“Queers against the CAQ” protest held in Old Port

Several queer organizations in Montreal came together to protest against anti-trans actions by the current Quebec government.

At 4 p.m. on Jan. 15, about 50 people gathered in front of Montreal’s Palais de justice in the Old Port. Co-organized by Mubaadarat, Com (CUMSLUTS) UQÀM, Première Ligne, P!nk Bloc and Queer McGill, this protest comes as a response to recent decisions made by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ). 

On Dec. 5, Quebec’s Minister of Families, Suzanne Roy, announced the creation of a “comité des sages” or “committee of wise people” to guide the province in legislation concerning trans people. Though one of the three goals of this committee was to “ease social tensions,” many trans and queer people have expressed concern about the implementation of the committee.

“[Their] job is essentially to debate ‘the trans question’ in a way that really is debating whether or not we are allowed to exist and how they presume how to let us integrate into society,” said protest coordinator Ki’ra, who preferred not to share their last name. “Conservative governments are generally not very queer-friendly, but this [government] particularly has taken several steps to alienate queer people in an attempt to garner more support.”

Much of these criticisms come from the absence of trans people or allies within the committee.

Celeste Trianon, one of the protest’s co-organizers, chimed in: “It’s a committee that’s going to make so many decisions about the future of queer and trans rights in Quebec, yet does not contain any trans people, concerned people such as parents of trans people, nor experts.”

Speeches began shortly after the crowd gathered, with various organizers speaking in English and French about the CAQ’s policies, why they were harmful, and what they hoped would be done moving forward. “This committee is François Legault’s response to [the anti-trans protest on] Sept. 20,” Ki’ra said. “If [the committee members] cared about trans people, they would resign from the committee and call for its dissolution.”

The implementation of the committee was not the only criticism made about the CAQ at the protest. “F*** the CAQ, everyone has a good reason to hate the CAQ,” said Ki’ra. “It’s been months that we’ve seen rotating strikes going on in the public sector. They don’t have any solutions for that, they don’t have any solutions for housing, they’ve recently put through a law that would allow landlords to refuse lease transfers without any reason.”

After the speeches concluded around 4:45 p.m, the group of protesters, now closer to 100, began marching north towards the Palais des congrès and Place D’Armes metro station. They continued chants such as “Tout le monde déteste François Legault” [Everyone hates François Legault], “When trans rights are under attack what do we do? Stand up fight back,” and “Contre Legault et la CAQ, queers bash back” [“against Legault and the CAQ, queers bash back”].

“I want to be part of the protest, to be part of the change,” said protestor Coralie Chouqette. “What’s happening everywhere in the world is unacceptable, but we have to start somewhere.”

Protesters then arrived at the Palais des congrès, marching through the doors near the Place D’Armes metro station. Chanting “on avance, on avance, on recule pas” [“we move forward, we move forward, we don’t move back”], protesters marched through the convention center.

Though mall security tried to stop the protestors and redirect them through the first exit toward the parking lot, the protesters persisted. Refusing to divert from their planned course, there was a brief stand-off between some mall security officers and those at the front of the protest. The protesters continued down the center, chanting “hey hey, ho ho, François Legault has got to go.” The protesters then left the complex, marching down René-Lévesque Blvd. Chanting continued, with “dans la rue avec nous” [on the road with us]. 

After marching down René-Lévesque Blvd, police positioned their bikes in a diagonal line in an attempt to redirect protesters toward the other half of the road. The protesters persisted, chanting “get a real job” as they pushed through their attempted diversion, forcing police to further reroute traffic.

Throughout their march, organizers and coordinators offered informational flyers about why the queer community was marching against the CAQ to those they passed.

The group continued marching towards Place Victoria, arriving at the square around 5:30 p.m.. Shortly after, final remarks were made and the group of protestors disbanded.

Student Life

Green lifestyle swaps

I have changed my lifestyle because I feel like no other significant action to fight the climate crisis has been taken, and I don’t want to be held responsible when it becomes impossible for me to take my kids swimming without their skin burning off.

The angst surrounding the climate crisis makes my blood boil. There are some things you can do to reduce your waste and fight the climate crisis on an individual level: change your diet, stop buying single-use plastic, stop using chemical cleaning products.

The simple solution is to buy less. No matter how many people go vegetarian or vegan, not everyone will be convinced to do so, nor should that be the only solution to becoming more sustainable. The same goes for fully zero-waste lifestyles. Avoiding waste is nearly impossible if you are like the average person who has a billion things to do. It is unattainable.

Every morning, I leave my apartment trying to remember if I grabbed my mug—a pasta sauce jar with the sticker still on it that I lugg everywhere I go—an old margarine tupperware for food, and some cutlery I probably stole from my high school cafeteria.

Even when actively trying to avoid single-use plastic, some useless piece of packaging or junk will find its way into my hands––it doesn’t matter if it’s a plastic wrapping on the candy bar I deny I buy myself every day, or a stress ball I’ll never use from a guest lecturer; wasteful objects are everywhere. The key is recognizing them, knowing how to say no, and finding innovative ways to avoid harming the environment that work for your lifestyle.

In order to help the planet, buying new goodies that are pushed onto you through targeted advertising is not the answer. We need to be finding new and innovative ways to lower our waste, and integrating those habits into our lifestyle, one by one.

There are zero-waste/sustainability influencers like YouTubers  Sedona Christina and Sarah Hawkinson that you can look to for inspiration to be able to identify what changes you can realistically make to your lifestyle. Cooking and meal prepping are an amazing example: by making your own food, you can avoid the single-use plastic wrap of the sandwich you might normally buy.

Making your own products like face wash and cleaners can help reduce the amount of plastic in your household. I was a sucker for buying every new body product. By making my own skincare products, I was able to cut my budget from $100 every two months to the $15 it initially cost me to buy the ingredients. Green tea, aloe vera, hemp seed oil and castile soap are the only ingredients I used—and my skin has never looked better!

Think “what can I do with this?” rather than “how quickly can I get rid of this?” At the end of the day, there’s only so much that individual change can do. We must hold our government, clothing stores, and even favourite junk food suppliers accountable for their actions. And it’s with collective action that real change will prevail.

Graphic by @sundaeghost


Why Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours will be the one and only for my ears – always

On their 50th anniversary tour, the band demonstrates that even though time goes by, the shared love and music is everlasting

“If music be the food of love, play on” – that’s how Shakespeare wrote it. If Fleetwood Mac was a meal, I could eat it everyday (and most of the time I do). My alarm went off at 6.30 a.m. this Wednesday, and I got myself ready for an opportunity I’ve wanted for the last five years: a night with Fleetwood Mac. Unfortunately, the band’s 50th anniversary tour didn’t pass through Montreal, so I got on a bus to Quebec City in the early hours to experience what has been the soundtrack to most of my young adult life.

Fleetwood Mac is the ultimate symbol of an intense, deep and heartbreaking relationship told through music. From their early beginnings with British Blues in the 60s, to their careless and hardrocking tracks in the late 90s, they have showed us how inseparable music and the turbulent excitement of love are.

About five years ago I was at a place in my life filled with doubt, changes and my first proper heartbreak, and that was when I discovered the 1977 album Rumours. I have been madly in love with their tender and honest sound ever since. Best rebound ever.

Not only is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours one of the greatest tales of love in music history (it was a product made in a time where the band members struggled with divorces and crossover-affairs, all while they consumed huge amounts of cocaine), it is also a stroke of genius in musical terms. 

The tonal soundscapes consist of cosmic electric guitar riffs balances with the calm Americana-inspired acoustic and soul-lifting harmonies with the melodic bass humming underneath. It’s all held together by Fleetwood’s rhythm-superiority on the drums, where fills are being poured over this musical unicum as a cherry on top. Rumours topped the US Billboard 200 for 31 weeks in a row after its release in 1977, and marked Fleetwood Mac as one of the most inspirational music groups of the 20th century (last year they were announced as Person of the Year by MusiCares, the charity arm of The Recording Academy).

But a lot has happened since 1977 – the ever-changing group dynamic was not only shown on the production of Rumours, but has been an ongoing issue ever since. Fleetwood Mac has had no less than 18 different members, with the only permanent one being the founder, Mick Fleetwood. The rotation and shift of members has was caused by drug abuse, affairs, dramatic fights and firings, where the latest was the layoff to vocalist Lindsey Buckingham due to artistic disagreements. Therefore, I was extremely excited to see if the ever-changing band could give me the same nerve-wrecking sensation as the 50 year-old LP I have on my shelf back at home.

Twenty minutes after the show began, the group known to be history’s greatest soap opera band appeared on stage, and the memorable bass drum from “The Chain” surrounded us all in one joined heartbeat. My heart was (once again) stolen, and like the rest of the crowd, I got carried away for two hours in the musical universe that is Fleetwood Mac. New Zealand singer Neil Finn is the replacement for Buckingham. Even though he didn’t have the exact same tonal finesse, he still did a pretty good job (you know how it is embracing the flaws of your loved ones).

While hearing Stevie Nicks singing about disappointment and heartbreak on “Dreams” (an ode to fuckboys before the term was even invented) or experiencing the 10-minute long drum solo by Mick Fleetwood – where his characteristic eyeballs looked as if they could pop out of his head anytime – I lost sense of time and place, and everything came together in one big cosmos.

So, was Fleetwood Mac just as sharp, energetic and passionate as they were on Rumours? I think the show was as good as it gets, despite the stamp all of the members have achieved from the vanity of life (especially one as musicians). 

“We love doing this every night,” was the final words of the night from drummer Fleetwood. That’s the thing about true love – no matter how many times you spend doing the exact same thing and the exact same routines, you can feel the magic and anticipation just as strong as you did on first sight (or listen).


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Crying out for change

We must never forget the victims of shootings in the United States

I am a student, a millennial, a daughter and a lot more. The reason I’m writing this is because I can’t sleep, I can’t go to school, I can’t walk around or go out with my friends without being scared. I lay awake thinking of the headlines, the numbers, the names and the families.

I’m not one of them. I didn’t lose a friend or family member to gun violence, but I am still so bothered. The recent shootings in the United States have pushed me beyond my limit. So here’s my question: What’s it going to take? How many more students, millennials, children, parents, friends and family members have to lose their lives? Have you watched the news coverage? If yes, then you’ve seen their yearbook pictures. That’s all we get—a yearbook photo and a name, and then they’re gone.

I walk into class thinking of the quickest exits in case of an emergency. I can’t go to a club without the thought that I won’t hear screams or gunfire over the music. Maybe you think I’m overreacting. Maybe you think this isn’t my business because I’m not an American citizen; but I am a citizen of the world. I have a voice and I’m so, so tired. Tired of seeing innocent people hurt, tired of seeing people who just wanted to go out with friends never come home and tired of being afraid. I go to bars and restaurants, to school and concerts, and so do you. It could be me and I refuse to be apathetic just because it didn’t happen to someone I know.

I want to know when it will be enough to tip the scales. I want to know why they didn’t tip a long time ago. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, I had so much hope for change. I believed that, if anything was going to spark change, it would be that horrific event. I was wrong. In the last year, in school after school, at clubs and churches and concerts, people have been killed. After the Parkland shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started an amazing revolution, but it’s barely reported in the news anymore. The Borderline Bar and Grill was hosting a college night which allowed 18+ clients for one night, when the gunman walked in and ended 12 lives, just a few weeks ago. Yet the media has already moved on because a more recent shooting happened somewhere else. The violence has been everywhere and it seems constant. I am asking anyone reading this: Aren’t you tired?

I want to act, I want to change, I want to yell and shout and make something happen—then I remember I can’t. I’m not loud enough, strong enough or important enough to create that change because I am one person. I am alone. So I’m writing this to express what I feel because I don’t know what else to do. We watch the news, we see their faces, and then we see them replaced by the next faces, moved aside and too quickly forgotten. Shock dies down, but they died first. How is it possible that we talked about the death of Harambe in my class for five weeks, when the lives lost in mass shootings are practically forgotten the next day? The world moves on so quickly, but the victims couldn’t, so why should we?

The news shows us the facts, the families, the sadness and then moves on to the next story. I’m not asking for them to change. I’m asking for all of us to take on a small piece of responsibility. To not forget their names or their faces. I feel heavy with the weight of the victims. It feels like everyone else is moving forward and forgetting too fast, and I am carrying them.

Let’s not forget them. Let’s carry them together. We are from the same generation as so many of the victims, and we are the ones who will make a change. Let’s start now. Research, speak up, make change, but most of all, remember their names.

Graphic by @spooky_soda



Changing minds or useless conversations?

Steven Crowder’s YouTube series falls flat in debating serious issues and sparking real discussions

Set up a table, two chairs and a mic. Finish off the video with a strong statement, and you’ve got yourself the key ingredients Steven Crowder needs to engage in conversations with strangers. In his YouTube series “Real Conversations,” the comedian, actor and political commentator sits in public spaces and invites people to change his mind on “hot-button issues” as he calls them. But, does he really want his mind changed?

Obviously not. Crowder’s “change my mind” statement is just a way to capture an audience’s attention. The goal is clearly to defend his own point of view by confronting people and winning the argument. It seems like a clever way of presenting his ideas. The concept of the videos would be quite impressive if his intent was sincere and fair, but it’s not.

First of all, it’s his own show. Crowder is comfortable in front of the camera and microphone. He is much more relaxed than the people he confronts; he often makes jokes to get the upper hand and mocks the person he is arguing with. As for the content, Crowder obviously knows the topics in advance, since it would be difficult to argue as he does otherwise. He often brings up points that were clearly researched beforehand. He also memorizes statistics and figures. If each person Crowder faced benefitted from the same preparation, it would be fair. But when he is the only one with the chance to prepare, he is simply showing off. Furthermore, Crowder could easily reveal his sources in the description below the video, but they are nowhere to be seen.

In the “Male privilege is a myth” episode, a woman in the crowd claims his numbers are wrong, but she isn’t invited to talk to Crowder. Herein lies another problem. Although the conversations are unedited and uncut, we can presume Crowder chooses which arguments make it online. It’s likely only winning arguments will be posted, not conversations that show him in a bad light. Given Crowder’s obvious intent with these videos, why would he upload one of him losing an argument? As he states in one of his videos: “Sometimes people will not change their mind, and there is nothing you can do.” Crowder seems to be one of these people.

Watching someone who has an opposite point of view to yours win an argument with such obvious advantages is incredibly frustrating. So it must be really satisfying to those who share Crowder’s views. However, I don’t think his videos bring us anything more than this frustration or satisfaction. If you take a look at the comment sections of his videos, many people point out Crowder’s unfair rehearsal and some even take the time to debunk several of his arguments. To me, these videos are not “productive” debates as Crowder describes them. He’s playing a game and merely trying to look smart.

Talking with people who hold different views can be interesting and is necessary to bridge gaps and broaden our understanding of the world. However, to actually be productive, both sides have to be honest about their intentions. Being right should not be the goal of the conversation, because it forces people to adamantly defend their ideas instead of learning and understanding another person’s perspective.

The subjects Crowder tries to cover are complex and involve a broad spectrum of ideas, elements and facts. I don’t think a single one-on-one conversation without sincere intentions and verifiable facts would help in any way. I don’t see Crowder’s series of videos as productive in any way—I see them as useless.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin


Objecting to objective reporting

When people think of journalism, they might think of gathering information and disseminating objective, balanced news stories to the public. Or, at least, that’s what they used to think. It’s unrealistic to assume that something as fast-paced as the journalism industry would never experience change. History shows that it has—and that it will. We at The Concordian think it is time to embrace a new change: the fact that objectivity in journalism does not exist. It has never existed.

To be objective means to not be influenced by personal feelings or opinions when considering and representing facts. To do so is not humanly possible. We are all shaped and influenced by our identity—our culture, our community, our lived experiences. These things inevitably affect how we see the world.

What has long been referred to as objectivity in journalism is simply the perception of the world through the eyes of the people who dominated newsrooms: straight, cisgender, white men. Objective reporting did not mean feelings or opinions did not influence the way stories were analyzed and told. It simply meant that stories were solely analyzed and told using a historically dominant lens. This is not acceptable.

It is time for journalists to acknowledge the factors that influence their storytelling. And to realize that these influences are not necessarily bad things. Allowing writers from various marginalized communities—be they women, people of colour, members of the LGBTQ+ community—to draw on their knowledge and experiences opens up inclusive dialogues and brings different perspectives to the table. It would allow journalists to tell stories everyone can relate to—not just some people.

Of course, that isn’t to say that facts and truth don’t exist. Journalism—or at least good journalism—should always be truthful and accurate. However, we must realize that even good journalism will never be completely objective. The way we place our quotes in a story, the people we interview, the headlines we choose and the way we edit all come from a subjective place in ourselves. Our thoughts affect the way we choose to tell a story, regardless of our efforts to remain objective. The truth is, no story is objective—and neither are we.

We at The Concordian think it’s time to approach journalism and research in a different way. It is time that we call out the injustices in the media industry and outline the ways we can begin to improve. Journalism schools around the world should begin to implement courses that discard the notion of objectivity as a defining element of journalism. The current standards of “equitable” reporting that we are being taught in school are not sufficient. Completely excluding our subjective experiences is not only wrong, it is impossible.

Research and reporting are human activities, therefore, they are messy and complicated. Most of the time, you cannot generalize research. The world is not an exact science. While there is truth and fact, there is no such thing as objectivity or neutrality in the way we see the world. To be better journalists and better people, we must take individual experiences into account. We must look to marginalized communities. We should seek to challenge the power structures in our societies rather than support them. We must use our research and reporting as a medium for social change, rather than social control.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth 


Why Concordia’s journalism program needs updating—again

Change can definitely be a good thing. While it’s great to stick to a certain niche, it’s really important to evolve your ideas and abilities so that you can keep up with this fast-paced world.

Take Concordia’s journalism program, for example. It’s no secret that journalism has shifted from a traditional print platform to a digital one. Now, reporters are expected to know not only how to write, but also how to take photos, edit sound clips and record video. It’s a great shift, since it encompasses where our society is going in terms of technological advances. But we at The Concordian feel that, although the journalism program has changed for the better since its upgrade in 2016, there is still room for improvement.

It’s understandable that change had to come to a program like journalism—a field that’s always transforming and adapting. To be honest, though, the changes seem better in theory than in practice.

For example, under the old program, students had the option of choosing between a major in textual or audiovisual (AV) journalism. Regardless of which path students chose, though, all were required to spend a semester learning the basics of radio journalism, and another semester focusing on an introduction to video. Later on in their degree, students were offered a semester-long course on photojournalism.

Under the new program, however, students are expected to learn the basics of radio, video and photojournalism in just 15 weeks. That’s about four or five weeks per subject—simply not enough time to familiarize yourself with the basics let alone prepare you for more advanced radio and video courses.

While we at The Concordian agree with the department’s attempt to better prepare students for a work environment that requires journalists to be jacks-of-all-trades, the changes seem to go too far in the other direction. In trying to teach students so much material in so little time, many j-schoolers risk finishing courses with less knowledge than they would have under the old curriculum.

But the changes aren’t all negative. It’s extremely important to highlight the program’s necessary shift from traditional to digital media and its implications on young journalists. Writing, of course, is always going to be a critical tool for journalists. But video, radio and photography have also become necessary skills for a career in this field.

While the new program does offer in-depth audiovisual courses at the 300 and 400-level, we hope the department acknowledges that the overly condensed format of the program’s first year hinders rather than helps prepare students for the rest of their degree.

Another change that has been made to the program is that the course “Radio Newsroom” is no longer required for second-year AV students. Especially given the limited time spent acquiring radio skills in year one, we at The Concordian believe the department should create more of an opportunity for students to develop their broadcasting skills in a hands-on environment.

Ultimately, we believe the changes made to the journalism program show potential, even though they remain far from ideal. The fact that the department was willing to adapt to a shifting work environment gives us confidence that we haven’t seen the end of the department’s attempts to make adjustments for the sake of its students’ education.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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