Summing up the highlights 2012

The year 2012 is coming to a close my dear friends, and what a year it’s been. From American politics to Montreal soccer, we’ve summed up some of the most interesting events of the past year here.

Image via Flickr.

Robin Della Corte
Assistant news editor

In a province that is so often identified by it’s language issues, having an English mayor elected in office is a very symbolic moment for many people around the Montreal area.

Michael Applebaum’s election not only shows diversity, but a change in the right direction. After Pauline’s Marois’ election, I was terrified to live in a province where language mattered more than economic and social issues and where putting money towards ‘language police’ was a priority. After Applebaum’s victory against a French-speaking candidate I felt as if, politically and socially, things had changed slightly. Applebaum, being both English and Jewish, was elected, and it seemed as though most of the people in power didn’t care so much as to what language he spoke, but actually what he was going to do to improve our city and have the job done right.

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Stephanie La Leggia
Life editor

Image via Flickr.

Even with all the warnings and evacuation calls, Hurricane Sandy came as kind of a shock to me. Many underestimated its power and potential level of deconstruction, destroying homes and diminishing people’s lives and belongings to a suitcase.

Although I may live in Montreal, I’m a New Yorker at heart, travelling down at least three times year. With family and friends to worry about, I constantly checked CNN for updates. Although the video footages and article were quite alarming, it wasn’t until I saw photos of the aftermath that the horror of it really hit me; photos of people line-up to get their fill of gas, giant trees in the middle of the street, the diminished Jersey shore boardwalk, and people’s belonging scattered about like they were insignificant pieces of junk.

While some simply lost power in their skyscraper apartment building, others were not so lucky. When people think of New York, they narrow their focus to Manhattan, forgetting about the other burrows that were so badly hit, like Staten Island. Not to mention the damages the hurricane caused in Haiti. The photos of the aftermath and the personal stories of those without a home and insurance really put things in perspective for me. While my biggest concern may have been an assignment due by the end of the week, these survivors had to worry about basic needs like heating and food, needs that we take for granted on a daily basis.

You ask me what affected me most this year as 2012 comes to an end, it’s Hurricane Sandy, a hurricane so powerful it stood up against the Big Apple.

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Image via Flickr.

Kevin Duarte
Sports editor

The event that affected me the most in 2012 was the Montreal Impact’s inaugural season in Major League Soccer. To start, I am a diehard football fan… the real one, played with a round ball on the floor. Football, or to make it less confusing, soccer, is an integral part of my life. Right up there with breathing and eating, I’d say. The Impact expansion into the MLS finally gave me a chance to watch some decent soccer in my hometown. Prior to this year, Montreal was playing in the second tier of North American Soccer, a league that never really meant much at all. This past year, they just finished their first season in North America’s top flight. Fans got a chance to see some world-class players visit Saputo Stadium. More importantly for me, someone who studies the game as a coach, it was the higher quality of the sport that I enjoyed the most.

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Image via Flickr.

Casandra De Masi
Staff writer

Thousands watched, as did I, as Pauline Marois gave her acceptance speech in September. She had just become the first female premier of Quebec, and in the same night lived through an alleged assassination attempt. It all happened so quickly and it almost overshadowed the election itself. Throughout the election campaign, the wedge between the Francophone and the Anglophone community became larger and sharper. There were arguments and all-around ignorant behavior from both sides. This was the icing on the spoiled cake. As someone who lives and works in a French community, but was raised in a primarily English household, it just puzzled me as to why so much emphasis was being put on language, with so many other issues plaguing our province.

As horrible as the shooter’s actions were, especially because he killed an innocent man, he led people to a realization. People realized that, ‘Hey, maybe we should band together and focus on things that affect all of us, no matter what language we speak.’

That week, people came together, condemning this man’s actions. Just to see people agreeing that we should learn to coexist, that this silly war needs to end, was refreshing. It was hopeful. It didn’t last long, but knowing it is possible is what counts.

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Image via Flickr.

Paula Rivas
Managing editor

An event that kept me on the edge of my seat, as odd as it may sound to many people my age, was Obama’s victory in the American elections. The buildup from the presidential debates left my head spinning and I was looking forward to the elections like a child waiting for Christmas Eve.

The day of this historic event, I turned off my phone, avoided plans with any of my friends, and watched the CNN coverage like a hawk while Wolf Blitzer and other A-team reporters announced the advancement of the polls. My heart jumped with excitement as the state I spent 10 years of my life in, Maryland, turned blue in support for Obama. The blue wave that followed as the hours passed made me swell with pride to again see a glimpse of the United States that I love — not the ugly, homophobic and closed-minded side, but the side that many Canadians unfortunately don’t get to see. I’m talking about a United States that stands up to defend women’s rights when archaic restrictions were being suggested to govern women’s bodies and also to defend Hispanics when immigration laws were threatening to throw out hard-working citizens.

My own family was once living illegally as Hispanics in the States and we felt the harsh reality of being treated like second-class citizens. But most of all, to defend an America devoted to the idea that coming together as one is stronger than the idea that every man is out there for themselves. Thanks Obama, you made my year.


He said, she said: Halloween costumes in 2012

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan.

We want you to remember what Halloween costumes are all about, so here’s our take on the difference between men’s and women’s costumes:

Women’s costumes: slutty is the new sexy
by Paula Rivas

You’ve seen it in all the teen movies, Halloween is that one time of the year when it’s socially acceptable for ladies to dress down and there is no doubt that it gets worse and worse every year.

It feels like girls nowadays are looking towards Halloween costumes that are more and more outrageous. I have seen it all, from the emergence of touchy costumes that mock cultures to the creation of sexier and sexier costumes for young women. Let’s not forget how some girls will compare and judge each other even more than is already happening in the ferocious jungle of the girl world.

Don’t get me wrong, women do occasionally come up with hilarious and innovative costumes. Unfortunately these costumes aren’t on display anywhere. Upon entering a Halloween store, all we can see is different characters in slutty outfits.

Lena Haddad has been working at a Halloween store in Montreal for the last three years, seasonally. She says that she sees the same patterns in costume buying for women.

“Look at the wall, it’s every costume possible, made into a slutty dress,” she said. “I’d say about nine in 10 women looking for a costume here end up picking one that shows a lot of skin.”

My question is this: why do we insist on squeezing into skin-tight thigh-high stockings and tiny dresses in the freezing autumn air, spending $60 or more on a piece of cloth that you will only wear once? Girls, it’s time to change it up.

I once entered a party exactly like the one portrayed in the movie Mean Girls, where the guys dressed up as beer kegs, political figures and one even came as a penguin! Meanwhile, the girls primped, plucked and stuffed themselves like turkeys on Thanksgiving only to show up as sexy police officers and sexy nurses.At this party a catfight broke out over a girl (dressed as a sexy firefighter) insulting another girl (dressed as a sexy boxer) for looking too “skanky.” Talk about ridiculous. They spent about half an hour analyzing and yelling at each other over what they were wearing while the Halloween party went to waste . . . all because of a costume.On a tireless search for originality in women’s Halloween costumes, the other day I was browsing costumes online when I stopped in shock to see a new costume which has been created for us girls. To my horror, I was looking at a “sexy burka” costume sold for $49.85. A girl was dressed in the traditional style black burka, but everything else was a different story — she was wearing a tiny black matching dress exposing cleavage and legs but only leaving a slit for the eyes on the face.

This is not only offensive, but makes me embarrassed to say that this is the western culture of today, mocking other cultures through this candy-crazed festivity.I think it is time to step away from the herd and try something different this Halloween. This year let’s try to lay off the racy costumes and embrace original and hilarious costumes such as Princess Leia or Veronica Corningstone. Trust me, you will win more high-fives wearing these classic costumes than if you show up in an outfit that looks like it could fit a toddler.

Men’s costumes: go funny or go home
George MenexisEven as we get older, students somehow still feel the need to dress up on a frosty Halloween night. It’s a part of our childhood that we are slow to let go of.

Because it is such an important part of the year, we need to learn to do it justice. Halloween is a time of imitation and creativity. It’s a time to think of the extreme and to try and find a costume that really exceeds all expectations. It’s a time to be competitive with your friends as to who can come up with the dumbest costumes. To dress up as something original instead of wasting $100 at overrated Halloween stores. As a Halloween admirer and costume-lover, I’ve been bitterly disappointed by what I’ve seen the past few years. Men, like their female counterparts, are lacking imagination.

Let’s not lie to each other boys, we’ve been doing the same thing year after year. It’s no wonder we find doubles and triples of stupid characters these days. “The Situation” from reality T.V. show Jersey Shore, a cowboy or a nerd. It’s getting way too repetitive.

Look around you. The world is filled with inspirational people, objects and ideas.

Here is one of my favorite Halloween costumes that would stick out in 2012: the other day, I saw a kid in a ice cream truck that was made out of cardboard, with the kid walking in it acting as the ice cream man. If a toddler can do that, imagine what us young adults would be able to do.

I think the secret to a good Halloween costume is to make it yourself. You just can’t find what you want at a Halloween store. Also, making your costume at home is much funner than it sounds. Imagine walking around your house, looking at pieces of clothing and random objects you see everyday, inspiring yourself to make a costume out of these. It’s a project everyone should attempt once in their lives. You’ve become an artists attempting to do this, and I tell you, it’s a great feeling trying on your somewhat ridiculous looking work of art.

Lena Haddad has worked at a Halloween store seasonally for three years and said that most of the costumes stay the same year after year.

“People are always interested in the same stuff, from what I see,” said Haddad. “It’s always the same costumes that sell out fast, and the same ones that stay on the shelf year after year.”

There’s been a lack of imagination, it’s no secret. That being said, I do think men’s costumes have become the pioneer of innovative, new Halloween costumes. Year after year, party after party, I find myself laughing at something a guy was wearing. From bananas to parisiens to presidential candidates, variety is something that is somewhat present in men’s costumes, but there’s still a long way to go.

My advice to all: Halloween is a time of invention, so this year go out there and be different. Start by looking in the deep confines of your closet to see what you could whip up. I swear you won’t be disappointed.


1. Get a cardboard box and cut it round. Big enough so that your head can be smaller than the circle. On the circle, write 25 cents on the top. This is the good part. You need to dress as the Queen of England. That’s right, the Queen of England. Take the cardboard, stick it behind your head and there you go, you are the Queen of England’s face on a Canadian quarter.

2. This one’s going to make you giggle inside. Get an enormous white paper and cut a square hole in it for your face. You’re going to become a Youtube clip. Write Youtube on the top, or print it for a more legitimate look. As for the caption, get imaginative. You can write stuff like “sexiest man on earth” or “the honey badger, ‘Gangnam Style’”.

3. Who has become one of the biggest symbols of manliness to our generation? That’s right, the Dos Equis man. Get an empty Dos Equis bottle and walk around with it all night. The rest is simple: fake white beard, nice suit and you’ve become a legend.

4. One of the better ones I’ve seen in a while, and also very simple to make. Dress as a woman if you’re a man, or dress normally if you’re a woman. Get a fake baby and either carry it or attach it to your stomach. Now, print a face sized picture of Angelina Jolie’s face. Genius!

5. Let us go to the extreme here. This is especially crazy for those of you that have a full set of hair and want to go a little bit crazy. Shave your head, I don’t want to see one stray hair. Shave it. Get red and yellow drapes and cut them in the form of robes. Simply put, you’ve become a monk.

Student Life

Some like it raw: Crudessence puts a twist on classic foods

Photo via Flickr

I tend to find that many of the vegan restaurants I have attended in the past have had the three ‘Ps’ of dread — pretentious crowds, pitiful proportions, and pricey, bland food. So you must understand my initial disappointment when my dining partner decided to surprise me with a raw vegan restaurant called Crudessence.

I had never heard of this restaurant, a little place that I initially thought was a store selling raw products. Down the small narrow restaurant were some simple wooden tables and chairs. There was a funky flare to the decor such as a matrix-style portrait of a computer chip and another one of multicoloured broken glass.

So what is Crudessence? According to the website, it is a restaurant that serves “food choices based on respect for life and global well-being,” and appeals to “anyone seeking to awaken their bodies and minds.”

As for the menu: don’t worry, this is not your ordinary rabbit food restaurant. Thankfully, Crudessence offers a witty, healthy and sophisticated twist on meals such as nachos, pizza, hamburgers and tacos. The difference is that you won’t leave the restaurant feeling bloated and reminding yourself that you need to hit the gym as soon as possible.

Photo by Madelayne Hajek

I ordered the “Exceptional Wrap,” chipotle quinoa wrapped in nori and rice sheets with avocado, lettuce, sprouts, red peppers, carrots and onions. The wrap popped vibrantly with colours—yellow, green, red and white while the rice sheets gave a nice touch of Asian infusion. The mix of velvety avocado with the bitter taste of sprouts and sweet red peppers made this wrap truly live up to its name. The sauce was the best part. A zesty ranch taste with a kick of chipotle, complimenting the wrap perfectly. There’s the option of ordering the wrap alone for a jaw-dropping $11, or if you are feeling rebellious, you can order it with the daily salad on the side for $14.75.

The person I went with looked enthusiastically through the menu and, grinning, ordered the “Om burger” (obviously amused with the clever name). This burger is a combination of mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, flax seeds and mixed vegetables, served on chapati bread and garnished with fresh tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, homemade mustard, ketchup and their famous caper aioli. It tasted tangy from the homemade mustard, rich and smoky from the mushrooms and salty from the sun-dried tomatoes. The burger came to about $12.50.

The bathroom is a tiny stall with swinging wooden western style doors. Even though it sounds fun, there is nothing more uncomfortable than having the other diners stare at you through the wide cracks of the doors while you wash your hands.

All-in-all, I found the idea to be as much of a culinary adventure as I found it hilarious to mock. As I checked out the website I even saw that they offer delivery… by bicycle to make sure it is environmentally friendly. All sarcasm aside, though the prices were sky high, I tip my hat to the wonderfully tasty vegan treats.


Crudessence is located on 2157 Mackay St. and 105 Rachel St. W.


May the best candidate win

Benoit Guérin from Option Nationale (left) and Liberal candidate Dave McMahon (right). Photos by Eveline Caron.

With only a few days before the provincial election, student associations from Concordia University, McGill University and Dawson College hosted an electoral debate on Thursday Aug. 30.

Candidates running in the Westmount—St-Louis riding from the Liberal Party, the Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire, the Parti vert du Québec, Coalition Avenir Québec, Option Nationale and the Marxist-Leninist party were invited to speak at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business.


At the start of the debate, some candidates began to criticize the leadership of Pauline Marois of the Parti Québécois due to her shifting position regarding the tuition increase. Liberal candidate Dave McMahon argued that Marois lacked due conviction for her platform.

“Marois has had 16 different positions in only six months,” said McMahon.

Thierry St-Cyr, of the PQ, maintained that the party’s position has been clear from the start; to cancel the tuition fee increase and to abolish Law 12, also known as Bill 78.

Benoit Guérin from Option Nationale defended the free education approach by stating that higher education for the public leads to better jobs and therefore stimulates the economy.

“Education can fund itself,” Guérin explained.

Contrary to their fellow candidates, Johnny Kairouz for the Coalition Avenir Québec and McMahon both agreed the current rate is not enough and students need to contribute more money. Both said that they would facilitate access to student loans in order to ease the tuition swell.


Tensions ran high during the second part of the debate when candidates addressed language issues in the province. McMahon asked why Jean-François Lisée, a high profile candidate for the PQ, said publically that he favours a francophone from France over a francophone from China. He followed-up by asking if St-Cyr would apply the same attitude to Quebec.

“We give points to everyone, it has nothing to do with xenophobia,” replied St-Cyr. “It is how we measure the level of integration of the person.”

During this language segment of the debate, the PQ’s intent to extend Bill 101 to CÉGEPs was criticized by most candidates with the exception of Mélissa Desjardins of Québec Solidaire.

“Having a choice [to choose the language of instruction] is an important part of our culture to preserve,” said Lisa Cahn of the Parti vert.

The Option Nationale candidate said he believes that Bill 101 should remain as is and is not in need of revisions or adjustments. McMahon concluded by emphasizing his party’s belief in “linguistic peace,” saying that the the French language is not in decline.

Many undecided voters attended the debate Thursday in an attempt to have their questions answered. One audience member was Matthew Kabwe, a Concordia student studying communications and human relations. Kabwe said he came to the debate to decide who to vote for but left unsure, and he is likely not the only one.

Student Life

Hunting for a summer job

Graphic by Sean Kershaw

School is coming to an end, and the days of tanning and sipping on Long Island iced tea are approaching. For many university students, the end of final exams is the beginning of working full-time to get some money in the bank. But just how accessible is the summer job market for students these days? Which way is the best way to find employment?

TD Bank recruitment manager Anh-Tu Nguyen gave some useful tips on what he looks for in a candidate. First, let’s start with the cover letter and resume. Nguyen said it is best to keep it short and sweet.

“So basically up to two to three paragraphs maximum [for the cover letter], and normally what we like is when it is personalized to the role,” he said. “The company wants to know who you are, but stay away from a generic cover letter.” Nguyen said resumes should be kept to a maximum of two or three pages.

He indicated that using social media to find a job is a great tool, especially since a growing number of jobs are not advertised in newspapers.

“I would recommend LinkedIn, an incredible tool to allow you to connect with businesses and recruiters and by using social media, you let people know you are looking for a job, and reduce the time it takes to find a job,” he said.

A question that pops into many students’ minds is if employers check up on the applicants on Facebook or Twitter. Scared that your potential boss might see your tequila body shots in Cancun and cross you off the list immediately?

“In TD, because of privacy issues, we cannot check any credit or security check on the applicants or check their Facebook or Twitter accounts without authorization. We respect people’s privacy completely,” said Nguyen.

However, this is not always the case, so don’t go making your racy profile pictures public yet. A 2010 Microsoft Research survey found that 70 per cent of recruiters had rejected applicants based on what they had found online.

Madeleine Hajek, a Concordia communications student, said that she has her summer job lined up, which she found on the Service Canada website.

“I applied in March and I got a call back the next week,” she said.

Another Concordia student, Kevin Goodall, studying political science, got his job last summer at the BeaverTails shop at La Ronde through a posting on craigslist. After his summer job ended and he started university, he got hired for the position of operations manager at a BeaverTail location in Westmount, working part-time.

“My summer job helped me get the job I have now since they trust that I gained experience and they know that I am a hard worker and reliable. All in all I think that finding a summer job is pretty easy,” he said.

Just like Goodall’s summer experience proved to be helpful for finding a later job, Nguyen said that summer jobs “are a great opportunity for students to get some training.”

However, not all students were lucky enough to find fast and easy summer employment.

Business management student Jessica Weatherall said that last summer she had a job, but this summer she is not so lucky.

“I have been trying to get into banks because I know that there you get a higher pay, but it feels like banks are only looking for full-time. I applied online around February and still no response,” she said.

The stampede of summer job applications can be quite intimidating. So, what makes a needle in a haystack noticeable?

“For me, it is important in an interview, phone or face-to-face, to be yourself, and to think about the values of the company that you are applying to. Do your research,” said Nguyen.

He said the earlier you start applying, the better chances you have at landing a good summer job.

“If you are looking for a summer job, I would recommend starting no later than January or February because a lot of the good summer jobs would have already been filled by March or April,” said Nguyen.

According to statistics, 35 per cent of working students in Quebec found it easier to find a summer job in 2011 than in 2010, while only 19 per cent found it to be harder. Therefore, it doesn’t seem that the student summer job market is doomed after all.

Nguyen even said that at TD Bank, they are still searching for some spots in the summer job section.

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