VOL. 04 ISSUE 11 02.21.2012
NEWS AND CULTURE FOR THE STUDENTS OF KWANTLEN POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY
LOCAL HIP HOP ARTIST HAS RELEASED 23 ALBUMS PAGE 10
THEY SETTLED? PAGE 4
FIND US ONLINE
KSA SETTLEMENT PAGE 7
LIQUOR LAWS AT THE RIO PAGE 8
ACOUSTIC GUITAR FESTIVAL PAGE 14
page two | February 21 2012 | vol. 4 issue 11
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vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page three
The Runner Roundup A brief run around the latest news from the world of Kwantlen and beyond.
streeter How do you feel about the new KSA settling the Sandhu/Dhaliwal case out-of-court?
Kwantlen fashion student Earl Luigi is headed to Montreal’s Fashion Week again. The young designer was one of three students from B.C. chosen to participate in Montreal Fashion Week’s national design competition, Telio, in 2011. He left Montreal as “Canada’s breakthrough designer,” and has since been held in high esteem in fashion blogs, newspapers and magazines — like Elle Canada and Fame’d, just to name a couple. This year, Montreal Fashion Week is calling for Luigi again; this time being selected as one of six “designers to watch.” He’ll be participating in a concept room called Exhibit 22 that, according to a Kwantlen press release, “will feature new and emerging designers in the early stages of their careers.” “I can’t believe I was Telio’s breakthrough [designer] and was the first ever in British Columbia to ever win,” Luigi told The Runner after his win. Since then, Luigi has ranked as a top 20 finalist in London’s Hand and Lock embroidery competition and created an origamiinspired capsule collection for the Japan Love Project. Luigi will be giving a preview of his LLUI collection as part of his show at Montreal Fashion Week, and will be showing the entire niche-market line that “caters to the artistic woman who appreciates fashions offering wear-ability and art” on April 3 as part of the Kwantlen Grad Fashion Show.
ALEXANDRA HAWLEY I’m not very happy about that. What was the point of all the work we did that day with all the fire alarms? What was the point of all that if the new KSA is just going to drop it like the old KSA did? I was pretty pissed.
AASIN RAZA If they were convicted of doing something wrong, then why should we be paying for that? That doesn’t make sense. That’s not cool. Why should I be paying for their bills for their own wrong-doing? They commited wrong, they have to pay for it.
CRYSTAL MILLARD It sucks that the money’s being used that way, obviously. It should be used to support us .... Clearly, they wasted enough of our money to get sued on it and kicked off. They should be accountable for that. Something needs to be done, they can’t just walk away with a freecard.
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The Runner | www.runnermag.ca
Interim KSA board signs secret deal with impeached former directors KSA agrees to pay Dhaliwal and Sandhu’s court costs; signs confidentiality agreement.
MATT DIMERA NEWS EDITOR
The interim board of the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) has reached an out-ofcourt settlement with impeached former director Balninna “Nina” Sandhu and student Gary Dhaliwal, and agreed to pay their court costs. A mutual consent order was filed in B.C. Supreme Court Feb. 16, upholding the Nov. 30 special general meeting (SGM) and declaring the impeachments of 13 former directors as valid. In addition, the order upheld the new KSA bylaws adopted at that same meeting. The consent order also overturned the placing in bad standing of 26 current and former students and staff members. Members in bad standing would not have been allowed to run for office in the KSA or vote in KSA elections. Sandhu, the KSA’s former director of finance, and student Gary Singh Dhaliwal had filed a petition Jan. 10 in B.C. Supreme Court claiming that the SGM was invalid and sought a court order to reinstate the impeached directors and to place 14 other current and former students and staff members back in good standing as KSA members. According to a petition filed with the court in January, Gary Dhaliwal had intended to run for office in the next KSA election. However, in a joint statement issued Feb. 16 by the KSA and Sandhu and Dhaliwal, the 26 have “voluntarily agreed not to participate in the affairs of the KSA in any manner for the next three years, including seeking office as directors of the society.” The KSA has also agreed that “the former directors, current directors, and other individuals named in the special resolutions at the SGM have agreed not to engage in further litigation regarding past events relating to the society.” Both of those agreements are not included in the consent order filed with the court.
When asked by The Runner if there were other secret conditions or terms in that agreement that have not been made public, the current chairperson of the KSA executive board Christopher Girodat declined to answer. “The student association has agreed not to discuss the settlement beyond what’s in the common statement,” said Girodat. “The parties agreed to a desire to resolve all outstanding issues from the past,” he said, when asked if all cash advances had been repaid and if all KSA electronic equipment had been returned by the former directors. According to the statement, “the parties and individuals involved in this matter have agreed to maintain confidentiality over the out-of-court resolution and discussions leading to the out-of-court resolution and, therefore, will not be making further statements regarding the out-of-court resolution or discussions that led up to the outof-court resolution.” Girodat was unable to say how much Sandhu and Dhaliwal’s legal fees will cost the KSA, but he assured students that the amount will be made public as soon as it is available. Jonathan Tweedale, lawyer for Sandhu and Dhaliwal, also declined to comment about the settlement, citing the confidentiality agreement. Sandhu did not respond to an email request for an interview before deadline. With the civil lawsuit ended, the KSA board is no longer prevented from bargaining with their staff’s union, from signing or changing contracts, or from calling an election. Those restrictions had been agreed to by the KSA’s legal counsel David Borins, after Sandhu applied for a temporary injunction to stop the board from making any major decisions. Current and former students posted their discontent with the news of the settlement on a Facebook group called Concerned Stu-
Interim Kwantlen Student Association directors Arzo Ansary and Christopher Girodat at a Feb. 17 executive board meeting. MATT LAW/THE RUNNER
dents of Kwantlen. “People can dress it up all they want, however the bottom line is this whole saga goes to team Takhar, in the end,” wrote longtime former KSA board member Ken McIntyre in a lengthy post. Former KSA executive member Steve Lee also expressed his disappointment on the Facebook group. “It just means there is no justice here, no precedent set for people in the future,” wrote Lee. “It sends the message that it is okay to try this stuff cause in the end you will get away with it.” According to Girodat, the decision to settle will allow the KSA to start the process
of rebuilding, including hiring a general manager. “Now that the dispute over the SGM has been put to rest, the Kwantlen Student Association can move on to hold elections . . . we can resume working toward a collective agreement with our staff, which has been ongoing for 10 months now,” said Girodat in a Feb. 17 interview. “We can now commit the KSA’s time and resources back to student services, advocacy, and student representation, under a more accountable set of bylaws designed to put the power back in the hands of students.”
www.runnermag.ca | The Runner
vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page ﬁve
CFS takes credit for WTF?! campaign Capilano Student Union organizer accuses CFS of “overstepping their boundaries.”
MATT DIMERA (THE RUNNER) SAMANTHA THOMPSON (CAPILANO COURIER)
Organizers of a Valentine’s Day press conference on student debt are frustrated with the actions of another student organization, when the Canadian Federation of Students BC (CFS-BC) issued a press release on Jan. 14 allegedly taking credit for their event. The CFS press release called attention to the event, but made no specific mention of the actual Where’s The Funding?! (WTF?!) organizers who staged the event. “I’m not actually sure how many campuses or how many schools participated,” said Zach Crispin, CFS-BC chairperson, when reached by telephone on Feb.14. He also was unclear about which schools were involved. The WTF?! coalition describes itself as the largest student-organized post-secondary campaign in B.C., representing more than 160,000 students in eight student unions. The members of the coalition include the students associations at the University of Victoria (UVic), the University of British Columbia (UBC), Simon Fraser University (SFU), Capilano University, Langara College, the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), the University of Northern British University (UNBC) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). The Kwantlen Student Association (KSA) is not a member. After holding a press conference on the steps of the B.C. Legislature to call on the B.C. government to commit to a long-term and immediate increase in funding to the post-secondary system, organizers delivered 5000 individual Valentine’s cards to the Office of Advanced Education. The campaign is advocating for the elimination of interest rates on student loans, the re-establishment of a provincial needs-based grants program and an increase to core funding for colleges and universities. Jaraad Marani, director of external relations for the University of Victoria Students’ Society, (UVSS) explained that the WTF?! coalition wanted to change the message of student activism into something more positive. “Instead of shaming the government, we were making light of the fact that there are some issues with [post-secondary education] in B.C.,” he said.
Crispin said students at UVic and Capilano had taken the Valentine’s idea from an old CFS campaign. “You know we did Valentine’s Day cards coordinated out of our office last year. We decided not to do it this year, but some of our members took it on and this event occurred,” he said. Teresa Grant, the WTF?! representative for the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU), expressed surprise and disappointment upon seeing the CFS press release. “The CFS was not and is not a part of the WTF?! campaign. They were never contacted to be a part of the campaign,” said Grant. “Capilano is the only institution participating in WTF?! that is a member school of the CFS, so taking credit, or playing with words like they did was overstepping their boundaries.” “In no way was the CFS involved,” said Marani, calling the press release “interesting.” According to Crispin, the UVSS is also a member of CFS-BC, but UVSS chairperson Tara Paterson argued otherwise. “It is the position of the UVSS that we are no longer members of CFS national or CFSBC,” said Paterson. The CSU did not participate in the CFS’ Day of Action when thousands of Canadian students rallied together for lower tuition fees on Feb. 1, opting instead to put their efforts into WTF?!’s Feb. 14 campaign. On Feb. 13, a press release was sent out by previous CSU chairperson David Clarkson to promote the Valentine’s Day campaign. It explained that although their student union continues to pay membership fees to the CFS, they preferred “a non-adversarial approach to advocacy.” Grant was critical of the CFS for their past approach to working with government. “The WTF?! campaign has worked extremely hard to have a valuable and open dialogue that works both ways with our elected officials, and with my experience and knowledge of the CFS, they do not hold that as a priority, and prefer taking a more inyour-face dictating role.” Grant said that she is unable to speak for the other coalition schools, but does not believe that the CFS would be accepted as a
campaign partner, citing the organization’s well-documented legal battles. Since 2008, the national CFS or its B.C. component have been involved with seven different lawsuits against B.C. student unions at Kwantlen, SFU and UVic. “Both the SFU and UVic student societies have seen face time with the CFS in court, and so collaboration on such a campaign would not strengthen us…WTF?! is built on the idea of cooperation and consensus,” she said. “I believe one of the many reasons WTF?! aims to be so cooperative is because of the many negative experiences that some of the participating schools have had with the CFS.” Marani was more open to the idea, but said that the CFS hadn’t expressed any interest in joining their campaign. “I guess we’d have to cross that bridge when we get there,” he said. He also extended an invitation to the KSA. “We’re always looking for new folks to come out and be part of the campaign,” said Marani. “The Kwantlen Student Association is open to partnering with other universities that are currently part of this Where’s The Funding?! campaign,” said Arzo Ansary, the KSA’s director of external affairs. “We would
gladly help facilitate movement and create some of our own in the interest of students.” Despite the controversy, the organizers believe the event was an unqualified success and were happy to see students excited and engaged about affordable education. Grant also noted that the campaign helped to create and foster stronger relationships with both provincial Liberal and NDP politicians. According to Marani, this is the first time in his recollection that so many big schools in B.C. have worked together on a single issue, and the campaign organizers hope to keep building on that success.
Where’s The Funding?! campaigners hold a press conference at the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Feb. 14. COURTESY OF THE MARTLET
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The Runner | www.runnermag.ca
Kwantlen Sikh group seeks more support I
KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR
Sikh students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University are reaching out to student associations at other schools for support. When Simran Devgun took over as president of the Kwantlen Sikh Students Association (KSSA) last April, he noticed the Kwantlen Student Association treats religious clubs very differently from how they are treated at neighbouring universities. “The UBC and SFU SSA both have funding from the university, but we don’t,” said Devgun. The KSSA, which has integrated with the Kwantlen International Student Society (KISS), is a recognized group at Kwantlen but isn’t considered a club by the KSA because of its ineligibility for funding. According to the KSA regulations, clubs cannot be connected to religious organiza-
tions or political parties. Kwantlen has a Christian ministries group that does not receive funding from the university. “They don’t have funding for religious groups, I guess,” says Devgun. But it’s not money that Devgun and the KSSA want, it’s support from students— which can be hard to get when there isn’t a huge group of people who know how to get involved. “What I wanted was to do more things on campus so people are aware of the KSSA and would join in to do something,” he said. “I was thinking of organizing an event in March at the Kwantlen Surrey campus.” The KSSA usually offers free turban-tying at the Vaisakhi and Diwali celebrations on campus, but for the association’s next event, Devgun wanted to do something with a little more impact — even if that means teaming up with other universities’ SSAs.
“The SFU SSA and the UBC SSA both have a joint venture; they do stuff all together. They host shows and different plays and they raise money out of those plays and then hand that money to charity,” he said. “So, I was thinking to get a hold of them along with a couple of the KSSA guys and do something the other SSAs donate to societies in India. What I wanted was to look for something to do for homeless people in Vancouver.” Whether it’s hosting events off campus alongside UBC and SFU, or bringing awareness about the group to Surrey’s large South Asian student body, Devgun and the KSSA are just looking for some recognition. “I just want more support,” Devgun said. “Kwantlen is the main place for the Punjabi and Sikh community but we don’t have a strong SSA here the Kwantlen Surrey campus should be the main one, that’s what I’m looking for.”
The Kwantlen Sikh Student Association logo. FACEBOOK
“We are a wealthy province. We can do way better” I SARAH SCHUCHARD
Several dozen students and faculty came to hear Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Jagrup Brar at Kwantlen’s Surrey campus on Feb. 9 to learn about his experience living on welfare for the month of January. After shelling out rent money, Brar found himself living on a diet of noodles, eggs, bread, and peanut butter. Brar only had an allowance of $610, which is the average welfare allowance given to an ablebodied individual in British Columbia for one month. He planned to spend half of his time in Surrey and the remainder of it in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, living in the notorious single-room-occupancy (SRO) buildings. It was difficult for Brar — after the cost of housing, he was left with little more than $100, and by Jan. 25 he was completely out of money. When he took on the challenge, which was given by the Vancouver-based organization Raise the Rates, he said he had little
Surrey-Fleetwood NDP MLA Jagrup Brar speaks to Kwantlen students. MATT DIMERA/THE RUNNER
support from those close to him and his community often asked why he wanted to do it.
Brar saw it as an opportunity to experience the hardships of poverty first hand and to “tell a story of half a million people living in poverty in [the] beautiful province of B.C.” When Brar spent the second half of his challenge in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside he describes it as anything but pleasant, saying that one of the SROs he observed was so bad that he wouldn’t even bring his dog in. “It was eye opening, it was shocking. It was disturbing to see people living in these conditions in the province of B.C.,” he said. Brar said what changed his perspective of people living in poverty was hearing a man named Rick tell his story during Brar’s first day of the challenge. Brar found out that after working 20 years in the construction industry, Rick had been diagnosed with liver cancer and was no longer able to keep his job, resulting in him having no choice but to live off
of welfare. Brar wanted to make it clear to people that the common stereotypes of people living on welfare are not accurate. “Out of half a million people in poverty in B.C., 64 per cent of them are actually working,” he said. He makes it clear that not all is well in the system and that changes are needed to ensure that people are living with respect and dignity in British Columbia. Brar wants more affordable housing, the removal of earning exemptions, easilyaccessible transit, raised welfare rates and for jobs paying decent wages in order to ensure a standard of living for those that are able to work. Brar said, “I would like to conclude by saying that I apologize to the people who lost their lives because of poverty. We failed to provide them the resources to live to their full potential,” he said. “We are a wealthy province, we can do way better.”
www.runnermag.ca | The Runner
vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page seven
Secret settlement with ousted KSA members is a travesty I THE RUNNER
Last Thursday, the KSA announced it had reached an out-of-court settlement with Nina Sandhu, an ex-director of the society, and Gary Dhaliwal, a former student and RAF affiliate. Both were suing the KSA after they, and 24 others, were ousted from the society last year. Both sides agreed that the special general meeting held Nov. 30 was appropriately called and held, and that the impeachment of the old board of directors and creation of a transitional board at the meeting should stand. The motion, which put the 26 people in bad standing at the meeting has been overturned and those named have agreed
to wait three years before running in any KSA elections. It gets better. Both sides have agreed to keep the settlement confidential. Kwantlen students have already had enough secret dealings. They made this clear last November. This decision is a slap in the face of the 300 plus students who braved pepper spray and repeated fire alarm evacuations to send a message that secrecy has no place in the student government. This was supposed to be a transitional, caretaker board in charge of running the day-to-day operations of the society. This board was meant to call an election as soon as possible so that a duly-elected board
could properly and fairly wade through the mess that was the KSA and put the society back on track. This decision solves the current board’s pressing legal concerns, but it essentially indemnifies the former directors and RAF members — Aaron Takhar, Justine Franson, Nina Sandhu and Sean “Birdman” Bassi, among others — from nearly anything. “The KSA, the former directors, current directors, and other individuals named in the special resolutions at the SGM have agreed not to engage in further litigation regarding past events relating to the society,” the press release states. This caretaker board’s decision to settle the suit effectively buries all of the unan-
swered questions surrounding the original RAF/Aaron Takhar suit from 2006 and its settlement by family members who lied about their relations to Mr. Takhar last year. “The out of court resolution was motivated by a desire to resolve all outstanding issues from the past in order to allow the KSA to move forward and focus on serving the students of Kwantlen Polytechnic University,” it reads. A caretaker board that has made a monumental decision such as this is not, in fact, serving the students of Kwantlen. This board is failing to hold those to account for their actions in exchange for a three-year promise.
Left Coast not interested in pipedreams I
MATT LAW MEDIA EDITOR
It is becoming clearer and clearer that British Columbians want nothing to do with pipelines. This current push to pipe raw bitumen, the heaviest and thickest form of petroleum, through B.C.’s pristine wilderness is just another example of Ottawa’s disconnect with the “radicals” out west. British Columbians are no strangers to exploiting natural resources — this province has been mined, logged and fished for thousands of years — these industries have been vital to the people and our economy. And despite the current state of our struggling logging industry, a disappearing fisheries and a mining industry constantly embroiled in legal battles, British Columbians do not want oil running
through their province. The spectre of a 1,170-kilometre pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. — not to mention the tankers navigating dangerously tight channels to pick up the oil — is too much for many West Coasters. Why? Because accidents happen. Of course this is partly a fear of the unknown. B.C. isn’t as familiar with the oil industry as our neighbours to the east and the Alberta-oil poster-boy sitting on Parliament Hill. But the oil industry is viewed through its mistakes, and the images of oil-soaked pelicans are still fresh in people’s minds. But what about the economic benefit to Canadians? The construction of a pipeline serving the oil-thirsty Asian market would provide a much needed boost to the Canadian economy. Wouldn’t it? Not according to former president and
CEO of ICBC Robyn Allan. Earlier this year, Allan produced a highly critical economic report on the Northern Gateway project. She found that “Northern Gateway is neither needed nor is in the public interest.” The report casts serious doubts on claims by Enbridge and Ottawa that the project will benefit Canadians. In fact, Allan states that there would be a negative overall effect on Canadians due to a $2 to $3 rise in gas prices over the next 30 years. Of course, while Enbridge refutes these claims, Stephen Harper is in China saying it is “increasingly clear that it is in Canada’s national interest to diversify our energy markets.” Come again? Didn’t we just find out it is not in Canada’s interest. Is Allan just another “radical” looking to
stop any and all developments in Canada? Doubtful. She is a highly respected economist who was once voted one of Canada’s top 200 CEOs by the National Post. Not to mention that Allan, and her study, were backed by the Alberta Federation of Labour — an organisation that has its roots in the mining industry and is dedicated to creating jobs. The future of the Northern Gateway is undecided but this latest butting of heads between tree-hugging wing nuts and the suits in Ottawa furthers a debate that needs to be had. Canada needs oil. The whole world needs oil. From your electronics to your car, most of these products are a result of mining and the oil industry. Our society cannot survive without exploiting the resources we have – and this needs to change.
www.runnermag.ca | The Runner
B.C.’s prohibition h I
BRENDAN TYNDALL CONTRIBUTOR
The Rio Theatre may have survived to show films again, but what seems like a victory for the little guy against the province’s heavy-handed control of liquor laws reveals that our government is still woefully behind the times. In January, after successfully applying for a liquor primary licence, Rio owner and operator Corrine Lea was told by the provincial government that her business must stop showing movies, despite the fact that Lea had no intention on serving alcohol during movies. “We were aware of this law going into the process and we never expected to be able to serve alcohol during movies, but we certainly didn’t think they would ban us from showing movies at all that came as a huge shock,” says Lea. After a well-publicized battle with the provincial government, the Rio narrowly avoided being shut down after Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman announced on Feb. 9 that the government would make it possible for venues to screen films and pay-per-view events outside the hours outlined by their liquor licence. The Rio’s victory was bittersweet, however, as the Rio is still not allowed to show movies when their liquor licence is valid, which means movies can only be shown in the day, and only on days when there are no other events scheduled at the multipurpose venue. The strict control over liquor by the provincial government in B.C. dates back to the 1920s. After a failed attempt at imposing prohibition, the government decided it would be easier to allow the sale of liquor under its own control, a mindset that still resonates in many of the province’s liquor laws. Today, all matters related to alcohol in B.C. are controlled by two agencies: the Liquor Distribution Branch and the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
It is the L.D.B. that is responsible for our province’s notoriously high liquor prices. The L.D.B. marks up wine 123 per cent, and spirits 170 per cent, which puts B.C.‘s prices to among the highest in the country, let alone North America. Foreigners are often shocked when they come to Canada and end up paying three to four times more for alcohol than they would in their own country. While there are private liquor stores in B.C., they are forced to buy their product from the L.D.B., which results in even higher prices than the government stores. If the higher-than-average pricing of alcohol in B.C. weren’t enough, Canada’s federal liquor laws aren’t friendly either. For instance, it is illegal to transport liquor between provinces in Canada. You can legally bring back a small amount of wine, liquor or beer from another country if you have been gone for two days, but forget about bringing back a souvenir from your vacation in the Niagara wine country. The most perplexing of our laws states that no alcohol is to be sold in grocery stores or corner stores, something that is commonplace across Europe and the United States. As if alcohol were slightly easier for people to access, we would all turn into hopeless alcoholics. While these laws may seem crazy, for the majority of us they just make it harder and more expensive to buy booze. For Lea and the Rio, the laws hit closer to home. “We’re losing about $2,000 a day, the total by the end of this week will be $20,000 the province has cost an independent theatre that’s not having a lot of extra money”, said Lea, while the Rio remained closed awaiting on the provincial government to hear her case. The Rio’s struggle has revealed that its time for these antiquated laws to be revised. For instance, the idea that liquor licenses are being decided on by the minister of energy and mines.
The Rio on Broadway Street in Vancouver is now licensed to serve alcohol. JEFF GROAT/THE RUNNER.
A sassy sign shows at the Rio marquee to highlight the confusion surrounding their licensing process. BRENDAN TYNDALL/THE RUNNER.
vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page nine
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The Runner | www.runnermag.ca
Kalvonix sends a message: Have Faith
I SARAH SCHUCHARD
With twenty-three albums, a record label, an Olympic performance, and the release of his newest album, Have Faith, one could say that rapper, songwriter and student Calvin Tiu –– known under the moniker Kalvonix –– is nothing less than extraordinary. But, in his own eyes he is nothing more than “that little kid” who has a hard time growing up because of his spastic diplegia –– a type of cerebral palsy –– that causes him to be in a wheelchair most of the time. Calvin has hopes that his latest album, Have Faith, will be “seen as one of if not the greatest work [he has] done.” Featuring a lot of party songs and female vocals, Calvin wants people to see the fun guy that he can be intellectually and creatively. Throughout the album, there is a playful attitude and a sense of femininity as Tiu expresses that he finds a woman audience more appealing and fun to rap for. He wants to show that he is not pretending to be tough like the stereotypical rapper, and uses his music to express his sensitive side and the struggles that he deals with on a daily basis. “Music is everywhere and that is why I feel like nobody can stop me,” he says. After 22 self-produced solo albums, it’s not surprising that it only took Tiu two months to complete the album, featuring all of 20 tracks. Along with a fun, upbeat party side comes a deeper side to Kalvonix, reveal-
ing the struggles with his disability. Within the emotion and struggle that is remarkably evident in his songs, Tiu expresses one of his many struggles is the feeling of being left behind. “It was hard for me to enter university. I feel I can’t do what [my friends] are doing because I’m not ready and too afraid,” he says. As well as being a student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Tiu also loves to perform for people with disabilities because he feels he can inspire them to do more and follow their dreams by example. Tiu wants Have Faith to let people get to know him and see that he’s “not just some guy in a wheelchair.” “I need people to have faith in me because if they don’t, then I can’t have faith in me. So, if they have faith in me, the better chance I have for making it,” he says. Although it would be his dream to “make it” in the music industry, Tiu isn’t a money-hungry rapper. “I’m not in it for the money and I’m down to do any type of gig, whether it be for three people or three thousand.” Rapper, songwriter, and student, Calvin Tiu is just a guy living his dream, trying to challenge peoples perspectives through his music. “Hopefully things will work out and hopefully god will take me into a direction,” Tiu professes. Kalvonix’s latest album is available online on mediafire or youtube.com/users/ kalvonix. MATT LAW / THE RUNNER
www.runnermag.ca | The Runner
vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page eleven
Gurjinder Basran talks writing and the Indo-Canadian experience I SARAH SCHUCHARD
Centred on an Indo-Canadian girl growing up in Delta, Everything Was Good-bye brings light to many struggles that come with selfdiscovery, love, loss, cultural expectations and growing up as an outsider. Gurjinder Basran, author of the book and Kwantlen’s new writer-in-residence, spoke to The Runner about writing, racism, feminism and what inspired her onto her debut novel. Sarah Schuchard: What made you decide to pursue writing? Gurjinder Basran: It was mostly by accident. I’d been starting to write in my journal just about my childhood ... my teenage years, and my sisters. I have been sharing some of those thoughts about our upbringing and those difficulties. Then, after a while I just started to fictionalize things that happened to me and I found I started really enjoying it and it was the best part of my day. Then, eventually after six or seven months of writing at home for my pleasure I saw an ad for a continuing education in Simon Fraser and I thought ‘I’ll apply’ and they took 20 people a year into their program. I thought it couldn’t hurt, and much to my surprise I got in. SS: What advice would you give to aspiring young writers? GB: It’s sound advice and I think everyone gives it: write a lot, read a lot. I remember reading, as a statistic, that to even get good at anything you have to work at it for about 10,000 hours. Ten thousand hours equals mastery, and I think now I’m only at 6000 hours. So, I would just say write as much as you can, read as much as you can and surround yourself with people who like writing and have a high taste level. SS: What made you pursue a fashion degree at Kwantlen? GB: I always loved [and] I always looked for creative outlets. My first creative outlet was music, but there was absolutely no way my mother would let me pursue being a musician. I liked to sing a lot. I knew that that was out and my other love was design, and I still love the design. For me, being a teenager, I took a lot of sewing classes sewed my own clothes, had an interesting look, and it was just something that I thought was accessible. There was
a school I could go to, it was just more practical than being a singer, and at that time being a writer didn’t even enter my thought process of what I wanted to do.
educated, you’ll probably be married, you’ll probably have children –– these rights of passages, I never really questioned them. It was just my world.
SS: Your book is centred on the Indo-Canadian teenage girl, Meena. Did you form that character about your experiences?
SS: You initially got the idea for this book by writing in a journal. What kept you going and inspired you to make a book out of it?
GB: In some respects, I would say it’s a really loose attachment to me. I grew up with the same environment. You know, six daughters being raised by my mom here in Delta, and my father had passed away shortly after we moved to Canada. So that all felt really similar and I was an angsty teenager in the same ways that Meena was and very inwardly rebellious, very judgemental. But, outside of that I would say that, core characteristics, she’s definitely her own person.
GB: It just really consumed me. I think Virginia Wolfe talks about being on the scent –– just being on the scent of some idea and you just have to chase it. It was almost at certain point a compulsion or an obsession.
SS: With the book that you wrote featuring a lot of strong females how would you describe your views on feminism and women empowerment? GB: I didn’t necessarily go into the writing with a feminist slant; however, since writing it, many of the things I’ve wrote about I realize now that I’d probably always felt that way. Again, coming from a family of all women, my mother was an extremely strong individual, I was an extremely resourceful individual, but what always concerned me was when she and my sisters and my family and all the community around me there was all these strong, wonderful, articulate women and they seemed to have limited choices. Although I didn’t set out to write a book about a women’s ability to choose her own path or to self actualize, it has become something very important to me. You know that every woman has the right to choose and shouldn’t be limited by what people tell her, what the media tells her, or all the things that are, all the small subtle gender specific messages we get from a young age. SS: Before you wrote your book Everything Was Good-bye, was not being aware of your beliefs of feminism and women empowerment limiting? GB: Yes, and not on a conscious level. I don’t think I ever thought ‘Oh I can’t do this,’ I just understood I couldn’t because from a very young age as a woman, especially as an Indian woman. You just know that certain things are going to be a part of your life. For example, you know that here in Canada you’ll be
SS: What message did you want your readers to take away from the book? GB: I didn’t really have a message I wanted to convey. A lot of the things that came out as core messages after it was written were really a surprise to me. Originally, I had thought I had written a story about a boy and a girl, which it is, but it’s also about family and grief and a woman’s place and all these other ideas that I hadn’t thought to write about that just appeared through the story. I really just want readers to read it and have them think on it, and have a dialogue. I think that readers bring as much to the reading to the book as writers puts into it. What you take away from it isn’t right or wrong, and what I took from writing it isn’t right or wrong, it’s just different. I think that my hope for readers is that they just internalize it and find what it meant from them, even if it’s completely different from what it meant for me. SS: Growing up as an Indo-Canadian, what was it like for you in high school and trying to fit in? GB: It was absolutely terrible, yes it was terrible. By the time I was in high school, a lot of the racism of the 1970s was behind me. However, because it was experienced at such a formative age, I would say it certainly changed how I felt about people and how much I trusted. Because I wasn’t allowed to engage in all the other activities that most teenagers engaged in, I really felt kind of on the periphery of those things. I just didn’t really fit in. SS: Do you see the racism and stereotypes that you experienced in your youth still present today? GB: I would like to say that it’s changed, but I don’t think it has. I don’t think that we’re very far into living in a cohesive community
Kwantlen’s new writer-in-residence Gurjinder Basran reads from her debut novel, Everything Was Good-bye. PHOTO COURTESY OF VANCOUVER PUBLIC LIBRARY.
yet. I think there are a lot of assumptions on all sides and part of that goes to the lack of authentic representation. Yes, we see a few TV shows with some Indian people in it, but those people are often portrayed in the same way –– they’re quite flat characters. So I don’t think until we can see a more active and fair representation of all ethnic communities we’ll still have those stereotypes.
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The Runner | www.runnermag.ca
Vinyl Dust-off: Trafﬁc’s Trafﬁc
Lliam Easterbrook –– sonic archaeologist –– brings you his latest finds from excursions into ancient record bins.
LLIAM EASTERBROOK SENIOR FEATURES WRITER
Traffic’s second studio album — 1968’s eponymously titled Traffic — is a strange and compelling dichotomy of carefree pop sensibility and compelling rock and roll jamming. It is essentially a songwriting duel between two distinct and opposing songwriters in Dave Mason and Steve Winwood. But despite its discombobulating eclecticism, Traffic is cohesive as a sum of its parts. I don’t know why it works, it just does. Traffic was a band that apparently didn’t get along. The band had dispatched of Mason shortly after their first album Mr. Fantasy had been released in December 1967. The following winter Mason got back with the band and made Traffic — allegedly because Winwood and co. were having trouble writing enough songs. He would come and go numerous times, often just before a tour or
after a record was finished. Hence, just before the album was released, he left again, and the band broke up for good shortly thereafter. Creative differences can end a band faster than ego or drugs any day. For a band that just couldn’t seem to find their niche as guys in a band, the music is remarkably consistent — if “consistent” can mean different. It’s almost as if there are two separate bands playing on this album. But again, it works. Take Mason’s opener for example; the carefree pop of “You Can All Join In” is staggeringly different from the second track, Winwood/Capaldi’s cogent progressiveblues jam “Pearly Queen”. When you hear a Lennon, McCartney, Harrison or Ringo song, you know it’s The Beatles. When you hear a Mason or Winwood song, you know it’s Mason or Winwood. Yes, technically it’s Traffic, but to me they don’t sound like a band. They sound like a group of musicians writing and composing for two different bands. And if you’re going to be stuck in Traffic together anyway, you might as well get out, stretch your legs,
BIANCA PENCZ CONTRIBUTOR
cook some bacon on the engine block and break out the guitars. But despite the traffic jam — the band’s creative differences — somehow Traffic, as an album, is not. You see two cars passing each other on opposite sides of the road, each going different places — one right to the radio tower (“Feeling Alright”), and the other to some esoteric location (“Forty-Thousand Headmen”) — but while they’re side by side you can tell they’re the same car. All puns and strained metaphors aside, the differences between Mason and Winwood level out the album. Having heard Mason and Winwood’s solo ventures, they were better off together. They compliment more than they distract each other. While Mason’s catchy folk-rock compositions might grab the listener initially, it’s Winwood’s ambitious and dreamy jams that bring the album to another level entirely. Traffic is an album that otherwise might have been forgotten amidst the wash of late 60’s psych-pop. But because of its differences in tempo, mood and craft, it’s well worth listening to. Play It Loud. Play It Proud.
Named after the dystopian novel by Vladimir Nabokov, Bend Sinister and their feelgood indie-rock have never really suited their handle. Going by the band’s newest single, “Give It A Rest”, the band is sure to continue their tradition of musical buoyancy and melodic charm in their upcoming EP, On My Mind. But, the song also foreshadows a fresh take on their sonic brand: a little less Supertramp and a little more 21st-century sheen. Pick up On My Mind on March 6, and see the band at Venue in Vancouver, March 23.
LLIAM EASTERBROOK/THE RUNNER
PHOTO COURTESY OF INDOOR RECCESS
KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR
Sometimes being named a renaissance man, slam poet, rapper and recently debuted indie actor, Saul Williams released his latest album, Volcanic Sunshine, this past November. But, between living in Paris, starring in the new indie flick Aujourd’hui and spearheading a new group project, Chorus: A Literary Mixtape, Williams hasn’t yet had time to tour Volcanic Sunshine. The prolific writer finally stops by Vancouver on March 14 at the Biltmore to wow our literary pallette.
www.runnermag.ca | The Runner
Safe House places Reynolds with the big boys I
MIKE SHAMES SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER
Ryan Reynolds hasn’t had the best year. Still reeking from the stench of Green Lantern, but Safe House may help put him back in good standing. Denzel Washington also stars in this spy flick, and he steals the show. Safe House is about a rookie CIA agent Matt Weston (played by Reynolds) whose sole duty is to maintain and watch a secure safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s a rather boring gig, and Reynolds wants to get out in the field. The monotony is interrupted by the arrival of notorious rogue agent, Tobin Frost (Washington). Reynolds is quickly out of his depth as the safe house is stormed, all agents are killed and he has to escape with Washington, an expert agent and master manipulator. He and Reynolds now are playing a twisted game of cat and mouse, all the while trying to figure out who is after them. Anyone will agree that this film has some flaws, but overall, it’s a good movie. The main flaw might be the similarities between this and another of Washington’s
vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page thirteen
films, Training Day. While not as intense, Safe House still uses the master vs. student formula. And Reynolds is no Ethan Hawke. Where Hawke’s character was wrestling with keeping his job against his morals while trying to remain alive, Reynolds seems more like a dopey kitten trying to catch a mouse to bring back to mommy. Except, this mouse has outsmarted everyone thus far. Reynolds doesn’t completely sell his role. Fortunately, that just makes Washington’s already stellar performance even better. Washington does seem like the old dog that knows all the dirty tricks but this may be the one time he is also out of his league. The reason for walking back into CIA hands is too important for him to quit. There are a few times the camera just jumps and moves too much to catch what’s really going on. With someone like Denzel Washington in the cast, the film is bound to be good. But that’s where the movie stops: just good. It’s a fun thrill-ride, but drags at points. It’s still worth seeing for sure, and hopefully Reynolds can continue to regain public approval.
Ryan Reynolds steps up to the plate in this drama-thriller alongside Denzel Washington. PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL.
Texture adds life to your wardrobe
LAURA COLLINS CONTRIBUTOR
Keeping to one signature look can be boring. Stop wearing those faded jeans and that ratty t-shirt, and start adding some flavour to your closet. Texture is the way to get some life into your wardrobe, and it’s not that hard. Start shopping with the goal of mixing up your choices of fabric. When you pick up a piece, try to think of what you currently own and see if the item you are holding would be another addition to the 20-something cotton sweatshirts hanging in your closet. If so, put it down. Scan the store for some satin, wool or lace. You can keep those comfy jeans, but pair them with a lace tank to add some dimension to your outfit. Go a little dangerous with sheer and leather fabrics, mixing in the bold with cotton pieces to keep the outfit grounded. Try black leggings with a lose fitting cotton dress and a dark brown leather jacket,
giving you a look that feels great and looks sexy in a less revealing manner. Once you’ve mastered the various forms of fabric, it’s time to study up on the different weaves. Look at the way fabric is sewn, pairing together contrasting pieces. Add a loose knit scarf to a tightly weaved sheer. Throw on a loosely sewn lace tank underneath, letting it poke out just slightly at the top. These contrasting elements coming together to give your ensemble depth. Spice up your closet with tweeds and velvet. These two fabrics are heavy, so don’t go head to toe in them. Stick to one piece, like a nicely tailored jacket or blazer, and forgo these fabrics in the late spring and summer. Texture is eye candy. An outfit with varying fabrics and weaves will give your onlookers something to ogle. Bring out a sense of play when flipping through your closet in the morning, remembering to mix in different elements of texture to create a look that others are sure to try to copy.
Texture is eye candy. This loose-knit scarf paired with a lace tank and sheer top will have fashion-philes ogling. MITCH THOMPSON/THE RUNNER.
page fourteen | February 21 2012 | vol. 4 issue 11
The Runner | www.runnermag.ca
Fraser Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival brings the masters Don Hlus, a long-time Kwantlen music instructor, has been bringing internationally renowned artists to the Fraser Valley music community for 15 years, providing inspiration and insight to the student body.
KRISTI ALEXANDRA CULTURE EDITOR
Don Hlus, director of guitar and strings in Kwantlen’s music department, started putting on the Fraser Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival 15 years ago. This year, the FVAGF’s theme is Internationally Known, Home Grown and is showcasing renowned artists Celso Machado, Daniel Bolshoy, Don Alder and David Sinclair. The festival has served as a platform for internationally and locally distinguished artists to work with high school, college and university students who are in music programs, and to provide entertainment and inspiration to the Fraser Valley music community. “I’ve been here since 1993 when the music department opened,” says Hlus. “I went around to most of the high schools to introduce myself and find out what was happening in the high schools. I learned there were about 20 programs … the teachers were saying ‘well, we’ve got jazz band festivals, choir trips etc. but nothing for guitar.’ When I had heard that for about the 15th time, I thought ‘hey, this is something that I could facilitate.’ That’s one of the reasons why it [the Fraser Valley Acoustic Guitar Festival] started. The other thing was that the high school instructors did a fabulous job of getting students excited about music and studying at the university, so many of the applicants were enthusiastic but not necessarily prepared to enter music studies.” That’s where the festival’s master classes step in. This year, world guitarist Celso Machado and classical guitarist Daniel Bolshoy will be leading master classes on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 at Kwantlen’s Langley campus, that are free and open to the public. “A master class is kind of like a student would be getting a lesson in public,” says Hlus. “The public that comes in, they’re kind of eavesdropping, if you will.” So those who might have apprehensions about their level of expertise won’t have to worry about straggling behind in a group of guitar prodigies, but Hlus maintains that
there’s a lot to take away from sitting in on a master class. “There’s just a lot of insights,” he says. “[Machado’s] written a number of pieces for solo guitar and guitar quartets … so we’ll play it. There are just so many insights that they get when you’re working directly with the composer that you can’t glean from the score, we just get a lot of insight about how they approach music and the guitar and it’s a real adrenaline boost.” And Hlus could not be more enthusias-
tic about the caliber of artists he has put together for this year’s festival. “If we were talking hockey, it would be like Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and the Sedin brothers,” he enthuses. “A lot of people over the years have been shocked at the players that I have here. These are all guys who make their home on the West Coast … there are a lot of world class players that live here in Vancouver — we just don’t know about it. All these guys have come out and worked at the festival in the
past and how do I choose one guy? I came up with the idea to invite the four of them and they’ll all do a small set. It’ll be a guitar sampler of an evening.” The Internationally Known, Home Grown concert takes place Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Langley campus auditorium. Free master classes will be taught on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Evening tickets for students are $15.
www.runnermag.ca | The Runner
vol. 4 issue 11 | February 21 2012 | page ﬁfteen
OFF THE WALL RELATIONSHIPS - BEN HORNE
PISCES Feb. 20 - March 20
VIRGO Aug. 24 - Sept. 23
Learn how to do the moonwalk — your life will be complete and people will respect you.
This is the week you will be able to give up smoking ... or not. It’s really up to you.
ARIES March 21 - April 19
Tonight’s going to be a good, good night. If it isn’t ... I’m sorry.
TAURUS April 20 - May 20
LIBRA Sept. 24 - Oct. 23
Someone close to you could develop some strange symptoms. You probably should have worn that condom.
SCORPIO Oct. 24 - Nov. 22
Be careful how much you commit to this week. Doing too much may mean you miss out on cantaloupe.
Hey, remember that bad guy in the Simpsons. Wasn’t his name Scorpio? That was funny.
GEMINI May 21 - June 20
SAGITTARIUS Nov. 23 - Dec. 21
Talk like Tweety Bird for the day. Somebody is bound to ﬁnd it cute.
CANCER June 21 - July 23
CAPRICORN Dec. 22 - Jan. 20
Numbers are your friends, but not iguanas. Steer clear of those green little bastards this week.
LEO July 24 - Aug. 23
Pat yourself on the back for making a difference in the world. Everybody knows that crying baby on the bus needed to be yelled at.
(CUP) — Puzzles provided by BestCrosswords.com. Used with permission.
You’re sexy and you know it. You should wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. OK, stop now. You really shouldn’t wiggle like that.
AQUARIUS Jan. 21 - Feb 19
Watch out for naked guys on the side of the highway. There seems to be a lot of them around these days.
Across 1- Barbershop request; 5- Aromatic wood; 10- Tooth; 14- Hokkaido native; 15- Small egg; 16Collar type; 17- Temperance; 19- Gaucho’s weapon; 20- Standards of perfection; 21- Regent; 23- Rareearth metallic element; 25- Eagle’s home; 26- Truman’s Missouri birthplace; 28- Falls-jumping ﬁsh; 31- Animate existence; 34- Children’s author Blyton; 36- Handle; 37- “Much _ About Nothing”, play by Shakespeare; 38- Building; 40- _ de guerre; 41- Intrinsically; 43- Pond organism; 44- Fit to _ ; 45- Spanish rice dish; 47- Bird that gets you down; 49- Oozes; 51- Large New Zealand reptile; 55- Wingless; 58- Faultﬁnder; 59- Pole, for one; 60- Sedative; 62- Trick; 63- Farewell; 64- “ _ sprach Zarathustra”; 65- Electric ﬁsh; 66- Makes a loan; 67- Not e’en once;
Down 1- Implied; 2- _ Janeiro; 3- Type of sanctum; 4- Chameleonlike; 5- Ate; 6- Holiday start; 7- Manure; 8- Foil maker; 9- “Speed” star; 10- Feverish; 11- Reconciliation; 12- _ contendere; 13Growl; 18- Bones found in the hip; 22- Clear the board; 24- Craze; 27- Long arm; 29- Plains native; 30- Iditarod terminus; 31- Scandinavian; 32- Brain wave; 33- Anticipate; 35- Toe or ﬁnger; 38- Conger catcher; 39- Winged staff carried by Mercury; 42- Arm coverings; 44- Craftsperson; 46- Having no distinct feet; 48- “…countrymen, lend me your _ “; 50- Jacket material; 52- Start of a Dickens title; 53Wash lightly; 54- Bogie, e.g.; 55- Even _ speak...; 56- Ballet bend; 57- Whirl; 61- Roulette bet;
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