How gentrification is changing the face of Montreal
Volume 103, Issue 4 Monday, September 23, 2013
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The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
$20 registration fee for Mental Health and Counselling Services cancelled
Fee for mental health and counselling cancelled The ties between hope and anarchy Electoral politics go green Romanians protest mining project A closer look at gentrification in Montreal Photo essay: Moreau Lofts Post-grads hold year’s first general assembly Admin talks Leacock restructuring First Senate meeting of the year
Student workers need a paradigm shift The need for high school consent education Letter to the editor
12 FEATURES Going up north
The missing link to Mars On neural regeneration The overabundance of mobile apps
16 HEALTH & ED
Student Services will find creative solution to budget cuts
McGill sports scoreboard Meaningful meaninglessness in baseball
Indie gaming at Comiccon A material world Speedy Ortiz’s poetic indie rock 21st century burlesque
McGall set to drag everyone down with it The Weekly talks hot girls
The PQ’s charter and Canada’s ‘us vs. them’ mentality
Dana Wray | The McGill Daily
s of September 20, the $20 registration fee instituted earlier this year to access Mental Health or Counselling Services is no longer in effect. Students who have already paid the fee will be reimbursed. The fee was officially announced on September 1, but after being brought to the attention of the Fee Advisory Committee, it was determined that the $20 would constitute a mandatory fee and therefore have to be subject for a student referendum before it could be approved. Jana Luker, Executive Director of Student Services, told The Daily in an interview that this was a best case scenario. “It’s something we didn’t want to do in the first place [... so] in the end, it kind of worked out well.” According to the press release, despite the loss of revenue that the fee would have brought in, there will be no reductions in service. Luker also pointed out that the staff hired in anticipation of the income generated by the fee are already on contract, and so waiting times should not be affected by the cancellation of this fee. The $20 registration fee was implemented in May for Mental Health Services, and in the beginning of September for Counselling Services. Although the direct fee was thought up years ago to increase accessibility to Mental Health and Counselling services, Luker told The Daily, it was because of deep budget cuts that the fee was implemented. Mental Health and Counselling Services both fall under the funding of Student Services,
which lost almost $500,000 after universitywide budget cuts. Although 70 per cent of Student Services’ funding comes from student fees, 30 per cent comes from the University’s operating budget. SSMU VP University Affairs Joey Shea expressed her support for the cancellation of the fee, but cautioned against taking it too positively. “I definitely think it’s a good thing [for students]. I also think we have to be careful about thinking it’s too much of a good thing, because it should never [have been] there in the first place,” said Shea. Dr. Vera Romano, Director of Counselling Services, said that Counselling Services welcomed the cancellation “since Counselling Services is deeply rooted in the social justice model” with respect to the services offered. Romano also added that Counselling Services places “paramount importance” on accessibility to students. According to Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Ollivier Dyens in the press release announcing the fee change, there was a significant amount of support from students for the fee. Luker echoed this statement: “We never had any pushback from the students, they were so supportive,” she said. Now, it is up to Student Services and the administration, along with a variety of working groups, to come up with new ways to find more money for Mental Health and Counselling Services.
“Given the pressing and growing need for these services, we will take steps to reallocate resources within Student Life and Learning and we will actually try to improve the service, even without the fee,” Dyens said in the press release. “We are hoping to keep the service open longer, in fact, and once we get the new details in place, we will make them widely known.” However, the reallocation of resources will be through “nickel-and-diming” or innovative initiatives, Luker said. “I just want to stress that this is not going to be at the expense of something else, because that’s not an option. And we aren’t going to go to referendum, so we’re not going to find another way to make students pay more, because that’s the whole point, is getting away from that. I think it’s really about more creative ideas.” The 15 or 16 session cap for Counselling and Mental Health Services, respectively, will remain in place. “Obviously it’s the same thing: no one would be denied further treatment [... but] we’re going to try and maintain a sort of short-term therapy model without being limiting,” Luker said, adding that the average person usually only had around six sessions. “We think that if there’s the goal and people know that, they’ll be working with the clinicians towards that goal,” Luker added. According to the press release, the future of additional funding for Mental Health and Counselling Services will be discussed at the joint meeting of Senate and Board of Governors on November 12.
Anarchism and Hope
Accessibility is not universal
Local anarchists shine light on misrepresented philosophy
William Mazurek and Jahanara Rajwani | News Writers
ocal anarchists gathered Thursday night to discuss the need for hope in their community. The event, which took place at Bar Populaire on St. Laurent, was held to promote the launch of the zine Anarchism and Hope written by local anarchist, journalist, and activist Aaron Lakoff. Lakoff ’s zine is the second zine to be published by the two-year-old Montreal-based Howl! Arts Collective, which describes itself on its website as a collective of artists and activists working for social justice issues through artistic expression. Over 50 people from the anarchist community attended the event. The engaged and supportive group was quick to dispel the myth of anarchism as a force of violence. “Anarchism has often been perceived as violent [and] inherently chaotic,” said Lakoff in an interview with The Daily. “My response to that is nothing can be actually more chaotic than the current state of the world. There is nothing sane about living under capitalism, about people having to sell their labour for shitty wages, for people to have to breathe in all the toxins that are in our environment, for oil pipelines to be built
across the country. That, to me, is insanity, and I think what anarchists are actually proposing is a world based on sentiments of mutual aid and on love and passion.” This sentiment was the basis of Lakoff’s zine, which he first conceived of three years ago. “Amongst anarchists, there is this really unfortunate sense of cynicism,” said Lakoff. “I started writing the zine after the G20 protests in Toronto a few years ago where some of my really good friends were in jail [...] and people just kind of lost hope.” Migrant justice activist Mostafa Henaway explained the concept of hope in an anarchist community at the event. “When we talk about hope, it’s that people [are] able to regain a sense of agency over their lives.” “You see anarchism every day,” remarked Henaway. “You see people making decisions collectively through consensus, you see people reject unjust authority [...] it’s not a very radical idea. What may seem radical is the way in which people perceive anarchism is trying to get there.” While to some, anarchism and hope may not seem connected, to Henaway, “They’re intertwined. [...] Especially working with
people who are precarious workers [...] it’s either they have hope, or capitalism breaks them down.” “Bureaucracies are this way to keep us oppressed,” Lakoff stated. “They’re cold, they’re faceless, they’re hard to navigate, and they’re essentially made to disorient people. The beautiful thing about anarchists and what anarchism is trying to do is break through those bureaucracies by trying to put forth a more human way of interacting with each other.” Howl! Arts Collective member Stefan Christoff highlighted the need to spread ideas and create discussion on the subject of social activism. “We wanted to publish Aaron’s text on anarchism [...] because we felt it was important to create a publication that could be shared with others [and] that’s rooted in reflection,” he told The Daily. “Hope is like bread,” Lakoff said at the event. “It’s something that we need to nourish us.” The Anarchism and Hope zine is available at independent bookstores around Montreal or online at howlarts.net.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
A conversation on green space in Montreal
Environmental advocates discuss going green in an election year Joelle Dahm and Emma Noradounkian | News Writers
n light of the upcoming Montreal municipal elections on November 3, two prominent local environmental groups held a public meeting on September 18 at l’Église Notre-Dame de la Salette to discuss environmental crises in the greater Montreal region and their prominence – or lack thereof – in the current electoral agenda. The public discussion began with the ongoing project of creating a greenbelt in the greater Montreal region. A greenbelt is typically defined as protected green space or park that can include forest, wetlands, marshes, and meadows, and that helps keep an urban area such as Montreal pollution-free. Les Partenaires du Parc Écologique de l’Archipel de Montréal (PPÉAM) – in English, “Partners of the Montreal Archipelago Ecological Park Project” – is an environmental group and coalition working to promote a greenbelt since 2007. In 2011, the Green Coalition participated in public consultations with the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM). The Coalition submitted a request that the CMM’s Land Use and Development Plan (PMAD) include the creation and protection of a greenbelt. After 400 groups filed briefs in support, CMM ultimately added the goal of a greenbelt to the PMAD’s outline. Additionally, the PMAD calls for the conservation of 17 per cent of greater Montreal to maintain biodiversity. But Sylvia Oljemark, founding president of the Green Coalition, noted the PMAD’s slow pace. “We are in 2013 and there is still not a hell of a lot of movement in this plan,” she told The Daily. “Without the greenbelt, there will just be condos as far as you can see.” In her opinion, many of those condos are unneeded. “To me, that’s only a proliferation of greed,” Oljemark said. David Fletcher, the vice president of the Green Coalition, added to the conversation by criticizing municipal candidates for a perceived lack of concern for natural spaces. “[Excluding Projet Montréal], the other electoral candidates in Montreal, with embarrassingly few natural spaces left, have made no mention of a conservation imperative in their platform, and we have heard nothing favourable from Laval candidates either,” Fletcher said.
Irmak Taner | Photographer Fletcher also pushed the need for a green agenda in the upcoming elections. “We have [the] power to make an impression on the people that govern us and on the people that now seek to govern us,” he continued. “It is clearly very important that we now talk [about] this issue of preserving [natural spaces], and ensure that it becomes part of the political dialogue between now and election day. We need to make sure that it is resounding enough that all of the parties of the provincial level hear the message.” Other members of the Green Coalition and environmental activists expressed their own concerns, such as the ongoing controversy over the condo development that will potentially destroy Parc Oxygène in the Milton-Parc neighbourhood. In 2008, a change in zoning laws to allow development on the land put Parc Oxygène – a small green space maintained by MiltonParc residents – in danger. The Milton-Park
Community, the local co-owners’ association, has fought to save the space ever since. Norman Nawrocki, a resident and active member of the Milton-Park Community, told The Daily that the CMM – which heads up the Land Use and Development Plan – the city council, and a member of Projet Montréal, Alex Norris, all promised to help, but the public had yet to see any tangible results. “We are still fighting by ourselves – up until two weeks ago,” he said. “Two weeks ago, they decided it was time to take action. Two weeks ago, after four years of non-stop activity by citizens in the neighbourhood, looking for the support of Projet Montréal to back us up against a developer.” Norris said during the meeting, “What we did upon taking office was to seek assurances that the land will be protected, and we obtained those assurances.” “Our responsibility is not only to protect
green spaces, but also to manage our budget,” he added. Fletcher ultimately emphasized the holistic nature of environmental reform. “We’ve all been redefined socially as consumers and workers, there is no other definition for us. We need to stop looking at ourselves that way, we need to start looking at ourselves as valuable human beings that have other dimensions that need to be fulfilled,” Fletcher said. “Green has to stop meaning green bags, and has to start meaning what is in the heart and soul of each one of us, but what we have been deprived of for so long. And that is the opportunity to get out into the nature. [...] We’re living in a place for termites and rats, not for people.” At the end of the meeting, the attendees decided on a declaration of intent, and planned a follow-up meeting to create more elaborate plans for spreading their message and seeking public support.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Canadian gold mining in Romania
Thousands take to the streets to protest proposed project Jordan Venton-Rublee | The McGill Daily
n September 15, a group of around 30 people gathered at Sherbrooke and McTavish to protest a largescale mining project taking place in Romania. Most of the group walked in a circle holding signs and banners, some chanting and banging tambourines, all with the mission to gain attention from passersby. One of the organizers, Manuela Oanes, told The Daily, “We are here today in solidarity with the thousands that are protesting across Romania.” Oanes continued to explain that the Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC) was seeking to create the largest open-pit gold mine in Europe in the Rosia Montana area in Transylvania. Oanes also noted that the project is 80 per cent owned by Gabriel Resources, a Canadian company based in the United Kingdom. “We want Canadians to know that mining companies from Canada a lot of times don’t always act ethically and morally in countries that are less developed, or maybe [where the] legislation isn’t as good,” she said. *** Over 7,000 kilometres away, in Bucharest, Romania, a mining project was finally greenlit on August 27 after 14 years on the backburner. Days later, on September 1, activists and citizens began to take to the streets to protest the project. Alexandru Predoiu, one of the organizers of the protests and a member of Militia Spirituala, a non-governmental activist organization, told The Daily, “On the first night [that] we saw the law had been drafted, had been put into Parliament, some other people put together a Facebook group calling for protests.” Predoiu, who is based in Romania, explained the bill that allowed the mining project to go forward. “It’s a special law that exempts [RMGC], the gold mining company, from environmental laws, constitutional laws – it just offers them the project on the table.” “We are marching through the streets, through the capital and the cities to let people know.” Demonstrations quickly spread across Romania in the following weeks, with protests being held in major cities like Iasi and Brasov. In Bucharest, numbers have swelled at Sunday night protests to as many as 25,000 people, with thousands more taking to the streets across the globe in solidarity protests in places like Gezi, Turkey, and London. *** The Rosia Montana project would see 500,000 ounces of gold extracted per year
over a period of 16 years, according to the company’s website. The region has seen mining taking place as far back as Roman times, up until the present day, with mines in the area previously being used during the Communist period. One of the main reasons people are upset about the project, according to Vicentiu Garbacea, another activist based in Romania who has been present since the protests began, is due to the way the mining will take place. “This project means digging an accumulation lake, with a huge surface, that is going to be full of cyanide,” he said.
Communist party,” he said. “We have had no change of system – just the name changed.” Romania is currently lead by the Social Democratic Party, under the leadership of Prime Minister Victor Ponta. The country began its transition to democracy in 1989, when over 40 years of communist rule ended with a series of protests across the country and culminated with the execution of former leader Nicolae Ceausescu. Despite Garbacea’s view of the government, Maria Popova, a professor of Political Science at McGill, noted, “[The Romanian government] is a democratic regime; it is not an authoritarian regime that is going to crack down and wipe out dissent and go ahead with whatever they want to do.” While both Garbacea and Predoiu are firmly opposed to the project, the same could not be said for all Romanians. Gold miners in the Rosia Montana region were involved in a five-day protest underground where they blockaded themselves in a mining pit 300 metres below ground, and threatened to go on hunger strike if the mine did not go ahead. Additionally, the CEO of Gabriel ReManuela Oanes sources announced that he would take legal Garbacea noted that Romania has al- action against the Romanian government ready dealt with an environmental accident if they did seek to stop the legislation that involving cyanide mining – a project that would allow the project to go ahead. was a joint venture between an Australian In recent days, the government has becompany and Romania. In 2000, a mining gun to reconsider the draft bill put forward accident occurred when cyanide from the on August 27, with the President of Romanearby Baia Mare mining project spilled nia, Traian Băsescu, calling it “unconstituinto a river, causing massive environmen- tional,” according to several Romanian metal damage. Many considered the accident dia reports. to be the worst environmental disaster since Chernobyl. *** “You cannot do anything with the area after cyanide, except for possibly freezing According to Predoiu, the nightly prothe soil forever,” Garbacea noted. “Cyanide tests have remained non-violent, with peogets into the water, it gets into the earth, it ple marching on the streets in large numbers every Sunday night. During the rest of affects everything.” the week, University Square, where people The Rosia Montana project would also have been meeting in downtown Bucharest, see the destruction of three villages and is kept ‘alive’ with teach-ins and volunteers four mountains in the region – involving the handing out leaflets. uprooting of thousands of people from the region and the destruction of ancient Roman mining galleries. Garbacea noted that the company, not the government, would be in charge of moving people. Garbacea explained that the protests are not merely aimed at the mining project, but also at the systemic corruption present in the Romanian government. Vicentiu Garbacea “It’s an escalation of many things, mainly state corruption, and aggressive Western Despite the large number of demoncapitalism,” he said. strators – last week, 25,000 people proGarbacea believes that government cortested in Bucharest – the protests have reruption allowed for the project to begin mained peaceful. in the first place, despite the fact that the “This is a great accomplishment, becurrent government’s campaigns centred cause there had been protests last year that around opposition to the project. had turned violent, but this year, because “Since the so-called revolution in 1989, of us, because of the protesters, we have nothing has changed. All the people and just gone for a peaceful cultured protest,” all the politicians are linked to the former
“We want Canadians to know that mining companies from Canada a lot of times don’t always act ethically and morally ...”
“Cyanide gets into the water, it gets into the earth, it affects everything.”
explained Garbacea. “There has been no reason for violence, beside the normal pushing, maybe a bit of pepper spraying when [the police] feel threatened by the numbers of the crowd,” he continued. Predoiu listed four of the protesters’ specific goals: shutting down the legislation that would approve the project, banning cyanide mining in Romania, declaring the area a UNESCO heritage site, and making the current government step down from power.
“There is nothing political with this protest, there is nothing to gain. We are protesting for basic human and civil rights, the right to clean environment, the right to clean air and not be poisoned.” Vicentiu Garbacea The legislation is currently on hold, according to Garbacea, and a special committee was convened “of representatives from [the] parliament, the opposition, NGOs [non-governmental organizations], the company [... and] civil society involved, in order to debate the pros and cons about the mining bill.” The committee has until October 20 to determine whether or not the bill will move forward. Predoiu believes that the government expects, with the convening of the committee, the diffusion of civil tension – but stressed that the determination of the protesters would win out. “We are going to go on until all the demands are met. […] None of those points are negotiable.” Despite the odds, both Predoiu and Garbacea were proud of the social mobility that has been achieved so far in Romania and across the globe. “It has evolved into a culture of peaceful protest,” Garbacea remarked. “We have been meeting every night, playing, singing, mostly having concerts, a string quartet played a couple of nights.” “I feel very proud about my generation, that we managed to unite finally for a cause, for something that affects us all,” said Garbacea. “There is nothing political with this protest, there is nothing to gain. We are protesting for basic human and civil rights, the right to clean environment, the right to clean air and not be poisoned.”
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Gentrification, Moreau Lofts, and a changing urban landscape A landlord and city’s reinterpretation of artistic space Hera Chan | The McGill Daily til the early morning of September 6, when the 15 occupiers who had stayed the night were forcibly removed by armed riot police. It was 6 a.m. According to Vallée-Rémillard – one of the occupiers awoken to the blare of a megaphone – there were around 40 riot police, with approximately an additional 20 police officers there to take down the camp. With that, the days of co-operative food share, daily general assemblies, live music, and community housing were over. Jonathan Aspireault-Massé, community organizer at the Comité BAILS, said the Moreau Lofts would be a marker on a neighbourhood that had traditionally pushed for social housing. Although he doesn’t believe that Mayor Ménard is working directly with the landlord, Aspireault-Massé indicated that the mayor was indeed complicit in the eviction of the Moreau Lofts artists. “I think the mayor might never have even met this landlord. However, he was very happy about the project that the landlord
“He was waiting for us to be kicked out. That’s the reality.” Isabelle Charlebois
There wasn’t, ‘oh, you have to pay this,’” said Isabelle Charlebois, reminiscing about the Moreau Lofts community that resided in the building at the corner of Ontario and Moreau in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood. Charlebois, a professional seamstress and student at Université du Québec à Montréal, was one of around 100 residents who were removed from their homes following an eviction notice that was doled out on June 5 of this year. The artists who were residing in 34 of the 38 loft spaces, who did not have a certificate for occupancy in the commercial building, were told to leave their homes behind before September, on the premise that the building was breaking various fire code regulations. Although a registered commercial building, artists have been calling the Moreau Lofts their home for over two decades. “Over there I’ve seen the worse trash things I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I’ve seen the best things of my life,” said Charlebois. “As you were entering, it was dark, and they would light up candles all around you. And they would play a song and blow out candles one by one,” Charlebois said, recalling one of the building’s homegrown art events. “The very good thing about this community and the loft is the art, and the sensitivity they provide the community with was really direct and accessible.” The night of one of the art events in 2012, four groups of around 100 people were taken around the lofts, into strange places filled with theatrical experimentations, light, and
live sound production. On the first floor, Charlebois said, there was an upright electric bass player, with two dancers moving around him. The lights were switched on and off, so that when someone walked into the room, the dancers wrote movement in space with flash-
“There’s an elite vision that art is for people who can understand stuff, whereas we felt whoever wants to come in can come in.”
es of bright light. The eviction of these artists will make way for new ones, if the plans of landlord Vito Papasodaro become reality. Papasodaro was reported by CTV News to be planning to invest $1 million to transform the space into another type of artistic lofts, with the full support of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough mayor Réal Ménard. The 38 units will be converted to 70 instead. “There’s an elite vision that art is for people who can understand stuff, whereas we felt whoever wants to come in can come in. It became a public space,” said Charlebois. For over two decades, Papasodaro has
been receiving approximately $40,000 in total rent on a monthly basis from the residents of the Moreau Lofts – but faces accusations of neglecting to cycle enough money back into the building in order to keep it up to the standards of provincial building code. Following repeated complaints filed by residents of the Moreau Lofts, inspectors were sent to evaluate the property’s wellbeing, although, according to tenants, no sufficient action was taken to keep the building from breaking code. The Moreau Lofts were once the site of documentary film La maison des rêves, or The House of Dreams. But in reality, such dreams were often modest in nature. The only dream Guillaume Vallée-Rémillard, one of the occupiers who had stayed in the parking lot of the Moreau Lofts in protest of the eviction, spoke to, was that of a society that would accept a truly mixed-income neighbourhood. “Rich people just want to get poor people evicted. Poor people just want to survive,” he said. *** The Comité BAILS of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve – BAILS being Base Action Information Logement Social, an organization that promotes and defends social housing – later organized an occupation of the Moreau Lofts parking lot, organizing tenants in the struggle against gentrification and for more social housing. The occupation in the lot was to last from September 1 to 3. After that, the occupation continued un-
was developing,” said Aspireault-Massé. “It feels a lot like it was arranged at the end,” said Charlebois, adding, “At the beginning of the summer, we spoke with the [mayor of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve] and he was all for social housing and helping us.” “Finally at the end of the summer, Vito Papasodaro was suppose to provide architectural plans so we could set up all the renovations he was going to do. He didn’t do much until the third of September. He was waiting for us to be kicked out. That’s the reality,” said Charlebois. Fred Burrill, community organizer at the POPIR Comité Logement – which aims to improve housing conditions and provide legal advice to residents in Petite-Bourgogne, St. Henri, Côte-St. Paul, and Ville-Émard – also felt that the timing of the eviction was eerily strategic. “As soon as the landlord, who has done this before in Hochelaga […] had a project that would bring in a lot more money, that’s when the borough was ready to apply all its inspection rules,” said Burrill. “That’s when the borough was sending the police, the fire department, and of course we didn’t see that before.” After occupiers were removed from the parking lot of the Moreau Lofts, city workers came to clear out the remnants of the occupation, which was located on Papasodaro’s private property. “To the audience of The McGill Daily, if they want good tips on how to make their occupation have a better chance to stay longer […] whatever you build has to be high in the sky,” said Vallée-Rémillard.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
*** The beginning of gentrification happens with the conversion of building spaces, said Burrill, who went on to describe the conversion of industrial buildings to residential and other private spaces. According to Burrill, McGill’s conversion of an older industrial building to create the Solin Hall residence in St. Henri set off a wave of gentrification in the neighbourhood. “McGill students, as a relatively privileged population, who circulate around through neighbourhoods without ever making a huge link or contribution to the struggles going on in those neighbourhoods […] definitely play a role in gentrification,” he said. “It’s about how you
chose to participate or not participate in the process.” The change that gentrification has begun to enact on the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood is a microcosm of the city of Montreal as a whole. As gentrification and the promotion of private development becomes actual public policy, the makeup of this city’s artistic spaces will also change. When asked what she thinks the Moreau Lofts will look like in the future, Charlebois answered, “It’s probably going to look trendy, and cute [...] whatever. But it won’t have a soul. The new architecture is really cold these days. I’d be surprised that this building has a soul in two years. I was there two days ago. It felt like a ghost.”
1, 2 | Residents of the Moreau Lofts are relaxing with friends. 3 | Firemen getting into the building. After several false alarms, the firefighters notified the city of Montreal that they would not intervene anymore at 2019 Moreau. 4 | Martin is looking at the result of a new experimentation. He often calls the lofts an “artists’ incubator,” as it’s a place of constant experimentation.
Alexis Aubin is a Montreal-based
photographer who lived in the Moreau Lofts and documented the residents’ daily lives, and later the eviction.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
PGSS takes stand on Charter of Values at General Meeting
This week’s web-only content
High healthcare costs also discussed Tom Portsmouth | News Writer
cGill’s Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) held its first general meeting of the academic year on September 19, during which members passed motions regarding Quebec’s Charter of Values, bylaw changes, and international student health insurance. Voting on issues at the PGSS General Meeting (GM) is different than the procedure used in Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) General Assemblies. With the PGSS GM, passing a motion does not mean any action will be taken, but instead that the PGSS Council will vote on it at a later date.
Quebec Charter of Values Following the lead of McGill professors and of Principal Suzanne Fortier, PGSS addressed the Parti Québécois’s proposed Charter of Values. The motion presented in the GM read, “Be it resolved that the PGSS oppose the Quebec government proposal to limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols by state personnel.” Two amendments to the motion were brought forward by Art History and Communications Studies Graduate Students Association (AHCS-GSA) representative Gretchen King. The first amendment was a resolution for PGSS to send a letter to Premier Pauline Marois expressing the Society’s opposition to the Charter. The second amendment was a resolution to notify
post-graduate students in the event of any mobilizations against the Charter. Both of the amendments were adopted, and the motion passed with strong support. However, a third amendment proposed by King – for PGSS to mobilize post-graduate students in the event of demonstrations against the Charter – was rejected. As one attendee put it, “PGSS is a student society, not a trade union.”
tionment. The amendment would reduce the size of Council, which currently stands at 131 seats. Some students argued that a large council is more representative and should be kept as is, while others branded the size unwieldy, pointing out that PGSS’s council is far larger than SSMU’s council, which has 45 seats. One student pointed out that if all 131 members were to attend the council meetBylaw changes ings, they would not be able to fit into their Out of the 11 proposed bylaw changes designated room, and that the PGSS counin the first motion presented to the GM, cil dwarfs even the US Senate – which has two stood out as contentious. 100 members. The first bylaw change proposed to The proposal was passed, and Council amend the composition of the appoint- size will be reduced. ments board – notably, the motion proposed that two members of the PGSS Ex- Health insurance ecutive would sit on the board. In a follow-up to this summer’s discusThis proposal was challenged notably sions with student union Fédération étuby English Graduate Student Association diante universitaire de Québec (FEUQ) re(EGSA) representative Guillaume Lord, garding the affordability of international who argued that having two executive student health care, a motion was passed members on the board would reduce its that advocated “expanding Quebec Mediuseful role as a check and balance on ex- care coverage to international students.” ecutive power. According to the motion, although inThe bylaw change passed, however, ternational students are treated as Canadiafter PGSS Secretary-General Jonathan ans for tax purposes when working, a QueMooney explained that the proposed bec government directive forces hospitals change was merely a matter of resolving to charge international students three contradictions between PGSS’s constitu- times the Quebec Medicare rate. This has tion and the Society bylaws. led to a skyrocketing of health insurance The second proposed bylaw amend- premiums, which PGSS denounced as “an ment aimed to modify Council seat appor- obstacle to educational achievement.”
Labour troubles next door The ongoing struggle of union negotiation at Concordia University.
Free Tarek and John Canadian political prisoners in Egypt go on hunger strike
What’s climate justice? New workshop series spotlights environmental activism on campus
Divest McGill’s first event of the year A talk on reducing the University’s carbon footprint
Living the revolution A talk on the history of women’s pivotal role in political resistance
Debate begins again on Leacock restructuring Reduced administrative staff poses a potential problem Sarina Gupta and Fin Lemaitre | News Writers
tudents, professors, and administrative staff gathered on September 19 in the Leacock Building for a question and answer period regarding the Faculty of Arts’ People, Processes & Partnerships (PPP) plan. Discussion centered around the administration’s intent to reorganize a diminished administrative staff into a series of ‘hubs,’ each of which would aim to serve students in several departments. Dean of Arts Christopher Manfredi stressed that the aim of the plan was to eliminate inefficiency through the reorganization of remaining administrative staff. “It’s not about doing more with less,” said Manfredi. “It’s about finding things we don’t need to do anymore.” The plan comes in the wake of government budget cuts that have forced the Uni-
versity to reduce costs across the board. To help lessen the blow of cuts, a Voluntary Retirement Program (VRP) was put into place for staff. However, after 255 staff took advantage of the VRP, the number of administrative and support staff for the Faculty of Arts’ 16 departments has shrunk from 59 to 52. While savings from the VRP were significant, totaling $583,000 for the Faculty, the staff downsizing has not gone unnoticed. Department of English Chair Allan Hepburn told The Daily he was concerned about whether a decreased administrative staff would be able to fulfill the needs of multiple departments. “I delegate certain tasks to the people who work for me. I can’t do them. They’re [human resources], they’re finance, and so on. I’m not a support staff person,” said Hepburn.
“[The concern is] how many administrative staff are designated to take care of students,” Hepburn added later. “If you have 1,600 students and you only have four administrative staff to take care of their needs, those staff are responsible for 400 students each.” The PPP plan also calls for the consolidation of 16 independent departments into six interconnected units. As such, support staff may have to relocate and serve multiple departments. Mary Chin, a union representative and member of the Communications Committee at the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA), remarked that staff members “feel very proprietorial and very connected to [their] departments,” and that they “won’t know how to help” af-
ter the move. She then added that the support staff is “concerned about workload.” In answer to a question about how support staff would adjust to changes, Manfredi said, “Obviously we want them to go where they want,” later adding that the plan’s implementation will require a lengthy “transition period.” In a statement to The Daily, Chin questioned the administration’s strategy. “We need to know: are we going to have the time to learn about these new programs and how to help these new students? Whether Dean Manfredi has addressed that, I think the answer was a little general.” Nevertheless, Chin emphasized that she was glad for the consultation process. “It’s important to come and speak and really take up the offer of dialogue.”
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
First Senate meeting of the year Discussion surrounds Charter of Values, budget cuts Dana Wray | The McGill Daily
ust two weeks after she took the helm of McGill, Principal Suzanne Fortier chaired her first Senate meeting on September 20, commenting on contentious topics on campus such as the Charter of Values. Senate has a large say in university and academic affairs, and contains 107 voting members – including senior administration, Deans of Faculties, some professors, and 19 student representatives.
Fortier added, “Already we know that there is a possibility of exclusion – that colleges and university could ask to have an exclusion [from the restrictions of the Charter of Values ...] At the appropriate time we’ll take actions that are required.” As in her interview with The Daily, Fortier also addressed McGill’s much-talkedabout drop in worldwide university rankings. “It is actually astonishing that McGill University keeps its place in the 25 best Fortier comments on Charter of Values, universities in the world, given the very university rankings large difference between our financial sitFortier opened the meeting by emphasiz- uation and the financial situation of many ing that her priorities as principal align with [other] universities,” Fortier said, adding those of the McGill community, but also that it “shows the commitment of people underlined building good working relation- in this community.” ships with universities and governments. A few days ago, Fortier released a statement on the controversial Charter of Values, reaffirming that McGill is committed to promoting “cultural diversity, both in the recruitment of its students and in the hiring of staff and faculty members,” and also to promoting a “climate of tolerance on campus.” On Monday, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and the Faculty of Medicine, along with affiliated teaching hospitals, also denounced the Charter’s proposal to limit “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols. Following Fortier’s speech, SSMU VP University Affairs Joey Shea asked Fortier how the University would “engage the provincial government to protect the rights of staff and students.” “At the moment, [the government has] Suzanne Fortier nothing concrete,” Fortier responded. “[McGill should] use this period as a period of consultation, that’s why it is very impor- Budget cuts tant for us to participate in the consultaProvost Anthony C. Masi gave a report to tion and debate.” Senate on the state of budget cuts at McGill.
“It is actually astonishing that McGill University keeps its place in the 25 best universities in the world, given the very large difference between our financial situation and the financial situation of many [other] universities.”
The University has met 95 per cent of its cost reduction targets after the provincial government slashed $38 million from McGill’s budget last year. “It’s not easy. McGill is a great place, and we do perform at levels far above the funding that we actually have as an institution,” Masi said. He added that after speaking to provosts of American universities at a conference in the summer, it was evident that cuts were not only a McGill problem. To avoid collective dismissals, McGill implemented hiring freezes, salary freezes, and a Voluntary Retirement Program (VRP). According to Masi, it was expected that 30 per cent of the 502 people who qualified for the VRP would take it – instead, 255 people, or around 50 per cent, retired. “[The] total reduction [of positions] still requires that we do things radically different,” Masi said. “The reduced number of people cannot possibly do all the tasks that used to be done.” Fundraising and reports Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal of Development and Alumni Relations, presented the results of Campaign McGill, an eight-year fundraising campaign wrapped up in June 2013, that raised a record-breaking $1.026 billion for the University. One member of Senate, Marc Richard, cautioned Weinstein for future campaigns about situations “when private donations came with strings attached that involved influence in the private structures of the University.” Weinstein affirmed that the campaign was “very vigilant,” adding that several gifts had been declined because of this problem. Two annual reports were also presented on potential problems at McGill: one on the investigation of research, and the
other on harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination. Abraham Fuks, the Research Integrity Officer under the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations), presented the report on the Investigation of Research Misconduct. According to the report, there were only two investigations this
[The] total reduction [of positions] still requires that we do things radically different. The reduced number of people cannot possibly do all the tasks that used to be done.” Anthony C. Masi year – into one allegation of plagiarism, and one allegation of fabrication or falsification. “Protecting the integrity of our research is enormously important, [as is] protecting the reputation of our research,” Fortier commented. The Annual Report of the Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment, & Discrimination Prohibited by Law talked about the educational activities and the amount of complaints. According to the report, in the 2012-13 year, there were 35 complaints received – an increase over the 24 received in the 2011-12 year.
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The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
There is power in a union
The collective strength of student and non-student workers at McGill The Inter Union Council at McGill | Commentary Writer
o you consider yourself a worker? Will you be a worker when you graduate? Students rarely reflect on these questions. Universities don’t encourage this line of thinking, preferring its students to be focused on their potential careers in business, law, or medicine. Many students simply assume they will be in positions of power, where they can have a meaningful say in their working conditions. But for most graduates, this is not the case. Instead, they will enter the workforce in positions where their employer is much more powerful than any individual worker. Many students are workers right now, often part-time or casual, in low-paying positions where they can be easily replaced if they make a fuss about pay, hours, or treatment. Relatively few students can afford to pay their own way or live entirely off of scholarships or money from relatives. Despite this, the public perception of students is, paradoxically, either of rich kids living off of their families, or of poor bohemians living on ramen noodles eaten off of milk-crate tables. These visions often omit student employment, and this contributes to a lack of societal consciousness of students as workers. Jobs for students are seen as a bonus – a way to get beer money, rather than a way to pay rent, buy food, and afford books. Universities suffer from a related problem of perception of work, in that people rarely picture anyone but students and professors on campus. Many students, and all professors, can be counted as workers, but so too can the
Alice Shen | The McGill Daily thousands of employees who work as administrators, librarians, lecturers, technicians, maintenance staff, and in other positions. Student workers and non-student workers often work side-by-side, in offices and laboratories. But because students rarely think of themselves as workers, they rarely believe their interests align with those of their fellow workers. Students who do not rely solely on their job for income can think of their work as temporary. If the pay is low, if the hours are too long or too short, if the benefits are nonexistent, or if the environment is hostile – well, it’s just for a little while, and eventually they’ll graduate. Their co-workers, and students who rely on their jobs for living expenses, often face the same work-related problems, but rarely have the option of leaving. There is an option for workers, student or otherwise, besides ‘lump it or leave it.’ The main issue faced by workers of any kind is the disparity in power between the employer and the worker. If you encounter one of the problems described above, you have little leverage with your employer, largely because you can be replaced. As an individual, you have very little bargaining power with your employer, and your individual resources count for little compared to the power an institution such as a university can bring to bear. The solution to this power disparity is unionization. A union, which is a collective body representing a group of workers, has much more bargaining power than any individual member. At McGill, very few individual employees can bargain on their own
behalf with the employer. A student working part-time in an office, or as an assistant in a lab, has no such power. If you want to improve conditions in your workplace, you need to ask for them. This is more effective when you represent hundreds of employees, rather than just yourself, and when you have the legal and financial resources of a union backing all of you up. What prevents McGill, for example, from simply refusing to negotiate? In part, labour law. A legally accredited union represents its members and can bargain on their behalf, and McGill cannot legally bargain with individual union members. But ultimately, the power of a union in forcing negotiation is in its power to strike. If an individual student worker threatens to walk off the job until their working conditions improve, McGill can simply let them go and hire someone else. But if 500 or 2,000 employees threaten to walk out, and to air their grievances in public, McGill has little choice but to sit down and bargain. In times past, an employer could simply fire all striking workers and replace them with people willing to work in the same bad conditions, or hire thugs to force its employees back to work. Due to the hard work of union activists in Quebec, this is no longer possible. Walking a picket line for a fraction of your usual pay isn’t fun, but it can be necessary. As recently as 2011, the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA) struck for the entire fall semester over cost-of-living salary increases and pensions and benefit plans, and won concessions
over base pay and protection of benefits. In 2008, the Association for Graduate Students Employed at McGill (AGSEM, then representing graduate teaching assistants) went on strike for two months over such basic issues as being paid for all hours worked and standardized methods for recording working hours. Their strike resulted in significant improvements in working conditions, though the University has often dragged its feet when it comes to implementation. There are a number of unions at McGill, some of which represent student workers on campus, and others that represent nonacademic staff. Together as the Inter Union Council at McGill, the unions will be hosting a week of workshops on labour. We will be discussing the working conditions of international students, sex workers, and international workers; the effects of online education on academic workers; the right to strike, direct action in the workplace, and important historical strikes; and the interaction of the labour movement with media. We will be bringing together workers – academic and non-academic, on-campus and off-campus, national and international – to learn about each other’s experiences of work, and the ways in which our separate struggles intersect. Chances are, when you consider it, you’ll find that you are a worker. Come out and join us. Labour Week will run from November 4 to 8, on McGill campus. You can find out more at interunionvoiceatmcgill.wordpress.com, or by contacting email@example.com.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Who teaches consent?
Why Canadian high schools deserve better sex ed
y the time most of us arrived at university, our basic attitudes towards sex and social norms were already formed. Why does it come to a surprise to us when we hear about crude chants being shouted by froshies at universities across the country? Why is the conversation on consent just starting now? Consent education and sex education are the same thing. Why do we only learn about the pure physiology of sex, but not how to use it responsibly? It’s time for consent to be in the sex ed curriculum, and it’s time that we make our university culture one where consent is mandatory, not just recommended. In the past month, two Canadian universities, the University of British Columbia and Saint Mary’s University, dealt with scandals involving frosh chants advocating rape. And those are only the ones that were brought to light – I wouldn’t be surprised if a plurality of schools had similarly problematic cheers. SSMU did a great overhaul of frosh this year, but the chants were crude in years past. The state of sex ed in Canada, while better than in some countries, is still lacking. After researching the topic, I found that most provinces don’t even begin to cover appropriate relations, not to mention consent. Two provinces, Ontario and New Brunswick, pushed for progressive updates to the curricula, only to be continually beaten back by fierce opposition from Christian and parent groups. I was shocked to find that since 2005, Quebec has had no dedicated curriculum and sex ed has been widely left untaught. How are we expected to magically appear at university, informed and confident about our sexual choices, if there’s been no foundation as to what is appropriate? Sex is
Cody Kane | Commentary Writer
Alice Shen | The McGill Daily impossible to avoid – it is everywhere on our TVs, on the radio, and in our schools. Teenagers need the resources and guidance to deal with it. There needs to be an honest dialogue from adults contradicting the attitudes and actions that teens are seeing on their screens. Consent and sex education go hand in hand. I can’t think of a conceivable argument from the socially conservative crowd. Teaching the proper use of condoms can be misconstrued as encouraging youth promiscuity, but teaching about rape and consent is universally agreeable. Little of this can be changed by McGill or its students; this is the domain of the prov-
Letters Centre: a noun for the now Dear Daily, I read with relish Trevor Chinnick’s recent piece about the evolution of St. Henri from district, institution, and enclave into centre. This development is long overdue. For too long this city has been blighted by enclaves, particularly of the working class variety, and districts, especially those of the immigrant type. These are 19th or, at best, 20th century nouns, and their eradication from our town ought have been accomplished by the midnight stroke of the year 2000. As Chinnick, and every rational person, agrees, the history of enclaves (and their even less-reverberant cousins: ghettos) has been one of poverty, insularity, public interest, poorly-manicured lawns, and ancient, fading paintings. I write to express my joy that this city has finally moved away from the world of Van Gogh to the world of Banksy. May all our paint be wet for years to come. I note with greater, onion-flavoured relish, that not only is the area now a bonafide centre, but that other, more avant-garde nouns have found a welcoming home un-
derneath the “majestic bank and impressive fire hall” of St. Henri. The introduction of a “woonerf” is sure to be the final nail in the coffin of the decrepit death “streets” that have lain prostrate on our great city’s floor for far too long. Kill the death streets. But the price of culture is eternal vigilance: evidence suggests some relics of St. Henri’s enclave-past linger on into the centre-present. Some culture-less enclave-dwellers tread the hallowed woonerfs. These remnant-beings are detrimental to cachet. We must improve cachet. So the striving to escape must continue: the working-class roots of death will only expire when all have been cut. Slice the roots of death. The trees of wet paint must flourish. I, for one, look forward to the day when all enclaves have been disbanded, all districts closed. Perhaps then all our centres will be vibrant; all our fire halls, impressive. Until then, stand firm, as stoic as a market, and do culture. Yours in reverberation, Euan EK "Skeleton of a Lost Time"
inces. Frosh, realistically, is not the ideal locale for a dialogue about consent. The focus is (and should be) on having fun and exploring McGill and Montreal. Rez Project is a great start, but only covers students living on campus, and has limited strength as a one-time session. What can be done, with minor effort and practically no change in our learning environment, is cultivating a campus culture that is firmly aware of what consent means, and is unaccepting of anything but. Ideally, the best way for this to happen would be through Canadian high schools. If high schools adopted consent education into their curricula, by the time they arrived at McGill, Canadian stu-
dents would be informed and empowered. It would then become the norm and the rest of the student body would follow suit. But we can’t wait for the provincial legislatures to catch up with the times. Even something as simple as professors, during the add/drop period, putting a slide at the beginning of their lectures that outlines what consent means would go a long way in raising awareness and creating discourse. It’s little things like this that will help make McGill a place where rape is not tolerated.
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The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Odyssey to the great white north A summer of canoeing and polar bears Evan Dent | The McGill Daily
or three days this summer, I pretty much only thought about polar bears. At night, every rustle outside was a polar bear; during the day, every rock on the horizon might be one, and when we saw paw prints by the side of the river, I nervously tried to figure out exactly how fresh the prints were, as if I were some kind of animal-whisperer. I was one of four guides on a 32 day canoe trip this summer, with eight campers. The trip started on the Pipestone River in western Ontario, where we travelled East towards Winisk Lake. From there, we went 250 kilometres (km) North down the Winisk River, which eventually flows into Hudson Bay, far enough North for polar bears to be a legitimate issue. Near the end of the trip, we got a report that a week before, basically right where we were planning to sleep that night, another group had been woken at 2:30 a.m. by a nudge on their tent; it was an adult polar bear (roughly the size of a minivan, and one of the few animals left that eats humans in the wild). The group scared it off and, for some reason, decided to go back to bed. About a half hour later, they woke up to the same bear sticking its head into the vestibule of their tent. They scared it off again and wisely decided to book it to their final destination. Once we heard this news, we did the same and got out of there. Thus began a three-day period of hysteria, as we paddled 80 km in sleet the first day, then 50 km, then bust out 40 km on the last day till the end. I’ve spent my summers at Camp Pathfinder since I was nine years old. I’ve been staff for five years now, and, beginning last year, a lead guide (headman) on canoe trips. The camp is based in Algonquin Park, Ontario, and this year marked the 100th anniversary of the camp. Because it was the 100th, the camp sent out this trip down the Winisk. It doesn’t sound like a big deal to anyone else, but the Winisk has been played up for me for about 5 years now: when I was 15, about to be a camper on a 25-day canoe trip down the Rupert River (which has since been dammed, RIP), the guides teased us, telling us we were going down the Winisk, just to fuck with us. “Yup, straight up into Polar Bear [Provincial] Park. We’re gonna bring a gun, too.” After that, it was always the go-to joke: “Yup, this year we’re doing the Winisk.” Always a joke, until this year, when our Director of Canoe Tripping led me to a map and told me: “You’re going [on] a canoe trip this year. Up here [he points to the Pipestone River] and then East, then up here, all the way up here [Hudson Bay].” My mind made the link: the Winisk. I was going North. The Director told me this in the last week of June; we were set to leave on July 9. What followed were two weeks of intense planning and outfitting. I was so excited, and nervous, that I almost cried multiple times just walking around. It’s a lot of responsibility: I was to be one of four staff in charge of eight kids for
Jack Sladden | Photographer
Limestone cliffs on the Winisk River a month straight, in the middle of nowhere. When people say “the middle of nowhere,” they’re often exaggerating. This was really the middle of nowhere: even the smallest civilization was days away by canoe, and medical help was also far, far away. If we screwed up – whether it was an injury, or a broken boat – it would not be an easy fix. The packing wasn’t easy either, as we spent days organizing gear and food for 32 days (with some extra, just in case). It was mind-numbing work, and incredibly stressful too, because if you forget just one thing, it can torpedo a part of the trip. Half our food we took with us; the other half was to be shipped by air to a First Nations community halfway through the trip. The kids were all 15 years old and all Americans. They had all been coming to the camp for a number of years, so they knew what they were getting into. Before the big trip, we took them on a short training trip to a set of rapids so they could hone their whitewater skills. Paddling in whitewater is still kind of a terrifying experience for me, and I could tell some of the kids weren’t totally comfortable either, but over two days they improved enormously. Anticipation builds until finally, everything’s been packed and we’re off to the train station for an 18 hour ride to Savant Lake, Ontario. There are three trips from our camp going to the same area; one trip is going on the Asheweig, which flows into the end
of the Winisk, and the other two are going down the Pipestone and Winisk. The trips are staggered such that none of the three trips will see each other till the end of the trip – and my trip goes last. After the other trips leave, we wait in Savant Lake (the closest thing I’ve seen to a modern day ghosttown) and time stretches on. Once we finally leave and actually reach the water, we begin with a small rapid immediately; the rest of the day is spent on small, fun rapids that can be run with all the gear in the boat. We get to one set that we have to portage around. I carry my boat to the end and notice that our head guide, James, is walking gingerly and isn’t carrying his boat. “I heard my knee pop. It sounded exactly like the time I tore my ACL the last time.” Shit. The whole trip is nervous and worried, as an evacuation and replacement would take days. Plus, leaving this trip as it starts would be devastating. James decides to gut it out; for about ten days he can’t carry his boat, and he wears a brace, but manages to make it through the whole trip. The Pipestone, after the first day, turns into burnt-out forest. Massive forest fires ripped through the area in the past couple of years, though they were mostly root fires, so the trees still stand on trunks of ash. On a particularly bad portage where the path is covered in fallen trees, the remaining branches twist over our head, creating a black canopy. On the second day, we reach a campsite on a burnt-out esker next to a
huge set of rapids. The ground is covered in ash, and the campsite is littered with burnt trees – it looks like God’s ashtray. (On a related note: a huge forest fire ravaged the Eastmain region in Northern Quebec this summer, and, because the land was First Nations, and much of it unprofitable, the federal government did little to help the region until they absolutely had to.) We’ve reached a point in the trip where ‘brain-rot’ is starting to form. Brain-rot, basically, is the result of spending all of your time with 12 people in the woods, with no external stimuli. There’s no new pop culture to consume, no new jokes to be heard; everything that comes is from inside a warped mind. Over the course of the trip, everyone acquires about seven nicknames based on anything from ‘pokemon names’ to ‘funny pronunciations’ or just weird observations. Anyway, the campers go wild on this campsite, grabbing sticks and ripping down the dead trees, which are exceedingly easy to take down. One camper runs by me, yells “MY LANCE!!!” and goes to town on the trees. It’s a clear night, so I decide to keep the fly off my tent and stay up to see the stars. This far North, though, the sun doesn’t fully set till about 9:30p.m., and the sky stays light for a while afterwards, obscuring the full night sky. I’m reading to stay awake, getting close to bed, when I decide to look one last time. There’s a green streak across the sky. I yell to James and Mike over in the other tent, “Um,
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
A group of polar bears at Hudson Bay guys, you should check out the sky.” The sky is dancing for us, shimmering green and sliding across the sky. There are streaks of orange within the green. It’s obscenely buggy outside – mosquitoes swarm my hands every time I try to take a photo – but none of us wants to stop looking. It’s only day two on the river and we’ve already seen the best Northern Lights we’ve ever witnessed. And we’re only going farther North. It can actually get better. The cool thing is that the landscape changes every couple of days, from burnt-out forest, into more mature forest, and then off the Pipestone into a large chain of lakes. These days are not as exciting; it’s a string of days of all paddling, with barely any current. The weather cooperates on our biggest lake, and we’re able to rig up a tarp sail to cruise down the lake. On another lake, Chipai, a rainstorm comes in around 2 p.m. and the driving rain continues till midnight. We set up our tents on a small beach in the rain (my tent-mate, Joe, has a terrible idea for setting up the fly of the tent first, which ends with us sleeping in a soaked tent), cook in the rain, and eat in the rain. We go to sleep hoping for the rain to end, though still laughing; the campers have placed their tent too close to the lake and a wave or two hits them in the night. It may sound hackneyed to non-Pathfinder people, but I truly do believe Pathfinder people are not fazed by anything. In a couple days time – around 14 days into the trip – we get off the chain of lakes, onto the ‘upper’ Winisk and into Winisk lake, the headwaters of the Winisk proper. There’s a small First Nations community, Webequie, where our food for the rest of the trip has been dropped off. We decide to go into town and try to find a local with a place to stay on the lake; instead, the owner of the local grocery store lets us stay on his lawn. Webequie is accessible only by air or winter roads. It’s a small community with two long dirt roads running through, houses on either side, and a community centre in the middle of the town. Walking through, it’s hard not to recognize our own privilege as white
outsiders; the houses are squat and simple, the road unpaved, litter scattered about. Life in these First Nations communities is certainly not easy – employment is limited, and food costs are exorbitant because of the price it takes to ship anything there. We take the campers to the grocery store, where campers and staff alike buy the delicacies they’ve missed these past two weeks – candy, soda, fresh meat, and vegetables. It’s weird though, this sensation of passing through – 12 outsiders spending some money, sleeping on a lawn, then departing the next day. This is vacation for us, life for them. After a hearty breakfast – doughnuts and Dino Egg oatmeal included – we set out to the Winisk river. For the whole trip, we’ve been going East-Northeast, but now, looking at the maps, we’re going straight North, 250 km or so. The weather, which so far has been mostly sunny with a cold wind, gets colder and colder, even if the sun comes out – my long underwear stays on for about three days straight (gross, I know, but oh so warm). The Winisk itself features a forest further thinning out, as we start seeing less and less birch trees. There are big rapids at the beginning of the Winisk – it takes careful planning and execution to ‘sneak’ around the bigger features – and we get through mostly unscathed. We’re ahead of schedule, so the days are leisurely – only about 20 km a day – and we spend a couple of rest days on nicer campsites (basically, campsites we didn’t have to create ourselves). The fishing is absurdly good – at points, it’s not even fun, as we pull out eating size walleye and brook trout with ease for our dinner. After about five days though, the rapids abruptly end: we’ve dropped off the Canadian Shield, the geological feature that’s under most of Southeastern Canada. Now the shore is mostly shoals and the forest is made up of scrub bush and small jackpine. So, the 80 km day. We wake up at 4 a.m., eat a small breakfast of granola, and start paddling the river, which is all flatwater at this point. It’s bitterly cold; at one point, it begins to sleet, though we continue on in hour-long paddling sessions. We’re so rotted at this point
Michael Szymkowiak | Photographer that we sing ‘99 K to the Bay’ to the tune of ‘99 bottles of beer’ and, for maybe the first time since I was ten, I finish the whole song. After another tough day, we have about 40 km left till Peawanuck, our end point. We decide to wake up at 3 a.m. (we had run into one of the other trips, also pushing towards the end, and wanted to beat them) and go for it. It is, again, bitterly cold – four degrees Celsius or so – but, once we get out into the boats, we’re treated to another Northern Lights show, and, after another couple hours of paddling, we reach a limestone gorge. It’s an amazing scene, almost indescribable; I feel tiny beneath these huge, ancient cliffs, through which water has flowed for thousands of years before me, and which will continue after me. We arrive to Peawanuck, another small First Nations community, just in time for ‘Creefest.’ Creefest is a gathering of people from neighboring communities in the Hudson Bay/James Bay area for community games, music, and food. All three trips have arrived, so 36 outsiders show up to Creefest. Thankfully, they are nothing but kind, offering their food to us (caribou, geese, even swan), playing tug-of-war against us (we lose to the women of the community), and letting us enjoy their live music with a friendship dance, in which every camper finds a local dance partner. Walking back to our campsite – a 2 km walk down a dirt road – we’re again greeted with outrageous Northern Lights. We make jokes about how they’re ‘boring’ now, having seen them so much, but we can’t look away – green and purple ring the sky from all directions. We arrived in Peawanuck three days early, due to the polar bear scare, and so each trip spends one day going out to Hudson Bay proper. (Peawanuck is 30 to 40 km from Hudson Bay. The old First Nations community, Winisk, closer to the Bay proper, was completely wiped away by a flood in 1986.) We’re last, again, and get rave reviews from the other trips that return – “We saw a polar bear! And a beluga!” – which makes us all the more anxious – what if our trip isn’t as good? We’re driven out in motorboats, for about an
hour, to about where the river meets the Bay. The tides and winds aren’t cooperating, so instead of driving out into the Bay, we have to hike on land. The ground around the Bay looks like a different world; it’s muddy, with small bushes and grass everywhere, interspersed with large swaths of vibrant flowers. Our guide to the Bay brings us to a spot where he points out a white blob on the horizon, indicating a polar bear, though even with binoculars it’s hard to tell. “Do you want to go further?” he asks, and we have to say yes. It’s not good enough yet. But then, after another hike of 30 minutes or so – and weeks of anticipation – we stop and see five polar bears; two mothers, one with a single cub and another with two. They’re the biggest animals I’ve ever seen outside a zoo. The cubs themselves are the size of black bears. The mom with her two cubs is walking in our direction, and we’re downwind, so they just keep coming, so close that our guide loads his rifle. It’s amazing and slightly terrifying all at once. The mother eventually sees us, but, instead of turning away, turns perpendicular to us. As we walk back to the boats, they walk parallel to us, always in sight. The image burns into my brain. The next day, we took a flight on Air Creebec back to camp. What follows is the weirdest adjustment period of my life; for a month, I’ve been living in the woods, the real woods, separated from anything but my 12 friends, who I’ve grown to love. My brain was rewired – used to the bush. Getting up, paddling and portaging, eating a fire-cooked meal, seeing the Northern Lights – that all became extremely normal. As I write this, I feel like I’ve done the trip a disservice. There’s something inexpressible about the experience, about intensely bonding with 12 people, about living out there, about weathering every storm that came our way, everything. All I can say is that I’m extremely thankful I could do this, that I could learn so much, and, I exhort you: it – whatever the word for it is – is out there. Go and get it.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
When the red planet meets the blue marble Is the Earth’s icy coating its missing link with Mars? Christopher Cayen-Cyr | Sci+Tech Writer
mong the many wide-ranging fields of science, few are as interdisciplinary as astrobiology, a fairly recent branch of life science that finds its roots in disciplines as varied as astronomy, chemistry, and geology. The latter started playing a pivotal role in the development of this field in the recent past; as it turns out, the best way to understand how life blossoms in the universe might be to look at its only known cradle of life: the Earth. Specifically, the requirements for life can be most interestingly observed in the austere environments of our planet’s polar regions. Indeed, the mysteries of the Arctic and the Antarctic have intrigued many generations of scientists in the making. Wayne Pollard, a professor in the Department of Geography at McGill, is no exception. “As a kid, I always had this fascination with the North, something you could compare at the time with the Gold Rush,” explained Pollard passionately. “However, it wasn’t until graduate school that I got to make my first experiences there.” A PhD centered on ground water research in northern Yukon later, Pollard still had the drive to learn from the poles. Following a postdoctoral fellowship with the Geological Survey of Canada and some work with Memorial University, he started his work at McGill. This included more research around permafrost, ground that remained under the water freezing point for more than two years. “I was interested in observing how climate change related to the melting of permafrost, and in the changes of arctic coastal landscapes,” the geologist explained. As his work on permafrost dynamics unravelled, Pollard added a new perspective to his scope of action after being approached for an unexpected collaboration.
“I was now the research director of two northern research stations, one of them being the McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS) on Axel Heiberg Island, in Nunavut.” Interestingly enough, this acronym soon took a whole new meaning. “A picture from a nearby lake captured the attention of NASA researchers, who saw an opportunity to study the conditions on Mars, as well as on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.” Titan, a moon of Saturn, and Europa, a moon of Jupiter, are known to have icy surfaces, and it is believed those coatings might conceal oceans. The possible presence of liquid water on other astronomical bodies has long been a focal point of astrobiological research. “While water isn’t an absolute requirement for the development of life, it certainly helps it considerably,” he adds. As NASA became more interested in Pollard’s research, he took the initiative of sharing even more interesting hydrological features with them. “I showed them what we called perennial springs. The presence of minerals in water depresses its freezing point. Given that the temperature of permafrost can be warmer than that of air, this allows the water under the ice to rush on the surface.” This opened a whole new door on the study of water behaviour in cold climates. Indeed, many sub-zero structures on other planets could be better understood by improving our understanding of our own mystifying hydrological systems. The distribution of ground ice and ground water, which can be analyzed with the help of a ground-penetrating radar, is one of those important elements. The latter is instrumental if we ever want to understand the possible presence of water on Mars, or Europa. The collaboration, which began in 1995 and received the support of the Canadian Space Agency, has lasted ever since. “Us-
Alice Shen | The McGill Daily ing the Arctic as a planetary analogue has become an important part of our research, and we’ve published many papers on the subject in the past few years.” Comparisons between the Earth and Mars have always generated interest. Amidst their contrasting features, general similarities can still be noticed. “Venus, the Earth, and Mars have all evolved along a common geological path. Naturally, their respective positions in the Solar System, among other factors, have shaped their differences, Venus being too warm and Mars too cold for life as we know it. However, they remain very close geologically when compared to gas giants like Jupiter, which has a different structure.” If life was ever to be found on Mars, the odds are it would be in the form of a fossil, as its conditions were closest to that of the Arctic around two to three billion years ago.
While these insights from the past fascinate scientists from all fields, the future of Mars remains difficult to predict, as we still have a lot to understand. If the conditions on the ‘Red Planet’ got even further away from those on our own planet with time, exactly how Earth-like could Mars ever be? When questioned on that subject, Pollard opts for a careful approach. “Despite my work on planetary analogues, I’m still not an expert on Mars. It does lack many of the Earth’s vital aspects, such as its tectonic activity and the regulation of its moon.” However, its future is still unpredictable. “I suppose Mars could get slightly more Earth-like at some point under certain conditions. If its rotation axis became more inclined, for instance, some changes could occur.” While Mars still holds many mysteries, some can now be studied from the comfort of our permafrost.
Repairing and regenerating neurons Finding a solution for brain and spinal cord injury
he Fournier lab at the Montreal Neurological Institute is working to answer a fundamental question: what happens after a nerve cell gets injured? Damage to nerve cells in the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and the spinal cord, often means permanent damage due to these cells’ limited capacity to repair and regenerate. Unlike many other cells in the human body, adult nerve cells in the CNS cannot spontaneously repair. Hence, damage to the spinal cord can result in permanent paralysis to the body parts below the site of injury. Alyson Fournier and her lab are working to decipher the underlying reasons behind these damaged neurons’ failure to repair themselves. One of the possibilities that has been identified is the presence of inhibitory
Diana Kwon| The McGill Daily cues in the direct environment surrounding the injury site. Finding the molecular basis for these cues is a question Fournier and her lab are actively seeking to understand. “It’s become clear over the past several years that the reason is because the inhibitory molecules are there to some extent to limit too much plasticity in the adult CNS,” Fournier told The Daily. Plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to change and adapt. During the growth stages of the nervous system, from embryonic development to early childhood, neurons are extremely adaptable to environmental stimuli. As the brain ages, this ability is lost in certain areas, namely the brain and spinal cord. “A certain amount of hard wiring in the adult CNS is needed to have very intricate and sophisti-
cated functions,” Fournier told The Daily. Inhibitory cues that limit this plasticity become an issue when nerve injury happens in adulthood. “After a nerve cell injury, there is a lot of trauma, and a lot of damage to the [cell], and a lot of inhibitory molecules are released,” explained Fournier. The Fournier lab’s primary interest lies in targeting and identifying the mechanisms of these inhibitory molecules. They hope to pinpoint what exact events are occurring inside the damaged cell. In cells, the molecules attach to targeted receptors to cause a series of actions that will bring about various events. In this case, inhibitory molecules prevent neural growth and regeneration. Fournier and her lab hope to identify these targets in order to overcome the inhibitory responses in
the damaged nerve, and promote repair. Because brain and spinal cord injuries are almost never the same each time, this puzzle is not an easy one to solve. Fournier hopes that by addressing this question at the very fundamental molecular level, they will solve the bigger problems. Fournier’s research holds potential for treatment of spinal cord injuries by saving nerve cells before function is permanently lost. Her research is one part of a broader effort to solve these issues. From Fournier’s viewpoint, “It’s only a small piece of the pie, but if we can find a solution to promote plastic response in a damaged cell, it can work together with other strategies.” Visit mcgilldaily.com to see the accompanying infographic.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
An app for everything
Clicking through the graveyard of broken dreams Jeremy Schembri | Sci+Tech Writer
Robert Smith | The McGill Daily
n app for a harmonica, various woodblocks, iBeer, a flashlight, and a slew of other mobile applications (or ‘apps’) fill up the digital shelves at the Apple App Store, Google Play, and BlackBerry World to occupy and waste the time of its would-be users. Currently there are more than one billion smartphones in the world and over one million apps on Google Play alone. These numbers are only going to increase as more and more people use their phones instead of computers. The Daily looked at some useful, and not so useful, apps being developed in Montreal. Apps have risen in popularity over the last few years mainly due to the increased capability and lowered prices of some smartphones. Scalable cloud computing services reduced the cost and hassle of hosting and open-source tools. Libraries also decreased the amount of time needed for development. The recession reduced the chances of getting a job, liberating many peoples’ free time. There has also been an increase in start-up accelerators such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Montreal’s FounderFuel, whose month-long boot camps are designed to help small (mainly software) businesses succeed, and hopefully create the next big thing. All these factors create an environment with an increasing number of solutions to a decreasing number of problems. The app market is notoriously tough, and you need some luck to succeed if you
are not a big name. About half of all app revenues are made by just 25 gaming and entertainment companies such as Rovio, Zynga, and Electronic Arts. With that in mind, The Daily talked to a few foolhardy app companies in Montreal on how they are attempting to make a splash in the ever growing pool of the app industry. Kutoto is an app designed to create a marketplace to get tasks done locally and by trusted people. This app provides a digital space where people can post and bid on services such as: cleaning an apartment, a lift to the airport, or fixing a sink. Julien Cassis, one of the co-founders of Kutoto, told The Daily that he chose to develop this app because he believes apps are poised to become more location specific, always on you, and simple to use. Kutoto is not unique and is competing head-to-head with other apps such as Bidzy, Zaarly, Thumbtack, Redbeacon, eBayHire, Angie’s List, TaskRabbit, Exec, and many more. After about a year of running the app the founders realized that the majority of sales were driven by cleaning homes, so Kutoto did what is called a ‘pivot’ in start-up lingo. A pivot is when a company changes its main business strategy to a different one, in this case cleaning tasks, instead of persevering with their original business model. They now have around 200 users and Cassis remains optimistic on Kutoto’s future. After hearing that a friend’s cherished bike got stolen, Alex Petraki – another Mc-
Gill graduate – decided to set up an app to help prevent bike theft called BikeWatch. Bike thefts are common in Montreal, with more than 2,500 bikes lifted each year. However, police estimate the actual number is likely higher as people sometimes do not report the thefts. Petraki first tried to simplify the process of filing a stolen bike report with the Service de police de la ville de Montréal (SPVM), but hit a roadblock with their internal policies. So instead, he made BikeWatch as an app to let bike owners in Montreal know when a member of their community had their bike stolen. The goal is to have other cyclists act as lookouts for a stolen bike, monitor dangerous locations, and take stock of their bikes. It also acts as a social media platform where people can sell bikes or parts and exchange messages. BikeWatch has roughly 1,000 users; no word on if it has caught any thieves yet. The next app looked at had a bit more traction and was OOHLALA, an app to connect and enhance your campus life. This app is used by students to manage hectic academic and social lives, in order to get the most out the university years. We sat down with Danial Jameel, one of the co-founders and a University of Toronto graduate, who decided to centre his company in Montreal because of its student density. This is Jameel’s third startup, and OOHLALA grew out of one of his previous projects – a website designed to
offer discounts to students from local merchants. After working with student councils he realized a disconnect between how the University distributes information and how students actually get it. Today’s information is fragmented and instant, and this app was created to help collect all this information from personal schedules, club events, social activities, and friends’ availability into one dashboard. OOHLALA now operates in over 50 campuses across Canada and the United States, with their strongest presence in Toronto and Montreal. It is popular among first-year students, as one in four at the University of Toronto and McGill are trying it out. Only about one in ten start-ups survive, and the back pages of an app store are becoming a graveyard of unused apps. Even those chosen by tech experts don’t always succeed. FounderFuel, a highly selective local Montreal accelerator, had 30 per cent of the companies that successfully completed their boot camps in Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 go out of business. Of the 100 billion apps that are downloaded each year, many are tried once and then forgotten. For an app to stay relevant, it needs to provide something different from the million other apps that are a click away. Yet the reality is that most apps are repetitive and do not provide effective solutions to any real problems. Only time will tell if these Montreal apps have what it takes to go up against the giants.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Accessibility is not universal How McGill perpetuates ableism Ralph Haddad | The McGill Daily
e rush up the stairs of Morrice Hall, or run up the hill to the Education building, late for our next class. We run down more stairs to catch the metro; we walk through the barriers at the beginning of a supermarket so we can grocery shop, and stand on the never-ending escalators at the Cineplex, anticipating our upcoming movie experience. Most do these things without a second thought, but these are the people who don’t happen to be in need of a wheelchair, crutches, canes, walkers, and the like. We can use our limbs to their full capacity. The fact is, physical mobility is a privilege most people take for granted. This is ableism; an often indirect or insidious discrimination in favour of the able-bodied, and it is at the very basis of our society. Some of us can’t get to class in a building without elevators, or can’t get past the barriers at Milton gates. Some miss out on a decent bite to eat because most places are inaccessible to people with limited mobility. I use the term ‘limited mobility’ in this article, as it does not only encompass people with physical impairments, but also, for example, those who need to use canes or walkers, parents with strollers, and people with broken limbs. Our modern capitalist society is based on getting ahead. In essence, it is built on staircases, and it revolves around staircases. McGill’s campus is no different. “McGill is way behind,” asserted Ahmed El-Geneidy, Associate Professor at the School of Urban Planning. “[It] considers people with limited mobility as second-class citizens,” he says, because the University has barely broken any ground in terms of retrofitting all the buildings in order to make them fully accessible. In El-Geneidy’s opinion, maintaining the historical facade of a building (an argument used against incorporating ramps into old buildings on campus) should come secondary to ensuring that all students and staff, able bodied or not, can easily get where they have to go. “You do not even have a campus map that tells you how to get from point A to point B in a wheelchair,” he continues. “A person with a limited mobility should not be stopped from taking Arts or Engineering [because of the way the campus is planned].” In order for McGill University to advertise itself as an institution open to everyone, it needs to make sure that the campus is 100 per cent accessible to all, and, according to El-Geneidy, “[needs to] place people with limited mobility as [its] top priority.” “You’re the first person who comes and talks to me about [accessibility], after seven years [of being at McGill],” El-Geneidy tells me. The university does not accompany text with Braille everywhere for the visually impaired, captioning for the hearing impaired, or even disability buttons for opening doors in every building. The fact is the same: there are efforts, but they aren’t enough. Rather than investing in new benches for students, “I would take some
Carmen Fenech | Illustrator of that money to make the campus more accessible to people with limited mobility,” explains El-Geneidy. “The campus is poorly built for students with all kinds of disabilities,” Frederic Fovet, Director of the Office for Students with Disabilities at McGill (OSD), told The Daily. “The argument you will hear is that the buildings are historical […]”, he said, “We still have a reflex where we think about access at the end, [this] is very costly, [and] it is not dignified to certain people.” The Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et de la Technologie du Québec (MESRST) gives half a million dollars to McGill annually (the same amount is also given to other universities) in order to improve access to buildings and facilities. The problem is not whether funds are available or not – they clearly are – but rather a lack of executive decision. Lydia White, Associate Provost (Policies, Procedures and Equity) at McGill, is in the process of setting up the Universal Access Capital Projects Working Group, which would allocate the funds given by MESRST to the University, effective this term. White told The Daily over email that “The Working Group will solicit, receive, and prioritize eligible proposals for capital
projects to improve access to our buildings and facilities for persons with disabilities. Recommendations will be presented to the Provost for final deliberation and decision.” “There’s light at the end of the tunnel [...] but this is still retrofitting. A separate issue is universal design and access,” argues Fovet. One of the problems is the failure to hypothesize that people would have a problem with accessibility before a certain project is undertaken. Great examples of this issue are the barriers at Milton gates, which the Director of the School of Architecture, Annmarie Adams, calls a dreadful addition, adding that, “The very design of them assumes an able-bodied tall person, as the swinging arm tends to hit the rest of us mid-body or even hits kids in the head. Imagine what it will mean for those in wheelchairs or with canes.” Another example all students are struggling with is the construction on the entrance to the Redpath Library; it is currently physically impossible for a student with limited mobility to access the library through the underpass – the only entrance. Furthermore, if a student with limited mobility is registered in a class that is located in a non-accessible building, the OSD still has to contact the faculty and change the location of the whole class. “It still goes through
that hands-on plugging holes [approach], because we have a number of buildings that aren’t accessible,” maintains Fovet. A huge equity and human resources problem also exists, since employing new staff with limited mobility is difficult given the current state of campus. In terms of other impairments (such as sight or sound), accessibility is very sporadic and non-standardized. “Every time someone thinks about access they push it back to this office,” Fovet explains, “but it’s not the end with this office. Everyone on campus has to get ownership of access and that’s not happening.” Individuals should not brush it off because the matter may not concern them; they should be the ones to mobilize in order for change to occur. Fovet affirms that a person doesn’t need to know someone with limited mobility to be conscious of disability and universal access. “I think it’s important for people to go through the deconstruction of ableism; that you are in a position of privilege because of your health or because you are not using a wheelchair,” he adds. Historically, McGill has been an ableist institution, but Fovet is hopeful. There have been improvements, especially in the OSD, and Fovet optimistically declares that, with a little awareness, McGill could become a leader of accessibility in Canada.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Scoreboard Team Records (W-L-T)
Redmen Football 2 - 2 Martlet Soccer 3 - 4 - 2 Martlet Rugby 2 - 2 Redmen Baseball 3 - 5 Redmen Rugby 2 - 0 Redmen Lacrosse 5 - 0 Redmen Soccer 3 - 4 - 3
Recent Results Martlets Rugby, vs Concordia Soccer, vs Concordia
L 15 - 17 W3-1
Redmen W 48 - 17 Football, vs Mt. Allison L 25 - 45 Football, vs Sherbrooke L2-3 Hockey, exhibition at Western Hockey, exhibition at Western, vs Waterloo L 2 -4
Redmen continued Rugby, vs Stade CEPSUM Soccer, vs Concordia Baseball, vs Carleton Baseball, vs Carleton Baseball, vs Montreal Baseball, at Concordia Lacrosse, vs Nippissing Lacrosse, at Bishop’s
W 10 - 6 W 4 -2 L 3 -4 W 15 - 7 L 2 -9 L 2 -11 W 20 - 2 W 12 -10
Upcoming Games Martlets 9/27 - Soccer, vs Laval* 9/28 - Hockey, at Providence (NCAA) 9/29 - Hockey, at Northeastern (NCAA) 9/29 - Rugby, vs Bishop’s * 9/29 - Soccer, at Concordia 9/29 - Volleyball, vs Ottawa, exhibition 10/4 - Basketball, vs Carleton, Exhibition * Redmen 9/24 - Lacrosse, vs Concordia* 9/26 - Baseball, vs John Abbott College * 9/26 - Rugby, vs Bishop’s* 9/27 - Soccer, vs Laval * 9/28 - Baseball, at Ottawa (double header) 9/28 - Football, at Concordia
6:30 p.m., Molson Stadium 1 p.m., Macdonald Campus 6 p.m., Love Competition Hall 9 p.m., Molson Stadium 7:30 p.m., Gary Carter Field 8 p.m., Molson Stadium 8:30 p.m., Molson Stadium
After taking the Shaughnessy Cup 32-19 at home two weeks ago, McGill looks to beat Concordia on their turf, improve conference record
9/28 - Hockey, vs UQTR, exhibition * 9/29 - Baseball, vs John Abbott College * 9/29 - Soccer, at Concordia 10/3 - Basketball, vs Memorial, exhibition * * denotes home games
7 p.m., McConnell Arena 7:30 p.m., Gary Carter Field 7 p.m., Love Competition Hall
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Just another game
A meaningless game that meant everything Lewis Krashinsky| Sports Writer
Alice Shen | The McGill Daily
aseball is different. The season spans over 6 months and is 162 games long. That’s twice as many games as the National Hockey League and ten times as many as the National Football League. It typically takes at least 90 wins for a team to qualify for the post-season and only 10 of the 30 teams will actually make it, a smaller proportion than in any other major professional sport. A team’s performance often isn’t even evaluated on individual games but on stretches of play over periods of weeks or months. So why tune in to watch a single game? It was near the end of July, one of those midsummer nights that at the time seem endless, but in hindsight seem all too brief. I decided to take in a west coast game. I watched either because I was eager to see a decently played ball game, unlike those by my pitiable Blue Jays, or because I pathetically had little else to do (which is more likely the case). It was the formidable Cincinnati Reds versus the lowly San Diego Padres. I had no real allegiance to either side and my one hope was that I would see the Reds’ renowned Cuban closer Aroldis Chapman. Both starting pitchers were impressive. For the Reds it was 25 year old right-hander Mike Leake, who would go on to sport an impressive 3.35 ERA (Earned Runs Average) with a WHIP (Walks and Hits Per Inning Pitched) just over 1.2 for the season. Effectively mixing speeds with good movement within the strike zone, the artist-like Leake was able to limit the Padres to just four singles. He retired 12 of the final 13 batters he faced en route to putting up 7 scoreless innings of work. Leake’s counterpart, right-hander Sean O’Sullivan, refused to be out-matched. Making only his third start of the year for the major league club and with a career ERA close to 6.00, calling his performance ‘surprising’
is an understatement. For every bit of pretty neatness in Leake’s performance, O’Sullivan responded with what seemed to be only raw gutsiness aided by a little luck. O’Sullivan allowed ten base runners to reach base but never gave in. He stranded nine of them and left the bases loaded twice in his six strong innings. His only blemish was a sole run in the fifth when Reds centerfielder Derrick Robinson tripled off the wall and was brought home by a groundout. Both teams’ late relief out of the bullpen was first-rate, with no runs being ceded by either club. As most pitching-duels go, the game quickly and quietly proceeded to the ninth inning, with the Reds clinging to a 1-0 lead. After the Reds went down painlessly in the top half of the inning the stage was set, much to my delight, for Chapman. The Reds signed the six foot four inch lefthander to a 5 year, 25 million dollar contract in 2010 as an international free agent after defecting from Cuba. Since then Chapman has been one of the most dominating closing pitchers in the game. In 2012 he had a sparkling ERA of 1.51, while striking out a ridiculous 122 hitters over 71.2 innings. His feature weapon: an unrivaled four-seam fastball that averages 100 miles per hour (mph). As Chapman emphatically dug into the mound at San Diego’s Petco Park he seemed imperious to all on-lookers. The sound of his pitches slamming into the catcher’s glove seemed to represent all the financial might of the playoff-bound Reds. Many of the loyal home fans, undoubtedly questioning why they came, knew that their destiny was likely another defeat, the tight score making it all the worse. This could have been just another game. Chapman could have closed the door to get the save, and the Reds would have been one step closer to a playoff spot. Fortunately for the San Diego Padres, baseball doesn’t always
work like that. The first batter to step in against Chapman was Padres first-baseman Yonder Alonso. The count quickly moved to 2-2 before Alonso even pondered swinging. Chapman’s fastball moved like a dart, but he was losing control of it. He reached back and delivered the fifth pitch at an astounding 102 mph, but well low of the strike zone for ball three. Chapman’s next offering missed low once again, giving the tying run a free pass and the hometown fans a glimmer of hope. Padres manager Bud Black, playing the lefty-righty odds, decided to bring in the right-handed Chris Denorfia as a pinch-hitter to face Chapman. A grizzled veteran of eight major-league campaigns, Denorfia has never been an All-Star, has never been to the postseason, and has been frequently demoted to the minor leagues throughout his career. The Padres signed him to a minor league contract in 2009 after the Oakland A’s let him walk, and have had little trouble re-signing him three times since. The 32 year old journeyman, with a pinch of chew subtly tucked in the pocket of his cheek, stepped into the batter’s box against the team that originally drafted him in the 19th round more than ten years earlier. He could not have been more different from the pitcher he was facing. An unheralded, aging bench player facing off against the person who has thrown the fastest recorded pitch in baseball history. Denorfia knew what was coming and wasted no time. Chapman delivered a 98 mph fastball right down the middle and Denorfia unloaded on it. He drove off his back leg, aggressively rotated his hips, extended his arms while keeping his hands low, and timed the ball acutely. All in one motion, all in a fraction of a second. It was a swing that coaches will replay in video rooms. It was a swing that evidently took thousands of hours of practice.
And it was the swing that ended the game. The ball travelled more than 404 feet over the centerfield wall for a two-run walk-off pinchhit homerun, shocking the Cincinnati Reds and all believers in logical conclusions. As Denorfia speedily rounded the bases almost unaware of his achievement, he looked like a hero, if only for the moment. As his teammates eagerly cheered and anticipated his arrival at home, they were winners, if only for the moment. As the sparse crowd of supporters fervently jumped and applauded for their team, they couldn’t have wished for anything more, if only for the moment. Baseball is beautifully unpredictable. Each game has the power to surprise and dismay. Even the ones you just stumble upon. The Reds’ starting pitcher was a budding former first round pick, and the Padres’ starter, who has never logged more than 100 innings in a season, matched him pitch for pitch. The Reds had one of the most sought after international free agents in history as their closer and the Padres’ perpetually overlooked outfielder made hitting his fastball look easier than rounding the bases. The Reds will likely still make the playoffs as the second wildcard team in the National League, a single loss not being enough to knock them from contention. The Padres would go on to lose 10 of their next 15 games, and are currently sitting in last place in their division. They will not make the playoffs, and the season will go down as another disappointment in a list of many. But just for that night, it didn’t matter that it didn’t matter. Just for that night, every Padres player and fan was so consumed in that single spectacular victory that all else seemed inconsequential. This was just one of the 162 games that will be played. Its value in the scheme of the season was low, yet for that fleeting period of time, nothing was more important.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
If you’re not indie, &%$# you
The (sort of) new frontier in gaming at Montreal Comiccon 2013 Naomi Endicott | The McGill Daily
If you’re not indie, &%$# you” was the (only partly) tongue-in-cheek title chosen for the workshop on indie gaming at Montreal Comiccon 2013. Hosted by Execution Labs, an organization that provides mentorship, funding, and growth opportunities to gaming start-ups, it featured a panel of game developers who had ‘jumped off the cliff’ (i.e. quit Ubisoft or EA) into the perilous ocean of independent game design. If descriptions such as “dungeon crawler game with some rogue elements” or “turn-based survivor RPG with some permadeath elements” get your pulse racing and your thumbs itching, there’s a new genre to explore; or rather, a genre that’s been around for ages and is reaching a renewed level of prominence. DIY-designed games made and produced independently of a gaming corporation have been around since the early days of computers, and were certainly springing up like pixelated daisies long before Sony, EA, Ubisoft, and Nintendo came to monopolize the gaming market. But in the heyday of the console-based gaming industry, if you wanted to game, you basically had two options – go to an arcade, or buy a console. Those options necessitated you partake in the industry’s releases, designed by a flurry of worker ants who spent their entire working lives making eyebrows for Assassin’s Creed, and sold for extremely high prices on already-expensive consoles. But with the expansion of cellphone technology, everyone has a potential gaming device in their hands. And with open source avenues such as the App Store and Google Play, anyone can get their idea out there. Another factor that has egged these indie gaming initiatives on is social media. A constant theme at the workshop was ‘don’t make your game in the dark’; launching a Facebook page to promote your project not only gets the word out, but it’s an invaluable source of feedback. Talking to Chris Powell of Imaginary Games (one of the start-ups that Execution Labs works with) after a panel, I was curious to ask exactly what he meant when he mentioned female players were a demographic that wasn’t enjoying 3D graphics as much as 2D. It turns out that Facebook analytics told the group that 70 per cent of those interacting with the page were girls, and that test graphics in 2D received more positive feedback than those in 3D. While this can hardly lead to a conclusion that female gamers are less stoked
about 3D graphics, it certainly seems useful for a creative director. This led me to question Powell about participation of women in the gaming world in general. In his experience, there does seem to be a labour divide. The two women in his group, Imaginary Games, are painters and illustrators (and they comprise two of the three women on all the teams currently supported by Execution Labs, according to information available on Imaginary Games’ website). One of them, a co-founder named Elin Jonsson, recently won the “Most Prominent Female Developer” award at the gaming association Casual Connect. Her prize, as displayed in a photo uploaded to Imaginary Games’ Facebook page, was jewellery from Tiffany’s. There are further challenges facing the indie gaming industry. Jason Della Rocca, cofounder of Execution Labs and host of the panel, pointed out that the big gaming corporations are starting to catch on to the wealth of creativity and motivation driving these startups, and have begun to incorporate this into their latest consoles. For example, the upcoming ‘eighth generation’ of home consoles, and the crowdfunded Ouya, which runs Android software and can be used as a developing kit (this itself is a new genre of console, and could be described as truly ‘indie’). Of course this is exciting; corporations are acknowledging the underdog, providing a platform for creative expression, and broadening the variety of gameplay and open source mentality. But if free games created by indie developers become widely played by major console gamers, who is profiting? The group that gets millions of people playing their game for free, or the company selling the consoles to those players? Already, indie developers as well as established corporation apps are benefiting – to a huge extent – smartphone companies like Apple, as applications become a must-have day-to-day accessory in the mobile communications world. The future is certainly bright for indie developers – the platforms and the technology are out there for anyone to do their thing. But be aware of the dark side: going indie means you are independent in every sense of the word. You are your own PR, legal team, creative director, CEO, CFO, business manager, the whole shebang. Familiarise yourself with the risks, do your research, set realistic goals, and put yourself out there.
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Robert Smith | The McGill Daily
More Comiccon! Gender & cosplay photo gallery
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
The materiality of art
Living in a material world examines the layers of the art object Megan Lindy | Culture Writer
s viewers walk up the stairs of the PHI Centre and into the brightly lit room, they are immediately faced with an odd collection of objects and materials, surrounded by colourful canvases. Living in a material world is an exhibition featuring the work of Montreal artists Paul Bureau and Valérie Kolakis. The contrast of the two artists’ styles makes their combined showing seem like a strange choice. Yet their art is linked by a celebration of the artist’s tools, whether those are as traditional as oil paint or as atypical as an iron bar. The wall directly in front of the staircase has a mirror on it. An iron rope hanging from the ceiling divides the mirror in two. To the left, a stack of wooden chairs – similar to the ones you would find in your high school storage closet – is covered with a sheet of plastic, as if discarded. These cryptic and intriguing pieces are the works of Kolakis. Turning the corner of the large column that occupies the centre of the room, viewers find themselves faced with Bureau’s paintings. Canvases are smothered in layer upon layer of oil paint, accumulating on their surfaces in peaks, slightly raised – like icing on a cake. With their bright, playful colours and textured surfaces, they command the viewer’s attention from the plain white wall. The contrast between Kolakis’ industrial-looking works and Bureau’s paintings is remarkable, yet these works have much more in common in their purpose than they do in aesthetics and appearance. The key word here, as the title of the exhibit points out, is ‘material.’ Both artists strive to explore, discover, and play with their art’s medium in divergent approaches. Kolakis’ “Untitled (Rug)” is a set of differ-
Photo courtesy of the PHI Centre ent-sized, concrete-covered rugs rolled up and leaned against the wall, like Persian rugs in an overcrowded antique store. This atypical material highlights the necessity of texture in defining a specific object. Can we still call these rugs if they are covered in concrete and no longer pleasant to walk on? The viewer is able to hone in on the concrete’s rough surface, its light grey shade, and its rigidity. Similarly, Bureau’s paintings disclose the nature of the material he uses. While Kolakis’ displayed works are monochromatic – a glass panel, the grey rugs, the black iron – Bureau’s are bursting with colour. Like Kolakis, Bureau’s works focus the
viewer’s attention on the material itself, a materiality which in this case happens to occur in manifestations of colour. Four consecutive paintings are sliced through, front to back, to reveal each individual layer of paint, which together built up to the final façade of the piece. Yellows, blues, blacks, whites; all varieties of colours have oozed out of the canvases’ cracks and hardened. In almost every work displayed, Bureau makes the process of painting evident by making incisions, exposing the artistic labour otherwise masked by the final product. Bureau explains that he sees art as something “labour-intensive” in which time is a factor. For him, the process is a
mix of both “control” and “intuition and freedom.” This emphasis on process, and the straddling of choice and chance, can be found in Kolakis’ works as well. Her chairs are mass produced objects that she did not design herself. She has let something external to her creative process decide what her creation will consist of, yet as the artist she has assembled her work as she sees fit. United in method and purpose, Kolakis and Bureau glorify their media by bringing them to the forefront of their work. Living in a material world is showing at the PHI Centre (407 St. Pierre) till September 28. Free admission.
Poetry set to roaring music Speedy Ortiz at La Sala Rossa
peedy Ortiz, the indie rock band from Northampton, Massachusetts, boasts an eclectic roster. Sadie Dupuis, the band’s frontperson and best-known member, has a delicate voice, a somewhat gloomy demeanor, and a hip appearance. Darl Ferm, an electric guitarist, sports, perhaps unintentionally, the early-1990s, all-American grunge look (flannel, jeans, no real edge). Matt Robidoux, yet another electric guitarist, seems to have been taken right out of an English rock band. Mike Falcone, a hardhitting drummer, with his oversized t-shirt and a heavy flow of hair, could have been part of a heavy metal band from back in the day. Together, they form a bit of a ragtag ensemble. It isn’t hard to imagine them practicing in your basement or garage, rather than up on La Sala Rossa’s stage.
Daphne Rustow | Culture Writer Musically speaking, Speedy Ortiz is definitely different than almost everything climbing the charts today. There are times when Dupuis’ voice is struggling to be heard, and it occasionally seems more like she’s visiting from another, quieter act. At other times, the four are in perfect sync, each contributing to an unpredictable musical dynamic, as if each were responsible for pulling the show’s tone in a different direction. The crowd seems intrigued. La Sala Rossa is filled with a casually dressed crowd in their late 20s and early 30s. Some rather large beards and grungy ensembles can be spotted in the crowd, here and there. It is clear that the majority of the crowd is here for headliner Chelsea Light Moving, a New York City band featuring alt-rock legend Thurston
Moore. But Speedy Ortiz still manages to pique the audience’s curiosity. The band continues to lead the crowd into song after song, Dupuis seemingly guiding the other band members with less than a glance at the audience. Her melodic vocals begin to carry the room away, only to be submerged by a tangled mix of beating drum and guitar clashes. So much so, that the music makes her words inaudible and incomprehensible. From what the audience can hear, her lyrics are choppy and poetic, a mix of the singer’s personal anecdotes and her stream of consciousness. Left to interpretation, they could mean just about anything you would like them to, or, then again, nothing at all. Dupuis continues singing, fixing the crowd with a doll-like empty stare; her demeanour
is oddly fitting for her indiscernible lyrics. At times the music is so heavy and distorted that it seems to create glitches in the sound system – although it was hard to tell whether this was Speedy Ortiz’s doing or an issue with the venue itself. Between Dupuis’ indiscernible lyrics and the band’s roaring sounds, there are times when Speedy Ortiz is downright hard to listen to for those uninitiated to the indie or punk scene. But the band doesn’t seem to be aiming to appeal to those who aren’t already into the scene. It’s the few instances in which you can actually hear the band’s new wave experimental sounds, or see Dupuis smile behind her dark expression, that may just keep you searching for more. Otherwise, they carry on as if to say, ‘this is us, take or leave it,’ and they do it well.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
The roaring twenties, with a twist Cirque De Boudoir’s burlesque extravaganza Trevor Chinnick | Culture Writer
Alice Shen | The McGill Daily
he Cirque De Boudoir (CDB) parties provide an experience like no other that’s offered in Montreal and, quite possibly, the world. Beginning as the brainchild of DJ Davidé and VJ Bunnyguts, CDB was created to fill a void in the Montreal party scene. “Montreal, of course, is world-renowned for its amazing nightlife – and we tried everything – fetish parties, electro dance parties, burlesque shows, and more,” they explain on their website. “All of these were great, but we wanted more.” Recognizing the diversity in Montreal’s offerings, CDB set out to create a themed event where these separate arts could converge into one spectacular performance. Rather than limiting itself to a pre-established guideline, CDB simply sets out a theme and incorporates electronic dance music, live burlesque (and sometimes circus) performance, and then tops it off with an element of interactivity with its audience. Attendees, ranging from CDB veterans to first-timers, are not simply there to watch the show; they can also become the show. CDB said of their most recent event, Prohibition, that “the only thing prohibited is determined by your own inhibitions.” September 14 saw the stylized celebration of CDB’s seventh year under this intriguing premise. The clock was set back to the roaring 1920s, with the kitschy yet opulent Le Lion D’Or as the setting for the
evening’s festivities – a theatre which, from its grand beginnings in the 1930s, seemed destined to serve in cabaret and burlesque extravaganzas. It was not just its periodaccurate interior that made Le Lion D’Or the perfect venue for CDB’s soirée. Sitting on the fringe of the Village, Le Lion D’Or has housed its share of Montreal nightlife in its over 80 year lifetime – even surviving a forceful closure ordered by former mayor Jean Drapeau’s campaign in the 1950s, as it was deemed too bawdy for the Public Morals Committee of the time. And so, it seems no stranger to controversy, even welcoming it into its warmly crafted interior. CDB events generally begin around 10 p.m., with the true party kicking off closer to 11 p.m.. As people arrived, the middle floor of the creaky venue transformed into a dance hall for the masses. Concurrently, the ambience-creating, Sinatra-dominated playlist succumbed to a more contemporary electronic style, with a DJ appearing onstage at the front of the room to guide the evening’s sound. CDB then delivered its pièce de résistance with the evening’s first performance. Slightly past midnight, the first performer, Madria, appeared on stage to rousing applause. Though she brought the swinging dance scene to a halt, there is no ill-will as she seduced, excited, and teased the audience by dancing and stripping until nearly nude, a basic formula which most perfor-
mances throughout the night would follow, at least to some degree. Once she finished capturing the minds of all present, she abandoned the stage. This is the cue for the DJ to re-ignite the dancing. This time, both the music and the people dancing to it seemed more immersed in the sexuality around them than before. It’s quite remarkable to watch a room transition from dance hall, to theatre, and back to dance hall so easily and completely. The rest of the evening would follow a similar pattern: every half-an-hour or so, a new performer would take the stage, usually with a performance more intense than the last. Then, in the interim, the people would dance to an electronic playlist while the atmosphere became increasingly sexualized (and the people less clothed). They made friendly conversation, they kissed without rancour. Party-goers took part in a truly interactive performance; fetishism in theatrical form. People were not here to simply bear witness to the spectacle, nor were they here to gawk; and they certainly weren’t here to judge. Instead, people had convened to be part of an interesting and unique enclave of Montreal nightlife. “Cirque De Boudoir parties are special, we’re not just another club night,” CDB explains on their website. “We are open to everyone – straight, gay, bi, vanilla, trans, kinky, fetishist, BDSM, swinger, goth, punk, raver, fashionista, he-
donist… everyone is welcome to come join the kinky circus that is Cirque De Boudoir!” What set Prohibition apart from the true 1920s was a sense of belonging, and a lack of societal pressure to hide one’s more unique expressions from the outside world. People could spill out in the streets in their costumes, going for cigarettes without shame. In the past, the art of burlesque seemed to revolve around legitimizing a performance style in a time where it was considered deviant. Today, CDB seems to caricaturize this taboo of the 1920s and, in fact, does much in illustrating social progression in society. But the burlesque parties CDB offers remain a niche market. Encouraged in its own community, a generally more youthful and open group, the CDB scene still has a wide acceptance and recognition from those who choose not to attend. The climate of CDB is far from that of the 1920s, during which the burlesque circuit was society’s dirty little secret, and participation was something to be embarrassed about. The CDB crowd still thrives on bringing together openminded people in an environment where they can openly express their “desires,” as CDB calls them. While this sexually provocative event is far from being a mainstream affair, CDB prides itself on offering this unique setting that is not found anywhere else. The theme may have been the 1920s, but the setting was truly 2013.
The McGill Daily
Monday, September 23, 2013
Lies, half-truths, and a moth to flame
McGall vows to “bring everyone down with us” Dip in ranking leads to scheming, naughtiness Benadryl Custardbatch | The McGall Weekly
t a press conference this afternoon, McGall’s principal and vice-baroness Suzie Forte admitted the only way for McGall to perform better in the QS Totally Arbitrary University Rankings is to “bring everyone else down with us.” “I was really looking forward to cutting more arts classes,” Forte explained. “But we sorta reached the limit. We also toyed with the idea of expanding class sizes by holding them in the Perky-Milson stadium. But in the end, we decided that we had no choice but to lay waste to those phonies in Massachusetts and Ontario.” Forte pointed out that McGall had been conducting “totally unethical” research for years, and that they “probably” had something in their “arsenal” to drop on the University of T-Dot (U of T), Hawward University, or Massachusetts Institute of Tummy Tootin’ (MITT). “At McGall, we’re fortunate enough to have years of expertise in inducing human suffering. I mean, did you know that we used to develop fuel air explosives? And all of that research we did into psychological warfare for the CIA? Why isn’t that tallied in the rankings? That has to count for something,” she complained to the conference. “By the time they work out what went wrong, we’ll be sitting on a beach, earning 20 per cent,” Forte added, paraphrasing
evil mastermind Hans Gruber from the Die Hard franchise. Still, Forte made it clear that there were other ways for the QS or Times Higher Education to improve their system. “Also, I’m pretty sure that some parts of X-Men were filmed in the Arts Building in August,” she said. “I think the world of higher education is ready for a Hugh Jackman index. God, that man is work of art. He’s talented too. Were you watching the Oscars in 2009? I was.” Meanwhile, the Board of Covetors, McGall’s highest and naughtiest governing body, released a statement which said that they had briefly considered building bike gates all over the U of T campus in order to “show them who’s the boss.” “Frankly, we’re sick of how U of T has been getting all of the attention lately,” wrote Philmore Dietrichson, a member of the board. “It won’t affect their ranking very much, but the goal here is really to change how others perceive U of T, because that’s mostly what those rankings are about. It’s not like their methodology made sense anyway.” In an interview with The Weekly, Samuel S. Pennington, the dick behind all university rankings ever, admitted that the methodology used to establish the rankings had been “mostly” made up on the spot. “Generally speaking, our ranking is based
E.k. EK | The McGall Weekly off the number of old-timey looking buildings per university,” he said. “We also look at whether or not said old-timey looking buildings have any sort of vegetation growing on them. We look for vines mostly.” Unfortunately for McGall, Pennington said he did not believe that the destruction of
U of T would result in any significant change to the ranking. “We just learned a few days ago that a portal to hell had just opened, right in the middle of campus,” he explained. “That’s probably going to cost them in the rankings – I’ll have to check if we factor those in.”
Ask The Weekly How to find the perfect hot girl Dear Weekly, I’m not sure if this is the kind of question you answer, but how the hell do I find hot, dateable girls? I don’t think I’m really unreasonable in relationships. I split all my bills, I flush after I use the washroom, I don’t have any annoying catchphrases. But every date and relationship in the last few years has just ended badly, some way or another. I go out to the gay bars once in a while. I order and drink my craft beer really obviously, even though I don’t think it tastes amazing or anything, and I keep eye contact with the cutie in the corner. I go and talk to her, and we seem to hit it off. I go back to the bar for another drink and when I look over, she’s
making out with some hot chick with a buzzcut and a flannel overshirt. I’ve tried online dating. Same shit. I get into a good conversation with some girl, and then we meet up for an awkward coffee date and I don’t know how to ask her home. I mean, it’s like 2:30 p.m., isn’t it weird to try to get it on in the early afternoon? Maybe I should try to hang out around activists or something? You know, try a little “I’m just exploring my post-structuralist side” kinda stuff? Is that disingenuous? Basically, what I’m asking is, “Where do I go to find hot girls, and how do I make myself look like a hot girl to them?” —Single as fuck
Dear Single, Hot girls are hard to come by, but don’t get down on yourself. You’re just looking in the wrong places. Don’t ignore a girl with fire in her eyes. Don’t mistake a burning curiosity for a passing glance over her shoulder. Date a girl who burns. Be a moth to the flame. Date a girl who sears her fingerprints into everything she touches. Date a girl with ashes on her clothes, because she is about to burst from that gray drabness, remade, reborn. She’s the girl at the coffeeshop in the arid desert town, surrounded by the charred remains of her former companions. She might give you a glare, as most girls who burn do not like to be interrupted. Buy her another glass
Have some biting satire you want to share with campus? Drew some comics or made a crossword you want in print? Want to ask The Weekly for advice?
of 100 per cent ethanol. Don’t stand too close. It’s easy to date a girl who burns. Give her matches and oil for her birthday. Give her the gift of fire. Let her know that you understand that an eternal inferno is the greatest love. If you find a girl who burns, keep her close. When you find yourself awakening amidst your flaming bedsheets at 2 a.m., and she is clutching her hellishly hot hands, turning her very tears into steam, make her a cup of tea, and hold her (gently, through a fire blanket). If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, illuminated only by the ethereal glow of an impossible and inextinguishable flame, date a girl who burns. Date a hot girl. —The Weekly
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A false dichotomy: the Charter and Canada’s multiculturalism
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Jacqueline Brandon, Lola Duffort, Benjamin Elgie, Camille Gris Roy, Anthony Lecossois, Boris Shedov, Samantha Shier, Anqi Zhang All contents © 2013 Daily Publications Society. All rights reserved. The content of this newspaper is the responsibility of The McGill Daily and does not necessarily represent the views of McGill University. Products or companies advertised in this newspaper are not necessarily endorsed by Daily staff. Printed by Imprimerie Transcontinental Transmag. Anjou, Quebec. ISSN 1192-4608.
he Charter of Values has not been brought before the National Assembly yet, but much debate has surrounded the issue since it first came to light. The Daily does not endorse this discriminatory Charter because it suppresses freedom of religion under the guise of secularization. However, the Charter has been used as an excuse by many to focus on racism and xenophobia in Quebec alone. This situation implies that other provinces have nothing to show in way of human rights abuses and basic discrimination, and simply glosses over these as if they did not exist. In an op-ed published in the Globe and Mail by Jack Jedwab, executive vice president of the Canadian Institute of Identities and Migration and the Association for Canadian Studies, acknowledges the imperfection of multiculturalism. Yet he still concludes with, “Looking at the alternative proposed by the Quebec government, Canada’s brand of multiculturalism looks pretty good after all.” But the rhetoric of multiculturalism, and the creation of this kind of dichotomy between Quebec and the rest of Canada, masks the reality of systemic and institutional discrimination that is present throughout the country. One such perpetuation of this dichotomy, in response to the proposed Charter, is a widely-discussed recruitment ad from Lakeridge Hospital in Ontario that stated, “We don’t care what’s on your head, we care what’s in it.” In the interest of full disclosure, the ad in question was run in The Daily, but does not represent the opinions of The Daily edito-
rial board. Not only is the ad sensationalist and generalizing on many levels, it also overlooks the discrimination that is a fact of everyday life for many citizens of Ontario and other Canadian provinces. Such rhetoric serves to hide the ugly reality that marginalized peoples face every day in Canada, from everyday micro-aggressions to lower employment rates. Systemic and institutional discrimination isn’t limited to Quebec; it is rampant across the country. The former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci declared that First Nations people face a distinct lack of civil rights in the justice system. In addition, immigrants face an employment rate approximately 6 per cent lower than Canadian-born peoples. Another pertinent example includes the ongoing and far-reaching effects that the residential school system has on Indigenous communities – including the loss of Indigenous languages and multi-generational post-traumatic stress disorder. Incarceration rates are much higher among Indigenous populations, speaking to the long history of systemic discrimination in Canada. The Charter and its surrounding controversy are an obvious example of institutionalizing discrimination, but should not be used as an excuse to point fingers solely at Quebec. Rather, Canada should take this opportunity to re-evaluate its own instances of discrimination, whether they are as explicit as the Charter or more insidious.
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—The McGill Daily Editorial Board