Panel on Bill 21 Highlights its Issues

The Socialist Fightback club organized the pro-Marxist event on how to fight back against the Bill

Over 80 participants attended an online panel on Feb. 7 geared towards Concordia students on how to challenge the controversial Bill 21. 

The event was hosted by Socialist Fightback, an activist organisation that aims to promote Marxist ideas among students and workers. The group organized different panels such as ‘How to Overthrow Capitalism’, ‘The LGBTQ Struggle’ and the ‘Fight for Socialism’.

“Bill 21 will not be enough for them, as soon as they need to scapegoat Muslims or another religious group, they will try and bring it [secularism] up again,” said Benoît Tanguay editor of La Riposte socialiste, who led the discussion at the panel. 

Bill 21 was passed in 2019, and bans the wearing of religious symbols by teachers and other government employees who are in positions of authority. 

The bill is the first of its kind in North America, with a grandfather clause that exempts employees already in said positions, though they lose these exemptions if they are promoted or transferred to another institution. 

In April 2021, the Quebec Superior Court upheld the majority of Bill 21, but stated the bill couldn’t be applied to teachers, principals, and vice-principals at public schools who teach in English as it would violate the protected minority-language education rights. 

Tanguay explained that Bill 21 has to be fought by the classes and not the “bourgeoisie party,” as in the rich and those in power. According to Tanguay, it doesn’t matter if the people in power are liberal or conservative, both use racism as a tool to push their agenda. “Racism is a useful tool to divide workers, to channel their anger away from those in power,” said Tanguay.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said in a statement that “Bill 21 is a form of second-class citizenship in Quebec, which is disturbing and is punishing minorities by withholding identities.”

“It has come in the way of the careers of many Quebecers wearing a kippah, a turban, or a hijab. Simply put, forcing Quebecers to choose between their jobs and their identities is unjust,” explained the statement. 

In 2021, Fatemeh Anvari, an elementary school teacher in Chelsea, Quebec was told she could no longer teach in class because she was wearing a hijab, and was moved to a position outside the classroom. 

The NCCM said that in 2019 they filed a lawsuit within 24 hours of Bill 21 being passed along with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and while they have not yet been fully successful, they were able to strike down parts of the law earlier this year.

Now the NCCM is headed to the Court of Appeal of Quebec to strike down the rest of the law.

“This is not an easy road, not least because of the Quebec government’s use of the notwithstanding clause in the crafting of the law in an attempt to shield it from constitutional challenges,” said the NCCM. 

The United Nations has warned Canada about how Bill 21 violates fundamental human rights, and the NCCM have said they have been repeatedly disappointed as federal leaders sit on the sidelines, allowing the livelihoods of minority groups in Quebec to be taken away. 

The NCCM outlines steps people can take to help stop Bill 21, and they have begun a petition calling the Prime Minister to intervene. According to, if the petition acquires 75,000 signatures it will be the largest one on the website.  

“We have seen students and community organizers rise up and protest the bill on the streets. But the road ahead is long, and we need to see more Quebecers and Canadians stand up and take action against this law,” implored the NCCM.


Graphic by Maddy Schmidt


TRAC and CSU band together to give students free N95 masks

As Concordia refuses to give out N95 masks due to public health guidelines, student organizations scramble to get students these masks

As students returned to class on Feb. 3, the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia (TRAC) teamed up with the Concordia Student Union (CSU) to hand out N95 masks on the second floor of the Hall building. They also asked students to sign their petition asking the university for a safe return to class. 

The petition asks for the university to supply all students and staff with free N95 masks, as recommended by the CDC for best dealing with the variant Omicron. The TRAC petition also asks for a two week delay to in-person class, contact tracing for students and staff, and reinstating social distancing. 

“We’re not just giving the masks out to our membership, we’re giving out to the community because we want everyone to be safe,” said Bree Stuart, TRAC president. She explained that the university told her students are allowed to wear N95 or KN95 masks instead of the blue medical masks provided by the university. 

Stuart said that in a meeting with the university last week, the administration said they did not want to supply students with N95 masks as it created a false sense of security, and the university would continue to follow public health guidelines.

Concordia’s spokesperson Vannina Maestracci told CBC that “The very large majority of activities that take place on campuses do not require N95 respirators according to Public Health and in educational sectors, procedural masks are being used to help mitigate transmission risks along with other preventative measures in place.” 

Sofia Marina, a Concordia engineering student, said that as long as she is able to maintain her personal space, in-person class does not affect her. 

“But it’s not fair that the university isn’t supplying us with N95s,” said Marina. “A lot of people seem to be asking for it, and it doesn’t seem to be that big of a demand.”

The CSU has released two open letters, the most recent letter condemning the university for its lack of leadership during the pandemic. The letter also asks the university for things like a hybrid semester, moving all exams online, eliminating all participation grades, and to bring back the pass/fail option.

“Now that contact tracing is no longer mandated through Public Health, and the scarcity of PCR tests, we can only imagine the immense implications this will have for campus safety,” reads the letter.

Other institutions are protesting the return to in-person class, as multiple McGill faculties have had walk-outs and strikes throughout January, according to Emma McKay, an organizer on the McGill strike committee. 

When asked if they had advice for students that wanted direct action, McKay said “Talk to everybody, that’s the best thing a person can do,there are a lot of students who are scared and feel like they don’t have anybody to talk to about this, or who feel like action is not possible.”

Photo by Catherine Reynolds


Concordia cafe reopens its free lunches at Loyola

The Loyola Hive Café is starting up a Meals on Wheels program

The Hive Café has started its Meals on Wheels program for the second time since the beginning of the pandemic, where their free lunch at the Loyola campus is to-go, and 25 meals are delivered to the downtown campus Hive Cafe.

The Hive Café is a student-run solidarity co-op that focuses on bringing healthy and affordable food to students. The location at the Loyola campus has a free lunch program to combat the food scarcity on campus.

“We decided to do our delivery meals because the campus was closed,” said Alanna Silver, the Free Lunch Administrative Coordinator at the Hive Café.

“We know there are some students who live close to campus or who may be on campus doing labs or research, so we wanted to provide free healthy meals to them.”

With the COVID-19 lockdown last year, the Free Lunch Program at Loyola had to adapt by doing to-go meals. This week, with school going back online, Meals on Wheels returns.

“This time around, we are delivering lunches only to our downtown cafe location for students studying at the SGW campus, and to Woodnote, the CSU’s housing community,” said Silver.

Silver said that students studying downtown can register on the Hive Free Lunch Facebook page, and that the program would deliver their meals to the SGW Hive Café everyday at 1 p.m.

“Since we just started our Meals on Wheels program, we’ve only had about 15 students register each week,” said Silver, who explained that they can serve 25 people at the downtown location.

The free lunch program has benefited many in the past, like Danny Faheem, a first-year psychology student, who’s been taking advantage of Hive Café on the Loyola campus,“I’m really happy the lunch program is back. Since there isn’t really any vegan food, or any food in general, on [the Loyola] campus, it really saved me last semester,” said Faheem, adding that he used to go almost everyday when open.

“We’ve had such a positive reaction from students, and the positive response on social media has been almost overwhelming,” said Silver. “We love what we do so we’re happy to be back.”

Silver explained that if campuses do not reopen for classes this semester, the program will be expanded to help more students.

“Not only are we doing the Meals on Wheels program, but we also did our winter food drive, we started a community art showcase for queer and BIPOC students, and we’re writing a recipe book with the most popular lunches we’ve served in the last year,” said Silver.

“We’re also in the process of making a cooking channel so people can watch how we make some of our favourite vegan recipes,” explained Silver. “We don’t just want to serve our lunches and then close the doors, we want to engage with the local and student community and fight food insecurity in every way we can.”


Graphic by James Fay

Concordia Student Union News

Concordia rejects pass/fail option

While rejected by Concordia’s Senate, the CSU plans on continuing to advocate for pass/fail option

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) is continuing to push for the return of a pass/fail option this semester, despite their requests being denied in the Concordia University Senate. 

Concordia University spokesperson, Vannina Maestracci, shared in a statement to The Concordian that “Pass/fail was an exceptional measure taken at the height of the pandemic when all courses had to be remote.”

In the fall 2020 and winter 2021 semesters, Concordia University implemented the option for students to choose to pass or fail one course instead of receiving a grade. These pass/fail marks did not affect students’ overall GPAs, but the pass/fail option was rescinded in the fall 2021 semester as the COVID-19 situation lessened. 

According to a CSU survey in October, over 78 per cent of students found the pass/fail option was helpful, and over 79 per cent of students said they wanted Concordia to reinstate it for the coming semesters. 

“The pass/fail option was amazing and super helpful. It also eased my worries. But I am very disappointed that they got rid of the pass or fail system now that we’re back in person,” commented a student on the anonymous survey.

In December, the CSU held a joint presentation with Concordia administration, where both the CSU and Concordia administration took turns voicing their opinions of the pass/fail option. Afterwards a vote was held, where the students who voted in favour of pass/fail were outvoted by the administration. 

“The big concern for us is that with the introduction of pass fail, even if it’s only for one course, we can’t catch the annual GPA for any student,” said Anne Whitelaw, the Provost and vice-president academic at Concordia University.

Whitelaw explained that the annual GPA is used to identify students who are struggling, specifically those in failing standing. When a student is in failing standing, an email is automatically sent to them, explaining they need to take courses at the Student Success Centre which are meant to help them improve academically. 

Before the pandemic, according to Whitelaw, approximately 500 students were taking these courses, but with online school and the introduction of pass/fail, that number dropped to 80. This is because with pass/fail, the university was unable to calculate the annual GPA, meaning the automatic system is unable to tell which students are in failing standing.

“It would take years of programming because for every student, it’s going to be a different course,” said Whitelaw, who explained that the current capabilities of the software used to calculate the annual GPA of each student would not work as intended with the pass/fail option, meaning these calculations would have to be done manually for each student. “We’re looking at calculating it for over 40,000 students.” 

“If you look at your transcript, you might not have any GPA on your transcript right now, because we haven’t been able to calculate it for two years,” said Whitelaw.

Eduardo Malorni, the CSU’s general coordinator said “We pushed it as far as we could, but, faculty, staff, and administration voted against it. Which makes it pretty clear, they just didn’t care about the student’s opinion.” 

Malorni believes that the university should have other ways to tell if students are struggling, besides the annual GPA — such as having professors identify students who are failing, or have students self-disclose they need academic help. 

“The compromise we reached was that [Concordia] would offer a late DISC to students,” said Malorni. “So that instead of students failing their class, if they knew they were under too much stress, especially during final exams […] they could choose to get out without a refund.” 

DISC means that a student drops the course with no impact on their GPA, but they must still pay for the course. It is usually two-thirds into the semester. DNE is the last day students are able to drop a class with a refund, and is usually two weeks after the semester starts.

The DISC deadline has been extended to April 18. Malorni explained that the CSU also pushed for an extension on the DNE date, so students would have their tuition reimbursed, but the university refused. 

Malorni said that while they were not able to get the pass/fail option for students, the extension of the DISC is still an improvement, as last semester the university extended the DISC date, and between Nov. 9 and Dec. 7 over 2,600 students used the extended DISC.


Graphic by James Fay


Trans rights activists lead march against Bill 2

A march in solidarity with the transgender community precedes Nov. 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Kicking off a weekend of events for the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, Aide aux Trans du Québec (ATQ) held a solidarty march for the gender plurality community of Quebec in front of the Montreal Courthouse on Nov. 19.

The march, which saw over 50 people in attendance, was held to so show support for the trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community, as well as to protest the proposed Bill 2. Notably, Manon Massé, one of the leaders for Québec solidaire, was present at the march.

Bill 2 would make it a requirement for people to undergo gender-affirming surgery if they want to change their assigned sex on their birth certificate. The bill would also make it so there is a new section for gender on birth certificates, with the possibility of a third non-male or female gender. Another aspect of the bill is that intersex people would have to apply for a change of designated sex as soon as possible.

“This really is a place for the whole trans community and allies to just to pour out our grievances against the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government for proposing the most transphobic bill ever introduced in Quebec and Canada,” said Celeste Trianon, a trans rights advocate at the Centre for Gender Advocacy (CGA) and a speaker at the march.

The CGA is a Concordia fee-levy group that promotes gender equality and empowerment, specifically as it relates to marginalized communities. The centre does various programming, campaigns, advocacy, and has resources and services open to Concordia and the LGBTQIA2+ community.

“[Bill 2] would lead to so much harm for trans people,” said Trianon, who explained that not all trans people would want genital surgery, and that the wait times for such a surgery could be up to five years.

They explained that without a recognized photo ID, people will struggle to apply for employment and housing.

“It’s like another coming out for people, and we don’t want that,” said Trianon.

Jason Noël, the treasurer, secretary, and event planner for ATQ, explained that the on the weekend of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, there were multiple events planned throughout the day, such as conferences and brunches.

“We are going to have a moment of silence,” said Noël, who explained that Nov. 20 is to remember the trans people that have disappeared and raise awareness of the violence against the trans community. “It’s a very special thing, I would say it is one of the most important parts of trans pride.”

“We are hoping that for the night, people will be able to forget everything that’s happening in the world right now,” said Noël, who stated that because of COVID-19 they had to delay trans pride three times, and the weekend would mark the first time since the pandemic began that the trans community of Montreal would be able to come together and party.

“We’re just gonna dedicate the dance floor to the people who are not with us anymore, who disappeared because of violence,” said Noël. “And then the next morning […] we will go to brunch and that will be super fun.”

According to Noël, multiple organizations will be going to court to try and reform the bill on Nov. 29, but it may be delayed until December or later in 2022. 

“It’s a bill that’s bringing us back like 15 years,” said Noël, who criticized Canada and Quebec for appearing to be supportive of trans rights while allowing this bill to be proposed.

According to an article by the CBC, this bill is being presented as a victory for transgender people by the Quebec government, but could actually put trans people in a dangerous situation by outing them every time they show their ID.

“Get involved, be at protests, denounce the CAQ, hold your friends and entourage to do the same.” said Trianon. “We need more people to speak out against this bill.”


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


First Peoples Studies students shocked by lecturer’s comments

Many students in a First Peoples Studies class walked out due to a speaker’s claims on residential schools.

Multiple Concordia students walked out of a class on Algonquian Peoples on Oct. 28 due to the comments of a guest lecturer, Toby Morantz, a retired McGill professor. Morantz told the class that the James Bay Cree suffered less in residential schools than other Indigenous people.

Morantz was invited to speak in class by the professor, Emanuel Lowi, on her book The White Man’s Gonna Getcha: The Colonial Challenge to the Crees in Quebec, which was assigned reading for the course.

“She basically tried to argue that the James Bay Cree suffered significantly less than other [Indigenous] nations,” said Mavis Poucachiche, who is from the Waswanipi community that is part of the James Bay Cree Nation. Poucachiche explained that Morantz was specifically talking about residential schools in Fort George, and how the children did not have to travel far from their homes to attend. It was common practice for Indigenous children to be sent to residential schools far from their community, and not allowed to return home for the summer or holidays.

Poucachiche said that another student in the class, who is also James Bay Cree, told Morantz that their grandparents, who were from Fort George, were forcibly taken away to a residential school. Morantz then apparently wagged her finger at this student, saying “No, no no, no.”

“A few students felt uncomfortable with what I had said and walked out of the classroom. That is their prerogative,” said Morantz, who explained that she miscommunicated the differences in the policies enacted in James Bay and elsewhere after WWII, and tried to correct what she said once she saw the students misunderstood her.

She also stated that she is upset by how people and the media have labeled her as racist, and that she has received many emails in support, saying that she is being misrepresented in the media.

Morantz is credited along with other historians in an open letter from August by the Dorchester Review, which disagrees with the Canadian Historical Association’s statement that the Canadian government’s treatment of Indigenous people was an act of genocide.

Shortly after Morantz wagged her finger at the student, multiple people, including Poucachiche, walked out of class.

“It was just so disrespectful,” said Poucachiche, who said that Morantz’s studies were from a colonial perspective; that in her book she only references the Hudson’s Bay Company and other non-Indigenous sources. “She just kept telling that we were wrong, like us Cree people were wrong.”

“It made us really uncomfortable and it was traumatizing for us to have to hear this,” said Catherine*, who is white-mixed and Mi’kmaq.

Catherine explained that Professor Lowi did nothing to stop Morantz for the entire class, besides stating during the class that some of Morantz’s comments were inappropriate.

Even as students walked out after Morantz said the children at the Fort George residential schools suffered less physical and sexual abuse compared to other schools, or when Morantz called Indigenous people Indians and referred to them as homeless and drunks, Lowi did nothing to intervene and stop the presentation.

“[Morantz] said that if you are a lawyer or a teacher, bush life doesn’t impact your everyday life,” said Catherine. Bush life refers to the social, cultural, and physical skills that Indigenous people practice in nature. “This was incredibly insulting, traditional life literally shapes our entire being, it’s not some distant thing.”

The class now has a new syllabus and is being taught by Manon Tremblay, the senior director of indigenous directions, and who is a nêhiyaw-iskwêw (Plains Cree) from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. On Nov. 4, Tremblay, alongside Dr. Catherine Kinewesquao Richardson, the director of First Peoples Studies at Concordia, and who is Métis with Cree, Dene, and Gwich’in ancestry, held a space for students to share their experiences and thoughts on the issue.

“It really reminded me of being back home with my family and where we would sit around the table and just laugh,” said Poucachiche, describing what having Tremblay as the new professor is like. “It was a heartwarming experience and I’m really grateful that Catherine [Richardson] and Manon are listening to us and taking this seriously.”

“I think her [Morantz] conduct in class is terrible and really disheartening,” said Richardson, who explained that she and her colleagues always work hard to implement cultural safety, and uplift Indigenous students who have already faced many obstacles to be in the classroom.

Richardson stated that for legal reasons she cannot say if there have been repercussions for Lowi, but he is currently not teaching any classes at the moment. She also explained that he was remorseful about what occurred, and there have been letters sent supporting Lowi, but it is also clear that inviting Morantz was a mistake and her lecture caused harm.

On Oct. 29, Lowi sent a Moodle message to the class, stating that Morantz’s remarks were outrageous, and that he had never met her before that class.

“Those students who walked out were totally right to do that. If I had been a student in the classroom, I would have walked out too,” said Lowi in the message.

Lowi has not responded to any requests for an interview.

*Catherine requested anonymity of her last name.


Graphic by James Fay

Concordia Student Union News

Referendum questions ready for the ballot

CSU passes the questions that will appear on the referendum

Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that an additional student fee charge for Sustainability Concordia, The Link, and SEIZE could not be opted out of. They can be opted out — all fees collected for fee-levies organizations at Concordia can be opt-ed out of.

At the Concordia Student Union (CSU) meeting on Oct. 27, multiple questions were passed to be put on the referendum, including whether there should be a mandatory course on sustainability, and a charter of students’ rights. Here are some of the questions students will vote for in this upcoming election.

Position against transphobia

The CSU wants to add a position in support of trans, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming people to its positions book in lieu of the Quebec government’s proposed Bill 2.

Bill 2 will make it so that someone cannot change their sex on their government documentation without having gender-affirming surgery.

“It’s basically asking trans people to out themselves,” said Hannah Jamet-Lange, the CSU’s academic & advocacy coordinator.

Jamet-Lange explained that the CSU has a general position in their position book in solidarity with LGBTQIA2+ people, but Jamet-Lange wanted something that was specifically in support of trans, non-binary and gender-non-conforming people.

The position book is the CSU’s stance on political, social, and student-life issues. For any position to be added to the book, it must be first voted on by students in a referendum.


The CSU wants to know if students want Concordia University to implement a pass/fail grading option until the pandemic is over. For the 2020-2021 academic year, students were allowed to receive a pass/fail notation in one class per semester. It was implemented as a way to reduce stress and burnout in students.

“We’re still in the pandemic, and people are still struggling,” said Jamet-Lange, who explained that student stress has not lessened during the return to in-person classes due to the continuation of the pandemic.

Charter of Students’ Rights

This question is asking the Concordia community if the CSU should create a charter of students’ rights and responsibilities. Many universities have a charter of rights, including McGill and UQAM, but Concordia does not have one.

Jamet-Lange explained that the CSU wants to see if students are in support of the charter before the CSU puts in the time and effort of creating the document.

Sustainability Curriculum

According to the question, Concordia is four times lower than the Canadian national average on sustainability learning outcomes in the curriculum. The question asks if students want Concordia University to commit to ensuring that all students learn about sustainability and the climate crisis in the curriculum by 2030.

Fee levies

Fee levy groups are organizations elected by students in referendums who receive their funding from student fees. They provide different services for students, such as free meals from The People’s Potato.

Multiple fee levy groups are asking to increase the amount of money they collect from undergraduate students, such as the CSU Advocacy Centre, which provides students with independent representation in disciplinary proceedings. They are asking for an extra $0.14 per credit, resulting in a total increase to $0.45 of the fee-levy amount, as the negative impact of COVID-19 has caused an increase in students reaching out for help. This means the centre has had to increase its staff and hours in order to support the influx of students.

Should this pass, an additional student fee charge will also increase by $0.42, to a total of $1.35 per 3-credit course, which cannot be opted out from.

Sustainable Concordia, an initiative that aims to reform systems that contribute to the climate crisis, is asking for an increase as their organization is growing and wants to give more support to their staff. The fee-levy increase will be to $0.07 per credit, resulting in a total increase to $0.22, and will be annually adjusted to the Consumer Price Index of Canada.

This fee-levy increase will result in a change of $0.21 to an additional student fee charge, to a total of $0.66 per 3-credit course, which can be opted-out from.

The Link, another independent student media publication at Concordia University, is asking for an increase of $0.10, resulting in a total fee-levy increase to $0.29. The organization has not requested a change to their amount since 2001 according to The Link, and seeks to increase funds to support their reporting, improve multimedia opportunities for students, enhance diversity and equitability, and account for inflation.

Should this pass, an additional increase of $0.30 for every 3-credit course will be added to the student fee charge, resulting in a $0.87 fee which can be opted out from.

A new fee levy group, SEIZE, is asking to be established. It will become, “a solidarity economy incubator,” which will, “engage students through the support, development, study and promotion of democratic enterprises.” SEIZE’s fee would be $0.29 per credit.

Should this pass, an additional student fee charge of $0.87 per 3-credit course will be added, a fee which can be opted out from.

Recorded Lectures

The CSU is asking if students want them to advocate to the Concordia administration for the implementation of either live-streaming or recorded lectures. The CSU states that at the beginning of the pandemic, the university allowed for classes to be recorded. Now as classes return to in-person, recorded classes have been reduced, yet many students, such as international students, are still unable to attend them.


Photograph by Lou Neveux-Pardijon


Protests across Canada against RBC and Coastal GasLink

On Friday Oct 29, people across the country protested against the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in response to its investments in the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is being built on Wet’suwet’en Land.

Over 60 Montrealers gathered in front of RBCs main office in the downtown area, where black paint representing oil was thrown at the steps of the building.

Coastal GasLink is a gas pipeline in northern B.C. In 2020 the pipeline gained international awareness and protests across Canada as the Hereditary Chiefs of Wet’suwet’en stated that no pipeline will be built on their land.

The pipeline runs from Dawson Creek to Kitimat, directly through Wet’suwet’en territory. The point of conflict between Wet’suwet’en members and police is along a service road, which is the only way for construction workers to reach working on the pipeline.

A report called Banking on Climate Chaos placed RBC as the worst bank in Canada for sustainable investments, with over $160 billion invested in fossil fuels since 2016. RBC, alongside other Canadian and international banks have invested over $6.8 billion in the Coastal GasLink, according to the Understory, a climate action and forest preservation blog.

Emily Hardie, a member of Divest McGill and a speaker at the protest, said that she believes if RBC didn’t invest in Coastal GasLink, the company wouldn’t have the funds to build a pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory.

The Wet’suwet’en territory is made up of 13 hereditary house groups. In 2020 several hereditary chiefs spoke up against the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which spiked international awareness and discussion on Indigenous sovereignty.

Yet the construction of the pipeline continues. According to a CBC News article, 140 km of the pipeline has been laid, marking one-third of the project being finished.

The pipeline, “will incentivise fossil fuel companies to extract more from the land,” said Hardie, who explained that the area the pipeline is being built through Wet’suwet’en territory has potential fossil fuel deposits.

“If you choose to invest money in a project that is commiting genocide on Indigenous people, you will lose,” said Sleydo’ Molly Wickham in a video posted by the Gidimt’en Clan checkpoint.

Wickham is one of the supporting hereditary chiefs of the Cas Yikh in the Gidimt’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en nation.

RBC’s media relations refused to comment on why they invest in the Coast GasLink pipeline, instead of investing in sustainable projects.

“They’re the worst,” said Jacob Pirro, a Mcgill student who has been a member of Extinction Rebellion for two years. “What’s not profitable? Do you know what isn’t profitable: dying. I want to have children, and I want my children to have children. Most children born today will live through the worst of the climate crisis.”

Pirro said that the best way to make an impact is for people who use RBC to go to a different bank, and while most banks invest in un-sustainable projects, there are lesser evils.

The website Quit RBC, created by Extinction Rebellion, states that “RBC will finance climate destruction for as long as it can make money doing so.” Quit RBC has a step-by-step explanation on how to leave RBC and ways to pick a more sustainable bank.

“I don’t think it’s something people think about,” said Pirro, who explained that he believes most people pick a bank when they are young and never change it. “If you are with RBC, you should care, and you should switch.”

Hardie said that while it is important for people to do their part in individual changes, it is also important to remember the importance of systemic change.

The Guardian reported that 100 companies are responsible for 71 per cent of all global fossil fuel emission. Canadian Natural Resources Limited, one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in the world, ranks 67 on the list.

In a 2016 article by the Financial Post, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd is one of RBCs top energy stocks, giving investors “the best of all worlds.”


Photos by Lou Neveux-Pardijon


Iqaluit water crisis

The state of emergency in the capital of Nunavut continues

A state of emergency was called in Iqaluit on Oct. 12 when evidence of fuel was found in the city’s water supply; the Nunavut minister of health has extended the state of emergency until Oct. 28.

Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut, with a population of more than 7,500 people, and the highest population of Inuit of any Canada city, with over 3,900 Inuit people living there. Residents of the city have been advised not to drink or cook with the tap water, even boiled or filtered, as the tap water is not safe for consumption.

According to an article in Nunatsiaq News, residents began complaining on Facebook of foul-smelling tap water on Oct. 2. The source of the fuel contamination is still under investigation.

As the crisis continues, hospitals are unable to wash or sterilize their equipment. Iqaluit Deputy Mayor Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster explained in a Twitter thread that, because of the water crisis and the pandemic, some patients have had to be medivaced to Ottawa. One medivac can cost over $40,000. 

“The current state of emergency in Iqaluit has impacted our only hospital’s ability to provide my mum’s urgently required procedure because the equipment that is needed can not be safely sterilized due to the fuel in the water,” tweeted Brewster.

Nunavut CBC reporters Jackie McKay and Pauline Pemik believe that this water crisis is tied to infrastructure gaps between the Arctic and the rest of Canada, as well as the impacts of climate change in the region and the failure of the federal government.

The issue has reached Canada-wide, with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, along with NDP MP for Nunavut, Lori Idlout, sharing in a public statement, “The federal government must immediately respond to the state of emergency in Iqaluit due to a contaminated water supply.”

The statement explained that having access to clean water is a common issue in rural and remote communities, specifically in Northern areas and Indigenous communities.

The Federal government responded to the crisis on Oct. 22 by sending the Canadian Armed Forces to help provide and distribute clean drinking water in Iqaluit.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Launch of Montreal’s urban sprawl interactive map

 A Concordia student has developed a web-map to spread awareness of urban development in Montreal

Concordia undergraduate student Mirya Reid developed an interactive map of Montreal’s urban sprawl to raise awareness of the environmental impact of residential choices on future generations. The map was launched at an online panel on Oct. 1, leading into Campus Sustainability Month.

The is two webmaps side-by-side, the two maps convey different kinds of information, allowing the viewer to easily compare information in one map with the other and see how they are related. One map is of the urban sprawl in Montreal, the other map contains survey data on Concordia students resident preferences and perceptions of urban sprawl.

“Each map has a menu that allows people to select which variables they want to compare,” said Reid. “So you could choose to look at median income by borough in 2011 alongside levels of urban sprawl in 2011 and get a really clear visual of what that relationship looks like.”

The Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) released a report in 2020 that stated urban sprawl is intensifying across the outskirts of Montreal, and that the number of people driving from the suburbs to urban areas has increased steadily over the last decade.

The report goes on to say that the rise in single-family homes being built in the outskirts of urban areas is resulting in a loss of agricultural land and green space.

“It is increasingly apparent that urban sprawl is really not a sustainable form of urban development,” said Reid at the panel. She explained that there are significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with heating and cooling larger single-family detached homes in the suburbs.

According to Reid, the homes are built in areas that were created to be easier to get around by car rather than public transit. This contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the production of particulate matter which are linked to various respiratory illnesses.

“Sprawling development also results in ecological fragmentation which threatens biodiversity and the ability of natural areas to adapt to the increasing urban areas,” said Reid.

“The other reason we’re concerned about all this is because urban sprawl is increasing in Montreal, at alarming rates, and it’s been accelerating continuously since 1951. It has increased by 26 per cent between 1971 and 2011.”

Reid explained that there is a correlation between having more children and living in the suburbs, as having children generally demands more room. Yet she stated that it also depends on affordability: property is significantly more expensive downtown, thus some families must opt for the suburbs where it can be more affordable, while higher-income families are able to afford to live downtown.

“Some studies are finding that preferences can change with the younger generation,” said Reid. “My generation and millennials are increasingly choosing to remain in denser urban environments.”

According to a recent Statistics Canada report, Montreal and Toronto have had a record amount of people move from urban areas to the suburbs, as well as smaller towns and rural areas. The report states that Montreal had 24,800 people move from the city, while places like Farnham and Saint-Hippolyte had their population rise.

Reid explains that she learned how to create the interactive map in a class about geospatial technologies, where they were taught the programming language Python.

“It was stressful at times because I’m really not a programmer,” said Reid, who explained that she had only taken a few programming classes, and taught herself the rest with help from friends and the internet. “Sometimes I would start trying to do something without even knowing if it was actually possible, and just problem-solve until I ended up with what I like to call a ‘Franken-code’ that did what I wanted.”

“Doing that all summer was extremely fun and rewarding, it feels like a victory when you finally fix a bug or get something to work,” said Reid.

She received $4,620 of funding from the Sustainability Action Fund (SAF), which is a fee-levy group that gives the majority of its funding to support projects that develop sustainable infrastructure.

When asked why students should be interested in the interactive map, Reid explained that public trends should always be a priority for students. She stated that it is important for people to have a wide range of information on sustainability issues, including this one.


Photograph by Hadassah Alencar


Sept. 30 is now a federal holiday

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a one to remember and honour the children and survivors of residential schools

Every year on Sept. 30, people across Canada participate in Orange Shirt Day to honour residential school survivors and spread awareness of the tragedy. However, this year will be the first time Sept. 30 is a federal holiday, despite the fact that many provinces are choosing not to recognize it as a statutory holiday.

The new statutory holiday is called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — the outcome of legislation passed by the Canadian government in June, and is the result of one of the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process,” states the commission.

“I don’t think we should be calling them residential schools anymore,” said Catherine Kinewesquao Richardson, who is Métis with Cree, Dene, and Gwich’in ancestry. She is the director of First Peoples studies at Concordia.

“Residential school is a euphemism, they want it to sound better,” she said. “It makes them feel a bit more protected if you call it a school rather than a prison camp. But if we are going to use the truth part in truth and reconciliation, then I think it’s time to call residential schools what they are, which is a prison camp.”

For Richardson, the Sept. 30 holiday, while a product of the 94 calls to action, was a direct result of the recent discovery of hundreds of bodies at residential schools across Canada.

In May, the remains of 215 children were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC. As of August, according to The Guardian, over 1,300 unmarked graves have been identified at five residential schools across Canada, but it’s estimated to rise to over 3,200. With 139 residential schools recognized by the federal government, and many more privately funded, that number is expected to increase by the thousands.

Many Indigenous people on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have posted that, including the bodies found at American residential schools, the number of children’s bodies is over 6,500. However, that number is not considered official.

“While I’ve heard some reports about the child’s graves, it’s kind of sporadic every time something new happens,” said Richardson, who explained she doesn’t see the media reporting on the issue enough.

The holiday on Sept. 30 is not being recognized by many provinces, including Quebec. According to CTV news, Premier François Legault stated at a press conference that Quebec isn’t interested in having more statutory holidays, no matter the reason.

Concordia follows provincial statutory holidays, not federal ones, stated Vannina Maestracci, a spokesperson for Concordia.

“However, we have been marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for some years through events organized and led by Concordia’s Indigenous staff and faculty,” said Maestracci.

She stated that since Sept. 30 is designed to promote awareness, Concordia, as it does every year, encourages students to wear an orange shirt in honour of the Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools.

Sept. 30 is commonly referred to as Orange Shirt Day, where people wear orange shirts to create a dialogue about residential schools, and to honour the survivors. The reason why people wear the colour orange is because of survivor Phyllis Webstad. When she went to her first day at a residential school wearing an orange shirt bought by her grandmother, it was taken away from Webstad, who was six at the time.

Maestracci also explained that this year the Indigenous Directions Office is holding a round table discussion on residential schools, and a story will be published by Manon Tremblay — who is nêhiyaw-iskwêw (Plains Cree) from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation and the senior director of Indigenous Directions — about her grandmother, who was forcibly sent to residential school.

“I would tell you to take the time to reflect and take the time to educate oneself on that part of Canadian history,” said Tremblay when asked if she had advice for what people could do to show support on Sept. 30. “Reflect on or educate oneself on the intergenerational trauma that still persists today.”

For Tremblay, it is important to remember that while there are Indigenous people who didn’t go to residential school, their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents did, and that trauma is carried through the generations.

“That continues to influence who they are today because of the way that they were brought up, and some of the apprehensions that their parents and grandparents communicated to them,” said Tremblay. “And this is the sort of thing that we are still experiencing today.”

Tremblay explained that Concordia is doing a Indigenous Directions Action Plan in response to the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The action plan was created in 2019, and aims to decolonize and Indigenize Concordia so that it can move forward based on responsibility, reciprocity, relevance and respect.

She also stated that the fact that Concordia is staying open for Sept. 30 is an opportunity to bring awareness to people on campus. If they were sent home, they would not think about the day and what it means. But if students are on campus, they have a chance to engage with the Indigenous community and have an honest discussion.


Juliet Mackie is a Métis (Cree/Gwich’in/English) Graduate Student, painter, and beadwork artist with maternal roots in Red River, MB and Fort Chipewyan, AB. Juliet’s great-grandmother Evelyn Wylie attended an Anglican day school as a child in Fort Chipewyan. Evelyn married a Swedish trapper, Alvar Oak, and raised their three daughters seasonally on a trapline at Hill Island Lake, NWT. Alvar established a small trappers school for his daughters and the children of the other trappers to protect them from being taken by the Indian Agent. In 1944, Evelyn moved with her daughters from Lake Athabasca to Edmonton where they attended a local school. They faced discrimination in Edmonton and were often referred to “halfbreeds.” Like many Métis families, they hid their identity to protect themselves from violence and racism. In her art practice, Juliet uses portraiture and beadwork to reclaim her Métis identity and celebrate Indigeneity. Her painting famii/family depicts Juliet and her brother as children. 


Painting by Juliet Mackie


Pop-up vaccine clinic at Concordia

The CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is having two pop-up vaccinations clinics on campus

Despite Montreal’s 80 per cent vaccination rate of those who have received one dose, the vaccination effort is still going strong in the city. As part of the efforts, Concordia has partnered with the Centres intégrés universitaires de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) West-Central Montreal to host two pop-up vaccination clinics.

The first pop-up clinic was held on Sept. 14 in the EV building. According to Barry Morgan, a media relations specialist for the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, over 67 people got either their first or second vaccine shot.

“We decided to establish pop-up clinics in various areas of our territory for the purpose of convenience, making it easier for people to get their vaccines,” said Morgan, explaining that they extended the hours of the majority of pop-up clinics outside of regular business hours, to be more accessible for people. “We go to them instead of them having to come to us.”

According to Morgan, the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal has set up pop-up vaccination clinics at schools, daycares and religious institutions in their area, with more than 10,000 vaccines administered to date.

“Over the past months, we have been actively promoting vaccines to our community,” said Vannina Maestracci, a Concordia University spokesperson. She stated that Concordia is keen to join the CIUSSS West-Central in promoting vaccinations on campus.

According to Santé Montréal, approximately 80 per cent of Montrealers have their first vaccine shot, and 74 per cent are adequately vaccinated. Over 3,194,727 vaccinations have been administered in the city.

In Montreal, 91 per cent of people who are 18-29 years old have their first vaccination, and 79 per cent have both vaccinations. 

In the whole of Quebec, 77 per cent of people have their first dose, with 72 per cent being fully vaccinated — compared to Ontario, where 74 per cent of the population has their first dose, and only 69 per cent are considered fully vaccinated.

According to a press release by the Canadian government in July, Canada is one of the world leaders in vaccinations, with over 80 per cent of the population having received their first vaccination.

The next clinic will be held at Concordia on Sept. 21 at the Loyola Campus in the FC building. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. an appointment is needed, but from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. no appointment is necessary. Concordia students will need their Quebec health card, or photo identification if not from Quebec. 

If students get their first vaccine, an appointment will be automatically made for their second vaccination.


Photo by Catherine Reynolds

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