The Gateway December 2016
DRUGS ARE BAD
Content Campus News Events Cool Club Time: International Students’ Association From the Bruce Peel Archives Q&A: David Gay Neato things in neato museums: Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives Opinion Point. & Counter. Are unpaid internships worth it? Editorial: Fuck it, let’s merge the Arts and Sciences Merry XXX MAS The Twelve Days Of Sex Positions Too drunk to witness Trump getting elected Traditionally Untraditional: Celebrating the Holidays Arts A hot take on the Ice District’s cool, new mural 2016 Wrap Up
Features Photo Essay: Rain In November Why studying abroad is not a simple feat Your doctor’s right: you’re too young to smoke weed
Diversions ˇ‡ On Line Horoscopes ˇˇ†ç
Published since November 21, 1910 Circulation 8,000 ISSN 0845-356X Suite 3-04 Students’ Union Building University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2J7 Advertising www.f-media.ca Contact 780-492-5168 email@example.com Editor-in-Chief Josh Greschner Managing Editor Jon Zilinski Art Director Adaire Beatty Photo Editor Joshua Storie Online Editor Mitch Sorensen News Editor Jamie Sarkonak Contributing Editors Ashton Mucha Sam Podgurny Staff Reporter Sofia Osborne A/V Reporter Oumar Salifou Webmaster Alex Shevchenko Contributors Hafsa Abdulele Pia Araneta Willow Austin Nathan Fung Vonn Gondziola Uncle Grandpa Aidan Herron Zoe Joyall
Jonah Kondro Cam Lewis Evan Mudryk Feo P-S Yasmine Razek Floyd Robert Julia Sorensen
Front Cover Adaire Beatty Joshua Storie Copyright All materials appearing in The Gateway bear copyright of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Volunteer Wanna write, draw, shoot photos or take videos for us? For information on how to get involved with The Gateway, visit gtwy.com/volunteer GSJS The Gateway is published by the Gateway Student Journalism Society (GSJS), a student-run, autonomous, apolitical not-forprofit organization, operated in accordance with the Societies Act of Alberta.
December 2016 3
From the Bruce Peel Archives By Vonn Gondziola
Events FAB Gallery: “Playing With Fire” This exhibition is the final visual presentation for the Megan Warkentin’s MFA Painting degree of Master of Fine Arts in Painting. Inspired by Warkentin’s fascination with YouTube videos of people doing stunts and getting hurt, the gallery explores the absurdity of these types of videos and their viewers’ reactions. December 6-22, January 3-7 | FAB Gallery COST: Free Last day of class Hell yeah. Also, this varies for some programs, including professional programs, so check with your faculty to be sure. December 7 | Campus-wide COST: Free Final Exams Good luck everyone! As with the last day of class, the exact final exam period is different for certain professional programs, so check with your faculty for exact dates. December 9-21 | Campus-wide COST: Sleep, dignity Denny’s is open on Christmas For those who don’t have a family breakfast planned for Christmas morning, and are struggling to find a food vendor that’s open, Denny’s has your back. The holiday menu features classic breakfast foods like pancakes, omelets, and waffles, and the serving staff will make you feel as festive as they possibly can in the corporate food and service environment. December 25 | Denny’s COST: Usually somewhere between $10 and $20
hile the original bookbinding process called for upwards of 50 people doing different tasks in an assembly line, Edmontonbased historical bookbinder Alexander McGuckin does it alone. He’s mastered each task: sewing pages together, attaching leather covers, and finally using finishing tools to complete cover designs, often with gold gildleaf. In 2013, McGuckin created The Anatomy of a Book to showcase the traditional tools and skills needed for bookbinding. The Anatomy of a Book isn’t really a book, but rather what McGuckin calls a “bindery in a box.” It contains all of the necessary bookbinding tools at a miniaturized scale of 1:3.5. The microbindery also comes with two blank “dummy
books”: one with a cover attached, and one without a cover to show the detail involved. “This process is essentially an art form. It’s a really cool learning tool, to be able to see what lies beneath a hand-crafted book.” — Jesse Carson, Public Service Assistant.
Artist: Alexander McGuckin Collection: Alexander McGuckin Bindings Year: 2013 Call Number: Z 272 M3J — 2013 folio
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION By Jamie Sarkonak
Cool Club Time 4 GTWY.CA
Why is it here? There are many region-based clubs for the University of Alberta’s 6,000 international students, but a lot of these have been programming and community-based. The International Students’ Association was created by the Students’ Union in 2013 to change that. This newer association is more focused on advocacy; tuition for international students is expensive, costing more than $20,000 per year for courses and school fees alone. On top of that, international students live away from home, which can be emotionally and financially challenging.
How and why can students get involved? Students looking to get involved with the advocacy side of international student life can discuss concerns and work on projects where they see the need with the association, said president Murtoza Manzur. Manzur added that the International Students’ Association can direct those in need to campus resources for support if they’re being discriminated against or put at a disadvantage. “I personally don’t think the U of A has a lack of services,” he said. “But people, especially international students, don’t know about these services.”
Q&A by Evan Mudryk Professor David Gay may be a familiar face for students in English (or students taking English requirements). This year, the Shakespeare and early modern literature expert is teaching ENGL 102 (Introduction to Critical Analysis), ENGL 209 (The History of Reading and English), ENGL 339 (Shakespeare), and ENGL 426 (Reforming Places in Early Modern Literature). We sat down with him to learn a bit more about who he is. How did you get into your field? I began by studying English because I loved words, I loved language, I loved the way English studies combines so many facets of society from politics to religion to history. And I find all of those interests reflected in literary texts. My first research and teaching focused very strongly on Paradise Lost and John Milton. Can you tell me about Shakespeare? I’m enjoying Shakespeare tremendously — it’s his 400th anniversary this year and tremendous attention is being given to him. With Shakespeare in particular, you have contemporary adaptations and continuing cultural resonance that makes a strong connection between the past and present. Can you give any examples? I remember being very excited in the 1990s when Linda Woodbridge was a great and very distinguished Shakespeare scholar here. At the time, she did work on King Lear showing its relevance to vagrancy laws, homelessness, and even elder abuse. Those are issues of both Shakespeare’s time and our time. I am fascinated by the way some artists, like actor Simon Russel Beale in London, confront science of aging in King Lear. He portrays Lear as someone who suffers from a very unique form of dementia, called Lewy body dementia. I am amazed at how Shakespeare is always ahead of our own curve ready to help us interpret the very things we need to think about at a given moment. Where’s your favourite place for a holiday? One of my happiest places as a professor of English has been sitting in the British Library in London where you can call up any rare book and immerse yourself in research and reading. Then you can pop out and see a Shakespeare play at the Globe or the National Theatre as well. So, I would say London is a place I have grown very fond of through my career.
NAME David Gay, FACULTY Arts, POSITION Professor of English, FAVOURITE PLACE TO BE Off-leash dog park or the River Valley December 2016 5
Neato things in neato museums: Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives Written by Jamie Sarkonak
“Folklore” doesn’t include just fairy tales. It includes the lived experiences of small groups, rather than elite culture or pop culture. Folklorists studying the Ukrainian past concentrate on peasant life. When these scholars need materials to study, they can go to the largest North American collection of Ukrainian and Canadian-Ukrainian folklore material tucked away in the Old Arts Building.
Founded in 1977 as a collection of fieldwork by folklore students, the Bohdan Medwidsky Ukrainian Folklore Archives keeps things relating to Ukrainian life, like musical instruments, embroidery, old family photos, maps, journals, advertisements, and other artifacts.
The U of A’s Faculty Club celebrated Malanka, the Ukrainian New Year’s folk holiday, between 1973 and 1993. Students would dress as masked, traditional characters: the female hero, Malanka; her suitor, Vasyl; a priest; a devil; a bear; and many others. Those in costume would use their anonymity to satirize politicians — and professors.
Folklorist Bohdan Medwidsky began sending students to do Ukrainian folklore fieldwork in the 70s, which largely involved recording interviews. Today, scholars still use this 20th century data, but it’s locked away in in now-archaic storage like cassette tapes, floppy discs, and CDs. To solve this problem, the collection keeps nowarchaic platforms, like old Windows computers.
The first Ukrainian dancers began to appear on Canadian television in the 60s. While it’s unclear if this group was the very first (CBC used to tape over the previous day’s footage without archiving any of it, so exact data is unavailable), it was definitely close.
Okay, these dolls are part of a Russian tradition, not Ukrainian, but they contain the tiniest Joseph Stalin you’ll ever see. They were made post-independence to mock Soviet leaders. And rightfully so; Ukrainians endured about 70 years of communist rule — two of which (193233) were spent in an Stalin-induced famine that killed millions.
3 The collection stores thousands of Ukrainian sheet music songs. These particular pieces were handwritten by an Orthodox priest in Montreal who arrived there between the first and the second world war. He was also a choir conductor, and committed a lot of time to writing out choir music that was later donated to the U of A.
6 The collection keeps a number of clothing items. Traditional shirts include one that was modified with a sugar sack after someone deemed the top half fully functional when the bottom wore out. Other contemporary pieces are more 20th century, like a Warhol-esque graphic tee depicting “Campbell’s Borscht.”
POINT. & COUNTER. ARE UNPAID INTERNSHIPS
HELL NO UNPAID INTERNSHIPS ARE NOT WORTH IT.
A PAID INTERNSHIP IS JUST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, SO AN UNPAID ONE IS WORTH IT.
The allure of an unpaid internship is the promise of learning new skills, gaining valuable insights into the workings of a professional environment, and a unique opportunity for you to get your foot in the door to jumpstart your career. But for struggling and cash-strapped students, such promises are a mere mirage in a desert. Let’s start with the most obvious reason: opportunity cost. An unpaid internship requires the same amount of time as a fulltime job. So the eight hours a day you’re spending at a desk doing entry-level work could be spent doing stuff that actually gets you paid. Now you might be thinking, “Well, the experience will make it all worthwhile.” Stop right there so I can tell you that such hopes aren’t worth the risk, and I speak from experience. Don’t believe this fantasy that an internship will grant you secret insights into your career field, that’s like thinking that Trump University holds the secrets to becoming a hot real estate mogul. An internship is nothing more than a glossy titled volunteer position. Now maybe your supervisors might trust you with more significant duties so that you can really show them what you’re capable of, but that really depends if you gel with the rest of the crew, which is no guarantee. It’s just as likely that you’ll hardly interact with the people in your environment, leaving you to count the days until your internship is finally over so that you can do something more meaningful, like seek paid employment to pay off that student debt. Considering the amount of time you’re spending on that when you could be working to pay the bills, or actually finding better (and paid) ways to start your career, the perceived value of an unpaid internship falls apart.
Here’s the thing: I get the whole “poor student” debacle, and the importance of making money, even if you’re only thinking short term because you want to eat more than KD all day every day and actually have a social life that consists of going out for drinks. So I get that unpaid internships don’t seem that great, but they’re worth it in the long run. Internships give you “experience.” But learning how to manage time, organize, work in a team, be responsible, and practice specialized skills are not the be-all and end-all. It’s part of it, but there’s more to landing a stable career than simply having experience. And maybe experience to you isn’t just for resume-building purposes. Maybe you’re indecisive and need experience in a given field to convince yourself whether or not to pursue that career path. Think of it as a trial-and-error period in your life. In both cases, you’ll gain experience from an unpaid internship. The unfortunate reality is that a university degree simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Sure, you may have a high GPA and have taken classes that function in abstractions to somehow teach you about the real world, but living in a university bubble where you cram for exams and write on cue cards to help step up your memorization game is not the real world. And earning practical experience — whether it be through volunteer or paid work — in order to slap together a resume that contains more than your name and address, which screams desperation, is extremely helpful, but even that might not cut it.
Don’t buy the hype about unpaid internships. The benefits they promise like experience and learning new skills depend on a plethora of ifs that make it a huge gamble for you to wisely invest your time into. Or to put it in shorter terms: no pay, no way.
In order to get a job nowadays, it’s all about who you know. And unpaid internships can assist with that as long as you recognize the opportunity in front of you. They provide a networking opportunity — you can meet people in your desired field, and develop relationships with them so when it comes time to search for a job, you can just name-drop your new bff to get your foot in the door. It might not be wrapped in $50 bills and tied with a neat bow, but it’s something, and it’s more than you had before.
— Nathan Fung
— Ashton Mucha
December 2016 7
Editorial: Fuck it, let’s merge the Arts and Sciences By Jamie Sarkonak
hen the University of Alberta’s 45 students started classes on September 23 of 1908, they were all in a single faculty: Arts & Sciences. Following the tradition of western liberal arts education, the first crop of U of A students would have learned about the physical, earthly world and the social constructs that humans built within. The U of A certainly wasn’t perfect in the 20th century. The Alberta Eugenics Board was chaired by one of our profs for 40 years. The Engineering Faculty Association ran an inter-departmental beauty contest for female students in the ‘80s, and it’s a guess, but I take it there were a bunch of other racist and sexist things, too. But, the U of A had it right in having the Arts and the Sciences together. To me, it’s miraculous that an Arts student can go their whole degree without having a basic scientific understanding of things like climate change and statistics. While the scientific method has its limits, it’s a pretty good tool for gauging the doom of the world — it can quantitatively determine when we’re in a mass extinction, or when our atmospheric carbon levels reach points of no return, or what agricultural practices are polluting soils and the water table. Besides that, it can also teach you about the fabric of reality, why gas is actually useful to us, and why transfats aren’t so good for eating. Studying in the Sciences is great for knowing how fucked we are. And in this age, we’re pretty fucked. The embarrassingly low six-credit Science requirement lets students get around learning about the harsh reality of the world and allows them to quickly return to studying social constructs. The obliviousness goes both ways. Science students can go their whole degree learning about sexual differences from a psychological or biological perspective
without ever having the word “feminism” show up on a syllabus. Oh God, we have people trying to quantify phenomena according to sex and gender without ever being taught what sex and gender are. At least Science students have 18 required Arts credits, so the odds that they’ll pick up societal context for whatever test tube experiment they’re running are a bit better. Merging the faculties would be the start of a bridge between the two. It wouldn’t mean restructuring the respective degrees, but it could be the beginnings of a new alliance. The idea of aligning Arts and Sciences on the same plane could eventually lead to more crossover. It could lead more Science students to accept that their Western tool for quantification is highly contextual and has historically produced results that align with non-scientific societal beliefs. A merge could also bring Arts students to think of climate change as something real rather than a marketing ploy by the elite patriarchy to influence global power dynamics and to generate consumer interest for “green” cleaning products. I doubt anyone would notice a merge. Having been in both the Sciences and Arts, it’s pretty easy for me to see the common ground between the faculties. The words “critical thinking” are commonly used in courses that ask you to memorize facts, writing is considered important yet instruction is minimal, and students suffer from their collective reluctance to engage with professors. Both faculties boast of groundbreaking research, yet most undergraduates aren’t going to hear of or contribute to these publications. Of course, you’ll find exceptions to everything I’ve listed, but teaching styles and classroom atmospheres are generally the same. If the U of A wants to create global citizens, or lifelong learners, or whatever it wants to call its graduates, then it should think about how it’s going to deliver a
well-rounded education that fosters global-scale thinking. Ideally, there would be one faculty that fosters the entire liberal arts education. There would be departments in the Arts, and some Sciences. Students would pick what they wanted to spend more time in, but they’d benefit overall from being around a wider range of ideas and from using different sorts of tools to uncover knowledge. We’d see fewer Science students scoffing at how Arts students whine about being triggered and don’t have to take labs, and we’d see fewer Arts students scoffing at how Science students don’t know how to analyze the world’s social structures. We’d end up with a stronger base of knowledge to understand the world with. And we’d also have a larger peer network to complain about the lack of writing instruction. In some ways, we should be jealous of the U of A’s first 45 students.
MERRY XXX mAS By Jonah Kondro
couple of years back, I escaped a small family gathering on Christmas Eve to have sex. I usually align my holiday plans with whichever family member has the largest supply of alcohol. But my girl texted me mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve. “Can you have a sleep over tonight? My roommate is gone and I have wine.” My decision to leave Mum’s house was easy to make. Mum knows I’m a miscreant and wasn’t bummed out when I said I was leaving to go see a girl. My sister asked if I was coming back. When I replied “No,” and she asked “Why,” I said, “Because I was going to have sex and would likely not want to put my clothes back on.” At that point my
sister reminded me that the next day was Christmas Day. “I know,” I said, with a smile. When I left the house, I thought my sister was going to put a frozen dog turd from the neighbour’s back yard in my stocking. I had made it over to my girl’s place and immediately admitted I had gotten her nothing for Christmas — no gifts, no presents, no cards. “Same,” she replied. Then we proceeded to exchange wine soaked French kisses and bodily fluids. Giving comes in many forms and positions. The house’s decorations rivalled Santa’s workshop. There was one x-mas tree upstairs and one x-mas tree downstairs. There were indoor and outdoor x-mas lights. X-mas figurines littered any open space.
The Twelve Days Of
Sex Positions By Pia Araneta
And there was enough fresh x-mas baking to give Santa diabetes. My girl and I had sex in every space exhibiting excess Christmas decorations. It was like we had our own personal porn-themed film set. In between a round of wine and gingerbread cookie-fuelled intercourse, I went searching for a stray Santa hat, which I never did find and therefore could never completely fulfill Christmas themed sexual cosplay. Ditching family to have sex during the holidays is great. I had limited interaction with family members. I still got my mitts on some holiday baking. I drank wine. I performed lewd acts in front of figurine elves. And I had morning sex when I woke up Christmas day.
THE ADVENT CANDLE CANDY CANE LANE THE STOCKING STUFFER ORNAMENTS FOR ORGASMS SITTING ON SANTA’S FACE HOE! HOE! HOE! RED NOSE REINDEER THE NATIVITY CREAM THE FROSTY NECKLACE THE CHOCOLATE NUTCRACKER GHOST OF CHRISTMAS ASS THE NORTH POLE
Secret Santa illustration by Zoe Joyall December 2016 9
Too drunk to witness Trump getting elected (but not drunk enough to forget it happened) Written & Illustrations by Uncle Grandpa
ALL started with a hot date at Boston Pizza. I had my secrets, they had theirs. We picked each other’s brains from one in the afternoon until the sun tripped down the stairs and blacked out. Eight beers, a bottle of port wine, a chipped tooth, gorilla glue, and a spicy pizza I paid for, but don’t remember at all. I apparently tried to call an Uber, and reached Doug before I was informed that 780-756-7711 (dial this and ask for Uber or Doug) is not Uber. After being thrown in someone’s backseat and dragged up a set of stairs, I immediately hit the bong. I sucked like a newborn then ran for the trees to retch away from the driveway. It was almost as bad as the high school party at Ruslan Fedotenko’s house when the world was spinning so violently clockwise that I had to hang onto a pine tree to keep from passing out. After I puked like
hell, I managed to stand up, crawl inside and collapse on a couch coated in cat hair. All the while my friend Jeff yelled about “Commies!” so obnoxiously and persistently that Kyle’s NDP-voting parents had to call Jeff’s dad to drag him out of the house, after which Jeff’s dad showed up and had no choice but to knock out his drunk son so he’d finally get in the car, “and for christsake, and don’t you dare wake your mother.” The last thing I remember after slapping the mud off my pants and finding the right house was Boston Pizza screaming at me “They’ve already counted the rural vote! He’s ahead!” I said “Bullshit man, he’s old as the air in my tires and his face is a scrotum” and passed out on the couch mumbling about the Book of Revelation. Apparently a few people came over but I
spared myself the anticipation of getting going to where the party’s getting going and the hot shame of being the most incapacitated. Everyone left and I was cold and I crawled into the closest empty bed I could find, and I missed the entire election. At four in the morning, Boston Pizza came back white as a virgin’s panties and sat on the bed with their laptop. I hauled myself out of bed, and there it was, Donald Trump was going to be President of the United States. And before you could brag about sexual harassment, my guts rocketed out of my throat and I threw up on the bed, on the carpet, on Boston Pizza, on their laptop, on myself, and everywhere else on my way to the toilet, after making stops in the laundry room and the other bedroom. Go home, America. You’re drunk as shit.
December 2016 11
TRADITIONALLY UNTRADITIONAL: CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS Illustrations by Jon Zilinski
"AN ODE TO FESTIVUS" by Aidan Herron
UKRAINIAN CHRISTMAS 101 by Ashton Mucha
HOW TO GO HAM DURING HANUKKAH by Sam Podgurny
An ode to Festivus, A celebration for the rest of us. The holiday with no fuss, And disappointment is a must.
For a large family of Ukrainians, Christmas is all about the traditional food. It’s not just the perogies (pyrohy) and cabbage rolls (holubtsi), it’s about the meaning behind the food. Although we usually have two dinners on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve is always the bigger celebration. Nothing says Khrystos Razdayetsia (Christ is born) like vodka, perogies, and carolling! Admittedly, I didn’t realize the religious connotation in a lot of my family’s Ukrainian Christmas traditions until I spoke to my mom and aunt. I guess I just go through the motions each year without fully understanding why. So here’s what I’ve learned: although Ukrainian Christmas is celebrated on January 6 (Sviat Vechir) and 7, we celebrate it on December 24 and 25. It’s on the 24th we don’t eat meat or dairy out of respect for the animals who shared their stable during the birth of baby Jesus. As it turns out, when I catch my grandpa stargazing before dinner, it’s not just because he’s taking in the view, it’s because he’s searching the east sky for the first star, which symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem — only then can we eat. We begin dinner with kutya, a wheat dish with apples, honey, and poppyseeds, which represents family unity, peace, prosperity, and good health. And when my Mother was young, my grandma used to prepare 12 meatless dishes, which were symbolic of the 12 apostles. Basically, Christmas is a big feast and drinking fest. And it comes to an end on January 19th during the Feast of Jordan (Yordan). That’s it, the feast is over … “you’re done."
“Merry Christmas,” I say, crunching through the salty, fried skin of a hot potato pancake (you say lat-kee, I say latkuh...). "There's no better bite," I think, as I sit under the Hanukkah menorah’s light, than the sweet and savoury meat carved from a freshly baked ham. With my Jewish family, and Greek girlfriend, no holiday plate is complete without either of these yearly-awaited treats. Each year, these foods which would otherwise have no place in each other’s lives, find their way into my open — and oh so welcoming — mouth. With a full heart and stomach, it’s my joy-of-joys. Potatoes, onion, flour, baking soda, eggs, and oil — it’s all you’ll need to welcome your family into mine. Shred, chop, and mix it all up before frying to perfection. Just remember to keep your oil hot, only flip once, and salt to your taste. Mom’s orders. Christmas shopping begins with pork: pre-cooked, and low-sodium are a must, and with bone-in you’ll get more flavour. Prepare your favourite basting sauce (mine involves brown sugar, grainy mustard, and citrus juices) and remember to score the ham’s skin before cooking. After two hours at 325 degrees, baste, and cook for 45 minutes more. Slice and serve once covered and cooled — it’ll be hard to decide what’s juicier, the meat or the left over gravy. At last the latke and Christmas ham can come together, united by the families who have cherished each separately year after year. As the Christmas tree shimmers in the background and the golden gelt glows on the coffee table, our traditions are shared among those who lovingly share in each other’s company. My holiday meal may not be traditional (and is far from kosher), but my belly doesn't complain — Christmukkah is undeniably delicious.
You gather round the silver pole, Where you all share a goal: To air the grievances of your souls, Until you all weep without control. Everyone looks and tells you How you’re disappointing through and through. And you say back, “Well that’s nothing new, And just so you know, you disappoint me too.” Festivus is a celebration for the cynical, Where we reflect on how we are all pitiful, And our disappointment in each other is mutual, But we smile, because hey, it’s a Festivus miracle.
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Arts + Culture
A hot take on the Ice District’s cool, new mural Written by Julia Sorensen Photos by Willow Austin, Yasmine Razek, & Floyd Robert
nless you are a beauty-hating utilitarian, the value of good street art should not be a new concept for you, and unless you are in denial of wealth disparity, gentrification shouldn’t be new either. However, if you are a university student overwhelmed by finals season and the last thing you want to be reading is an article with the intention of guilt-tripping you for being a relatively privileged member of society by default, don’t stop reading. If you frequent downtown, Oilers games, or big-name concerts, you may have seen the new mural on the LRT vents outside of Rogers Place painted by Layla Folkmann and Lacey Jane, but the fact that the five faces included in the mural are Boyle Street goers may be a surprise. “People came by and asked us ‘Which famous person is this? They must be someone I know.’ And I was like, ‘Well no, that’s the point,’” says Jane. The idea of a mural of portraits of every-day Edmontonians is complemented by the fact that Boyle Street Community Services is across the street from the new arena. “We applied (to do the mural) with the concept of a photo-realistic mural of different, 14 GTWY.CA
very, very real faces of marginalized community members of Edmonton,” says Folkmann. The goal of giving struggling Edmontonians a legacy made the mural a no-brainer for the artists. “When you have things like Rogers Place coming in, the city officials talk about it, investors talk about it, local businesses talk about it, but they don’t go and ask the random person that lives around the corner,” says Jane. “But now you’ve seen them, now you’ve actually looked at them. Before you’ve probably just walked by.” The mural, entitled “Pillars of the Community,” is designed to represent the downtown body. Those included in the mural come from different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds to make the local community feel included. “It may not be their faces,” says Folkmann, “but if it’s a Cree person, they’ll see a Cree person, or if it’s a young artist, they’ll see another artist, or if it’s a kid, they’ll see another kid.” When the Jane and Folkmann approached Boyle Street Community Services about including their social workers and attendees, they were thrilled by the idea. “You don’t have
to be a hockey player to be in a mural,” says Sebastian Barrera, a high-risk youth worker at Boyle Street. The faces of the mural were chosen out of forty photos taken, and those at Boyle Street are very proud of people behind the faces. “I remember when I met Noah,” says Barrera. “He was four years old, and I walked through the drop-in centre of Boyle Street and I heard this little kid singing and roaring his traditional (Cree) songs with his drum.” The artists’ vision is tremendously moving for Barrera because of how important Noah is in the Boyle Street Community. “He represents how important it is that this new
Arts + Culture
generation is still singing,” says Barrera, “even after the dramatic story of residential schools and the hundreds of years of colonization.” Barrera is tremendously appreciative of the work done of Folkmann and Jane, and is also very conscious of the social commentary within it. “There has been some stress and some other situations that have been pushing our people out of the core of downtown Edmonton,” says Barrera. “You can find a lot of information about how heavy investments raise people’s rent, and in the end, they have to leave.” The two artists are aware of this issue as well. “Boyle Street has kind of felt the rumble
of it all the most so we wanted to take real photos of all of the people there,” Jane says. “It’s kind of our way of putting Boyle Street sort of on the map.” Unlike other cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago that have executed big projects similar to the Ice District, Edmonton hasn’t put money into rebuilding affordable housing for those displaced by the rent hikes. The arena simply sits between what downtown Edmonton was before and the shiny new part it has become, explains Jane. “I had sort of a weird viewpoint where I was standing on maybe 106 Ave and in my line of view I could see city hall lit up, and the are-
na lit up at night,” says Folkmann, “and then I could see about 70 people setting up their tarps so they could sleep on the street and try and stay warm.” This disparity is something the artists and Boyle Street want to remind those excited about the arena. “I think Rogers Place is part of a big picture, I think all the future investments of downtown investments should be more responsible to our communities,” says Barrera. “That is what the mural will bring forward — (it) is honouring every single Edmontonian and honouring our people on the street and honouring culture and community.” December 2016 15
Arts + Culture
Progression photography shots of the â€œPillars of the Communityâ€? downtown mural project. Update: Edmonton Police Service contacted the Edmonton Arts board to inform them that Tyrone, the young man in the bottom photos, has a record as a violent offender. His violent past with members of the downtown community is thought to be reason enough for Edmonton Transit Service and the Arts board to replace his face with that of a white man with a history of drug abuse.
December 2016 17
rain in november a walk through the river valley
WHY STUDYING ABROAD IS NOT A SIMPLE FEAT Written By Ashton Mucha & Illustrations by Adaire Beatty
usie Muncner, a biological-sciences and chemistry double major, embarked on a 10-month exchange program to Lille, France in her second year. After returning, she had to wait for her fall transcript to be sent to the University of Alberta. Ultimately, she was waiting to see if she received credit for all the courses taken abroad and if she needed to retake courses required for her degree. “It’s really frustrating because I took some important courses for my degree,” she says. “I got an A in organic chemistry in French. I wanted that credit so I didn’t have to take it again here. I paid for it, I should get the credit.” She tried contacting Université Catholique de Lille, the Education Abroad office at the U of A as well as the Faculty of Science, but she wasn’t receiving the assistance she hoped for. “I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s ever gone to Lille with a science degree, or maybe I am and now I can air my grievances to anyone else who wants to go there,” Muncner says.
Her transcript finally arrived a year and a half later. But her chemistry credit (CHEM 261’s equivalent) wasn’t there. Now Muncner must retake the class (a prerequisite for many higher-level chemistry classes) back in Edmonton before completing her degree.
tudying abroad in England, Japan, Italy, or Australia can be an exciting opportunity, but it can also be rather frustrating and overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. I was fortunate enough to study at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia in my fourth year. But my eagerness and impatience caused me to fabricate a fast-track, idealist representation of how I thought my experience abroad, and the several months preceding it, should go. And with that, I became overwhelmed with questions I had, questions I had yet to discover I had, and ultimately I became frustrated with the answers, or lack thereof. As it turns out, I’m not the only one. The Education Abroad office offers students
incredible opportunities to see the world, gain cultural insights, and learn about themselves while working toward a degree, participating in an internship, or volunteering abroad. But students looking to go abroad should be made aware of some inefficiencies and potential problems other students faced, not as discouragement from going abroad, but as preparation. The exchange program, which included 100 students in the 2014/2015 academic year, is affiliated with 79 universities in 34 countries. This particular program provides students with an opportunity to travel while earning credits toward their degrees. But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Understandably, every institution and every one of those 34 countries may have different forms of instruction, grade distribution, and credit allocation. And with these come a potential problem: credits are not guaranteed. After students apply through Ed Abroad and fill out a permission to participate form for their faculty to approve, it’s time to choose courses. Students are responsible for
finding courses that are potentially offered at their host institution and which closely resemble a course at the U of A for optimal credit transfer. But they do so nearly a year in advance, when course selections aren’t scheduled yet. Therefore, there’s no guarantee those courses will actually be offered when it comes time for these students to go abroad. Faculty advisors can pre-approve course selections by looking through students’ degree requirements, courses they’ve previously taken, and the host institutions’ course descriptions students have chosen in order to determine how well the proposed courses will fit into their degrees. But if those classes aren’t offered the semester those students are abroad, or if they simply change their minds, then the faculty pre-approval is futile, and students may feel a little more panicked and a little less excited when they step off the plane in their host country. After all, students won’t know for certain if they’ll receive credit until after they return home with their transcripts. Let me repeat that: credits are not determined until after students return home, so students better cross their fingers and hope the classes they’ve chosen to take abroad will actually be recognized. Doug Weir, the Executive Director of Student Programs and Services,
acknowledges that this is a challenge for students. “I think credit transfer is sometimes the surprise barrier that they didn’t think about,” he says. Another misconception I was unaware of during my exchange, which could have been more problematic than I initially anticipated, is that if courses taken abroad do transfer, they are credited on as pass/fail basis. But that’s not entirely true. Associate Director of Education Abroad Programs and former manager of the Cortona program Trevor Buckle says the standard University of Alberta transfer credit policy is actually a C- or better, and not 50 per cent like the “pass/fail” notion implies. But for some students, earning credits for courses taken abroad isn’t as important as the premise of simply being abroad and travelling somewhere new. Political science student Cole Forster focused more on the experience and less on the educational component; he worried less about his courses and more about making the most of his time in France. But for others like political science honours student Christina Caouette and Muncner, studying abroad isn’t cheap, and the expectation is that a student’s time, money, and efforts spent taking a course in one of those 34 affiliated countries should result in credit recognition. Muncner felt as though preparing to study abroad was a DIY project. Her course pre-approval fell through because none of the courses were offered that year, and she was uninformed about the differences in class structure and hours of instruction. As it turns out, she didn’t end up receiving credit for the required chemistry class, not because her marks weren’t good enough, but because it transferred as a 1.5 credit course and the duration of teaching hours differed from the
three hours per week required at the U of A. Caouette had a similar experience during one of her three times studying abroad. After paying extra to partake in French conversation, an addition to the course, she never ended up receiving credit. “I’m disappointed because I made sure that I tried really hard in all the classes and I didn’t have any absences,” she says. “I got an A in my French course, but then it didn’t transfer over at all.” Forster also didn’t receive full credit after coming home from a full year in Lille. Some courses transferred back as generic 300levels, but none translated into exact courses offered at the U of A. “There’s no semblance of organization in credit allocation, but it evened out, so I was happy,” Forster says. He also expressed that he would go abroad again even if it meant not receiving any credit. Alternatively, both Jordan Clark Marcichiw, who has now graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology, and I completed our degree requirements in Australia with no credit transfer issues, which was surprising considering both of us needed specific courses in order to meet our degree requirements. In fact, I was on the brink of reaching the maximum amount of courses I could take for my major, and even though one of the courses I took abroad technically shouldn’t have counted, it transferred back as a different subject, so luckily I received credit. Although it’s undeniable that students going abroad will have enjoyable and memorable cultural experiences, the uncertainty surrounding credits can impede the hype. “We know that this is a space that needs to be improved if we’re going to get more students to go abroad,” Weir says. “We should be building programs that students can get credit for because they’re here to be students and they’re here to get a degree, so this should enhance that degree, not delay it.” An alternative that Caouette recommends is taking faculty-lead programs abroad, like the Faculty of Arts’ Cortona program. There is guaranteed organization, instructional similarities, and, best of all, credit. The difference with a program like Cortona, Buckle explains, is that it’s “offering U of A courses, they’re timetabled on Beartracks, and they’re either using U of A profs who fly to Italy, or they’re hiring local sessionals . . . then the grades show up on the transcript.” The program offers a unique opportunity for students to advance their degrees and enhance their learning by participating in December 2016 23
an educational course in a city with a long history and well-known culture. Ted Bishop, an English and creative writing professor at the U of A, previously taught Shakespeare and travel writing in Cortona. He raves about the sense of community, creativity, atmosphere, and field trips like the one to Perugia’s chocolate festival. “The physical space of being in those old buildings and always walking everywhere, it made the writers write differently, and ... it made them think differently,” Bishop says. “You actually feel it in your bones because you’re walking on cobblestones and you realize you’re on the same cobblestones somebody tripped on in the 17th Century.” As with each exchange destination, students are given the opportunity to learn about academic subjects in a different environment. And sometimes these differences can be largely beneficial for students and their degrees. “I stress in narrative non-fiction you want to engage all the senses, and, aside from having people lick the railings in HUB mall and eat French fries, there isn’t as much
opportunity (here in Edmonton),” Bishop says.
“I wanted that credit so I didn’t have to take it again here. I paid for it, I should get the credit.” For students looking for a cultural learning experience that will guarantee credit and enhance their education, faculty-lead programs like Cortona might be the best option. However, if Italy isn’t quite what they’re looking for, another program Weir and Buckle propose is e3, which offers courses in Berlin,
Brazil, Washington, D.C., and France (starting next year) that guarantee UAlberta credits. In addition, there are language components offered in the former two (and France), as well as an internship option. But unfortunately, these programs seem to have their own problems. Summer 2016 was the first year for e3 D.C. So naturally, there were bugs to work out. For three people, their summers didn’t quite go as planned. Nathan Fung signed up in January to participate in both the internship and academic course components of the e3 D.C. program. After four interviews for potential intern positions, Ed Abroad informed him that the fourth opportunity would be his last, so he either had to settle for a position not in journalism or political science like he hoped, or drop the internship component altogether. He took the internship with his sights set on the INT D 325: Media and Social Change course in August. But after being in D.C. for nearly a week, he received an email from Ed Abroad informing him that due to low enrolment, the course was cancelled. Once again,
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he had an ultimatum: either switch classes or go back home after the internship. “I felt disappointed, but I also felt a little angry because I’d been looking forward to that class so much because it aligned a lot with my journalistic interests,” Fung says. “It felt like my ambitions were being stepped on.” But Fung and the other two students weren’t the only ones who were disappointed with the outcome. Professor Russell Cobb, who was scheduled to teach the interdisciplinary studies media course in D.C., was also looking forward to exploring what the course could offer in the epicentre of America during an election year. “D.C. is a hive of international policy making. The U of A is in the heart of it all, at the Smithsonian Institution on the National Mall,” Cobb says. “It’s a great opportunity to network and learn how decisions get made.” Cobb described the highlights of the course and what could have been: trips to National Public Radio and the Washington Post, visits from major figures in the national media scene, and the opportunity to cover Congress or the Supreme Court. “Experiential learning extends beyond the classroom and required texts,” Cobb says. “When you are in a city like D.C., learning is happening all the time — when you’re on the Metro, (or) walking around the National Mall.” Although the course sounded promising and the description was listed in detail on the website along with a YouTube video advertising the course, Buckle was concerned with how the course was marketed. “I’m not sure if a lot of people know what interdisciplinary studies means,” Buckle says. “There’s a major called political science or there’s a minor called political science, (but) it isn’t the same with inter d (INT D), so I think that may be one of the big issues for that particular class.” Another reason people like Fung landed in Washington before knowing about the course cancellation is technically the course is a U of A summer term course and therefore students had until the beginning of July (a little over a month after the internships began and Fung landed in D.C.) to drop the course. “Because it’s a course that’s on Beartracks, we follow the university regulations when it comes to what is the add/delete deadline for a course,” Buckle says. “We’re re-examining that because clearly unlike taking a class here on campus, when you’re looking at a study abroad program there are other ramifications.” Ed Abroad has since improved upon this
problem, however, as they switched the course and internship component around. For the summer of 2017, the academic course will run from May 15 to 31, and the internship will commence as soon as June 1 roughly until August 25, depending on the internship host organization. Cobb’s INT D 325: Media and Social Change is not offered this upcoming summer. Like Bishop, Cobb recognizes the importance of students broadening the scope of their academic goals and encourages students to study abroad. “The big thing I would like to stress is that international education should become something that every student ... should do with the support of the U of A,” Cobb says. Such support that Cobb talks about is also something that Weir emphasizes. “There is some funding available and I think that is often the first barrier that students perceive they’re going to have when they go abroad,” Weir explains. “In a typical year, it’s upwards of a million dollars that we’re awarding in education abroad funding for students to go abroad, so students should know that there is funding available to help.” Additional support in the form of institutional information and other resources are a future goal for Ed Abroad. They recently upgraded to a new web platform where Student Stories in the form of blog posts are available to prospective study abroad students. Also, under “Find a Program,” students can click on various host institutions, read about the universities and their programs, look at dates to study abroad, find course information, and view completed Student Feedback Reports with details about such institutions’ grading systems, support services, housing and visa information, and tips from others when they went abroad. In addition, Ed Abroad hopes to provide information online about courses other students have taken at various institutions during their times abroad in order to help future students with course selection and pre-approval processes. So for those interested in going abroad, don’t be deterred from applying. The experiences abroad and the knowledge to be gained
is worth it. Advisors are available to answer questions and address concerns, funding is available and it’s encouraged that students apply for it, and, with the help of the future virtual library, other students’ records abroad will also be available to provide more insight into various host countries and institutions. Besides, the mandatory pre-departure course before going abroad in addition to a risk assessment and a risk litigation plan aim to prepare students for their abroad experiences. Clark Marcichiw encourages others to attend the course because it gave her the opportunity to talk to people who had gone to the same university, or at least the same country, and learn little tips that made the process less daunting. And Weir stresses the importance of the latter two elements because they help students anticipate and prepare for challenges that may arise. Both Buckle and Weir acknowledge other benefits of studying abroad, and thus encourage U of A students to apply. It’s an opportunity to gain cultural insights and even acquire new appreciations for one’s own culture. Additionally, Weir recognizes how valuable global awareness and experience can actually be in developing personal skills like problem solving, critical thinking, flexibility, and adaptability as well as networking for future employment. “Students need to be aware, engaged, with the world — they need to be aware of their opportunities in the world, they need to be confident in their competencies to interact in a global world,” he says. “We think that the opportunity for studying abroad is one that gives students a really good opportunity to develop those skills.”
December 2016 25
Your doctor’s right: you’re too young to smoke weed Written by Feo P-S Photos by Joshua Storie Art Direction by Adaire Beatty
DOCTORS are right: you shouldn’t be smoking weed at 18. This past summer, the Canadian government ran a public consultation survey regarding the legalization of marijuana. Some 30,000 people participated in the online questionnaire — one of the most answered surveys our country has ever had, second only to a 2014 survey on prostitution with over 31,000 respondents. The turnout is impressive but unsurprising: Canadians care about weed. The Liberals campaigned heavily on its legalization in 2015, and are poised to deliver on their promises this coming year. But not everyone is approaching Trudeau’s stance on the devil’s lettuce with completely open arms. Back in September, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) released a report with a multitude of recommendations on marijuana legalization. These include establishing a tightly-regulated production system, restricting THC content, and setting a minimum purchase age of 21 with restrictions until age 25. As might have been expected, this last proposition was not received particularly well. A slew of opinion pieces and enraged comment threads erupted, some arguing for the minimal harm of marijuana use compared to the benefits of its legalization, others calling the CMA “Big Pharma’s little bitch.” In any case, many were left wondering what the hell the CMA were thinking. But is the vitriol justified? In order to see where the CMA is coming from, one has to consider two particularly important medical arguments against marijuana use: marijuana’s links to mental illness and its implication in other health concerns. As a counterpoint, it is also necessary to discuss why it might be wise to go against the CMA’s suggestions, their scientific validity notwithstanding. As an extension of that, it is also helpful to consider whether the Trudeau government’s decision-making on the legalization of magic cabbage will even have any serious scientific basis — medical, psychological, or sociological. “There are a lot of factors that go into the question of legalizing (recreational) marijuana, but if you just look at it from the medical standpoint, 24 would probably be the right (minimum) age,” says Dr. Sefi Kronenburg, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and staff psychiatrist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and Youthdale Treatment Centres. Psychiatrists, especially those such as Dr. Kronenberg that work with pediatric and adolescent patients, are major stakeholders in the discussion on legalization. Dr. Kronenberg’s opinion is based on a growing scientific literature that links marijuana use in younger people to a number of mental illnesses, including psychosis. Studies over the past two decades have shown that people with psychosis are more likely to use cannabis, and individuals suffering from schizophrenia experience more
psychotic symptoms when using cannabis. Cannabis is implicated in relapses and exacerbations of schizophrenia, and discontinuing cannabis use improves such symptoms. Even more concerning is the effect of heavy cannabis use on those without schizophrenia or a predisposition to psychosis; a review of longitudinal studies out of the University of Bristol concluded that “epidemiologic studies provide strong enough evidence to warrant a public health message that cannabis use can increase the risk of psychotic disorders.” In fact, your chances of developing a psychotic disorder in adolescence double if you’re a chronic coral reefer. This risk goes up even more considerably for those with a genetic predisposition towards psychosis, those with a history of psychological trauma, and those who use more potent strains of cannabis on a regular basis. Furthermore, to consider a particular biopsychological hypothesis, a 2009 review by University of Seville researchers concluded that there is a plausible link between the brain’s endocannabinoid system and schizophrenia. To put it simply, your brain has naturally occurring “marijuana”— endocannabinoids — and receptors to which these bind. When you have a predisposition towards schizophrenia, the balance of this system can go out of whack, which can lead to the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Luckily, it appears that your body also has a defence
mechanism against this sort of dysregulation, in that it can flood your brain with more endocannabinoids to restore balance. The problem with partaking in some jazz cigarettes when you have this sort of predisposition is that external cannabinoids — weed — will prevent this defence mechanism from keeping your endocannabinoid system balanced, which can have lifelong consequences. These consequences are especially profound for the age range under discussion. “There is a lot of data coming from neurology and psychiatry that the age when adolescence ends is not 18, but actually around 24. And the risks … of marijuana are much higher in the developing brain than in the developed brain,” explains Dr. Kronenberg. There are several ways to explain these differences in risk. Schizophrenia, like most mental illnesses, rears its unfortunate head in the pre-adolescent or adolescent phases of development. That is, your risk of developing schizophrenia decreases significantly after your late twenties. Moreover, prognosis for late-onset psychotic illnesses often looks better than that of earlier diagnoses. This is because brain development is in many ways completed by age 25, as well as the development of your personality, social circles, education, and other so-called “life reserves.” These established factors can make coping with a psychotic episode easier
for an adult than for a first-year university student. Conversely, having a predisposition towards psychosis and smoking weed before the end of adolescence has the potential to negate all these benefits by expediting the onset of schizophrenia. That is why Dr. Kronenberg would have liked “to see the age set a little higher (than 21) … around 24. That would be in agreement with the literature.” Aside from marijuana’s close relationship with psychosis, its use by adolescents has other mental health consequences — though none are quite as consistently shown. There is a growing body of research that associates early and regular marijuana use with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. A 2004 review published by researchers out of Yale University and the University of Sydney also found that adolescent marijuana use was a predictor of major depressive disorder, potentially quadrupling the risk of developing it later on in life. It concluded that “if marijuana use increases suicidal behaviour, this is more likely to occur during adolescence.” What is particularly troubling about these findings is that marijuana is often touted as a “natural” remedy for many of these aforementioned disorders. In a striking real-world application of this mentality, Dr. Kronenberg’s marijuana-using patients are “typically kids with some level of depression, anxiety, and ADHD, usually with some sort of psychosocial difficulties — maybe academic difficulties, December 2016 27
Student Admission: $9 ($6 Matinée) Metro Cinema is a community-based non-profit society devoted to the exhibition and promotion of Canadian, international, and independent film and video. metrocinema.org
December 11 - 23 We’re screening a variety of holiday films, including: It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, and a Die Hard double feature.
Dec 18 @ 9:30PM, Dec 21 @ 4:30PM On a journey to find the cure for a curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and a mining colony. Dec 18 - Japanese w/ subtitles, Dec 21 - Dubbed
Dark Side of Oz
December 29 @ 9:30PM For years, members of Pink Floyd have denied that the band synchronized its landmark 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise.
Metro Cinema at the Garneau 8712-109 Street | metrocinema.org
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difficulties in peer relationships, difficulties at home … they use marijuana a lot of the time as an escape, as self-medication … as a way to mask depression and anxiety.” When asked if this self-medication could put youth at risk for further complications, Dr. Kronenberg was quick to respond: “definitely.” To bluntly summarize the discussion on marijuana, mental illness, and adolescence, then, one could say that cannabis has the capacity to “break” things in your brain, and it’s a lot easier to knock down something that’s under construction than to demolish something that’s been standing strong for years. Following that, the next step in considering the perspective of the CMA would be to look past mental illness, towards the general health concerns of an 18-year-old smoking weed. “Health” here implies both physical and social well-being, neither of which is left untouched by early marijuana use. A recent report by the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) examined the possible social implications of marijuana for adolescents, which include lower education outcomes, a greater likelihood to use other illicit drugs (the “gateway drug” narrative, dead horse beaten as it was in the War on Drugs, does still hold statistical weight), and marijuana abuse and addiction. This last one contradicts a common myth: that marijuana isn’t addictive. To Dr. Kronenberg, this belief is not only false, but also dangerous. “I think that this myth (exists) mostly because … symptoms of addiction and withdrawal are clearly more problematic when it comes to alcohol and opiates, and because of that, they have over the years overshadowed to some degree the problems of addiction and withdrawal of marijuana.” Despite this, these effects do exist, though they play out differently than in opiate or alcohol addiction. For one, marijuana addiction is far more psychological than it is physical — which, of course, does not make it any less real. The previously mentioned report by the SSA found that some one in six individuals who started cannabis use in adolescence will develop a dependency disorder. This is up from one in 10 dependents for those who started in adulthood, a finding for which there are several explanations. One of these explanations will likely leave a bitter taste in the mouths of most youth, but it is undoubtedly integral in this discussion. It is the matter of young peoples’ decreased judgment, poor foresight, and proclivity for risk-taking activities. As students in our late teens and early twenties, we like to think of ourselves as pretty rational, and it’s true, we are — but not nearly as rational as we’ll be in half a decade. The frontal lobe of our brains, the area responsible for decision-making, responsibility, and risk-evaluation, completes development around age 25.
Given all these discussions of mental, physical, and social health, it is easy to start viewing the issue of legalization only through the lens of medical science. However, if the medical perspective were the only one being considered, there would probably be no discussion on the legalization of recreational marijuana in the first place; the majority of the benefits of the legalization lie outside medicine. This is really where the crux of the matter lies: given all the aforementioned risks, it effectively becomes absurd to deliver the sort of vitriol upon the CMA as was done following their recommendations. In presenting those propositions, they did exactly what was expected of them: they provided the medical perspective. The fact is that this perspective is that of only one stakeholder in the remarkably complex issue of legalization. There are
myriad sociological, criminological, and economic reasons to make marijuana as available as possible — you’ve likely heard many of them, such as reducing the strain on the penal system from possession charges, as well as greatly reducing vital income to organized crime. It is perfectly possible that these reasons outweigh the potential harms of higher rates of adolescent marijuana use, but to quantify these harms against the possible benefits is unfeasible. The issue is far too complex, and any decision would likely leave a certain party unsatisfied. Even Dr. Kronenberg, with his 24-or-older approach, concedes that “Overall, there is more on the weight of legalizing it, in terms of the … benefits on society. Having said that, this is not a clear-cut thing … I am not rejoicing this being legalized.” But what if all these discussions of research and statistics, whether they support the medical perspective or otherwise, are ultimately meaningless? The issue of marijuana
legalization is above all one built on politics, and, more specifically, a political platform. The Liberals campaigned on it, and they have consistently brandished it as symbolic of their progressiveness. But the Liberals, being the pseudo-progressives that they’ve shown themselves to be — their shakiness on electoral reform, aboriginal rights, and environmental concerns being clear indicators of this — may not actually be looking at facts when they make their decision next year. Instead, they may well be looking at getting re-elected. Such an assertion isn’t absurd given that Canadians aged 18 to 25 turned out to vote in far greater numbers in 2015 than in past elections, and gave more votes to the Liberals than to any other party. It’s this age group that is also most concerned by legalization, given the World Health Organization’s finding that Canadian youth smoke more weed than their peers in any other developed country. The conclusion that logically follows is that marijuana legalization is closely tied to the youth vote, and excluding voters aged 18-20 from marijuana use as per the CMA’s suggestions could deal the Liberals a heavy blow in the next election. This effect would be even more profound if policymakers were to follow Dr. Kronenberg’s suggested minimum age of 24. So when it comes to marijuana legalization’s place as a major political calling card, it may so happen that 2017 will see a mirror image of the Conservatives’ years of making drug policy decisions without any particular appeals to medical or sociological science. The only difference is that, unlike the Conservatives who rejected rationality in a bid to parallel the moral compasses of their right-wing voters, the Liberals may reject rationality in an act of centrist popularism. The admittedly depressing political aspect of marijuana legalization aside, this is a discussion that is staggeringly multi-faceted. On one hand, there is a breadth of research that links marijuana to mental, physical, and social ills. On the other, it is not hard to think of a plethora of reasons to set aside that medical research in the name of greater benefits. “The devil’s in the details,” concludes Dr. Kronenberg. “I think if you look at it in terms of ‘Is it better for this to be legal?’ in the sense that there will be fewer arrests for usage of marijuana, there will be less crime related to marijuana — that will definitely be something that will benefit society.” But it is the minutia of legalization, such as a simple number between 18 and 25, that will come to define the decision as either an overall success or failure. December 2016 29
ˇ‡ ON LINE HOROSCOPES ˇ†Ç ARIES (March 21 – April 19) It’s okay, everything is fine. The witch is gone.
LEO (July 23 – August 22) do you need a water
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 21) dont get mad about us on faebook
do youmknow whio that is haha why
TAURUS (April 20 – May 20) Who cares about what a goddamn student publication has to say
VIRGO (August 23 – September 22) nothing is real
CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19) i dont feel anything [send]
ahaha RT RT retweet
LIBRA (September 23 – October 22) did you wish your own brother a pappy biethdayt /?
GEMINI (May 21 – June 20) my wife left me
AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18) there were too many trucks for you to get rh rocks
deket thiss my hagha RT ME@!!!
CANCER (June 21 – July 22) I’M THINKING about it..
SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21) The age of 17 is a brilliant coming of age comedy.
Brighten your smile for the holidays!
PISCES (February 19 – March 20) My friend Ryan is waiting for me im fucked
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Jan 6 Jan 7 Jan 13 Jan 14 Jan 21 Jan 28 Feb 3 Feb 4
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vs MacEwan vs Calgary vs Fraser Valley vs Fraser Valley vs Lethbridge vs Lethbridge
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Dec 2 Dec 3 Jan 27 Jan 28 Feb 3 Feb 4 Feb 10 Feb 11
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Dec 2 Dec 3 Jan 20 Jan 27 Feb 10 Feb 11
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vs Regina vs Regina vs Trinity Western vs Trinity Western vs Mount Royal vs Mount Royal vs UBCO vs UBCO
vs Saskatchewan vs Saskatchewan vs Calgary vs Mount Royal vs Manitoba vs Manitoba
Menâ€™s Volleyball Championships March 17-19, 2017 Hosted by | University of Alberta Saville Community Sports Centre
December 2016 31
The December 2016 issue of The Gateway Magazine, the official student publication of the University of Alberta