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Standing on dangerous ground Weighing in on the Zimmerman verdict p. 11


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FIRST PEEK

July 22, 2013 · Volume 144, Issue 12

CANADIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER AWARD 2013


FIRST PEEK

It’s easier said than done to break habits, especially when you’re rushing somewhere, caught up in life, with everyone you pass seeming so unresponsive. Yet, I hope I’m not in the minority in my belief that the small stuff is exactly what we should be sweating, and that while the end goal is certainly important, we cannot forget the journey. Last weekend, my mother and I went to visit an old family friend that had watched me grow up. She hadn’t seen me in years, and excitedly took me upstairs to show me something she said she held dear: it was a pastel drawing portrait I had done of her decades earlier, childish both in the brightness of the colours and in the arbitrary application of technique. I had had no idea the drawing I had done as a child could have had such an impact as to remain framed and admired by her for so many years. But it got me thinking, and it hit me that of all the gifts I have received in my life — and I’m talking material gifts for now, let’s

July 22, 2013

not get ahead of ourselves — I don’t recall all of the expensive electronics that have since died and ended up in piles. My grandmother, for example, doesn’t see me that often, and when she does, she’s in the habit of piling me with presents. However, the only one that sticks in my mind is one of my deceased grandfather’s medals — something that had cost her nothing, but represented a tiny piece of my family’s history, which I struggle to rediscover.

To get even more abstract, the most impactful experiences can be fleeting moments between strangers, significant for the very reason that they have no knowledge of our lives and (hopefully) no vested interest. A stranger’s smile when we need it most is a beautiful and pure experience; it reminds us how disconnected we have become from the world and from one another, how little of our capacity for change we are using. Before you peg me as being just a sentimental sap, I am not alone in the belief that we need to return to the basics in order to facilitate change in the world. In 2011,

People for Good, a Canadian nonprofit organization, started an ad campaign to accomplish their mission of “encouraging Canadians to do everyday good deeds because frankly, our social fabric needs some mending.” “Real men are measured by the size of their generosity,” reads one poster board. “Want to hear an uplifting story? A guy lets everyone get on the train before him. The end,” says another. The idea is that we focus so much on tangible successes and quantifiable deeds — such as career — that we’ve become, for lack of a better word, assholes to one another. On the flip side, small things can leave a negative impact, too. Words are not “just words” — apologizing or moving on cannot undo an impression that a small gesture left. Above all, we forget the impact that we can leave with our negligence and our lack of mindfulness. This may have been filled with inspirational calendar cliches and emotional sentiments, but it’s a genuine plea to the world: we cannot end wars and bigotry in our world if we cannot even look at one another in the eye. It’s not the grand gestures or the expensive gifts that leave a lasting impact on us. It is a child’s drawing, a compliment — genuine in both its delivery and content — or a stranger’s smile in our darkest hour.

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NEWS

July 22, 2013

news editor email / phone

Alison Roach associate news editor news@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

Leah Bjornson

“We think the university has a moral obligation to divest from fossil fuel companies.” said Mike Soron, Executive Director of Sustainable SFU. “We also think that it’s irresponsible. There’s more and more information coming out about how this translates into a carbon risk, and that’s essentially a liability embedded in the portfolio of our investments. These companies won’t be able to deliver the returns needed over the coming decades.”

In pursuit of a greener future at Simon Fraser University, Sustainable SFU has joined the the Fossil Free Canada campaign in an effort to convince the university to divest from oil, gas, and fossil fuel companies. The group is arguing that the plans of the fossil fuel industry are incongruous with a safe global carbon budget. In accordance with the campaign, which was launched earlier this year by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, Sustainable SFU is pressuring the university to freeze all new investments in fossil fuels and to divest completely over the next 5 years.

Despite this criticism, SFU insists that they are matching fiscal prudence with awareness of current challenges. In

        

LABOUR STUDIES  PROGRAM       ƌŝƚŝĐĂůdŚŝŶŬŝŶŐ͕EĞǁWĞƌƐƉĞĐƚŝǀĞƐ     Fall  2013  Course  Offerings       >^dϭϬϭͲϯ/ŶƚƌŽƚŽ>ĂďŽƵƌ^ƚƵĚŝĞƐ;ƵƌŶĂďLJĐĂŵƉƵƐͿ   >^dϭϬϭͲϯ/ŶƚƌŽƚŽ>ĂďŽƵƌ^ƚƵĚŝĞƐ;^ƵƌƌĞLJĐĂŵƉƵƐͿ   >^dϯϬϭͲϯ>ĂďŽƵƌDŽǀĞŵĞŶƚƐ͗ŽŶƚĞŵƉŽƌĂƌLJ/ƐƐƵĞƐ   >^dϯϬϴͲϯ>ĂďŽƵƌWƌŽĐĞƐƐ͗tŽƌŬĂŶĚdĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐLJ   >^dϯϬϵͲϯ>ĂďŽƵƌĂŶĚŽůůĞĐƚŝǀĞĂƌŐĂŝŶŝŶŐ   >^dϯϭϬͲϯ'ůŽďĂů>ĂďŽƵƌĂŶĚWŽůŝƚŝĐƐ  >^dϯϭϭͲϯ>ĂďŽƵƌĂŶĚƚŚĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚ  >^dϯϯϬͲϯĂŶĂĚŝĂŶ>ĂďŽƵƌĂŶĚŵƉůŽLJŵĞŶƚ>Ăǁ  >^dϯϯϬͲϯhŶĨƌĞĞ>ĂďŽƵƌĂŶĚDŽĚĞƌŶͲĂLJ^ůĂǀĞƌLJ   >^dϯϯϬͲϯ>ĂďŽƵƌŝŶŚŝŶĂ  &ŽƌŵŽƌĞŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƚŝŽŶŽŶĐŽƵƌƐĞƐĂŶĚ ƐĐŚŽůĂƌƐŚŝƉŽƉƉŽƌƚƵŶŝƚŝĞƐǀŝƐŝƚ

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an interview with Pat Hibbitts, Vice-President Finance and Administration at SFU, she said that SFU has consciously tried to find green investments and is working to implement the UN Principles for Responsible Investment as a keystone of its investment practices. When planning investment strategies, SFU administration searches for investment houses and value managers whose priorities match those of the university: namely, investments with a low risk profile and potential for long-term, stable growth. However, that’s where the intervention ends. “You don’t give [investment houses] specific direction on a stock,” said Hibbitts. “You don’t say I want to own GM or I want to own Coca Cola or McDonald’s. That’s not how it works . . . Companies that have too much risk or bad behaviour aren’t going to be a part of our investments anyway, so that’s the filter we use.” Even though this filter may not be direct enough to please Sustainable SFU, the university insists that it must consider more than just the carbon budget when investing. “We support research and scholarship with our investments, and we are required to earn four per cent. That’s our responsibility,” said Hibbitts. “If you can do it by moving away from a principle where you’re looking at a balance

between value and growth, then yes [we would consider divestment] at some future date, but right now I don’t know how else you do it.” Despite these considerations, Soron believes that there is economic evidence to support fossil fuel divestment. Canada’s Carbon Liabilities report, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and written by SFU alumnus Brock Ellis, warns of an impending “carbon bubble” which researchers feel could be more harmful than the 2008 housing bubble that shook the global financial system.

Currently, Canada’s carbon budget — the maximum amount of CO2 that can be emitted in the future — is just under nine GT based on its share of world GDP (or 2.4 Gt based on share of world population). However, if one were to add up all possible reserves in Canada, they are equivalent to 1,192 GT — more than double the world’s carbon budget.

In order to keep global temperature increase to 2°C or less, 78 per cent of Canada’s proven reserves, and 89 per cent of proven-plus-probable reserves, would need to remain underground. When these statistics are added to the fact that the remaining global carbon budget — 565 GTCO2 — is significantly smaller than the proven reserves owned by private and public companies and governments — 2,795 GTCO2 — they reveal the potential threat to SFU’s investments. To combat this crisis, the report suggests that responsibility rests with pension funds and institutional investors to deflate the “carbon bubble.” It is this “managed retreat” from fossil fuel investments that Sustainable SFU believes SFU must be a part of. “The university is responsible for delivering a return on the investments, not just today, but over time. They have fiduciary responsibility to future students and to employees who will be retiring 50 years from now,” said Soron. “You can’t just look at the economic environment today; you have to look at what a world two degrees warmer will require.” Sustainable SFU is looking to bring their campaign before the Board of Directors in November, after building a bigger coalition on campus and collecting more signatures.


NEWS

A recent study published in the Journal of Paleontology has been making international headlines with the discovery of the fossils of four new families of insects whose extinction may offer insight into how some animals respond to climate change and its effect on biodiversity. Dr. Bruce Archibald and Dr. Rolf Mathewes, both faculty members at SFU, co-authored the study along with Dr. David Greenwood of Brandon University, Manitoba. The three have worked together as a team in the past, looking at the larger question of communities that existed long ago in what is British Columbia and northern Washington state today. Archibald explained, “We each bring a different perspective to these things, and the greater project is to look at communities about 50 million years ago here in British Columbia and northern Washington, and how they relate to climate, how climate affected these communities, the diversity, where they lived by geography, those sorts of issues.” When he first came to inspect the newly discovered fossils near Cache Creek, BC and Republic, Washington, Archibald immediately realized there was something exciting and new to be learned here. The fossils are of extinct scorpionflies that belong to a previously unknown families. What interested Archibald about the fossils was the story of a family of instincts that popped up at that time, and then abruptly went extinct, a rare story in the narrative of insect evolution in the Cenozoic, the last 66 millions years since the extinction of the dinosaurs. “In what you could call our modern era, that’s the general pattern, accumulation,” said Archibald. “There are some losses, some extinctions, but they’re kind of scattered throughout insects, they don’t really follow a pattern. But here we see with

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this one a very closely related family, a cluster of four family extinctions, all very closely related.” At the time, there were six groups of closely related scorpionflies. By the end of the Eocene, an early portion of the Ceonzoic, only two remained. When it came to answering the question of why these four families didn’t make it through the era, Archibald, Mathewes, and Greenwood came up with what they believe are two strong theories: ants and climate change. Scorpionflies are scavenging insects that feed on the remains of other insects. The research team suggests that the rise and diversification of the ant, another scavenger, may have proved too much competition for the scorpionfly families. Archibald believes it was a combination of this competition for resources as well as a change in climate that may have led to the insects’ demise. Archibald describes southern British Columbia of 50 million years ago as a very different environment than we see today. In a world that was very warm at the time, BC and northern Washington was a cooler upland, with little variation in temperature from the hottest

summer months to the coldest winter days. “In the winter we may have seen few frost days, and that allowed organisms that today are restricted to the tropics to range right up into this region,” explained Archibald. “So, organisms which don’t necessarily require heat but can’t stand cold winters. And that’s really the big deal.”

In a previous study by Archibald and Greenwood on the biodiversity of the region during the Eocene, they found diversity comparable to a tropical rainforest in Central America, according to Archibald. “It was quite shocking to see in a cool, mid-latitude upland.” When the global climates eventually cooled, insects there

were forced to adapt, relocate to warmer climates, or go extinct. In the case of the scorpionfly, Archibald suggested that the latter may have been the fate of those four families. “Either you can adapt to where you are, or move and adapt to that, or you’re toast,” he said. The modern variation of the scorpionfly persists in cold areas, suggesting that those families managed to adapt to the colder climates, which in turn leads to the theory that those families that went extinct just couldn’t make that leap. Arbichald likens the extinction of the scorpionfly families to the rise of the pine beetle that has been seen in British Columbia in recent years, in terms of the effect of climate change on their populations. While the extinct scorpionflies show researchers what happens to populations when a period of global warming comes to an end, the pine beetle illustrates a community thriving due to climate change. Warmer winters and less frost in recent years have lead the pine beetle to destroy 18 million hectares of lodgepole pine in BC. Concluded Archibald, “It helps us understand how organisms and communities change when climate does.”

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The SFSS Board of Directors voted to appoint six At-Large Representatives last Thursday for the Build SFU Student Advisory Committee. These students will help the Committee to provide feedback and recommendations on its plans for student consultation, communications, and outreach as well as participate in the planning process. The Board was eager to appoint a diverse group of students to reflect not only those already involved, but the various student populations on all campuses. After much discussion, the Board appointed Anthony Janolino, Kyle Acierno, Meghan Lenz, Eric Hedekar, Jasmine Sjodin and Maria Ivanova to the Committee. As stated by its website, Build SFU hopes that these students (as well as any others who wish to attend the open committee meetings) will help them “redefine the SFU community not only for this generation but for future generations of SFU students.”

Brian Fox, Student Life Coordinator at Simon Fraser University, joined the Board last Thursday to discuss changes to New Student Orientation that will be happening this fall. These “significant changes” include the elimination of the drum café and the services fair, both of which have been keystones in the Orientation process for a number of years. Instead, Orientation leaders will be touring students through Maggie Benston to connect them with services that the organizers feel are more immediately important to new students. Additionally, students will be given a free afternoon on the Friday to explore campus by themselves.


6 NEWS

July 22, 2013

The project which was recognized, entitled “Food 2.0,” was established after a long consultation with students, faculty, and staff to redesign its campus dining services program with the motto of “students’ needs first.” The plan has successfully increased student satisfaction from 44 per cent to 74 per cent without raising prices. SFU Dining Services was one of the three post-secondary institutions, alongside the University of Winnipeg and Dalhousie University, to receive an honorable mention in the 2013 Quality and Productivity Awards this month from The Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO). The selection criteria for the reward focused on five different categories: quality of outcomes and results, measurable productivity of the product, originality of project, portability to other institutions, and the involvement of the community and stakeholders.

The changes includes the first 24-hour dining hall in Canada; an all-you-care-toeat meal plan that replaced a

declining balance system; a space for students to cook for themselves; and, most importantly, the new prompt-to feedback system “Txt & Tell.” This system will enable students to text about their dining experience. Those texts are then uploaded to large digital screens that notify Dining Services staff in real time. One of the largest changes is that the Dining Hall is now open to anyone on campus, not just students in residence. “In the past, the dining hall was seen as a meal-plan only place for those in residence.” explained Kelly Dooley, Manager, Student Experiences at Dining Services. “However, with its new redesign of being open for 24 hours and with its affordable value, it has [transformed] into a place where students, faculty, and staff can socialize, study, or even be entertained.” “The Dining Hall tailors to everyone’s schedule and also those who have dietary restrictions.

There are staff on hand to assist diners if they have questions or concerns. It’s all about convenience,” said Dan Traviss, Manager, Dining Services.

In addition to the dining hall, the My Pantry service and Mackenzie Cafe have also been improved. My Pantry allows students to cook their own meals, and is especially popular among those who are looking to cook up something special or who have dietary restrictions. “Notably, another big turnaround is the Mackenzie Cafe. We have added a selection of international food and an all-day breakfast menu which students

love,” explained Travis. Combined, these changes have completely redesigned the Burnaby campus dining program, and students and staff point to the vast number of options available as the greatest success. “The biggest change has been the increase in variety and flexibility of the meal plan.” Dooley explained. “In the past, there was an issue with the declining balance of the meal plan and students would run out of money before the semester ended. However, nowadays, students can pay at the beginning of the semester and will have access to meals until the exam period.” In an interview with SFU News, Mark McLaughlin, Executive Director, Ancillary Services, said that Dining Services “is busy planning for the fall semester and soon hopes to make an announcement that will have an immediate positive impact not only at SFU, but at other campuses right across the country.”


NEWS

For many living in the Lower Mainland, finding an affordable home or rental property can be extremely challenging, although the reasons why Vancouver’s housing market is so expensive are not exactly clear. To rectify this, a new report out of SFU is examining the factors that impede home ownership, while providing actionable recommendations. The report, entitled “The HomesNow Initiative: Affordable Home Ownership in Greater Vancouver,” was produced by HomesNow, an initiative of Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, and involved a coalition of community and business partners, along with Peter Ladner, the former Vancouver city councilor and director of Metro Vancouver. HomesNow originated in Sept. 2011 when organizers invited architects, citizens, non profit developers, and politicians, to attend a conference and workshop on affordable housing. The weekend culminated in a collaborative

Last Tuesday, SFU Career Services held a one-hour Q&A session on Twitter about resumes and cover letters, under the hashtag #OLCchat. The chat, which was the latest installment of a series of online discussions, elicited honest questions, stories of major resume goofs, and some clear and concise answers. General career advisor David Lindskoog, who was behind the wheel of the Career Services account for the chat, said the medium allows Career Services and the Online Learning Community to reach out to more students. “We’ve been using various social media tools, as many student services departments have in recent years, to increase our engagement with students and alumni quite a bit, and that’s certainly become common practice in the post-secondary world,” Lindskoog said. “Embracing social media is one of the ways we’re reaching

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project design competition, where attendees worked together to create site proposals for affordable home ownership. The recommendations and support gained from this conference led to the creation of the HomesNow volunteer initiative. Research has shown that the average residential price in the region is twice than that of the

more and different audiences than we have in years past, and we’re excited to be seeing the engagement with our ‘Twitter Tuesdays’ initiative that we have so far.” Here are the highlights from the conversation.

national average, while vacancy rates have remained extremely low and most new rental stock is composed of “individually leased condominiums without long term security of tenure.” To combat these issues and more, HomesNow hoped to find suitable sites for new housing in the region and partner with a local government in order to rezone the properties and

construct more affordable homes. Although HomesNow was unable to meet its goal of producing affordable housing for purchase by moderate income households, the initiative did reveal many challenges that prevent new affordable homeownership options. These include a lack of municipal government commitment, a need for innovation, and

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“a strong voice from the public in support of affordable housing.” Despite this, HomesNow is pleased with the success stories of several affordable housing case studies; namely, the Verdant, 60 W. Cordova, and Whistler Employee Housing developments. Whistler Housing has created almost 900 homes for affordable ownership by its local workforce with policy innovations such an affordable housing levy and limits to inflation that have kept prices as low as 50 per cent of market value. HomesNow has decided to spend the next year consulting with Metro Vancouver’s housing committee, BC Housing and potentially the minister of housing before continuing the process of creating affordable housing spaces. In the meantime, the initiative is encouraging organizations and advocacy groups to engage the public and create momentum for an affordable housing movement in Vancouver.


8 NEWS

July 22, 2013

bad having them leave, but all of us expect all three of them to do well. Keynan was only here for a year so we didn’t get to see how he interacted with the team as much, but Andrew especially was a motor that drove the team last year.”

As of July 8, 2013, three former football Clansmen have been signed to the BC Lions’ practice roster: Keynan Parker, Kyle Miller and Andrew Marshall. These three happen to be the only nonimport (Canadian) players on the Lions’ practice roster, meaning that they act as opposition for the Lion’s players during practices, but can still be signed by any team to their actual roster. Current players, Chandler Gayton (defensive back) and Janne Lahtinen (quarterback) seem to hold their former teammates in pretty high regard. “All of them work hard,” the two said, almost simultaneously. Gayton continued, “Andrew and Kyle especially were just great leaders on the team. It’s too

Marshall is the latest Clansman to sign with the Lions; but with nine sacks during the 2012 season and the title of second team all-star in the GNAC (Great Northwest Athletic Conference), Marshall is bringing plenty to the table. “Looking at his film, he’s a high motor kid, meaning he doesn’t stop . . . he plays a position of need. Any time you can get a kid who can rush the passer and get sacks, they pay those guys a lot of money,” said James Colzie,

the Clan’s new Defensive Coordinator. “They pay those guys a lot of money,” he repeated. With 72 total tackles last season, former SFU Defensive Back, Kyle Miller, was the first of the three to sign with the BC Lions on June 24. According to Colzie, Miller has been a constant presence at the Clan’s summer workout sessions. “Kyle’s gonna work hard, that’s his mojo. He’s gonna work hard, he’s gonna be in the right spot, he’s gonna be on time, actually he’ll be early. He’ll be early to everything. He’s gonna work his butt off. I mean, we had our camp two weeks ago and he was out here working out after the kids were done.” Just after Miller, on June 25, Parker, son of legendary Lion, James “Quick” Parker, added his name to the Lions’ practice roster after a brief run with the Montreal Alouettes. Parker was a high school sports hero at St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby before heading to Oregon State to play football. In pursuit of more playing time and the opportunity to have a hand in both offense and

defense, Parker returned home to Simon Fraser for his final college season. “Keynan looks the part. He did a good job on the pro day. BC took him. Basically, they took him off what he did that day out there. And he looked good, he looked real good. He ran his drills good. I actually did the drills for him. Polite kid, great kid,” said Colizie. The success stories of Parker, Miller, and Marshall come in the wake of the Clan’s first real foray into Division II NCAA waters.

According to Colzie, worries about how SFU’s new status will affect recruiting are unfounded. “Everybody feels, in this city, that since we’re NCAA now, that we’re just gonna be recruiting American kids . . . well, I am American, but some of our best players are guys that literally grew up in

Vancouver. Even though we are playing in the NCAA, you can still be a Canadian kid and succeed here.” This is certainly true for the three BC natives whose names are now prominently displayed in orange on the Lions’ website. It’s safe to assume they won’t be the last Canadian Clansmen to make good. After transferring from Eastern Washington University, Chandler Gayton is quick to point out that while the depth at SFU may not be comparable to a Division I NCAA team, the talent levels aren’t lacking in the least. “There’s definitely the talent here,” Gayton said. “I mean you look at the players we have like Lamar and Jamal, Kyle Kawamoto, all the receivers we have, speed-wise, they match up with a lot of the receivers [at Division I levels].” James Colzie put it simply. “You really just want opportunity. Once you get the opportunity, then, however it works, that’s just how it goes. Just the opportunity to play professional football, that’s all they [the players] want. If they do and it doesn’t work out, they can at least say that they got that chance.”


OPINIONS

If the NHL is serious about its commitment to fighting homophobia in sports, there should be no room for their involvement in the 2014 games in Sochi. Earlier this year, the NHL and the National Hockey League Players’ Association made their partnership with the You Can Play Project, an organization whose goal is to end homophobia in sports. The change signals a shift, and calls for accountability from everyone — from players to team managers — to support queer players and fans. This shift shouldn’t be taken lightly. Sports are an influential vector for positive messages; we develop a sense of place through our relationship with local sports teams. When the Canucks support a campaign like Postmedia’s Raise-aReader, people listen and give it a second thought because they look up the players. What better place to teach the world what “pride” really means in Canada? Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics saw the city taken over with a series of pavillions and houses from different regions in our nation and from areas all over the world. Some were sponsored by companies like Heineken. Others were an opportunity for areas to show off what their locales have to offer. With two locations — one in the centre of Whistler Village, the other inside Qmunity’s resource centre — saw Pride House, a place for anyone to enjoy a game, learn about Queer Vancouver, or access information about immigration. Jennifer Breakspear, Qmunity’s executive director, announced at the Vancouver location’s grand opening that it was “a place in which all queer people from around the world [could] find community.” This tradition, which continued during the London 2012

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Olympics, will not be continuing in Sochi. Russia recently passed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality. Its interpretation puts a stop to any form of pride celebration, and could see tourists jailed for holding hands or wearing a rainbow flag on their person.

The IOC spokesperson Mark Adams has stated, “we aren’t

opinions editor email / phone

responsible for the running of or setting up of Houses.” The only time the Olympics has taken a stand on anything was when they banned South Africa from the games over apartheid from 1964 to 1991. They okayed holding the games in Germany while Hitler grew in power, and consistently held the games in areas with serious human rights violations without batting an eyelash. They’ve made it clear on multiple occasions they aren’t going to be held accountable for the politics of host nations. If we want to start holding people and nations accountable for their actions, we have to start by making sure we’re accountable. Iceland has already begun talks to cut ties

Tara Nykyforiak opinions@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

with Russia. Some countries have broached the idea of boycotting the games.

There’s a precedent set for defending rights while still participating in the games. I doubt there are many in Canada who haven’t seen the photo of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’s 1968 Black Power salute on the 200 metre medalist’s stand. But when our own nations have protective measures in place,

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is it fair to expect individual athletes to stand up for human rights when their safety is at risk? The NHL announced last Friday the Canuck’s game schedule won’t be much of a problem for players going to the Olympics. No mention was made of the direct conflict the players’ presence in Sochi represents, given their promise to end homophobia in sports. Participating in the Olympics in a nation where one can be thrown in jail solely for being “out” does nothing to combat homophobia in sports. It placates the idea. Unless the NHL players going to Sochi are willing to do time for having a rainbow flag sewn onto their uniforms, they’re no allies of mine.


10 OPINIONS

July 22, 2013


FEATURE

It feels almost as if you’ve heard the plot of a made-for-TV movie about a plucky underachiever with outsized dreams. Old George, eyes sparkling with a desire to improve his community and help people, filled with regret at unrequited teenage dreams of being a Marine. His heart firmly in the right place at all times, desiring nothing more than to become a police officer despite his academic shortcomings. It is a fascinating exercise, peeling back the layers of a man to get at the intricacies of his personality, warts and all. The public illusions he may project wittingly or otherwise, or the sides aggressively tailored for public consumption and projected by a prosecutor and defense counsel. Reverend George W. Hall, who knew Zimmerman and his family when George was a child, was asked by the latter to write a letter of recommendation when he applied for admission to the Prince William County, Virginia Police Academy in 2007. “It was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t doubt George for a second,” Hall said, in an interview with The Guardian. And why would he? On frequent trips to his hometown in Manassas, the young Zimmerman excitedly shared tales with the Reverend of a desire to join the police force — to help people. As a child he had diligently, almost maniacally, shined his boots before bed. He was an altar boy at the Roman Catholic Church in Manassas for 10 years, and at the age of 14 joined the Young Marines, an afterschool club. Even the now infamous Juror B37, appearing on CNN’s AC360, felt that “he had good in his heart.” Zimmerman, however, did not share stories with the Reverend of his legal troubles in Florida. In 2005, he was

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charged with resisting arrest and battery of a police officer (the charges were dropped when he agreed to take part in a pre-trial diversion program). A month later he was accused of domestic battery, stalking and harassment by a former girlfriend. Zimmerman was rejected by the Police Academy in 2007. During an eight year stretch, he made 46 calls to 911 to report suspicious activity in his neighborhood. One hundred percent of the calls were about African-Americans, in a community that is 20 per cent African-American. It is impossible and highly presumptive to enter any man’s head, Zimmerman included. Accusations of obsessive

features editor email / phone

Rachel Braeuer features@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

stomachs and clouded minds, touchy and prickly and difficult to analyze all at once. It is the elephant in the room, plain as day, but one that is impossible to be prodded without setting off an absolute firestorm of self-righteousness and accusations of bigotry. But the legal system is founded on cool rationale and clear thinking divorced of emotion. So in that sense, it justifies the Judge’s decision. The sad part about the murder of Trayvon Martin is that racism, and all that casually applies, had an absolute impact in the young man’s death. We would prefer, as prosecutor John Guy suggested to the jury in his closing remarks, that this case not be about race. We would pre-

   

behavior and blanket racism are difficult to substantiate, but impossible to ignore. Yet, the Judge presiding over the case explicitly barred the phrase ‘racial profiling’ from opening remarks by both teams of lawyers. This is a decision that, on an emotional level, is difficult to understand. Race, and all the ugly implications contained within, is part of an indentured system within the western world, especially America. It makes for squeamish

fer that justice was indeed colourblind, and this trial was simply seeking justice for a young man carelessly and wastefully swept away by an act of extreme idiocy and cowardice. Such an assertion is, however, purely a fairy tale. Profiling — whether it be racial, sectarial or based on gender — is a potent and incisive agent of discord and enemy of harmony; and it is alive and well. Pure bipartisanship and co-operation is usually reserved for moments

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of unbelievable national tragedy that bridges us all beyond the barriers of racial and religious divides. Snide potshots and name calling, that exhaustive and disquieting aspect of politics that never dies despite an abundance of public disgust, is an area of life one comes to accept and expect regardless of the matter at hand. That’s what raised eyebrows when Republicans immediately fell in defense of the Obama administration’s global metadata collection of e-mails, Skype calls and other private social media interactions. Such tactics, despite being disingenuous and the first true hailing of an actual Western Big Brother system, were heeded as a necessity towards the maintenance of public safety. The government’s handling of the situation strained credibility; initially they assured Americans that they didn’t actually read the content of their emails, then that they only tapped accounts of foreign nationals outside the US (but who cares about foreigners, right?), then that the work they were doing was, like, totally necessary and had thwarted an unknown number of attempted terrorist attacks, you guys. In an article for Forbes, Loren Thompson insisted that, at worst, “PRISM presents . . . only modest danger to [American] civil liberties. Its main purpose is to protect those liberties, not to subvert them.” Moving from Asia to the West has signaled an enormous change in my perspective. In countries where individual freedoms were paid only lip service in the service of religious-based law or governmental autocracy, the idea of actual freedom and protection from persecution is intoxicating. Absolute, complete,


and beautiful, freedom is a powerful concept whose reality inspires countless immigrants to dream of transplanting themselves to these shores. But it is as much a fairy tale in the US and, to an extent, Canada, as it is anywhere else. People, en masse, are easily motivated or cowed by fear. We are terrified by the idea of a boogeyman popping out of the dark to terrorize us, our loved ones and everything we value and cherish. It is why we so quickly sign up to relieve ourselves of our individuality, anonymity and true freedom. We yield a vital piece of ourselves to buy a little peace of mind, and we do so with open hearts and complete faith in a government we presume to be entirely benevolent. Edward Snowden, a man who believed in freedom as the inalienable and untarnishable right it is purported to be, was chased out and labeled a traitor to his country. But how do we label a man a traitor to his nation despite his keen desire to uphold the principles that the nation was founded and prides itself on? His self-assuredness and belief in justice and true freedom are characteristics to be celebrated and lauded; yet the rest of us sit back passively, embracing a system and culture of fear, mistrust, and deep divisiveness that has chased a true patriot across the globe. This over-reliance on governmental oversight and protection fuels placidity and deepens our isolationist tendencies and suspicion of anything different. It becomes impossible to distinguish friend from foe when you suspect everybody, and it is this inability to tell one from the other that drove Zimmerman to kill Martin on a dark night in their Sanford neighbourhood. Consider Trayvon Martin. A young man, full of life and ebullience, aggression and antagonism, deeply flawed and inherently contradictory, painted by the same divine brush as the equally flawed and inherently contradictory Zimmerman. It is impossible and ludicrous to believe that racial profiling did not play a part in his identification, either to Zimmerman or the public post mortem. Pictures of ‘Martin’ were circulated on the internet shortly after his murder, mostly tagged to news stories. Shockingly, the pictures were of an African American man in his thirties and covered in tattoos. Not at all the image of Martin — all of 17 years old, a slight build and unmarked. But this was the public’s desired perception of him. People were inclined to believe he was a wannabe thug and criminal-in-training, based on little more than his race, gender, and choice of apparel. The defense harped on this mental landmark, proclaiming that Martin had a violent streak in him based on little more than text messages they alleged he sent to others, where he discussed (vaguely) about getting into fights and how to fight. In far more explosive allegations, they claimed that Martin had inquired into purchasing firearms, as if this in and of itself was a contravention of the law (especially odd given that the gun at the center of this case belonged to the defendant). In their infinite wisdom, Fox News invited Harry Houck, a retired NYPD detective, on-air to discuss the prosecution’s case. When asked about the fact that “this

     

little kid” was unarmed saved for the now notorious Skittles and Arizona iced-tea in his pockets, Houck winded up his best tough-guy impression: “Listen, Trayvon Martin would be alive today, okay, if he didn’t, alright, have a street attitude . . . that’s the bottom line.” Even Rachel Jeantal, who was actually on the phone with Martin moments before his death, was coloured as a person incapable of basic English skills by the prosecution, as if that somehow invalidated her testimony. Such a moronic line of questioning should have brought down an avalanche of criticism, but was predictably shunned by national coverage. Why? Because Jeantal’s heritage is Haitian, and

her usage of English falls outside the idea of ‘normal’ and ‘correct’ use. This is beyond laughable and, quite simply, mind-boggling. The rush to profile Martin, despite the Judge and the prosecution’s best efforts to avoid the issue, is and was the driving factor at the heart of this case. Despite being tailed by a strange man after dark, who confronted him despite no criminal conduct on his part, Martin was quickly fingered as the aggressor. The Stand Your Ground law in Florida construing rights and responsibilities as to self-defense was apparently prescribed solely to Zimmerman. A man who ignored police dispatchers advice

when he got out of his car to confront Martin (with a cockamamie excuse of simply checking street signs), who was driving around with a loaded handgun and chambered bullet, a man who confronted Martin on the street and reached into his pocket to (unknown to Martin) retrieve his cellphone. A man whose story had so many logical holes that are not substantiated by physical evidence that it seems at least partially concocted. This belief in fantasy storytelling was so deep that the defense even preposterously alleged Martin had “weaponized the sidewalk” and was not, in fact, unarmed at all. Never mind that Martin’s body was found on a grass embankment some distance away from the sidewalk, or that there was no DNA evidence on Zimmerman’s mouth where he claimed Martin had pressed his hands. Never mind that Zimmerman’s gun, which he claimed that Martin was reaching for, was actually tucked into his waistband on his back, completely out of Martin’s reach given the way he had ‘mounted’ Zimmerman. Never mind that pictures of Zimmerman after the fight indicated that there was no mud or dirt on the back of his jacket, or bruising on his hands. I’m not a legal expert (nor do I play one on TV ), so I am inherently unqualified to make any conclusions about Zimmerman’s guilt in the case or the effectiveness of the legal system. My initial reaction, in heated discussions with friends, was that Zimmerman was “stone cold guilty.” It was an emotional reaction borne out of frustration with a system that, to all the world, appeared to be absolutely broken. A more rational and calm-headed analysis allowed me to step back from this overheated critique, and assay the case based on its own terms. The results were equally unsatisfying. We tend to correlate true justice with emotional closure. The justice system is based on, in an ideal sense, bringing that catharsis to victims of a crime by punishing perpetrators for gross misconduct. The principle of innocence until proven otherwise and a trial by a jury of peers is vital to the functionality of the justice system and it is, while flawed, more often than not effective. But a case such as this one becomes immediately more complicated and highlights the logical fallacies within the system. This was not, as many sources repeatedly stated, a ‘who-dunnit?’ Reasonable doubt, when evaluating murder as a function of self-defense, is an extremely thorny and murky subject, especially when the only eyewitness dissection of the occurrences belongs to the defendant. If you would allow me to play fantasy-lawyer for a few moments, the case hinged on whether or not the prosecution could conclusively prove that Zimmerman did not take deadly action out of fear for his well-being. But, given the beating Martin allegedly administered (partially backed up by photographs of Zimmerman’s battered face), the fear appeared well-founded. Zimmerman was unable to escape, as he was pinned on his back, and, rationally, had the right to defend himself. However, as I stated before, the same courtesy was not afforded to Martin. Pursued by an unknown and potentially dangerous assailant, Martin reacted (if we believe Zimmerman’s portrait of the


events) violently. We do not know, and never will know, what his endgame was. Did he intend to kill Zimmerman? Did he simply intend to subdue Zimmerman until he could call for help? The only thing that is apparent is that the law is stacked against Martin, and it is extraordinarily difficult to defend yourself in court when you are dead. It is this rationale that played into the defense’s portrayal of Martin as an aggressive, violent sociopath. To believe in Zimmerman’s innocence, we are required to believe in Martin’s criminality. We are required to believe that Zimmerman and Martin both had equitable levels of morality and maturity despite their large age-gap. We are inclined to believe that Martin was an out of control ticking time bomb and not simply a young man acting out of a mix of fear and teenage bravado. In this case, we are required to believe in Martin’s absolute guilt to yield any reasonable doubt that would clear Zimmerman. The saddest part is that, despite the generally preposterous nature of his story, we are inclined to believe the defendant, simply because the profile fits. A rash of break-ins in the area indicated a history of crime that obviously had poor old George on edge. One of the break-ins was known to be conducted by two African-American men. So, of course, Martin fit the bill, despite zero physical evidence equating the two robbers, observed by a terrified home owner who was hiding in a closet with her child, to Martin based on size, age, physical stature, or any other descriptor outside of skin pigmentation. And, given the prosecution’s shoddy case and unwillingness to discuss race, we had insufficient evidence to doubt Zimmerman’s account despite its innumerable holes. Despite an expletive and slur-laced 9-1-1 call that Zimmerman placed, during which he was advised not to pursue Martin. Despite levels of a temazepam (a powerful sedative and anti-depressant) found in his system shortly after the incident. Instead we are presented with the portrait of Zimmerman as the brave, foolhardy victim trying desperately to defend his neighbourhood from no-goodniks. His judgment and decision-making, sketchy at best, validated to the fullest extent of the law. When I was younger I loved running. Given that I would work all day and come home late, my only recourse was to go on evening runs through my parent’s neighborhood, usually after 10:00 p.m. I wore a reflective vest and white shorts to ensure that I could be seen to traffic, and took extreme care to avoid putting myself in a position where I could get hurt. One night, as I jogged on a quiet back road, a police cruiser pulled up alongside me. The officer motioned me to stop and proceeded to interrogate me on the side of the road, asking me where I was from, where I lived and, to my disbelief, why I was running. Standing there in a reflective vest, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, I was at a loss to answer him beyond the obvious. “What do you think?” was on the tip of my tongue on more than one occasion, before I swallowed the bile billowing in my throat and gave him the placid, excessively respectful answers that I figured he wanted to hear. My blood pounded as he slowly drove away, his eyes staring at me in his side view mirror suspiciously as I continued on

   

my run, seething with indignation. What had I done to be treated with such suspicion other than purely existing? It angered me that I raised suspicion solely and presumably due to the colour of my skin. I felt a gamut of emotions as I continued running: disbelief, anger, impotent rage and embarrassment. And all it took to incite those feelings was a simple and random act of stereotypical profiling on the part of one police officer. How much of the same resulted in Martin getting shot? I cannot even pretend to appreciate nor understand the enormous and

weighty history of experiences that define what it is like to be black in America. But, the creeping suspicions harboured by a divided population, torn asunder by fear and prejudice and profiling, will forever act as a divisive stake at the heart of unity. In a piece for Slate, William Saletan indicted both men for their hasty reactions rooted in prejudice and mistrust, and then turned the finger on Americans for demanding action with disregard for consequence, a mentality that he claims drove Zimmerman to kill Martin.

“The problem at the core of this case wasn’t race or guns” he stated, instead, “the problem was misperception and overreaction.” I’m obliged to indulge Saletan in his verdict of the case, its media coverage and global reaction; but it is absolutely impossible to separate racial profiling from the tragic case of Trayvon Martin’s death on the night of February 26, 2012. It is impossible to divorce the driving factor of race from the apparent misperceptions and overreactions. Even now, defenders of Zimmerman’s acquittal point to the fact that Martin was no angel, but did he have to be to deserve actual justice? Of course not — he was an American citizen and a human being, and despite the outsized level of attention paid to the case, he deserved as much justice as a law-abiding honour roll student of any race, age or gender. Maybe we cannot definitely describe George Zimmerman as a racist. But he did racially profile an innocent young man, who in turn racially profiled him as a “creepy-ass cracker.” Whether Martin was simply invoking an epithet to describe Zimmerman, or as his friend Jeantal explained, assuming that he was a sex predator, will remain unknown. Likewise, Zimmerman’s assertion that “these assholes always get away,” a quote that will now live in infamy, is similarly inconclusive. We will feel obliged to lionize Martin as a martyr to the cause of continual Black American oppression, in the same cadre as Medgar Evers and Emmett Till. We will feel inclined to list this absurd case and its circus-like trappings in that history of Black American distrust of the entrenched justice system that rewards a man with his freedom despite his intellectual failings and moral culpability in the death of an innocent. There are many others who may say that the case further illustrates that the law simply does not protect black people. But the most damning aspect of the law, this case and its verdict, is that freedom, true freedom — to exist in a world where we all are free from persecution based on the flimsiest levels of xenophobic profiling — does not exist. The saddest part about the case is that the law, imbecilic as it is, got it right. Based on the arguments made by either side, Zimmerman deserved to get off. The vigilante in me says that he doesn’t deserve a normal life, and deserves to be hounded to his grave for his actions. The religious man says God will sort things out. The pragmatist says that he was tried fairly, in a court of equals. And the revolutionary in me will forever be inclined to disbelieve that the right against self-incrimination in criminal trials allowed him to avoid testifying. But most fervently, the moral person in me aches for the parents of a 17 year-old boy who went out on a junk food run like I did while writing this article, and never came home. Social media exploded the night that Zimmerman was acquitted, with a myriad of voices expressing reactions ranging from relief to repulsion, but perhaps the definitive tweet for me belonged to Nick Surkamp, an NC State soccer player. “How cool would it be to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night?” I guess we will never know.


14 OPINIONS

A recently released statistic from Global News, showed that one in five Canadians still believe that if a woman is drunk, they are inviting sexual assault. This isn’t your grand-dad’s statistic here — this is the average Canadian’s opinion (nearly one quarter surveyed were between 18 and 34). These ever prevalent opinions are what keep women (and men, I might add) from coming forward when they are sexually assaulted. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to water down the situation and validate it. Are we afraid to talk about rape? It sure looks that way when the average person tries to dance their way around it. Think about it. If you heard that a girl at a party was sexually assaulted, you might have a moment — even just a passing thought — in which you question the reality of it. “What was she wearing? Was she flirting with him? Have they hooked up before?” These, and many other questions, seem to flash through most of our minds as we look for a reason to excuse the offence. The main issue, it seems, is that this grey area allows us to search for exclusions to the rule. We allow accounts to be overlooked

Moctar Dembélé and Gérard Niyondiko — two students from Burundi and Burkina Faso — are part of a team involved in groundbreaking medical research with their product Faso Soap. Made with natural ingredients local to Burkina Faso, these bars of soap are a formidable addition to the fight against malaria by acting as a non-toxic mosquito repellent.

July 22, 2013

because of the varying degrees of seriousness that we assign to assault: maybe they were dating, maybe she was flirting, girls can’t assault guys, she was wearing a slutty dress, he bought her a drink and she didn’t seem to mind, and so on. By creating these myths of misplaced blame in sexual assault cases, victims are not given the platform and, thus, the courage to speak out about the crimes committed against them. The University of Toronto released a campaign website called Ask First in an attempt to debunk many of these common myths we create (many of which I’ve listed above).

A highly notable statistic this campaign points out is that up to 85 per cent of sexual assault victims are violated by someone they know or are close with — many of the victims are in a relationship with their aggressor. This is just one of the many points people continually choose to ignore when they hear about abuse and assault, because it is so easy to push the issue aside and excuse the crime. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Assault is assault, and there is no grey area. If someone has something done

At 59 cents each, Faso Soap is economically accessible to those who would benefit most from it — namely those in Burkina Faso, where 46 per cent of people live below the poverty line. Moreover, jobs are created locally in the manufacturing of the soap, and NGOs can now have a greater arsenal in their fight to help. Soap on!

to them that they have not consented to, it constitutes as assault. Period. The National Center for Victims of Crime defines sexual assault as taking many forms, including “attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted

Malaria sucks (or at least, mosquitoes do). It is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa, with 300 million deaths resulting from malaria every year. In Burkina Faso and many other African countries, it is the number one cause of death, but it does more harm than just claiming lives. Once effected, those suffering from malaria are unable to work, robbing them and their

sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent.” The average Canadian needs to stop looking at the in-between and

families of an already minimal income potential. Traditional repellents and treatment options are expensive — averaging $20 dollars per case. This makes prevention and medical intervention out of reach of those most vulnerable. Moreover, many of these repellents are toxic, and treatment options do not protect individuals from contracting malaria again in the future. So bug off, mosquitoes!

needs to start seeing the clear black and white line that divides what is and what isn’t sexual assault. It may be human nature to question the validity of things, but it is not right to ostracize, dehumanize and question a victim to the point of silence.


OPINIONS

Thomas Hobbes described the life of man as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Despite being somewhat overused, this quote does posit important questions about our society: if man is so solitary in nature, why is he so eager to collaborate with his peers? Some might point to the hierarchical structure embedded in clubs. From a Western perspective, the oldest organized clubs were the fraternal orders created during the crusades. Medieval guilds accomplished that which the individual could not: to control the practice of their craft and protect their working rights in a particular town while safeguarding their place in their particular community.

July 22, 2013

From a more modern perspective, the oldest club is Freemasonary, whose current incarnation dates back to 1717. This club is strictly structured, complete with secret passwords, governing bodies, and member ranks. This sense of rank and position decided by membership lingers in our modern society. One sees it mirrored in the initiation processes of today’s fraternities and country clubs, whose members also possess a certain clout merely by being accepted.

This being said, there is one key, overriding reason why human beings join clubs, and that is because we are social animals. Perhaps Hobbes is unnecessarily

misanthropic, or perhaps we fear and recognize the prospect of his quote and work to change our nature. Either way, the same conclusion is reached. Somewhat rejecting the hierarchical nature or the elitist tendencies of the past, SFU clubs — be they ethnic clubs, debate clubs, or geek clubs — are attracting members not because of a desire for esteem, but because those involved genuinely want to meet people with similar interests. There are endless niche clubs at SFU that exist purely for the love of San Guo Sha, or crafting, or East Asian chess, and while it’s next to impossible to talk about all of them in one column, here’s a look at several that might make your next trip to campus more enjoyable. For the stargazers among us, why not set your sights on the Astronomy Club. For “anyone interested in astronomy, cosmology, and the universe in general,” this club can connect you with fellow would-be cosmonauts at star

parties, astronomy-related movie nights, and the occasional meteor shower to boot.

If the limitless universe isn’t your cup of tea, then perhaps a real cup of tea might be better. Members of Thé SFU Tea aim to encourage and maintain the appreciation of tea in all forms, meaning this club could be your ticket to delicious treats from all around the world. With any luck, it could turn into a Zoolander Maori tribesmen moment. From high tea to high tech, those searching out a true niche club can engage with the first university club of its kind anywhere in the world. The SFU

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Bitcoin Club will educate you in the emerging world of virtual currencies and the future of money, eventually hoping to make SFU the premier university for innovation by making it synonymous with Bitcoin. Whether it’s in outer space or cyberspace, SFU students are sure to find somewhere they can feel at home on one of the university’s many campuses. Nevertheless, involvement shouldn’t end with the receiving of a diploma. Whether it means rallying with fellow radicals to protest a new high rise, or joining a gym to make new friends and pursue your passions, being an active member of your political community will mean a life that isn’t “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” In the end, being involved with clubs is not just about turning your university experience into the best years of your life — it’s about freeing yourself to continue exploring for the rest of it.


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ARTS

The idea for a writing project by members of Vancouver’s poorest neighbourhood was, oddly, borne many miles away at a conference a few years ago in Prague. Elee Kraljii Gardiner had been invited to the first global conference by Inter-Disciplinary.net titled “Writing: Paradigms, Power, Poetics, Praxes” to talk about her involvement with Thursdays Writing

BAWA SINGH’S  GARDEN A  poem  2630  lines  long

By

Dr. Gurdev  S.  Boparai An  e-­‐book  at  Amazon/Kindle  for  $5

arts editor email / phone

July 22, 2013

Collective here in Vancouver. Gardiner founded and continues to run Thursdays Writing Collective, which provides free, drop-in, creative writing classes for members of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. One of the other panel members at the conference in Prague was Mark Proosten, a young architect from the Netherlands who was presenting on the relationship between literary words and architectural design. Gardiner and Proosten got talking about the ideas of space and home and decided to collaborate on an exploration of space called The Stanza Project.

The project began by spending one year writing about notions of shelter, accessibility, housing, home, indoor / outdoor, and public / private. They wanted to consider both architectural and literary space and how these ideas could be expressed. On the project website, Gardiner explains that a major

concern of the Downtown Eastside is housing, including pressure from developers, affordable housing, and Vancouver’s location on unceded Coast Salish territory. The group meets on Thursday afternoons at Carnegie Community Centre where they write collectively, starting with a different prompt each time. “There is no wrong way to write,” says Gardiner, and everyone is welcome to share their responses with the group. Prompts included quotes from philosophical ideas, bathroom graffiti Gardiner found, street names, real estate blurbs, quotes from texts by John Asfour, or being given spaces of paper only two inches wide to challenge existing notions held by the writers. One technique they have begun to use often is “wordsquatting,” introduced to them by local writer Michael Turner. They take existing texts or documents and move in and ‘renovate’ the existing piece to accommodate them. “We write our way into spaces that are inhospitable or not welcoming.” This can include erasure poetry (erasing words from existing work to create a new work), pulling words out, or just writing on

Daryn Wright arts@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

top of visual images, such as blueprints that Proosten sent from the Netherlands. Gardiner believes wordsquatting can be a very powerful tool for marginalized voices.

Mohamed Healey has been drastically affected by his involvement with Thursdays Writing Collective. He was born in Egypt and studied business management in London, England before moving to Vancouver three years ago. Healey found out about Thursdays Collective during The Word On The Street, a local book and magazine fair, but mistook it as a writing class not a club. “I didn’t know that I could write,” says Healey, pleasantly surprised by the support and encouragement he found among the other writers. He began writing creative prose which other members called “philosophical.” It was this encouragement that prompted him to quit his job and return

to school full-time at Langara College to pursue philosophy. After a year ruminating on the topic, Thursdays Writing Collective has published its sixth book, entitled The Stanza Project. Gardiner calls it their “grandest” book yet, not a chapbook like many of their other publications. It is 108 pages, perfect-bound, with layout by local graphic designer Doris Chung. It includes visual art as well as text, containing both images and words as the creative responses varied. Gardiner says the responses were exceptional. “There are so many different representations and understandings of space,” she says, including social justice, personal, political, community, nature, territory, and more. Healey felt the ideas and prompts Gardiner and Proosten created were very interesting. He said that writing collectively “[gives] you space to find different angles and everyone had different responses.” Healey has two pieces published in the book, one of which was translated into Arabic and appears side-by-side with the English original. Many of the other 25 contributors also played with form and language, including other translations, visual art, and even a blues song.


ARTS

Aussie Pie Guy is Vancouver’s (only) Australian food truck. Located at Hamilton and West Georgia St., as well as at events like the Chinatown Night Market, Pie Guy offers up vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and carnivore lover options. Check out the Aussie Pie, a classic made with chunks of freerange BC beef and organic onion made in a pepper and Howe Sound Rail Ale gravy. Or there’s the Hip Pie, a vegan and gluten-free option consisting of a mild lentil curry with organic cauliflowers and tomatoes. No matter which way to go, you’re bound to get something yummy.

July 22, 2013

This one is a different kind of beat: The Restaurant Rumble, happening on July 24, is a coming together of people from the service industry (servers, bartenders, managers, and owners) to box one another and raise funds for the East Side Boxing Gym. All proceeds will go to the re-opening of the gym and reviving its programs for local youth. The live viewing begins at 5:00 p.m., and the Aprons for Gloves after party will begin at 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $10, and seating is limited so come early!

Head over to Second Beach in Stanley Park (a short jaunt from English Bay) for an outdoor movie every Tuesday night at dusk. The Open Air Cinema series will be showing movies, chosen by various sponsors, all the way until August 27, so check the schedule to see what the choice of the week is. This week they’re showing The Breakfast Club, and in the coming weeks you can watch out for Mamma Mia!, Poltergeist, and Dirty Dancing. Showtimes usually start around 9:45 p.m., so grab a blanket and a late-night picnic and cycle over.

Project Space, a publisher, bookshop, and alternative art space located in Chinatown, is throwing a Summer Soirée on July 26. The fundraiser will support OCW Arts and Publishing Foundation (a resource for artists, writers and graphic designers who seek to publish works) and the MS Society of Canada. The evening will feature seasonal hors d’oeuvres, a photo booth by Kitty Mussallem, art installations, a silent auction (with donations from Geist, Bestie, Poetry is Dead, and more), and a cash bar. Early bird tickets are $25 and include one complimentary beverage and hors d’oeuvres.

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The crew at the Arrival Agency (the creative folks behind The Waldorf ) present to you the Sunday Bazaar, as a part of the Food Cart Fest. Located between Olympic Village and the Cambie Bridge, the market offers vintage goods, artisanal food stands, vinyl, art, antiques, and craftsmen products. The massive summer market will be setting up camp every Sunday between 12:00 and 5:00 p.m. until September 22. Plus, you can hit two birds with one stone by checking out some of the city’s best food carts, paired with DJs, entertainment, and a bouncy castle for those kids (at heart).

By Tessa Perkins, Peak Associate

After recent successful revivals on Broadway and the popularity of Mad Men, I’m really glad Theatre Under the Stars chose this musical. Set in the 60s and following Finch (Andrew Cownden) as he tries to move up the corporate ladder, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was an extremely enjoyable show. With an amazing art deco inspired set and beautiful dresses and suits to fit the era, we were transported to the office of the World Wide Wicket Company as Finch moves from the mailroom all the way to Director of the Board, with a few mishaps along the way. Me a n w h i l e, Ro s e m a r y (Georgia Swinton) tries to get Finch to notice her; all while company owner’s nephew, Bud Frump ( Victor Hunter) tries to convince his mother to

convince his aunt, to convince his uncle, Mr. Biggley ( Joel Wirkkunen), that he deserves a promotion. Wirkkunen as Mr. Biggley gave a stellar performance as the moody, idiotic man whose secret hobby is knitting. Hedy (Cailin Stadnyk) was also wonderful as Biggley’s high-pitched ditzy mistress. Another highlight was the striking choreography that seemed to fit perfectly with the era and the context of the show. Both male and female ensembles were synchronised and performed with excitement. Full of witty, relatable songs, it’s difficult to choose which were the best. “Coffee Break” was performed as the cast collapsed onto the stage and staggered around singing “If I can’t take my coffee break, something inside me dies.”

Another humorous song was “A Secretary is not a Toy,” as well as “Been a Long Day”: Smitty (Caitlin Clugston) is in the elevator with Rosemary and Finch, singing “he’s thinking . . .” and “she’s thinking . . .” as they fill in the blanks.

One of the final songs, “Brotherhood of Man,” was utterly triumphant; Biggley’s secretary Miss Jones ( Jennifer Suratos) suddenly breaks into skat, demonstrating her incredible talent. The whole cast danced around, exuberantly

singing “There is a Brotherhood of Man / a Benevolent Brotherhood of Man / a noble tie that binds / all human hearts and minds / into one Brotherhood of Man,” skillfully inserting

“sister” at a couple points in the song. This was a tremendously entertaining musical, and is just as relevant now as it was when it was first performed in the 60s.


18 ARTS

This positively pink show about loyalty and not judging people based on their appearance was a fun, upbeat production full of laughs and catchy songs. The play, modelled after the movie by the same title, follows Elle (Breanne Arrigo) on her quest for love at Harvard Law School. The show begins at Elle’s sorority, Delta Nu, as the girls gush over her expected proposal from her boyfriend Warner (Peter Cumins). After Warner breaks up with Elle instead of proposing, she is resolute in her plan to get into Harvard Law School and prove to him that she too can be “serious.” Once at Harvard Elle does not fit in at all, but she soon becomes friends with the very sweet Emmett (Scott Walters) who ends up falling in love with her. Warner’s new girlfriend, the scheming Vivienne (Andrea Bailey), does everything she can to make Elle look like a fool, including inviting her to a “costume” party where Elle is the only one dressed up — in a pink playboy bunny outfit. The iconic “Bend and Snap” scene in the salon was a highlight of the show as Elle tries to teach Paulette (her hairdresser) how to use this failsafe move to attract the UPS man that she describes as “walking porn.” The recurring song “Omigod You Guys” was also a success, sung by the Daughters of Delta Nu as

July 22, 2013

they follow Elle around as her “Greek Chorus.” When Elle secures an internship with Professor Callaghan ( Warren Kimmel), they are assigned a case to defend workout video star Brooke Wyndham (Katie Murphy) who is accused of murdering her (much older and wealthier) husband. Elle realizes that Brooke is also a Delta Nu and thereby gains her trust and is able to prove her innocence without revealing her alibi.

Brooke’s song “Whipped into Shape” is wonderfully choreographed and full of skipping rope tricks and flips. In the courtroom scene, the poolboy Nikos (Daniel Cardoso) is on the stand and the song “Gay or European” breaks out to question his sexuality. This was probably my favourite song of the whole show with lines like: “Depending on the time of day, the French go either way.” Of course Elle’s dog Bruiser is in the show as well, played by the very cute Milo. Paulette (Cathy Wilmot) also has a dog, Rufus, who is played by the adorable Béla Nicholas. The dogs received lots of cheers whenever they were on stage. Re-imagined as a Broadway show, the story retained all the drama and hilarity of the film with the addition of some great original songs.

Marking the second time Bard on the Beach has produced a play not written by Shakespeare himself, Elizabeth Rex tells the story of a queen torn between personal love and public duty. She has sentenced her lover, Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, to be beheaded for his act of treason, remaining steadfast in this decision to prove that England is her priority. Premiered at the Stratford Festival in 2000 and the winner of a Governor General Award, Timothy Findley’s play is a must see for Shakespeare fans as it sheds light on his life and cleverly references his work. The action begins with Shakespeare (David Marr) writing a new play and soliloquising about what people will say about him after he’s gone. His company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, have just performed Much Ado About Nothing for the queen and they are confined to the royal stables due to a curfew imposed by Queen Elizabeth. As the players discuss their performance and engage in friendly

banter, Queen Elizabeth, Lady Stanley (Sereana Malani), and Countess Henslowe (Susinn McFarlen) interrupt their private conversation as the queen declares that she “requires distraction” from what is about to happen to her lover. She enters into a battle of wits with Edward — aka Ned — Lowenscroft (Haig Sutherland) who, suffering from “the pox” (syphilis), is not afraid to say what he thinks.

Set in 1900s New Orleans, this production is a new take on Shakespeare’s dramatic comedy. With original songs, the adaptation emphasized themes of love, lust, justice, and mercy through the brothels of New Orleans’ red light district, Storeyville. Mistress Overdone (Lois Anderson) works in one of the brothels and leads many of the lively jazz songs that pop up throughout the play. Duke Vincentio (Andrew Wheeler) appoints the strict Angelo (David Mackay) to enforce justice and clean up the town while he is away. The Duke, however, remains in town and, disguised as a friar, he watches Angelo’s descent as he becomes corrupted by his absolute power. Claudio (Luc Roderique) is arrested for getting his fiancé pregnant, and Angelo intends to enforce the long ignored sex laws by sentencing Claudio to death. Things become complicated when

Claudio’s sister Isabella (Sereana Malani) entreats Angelo to spare her brother’s life, and Angelo is overcome by his lust for her. Angelo tells Isabella that the only thing that can save her brother is if she will have sex with him. Isabella decides that her chastity is more important, but when she tells Claudio this he has a different opinion. The Duke, still disguised as a friar, overhears this conversation and tells Isabella that he has a plan to save Claudio. They plan to send another woman in her place to satisfy Angelo and solve Isabella’s dilemma. Although this plan is a success and Angelo gets what he wanted, he orders Claudio’s immediate death. This is not a typical Shakespearean comedy in that it deals with some difficult social issues and tragic themes. The story is kept light by the inclusion of Mistress Overdone’s servant Pompey

The highly dramatic premise paired with humorous moments make this a captivating tale. Their verbal confrontation goes on all night as Elizabeth moves through many emotions and deals with the fact that she has sentenced the only man that has “brought out the woman in her” to death. Other characters add to the drama, including Percy Gower (Bernard Cuffling) who enjoys

reminiscing on his days of playing female roles when he would receive bundles of flowers from men. Kate “Tardy” Tardwell (Lois Anderson) is a short-sighted seamstress who comes into the barn without her glasses on and scolds the queen for wearing one of her best dresses, not realizing who she’s talking to. Lowenscroft also has a pet bear (Benjamin Elliott), saved from a baiting pit. This costume was very well done, as were the bear-like mannerisms. The barn set and variety of props made for a realistic setting, and the highly dramatic premise paired with humorous moments make this a captivating tale. Colleen Wheeler as the determined monarch was stunning in her intensity and emotional integrity, and the fact that she shaved her beautiful red hair for this role demonstrates her dedication. This cast did a spectacular job of creating the tension between Elizabeth and Lowenscroft as their conversations bring up themes of gender, love, regret, and remembrance.

(David Marr) and Claudio’s friend Lucio (Anton Lipovetsky) who both gave exceptional performances. Isabella’s emotional sincerity was also impressive, as was her beautiful singing voice in the final scene.

There were so many innovative things in this production, including the lighting placed within the stage’s trapdoors that lit up the roof of the tent, sometimes with images of trees. The live jazz music, including the piano, trumpet, tuba, and banjo, really brought it to life, and the well written original songs added humour to this sometimes dark story.


ARTS

If you love: A) Cheesy call-and-answer background vocals, B) Lyrics that make Bono seem like The Bard, C) Lanky, sweaty, bearded men and D) Neo-psychedelic folk stripped of its social conscience, then I suggest you purchase Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ new self-titled LP. Now, don’t get me wrong; I sing along to “Home” whenever it comes on the radio, and I feel that the group’s debut Up From Below had moments of pure hippie-pop genius. But the band’s latest, despite the occasional glimmer of hope, is a saccharine and ultimately meaningless throwaway. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros squanders the promise of the group’s debut full-length and its

Throwback Review

Ready to Die is as bloated and hedonistic as its creator, but those who’ve grown up

July 22, 2013

passable follow-up, Here. Ebert’s lyrics are unimaginative at best, and cringeworthy at worst; I nominate “If I were free / I’d run into battles / With flowers and hugs” from “If I Were Free” as the most egregious offender, but I admit that the title is hotly contested. His vocals recall the whiskeysoaked snarl of Janis Joplin and the fragile warble of Devendra Banhart, and to his credit, he genuinely sounds like he’s having fun making this music. But his singing ability is dwarfed by occasional co-vocalist Jade Castrinos, whose Southern twang is twice as endearing — and half as artificial — as Ebert’s Kentucky-fried wail. The instrumentals aren’t much better: the lazy Afrobeat of song “In the Lion” sounds like an outtake from The Lion King’s soundtrack, and the swooning strings and gospel-style from “Life is hard” refrain dwarf the track’s lofty aspirations. “Come celebrate / Life is hard,” Ebert and Castrinos chant, but it’s hard to take them seriously. Whether they’re making some veiled ironic statement or they genuinely believe in the transformative potential of Flower Power, Edward Sharpe and his merry pranksters’ newest LP is everything the band’s myriad influences are not: unimaginative, cheesy and just plain boring.

listening to The Notorious B.I.G. know that’s the point. Whether he’s selling drugs or busting rhymes, Christopher Wallace is not interested in small doses. While Ready to Die is about three tracks longer than it needs to be — and each hip-hop fan will choose to cut a different three — it’s still undoubtedly one of the strongest works the medium has ever seen. Biggie’s persona remains ambiguous 25 years after his death, and his debut LP might be the main reason: he’s as hypocritical as emcees come. On “Me & My Bitch,” his girlfriend is his partner in crime, doing time for conspiracy and bagging marijuana with him on dates; yet on “Friend of Mine,” he dismisses the opposite sex as untrustworthy and fickle. On the brilliant “Things Done Changed,” he longs for the carefree camaraderie of yesteryear; “Ready to Die” and “Gimme the Loot,” on the other hand, are among hip-hop’s most threatening calls to arms.

On first listen, Major Arcana could easily be mistaken for a Best of the 90s compilation CD. Massachusetts noiserock quartet Speedy Ortiz are cheerfully anachronistic, borrowing cues from flannel-clad rockers like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth while lead singer and guitarist Sadie Dupuis channels Liz Phair and Corin Tucker. Her lyrics read like passages from 11th grade poetry classes; her backing band sounds like one of the countless acts that used to play at The Bronze, the nightclub from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Of course, I loved every minute of it. Greater than the sum of its instantly recognizable parts, Major Arcana is an immensely enjoyable debut LP. Dupuis’ acidic sneer and sure-footed conviction help to keep her lyrics on the

Somehow, the diametrically opposed aspects of Ready to Die are united by the rapper’s legendary flow and clever, often hilarious wordplay. Wallace reportedly excelled in English before dropping out of high school, and his talent for words is never more apparent than on singles “Juicy” and “Big Poppa.” But the greatest success of Ready to Die is its range: over the album’s 17song span, Biggie explores the entire emotional spectrum of his drug dealer turned hip-hop star lifestyle. One day, it’s all champagne, sex, and celebration; the next, it’s jealousy, violence and, ultimately, suicide. That Biggie was able to make one of the first flat-out emotional hiphop records without losing any of his well-earned street cred is a small miracle. Ready to Die may be inconsistent, dated, and more than a little misogynistic; still, despite its flaws, it stands as one of the best and most ambitious records of its time.

19

right side of the Awesome / Cheesy spectrum, while guitarist Matt Robidoux and bassist Darl Ferm’s caustic, prickly interplay keep the album’s ten razor-sharp tracks at arm’s length from pop simplicity. Most of Dupuis’ lyrics are witty, acerbic takedowns of failed relationships and false friends. Though her frequent Stephen Malkmus comparisons — another sardonic indie-rock wordsmith — are well-deserved, her singing voice is much more tuneful. Her surprising chops benefit the album’s more muted moments, such as “No Below,” which sees Dupuis reliving high-school trauma: “I didn’t know you when I broke my knee / Spent the summer on crutches, and everybody teased.” Major Arcana does suffer from an over-arching sense of sameness: most of the tracks follow a similar structure, and more than a few devolve into messy noise jams that begin to grate by “MKVI,” the album’s discordant seven-minute closer. Still, Speedy Ortiz have released one of the best indie-rock debuts in recent memory, an unashamedly awesome ode to the pioneers of years past, injected with just the right amount of modern rock bravado.

arts@the-peak.ca


20 DIVERSIONS / ETC

July 22, 2013

CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA

This week’s variation: starred clues have two answers; combine them together. For example, “Heckling muppets / East Van dance club” = “Statler Waldorf Hotel.” Across 1. Small kitchen measure 5. In the thick of 10. Hit with an open hand 14. Beyoncé can see yours 15. Against the law 16. “Age of Aquarius” musical 17. * Star Wars prequel actor / Metamorphosis protagonist 20. Youngest “Pride and Prejudice” Bennet sister 21. Frequently complaining 22. Dog docs 25. Adjusts into 26. Desired by hippies and war widows alike 30. Goes in turns, old-style 33. Rye fungus 34. Independent Anasthesia Research Society 35. Drill sergeant’s “one” 38. * Airplane spectacle / there’s no business like it LAST WEEK’S SOLUTION

42. Hawaii’s Mauna ___ 43. Paul Bunyan’s ox 44. Peels 45. Glistens reflectively 47. Idle or harmless 48. Not on land (two words) 51. Republished, on Twitter 53. Relating to plants 56. “The Beauty Myth” author Wolf 60. * An unlucky omen / previously Yusuf Islam 64. In addition 65. Mistake 66. Celtic tongue 67. “Please be quiet, Mr. Bush.” 68. In an acerbic manner 69. Profit, on Fleet Street Down 1. A definite article 2. Throw a tantrum, cry

3. Kill 4. Small body of water 5. Scottish rally driver Colin 6. Anger 7. Move earth 8. Pollution clouds 9. Yukon, for one (abbr.) 10. Magic man 11. Baby sheep 12. Channel between seats 13. What a mantis does 18. “As I ______, I taketh away” 19. Bringer of a court case 23. The Republic of China 24. One who slabs 26. Top of a mountain 27. The spookiest Great Lake 28. Taj Mahal site 29. Trigonometric ratio (abbr.) 31. Most valid 32. Feminine “Heir” suffix

35. Not there 36. Operator 37. Attention-seeking whisper 39. Wide Japanese belt 40. Bark beetle genetic family 41. Grandma, to some 45. Manatee, familiarly 46. Azaria or Williams 48. Arafat’s successor 49. Highway surcharges 50. Hide away valuables 52. Admittance 54. A Tim’s ____ Capp 55. Artist (and school namesake) Emily 57. Baker’s burning box 58. Just 59. Word for banks, schools, etc (abbr.) 61. Yoda’s wrong, this one exists 62. Our sun, to scientists 63. Grouping of things


ARTS

July 22, 2013

21


22

HUMOUR

July 22, 2013

humour editor email / phone

Brad McLeod humour@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560


HUMOUR

July 22, 2013

23

of Cambridge says she’s pregnant, who was I to say otherwise.” In an attempt to quell the rumors, the royal family made a rare televised statement on the BBC One, where Kate, standing beside William, explained the circumstances that led to the nearly yearlong charade. SUSSEX — Shocking news coming out from the English royal household this morning as Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge —better known to the public as “Kate”— revealed the long awaited first child was in fact a nine-month hoax in order to cover up her 30 pound weight gain since marrying Prince William in 2011. The general public are baffled as to how such a secret could have possibly been kept from the them for so long. From various documents, it appears that all medical examinations and treatment went through one Dr. Marian Amsley the chief royal physician responsible for health of Kate and the baby. When contacted, Amsley was eager to detail the entire nine month ordeal. “Look, I didn’t know to say . . . 9 months ago I was contacted by the royal family and told that the Duchess thought she was pregnant. I examined her and tried telling her otherwise but she was insistent. “After the third month I just sort of went with it. If the Duchess

“When I married William two years ago, I knew that my life was going to be dramatically different afterward . . . I knew there would be no going back but I loved him, so we wed— but being a duchess is a fucking nightmare. ” “Sorry, mum.” she added, giving a sideways glancing the Queen. She then returned to her media address. “Did you know that being the Duchess of Cambridge isn’t just a title? I always thought it was just something you add onto the end of your name. That’s not true, I’m the head of the administrative, legislative judicial councils. If so much as a cloud appears over Cambridge, I get a 20-page report document detailing humidity index and wind speed on my desk stamped urgent.

“So I turned to food to cope. I figured, so what? If I helped myself to an extra blood pudding every now and again, or trifid crisp . . . ooh, or a nice bowlful of Whimpston’s Oggly-podge. “Married people let themselves go all the time but the turning point had to be when The Sun noticed and smeared their front

page “KATE’S BABY BULGE??”, pictures on Page 2’ . . . goddammit I was right pissed. “So I went with it. I told William and he thought it was hilarious. He’s always hated the paparazzi anyway and we figured it’d be a good way to give the fuckers what they deserve . . . again, sorry mum.”

Closing in a show of humility, Middleton bowed her head asked the people of the Commonwealth for their forgiveness toward the deception and promised to start hitting the elliptical tomorrow morning.


24 LAST WORD

Apologies to minorities on behalf of a nation don’t mean much when the nation’s leader contradicts them in public statements shortly after; they mean even less after it becomes clear that that government, beyond abusing those minorities physically and sexually, also performed undisclosed scientific experiments on them. This past week, news broke of Canadian food historian Ian Mosby’s confirmation that the Canadian government had been performing nutritional-based experiments on students at Indian Residential Schools between 1942 and 1952. The story continues to unfold, but as it stands, at least 1,300 students were unwittingly involved in these experiments. Based on preliminary observations, those involved reported that “while most of the [Indigenous] people were going about trying to make a living, they were really sick enough to be . . . under treatment and that if they were white people, they would be in bed and demanding care and medical attention.” Rather than work to improve these conditions immediately, especially for the children in Residential schools who were wards of the state, those subjected to the study had their levels of malnourishment maintained for two years to collect baseline data and then schools were denied different nutrients to measure the specific effects of malnutrition. The children were not allowed dental care, as gums and teeth were used as a means of measuring health changes.

features editor email / phone

Rachel Braeuer features@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

Some have already noted the dubious ethics of science experimentation of the inter-war period. This seems like a valid point. Anecdotes I heard from my grandmother (who worked as a nurse’s aide in hospitals during this time period) affirm that what would be a breach of human rights, patient rights, etc. now was par for the course then. This would be a reminder for us not to make too much of an anachronistic reading of the situation. Except that it’s clear the researchers knew full well that the experiment was prolonging a state of poor health, and as noted, if these same levels of poor health were observed in white communities, they would be demanding treatment — and receiving it. Moreover, these experiments continued on four years after The Nuremberg Code was adopted. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure how informed consent would work when governmentsupported experiments are being exacted on wards of the state, but that’s an article unto itself. Suffice to say the letters nuns made the students write thanking the government for the good care they received while at the institutions seem like a plot twist in a bizarre horror movie. When SFU hosted Residential School Awareness Week earlier this year, a panel of Residential School survivors talked about their experiences, with two of the women involved specifically mentioning the food as part of the hell they endured, stating that to this day there are some foods they just can’t eat. One

elder broke down in tears while recounting the diversity and bounty of food, and the cultural practices associated with it, that she missed while she was eating army rations at school. However, another survivor who entered the school system later than they did said she had no problem with the food. How could a nationally run program differ so greatly from region to region? And while some school survivors indicated that life had been hard at home before they left, others seem to have left perfectly prosperous communities. If the children’s welfare was at issue, why remove students from homes that were already providing for them without financial assistance from the government? I guess the overarching question to ask here is what else is there to know about the Indian Residential School system? As contributor Helena Friesen pointed out in her Feb. 17 article, “Robinson rebuke reinforces negative assumptions about aboriginals,” the Canadian Government currently has 6.5 km worth of documents pertaining to its Indian Residential Schools that are currently inaccessible because they can’t create space to house them.

Yes, 6.5 km is a lot of space, but high-density library filing systems mean that we could probably house these all in one building. However, it would require going through all of the documents — really going through them all to find out what was in them, so that one could easily search through a database for every infringement of basic human rights imaginable. Or by name, location, and year, whatever. “Canadians are entitled to know the whole story, and they’re entitled not to have it leak out to them in dribs and drabs this way,”

July 22, 2013

former Prime Minister Paul Martin has said of the event. Indeed, there is no rationale behind keeping this information from the public now, especially when information like this comes to the fore. The level of secrecy that shrouds this information reeks of guilt. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Bernard Valcourt, has responded in part to this information by affirming, “When Prime Minister Harper made a historic apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools in 2008 on behalf of all Canadians, he recognized that this period had caused great harm and had no place in Canada.” I’m sorry, but a vague apology about “harm” made five years prior to this rediscovery just isn’t going to cut it. With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s BC-hosted week-long event fast approaching, there’s added impetus to get the ball rolling on examining the extent of these mandated abuses. The Canadian Government has starved generations of Indigenous people in so many ways: the right to land, language, family, and now, so too, it seems, food. The least they can do now is not starve us of our shared history by sequestering documents.

Standing on dangerous ground  

Weighing in on the Zimmerman verdict

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