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Letters to the Editor

by (letters to the editor) December 6, 2011
Successful completion of first annual Bike Rights, Bike Lights Campaign

The CSU Legal Information Clinic is celebrating the successful completion of its first annual Bike Rights, Bike Lights Campaign. Here are some laws, rights and obligations associated with bicycling in Quebec. Failure to comply with any of the following rules constitutes a violation of the Quebec Highway Safety Code and may result in a fine, the loss of automobile demerit points (even if you don’t have a driver’s license) and/or legal repercussions:

Cyclists must stop at a red light before the pedestrian crossing or the stop line: If not, $37 fine and three demerit points.
Cyclists must make an obligatory stop at a stop sign: If not, $37 fine and three demerit points.
Cyclists must yield the right of way to other pedestrians and cyclists when turning in an intersection: If not, $37 fine and two demerit points.
Cyclists must ride with the flow of the traffic and on the far right-hand side of the roadway (except if the passage is blocked or turning left): If not, $37 fine.
Cyclists must not ride on the sidewalk (except when necessary or when directed so by a sign): If so, $37 fine.
Cyclists must not ride between two lanes of moving vehicles: If so, $37 fine.
Cyclists must ride in a single file when traveling in groups of two or more (in no case may a group be larger than 15 cyclists): If not, $37 fine.
Cyclists must comply with any and all road signals: If not, $37 fine. More details at www.spvm.qc.ca.
Cyclists must have at least a white reflector in the front, a red reflector in the back, a yellow reflector on each pedal, a reflector attached to the front wheel, and a reflector attached to the rear wheel: If not, $37 fine.
Cyclists must have a light at night (at least one white headlight in front and one red light in the back): If not, $37 fine.
Cyclists must ensure that their bicycle is equipped with at least one functional rear wheel brake system The brake system must be activated by levers on the handlebars or directly by the pedals: If not, $37 fine.

This information, including what to do when in an accident, when being stopped by the police or when contesting infractions, can be found in the Bike Rights pamphlet made by the CSU in collaboration with the bike coop Right to Move / Voie Libre.

CSU Legal Information Clinic
514-848-7474 ext. 7375

The rubber stamp council

The latest development in the CEO-gate scandal was a special council meeting to discuss overturning the judicial board decision. Three councillors called this meeting and it was in accordance with the recommendations of the policy committee.
A big reason that the meeting was called was because of the conduct of the chair of the judicial board, Ceejay Desfosses. Desfosses has been accused of collusion with CSU president Lex Gill, who herself has been accused of breaking the judicial board code of procedures and the CSU bylaws.
Collusion accusations aside, council was supposed to discuss the fact that the judicial board chair broke the code of procedures and the bylaws and if this should warrant any action against her, or an overturn of the original judicial board decision regarding the CEO (which resulted in the previous judicial board chair resigning from her post).
These are serious allegations regarding the highest decision making body in the Concordia Student Union.
Instead of a serious discussion regarding the judicial board decision and the conduct of Ceejay Desfosses, what we witnessed can only be described as a “rubber stamp council.”
CSU councillor Kyle McLoughlin droned on about how “the judicial board did its job and they did it well” then CSU VP external Chad Walcott spoke about how the judicial board did its job and did it well, and then CSU councillor Melanie Hotchkiss called the question. Three speakers in all.
None of the CSU councillors addressed the fact that Ceejay Desfosses was supposed to meet within five days with the judicial board to discuss my appeal and now it has been almost three weeks. The CSU did not address the fact that Desfosses broke the bylaws and invented her own procedure by sending the appeal to council for “deliberation.” The bylaws state that the judicial board cannot do that, especially not in this situation since the CSU council is a party in the case!
To Kyle and Chad I would like to say this: the judicial board is not mandated by God. They are not beyond reproach. They are just students and they can make mistakes.
The point of accountability is that people pay a price for their mistakes. Ceejay Desfosses is guilty of dereliction of duties and she needs to be held accountable for her actions, or lack thereof.

Tomer Shavit

More pressing issues than JB/CEO decision

I’d like to voice my concerns about the amount of resources (and subsequent media coverage) that have been dedicated to the so-called “CEO-gate” issue over the last few weeks. Right now there are more pressing issues to deal with, namely the impending tuition increase that will negatively affect many Concordians. I for one am dismayed to see the CSU and JB having to deal with this seemingly incessant wave of appeals and accusations for what seems to be a trivial issue in the face of the behemoth that is Charest and Beauchamp’s tuition hike.

The fact that the CSU was dealing with the CEO-gate issues the night before the demonstration against tuition hikes on Nov. 10 is stupefying. I expect that my student union should deal with the wide range of issues facing undergraduates and not have to respond to increasingly baseless claims and blatant personal vendettas. It is a waste of CSU resources at a crucial time for students in Quebec; for one squeaky wheel to get this much attention at the expense of over 30,000 other Concordia undergrads is aggravating to say the least.

Adam Veenendaal

Stopped by the Cops: Protests, Fines & Rights

In anticipation of the Nov. 10, 2011 student protest against tuition increases, the CSU Legal Information Clinic, in partnership with QPIRG Concordia, on Nov. 8, 2011 held a workshop entitled “Stopped by the Cops: Protests, Fines & Rights” which was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd of at least 25 students.
The workshop informed students as to their relevant legal rights and duties, and provided them with information on how to prepare for the protest. Most importantly, if a student is stopped and questioned by a police officer against their will, the student has the right to remain silent, refuse to answer any questions and be allowed to leave if the student is not accused of breaking the law. If arrested, a student should only provide their name, birth date, address or ID and insist on keeping silent until the student has spoken to a lawyer.
Renowned human rights and immigration lawyer William Sloan confirmed that international students have the legal right to protest and join demonstrations in Canada. Sloan reassured international students that even in the case of an arrest, their immigration status would not be affected until there was due process and only if there was a serious criminal conviction against them.
CSU Advocacy Services mentioned the need for students to advise their professors at least a few days beforehand that they would be absent for class because of their participation in the protest in order to avoid academic penalties. They also advised that any students charged by the police with criminal acts on the university property could also face academic sanctions by Concordia University.
During the actual Nov. 10 protest, the CSU set up a telephone hotline for anyone needing legal assistance and distributed about 2,000 civil rights and police declaration cards which students found extremely useful and reassuring when they were confronted by the police.

CSU Legal Information Clinic
514-848-7474 ext. 7375

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