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Editorial

by admin October 27, 2009

Editorial

by admin October 20, 2009

Editorial

by admin October 20, 2009

Editorial

by admin October 13, 2009

Five weeks ago, at the beginning of Montreal’s municipal election campaign, the Concordian laid out why we think you should care about who wins.
Since then, our news section has covered the four main parties, and our opinions section has presented a variety of views on this election.
In that time, we have heard allegations of corruption at city hall and have seen the taint of those allegations spread from the Union Montreal administration to the Vision Montreal opposition. We have also seen Projet Montreal, who came into this race with one seat, surge in the polls.
Each of us has a different relationship with this city. For some of us it is a lifelong home, for others it is just a place to go to school. But each of us is affected by the decisions made at city hall.
There are certain qualities we are looking for in a mayor.
We want someone with a vision. Someone who believes in sustainable development rather than senseless development, who values the history and uniqueness of this city but does not dwell in the past. Someone who will support culture, who believes in public transit and who will not be corrupt or turn a blind eye to corruption.
Montrealers are in a fortunate position as far as choices go. None of the candidates who has a chance of winning (we feel it is fair to write off Louise O’Sullivan) would make the city much worse. At the same time, none of the candidates has particularly stood out.
What has become clear is that Gérald Tremblay does not deserve a third term. Tremblay’s administration was complicit in corruption. There are multiple provincial police investigations currently looking into corruption at city hall.
Corruption and politics may go together. And while this corruption has gone beyond city hall, Tremblay has been too closely tied to the shady dealings. If he did not know what was happening, then he’s blind. If he did but chose not to act, that is a far more grievous offence
Louise Harel has also failed to impress us. She started the campaign with a broom in her hand, promising to clean up corruption.
Over the course of the campaign, she has done little to distinguish herself from Tremblay in terms of actual policy. Rather, Harel seems to be campaigning solely on the fact that she is not Tremblay.
This is not enough. Harel has not laid out any sort of vision for our city. We don’t really know where she stands on any issue, other than corruption.
Harel’s language issues are of serious concern, especially for English-speaking students. Harel’s difficulty with English is old news by now, and we feel the importance of this was over-emphasized by the paranoid and angry streak of Montreal’s anglo media.
What is more important is Harel’s attitude toward native English speakers. For every step she has taken in the right direction8212;appearing on CJAD, promising the Gazette she would work on her English, reaching out to some community groups8212;she has taken a step back. She refused an English debate (even with the option of having a translator), showed up late for English interviews and her “Friends of Louise Harel” website is a laughable attempt at outreach full of stock photos and allegedly plagiarized blog posts.
The best way to understand Harel is to look at the time she spent as Minister of Municipal Affairs with the last Parti Québécois administration.
Harel brought in the “one island, one city” policy, forcing all of the towns and cities on this island to join Montreal. The issue here was centralization, which we can expect more of from Harel, who wants the central city to take over snow removal, urban planning and road construction from the boroughs. While we are not strongly opposed to this, we are hardly supportive, which is pretty much how we feel about Harel’s entire campaign.
That leaves us with Richard Bergeron and Projet Montreal. While we question the financial feasibility of some of his plans, Bergeron has come the closest of all the candidates to expressing a real vision for the city of Montreal. His pro-transit plans sit well with us, especially those to expand high-speed transit on the island, and not just off it. We like that he is an urban studies professor and believes in urban living and preserving our architectural history. We like the environmentally friendly aspects of his campaign.
We know Bergeron has little chance of being elected mayor and we can assume that not even a Projet administration would be free from corruption, but we feel he and his party are the best choice for Montreal and we hope Projet Montreal is able to form a substantial block that can hold the balance of power at city hall.

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The road to hell is paved with good intentions
Once again, the Co-op bookstore is having financial difficulties, and once again they are looking to Concordia students for a bailout.
In the past two years the bookstore has been kept afloat thanks to a $10,000 loan from the CSU and an anonymous $10,000 donation. They are now seeking a fee levy, a per credit tax to be paid by every Concordia undergrad to help them keep their head above the water.
We at the Concordian are not opposed to the idea of fee levies; they help finance many valuable services, including this newspaper.
But fee levy groups need to be responsible, both when asking for and spending student money.
We are sure that the bookstore has good intentions. The idea of a student-run not-for-profit bookstore that sells books at a lower cost is great. But such a store should be self-sufficient.
Moreover, there is no reason why it should not be able to support itself. It is a store, they sell goods for money, and charge $10 memberships to their over 2,100 members. These revenues should be able to cover the store’s operating costs.
If the Co-op gets this fee levy, Concordia students will be paying for the bookstore, but they won’t have a say on the store’s operations unless they pay the additional $10 membership fee. This lack of oversight is especially worrying given the bookstore’s financial history.
In January 2008, when the bookstore was asking for a second loan from the CSU (the Union loaned the bookstore $25,000 in 2004), bookstore boss Larissa Dutil blamed the financial problems on unpaid bills and taxes, caused by a volunteer’s negligence due to “personal issues.”
At the time Dutil refused to name the volunteer, saying she still considered “her a friend.” It later came out that the volunteer in question was Marie Lyonnais, who’s negligence and embezzlement also cost the CSU over $200,000 in missing funds and thousands in unpaid taxes.
A year later, when the store began asking for a fee levy, these taxes still had not been paid because there had been confusion over how much was owed.
When students approve a fee levy they should get a return, not just pour it in a black hole.
If the levy campaign is successful, it will no doubt help the bookstore pay off the its debt to the CSU. In other words, using student money to pay back a loan that was made of student money; robbing Peter to pay Paul as it were, or, more accurately, robbing students to pay back students.
The store will also use the money to help keep prices low. Even though the store is a not-for-profit, it is a business &- not a service or a charity. Concordia students should not have to pay a tax so that other students can buy cheaper books. The store was created to give students a better price on textbooks and more money for used books. This is a noble goal, but with the prevalence of book exchanges, Craigslist and Facebook, this hardly seems like a necessary service anymore. With the bookstore now focusing more on general literature, there is no reason why Concordia students should even be asked to prop up this floundering business.
The bookstore has many options, not all of them pleasant. They could raise prices, try to attract more members, cut staff, even lower wages. But instead they are asking students to pay for their low prices. They even hired a staff member to run their fee levy campaign. One wonders why they could not have used that money to pay down their debt instead.

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The road to hell is paved with good intentions
Once again, the Co-op bookstore is having financial difficulties, and once again they are looking to Concordia students for a bailout.
In the past two years the bookstore has been kept afloat thanks to a $10,000 loan from the CSU and an anonymous $10,000 donation. They are now seeking a fee levy, a per credit tax to be paid by every Concordia undergrad to help them keep their head above the water.
We at the Concordian are not opposed to the idea of fee levies; they help finance many valuable services, including this newspaper.
But fee levy groups need to be responsible, both when asking for and spending student money.
We are sure that the bookstore has good intentions. The idea of a student-run not-for-profit bookstore that sells books at a lower cost is great. But such a store should be self-sufficient.
Moreover, there is no reason why it should not be able to support itself. It is a store, they sell goods for money, and charge $10 memberships to their over 2,100 members. These revenues should be able to cover the store’s operating costs.
If the Co-op gets this fee levy, Concordia students will be paying for the bookstore, but they won’t have a say on the store’s operations unless they pay the additional $10 membership fee. This lack of oversight is especially worrying given the bookstore’s financial history.
In January 2008, when the bookstore was asking for a second loan from the CSU (the Union loaned the bookstore $25,000 in 2004), bookstore boss Larissa Dutil blamed the financial problems on unpaid bills and taxes, caused by a volunteer’s negligence due to “personal issues.”
At the time Dutil refused to name the volunteer, saying she still considered “her a friend.” It later came out that the volunteer in question was Marie Lyonnais, who’s negligence and embezzlement also cost the CSU over $200,000 in missing funds and thousands in unpaid taxes.
A year later, when the store began asking for a fee levy, these taxes still had not been paid because there had been confusion over how much was owed.
When students approve a fee levy they should get a return, not just pour it in a black hole.
If the levy campaign is successful, it will no doubt help the bookstore pay off the its debt to the CSU. In other words, using student money to pay back a loan that was made of student money; robbing Peter to pay Paul as it were, or, more accurately, robbing students to pay back students.
The store will also use the money to help keep prices low. Even though the store is a not-for-profit, it is a business &- not a service or a charity. Concordia students should not have to pay a tax so that other students can buy cheaper books. The store was created to give students a better price on textbooks and more money for used books. This is a noble goal, but with the prevalence of book exchanges, Craigslist and Facebook, this hardly seems like a necessary service anymore. With the bookstore now focusing more on general literature, there is no reason why Concordia students should even be asked to prop up this floundering business.
The bookstore has many options, not all of them pleasant. They could raise prices, try to attract more members, cut staff, even lower wages. But instead they are asking students to pay for their low prices. They even hired a staff member to run their fee levy campaign. One wonders why they could not have used that money to pay down their debt instead.

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Say no to censorship

Last week, the Canadian Muslim Congress called on the Canadian government to ban burkas and niqabs, face-covering garments worn by some Muslim women, saying the veils are misogynistic, have nothing to do with religion and are motivated by extremism. An Ontario parent wants to remove To Kill A Mockingbird from classrooms because of a racial slur in the book. At McGill, some students are calling for an anti-abortion club to be banned from campus after it held an event that compared abortion to the Holocaust. While all of these things are loathsome &- sexism, racism, anti-Semitism – in all of these cases a ban would be worse than the problem it purports to solve. Banning burkas does nothing to solve the problems in homes where women are forced to dress a certain way by their families and it tramples on the rights of those women who do choose to wear them. To Kill A Mockingbird is about race relations in the pre-civil rights American South, but we can’t pretend there were no racial slurs in the past. Lastly, the comparison between the Holocaust and abortion is vile, but banning a group like this only gives them more attention, and credibility. Censorship has no place in a free society. Those who call for these bans believe that they have the answer and that other people are sheep who lack judgment. This view, which the censors have a right to hold, is incompatible with democracy.

Michaelle Jean’s claim to head of state good for Canada

Last week Canada’s Governor General got in a bit of a spat with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after Michaelle Jean referred to herself as Canada’s “Head of State,” during a speech in France. The debate over whether or not she actually holds the title is a non-issue, it is a matter of semantics. Her predecessor, Adrienne Clarkson, did the same thing, drawing the ire of monarchists (though not the Prime Minister). However it is time for Canadians to think seriously about who actually is technically “in charge.” Jean has been one of the most active Govs. Gen. in recent memory, eating seal meat in the Arctic and deciding to prorogue Parliament last winter. While Queen Elizabeth II, with her grandmotherly nature, has proven to be a more than adequate monarch, sticking to ceremony instead of politics, she is an old woman. Do Canadians really want the trashy antics of the future King Charles III? Moreover isn’t it time we get rid of the “Sovereign?” If our Gov. Gen. is going to be making constitutional decisions and taking political stances on controversial issues, shouldn’t the public have some sort of say in who that person is? On a related note, despite the fact that Canada’s last two Govs. Gen. have been women of colour, Canada has yet to elect a female Prime Minister and only Prince Edward Island has ever elected a female Premier.

Saying “No”bel

The announcement that Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize was a surprise to many. But the Peace Prize isn’t really that big of a deal. While Obama, who is still fighting a war in Iraq and expanding the war in Afghanistan, hasn’t done much, he has done more than some past Peace Prize winners. In 1973 the Nobel committee awarded the Prize to Henry Kissinger, an advisor to Richard Nixon. Kissinger won the Prize for negotiating the “end” of the Vietnam War. He had previously helped sabotage peace negotiations in 1968 and has been accused of coming up with policies that encouraged American soldiers to kill civilians. More importantly these negotiations didn’t even end the war, it only began the withdrawal of American troops (which didn’t completely finish until 1975). Kissinger shared the award with North Vietnamese leader, Lê Ð?c Th?, who refused it. In 1994, the Prize was awarded to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and Israeli leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, while these three may have had good intentions, the world is yet to see results. While the award has gone to some extremely deserving people, it has left out some as well, none more prominent than Mahatma Gandhi &- allegedly because he was too much of a politician. Ultimately an award decided by five people, appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, isn’t that big a deal.

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