were inferior to you. But where is the proof that you are sorry?” Allmand agreed with Gabriel and
noted that Canada had been the last to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in 2007, and that action on these rights had yet to materialize. “How can we [as Canadians] ask Iran, Iraq, North Korea, to live up to human rights standards, if we don’t do it ourselves?” Allmand said. The two agreed that the issues were not new, but that pressure was building. “Enough is enough,” Gabriel said. “We have had our ancestors die, going to their graves, questioning and appealing to government with the same words that we have been using for [an entire] generation.” Despite a history of negligence regarding Aboriginal rights, Gabriel was confident that the movement would not falter. “The government looks at us and says, ‘they’re crazy Indians, and they’re going to phase out. Idle No More is just a fad.’ And I can tell you that, maybe we’ll take a break, maybe we’ll take a rest, because you know, we’re tired of being in the cold. [But] we’re going to speak up. We’re going to speak up because we cannot stand it any more.”
WHAT’S THE HAPS
SSMU plans to fill vacancy in Shatner
The McGill Daily | Monday, February 4, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
Cinema Politica McGill presents: Liberty, Equality, Accommodation Leacock 15 Tuesday, February 5 6:00 p.m. The film Liberty, Equality, Accommodation deals with the question of reasonable accommodation in Quebec following the publication of a pamphlet telling immigrants that women in Canada were not excised, stoned, or burned alive. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film’s director, Stefan Nitoslawski, and Professor Norman Cornett. Snacks will be provided.
Journalism Open House SSMU Clubs Lounge, Shatner, 4th floor Wednesday, February 6 5:30 p.m. Several campus publications and media organizations are hosting an open house on journalism. The event is aimed at students interested in writing, reporting, and producing newspapers, television, and radio. Although McGill does not have a journalism program, this is a chance to hear from several organizations, engage with your community, and learn the skills required to participate in campus journalism.
Your Client has a Profile: Security and Secrecy in Canadian Law 3644 Peel Street, New Chancellor Day Hall, Room 312 Friday, February 8 5:00 p.m. The McGill Radical Law Community (RADLAW) and the Human Rights Working Group (Police and State Accountability Portfolio) will present a panel discussion on the current state of security legislation in Canada and the cases of the five recent security certificate detainees. It will also take a broader look at national and state security and surveillance targeting communities of colour in Canada.
Demonstrate against the Plan Nord Square Victoria Friday, February 8 12:00 p.m. Activists and indigenous allies are planning to disrupt the Forum on Natural Resources at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal. The forum has been criticized as a continuation of Plan Nord, the Quebec Liberal party’s plan to develop northern Quebec.
The McGill Daily Monday, February 4, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
Complicating space “Safe space” and the politics of privilege and marginality Christiana Collison The McGill Daily
’m not entirely sure what “safe space” means. Perhaps it refers to a space that is safe, is believed to be safe, or should be treated as such. But what does “safe” even mean? Does it mean without-fear safe, I-feelcomfortable safe, or I-can-(truly)be-myself safe? I’m not quite sure and it is not at all obvious. More than that, it is the implied accessibility of the phrase that makes me feel uneasy, and distrusting of the term as well as the practice that follows from it. I say this because the politics of “safe space” does not account for the continual and visceral feelings of unsafeness that marginalized individuals feel and experience – have to feel and have to experience. As we walked across campus, he, tall as ever with a distinct, darkened pigment, walked erectly. Never looking down or appearing as if he didn’t belong, he strode. With every step, he firmly claimed the space, this space, as his own. But the stares, they said otherwise. Space is imbued with difference and distinction and is made inaccessible to certain people because of that. To put it bluntly, space is more accessible to the non-marginal, to those stacked with social capital: heterosexuality, maleness, able-bodiedness, whiteness. Space, in fact, is this: it is heterosexual, male, able-bodied and white; any individual outside of that – not privileged enough to possess the beauty that is normativity – is not afforded the same access to space. I painfully figured this out while walking across campus with one of my friends the other day. As we were walking together, from the library to the McConnell Engineering building and back up again, I noticed the stares. I’ve always gotten the stares. I didn’t necessarily know why I received them; I just did. And no, these stares weren’t particularly any different, not more intense or more off. They were the same. The only difference was there was another person there, another person of colour. Him, a black man, and me, a black woman. And before I could even turn around to say anything, he turned to me and said (something along the lines of ), “I hate when people [though I believe he meant
“they”] stare at me.” In moments like these, I become so aware of how our bodies – racialized and Othered, deeply sexualized, and mine, gendered – were never seen as belonging to this space. Our bodies and our beings appear foreign, to them, to the normative. The blackness of our skin and its implied (hyper)sexuality do not belong in (this) space. Because, when seen, we are met with stares – unjustified stares – processing and registering the placement of our non-normative bodies in (this) space. Each stare, continuing to scan our bodies, further displaces us, telling us that we don’t belong. “Safe space,” as such, was introduced to make the marginalized feel “safe,” to make space accessible to all and not just the normative. But this (oddly enough) is exactly what I take issue with, because “safe space” politics, in making space accessible to all – normative and non-normative alike – erases the reality and intensity of the experiences I, as a person of colour and member of the marginalized, experience. It, in becoming accessible to everyone, also becomes accessible to those who already have immense access to it. And because of this, its politics can be, and in fact have been, co-opted by the non-marginal – the white, the heterosexual, the able-bodied, the male – and have been used in these really problematic, “I’m affected by oppression too, even though I’m not marginalized, so remember this is a safe space (for the normative as well),” counterproductive, pejorative ways. “Safe space” hides specification and gets recycled into this oppression-erasing, liberal-humanist rhetoric of “we all suffer from the (same) unsafeness of space” – even though we don’t. This move is dehumanizing and oppressive, and it produces the same unsafeness that it attempts to rectify. I, as a marginal body, need something specifically for me. I need something for members of my communities, for the oppressed, and not something that can be easily co-opted by the privileged. I need something that sees the marginal as its sole and intended beneficiaries. I need something, and unfortunately, that something just isn’t “safe space” politics. This piece is particularly dedicated to the black men I know in
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
universities across the country (my brother being one of them). To the black men who are students, whose bodies are continuously treated as foreign, forced to endure the constant stares of con-
fusion and delegitimization that scour your contours daily, having to affirm and confirm your place in the institution as legitimate bodies, intellectual and deserving to be here. I see you.
Christiana Collison is a U3 Honours Women’s Studies student. She has little to no fucks (care) left to give to either McGill or its oppression. Get at her at christiana.collison@ mail.mcgill.ca.
The McGill Daily | Monday, February 4, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
Curriculum crossroads Revenue, neo-liberalism, and education Jimmy Gutman Commentary Writer
eo-liberalism is a buzzword on the left and a dogma on the right. Premised on the belief that revenue generation by private enterprises drives society forward, state intervention is seen only as a hindrance to society. Neo-liberalism is a crab clawing at the sandcastle of society, taking the public institutions created collectively by the people and selling them off grain by grain. McGill Dean of Arts Christopher Manfredi has called for 100 Arts courses to be cut for the next academic year. In a town hall meeting with Arts students he emphasized the infeasibility of so many small classes. He spoke in the language of austerity, referencing how “lucky” we were not to be getting across-the-board cuts. Mentioned briefly were the cuts of course lecturer positions and the need to have tenured professors stop teaching small courses in order to teach bigger classes. A professorturned-manager on Manfredi’s wing of the room delivered a jovial and lively anecdote about how an Arts education was not unlike rowing, and firing course lecturers was merely making sure students got to intimately row with senior rowers (the tenured professors). Larger classes taught by tenured professors would somehow improve education. The implication was that course lecturers are bad rowers and their PhDs and talents are worthless in comparison to tenured professors who are supposedly all great lecturers. It was cute.
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
Many students spoke out passionately for and against the cuts. Many feared the loss of intimate and critical conversation to the impersonal GPA rat race. I left confused. These cuts are deep and the explanations were contradictory. Some of it made sense. There are, of course, retired courses that need to be removed and under-enrolled courses that need to be rationalized. There are some legitimate needs for housekeeping, sure. But the cuts come articulated against smaller courses in the language of efficiency. The courses that require higher ratios of paid staff to paying students are losing the University money.
Put simply, Manfredi wants to minimize the amount of courses that produce less revenue for the University. There is a conversation going on behind closed administrative doors. The belt of austerity is tightening. The global race to privatize and cut public assets and services is being internalized. If the public sector must become profitable, McGill is the front line. It is a luxury as a McGill Arts student to complain about large classes. I don’t deny this. Many of my friends in other faculties lament the unimaginably large sizes of their courses. Perhaps this is why the Huffington Post rated McGill, out of all universities in Canada
and the United States, the university with the most inaccessible professors. If revenue is progress, are we moving forward? Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) have been heralded as the way of the future. Imagine classes of thousands students, but no classrooms. Imagine those students enrolled in Montreal, but assessed on the other side of the planet. Imagine no professors, no course lecturers, and no teaching assistants. MOOCs were presented at the last Senate meeting. The reasons were clear: less spending, more revenue. The difference between sitting in the back of a class of 600, and watching a lecture online isn’t huge. There are some benefits.
Free MOOCs – which McGill will probably not adopt – allow students to prepare for university and expand their knowledge. For the students who can’t access McGill’s campus, an online course that forwards your degree is a pleasure and a necessity. In Senate and at the town hall with Manfredi, there was skepticism and resistance – perhaps only headed conservatism, refusing to change to progress, or perhaps something deeper – a grasping desire for learning and critical debate against the seductive efficiency of profits. Jimmy Gutman is an Arts Senator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victory? Whose victory? In analyzing the success of social movements, metrics matter Elliot Holzman Commentary Writer
lthough it is not new for two opposing groups to both claim ‘victory’ in a social struggle, I was shocked how close to home it hit me over the winter break. A friend and I were arguing about whether the Quebec student strike was in fact a ‘victory’ for the students. I assumed that, despite blistering criticism and an all-out media assault against the student federations and their so-called uncivilized tactics, the fact that the incoming PQ government had conceded to the students’ demands over a proposed tuition hike proved that the movement was successful, overcoming all odds. He lashed back with an “Are you kidding me?”
glare: the students’ main demand – that of free tuition – remains a pipe dream and their unruly tactics have depleted any well of sympathy that some in society have for such a proposal. I quickly interjected: “But that was never their main demand. Their main demand was to abolish the tuition hike, and then press for free tuition.” Marina Sitrin, a self-identified writer, lawyer, organizer, militant, and dreamer has come to the rescue (almost!) in a new book called, Occupying Language. Sitrin begins with the question: Who decides success? Is it found in public opinion polls or political campaigns? Does it manifest itself in the mainstream media or in film and television? More importantly, when does success or failure occur? For Sitrin, those in the struggle
who are fighting or organizing for something decide the success of a movement. She points out that although hundreds of parks and plazas around North America are no longer occupied, local citizen assemblies have sprung up in neighbourhoods across the United States. Certainly, one could draw the conclusion that the sudden embrace of the notion that the wealthiest in society should pay more taxes points to the endurance of some of the ideas of Occupy. Likewise, I shot back at my friend’s remarks about the student movement in Quebec, that the incredible grassroots mobilization of hundreds of thousands of students across the province will deter future governments from engaging in similar education policies. Observing the powerful social forces from Occupy to the Quebec
student strike to the current Idle No More protests on the front page of every major newspaper in Canada, I have become acutely aware that metrics matter when analyzing these movements. It frustrates me that no consensus can be reached over these movements. All I can conclude is that it is difficult to quantify the metrics and measure success and failure. Some theorists have argued that Occupy can only be successful if it can harness institutional power, like the Tea Party has done in the United States. Activists in the Quebec student movement will argue that the students won a larger victory last year: the dignity and freedom to know that their voices matter and that they can move the political needle, either slightly or in leaps and bounds. Who is right?
Sitrin concludes that it is completely naive to argue that a movement was unsuccessful because it did not meet the goals a critic has imposed on the movement. Surely, you would be hard-pressed to find a social movement that accomplished all of its goals in one fell swoop. In the end, I’ve found my metrics for the year: never trust anybody that can whittle the success or failure of a social movement down to a bumper sticker. Recognize the weight of history by assuming that some ideas won’t fester for years to come but their influence will span generations. And the last few years have proved that we should never allow baby boomers living off 401(k) plans to dictate the terms of success. Elliot Holzman can be reached at email@example.com.
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Illustration Marie Chantal Africa | The McGill Daily
I brawl, therefore I am Hockey’s bloody identity crisis Hillary Pasternak The McGill Daily
n most matters a staunch pacifist, my mother is anything but on the subject of hockey. “There used to be real fights,” she would tell me when I was younger. “When I went to these games in the eighties, the entire box would empty. You could see blood on the ice.” We haven’t been back to the rink in a while, but now might be the time to return and satisfy my mother’s bloodlust. According to STATS – a U.S.-based sports statistics company – there have been 58 fights in the first 87 games played during this shortened National Hockey League (NHL) season, up from 39 for the same number of games last season. The lockout may be over, but it would seem that there’s a bit of unresolved tension in the locker rooms.
At this juncture in human history, public opinion has oriented itself against most types of violence. Duels and fisticuffs for the lady’s honour have fallen out of fashion, the spanking of children is severely frowned upon, and aggression is often of the passive sort – the province of Twitter beefs. The world of sports is something of an island, the last place where it’s socially acceptable to physically express aggression, which is often encouraged. Concerns such as physical safety can fall by the wayside. Much ink has been spilled on the subject of concussions in hockey, especially since the reports that the recent deaths of NHL enforcers – players kept around for their skill as fighters rather than scorers – such as Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak (all three died during the summer of 2011) could have been caused by chronic traumatic encephalopathy
(CTE). CTE is caused, unsurprisingly, by repeated blunt impacts to the head. While there’s been similar controversy regarding football (the attitudes of the college and professional football establishments toward their players have been compared to those of owners toward their dogs in dogfighting rings), that’s a bit of a different conversation. Impact is a main feature of football, an integral part of the game. In hockey, many head injuries are the result of spontaneous confrontation – not built into the game like hitting in football is, and therefore not regulated. The lockout might have sparked a spike in player-on-player altercations, but the spectre of violence is hardly new to the NHL. It’s built into the game’s DNA, into the identity of fans and players. A bit of blood and chaos is seen as a good thing. A star player is hit, and retribution becomes a neces-
sity for the entire team. Defenders of fights believe that fighting is a way to self-police the game; the threat of a fight prevents dirty hits on star players. And many believe that fighting energizes a team and unites the players, who know that their teammates will step up for them. Montreal and Vancouver fans express both the joy of victory and the sorrow of defeat with riots and flaming cars. Detroit Red Wings fans have been known to toss octopus corpses onto the ice during playoff games. There’s a feeling of solidarity that comes with this willing vulgarity. It’s become a large part of what outsiders see when they look at hockey, and hockey seems perversely proud of this. Even the more casual fans, such as my mother. Perhaps as a consequence of this attitude, the NHL doesn’t seem terribly concerned with officially regulating fights. “The
league position from [its hockey operations department] seems to be that it’s regulating itself and policing itself,” said Kevin Lowe, the Edmonton Oilers president of hockey operations, to the Globe and Mail. “I don’t think there will be any changes and it has to come from the players to push that agenda. From a management and hockey operations position we don’t want to see a change at this point.” Maybe a bit scarier is the populist, give-the-people-what-they-want stance on this issue. According to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, “fans tell us they like the level of physicality in our game.” It’s not as big an issue for everyone, he says. “People need to take a deep breath and not overreact.” Despite a professed concern for player safety, hockey won’t take an anti-fight stance until they absolutely have to – liability-wise – and that day seems to be a long way off.
The McGill Daily | Monday, February 4, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Midori Nishioka | The McGill Daily
The outliers How the sports media treats non-male fans (hint: it’s dumb) Evan Dent The McGill Daily
That’s not true. Girls don’t like hockey!” I remember saying this when I was around eight years old. I was watching something on TV with my family when an ad for, I don’t know, car insurance came on. There was a quick shot of three excited hockey fans celebrating a goal, one a woman. To me, this was an affront. I had to call out this commercial for what my young mind saw as a blatant lie. I was quickly rebuked by my cousin, who told me that what I had just said was sexist. I quieted down for the rest of the night, embarrassed. Still, the incident sticks in my mind a decade later. Even at such a young age, before I really knew what sexism meant, I had internalized the idea that sports were not for girls. Since then, I’ve grown to realize that female fans are no different than male fans; anyone can love sports. Unfortunately, the media, the leagues, and many fans still treat all non-male fans –
labeled as women – like outsiders, treating them condescendingly or outrightly patronizing them. The majority of sports media is either entirely bland (‘the player scored x amount of points, the other player had y amount of assists, and their team beat the other one’) – or entirely malefocused (‘this player is awesome, and cheerleaders are hot!’). When the media attempts to target women, though, their attempts are wildly stereotype-reinforcing. ESPN launched their own website for women, espnW, which when not covering games can often be found covering the athletes’ fashion choices, especially in its early days. (To be fair, the website employs an all-female writing staff and also provides coverage of oftignored women’s sports). Just recently, Blueshirts United, the official blog of the New York Rangers, released a slideshow called “A Girl’s Guide to Watching the New York Rangers.” The guide assumes that any girl watching a Rangers game is doing so at the behest of their
‘boyfriend’ or ‘husband,’ not, you know, actually as a fan of the sport. News of the lockout ending, according to the author, was as big for men as “a 70 per cent off sale” is for a woman. And one of the biggest reasons to watch the Rangers, the guide asserts, is the attractiveness of their goaltender. In short, the guide assumes that a girl watching hockey knows nothing about the sport, is uninterested in the sport (and only with spending time with her significant other), and would only watch to see a good-looking guy. A guide for women is not an inherently bad idea – some women grow up adhering to traditional gender roles and are taught to shun sports, and watching sports for the first time can be confusing to anyone. If the guide actually explained the rules and the traditions to new fans, without being condescending, it would be useful. Instead, this guide, and others like it, just insult women who do have an actual interest in sports. In essence, these guides don’t offer anything to new fans,
and they treat every woman as a disinterested spectator. To the media, all women are not-yet-fans who, if not drawn in the by the game itself, will be captivated by stereotypically female things. Take, for instance, last year’s decision by CBC to run an alternate commentary to their Stanley Cup coverage called “While the Men Watch.” The feed, running online, featured two women who would banter about sports from a “woman’s point of view.” One of the commentators described their style as Sex and the City meets ESPN, with witty banter about the players’ hair and the coaches’ suit sizes. A more accurate title for this show could have been, ‘While the men watch that sport you don’t care about, listen to the girls dish on things you do care about, like fashion and looks!’ The plight of the female fan is to be constantly disrespected, to be thought of as an outlier. Think of how many times you’ve seen a rom-com or a TV show or actually heard some bro say, “She’s great, and the best part is...she loves
sports, too,” as if finding a woman interested in sports is like finding a leprechaun. And many women who do prove their merits as a fan inevitably become ‘one of the guys’. We still live in a world with a bizarre separate spheres ideology: sports for men, fashion for women, never any overlap. The solution to this issue is not a specific sports media for women and women only. Instead, there needs to be a reconception of how we treat female sports fans. Almost everyone who watches sports for the first time needs some explaining – for many men, like me, their fathers explain the rules to them – and women watching for the first time are no different. But to treat every woman as a fan who needs something other than the game itself to become interested is asinine. The female sports fan is here, and has been for a while. It’s time to stop treating women like second-class fans, only interested in a cute player or pleasing their partner. The sports fan isn’t a monolithic man anymore.
The McGill Daily Monday, February 4, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
The real video game violence How is one supposed to react to a massacre? Warning: This article contains description of extreme gun violence. Marcello Ferrara The McGill Daily
ameras rushed outside Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 with news anchors trailing behind. Less than an hour before, a young man had walked into the school with a Bushmaster rifle shooting both teachers and students, particularly in two first-grade classrooms. Some students heard the gunshots over the morning announcements. Before secondbell, 27 people, mostly children, were dead. The story is well-known to the public now: images, interviews, and footage were quickly made ubiquitous in all forms of media. Most people have heard firsthand accounts. A little girl hugged the ground until it was quiet. She snuck out of the building covered in blood and ran to her mom, and said, “Mommy, I’m okay, but all my friends are dead.” How is one supposed to react to a massacre? Six hours after the shooting, the media coverage of the scene
took a break to allow President Barack Obama to speak to the nation. “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this,” he said, “regardless of the politics.” A month later, the president ordered Vice President Joe Biden to form a task force that could prevent such events in the future. The appropriate response to a massacre is to take measures against them. On January 11, Biden’s task force, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services, met with leading executives of the video game industry to discuss violence in the wake of the Newtown shooting. This meeting was one of many with the various strands of the American entertainment industry. Biden told the Wall Street Journal that he would “come to this meeting with no judgement”; his intent was simply to begin the dialogue about violence. Five days later, Obama announced 23 executive orders to Congress, including one that asked Congress to investigate the societal effects of violence in video games.
Popular discourse often questions the role of video games in the context of violence within society. However, some in the industry feel like the topic should be put to bed. “I don’t see this as any sort of turning point in the discussion,” said Dan Stapleton, editor-in-chief of GameSpy. He referred to the persistence of this discussion as a “performance to placate” those who blame video games for realworld violence instead of taking action against the violence itself. Currently, there are more than thirty studies on such a topic, conducted at a variety of institutions, from University of Georgia to Iowa State among others. Most of the results of these studies suggest that video games did not increase violent behaviour, but could – as a study by Albert Einstein College observed – calm children. The study by Iowa State suggested that factors like familial violence and poverty contribute the most to violent behaviour. The facts pile on: violent crime in the United States peaked in 1991, and the sales of violent video games have increased exponentially since then. To gamers and game journal-
ists, the meeting with Biden represents nothing new. Ian Bogost, a prolific scholar on video games and Georgia Tech professor, wrote in 2008, “Games are cogs in someone’s favourite discourse machine.” A day after the meeting, he echoed his earlier statement: “The function of this meeting was political and had little if anything to do with the actual content and use of video games.” To Bogost, and others who work in the games industry, this meeting is a classic example of misdirection; by directing the attention at video games, it gives politicians another reason to not take gun control seriously. Though many have identified this investigation as fallacious in the aftermath of shooting tragedies like Newtown, there is another, more sinister side to its obfuscation of the truth: in fact, few have addressed its hypocrisy within a nation embroiled in war. Just a day prior to Biden’s meeting, the CIA bombarded Pakistan with drone strikes. Video game violence is worth talking about, because the real video game violence is perpetuated by the United States military.
Predator (or Reaper) drones are unmanned robots deployed in warzone, piloted by joystick, hundreds of miles outside their killzones. Drone pilots are trained using virtual-simulations – what William Gibson, the science fiction novelist best known for his book Neuromancer, called video games. Since 2008, drone use has been on the rise, and the Federal Aviation Administration is pushing for 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drones patrolling the American skies by the decade’s end. A new study by Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute estimates that for every suspected terrorist killed, there are fifty civilian deaths. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that the CIA targets people surrounding the attack, in a “doubletap” method reminiscent of organizations like Hamas. These lives, and these crimes, are the true cost of “video games.” How is one supposed to react against a massacre? The appropriate response to a massacre is to take measures against them, and those who perpetuate them.
The McGill Daily | Monday, February 4, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
Illustration Akanksa Chaubal | The McGill Daily
Animal research: a want or a need? Looking into the use of animals to model human disease Diana Kwon Science+Technology Writer
enetically engineered this, mouse model of that – we seem to hear these phrases often in science news lately, and the number of animals used in biological research today is larger than ever before. Why is this? Animal research is a topic that is often met with negative publicity, much of which is tied to ethical concerns, and whether the use of living creatures is justified. Many critics suggest that we should be moving toward other research methods, such as behavioural studies or field research, to answer the same questions. In particular, the use of mice in research has seen the greatest increase compared to various other conventional animal models, due to the relative ease with which they can be genetically engineered. The mouse is seen as invaluable to human disease research because of how closely their genome matches ours (a whopping 99 per cent similarity). We also share a great number of physiological and pathological features, which means much of what we learn from these models can be applied to humans. Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, a
professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill, whose lab was able to reverse autism symptoms in genetically-engineered mice, explained the process involved in developing animal models of human disease. Sonenberg’s lab develops models of cancer, but the development of mouse models is an extensive process. Before manipulating genes in animals, the underlying biochemistry needs to be understood – the process begins in a test tube. The biology of cancer, for example, is first studied in tissue cultures, and even at this level, much can be learned. However, these studies are unable to reveal the process that is occurring in the body during the course of the disease. This is where animal models come in. By creating animal models of diseases, not only are these scientists better able to understand the progression of the illness, but they are also provided a vehicle through which drugs can be developed for treatment to be used in human patients. In order to develop treatment for human disorders from cancer to autism, we require studies using an intermediate between tissue cultures and human testing. Animal models fill this space today. “We can’t directly go to humans when
looking at drug studies. We need to go to the animal models before moving to clinical trials. This is a must. There is no other way – at least not yet,” said Sonenberg. Animal models have also become increasingly sophisticated over the years – one particularly exciting new technology developed within the last few years is optogenetics, which was nominated by Nature as “Method of the Year” in 2010, and “the breakthrough of the decade” by Science. Optogenetics is a neuromodulation technique through which neurons can be selectively activated by light. According to Dr. Antoine Adamantidis, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry working at the Douglas Institute, the method bridges the important gap between correlation and causation. The scientific approach can be divided into two categories. The first consists of correlational studies, which involve the search for patterns in nature. For instance, if we continuously see activation of a group of neurons right before a certain behaviour is produced, we can deduce that there is some sort of relationship between these two events. The second approach uses causational studies. More specifically, this requires looking at gain or loss of function. In this technique, certain genes are manipulated in trans-
genic animals in order to mimic the effects of a certain disease. If we ‘knock out’ a gene and a certain phenotype is no longer expressed, we can quite confidently say that this particular gene was responsible for the function that was lost. Optogenetics can add a level of temporal specificity that could not be achieved with previous gene manipulations – at least in neuroscience. Scientists can now selectively activate neural circuits, and see what happens to the animal’s behavior when this occurs. How much, though, can these techniques and animal models tell us about humans? According to those working in the field, quite a bit. The level of similarity between humans and mice does depend on what you are studying – in Adamantidis’ lab, which conducts sleep research, the neuronal populations in mouse brains also exist in human brains. It turns out that there are many brain areas that are well conserved across humans and mice. The usage of animal models in research has great potential. It is important to note however, that the success of these research programs also rests in other types of research, such as studies of clinical populations, behavioural studies, and molecular biology. According to Adamantidis, “Human and ani-
mal research need to occur simultaneously. There is an interconnection between the two worlds that is necessary in order to answer the big questions.” The information interchange that occurs across the different levels of scientific analysis is a crucial step in the process. In Sonenberg’s research, the steps that occur in a test tube are just as critical to building the mouse model of a disease as engineering the mouse model itself. Animal models are an extremely useful tool for understanding human biology and have the potential to help unearth treatment options for many human diseases. They have received a lot of press in recent years – and for good reason: the discoveries made through these techniques are quite incredible. The use of animals in research is invaluable to scientists today, particularly in medical and academic disciplines. However, good science is not achieved by isolating one technique. Science began with observations, and even in a high-tech science age, these observations remain a critical step in the scientific process; techniques that allow these observations should not be neglected. It is the combination of different methodologies that will ultimately lead us to the answers to our questions.
The McGill Daily Monday, February 4, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
A painful testament Two Spirits tells the story of Fred Martinez Ralph Haddad The McGill Daily
he movie begins with a close-up of a grave. “This is the story of a Navajo boy who was also a girl,” the narrator tells us. Fred Martinez, the subject of Two Spirits, is no longer with us. The small audience is seated on fold-out chairs in the main living area of the First Peoples’ House of McGill, watching the projection of the movie intently, entranced. Two Spirits is itself part of a larger Indigenous Educational Series run by the Social Equity & Diversity Office (SEDE) in partnership with the First Peoples’ House, Indigenous Access McGill, and the McGill Faculty of Law. I arrive half-expecting to watch a ponderous documentary dealing with Indigenous identity and awareness, but what I saw changed me. We see beautiful panning shots of indigenous land, and then a deep male voice intones, “in the Navajo world, everything has a gender. The mountains are masculine, and the deep valleys are feminine.” We soon learn more about the Navajo conception of gender. They believe there are four basic genders rather than two: the familiar male and female, but also the feminine man and the masculine woman. They call these people Two-Spirits. As an introduction, we are given an overview of several Naadleh (Navajo feminine men) who were revered members of Fred’s community. We are shown apothecaries, spirit guides, matchmakers, and a trans* man, We Wah, who was a respected Navajo diplomat to Washington, D.C. Pansexuality is still a concept that mainstream North American society has trouble comprehending. The Navajo have no such limitations. It is surprising and shameful that our supposedly
Courtesy of Two Spirits
progressive society has not caught up with the Navajo’s concept of gender and sexuality: the Navajo were marrying Naadleh men long before Stonewall. Essentially, these beliefs were corrupted by the imposition of Christian ideas about gender and sexuality. One Indigenous man admits that the Navajo youth at the time, the turn of the 20th century, “were having their culture rubbed out of them” in an attempt to make them conform to their heteronormative, white, Englishspeaking peers. Finally, after a lengthy, albeit highly educational introduction to the gender and sexuality beliefs of the Navajo, we get to young Fred’s story, set in a small town outside of Cortez, Colorado. According to a family friend, Fred
identified as gay. Fred used his mother’s make-up, borrowed his mother’s purses, and sometimes went by “Frederica.” Sometimes Fred was bullied and assaulted at school, or sent home for wearing women’s clothing. In one such incident, his mother went to his principal’s office to defend her son. A girl had been wearing the same shoes as her son. “Why can that girl wear those here and my son can’t?” she asked. Still, he hid many other abuses from his mother, likely contributing to his first failed suicide attempt. “Why did you do that?” his mother asked him. “Because people hate me,” he replied. Interestingly, Fred’s family and the people around him never stuck a label on him. They never called him gay, or trans*, or
even queer. “He was just Fred,” a neighbour asserts. Sometimes, we take our society’s labels for granted. One Two-Spirit Navajo woman interviewed says that it is not a question of tolerance, but of actually belonging. People can be tolerant of someone who differs from their perception of the norm, but that doesn’t mean they respect this person, or want to welcome them into their lives. One night, Fred told his mother that he was going to an annual carnival that was held in Cortez, and that he’d be back right after. He never did. He was followed by one of his “friends,” chased into an unoccupied, shrub-infested area off the main road, and struck repeatedly in the head with a rock until he died of his injuries. His body was found five days later.
According to the police report, there was little left of his face. His mother put two pictures of him on his coffin: one picture of him as a young man and another from a day where he presented as feminine, equally celebrating all of him. Fred died at the age of 16. The movie ends, after a 65-minute run, and almost everyone in the audience has a tear-stained face. Although it suffers from fragmented editing, few documentaries have been so effective with such a tight budget – around $248,321, according to IMDb. Two Spirits is a difficult film to forget, as its graphic imagery etches itself deep in the mind of the viewer. It’s hard not to be moved by this tragic biography of someone who only wanted to be himself in a world where people fight difference and celebrate conformity.
Unfit to Print The latest Unfit to Print is called... Young Artists at Work. For the past few days, a tidal wave of visitors have been stopping by the Unfit to Print studios (also known as CKUT 90.3). They all wanted only one thing: to share their original poems, songs, and prose with you. Tune in to enjoy the best of young and mostly McGill talent – it may just inspire you to start doing some creating of your own. Sit back and allow hosts Gavin Thompson and Tim Beeler guide you through a stud-studded half hour.
Premieres today on mcgilldaily.com – just go to the “Multimedia” section and scroll down to Unfit to Print!
The McGill Daily | Monday, February 4, 2013 | mcgilldaily.com
Azzedine Maghrabi Club Balattou 4372 St. Laurent February 5 9:00 p.m. $10 Azzedine Maghrabi is a gifted Berber oud player from Algiers whose music reflects the cultural exchange between Iberia and North Africa that has occurred in Algeria for centuries. Referring to the style as “Arab Andalusian,” Maghrabi asserts the syncretism of Spanish and Algerian influences in his work.
Resonance Reading Series Resonance Café 5175 Parc February 5 9:00 p.m. Free
Illustration Amina Batyreva | The McGill Daily
Integration on the airwaves New third-language radio stations for Montreal communities Celine Caira Culture Writer
hat purpose does radio serve in your life? Does radio keep you up to date with the latest top 40 hits and pop culture trends? Or, like many in our generation, has it been years since you have even thought about touching a dial? Canada’s vast, varied ethnic landscape has often lead to the marginalization of certain groups. For this reason, Phillip Koneswaran and Jenoshan Balasingam of AGNI Communications Inc. filed an application earlier this year for a low-power FM station – 102.9 – which plans to feature 100 per cent ‘ethnic’ programming – no French or English at all. About half the programming would be in Tamil, a dialect spoken in Southern India and parts of Sri Lanka; the rest of the programming would be in many languages – from Somali to Nepalese. The station would consist of a variety of programming, but for the most part, the goal is to help ethnic groups integrate into the mainstream Montreal community. This project raises questions about the relevancy of radio in the age of the internet, and whether this broadcast platform will be successfully help integrate ethnic youth into the Canada’s francophone community. The need for a Canadian presence on the airwaves arose during the 1920s as a way to protect Canadian culture from American influence. Today, crown corpo-
rations such as the CBC aim to define and preserve Canadian culture through a wide variety of daily programming. The CBC radio’s program “Q” with Jian Ghomeshi debates compelling cultural trends in Canadian life and has garnered the largest audience, in its morning time slot, of any cultural affairs program in Canadian history. Radio is not dead, and Canadians across the country feel that it is essential to critically explore our diverse Canadian cultural landscape. Koneswaran and Balasingam hope to provide a unique type of programming with a view that will capture the attention of a younger ethnic demographic. Although there are currently several stations that provide a mixture of foreign-language and bilingual English-French programming, such as CKUT 90.3FM, a Montreal campus/community station, there are none that currently cater to young Tamil, Sinhalese, Nepalese, Somali, Ethiopian, or Malay speakers. “We have done our research and found that these communities have been neglected due to their small size,” says Koneswaran, who filed the application. According to him, the existing foreign-language stations in Montreal do not provide programming to any of these communities at the commercial level. Despite radio’s gradual decline in popularity amongst a younger demographic, Koneswaran is positive that young generations will tune in. “Although there may be a cultural and linguistic barrier that exists between the younger generation of ethnic commu-
nities, most of these people still listen to music in their native languages,” he said. The proposed station will provide a variety of programming including hit music, which they hope will attract ethnic youth, a large number of whom live within the proposed parameter for the low-power station. Koneswaran is hopeful that the local FM station, which will also be streamed online, would be able to compete with the online content that already exists in these languages. “We plan to accomplish a distinguishing factor by programming the proposed service with a high degree of local content,” he said. The inauguration of such a radio station is especially pertinent within francophone Canada. According to Koneswaran, “the integration of ethnic communities in Montreal is much slower than in other parts of Canada.” This is most likely because immigrant and second-generation communities face the challenge of integrating not only into the larger Canadian context, but also into the francophone community. Koneswaran believes that such ethnic groups in Montreal should integrate into Quebecois society. The new radio station aims to facilitate this process. Since the station will target younger generations within these ethnic groups, there is a greater possibility for smoother cultural integration, as youth learn and grow while preserving their cultural heritage within the FrenchCanadian context. Despite strategically targeting the next generation within these
communities, the efficacy of such ethnic radio programming as a mechanism of cultural integration, given that the programming is exclusively in a third-language, is questionable. While there is an undeniable need for thirdlanguage radio programming to serve immigrant communities, it’s unclear how this would fulfill the goal of reducing barriers to full participation in Quebec society. Program developers are confident that the application for the ir100 per cent ethnic radio station will be approved. Montreal is an ethnically diverse city containing language groups that are currently underserved, or not served, by existing radio stations. This new station plans to fill the cultural gaps experienced by these communities and provide them with a reservoir in which they can maintain and develop their languages and cultures within the context of the French-speaking Canadian community. Our own Canadian history is proof that despite recent leaps in social technology, the merit of radio as a medium of propagating culture cannot be denied. Once approved, the station is expected to be on-air within six months. Are you Tamil, Sinhalese, Nepalese, Somali, Ethiopian or Malay? Want to get involved? The ethnic radio station plans to include university students in their programming. Until then, the current application is open for comments until February 15 and any support is encouraged. Please contact Phillip Koneswaran at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and inquiries.
Resonance is a charming newish addition to Parc’s Mile-End strip. This reading will feature several talented McGill and Concordia alumni who have settled into the city’s Anglo lit scene.
Let’s Talk About Sex 372 Ste. Catherine West Room 127 (Belgo Building) February 5 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. $10 Let’s Talk about Sex is a workshop hosted by Alternative Lifestyles Community Centre designed to improve your sex life through communication. The ALCC is devoted to providing information about kink and fetish practices in a helpful and non-judgmental manner, designed to enhance safety and pleasure.
Henry / War Witch (Rebelle) Cinema du Parc 3575 Parc February 5 to 7 7:00 p.m. $8.50 for under-25 War Witch is a film by Canadian director Kim Nguyen who travelled to the Congo to make a drama about child soldiers. Hailed by critics, the film will be preceded by Henry, a Quebec short film. Both movies have been nominated for Academy Awards this year.
Hosanna TNC Theatre Morrice Hall (3485 McTavish) February 6 to 9, and 13 to 16 8:00 p.m. $6 students, $10 general Hosanna is TNC’s new production about a drag queen, living in 1973 Montreal, who is trying to understand their own queerness as well as their place in the city, “fluctuating between poles of existence in an attempt to land on the naked truth of who they really are.”
volume 102 number 30
Talk (and the Summit) is cheap
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For the past four months, we have been exposed to a nauseating amount of coverage of the Parti Québécois’ (PQ) summit on higher education. Pierre Duchesne, the Minister of Higher Education, has been touting the conference as a way to address some of the grievances expressed during last year’s student strike. On the government’s website, we learn that the talks are aimed at building “a consensus” around university funding, and that “no options are off the table.” But these promises, it seems, mean very little to the government. Last week, Duchesne described free education as “unfeasible,” and PQ Premier Pauline Marois has repeatedly indicated her preference for an indexation of tuition fees to inflation. The PQ is thus either lying or suffering from a bad case of cognitive dissonance: it continues to peddle its Summit to students while simultaneously stifling discussion. Free education is not just an option to be dismissed a month prior to the actual conference. For many students, including the 40,000 members of the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ), free education was the end goal of the student strike. It is not surprising, then, to see that the association has repeat-
edly threatened to boycott the talks altogether. The Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), on the other hand, continues to toe the government line. Its president, Martine Desjardins, claims that Duschene and the premier could still be persuaded to enact a tuition freeze. This is hardly surprising considering that the ties between FEUQ, the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) – its sister organization – and the PQ, are fairly obvious. In November, FEUQ’s media relations officer left the student association for a job with the PQ, and Léo Bureau-Blouin, the ex-president of FECQ, is now a close advisor to Marois. For all intents and purposes, FEUQ and FECQ are nothing more than preschools for future PQ associates. With this kind of representation from student groups, it is evident that there is no way forward through dialogue. Despite its ambivalence toward the summit, ASSÉ has urged students to mobilize. If students wish to see a more inclusive and accessible university system, then they should make themselves heard by other means.
— The McGill Daily Editorial Board
Errata In the article “Arthur Porter, Multinational Man of Mystery” (Features, January 31, page 8), The Daily incorrectly stated that the McGill University Health Centre has a $115-million deficit. In fact, the $115 million is a projected deficit. The Daily regrets the error.
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The McGill Daily Monday, February 4, 2013 mcgilldaily.com
lies, half-truths, and LATERS POTATERS COMMUNIST HATERS
“When adversity knocks...”
hen adversity knocks, I roll up my sleeves and get down to work. So it was this week, when a City of Montreal water main opened up and unleashed a massive flood on our downtown campus late Monday afternoon: biblical, emphatic, torrential. Three adjectives, all of them descriptive of me. I write to praise all those who sprang into action to kiss my feet while I limited the damage to buildings, and kept my wine cellar safe, as well as those who then began the arduous, round-the-clock work of assessing my 74 Persian carpets and 16 Fabergé eggs – material damage, or a broken soul, you decide. I started mopping up where I left off: beneath the stars, above my 1948 Bordeaux. The Greeks praised Bacchus – they dined and they laughed and they played – and you, well, you admired flesh and blood – my flesh and blood, my cells and tissues, fractured with stress, erect with tension – stand proud as the waves lashed against my face (proud features, proud soul). I held the tide, and you swelled with pride: the waves of light caressing the air between us, absorbing passion, perfection. It is possible – nay, probable, given the fragile state of those 1948 Bordeaux – that had I failed, all campus would have been covered in a red as deep as the blood of God’s own wounds: tannins have never tasted such fortune as they did that day. The University held. The students remained. And I? Fatigue
itself, with just enough energy remaining for one last salute, noble, emphatic, to the gods – to virtue – who made me, who gave me my strength. I, who saved you when mother nature herself unleashed her treasured strength upon your frail and almost-broken bones. Who dared deny the truth that day? Those who rescheduled dozens of classes on short notice also deserve our applause. Like floundering salamanders, the obedient can do no more than obey – give them, too, their dues, forgive them their trespasses on virtue’s promised ground. I needed no help, though help’s coming left none in doubt of my power, divine. You may tell many stories of that day: there are many to tell. But, pray, let me ask that you lavish praises on other soul’s but mine: your acclaim can lift me no higher than where I already rest; angels have nothing to repent; the most golden of words cannot plate gold itself. So, instead of focusing your eyes upon my shining, golden body, mention the Engineers: mortals among you. The Engineering students and faculty who slapped together a makeshift dike to divert water away from the entrance to McConnell Engineering reminded me of myself in infancy: decisive, brave, incisive. And, too, praise those Arts students, living beings all, who moved quickly to protect their costumes – clothing is only for mortals, you cannot dress the divine, I ride free: the air bends for me, coursing around my feet, my fingertips, my mind – from dam-
Photo Hieronymous Chanski | The McGill Daily
The campus is the door; the principal is your guide. The sign? Your campus: her mind. age. From annihilation. Water’s seaward descent will not pause for the threads of mankind’s mortal silks. What is bound to flow to the ocean will flow. I also want to thank all of you affected by this incident who had to adjust around disrupted classes, and disrupted consciousnesses. Closed out office spaces led to opened out mental topogrophies; your minds are butter for my knife. I am the blade. You coped with patience and cooperation, pitching in to work
extra time and to help colleagues and students deal with difficulties. And to deal with truth, effervescent as always. Some of you work in offices that will be out of service for a significant period of time – your time will end. It is I, the timeless, who must carry the pain forward: I will try, but in my eternal present grief mingles with 1948 Bordeaux, tears with weighty reason, spirit with leather: my world is union, run. Teams are working hard to get these spaces back on line as quickly
Republicans blast Obama
ric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, blasted Obama last Saturday for his vow to address “the threat of climate change” during his second presidential term. “America has rejected environmental extremism before, and will do so again,” said Cantor in a statement made shortly after Obama’s inauguration speech. “Increased regulation of America’s coal and oil industries will not only harm our economy and put countless Americans out of work, but to claim that we have a moral duty to keep America clean for future generations flies in the face of contemporary philosophical wisdom.” Thumbing through his copy of Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons, widely considered a classic treatment of problems in metaphysics
and ethics, Cantor continued, “I believe that an action is wrong if it causes American people harm. But surely our president realizes that the supposed harm to future generations affected by pollution is vastly preferable to implementing a jobkilling carbon tax, because if the tax were implemented, these people would never have existed.” “I’m not saying there wouldn’t have been a future generation, but the causal effects of, say, banning fracking on the grounds that it poisons the water and pollutes the air would entail that the future generation wouldn’t consist of the same people,” Cantor said. “The government coming into our homes and forcibly installing low-flow shower heads will drastically affect which people are actually born, since it will affect if and when potential parents meet as well as when their children are conceived, which determines children’s genetic make-up and, by
extension, their personal identity.” Cantor spent the next two minutes searching his highlighted copy of the All Souls philosopher’s magnus opus for a particular passage concerning a naive woman who speculated about who she would have been if her parents had married other people, or had conceived her at some different time. Upon finding the relevant text, the representative from Virginia’s seventh congressional district put on his poshest English accent and read, “In wondering who she would have been, this woman ignores the answer: ‘No one’.” “And isn’t it better to exist rather than not exist?” asked Cantor, his accent starting to waver. “Judging by our commander-in-chief’s shameless pandering to the environmental lobby, Obama doesn’t seem to think so.” “Also, as Bertrand Russell said, you can’t spell ‘environmental extremism’ without ‘evil’.”
—Prof. Heatha Mama-Boom Principal and ViceChancellor Divine McGall University
City of Montreal wins infrastructure award
Cite “environmental extremism” and “non-identity problem” Lyndon Johnson The Twice-a-Weekly
as possible – but my time is forever, I see it all, and it never ends – and to do their best to make sure you are comfortable in your temporary work and study spaces. Your temporary lives. The McGall community responded to this disaster with speed, efficiency, and calm professionalism of which we can all be very proud. Warm regards,
La belle ville praised for quality of “engineering” and “longterm planning” Euan EK The Twice-a-Weekly
he City of Montreal has been awarded the Royal Certificate for Building, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a city. The prize, awarded by the Royal Institute for Bricks, is awarded annually to the city that best demonstrates “planning, diligence, and accountancy.” This is the fifth time Montreal has won the award in the past decade. The award committee praised
Montreal for “the quality of its architecture, and their forwardthinking.” “Rather than cut corners in order to save money for shortterm political pet projects, Montreal has always chosen to make environmentally and economically sound investments in the future of its infrastructure,” read the award citation. “Moreover, many thousands of visitors marvel at the wonder of the Turcot interchange and its gravity-defying pillars each year: a true lesson in building tourismfriendly interchanges.”