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MARCH 19, 2020

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The Sheaf Publishing Society

The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

thesheaf.com|@usasksheaf

YOUR UNI VE R S I T Y O F SAS K ATC H E WA N ST UDE NT NE WS PA P E R S I N C E 1 9 1 2

U of S classes moved to remote delivery to prevent COVID-19 spread Classes were suspended for three days and are resuming online for the rest of the term. ANA CRISTINA CAMACHO

NEWS EDITOR

NYKOLE KING

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

HEYWOOD YU

The University of Saskatchewan announced that courses have moved online as of March 19. Before then, classes had been suspended for three days to allow faculty time to prepare for the remote delivery. The U of S released their new COVID-19 prevention guidelines for the campus community on March 13. The measures aim to minimize risks and interruptions to academic programming. “We understand that there is uncertainty and concern at this time, but be assured that our preparations and planning processes are in place to protect the health and safety of our campus community,” University President Peter Stoicheff said in the press release. “That is our top priority.” The announcement was prompted by the Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer’s ban on gatherings of more than 250 people as

Administration Building photographed at the U of S on March 15, 2020. | Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor

the provincial government confirmed a second presumptive case of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan. Since then, the province has gone on to declare a state of emergency, which includes a ban on gath-

erings of more than 50 people. The U of S also announced the closure of all campus recreation facilities in a press release on March 15. Continued to pg. 4

Student transforms research on Saskatoon’s forgotten Chinatown into walking tour Local history reveals our city’s complex past and the discrimination that has occurred here. NOAH CALLAGHAN STAFF WRITER

For two years Harris Ford has been researching a forgotten aspect of Saskatoon’s history — the early Chinese immigrant community that owned various businesses and contributed to the city’s growth. Ford became fascinated with the Chinatown that had existed in the downtown core before it

was demolished in the 1930s. Since he had never heard about this period in the city’s development before, he started creating a walking tour to showcase this ignored history. “There had been one article written on the subject, but that was it,” Ford said. “I could not believe that no historian had written on this episode of Saskatoon’s history, and I thought it was about time to have it known.”

Ford continued developing his walking tour as an assignment for the Saskatoon History Workshop course before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history last year. Now in his first year of a history master’s program, he will be offering his finalized tour as a free Jane’s Walk in the first week of May. Continued to pg. 11

Letter from the Editor: Changes to the Sheaf’s operations Amid rising concerns about COVID-19, the University of Saskatchewan announced this weekend that students, staff and faculty are encouraged to work from home as much as possible during these upcoming weeks. The Sheaf will also be shifting its operations to remote work. As all in-person classes transition to online delivery, it has opened up the opportunity to utilize thesheaf.com to its full extent. For the remaining three weeks of our production schedule, there will be no printed newspapers. Instead, an electronic PDF will be accessible on our website and stories will be regularly published online for the remainder of the Winter Term. This change will allow us to provide accurate, updated information to undergraduate students during a critical time. We acknowledge the importance of social distancing protocols and the importance of quarantine measures so we have also closed our office on campus for the time being. Even with our headquarters temporarily closed, all operations are still ongoing and staff can be reached by email. It is a privilege to produce a printed newspaper each week. We look forward to the next time we are able to do so. Nykole King Editor-in-Chief editor@thesheaf.com


NEWS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nykole King editor@thesheaf.com NEWS EDITOR Ana Cristina Camacho news@thesheaf.com SPORTS & HEALTH EDITOR VACANT sportshealth@thesheaf.com CULTURE EDITOR Tomilola Ojo culture@thesheaf.com OPINIONS EDITOR Erin Matthews opinions@thesheaf.com STAFF WRITER Noah Callaghan staffwriter@thesheaf.com COPY EDITOR J.C. Balicanta Narag copy@thesheaf.com LAYOUT MANAGER Aqsa Hussain layout@thesheaf.com PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR Victoria Becker photo@thesheaf.com GRAPHICS EDITOR Shawna Langer graphics@thesheaf.com WEB EDITOR Minh Au Duong web@thesheaf.com OUTREACH DIRECTOR Sophia Lagimodiere outreach@thesheaf.com AD & BUSINESS MANAGER Shantelle Hrytsak ads@thesheaf.com BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mikaila Ortynsky Laura Chartier Matthew Taylor Sonia Kalburgi Emily Klatt Naomi Zurenvinski

board@thesheaf.com

ADVERTISING (306) 966 8688 EDITORIAL (306) 966 8689

T H E S H E A F P U B L I S HI NG S OC I E T Y // MA R C H 1 9 , 2 02 0

Meet your candidates: USSU elections 2020 Despite the COVID-19 prevention measures, the USSU elections are going ahead with mostly online campaigning. KIENAN ASHTON

KRISTINE JONES A. DEL SOCORRO

With students no longer coming to campus for classes and the cancellation of the candidates’ forums, the annual University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union elections are shaping up to be an unusual affair. Despite the less than ideal circumstances, however, there is a high number of candidates that will be running their campaigns over the next two weeks. This year, only one position, the vice-president academic affairs, has a candidate that is running unopposed. Campaigning began this Monday, and voting will be open on PAWS on March 25 and 26. Here are the candidates that will be trying to earn your vote by then.

Presidential candidates Akingbehin Akinwande Platform points: Impact-focused services, reconciliation, transparency and accessibility, and inclusion and diversity

Carlos Muñoz Pimentel Platform points: Student empowerment, student wellness, advocacy and sustainability

Akingbehin Akinwande wants to “make the USSU the union that students need it to be.” This third-year psychology student describes himself as carefree and jovial but serious and disciplined when it comes to completing tasks and debating issues. Akinwande believes in responsibility, love, accountability, character, competence and humility in leadership. He has been involved in community leadership throughout his years as a student, as a University Students’ Council member and International Students’ Association president. “I believe my selfless service is the rent I pay for living on this planet,” Akinwande said. Akinwande has decided to run for president to make the union better serve its constituents. “I don’t see this union serve and meet the needs of its student members as I know it could, given the resources at its disposal,” he said.

Carlos Muñoz Pimentel’s priorities are his three Cs: communication, community and connection, and he is hoping that you will make this threeyear veteran of the USSU its next president. Currently serving as the 2019-20 vice-president academic affairs for the USSU and a former USC member, Muñoz Pimentel believes that his experience and knowledge of how the USSU and the university function makes him a good candidate. Muñoz Pimentel counts honesty, respect, communication and collaboration among his most important values. When asked why he is running, Muñoz Pimentel said that he has “learned a lot about how the [USSU] runs.” “I’ve met a lot of students along the way with a lot of ideas, and they all have inspired me to really move forward with this plan,” Muñoz Pimentel said.

Mission // The mission of the Sheaf is to inform and entertain students by addressing issues relevant to life on campus, in the city or in the province. The newspaper serves as a forum for discussion on a wide range of issues that concern students. Written for students, by students, it provides unique insight into university issues through a student perspective. The staff of editors, photographers and artists collaborate with volunteers as student journalists to create a product relevant to students on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Land Acknowledgement // The Sheaf acknowledges that our office is built on Treaty Six Territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and affirm both the importance of our relationship with Indigenous peoples and students at the U of S and our commitment to recognize and remain accountable for our collective history.

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Supplied | Akinwande Akingbehin

As for what sets him apart from the other candidates, Akinwande says it is his “heart for the students” and that he will “always work for the students and always listen to them.”

Supplied | Carlos Muñoz Pimentel

Muñoz Pimentel believes that his experience with the USSU and his approachability are what set him apart from the competition. “This means I can hit the ground running to make student voices heard — right from the first meeting,” Muñoz Pimentel said.

Autumn LaRose-Smith Platform points: Student-centred decision making that is socially, economically and environmentally responsible Autumn LaRose-Smith is a fourth-year student in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program. She is the current vice-president student affairs. LaRose-Smith has served in numerous student and volunteer groups such as the SUNTEP Student Council, International Women’s Movement and 5 Days for the Homeless. LaRose-Smith says her core values are honesty, respect — particularly through relationship building — and volunteering. “Those are things that I based my life around — wanting to help other people. People often describe me as selfless, but I always joke that I feel very selfish, because for myself it brings me a lot of personal joy to be able to volunteer and help my community,” LaRose-Smith said. Autumn has decided to run for president because she feels that she is a good advocate. When asked what differentiates her from other candidates, LaRose-Smith identified her plan to create an accessible scholarships and bursaries directory to help support students financially. Supplied | Autumn LaRose-Smith

Legal // The Sheaf, published weekly during the academic year and periodically from May through August, is an incorporated non-profit that is, in part, student-body funded by way of a direct levy paid by all part- and full-time undergraduate students at the U of S. The remainder of the revenue is generated through advertising. The financial affairs are governed by a Board of Directors, most of whom are students. Membership in the Sheaf Publishing Society is open to all undergraduate students at the U of S, who are encouraged to contribute to the newspaper. Absolutely no experience is required! The opinions expressed in the Sheaf do not necessarily reflect those of the Sheaf Publishing Society Inc. The Sheaf reserves the right to refuse to accept or print any material deemed unfit for publication, as determined by the Editor-in-Chief. The Editor-in-Chief has the right to veto any submission deemed unfit for the Society newspaper. In determining this, the Editor-in-Chief will decide if the article or artwork would be of interest to a significant portion of the Society and benefit the welfare of Sheaf readers. The Sheaf will not publish any racist, sexist, homophobic or libellous material.

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Vice-president operations and finance candidates Jamie Bell Platform points: Socially and financially sustainable campus groups, tuition predictability and transparent leadership Jamie Bell is a business student who has been at the university since 2014. He enjoys working with people and is an active member of local non-profits and art communities. He is the current vice-president operations and finance and would like to keep it that way. Bell’s core values are respect and collaboration. “I think those can help you in so many different situations — being able to work with people that you don’t like and still being able to respect their opinions and respect their value systems,” Bell said. Bell is running for a second term, this time with greater experience and a list of issues he wants to address, especially in regards to campus groups. His experience with campus groups and his

NEWS

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Vice-president student affairs candidates Nigel Hakeem Platform points: Tuition affordability, accessibility, accountability and involvement with centre coordinators Nigel Hakeem is focused on addressing student issues. A fifth-year English student, he has served two terms as a USC member. Knowing the responsibility and impact the USSU has on its students, Hakeem keeps in mind that students’ ease, comfort and accessibility should be at the forefront of decision-making. “I have been involved with student politics since I first came to the University of Saskatchewan. And with the issues that I have seen, I am pretty passionate about making some real change,” Hakeem said. “I think the USSU has a huge responsibility to make the lives of U of S students easier.” Hakeem sees areas of the USSU as being disconnected from the student body and he ensures that he would be able to remedy this. He believes that the USSU needs to be more transparent and accessible.

Supplied | Nigel Hakeem

Jory McKay Platform points: Accessibility through resources and harm reduction, advocacy for inclusion and sustainable practices Supplied | Jamie Bell

judgement are things he says disJory McKay ensures that he is pushing the university to foltinguishes him from other candi- low through with their promises and doing everything that dates. he can in order to make things happen. A third-year student majoring in anthropology and minoring in history, McKay is Iryna Kutska passionate about being involved both in his academics and in the wider community. Kutska did not respond to the Sheaf ’s request for an interview in While juggling a full course load, he is also the current coortime for this article. dinator at the Pride Center. His notable works include repurposing the Positive Space program, advocating for the ban on conversion therapy and pushing for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. “I have been [working] really, really hard on campus to make these things happen. There are things that take time out of my Kiefer Roberts own schedule and full-time course to make sure it really happens,” McKay said. Platform Points: Advocate for students, “There are students who do not have the voice that they need address mental health, accountability and I really think that I can act as that voice for students and I really want to be fully accessible to students — so if students in Indigenization and decolonization and have any requests, I want to be available.”

Vice-president academic affairs candidate

attack student loan interests

Kiefer Roberts has served at the USSU prior to this year’s election. This year he has been part of the University Students’ Council as Indigenous Students’ representative. He has also sat in a number of USSU committees and was part of the Indigenous Students’ Council. With this experience under his belt, Roberts believes he has acquired all of the necessary skills in order to do the job and voice students’ concerns. His platform is geared to addressing both Indigenous and non-Indigenous undergraduate students’ needs. Before attending university, Roberts attended Ab- Supplied | Kiefer Roberts original Policing Preparation ing for Indigenization on camat Saskatchewan Polytechnic pus… I just want to make sure in Prince Albert. After learn- it’s done properly, making sure ing the RCMP’s core values of they’re consulting … the proper honesty, integrity, compassion, people in regards to Indigenizaaccountability, responsibility tion,” Roberts said. “When I talk and professionalism, he wants about Indigenization and decolto bring those to the USSU po- onization, it doesn’t only apply sition, as well as transparency. to Indigenous students.” “Peter Stoicheff is really push-

Supplied | Jory McKay

Gédéon Isezerano Platform points: Promoting available services and increased funding and accessibility for mental health services Gédéon Isezerano says his involvement in the community has allowed him to experience both sides, the good and the bad. Having previous experience in leadership and advocacy positions, Isezerano’s focus is on keeping good communication with students to better serve their interests. “I think I’m the right person for this because I am bringing approachability and a socializing aspect to the table, as well as the advocacy part,” Isezerano said. “I’ve been on various boards that advocate for youth. I also bring the ability to get things moving and done.” His guarantee is to bring his approachability and advocacy experience to the table and make sure that students will be well taken care of outside of their school life. “One thing that I think I can offer students is the ability to represent the whole student body,” Isezerano said. “When you look at my platform, I’m not aiming for anything impossible, but it’s things that students really need, to focus on school without worries.”

Supplied | Gédéon Isezerano

NEWS / 3


NEWS

T H E S H E A F P U B L I S HI NG S OC I E T Y // MA R C H 1 9 , 2 02 0

Campus Briefs: COVID-19 precautionary measures at the U of S With Saskatchewan now in a state of emergency, more measures may be announced. ANA CRISTINA CAMACHO

NEWS EDITOR

Courses

Classes at the University of Saskatchewan have been moved to remote delivery for the rest of the term. Professors have been given special permission by the University Senate to alter their syllabi given the need to adjust course content.

Staff

The university is encouraging all staff to work from home, in cases where this is possible. However, the university’s ICT services are currently prioritizing instructors’ transition for teaching remotely.

Facilities

The campus remains partially open, including the Murray Library, residences, food services, research facilities and health services. All of the university’s recreational facilities, however, are closed for the time being, and Late Night Study at the Murray Library has been cancelled.

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Hidden Truth & Secrets Tuesday, March 24, 7 pm

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Thursday, March 26, 7 pm

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sheaf mar 19 to mar 25, 2020.indd 1

International travel

All international travel for U of S students, faculty and staff have been suspended until further notice. The university has issued a recommendation for anyone returning from any international travel not to come to campus for 14 days after their return. All domestic university travel will now require the university’s approval.

Events

All non-essential events on campus have been cancelled due to the province’s ban on gatherings of more than 250 people.

Residences

The university residences remain open. Students living in residence are instructed to contact residence@usask.ca for instructions if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, and to stay home and call HealthLine 811 if they have recently travelled outside Canada or were exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

Future students

The U of S is currently monitoring the situation to determine what to do about application deadlines, language tests, among other considerations, if prospective students are having trouble meeting the university’s admission requirements while self-isolating. The university is also evaluating their protocols for the arrival of international students to campus.

University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union

The U of S Students’ Union is continuing to operate with reduced services, and the student decision-making bodies are connecting online to vote on decisions and keep the union running. The USSU elections are still on, with campaigning happening mostly online due to the candidates’ forums being cancelled. Voting is happening on PAWS on March 25 and 26. The USSU Office, Louis’ Loft, Louis’ and XL Print & Design remain operational, with reduced hours. The centres are open for drop-in services from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday through Friday, but are no longer available as a gathering space. Students can still access the uFood program at ussu.ca/foodcentre.

3/10/2020 2:15:05 PM

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U of S classes moved to remote delivery to prevent COVID-19 spread Classes were suspended for three days and are resuming online for the rest of the term. ANA CRISTINA CAMACHO

NEWS EDITOR

NYKOLE KING

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

HEYWOOD YU

Continued from cover This includes the Physical Activity Complex, Education Building, Merlis Belsher Place, Griffiths Stadium and any other areas of recreation. All U of S Rec programming has also been suspended until further notice. The U of S is now encouraging all university employees to work remotely as much as possible. “While the risk still remains relatively low in Canada, we will all help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if we each do our part and work together,” the release reads. While in-person classes will

be suspended for the rest of the Winter Term, the university is not completely closed. Campus locations such as Murray Library, residences, food services, research facilities and health services will remain open to the public for the time being, some with reduced hours. However, all final exams for the term will be completed remotely using the existing exam schedule. Students are no longer required to stay on or near campus for the rest of the term, given that exams will be conducted remotely. While the university is planning to keep the residences open, students who live there have the option to move out early and get a refund. As the situation develops, the university is encouraging the campus community to continue practicing social distancing protocols. All non-essential events hosted on campus have been can-

celled effective immediately, as well as all international travel for students, faculty and staff. “I can’t stress enough that if you are sick, please stay home and help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses,” the release reads. Researchers at the U of S are currently developing a vaccine for the new strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The prototype vaccine is now in the animal testing stages. “I thank our USask researchers who are making significant contributions to national and international efforts to find a solution to this global health threat,” the release reads. “You make us proud.” This is a developing story. The university website usask. ca/updates will have the most up-to-date information. Questions about the university’s response to the pandemic can be sent to covid19@usuask.ca.


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NEWS

WWW.T H E S H E A F.COM // @ U SAS KS H E A F

No substantive change to university funding in new provincial budget The funding for Student Supports will remain the same as last year. ANA CRISTINA CAMACHO

NEWS EDITOR

KIENAN ASHTON

The Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina, SK on June 2018. | Aqsa Hussain/ Layout Manager

filiated colleges getting an increase in funding of less than one per cent. While these estimates are a continuation of the recent trend of flat funding for post-secondary institutions in the province, they are in line with what the University of Saskatchewan asked of the province in their Budget Request 2020/2021. “Our request for 2020/21 is for government to maintain stable funding … for our institution,” the request reads.

“While the additional funding we require to maintain our status quo operations is $17.4 million over 2019/20 funding, with stable operating and capital funding, we will endeavor to achieve a growth agenda with priorities that can and will benefit Saskatchewan.” Funds for Student Supports, however, are only going up marginally by 1.9 per cent, with the sub-category of Scholarships remaining the same after being cut by 42

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at the same time meeting all the other health needs of Saskatchewan residents,” Harpauer wrote. On the other hand, Advanced Education spending is staying mostly the same. The Central Management and Services line, which covers executive direction for the advanced education sector, is seeing a small decrease of $0.6 million. The Post-Secondary Education line is going up by $12.2 million, with universities, federated and af-

ciet

The provincial government has released, in part, its new budget. As it stands, the government appears not to be making any meaningful changes to post-secondary funding from the previous year. Due to the uncertain situation surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19, the government only tabled the province’s expenditures for 2020-21 on Wednesday afternoon. The release of the forecasted revenue for the period has been postponed to a later date. While the 2019-20 budget was notable for being balanced after the province’s years in the red, Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer says that this year might see a return to debt. “We may have to make adjustments to address the economic fallout caused by this pandemic,” Harpauer said in a statement. “We fully recognize that this may mean a deficit.” On the side of increases, this year’s estimates include a hike in spending for the Ministry of Health. “This funds the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who today are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19, while

per cent in 2019-20. Student leaders at the time criticized the budget for making these cuts. “I think that a budget balanced on the backs of students is not a balanced budget,” said Brent Kobes, former U of S Students’ Union vice-president operations and finance, in an interview with the Sheaf in 2019. “‘The Right Balance’ would have included having continued support for students through scholarships.”

Visit us in the memorial union building or Email outreach@thesheaf.com

NEWS / 5


SPORTS&HEALTH

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Women’s Basketball wins National Championship

(Right) A family member gives an elbow of congratulations to the players of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team in celebration for winning the National Championship, as the meet to celebrate at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon, SK on March 11, 2020. | Yasmine El-Gayed

(Above) Two players from the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team embrace in celebration of their National Championship victory, as they meet to celebrate at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon, SK on March 11, 2020. | Yasmine El-Gayed

(Left) A player from the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s basketball team signing autographs for family and friends at the Physical Activity Complex in Saskatoon, SK on March 11, 2020. | Yasmine El-Gayed

6 / SPORTS & HEALTH


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CULTURE

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A change in menu: USSU Food Centre coordinator also leaving this spring USSU Food Centre coordinator Jillian Rogers reminisces on her time in the office. CHELAINE KIRSCH

After serving two years as coordinator, Jillian Rogers is on her way out of the USSU Food Centre. Rogers sat down with the Sheaf to discuss her role, the changes she made and her hopes for the centre as her term ends. Besides your interests in nutrition and food, what initially drew you to the position? “I started volunteering with the USSU Food Centre at the beginning of my first year. I enjoyed the convenience of volunteering on campus and I gained valuable leadership skills. I’ve always been a major foodie — I considered applying to the nutrition program — and I have a passion for food security.” “I’d intended to remain a volunteer all throughout my undergrad, but when the position as coordinator opened up, I jumped at the opportunity to increase my involvement in the organization.” Were there any surprises upon taking up this role? “I’ve been approached by so many students who are working on university projects regarding food security. It’s been great developing relationships with these students and seeing the results of their projects.” What kind of changes did you make in the centre? “The previous coordinator had an idea for a new food

hamper program. When I took over, the rudimentary idea was there but no concrete plans had been developed. I spent months comparing grocery prices, running surveys, thinking of program names and helping design a website. It was a huge project, but it has been successfully launched and many students have utilized this uFood program.” “December of 2019, I did a trial run of using a credit card machine at the Fresh Market in Upper Place — we had only accepted cash up until that point. The machine has been a huge success and I would estimate that one-third of our sales each week are now made with credit cards.” “I’ve also added a few new items to the Fresh Market — cinnamon, salt, pepper, lentils and oats — which have sold very well.” Are there any changes that you wish you had made? “I’ve been very slowly working on a cookbook that uses ingredients primarily from the Fresh Market. I’ve wanted to do this since I started in my position. Hopefully, I will have a first draft finished by the time I leave.” Anything you would like to see in the future? “Organizing cooking classes was something I had wanted to do as a coordinator. I know there are some other groups on campus who offer similar ideas, so I wanted to make the Food Centre’s unique in some

Coordinator of the U of S food centre, Jillian Rogers, poses for a photo beside the Centre’s banner in U of S Place Riel on March 13, 2020. | Shania Jamero

way — I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet!” What would you like to see stay? “I hope that the four programs running out of the centre [Emergency Food Hampers, uFood, Fresh Market and CHEP Good Food Boxes] remain and continue to flourish.” What will you miss most come May? “All the great people I’ve had

the privilege of working with. The USSU has become my second family. I will also miss having an office to leave my backpack, lunch or random stuff in while I run to class.” What are your plans for the future? “I will convocate in June this year. I don’t know for sure what will happen next year. I’ve applied to the College of Medicine at a few universities across Western Canada. If that

doesn’t pan out, I will probably start my masters in food science.” CHEP Good Food Box is a biweekly subscription-based service that provides fresh food to students, who must pick up these boxes at the USSU main office. As of March 16, the uFood program is still accessible online at ussu.ca/ufood during temporary service shutdown amid preventions of COVID-19.

CULTURE / 7


FEATURE

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WW W.T H E S H E A F.COM // @ U SAS K S H E A F

FEATURE

Challenges meet opportunities: The state of the Saskatoon tech sector

Saskatoon is proving to be a fostering city for exciting new startups. MINH AU DUONG WEB EDITOR

Known for its rich oil and vast farmland, Saskatchewan hides away a potential for a thriving technological industry. Saskatoon, the province’s biggest city, is quietly, but surely, beginning to transform itself into a tech hub. In 2019 alone, Saskatchewan received nearly $100 million in venture capital investment, more than half of which went to Saskatoon-based tech companies. The tech sector is estimated to account for 2.5 per cent of all Saskatchewan businesses, adding about $2 billion in GDP to the provincial economy in 2017. This rapid growth is the result of demonstrated efforts, from the provincial government to the young, vibrant community of ambitious self-starters. The Saskatchewan tech scene went through huge changes in the past five years and there are still more to come. The increased interest and investment in the provincial tech ecosystem promise continued growth. “There seems to be in Saskatchewan this really beautiful opportunity where we have alignment across the board. Everyone is agreeing this is the right thing,” said Alex Shimla, program director at Co.Labs. Co.Labs is Saskatchewan’s first tech incubator and it provides all the

Supplied | Co.Labs

8 / FEATURE

tools necessary to grow and scale a tech startup in the province. They are purpose-driven to create a pipeline to funnel a technology from an idea to a million-dollar business in under three years. One of the last provinces to have a startup incubator, Saskatchewan is seeing a lot of potential coming out of Co.Labs, which is less than three years old. Co.Labs programs have benefited 85 companies, who have collectively raised more than $6.2 million in equity investments and created more than 150 jobs. The existence of a centralized tech hub like Co.Labs signals increased support for tech entrepreneurship in the province. The future of the sector seems bright, but it has had its share of struggles. Five years ago, the Saskatchewan tech ecosystem was mostly driven by individual excellence. “They were all just incredible entrepreneurs who grinded incredibly hard and did it independently and had to go outside of Saskatoon to make all those things happen,” Shimla said. “If you asked any of them, there’s a lot of mistakes that they made along the way that they feel [were] super easily avoidable.” Back in 2015, Saskatchewan-based startups were struggling to access venture capital, raising only $3 million by the end of the year. Innovation Saskatchewan, a government

agency with a focus on technology development and commercialization, recognized the difficulties for tech firms to secure their first big customer within the province. Since then, Shimla says, “the support systems for tech have increased dramatically around the momentum that’s been built at Co.Labs and in the general ecosystem.” On the policy level, the provincial government has created initiatives to support tech startups with the goal to triple the tech sector by 2030. These efforts help companies get a financial headstart into their market. The Made in Saskatchewan Technology Program is designed to help Saskatchewan-based tech companies secure their footing through a $10,000 procurement contract with the government. Having a reference-worthy customer like the government is critical for new startups to establish themselves in the market and attract investors. The Saskatchewan Technology Startup Incentive was officially introduced in 2018-19 to attract investors to the province. This program offers investors a 45 per cent non-refundable tax credit when they put capital towards early-stage tech startups. The incentive helps ease the financial struggles for new companies by making investments in Saskatchewan companies much more appealing.

Supplied | Co.Labs

While benefiting from the government’s province-wide efforts, Saskatoon also enjoys a growing sense of community and support on the tech scene. Co.Labs, with funds from the government and interest from the community, is creating visibility on what is happening in the industry through regular community events. “If a company is trying to raise money, there’s likely going to be an investor in the room at those events, there’s going to be students who are interested in the jobs … and there’s gonna be people from government who are interested in creating policy initiatives,” Shimla said. Regular community events also happen all over Saskatoon, hosted by every single tech company, with a high turnout. This means that the entryway into the tech industry becomes easier for students and recent graduates. Tate Cao, a University of Saskatchewan assistant professor and the La Borde Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship, points out that the easiest way for students to get a foot in the tech space is to participate in these events and create a network of mentors. “Be very observant looking for those opportunities. And then be open and humble to ask for help,” Cao said. “There is lots of help around [because] people love students and want to help students.” While there is an emphasis on nurturing and helping students in the tech space, Shimla says one of the big obstacles to the growth of the Saskatchewan tech industry is the gap between the talent available and the number of job opportunities in the market. The big question is, “can our talent pipelines keep up with the growth of our companies?” Cao comments that the reason the number of graduates does not necessarily fulfill the needs for talent in the rapidly growing industry is the disconnect between the level of experiences needed and student’s lack thereof. “What I see is sometimes there is a gap between the graduates and then the position companies want to hire for. Because oftentimes as companies grow, they need more experienced people, where students as new graduates lack those experiences,” Cao said.

This leads to companies seeking talents outside of the country, resulting in a natural diversification of their workforce. “Diversity increases top line and bottom line performance of companies. When you have more diversity, you have more success because you have more opinions in the room that aren't just saying the same thing,” Shimla said. With these benefits, it is not about diversity to fill a quota — or a “measuring stick,” as Shimla puts it. Having more people with a wider variety of experiences and backgrounds gives those prospective employees, and their employers, a competitive advantage. Still, local companies are always looking inward to foster and invest in local talent. To support the economic development of the province, the University of Saskatchewan is focusing on boosting enrolment in computer science and engineering. “Enrolment in the computer science department has increased more than 70 per cent in recent years, but the demand for graduates continues to outpace our graduation numbers in this field,” reads the university’s 2020-21 Operations Forecast. “The College of Arts and Science is adopting a suite of strategies designed to further boost enrolment through industry-aligned computer science program offerings.” On the part of the College of Engineering, besides goals to maximize employment outcomes through internships and career services, they are also trying to bridge the gaps between skills and experience. In addition to course offerings on product development, in collaboration with Edwards School of Business, the College of Engineering has created the technology innovation certificate. The certificate program gives students the business fundamentals to design and commercialize technologically-innovative solutions. “My long-term plan for the next couple years is to establish more work with student groups and to create more opportunities for extracurricular works. So [to] expose students to real life situations and then learn from those opportunities,” Cao said. “We want to set up more workshops and events for students to learn the necessary skills.”

Students themselves recognize the importance of getting the experiences beyond the classroom. In February 2020, the engineering student body voted to implement the University of Saskatchewan Engineering Students’ Fund. The approval of the fund comes with a mandatory $20 per term fee from each engineering undergraduate student and an annual donation of $20,000 from the College of Engineering. The engineering design teams and student groups will benefit from this fund through easier access to funding for their activities. Shimla notes the efforts from the colleges in bringing technology into the curriculum as the university recognizes the importance of preparing students for the future of technology-integrated careers. “We are working with the university at the head of entrepreneurship levels at most colleges … to start building a plan for how we teach these — not just entrepreneurship skills, but these tech-based methodologies because tech is just gonna keep growing,” Shimla said. It is an exciting time for the Saskatoon tech scene as the pieces are coming together to build a structure that is fostering and setting up our local companies on the path to huge success. From the provincial government to the university to the community, we are seeing a positive and focused messaging around the importance of technology in the future of the province. The global success of Solido Design Automation, for example,

looked like a one-off phenomenon for years. In 2005, they set out to solve incredibly complicated problems in the semiconductor niche and became hugely successful with global clients like Apple before being acquired by multinational corporation Mentor Graphics. As Saskatoon now has the space to share and rapidly transfer knowledge in the entrepreneurial scene, the methodology that Solido used for their fast growth has become repeatable. This is thanks to pioneers like Jeff Dyck, former vice-president of engineering at Solido and director of engineering at Mentor Graphics, who now sits on the board of Co.Labs. He is instrumental in guiding the development of the incubator as Saskatchewan’s tech focal point. The city is growing as a tech hub. Even Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark called it a “Silicon Prairie,” referencing the global center for innovative technology companies in San Francisco. But to Shimla, Saskatoon should not aspire to mimic — we have our own special thing going on here. “We’re different from Vancouver. That’s a good thing. Vancouver is good at what it does, and that’s great. But Saskatoon can be and should be fundamentally unique because we are,” Shimla said. Our competitive advantage, Shimla says, comes from the people — humble to a fault, hardworking and obsessed with generating revenue by providing legitimate value. Focusing on adding values by offering solutions to real problems is

a good recipe for success. Cao says a common misstep when people set out to make a business is to do the expensive thing first, which is to develop the technology without asking where the market is and whether people really need it. “The amazing part about tech is that it’s so broad. It’s ubiquitous market conditions because you can sell to anyone, anywhere,” Shimla said, so long as you are solving a legitimate problem. So while fluctuating market conditions will affect the growth of the tech sector, in some sense, tech entrepreneurship is a safer career path than traditional jobs. “If you look at the traditional sectors, now they’re suffering from all kinds of changes and losses of jobs,” Cao said. Shimla contends, however, that “what tech is doing isn’t actually coming in and supplanting those industries.” They are adding value and helping diversify and innovate the economy. “Every company is going to become a tech company sometime in the next couple of decades,” Shimla said. “Too often we think about these things as opposites, when really they’re all parts of the same story.” The next five years are going to be the period of critical growth for the Saskatoon tech ecosystem. There will be challenges in terms of seeking and retaining talent, as well as securing reliably increasing capital investments. But the opportunities are abundant for students to make a meaningful difference.

Supplied | Co.Labs

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CULTURE

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Dancing through time: The history and relevance of modern Irish dance The Sheaf sits down with an Irish dance teacher to discuss how the sport has changed. THEA PEARCE

Supplied | Lihoman / Flickr

10 / CULTURE

Recognized worldwide thanks to shows such as Riverdance, Irish dance has become both a competitive sport and a means of artistic self-expression. Over 3,000 years ago, the Celtic people immigrated to Ireland, bringing with them a new type of dancing now commonly known as Irish dance. Irish dance is recognized by its emphasis on intricate footwork and technical jumps or kicks. Dancers generally perform with a stiff upper body in order to accentuate the complexity of their footwork and dance in conjunction with musical instruments such as the fiddle, accordion or an Irish drum called a Bodhrán. Luanne Schlosser is a certified Irish dance instructor and owner of the Blakey Irish Dance school here in Saskatoon. She says that there are several theories as to why Irish dancing uniquely showcases an individual’s footwork while the dancer maintains a rigid upper body. “My education on the matter is that dancing was forbidden in Ireland for a period of time, and so dancers would keep their arms down while dancing so that the local priest couldn’t see what they were doing through the windows as he made his rounds,” Schlosser said. Another belief is that a group of Irish dancers were forced to perform for the sitting Queen of England at the time, who is believed to have been Queen Elizabeth I. These dancers kept their arms down as a sign of subversion to her authority and the English people. Such defiance may be attributed to the fact that in the 14th century, Irish culture was outlawed by the Statute of Kilkenny. Despite Irish dancing’s timeless and distinctive features, Schlosser believes that the sport has changed as it has grown in popularity. Modern Irish dance is rooted in three early forms of 16th century dances — rince fada, trenchmore and Irish hey, each of which have influenced present-day jigs. In the 18th century, dancing

grew more disciplined and was taught by dance masters, each with their own unique set of skills. “Irish dance has become increasingly athletic and commercialized in the last two decades. Many see the emergence of shows like Riverdance and Lord of the Dance as the driving force behind the popularity of what once was more of an artform practiced amongst those of Irish origin,” Schlosser said. The teacher and business owner also noted that the rise of social media has contributed to the exposure of the sport. Dancers across the globe compete to attend world class competitions such as world championships and North American championships, each of which are regarded as the Olympics of Irish dance. Dancers dedicate hours of their week to the sport in pursuit of a title and trophy though there is no monetary reward. For those of you intrigued by Irish dance in all of its Celtic glory, there are many ways to get involved with Irish dance today. There are several Irish dance schools in Saskatoon, including River City, Brady Academy and Blakeyl. Each school has their own unique style of costuming, dancing and performing. They also offer both competitive and recreational programs available to those interested in learning the sport. As for the benefits, Schlosser believes that Irish dance provides students with skills that dancers will carry with them for the rest of their lives. “Of all the dancers I have taught, there is a strong correlation between the highly competitive dancers and those who go on to become leaders in their field of study and work,” Schlosser said. After being involved in the sport for 26 years, Schlosser feels that Irish dance increases an individual’s athleticism, ability to work as a teammate and time management. “As some say, ‘for the love of Irish dance!’ because at the end of the day, there is nothing more,” Schlosser said.


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CULTURE

WWW.T H E S H E A F.COM // @ U SAS KS H E A F

Student transforms research on Saskatoon’s forgotten Chinatown into walking tour Local history reveals our city’s complex past and the discrimination that has occurred here.

Aqsa Hussain/ Layout Manager Go to thesheaf.com for an interactive google map.

CFCR COMMUNITY RADIO

Supplied | Harris Ford

NOAH CALLAGHAN STAFF WRITER

Continued from cover Ford says that learning about this rich local history helps breakdown “false narratives” where Chinese immigrants are cast into troublesome “us versus them” binaries. “What my research shows is that Saskatoon had a spectacular mixture of cultures prior to Chinatown’s destruction in 1929,” Ford said. His walk begins on 19th Street East, in the heart of what was Saskatoon’s Chinese community between 1904 to the 1920s. From there, Ford will guide attendees towards River Landing while discussing the businesses Chinese immigrants owned during that time. These included general stores, laundry services, restaurants and even a Chinese government-owned aviation school within the city. Although few of the actual buildings from this period are still standing, Ford believes that history comes alive when we use our senses. “Reading an article is a great way to be exposed to

this story but being able to walk and experience these sites firsthand is a wonderful way to become interested in the history,” Ford said. Ford says racial discrimination was underlying many Chinese-run businesses because these citizens were often prevented from acquiring any other form of employment. The Canadian Government’s head tax used to deter Chinese immigrants, which lasted until 1923, also helped to create a “bachelor society” in Saskatoon. “It is no wonder why Chinese-Canadian communities did not include many families; it was too expensive to immigrate, which is what Canada wanted,” Ford said. “While discrimination against Chinese settlers was real and problematic, Saskatoon also witnessed a wonderful coming together of citizens.” These actions included Chinese-European friendships and newspapers celebrating Chinese marriages, pilot certificates and long-standing local businesses. The history was a complicated picture of exclusion and acceptance. The tour ends at Zhongshan Ting pagoda in Victoria

Park, a monument dedicated to these early Chinese settlers that helps remind us of this history’s importance, Ford says. Last June, Ford conducted his walk for the first time at the request of the International Student and Study Abroad Centre. “History is often a solo endeavor, but this walk reminded me of how important it is to share the excitement and to communicate my passion to others,” Ford said. For Ford, it was “heartwarming” to see students interact with his stories, so he is excited for the opportunity to share this walk again this year. Even though his master’s thesis focuses on international issues, he believes learning about Saskatoon’s forgotten history is equally important. “Very slowly I have started to appreciate the history of home, and I continue to be amazed by everything that can be found out about this city,” Ford said. “We can live perfectly happy lives without knowing this history, but we can greatly enrich, complicate, and enhance our everyday experiences by taking the time to learn and have our perceptions challenged.”

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OPINIONS

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Volunteering: What motivates you to help others? Individuals choose to expend their precious time and energy with no monetary compensation.

Mỹ Anh Phan

KRISTINE JONES A. DEL SOCORRO

Volunteer with the sheaf publishing society

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the sheaf ing so

Visit us in the memorial union building or Email outreach@thesheaf.com

12 / OPINIONS

Volunteering is becoming more and more important. With the rise of conflict in different parts of the world, underprivileged people living below their means and people who simply need an extra helping hand, this act of service is vital. What can we say about volunteerism? Greek philosopher Aristotle once said: “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” As an effect of their contribution, volunteers reap great rewards. By volunteering, you can acquire new skills and experiences, as well as make professional connections. Furthermore, volunteering adds to the sense of community. This kind of unity in one place makes for that feel-good and secure feeling. So what are the different motivations behind volunteering? What makes someone

want to spend their free time serving others without getting paid? There are two reasons that contribute to this: intrinsic factors and extrinsic factors. With intrinsic factors, the volunteer can find significant satisfaction in what they do because this motivation is dependent on the person’s internal values. Because of this, the individual will feel good about themselves, thus making them want to do volunteer work again and again. Extrinsic factors are external reasons that will benefit the individual, either in the moment or somewhere down the road. Extrinsic factors can be negative due to the motivational drivers behind it. Some reasons can be career advancement or stronger societal ties. In the world of volunteerism, can one complain about people who fall into this category? There are students who have to put in hours for a course requirement, people

who opt to do community service rather than paying off their ticket or those who volunteer because it “looks good on a resume.” Honestly, if personal benefit is the motivation, it will show — particularly with the lack of enthusiasm. Think of it this way, if you feel like you have to do something for the sake of getting it done, rather than doing something out of passion, then the result will be lacklustre. Engagement is inspired by authenticity — if an individual’s eagerness is intrinsically motivated then it will shine through in the work that they do. I have seen it firsthand when two people are doing the same volunteer job side by side, knowing one is intrinsically motivated while the other extrinsically. Nothing irritates me more than someone who displays distaste over doing mundane tasks — and failing miserably to be successful in the job at hand — just because

they can’t see how they benefit from it. What keeps my motivations in check is my volunteering experience from a trip to India in the summer of 2017. There, we spent time with a small community to help build a school for children who would walk for kilometers, rain or shine, just to get an education. A trip like this truly opened my eyes to the realities of this world, and I realized how blessed I am to be in the position to give to those in need. These kinds of experiences also challenge me to explore my own abilities and how I can effectively utilize them. These opportunities serve as a reminder that there is someone else out there who is in more need than I am. Volunteering has amazing benefits both for those in need and for the volunteers themselves. So next time you extend a helping hand, remember who is in a lucky position and who is the one in need.


WWW.T H E S H E A F.COM // @ U SAS KS H E A F

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OPINIONS

Past pandemics: What can history teach us? Insights from medical history can help inform our responses to current disease outbreaks. ERIN MATTHEWS OPINIONS EDITOR

After much delay, the WHO officially declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. This isn’t the first pandemic and it won’t be our last, so it begs the question — can epidemics of the past help us to navigate diseases of the present? There are 727 cases* across Canada with Saskatchewan announcing its first case on March 12. The United States has identified 9,345* and now ranks sixth out of the 155* affected countries. We are both seeing a steady rise in more cases. There are no antivirals available to treat COVID-19, and we have no vaccine ready to protect us against the virus. This means we have to approach this pandemic differently in the absence of treatments. How do our strategies to contain the virus emulate those of our past? Erika Dyck is a professor of history at the University of Saskatchewan and the Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine. She sat down with the Sheaf to talk about what history has to teach us. “It’s really interesting teaching medical history right now in the midst of this pandemic,” Dyck said. “It’s interesting to watch students grapple with the historical knowledge that these things have happened before and we know there are certain measures for prevention.”

Fear is common

Some people are beginning to panic with the spread of COVID-19. This anxiety is manifesting in strange ways with toilet paper shortages and mass mask purchasing. Dyck points out that what is part of the narrative today is common in historical pandemics. “Some of the things we know for sure is that there is fear, panic, skepticism and a kind of mystery of what to do in these moments,” Dyck said. “What is your best strategy? Is it to go out and close borders or is it to wash your hands? We start to think about how to govern in a moment of panic.”

Wash your hands

Hand washing isn’t an innovative strategy for disease control and there is a long history of people not convinced by its effectiveness. In the 1840s, Ignaz Semmelweis was deeply troubled by the number of women who were dying of childbed fever in his Viennese hospital. After investigating the difference in mortality rates between physician-run obstetrics units and the ones run by midwives, Semmelweis realized the doctors must be the source of this fever. At the time, physicians would go directly from autopsies to a labouring women’s bedside without washing their hands in between. Semmelweis recommended hand washing after handling a corpse and it demonstrated a sharp decrease in women’s

Health workers during the Spanish Influenza pandemic. | NSW State Archives / Flickr

Patients lie in Influenza Ward No. 1 in U.S. Army Camp Hospital No. 45 in Aix-les-Baines, France, during World War I. | JohnnyJohnsonSOU / Flickr

deaths after doctors in his ward followed his recommendations But not all physicians were convinced and many were offended that Semmelweis was suggesting they were diseased. Today we are championing hand washing more than ever as a way to mitigate the spread of illness, yet we are still having to convince people that washing their hands is effective.

Flatten the curve

Social distancing is the buzzword that is circulating right now. We have seen can-

cellations of events, schools and other public gatherings. The rationale behind limiting contact with people is not to stop the spread of the virus — we are past containment strategies — but to slow down how many people will be getting sick at once. This strategy is called “flattening the curve” and is a lesson from the response to the 1918 Spanish Influenza outbreak. At the end of September 1918, the city of Philadelphia held the Liberty Loan parade as a way to entice people to support the war. However, this mass of people gathering in the street had dire consequences. In just 72 hours, influenza burned through the city, leading to an influx of patients filling Philadelphia hospitals. In October, the city saw 759 people die in a single day with 12,000 succumbing to the flu in the next couple weeks. This event is an example for why cancelling events and limiting social contact is important. It helps to curtail the number of people that get sick at once which lessens the burden on health care systems. “We are really seeing people mobilizing around the questions of prevention — things are being cancelled and classes are moving online across North America,” Dyck said. “I think we are going to

feel the impact. People are being forced and compelled to mobilize in ways we probably have not felt in our lifetime”

Societies change in the face of pandemics

The way that we respond to the challenges faced in pandemics is critical. Historically, these event often lead to significant changes in how our society operates. Dyck suggests that epidemics like these force us to think about how we invest in our societies and our health care systems. Dyck has been working with Simonne Horwitz, a fellow history professor, and Scott Napper, a professor from the College of Medicine and research scientist at Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization - International Vaccine Center, to develop a new course on the history of infectious disease and vaccines. “We think this is incredibly important,” Dyck said. “It is not just taking stock of things that happened in the past, but really thinking about how historical thinking and perspectives help to inform our contemporary understanding of how to handle these crises.” * All numbers are taken from the John Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center and Map, on March 18

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OPINIONS

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No, not later, Trudeau: Indigenous peoples need their international rights recognized now Something needs to change now that Canada’s flaky relationship with UNDRIP is in its 13th year. Amidst the national protests and railway blockades of the Wet’suwet’en solidarity movement, the Liberal government has reportedly backpedaled on its promise to pass legislation that would harmonize Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the end of 2020. This crisis should not be an excuse for Canada to keep with the 13 year tradition of postponing UNDRIP’s implementation.The present situation shows that reconciliation requires a national action plan to recognize and protect Indigenous peoples international human rights. UNDRIP is a historic document ratified by the United Nations. This document consists of 46 articles, which establish minimum international standards for the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples. The declaration includes affirming Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, rights to territories and resources and their participation in all decision-making that affects them. Last summer, Justin Trudeau promised that his government would introduce legislation to implement UNDRIP into federal law if he was re-elected as prime minister. But the Liberals’ decision to delay this promise amidst the national protests is representative of Canada’s long and problematic relationship with the declaration. Work on UNDRIP first began in 1982, but it was not adopted by the UN General Assembly until 2007. When the international community voted on the declaration, there were 144 votes in favour, 4 against and 11 abstentions. The countries that opposed UNDRIP — Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States — all share similar histories as settler-colonial nations. Histories which include Europeans committing acts of mass violence against Indigenous peoples while dispossessing them of their territories. Although the UN enhanced the existing international human rights standards with UNDRIP, Canada’s officials had “significant concerns” about how universal self-determination could be interpreted into domestic law. Self-determination is the right to participate in the political process and influence one’s own economic, cultural and social development. The state also opposed having to obtain “free, prior and informed consent” before implementing laws or plans for resource development that may affect Indigenous groups. Accepting the UN consensus that Indigenous peoples have minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being has proven incompatible NOAH CALLAGHAN STAFF WRITER

A little girl poses for a photo as she rallies with her guardians at the intersection of Idylwyld Drive and 22nd Street West, Saskatoon, SK, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people on Feb. 13, 2020. | Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor

14 / OPINIONS

A woman talks into a megaphone as she rallies at the intersection of Idylwyld Drive and 22nd Street West, Saskatoon, SK, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people on Feb. 13, 2020. | Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor

with Canada’s current relationship with Indigenous nations. The rejection of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project by hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en nations has revealed the need for the government to obtain proper consent to avoid situations like the ongoing protests. But the present need for UNDRIP is a product of a decade of inaction by the government. It was not until 2010 that Canada officially endorsed UNDRIP but with qualifications. Although Canada was willing to change its stance on declaration, the country only supported it as a “non-legally binding” and “aspirational” document. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the official endorsement of UNDRIP to reiterate Canada’s willingness to reconcile its relationship with Indigenous peoples. In reality, this commitment was hollow — it allowed for Indigenous citizens to have their international rights acknowledged but not legally recognized. In the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 Calls to Action report, all levels of government were instructed to fully adopt and implement UNDRIP through a national action plan “as the framework for reconciliation.” The implementation of UNDRIP looked hopeful in 2016 when Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett announced to the UN that Canada would remove its official objector status after almost a decade and support the declaration “without qualifications.” During the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, Trudeau told the UN General Assembly that the full implementation of UNDRIP and advancing Indigenous self-determination was the “way forward” for the nation to achieve reconciliation. In reality, applying all 46 articles of UNDRIP to Canadian law poses serious challenges and would require a radical transformation of our country’s institutions and constitution. UNDRIP is not just something Canadian leaders should irresponsibly promise then continually postpone. With the declaration described as the necessary next steps for reconciliation by both the TRC and Trudeau, this precedent has been set for its implementation. Ac-

tions now must be taken or all that talk means nothing. Once again progress seemed hopeful in May of 2018, when Member of Parliament Romeo Saganash’s proposed Bill C-262 was passed in the House of Commons. If the bill was made into law, the government would have to follow a national action plan to ensure Canada’s laws were in harmony with UNDRIP. Bill C-262 was supported by the Liberals and was a meaningful opportunity for Canada to fulfill its outstanding promise of furthering reconciliation. But this promise was short lived when the bill was killed in the Senate. Last June, Conservative senators used a variety of delay tactics to prevent the third and final reading of Saganash’s bill. This stalling shows that certain politicians were willing to ignore their responsibilities. They feared what recognizing Indigenous self-determination could have for economic development during the push for the pipeline. Critics have called the maneuvers “undemocratic.” British Columbia’s government successfully passed Bill 41 on Oct. 31, creating a framework to align the province’s laws with UNDRIP. Two months later, Bennett restated the federal government’s goal to pass similar federal legislation by the end of 2020. After all these actions had been taken, the Supreme Court of B.C. still granted an injunction for the removal of obstructions on Wet’suwet’en territory on Dec. 31. This move calls into question the sincerity of B.C.’s implementation of UNDRIP. Though Article 10 of UNDRIP states, “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands,” the RCMP raided Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce the injunction while arresting a handful of peaceful protestors this February. Some advocates and Indigenous leaders argue that the present situation is evidence that Canada should be implementing UNDRIP to avoid a similar crisis in the future. The government’s actions are what has led to the national rail blockades in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and cries that “reconciliation is dead.” While dead is a strong word, the decision to table the promised bill on UNDRIP amidst this crisis has further extended the postponement of reconciliation.


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WWW.T H E S H E A F.COM // @ U SAS KS H E A F

DISTRACTIONS

What kind of distance learning student are you? Surprise! You’re USask’s newest distance learning student. Figure out how you’re dealing with this whole situation with this quiz. 1. What was your initial reaction to classes being cancelled/moved online? A. Surprised B. Heartbroken C. StReSsEd D.Relieved

2. What do your cancelled summer plans look like?

Mỹ Anh Phan

A. Eurotrip 2020 — more cancelled than Kanye B. Hoping spring/summer classes don’t get cancelled! C. Nothing will get cancelled on my watch. Still going to head to ‘berta for work D. Tbh, I was going to stay at home anyway so I’m chill with it all

3. Saddest part about class being moved online?

A. No more Tim’s runs with the buds B. Missing the opportunity to be on You Sask’s Sunday admirers C. Missing out on gym time D. Hm. Didn’t really come to campus anywho

4. What have you been stockpiling? A. Toilet paper B. Writing utensils C. Stocks #CapitalGains D. Memes

5. How have social distancing measures mildly inconvenienced you? A. No more Ag Night :( B. Limiting time studying at the library C. Not going to your prof ’s office hours D. Pokemon Go community days being postponed

6. Where are you living for the rest of the term? A. Saskatoon B. Moved in with the parents back home C. Library — screw it D. Residence

7. New go-to lunch?

A. Ritz Crackers (approximately 12) B. Sandwich C. Success D. Marquis

8. What are you binge-watching during this period?

A. All the Netflix B. Sportscentre top 10 because apparently all the sports are cancelled C. My recorded class lectures... D. Whatever TLC marathon is occurring

MIKAILA ORTYNSKY NYKOLE KING

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

If you answered mostly As

Typical Distance Student: You’re slightly concerned about this whole ordeal but you’re just following what the majority is doing. You’re ready to learn and attend each one of your distance sessions. Let’s get this bread.

If you answered mostly Bs

Sad Distance Student: Campus is like your second home and holds a special place in your heart. You’ve pulled some all nighters in Murray and you’re a bit sentimental that you won’t until a later time. You’re determined to finish the term off on a high note.

If you answered mostly Cs

Diligent Distance Student: You’re probably in engineering finishing your capstone project or you’re in a professional program. You’re committed to your academics and just trying to get out with a degree. We salute you.

If you answered mostly Ds

Chill Distance Student: You throw the conference call on mute as you watch TikTok and breeze through the rest of the term. Your vibes are impenetrable and you’re willing to make the best of a bad situation. The Sheaf applauds USask’s efforts, and the staff that serve our campus community, in keeping our university safe during this time.

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T H E S H E A F P U B L I S HI NG S OC I E T Y // MA R C H 1 9 , 2 0 2 0

U S S U B A C K PA G E

ELECTIONS CAMPAIGNING BEGINS MARCH 16 VOTE ON PAWS MARCH 25 & 26 FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT USSU.CA/ELECTIONS

F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N V I S I T U S S U . C A

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March 19, 2020  

March 19, 2020  

Profile for thesheaf
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