News Photo Essay

Picketers lead ‘shame convoy’ with Legault mannequin

Photos from Thursday: ‘Shame Convoy’

Photos from Wednesday: Classroom picketing


Support for Palestine maintained in new year

Vigil and weekly pro-Palestine protests held in Montreal.

At 6 p.m. on Jan. 11, around 100 people attended a vigil for Palestinian journalists in the Old Port. Organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement, the vigil was a break from the protests the organization has focused on in the past few months.

A volunteer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that the event was “an opportunity for the community to come together and mourn after the deaths of several journalists since October in Gaza.” 

“The majority of our events since October have been protests. This is really intended for us as a community, to give ourselves a chance to honor people in between continuing to march and continuing to fight,” they said. 

They also mentioned the importance of maintaining support for Palestine in the new year.

“As time goes on, people might feel hopeless, people might feel like what we’re doing is not working. Our political leaders are banking on us getting tired and are banking on us eventually just giving up, and three months in we have proven to them that this is not the case,” they said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by attendees. Sarah Graham, a Montrealer and vigil attendee, said that it was important to show solidarity and support. “We’re all implicated in this. Our government officials are actively or passively supporting Israel, and I think we all have a collective responsibility. I don’t want to tell my grandkids that I didn’t do anything.”

Organizers set up a projection of video footage that included a list of 112 journalists killed, photos of the journalists accompanied by their quotes, and graphics calling for the liberation of Palestine.

At 6:30 p.m., a loudspeaker was set up and one of the vigil’s organizers welcomed the first of many speakers to address the crowd. A Mohawk activist drew parallels between Indigenous struggles in Canada and the genocide in Palestine before calling on attendees to join her for a moment of silence for the journalists killed.

After the moment of silence, the names of journalists killed echoed through the crowd. Speakers from Independent Jewish Voices, Students for Palestinian Human Rights, the Journalism Department of the University of Montreal, the Montreal chapter of the Palestinian Youth Movement, and the McGill Daily spoke to the importance of journalism and the bravery and sacrifice of Palestinian journalists.

Sarah Shamy, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, expressed, “It is really important to recognize that the aggression is getting worse and spilling over into the region. Tonight, we had news that Yemen has been targeted by the US with airstrikes for standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people,” Shamy said.

Another attendee expressed, “What we are fighting for right now is not just a ceasefire. A ceasefire is just the absolute bare minimum that we can accomplish.”

This vigil comes in between the weekly pro-Palestine protests that have continued since October 2023. At their latest protest on the afternoon of Jan. 4, thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Israeli consulate before marching downtown.

The Palestinian Youth Movement’s next protest is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Jan. 14 at 730 rue Cathcart. It will mark 100 days since the “Zionist-American aggression and genocidal campaign,” according to the group’s Instagram page. 


We need to address the real causes of homelessness in Montreal

Thousands of unhoused people are victims of a broken system and especially vulnerable as winter arrives, yet little thought or empathy is given to the issue. 

As the streets get colder, it becomes even more urgent to address the homelessness crisis in Montreal. Temperature drops are life-threatening to this vulnerable population and exacerbate their already harsh living conditions. It’s time to talk more in depth about homelessness and its causes.  

According to the CBC, the population of unhoused people* in Quebec doubled between 2018 and 2022—totalling nearly 10,000, half of whom are in Montreal. I’ve noticed that casual discourse around homelessness is often damaging and fails to address deeper issues. I have heard the topic be approached with disgust or contempt toward unhoused people, sometimes accompanied with demeaning jokes and comments. This contempt should instead be directed toward the systems that cause homelessness and the governments that do little to address the issue. 

The lack of affordable housing and subsequent housing crisis is just one cause of homelessness. Traumatic events, extreme poverty, domestic abuse and discrimination can all play a role. Those who struggle with sickness and mental illness are more susceptible to homelessness. Systemic and personal issues create dire situations, especially for marginalized groups.

In Montreal, Indigenous people are 27 times more likely to suffer from homelessness than other demographic groups, according to a recent count. The Inuit community is particularly affected, making up 25 per cent of unhoused Indigenous people. This is the result of systemic racism, inter-generational trauma, and lack of services for those who need them most—but most of all, it is a direct example of the ongoing effects of settler colonialism.  

It is essential to view homelessness through this lens and realize that unhoused people are victims of an oppressive system. We must be particularly mindful of this fact and put pressure on governments to establish better solutions. 

The city’s relationship with homelessness is a complicated one. On numerous occasions, Mayor Valérie Plante has called on the provincial government to provide more funding and work with the city to make a long-term plan. “[W]hat I’m looking for is a bigger conversation with the entire ecosystem,” Plante said to The Montreal Gazette in June, “…and that includes the provincial government and the Ministry of Health and Social Services, because they are in charge of homelessness, mental health and drug use, because often these things are connected.” 

In early November, Social Services Minister Lionel Carmant announced that the Quebec government will grant nearly $10 million toward increasing space in shelters and establishing emergency services as the cold approaches. While this is a positive and essential step, it is not enough.

Broad reform is needed. Alberta advocates for a “Housing First” approach, which aims to break the cycle by setting up unhoused Albertans in permanent housing and providing them with ongoing support. This support would aim to address mental health, employment, and addiction. Montreal should take a similar approach with a decolonial focus, and move away from emergency solutions.

If you want to help, it’s impactful to volunteer and donate when possible. But first of all, we must flip the narrative around homelessness. Mocking and pejorative comments are dehumanizing, and it’s essential to consider the systemic issues at play. The simplest way to help is by speaking mindfully about unhoused people and considering the causes and effects of homelessness. 

*A note on vocabulary: the term “unhoused” is growing in usage due to the sometimes derogatory connotations of the word “homeless,” and to emphasize that unhoused people may have outdoor or community spaces they call home. In this article, I switch between the two terms, but use “unhoused” when referring to the people themselves for this reason.


Concordia student associations move to strike against tuition increases

Mobilization against tuition hikes continues with multiple student groups moving to strike on Nov. 30. 

The Geography Undergraduate Student Society (GUSS) moved in unanimous support to block access to classrooms in accordance with a “hard picket” on Friday, Nov. 30 against the tuition hikes for out-of-province and international students.

Another student protest is set to happen on the corner of De Maisonneuve and McKay at 12 p.m. on Nov. 30. The movement is currently supported by the CSU, ASFA and the McGill student associations.

The tuition hikes will raise tuition for out-of-province students from around $9,000 to $17,000. For international students, the government will charge universities $20,000 per international student outside of France and Belgium. Concordia has now started a page for FAQs and the implications of the tuition changes

In a general meeting open to all members of the geography undergraduate program on Nov. 17, GUSS moved to block the entrances of geography classes on Nov. 30 as an action of hard picketing. They will be accompanied by a number of other student associations including the Fine Arts Student Association (FASA), the Urban Planning Association (UPA) and the School of Community and Public Affairs Student Association (SCPSA) among other MAs in defiance against tuition hikes. 

“I found a program here that I really like, and I’ve found a community and a city I really like,” said Max Neumann, a student on the GUSS mobilization committee.

Neumann is from British Columbia and was looking to pursue a masters degree in Quebec, but will not be able to because of the tuition increases. She said that Concordia’s opportunities for geography students are unique to the university and that many students will be pushed into programs in Ontario because of the tuition hikes.

Some students have expressed concern with what they will potentially lose out on by not attending the classes that they paid to attend, but GUSS is lobbying to make sure that the effects of the hike on the students will not be detrimental. 

Jackson Esworthy, a GUSS executive, said that a lot of the faculty informally supports student action against tuition hikes since this will affect the faculty and Concordia will see cutbacks in funding. They have not seen information from Concordia on which will be the most impacted programs nor any specific reports per program. 

Students have a long history of successful student strikes in the province of Quebec. Esworhty added that GUSS was one of the first student associations in the province to lead the strike against the increased tuition. “That [strike] started at Concordia on the MA level,” Esworthy said about the 2012 “Red Squares” strike against the increase of tuition. 

In 2012, students across Quebec mobilized against tuition increases posed by Jean Charest’s Liberal Party at the time to increase tuition by $325 every year from 2012 to 2017. Thousands of students across Quebec took to the streets to participate in the longest general unlimited strike in Canadian history. 

As for the current tuition increases, weekly meetings are held with Concordia’s student groups as well as groups from other universities across Montreal including McGill and UQAM to maintain a front of solidarity and to work together to hold student strikes.

UQAM’s ASFA equivalent, Association Facultaire Étudiante des Sciences Humaines de l’UQAM (AFESH), told The Concordian that they “offer solidarity to student associations of English universities,” but offered no comment about whether they were participating in the strikes on Nov. 30.

The strikes on Nov. 30 will not be the last. The ASFA is moving to host a three-day strike from Wednesday, Jan. 31 to Friday, Feb. 2. 

Hockey Sports

Stingers’ associate head coach Caroline Ouellette inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame

The four-time Olympic gold medalist became the 10th woman to get the call from the Hall.

On Nov. 13, the annual Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held. In the Hall are about 300 legendary players and 115 builders who helped grow the game of hockey. During the 2023 meeting of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee on June 21, Caroline Ouellette’s nomination was a no-brainer despite it being only her second year on the ballot.

The road to this point for Ouellette was never an easy one. The player shared in her acceptance speech that when she was growing up, it took her two years to convince her parents to allow her to play hockey. Once she was able to convince her mom to help her buy her first pair of skates at the age of nine, Ouellette played on different all-boys teams until she was 17.

“I heard about every possible type of name-calling,” Ouellette shared during the speech. “These challenges helped me develop a deeper appreciation of how lucky I was to play hockey when so many women around my age couldn’t have the same opportunity,” she said. 

Ouellette got her first taste of professional hockey in 1995 when she joined Team Quebec during the Canada Winter Games. She won her first gold medal in 1997, playing for Team Quebec at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship.

After putting up a whopping 60 points in 27 games in the 1998-99 season for the Montreal Wingstar of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), Ouellette played in her first of 12 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships. She would go on to win six gold medals and six silver medals in World Championships, ranking eighth all-time with 68 points in 59 games played.

In 2000, Concordia University got introduced to the hockey phenom. In her short time playing for the Stingers, Ouellette put up 19 points in just seven games. Oullette moved on to play three seasons for University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she also became the team’s captain for two seasons. Luckily for the Stingers, Ouellette would be back with the team in the future.

Ouellette played in the Winter Olympic Games four times between 2002 and 2014. She became the only ice hockey player to this date to win gold in all four Olympics she took part in. Ouellette put up 26 points in 20 career Olympic games played, cementing her legacy as one of the best international ice hockey players the sport has ever seen.

Having played in her last World Championship in 2015, Oullette played three more years of professional hockey for Les Canadiennes de Montréal in the city where it all began. She rejoined the Stingers as an assistant coach in 2016.

Coaching stints with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, International Canadian teams, and the Concordia Stingers have made up her ongoing career. She is currently the associate coach for the Stingers alongside partner and head coach Julie Chu, and the two have led the team to back-to-back national championship final appearances, including a gold-win in 2022.


Personal journey: Discovering happiness through faith

Money isn’t the key to happiness.

Questions about happiness and its connection to money have often crossed my mind. What is happiness? How do we find it? Can money truly be the ultimate source of joy? These were questions that would constantly come up while pursuing what I believed would make me happy, like attending my dream university and working in a job I loved.

Throughout my childhood, happiness was always linked to materialism. Money was the predominant love language I received as a child, and it seemed to be the only source of joy in my life. I was fortunate to travel during school holidays, received constant gifts, and seemingly had everything I asked for. Outwardly, I appeared to be a content and fulfilled girl. I was called a “princess” by family and friends. However, there was always a void in my heart: I was longing for a different type of love. 

As a teenager, I battled with depression and what made it worse was not knowing the root cause of my misery. Despite possessing what many would consider to be everything, the symptoms of depression manifested. I used to cry daily and became open about my suicidal ideation. I transitioned from being a “princess” to a “spoiled child.” What I had grown up believing would bring me happiness failed to align with my reality. I was confused, and this forced me to start asking questions. 

After talking with friends and professionals about my emotional state, I gained a better understanding of my reality. I discovered that I had grown up lacking affection and love, which as a result made me struggle with low self-esteem and anger. The void within me tormented me, and I desperately sought a way to fix it without knowing how. I realized that I couldn’t turn back time to change my past. Healing my inner child became my responsibility.

One evening in July, as I scrolled through Instagram before bed, an animation reel caught my attention. It depicted Jesus reciting the Romans 8:18 verse, which reads: “The pain that you have been feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.” As a Muslim at the time, I didn’t believe in Jesus, nor did I care to learn about Him. However, after reading that Bible verse, the pain in my chest, which was caused by prolonged stress, suddenly stopped. For the first time in years, I slept in peace.

In the following days, I started encountering individuals who would preach the gospel to me. All of a sudden, I felt it in my heart that everything that has ever happened in my life is a call for me to be Christian. 

Following my revelation, I gave up everything and converted. I lost my old lifestyle, family members and some friends. However, what I gained is far more valuable. I transitioned from feeling unworthy and being thirsty for love to knowing that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). The peace, love, and happiness I’ve experienced since discovering religion is deeper and stronger than the short-term pleasure you get from spending a weekend at Disneyland or buying a designer bag. 

Sometimes, the inner self requires more than what can be obtained physically, and no amount of money can compensate for the void within. In my journey toward healing, seeking faith has played a crucial role. 

Faith has provided me with a sense of purpose, a supportive community, and a connection to something greater than myself. It has become a source of strength, helping me address the wounds of my inner child and navigate through life’s challenges. Healing and restoring our happiness is a life-long journey, and I believe that this journey is unique for each individual.


Wishing you a considerate holiday season

The holidays have become the most wasteful and self-centered time of the year.

The Christmas lights went up earlier than usual at my house this year. We normally wait until the beginning of December, but the colours and warm lights felt like a hug amidst an exhausting November. While I’m a sucker for Halloween, I have to admit the holidays have a different kind of magic, a comforting one. Still, the activist in me is bothered by the extreme culture of consumerism and (ironically) individualism that the holidays inspire. 

Shades of green, red, blue and gold start replacing the purple and orange in the seasonal section of retail stores in mid-October. As people run from shop to shop for gifts and plastic decorations, I can’t help but wonder what makes the urge to participate in the commercial-Christmas culture so much stronger than the desire to be considerate of our environmental impact. 

Back in 2020, I interviewed a family friend who had been working for a few years on switching to a zero-waste lifestyle. Mélanie Major is a mother of four and is raising her children to be compassionate, kind, and aware of their impact. 

“When you decide to make the switch to zero waste, you notice the waste even more,” Major said. “You tell yourself, there just has to be a solution to all this.” 

Major shared some sustainability tips for the holidays, starting with reducing food waste. She eliminates as much meat as possible from her Christmas menu to reduce her environmental footprint. She also makes smaller quantities and turns her leftovers into new recipes to prevent waste. 

With Christmas inevitably comes panic shopping—or, as Major puts it, “buying a gift just for the sake of buying a gift.” She opts instead for more thoughtful gifts such as activity gift cards and passes, books by local authors, secondhand items, meals, and other handmade presents. 

Major didn’t switch out her old decorations for new sustainable ones—that would be counter-intuitive and wasteful. Instead, she decorates her tree with ornaments her mother attaches to their gifts every year and ornaments handmade by her kids. She also reuses old gift-wrapping materials and even wraps presents in towels, scarves and other textiles that can become part of the gift.

We should make decisions according to our values, rather than exhaust ourselves in trying to keep up with the commercial calendar. “When I first got pregnant, it just clicked,” Major said about her decision to go zero waste. “It’s nice to have a child, but what world do we want them to grow up in?” 

We share this world with nearly eight billion people and an estimated 20 quintillion (yes, it’s a word) animals. We are surrounded by beautiful and abundant life, which we pull a profit from with unjustified entitlement.

If the holidays are a time for kindness, they should also be a time to consider what we blissfully ignore and to reflect on the broader impact of our actions. 

You indirectly cast a vote with every decision you make to buy something—what do you encourage with every swipe of your credit card?

While the holiday season is a comfort to some, it can be a nightmare to others. I encourage you to be considerate not only of the environment, but also of your fellow human beings who are in need of love, kindness and support. I would even go further and urge you to not only do this for the holiday season, but to keep this mindset all year round in your breast pocket, right next to your heart.


Pro-Palestinian students blame mainstream media for biased coverage in Israel-Hamas war

Montreal students demand an end to unfair media coverage.

As the Israel-Hamas war continues to create polarized tensions, students in Montreal accuse the media of biased coverage and creating mistrust.

At a pro-Palestian march on Nov. 9, protesters directly targeted Radio Canada, TVA and CTV, all of whom were present. The protesters yelled: “Every time the media lies, neighborhoods in Gaza die. Shame on you!”

At the demonstration, a young woman half-masked by a red keffiyeh was surrounded by individuals holding “Jews say ceasefire now” and “Ending the genocide of the Palestinian people” signs, when she took the megaphone to denounce TVA Nouvelles. 

“They [TVA] said there were only Arabo-muslims yesterday,” she added, referring to the incident at Concordia the previous day. “Can I hear all the other nationalities and religions here?” The crowd replied: “Yes!”

The march occurred a day after the incident at Concordia’s Hall Building on Nov. 8. The aftermath of the incident caused tensions to rise on campus, as various media outlets attempted to accurately recount the beginning of the conflict through interviews.

The Concordia pro-Israel club StartUp Nation called out CBC’s latest article, promising to “release the truth about yesterday’s horrific events on Concordia campus.” 

According to a statement given to CBC, “Pro-Israel people came barging in and began screaming anti-Palestinian slogans and slurs at them.” This statement was denied by StartUp Nation. The group has since then published videos of the escalation on Instagram that contradict the statement given to the CBC.

During the protest, The Concordian spoke to various students from neighboring universities, to get their thoughts on the media coverage of events that ocurred over the past few days.

Karim, a UQAM student, deplored the polarizing angle of Canadian media stories. “The media are trying to show some sort of consent that Israel is right to do what they’re doing,” Karim said. “But people don’t believe them anymore. The information intensely flows through social media.”

Luz Montero, a UQAM student, held a painted portrait of Netanyahu with the word “infanticide” sprayed around his head. Montero said she stopped following mainstream media, instead getting information through alternative media. “The last thing I saw from CNN, I was like, ‘Oh my God, come on… Stop!,’” Montero said. “We are not ignorant, we know what’s happening there.”

David Derland-Beaupré, a Concordia student and member of La Riposte Socialiste, recounted challenging a Radio-Canada reporter about their support for either the pro- or anti-Israeli. “Where you don’t take sides, you take the side of those who oppress,” he told them. “So you have to expect that people don’t trust you anymore.”

Tara, a member of the Independent Jewish Voices at McGill, weighed in on the Nov. 8  incident at Concordia’s Hall building. “It’s really a horrific show of what divisive rhetoric can do, especially from university administrations that have a duty of care to protect all of their students rather than just a certain cohort,” Tara expressed. 

While Thursday’s protest was unfolding, the Canadian Jewish Advocacy (CJA) federation held a press conference to express safety concerns following two Jewish school gunshots that occurred overnight.

Yair Szlak, CEO of CJA, said that the pro-Palestinian protest was “salt in the wounds” of the Jewish community, as the demonstration was scheduled on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a Nazi assault against the Jews in 1938. “The poster that [the pro-Palestinian protesters] use shows the breaking of glass,” Szlak said. “‘Kristallnacht’ means the night of broken glass,” which represents antisemitism for the Jewish community.

During a press conference on Nov. 8, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed that Canada is indeed facing a rise in antisemitism, which instills fear in Canadians across the country.  

“We need to make sure that Canadians are doing what we do best, which is listening to our neighbors, understanding and acknowledging our neighbors’ pain, even though it may be diametrically opposed in its cause, to the same pain that we are feeling.”


The Challenges of Quebec’s Climate Activism

How student movements transformed the climate narrative in Quebec.

On Sept. 26, 2019, the streets of Montreal were flooded with colorful blue planet signs and urgent calls to action. Half a million people wearing blue and green makeup screamed, sang and danced to pressure the government to act against climate change.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg led the largest protest in Quebec history, with teenage activists as her bodyguards. “We held on by the hands, arms in hooks to form a circle around her. We were also in the middle of a procession of Indigenous delegations. That was special,” activist Albert Lalonde recalled.

Lalonde has been at the root of student-led climate activism in Montreal since 2019. Acting as Thunberg’s bodyguard on that sunny day represented the culmination of a year-long climate mobilization. 

“There was a kind of richness, a moment of collective education. There was an incredible force to that,” Lalonde recalled.

Half a million people attended this march. This year’s climate protest in September, led by the anti-capitalist group Rage Climatique, gathered only 1,500 protestors. 

In September 2019, half a million protesters took to the streets of Montreal to protest climate inaction. Photo by Kaitlynn Rodney / The Concordian
This September, 1,500 people attended the climate protest organized by the group Rage Climatique. Photo by Angie Isnel / The Concordian

In 2019, Lalonde co-founded La Coalition Étudiante pour un Virage Environnemental et Social (CEVES), a non-hierarchical group uniting climate activist groups across Quebec. The CEVES transcended the traditional normative structure of unions by organically rallying  individuals around the same values: acting quickly through direct actions and taking responsibilities for the environment.

For spring 2020, the CEVES had planned a full Transition Week strike to engage even more people.

And then, COVID-19 hit.

The uniting strength of the CEVES’s non-hierarchical structure became its weakness. Students couldn’t gather anymore, and the movement lost momentum. 

Last October, the CEVES in Montreal announced its dissolution.

That same month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the world is going in the wrong direction to keep global warming below a 1.5°C increase.

In November, the +2°C critical warning threshold was surpassed for the first time. A symbol, as states had sworn not to exceed the +2°C during the Paris Agreement in 2015. A federal audit also declared that Canada is not on track to meet the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan.

The COP28, which will take place at the end of November, will discuss the loss and damage created by the boiling era. This is a term recently used by the United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres, who said: “Global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.”

In light of these events, Louis Couillard, one of the first members of the group La Planète s’invite à l’Université, believes renewed mobilization is necessary. “The government sees that, in 2019, we were half a million in the street. Today there are maybe 3,000. We need to put pressure again,” he said.

La Planète s’invite à l’Université was created in early 2019, uniting students from Université de Montréal, McGill, Concordia and UQAM around a desire to act against climate change. 

Together, they urged their institutions to implement significant environmental measures, such as cutting fuel investments, implementing measures to cut methane and carbon emissions, and co-creating an awareness program about the climate crisis.

According to Couillard, these demands were ambitious. “Today, if you really look at it from a completely mathematical point of view, have our objectives been achieved? No,” he said. 

Before co-creating the CEVES, Albert Lalonde started school strikes and walk-out early 2019 through Pour Le Futur Mtl, which echoed Greta Thunberg’s worldwide movement, Fridays For Future. 

Lalonde felt that the government didn’t hear the warning sent by the student movement momentum, and that it instead used the call as a political recuperation. 

Lalonde cited the federal government’s “2 billion trees” program, which was recently criticized for skewing their calculations of the trees planted. According to Lalonde, this feeds into a pattern of governmental hypocrisy around environmental action.

“The government declared a climate emergency one day, yes, and voted to buy back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion the next day, within a 24-hour window,” they said.

Sebastien Jodoin, an environmental lawyer and professor at McGill, took part in the ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU) lawsuit against Canada in 2019, aiming to represent Quebecers under 35 who were directly impacted by the lack of government measures against the climate crisis. 

Two years later, the Quebec Court ruled against them. “It is a very disappointing decision,” Jodoin said. “It is contrary to everything we know from research, which shows the disproportionate impacts of climate change on young people.” Similar lawsuits are currently underway in Ontario.

Through successes and defeats, the student coalition ignited the environmental consciousness and deeply changed the media and political narrative. However, “this has become green economic development,” Couillard said. “That’s not at all how we wanted it to go.”

This “green economic development” is a greenwashing narrative that gives unearned environmental credit to political decisions and corporations. During the pandemic, La Planète s’invite à l’Université and the CEVES re-focused their messages toward criticism of capitalism and recognition of social issues.

Lalonde recounted the Gazoduc blockage in British-Columbia by the CEVES. “If there is no more propane supply because we block the trains, that’s a win,” Lalonde said. This event in co-mobilization with the Land Defenders Wet’suwet’en led to the Memorandum of Understanding signature that recognized and legalized the hereditary rights of Wet’suwet’en Chiefs in British-Columbia. 

That event was a significant turning point in the message of the CEVES. “We really wanted to bring the imperative of this transition outside of capitalism,” Lalonde said, explaining that climate justice cannot be discussed without social justice. “The communities most vulnerable to the system are those who suffer the most.”

Couillard, who is now working for Greenpeace, emphasized the importance of students remaining active and voicing their concerns through mobilization. His optimism goes to the Coalition de Résistance pour l’Unité Étudiante Syndicale (CRUES), an inter-university student union created this year with strong social and environmental values.

However, he believes environmental activists have to collaborate on a bigger scale, through three levels of mobilization: students clubs, civil unions and larger NGOs. He thinks that bigger NGOs have the responsibility to help Indigenous groups and student movements to gain knowledge and independence. 

Lalonde, now the communicator and events coordinator at David Suzuki Federation, learned from the successes and failures of the CEVES to create Horizon Commun. This project is slowly being launched after three years of incubation. It aims to empower regional communities, particularly Indigenous nations, with independent political structures. The initiative seeks to reshape social organization with climate-merging measures.

For environmental lawyer Jodoin, these social ideals aren’t realistic for the general society.

“Social change takes a lot of time, we don’t have that much time to solve the problem,” he said. 

Jodoin sees the climate dilemma in a more pragmatic way, where people have to act at the individual level through their own financial and physical capacities. For him, technology, geo-engineering projects or innovative businesses are part of the solution. Jodoin thinks anti-capitalist speeches and grassroot activism are important, but not enough. “It will continue to play its role, but there are other initiatives that must be developed at the same time.”

Interview Music

Concordia artist Vikki Gilmore discusses her album Mental Backroads and its launch in Montreal

A chat with Gilmore about her debut folk album and a preview of its celebration launch event planned for Dec. 10. 

Following the recent release of her debut album Mental Backroads on Oct. 20, child studies MA Concordia student and music artist Vikki Gilmore discusses the making of the project and gives insight on her upcoming album launch event on Dec. 10 at Le Ministère in Montreal. 

The local artist was born and raised in the city and has been involved with music since high school. Gilmore taught herself how to play acoustic guitar around the age of 16 so she could accompany her poetry with music. She’s gone from school talent shows to doing gigs around Montreal during her time at university. 

The musician has been writing songs for years and said that finally coming out with an album is “a lifelong dream and it means the world to me.” Gilmore’s intention was to tell life stories that others can connect with, namely discussing family, friends, love, nostalgia, grief and mental health. 

Mental Backroads is meant to take the listener on a metaphorical and literal road trip through their mind. Its songs weave a story with stories from her personal experience that she hopes are relatable to others. The main message is about being patient with yourself during any new journey one embarks on. 

Gilmore describes her music as Indie-folk soup for the soul that could be mistaken for the soundtrack of Gilmore Girls. Her sound ranges from twangy folk to alternative pop/rock and is great for fans of Phoebe Bridgers, Daughter, boygenius, Lizzy McAlpine and Joni Mitchell. The artist also takes care in connecting what she’s learned from her background in psychology to her lyrics. The classes and her involvement and interest in the subject have deeply influenced how she conveys her emotions and ideas. She’s able to relate them efficiently through words with ease and connection via her knowledge of psychology.

Gilmore said the creation of her debut indie-folk album has been the most exhilarating and difficult part of her music career. “Releasing it independently has taken a lot of dedication, spending most of my nights planning promo, filming music videos with friends, doing my own PR, planning finances, and more,” she said. 

Having to write, record, plan a release, plan the promo, and then plan live shows was the same process as previous EP releases, but she said that completing an eight-song album involved difficult mental aspects and financial commitment. The scale this time was completely different. Gilmore also never creates music with profit in mind and therefore always writes from the heart. Most of the songs on this album took between 20 minutes and an hour of writing, while the album’s production process took months, “but the writing just flows,” she said. 

Vikki Gilmore shared that her writing process is therapeutic. The Montreal singer doesn’t adopt any particular habit while writing but notes that it helps her process difficult emotions, which is a habit she’s developed over the years. Notably, the song “Pieces in the Black” came from a time when she was navigating a deep sadness and wanted to write something she could listen back to in the future.

For this project, Gilmore collaborated with a few Canadian-based producers. Her longtime collaborator Mathieu LeGuerrier mixed and produced the majority of the songs. Jacob Liutkus produced “If I Wrote You”, and “Stranded” was produced by Gert Taberner. “It was really cool to work with a variety of producers and you can probably hear hints of each of their production styles in the different songs,” she said. 

Gilmore brainstormed the idea of a road trip and postcard aesthetic to match the theme of the music. Tyler Piechota designed it to depict vintage scenic postcards in Colorado, “which has become one of my favourite places in the world,” Gilmore shared. The physical design of the vinyl version is a postcard with a guide map as the insert. “The visuals are cohesive and match perfectly with the sound to support painting a picture of travelling through life and the experiences and growth that come with exploring ourselves and the world,” she said. 

Gilmore hopes that this project is a warm hug to whoever needs it. Like a lullaby from the moon when you can’t sleep at night, plagued with fears of abandonment, wondering about the people you lost touch with, thinking of the people that have passed on, and reflecting on life with kindness for the previous versions of yourself. Gilmore especially learned about resilience and self-love during the creation of Mental Backroads. “In an era of streaming and social media, it can be hard comparing yourself to others,” she added.  

The album launch on Dec. 10 at Le Ministère promises to be beautiful, with twinkling lights, a guitarist and a drummer to support Gilmore on stage. It will be her first live show since the pandemic and she is beyond eager to connect with other music fans during the evening. There will be performances of songs from Mental Backroads with some older songs and possibly some surprise ones. The night will start with Callahan and the Woodpile performing a solo acoustic act to set the stage for an indie-folk cozy night out. If you’re looking for an excuse to discover some new music, get dressed up, and have a night out on the town, stop by!

Arts Arts and Culture Exhibit

Cruel to be Kind/ Les plus beaux cauchemars: A reflection on women’s condition

Montreal artists use colours and various mediums to create a dream-like exhibition.

Jeanie Riddle and Delphine Hennelly, two Montreal-based painters, have taken over the Outremont Art Gallery from Nov. 8 until Jan. 7. The room hosting the artists’ exhibition, which is located inside the neighbourhood’s library, has undergone a complete transformation in order to showcase both women’s work. 

Jeanie Riddle completed her MFA in painting from Concordia in 2005. Her portfolio includes acrylic paintings on canvas and on paper, as well as sculptures made of various fabrics. Delphine Hennelly, for her part,  tends to make artwork which “addresses the human condition and prescribed gender roles,” according to her biography on the website of the Huxley-Parlour Gallery in London where her work was shown in February 2023. 

The gallery walls are covered in Riddle’s and Hennelly’s vivid artwork, and on top of the paint are hung portraits and pieces of their collection. The exhibition is called Cruel to be Kind or Les plus beaux cauchemars, which translates to “the most beautiful nightmares.”  This title feels very appropriate—upon entering the room, an aura of alternate reality becomes overwhelming, as if pacing inside a colourful dream. 

Cruel to be Kind exhibition at Outremont Art Gallery. Photo by Maya Ruel / The Concordian.

All in tones of pastel, the artwork presented at the gallery varies greatly in style from one piece to another. Riddle and Hennelly’s artistic styles and chosen mediums are very different. 

Hennelly finds much inspiration in art history and tapestries. She mostly creates vivid portraits which, even though she allows herself much creative freedom and steers away from realism, are still somewhat figurative. Women figures (though some have green skin) and outlines of human figures are easily distinguishable in her art. . 

Riddle’s artwork, in contrast, is much more abstract. She paints colorful shapes and uses fabric, such as scrunched up latex, to create unique pieces which could be associated with clouds. There are also a few pieces displayed in the middle of the room which resemble bags and have been dyed in tones of pastel. 

The encounter between both styles could have been difficult to digest, but somehow the artists’ work complete one another and are entangled brilliantly.

Cruel to be Kind is an exhibition with strong feminist undertones. All the human figures painted on the walls are women, and they are either smiling, holding the hand of a child, wearing hats and dresses, or are completely naked. 

Painting by Delphine Hennelly. Photo by Maya Ruel / The Concordian.

A painting hung on one of the walls has been created with only a few strokes of blue acrylic paint accompanied by a yellow line which has a shape of breasts. Another painting shows a woman, all dressed-up, holding a handkerchief to her face—alluding to the hardships of living in a patriarchal society. The antitheses in the title, “cruel” and “kind,” or in French, “beautiful” and “nightmare,”  correlate with the way women are treated and depicted in society—“both desired and despised,”  as per the artists. The colours used in the artwork are light and vibrant and give a pure feeling of femininity:  lots of warm pink, purple, light blue, and yellow.


Designed by Hip-Hop

How hip-hop culture is informing the artistic works of Concordia students Mariam Sy and Jaden Warren.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. Since its inception, the genre has ushered in several crops of new artists who have allowed for multiple generations to carry hip-hop through five decades. 

With the rise of several rappers also came their entrepreneurial ventures: big names such as Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West have made business moves in every domain from fashion and film to artwork and beverages. In permeating various spheres and artistic fields within the mainstream, hip-hop has created a trickle-down effect that continues to inspire today’s youth.

Mariam Sy is a communications student and filmmaker heavily inspired by Tyler, The Creator. She became enamoured with his music upon discovering it in her early teens and further gravitated toward him because of his other career ventures. 

The California rapper is a filmmaker, fashion designer and entrepreneur who directs his own music videos, owns the streetwear brand Golf Wang, and hosts an annual music festival in California called the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival (est. 2012). This essentially opened Sy’s eyes to the idea of branching out: “You don’t have to be labelled as one act—you can be a multidisciplinary one.” This is what inspired her idea for a collective titled “LES ENFANTS.”

Sy has released numerous short films to her Vimeo account, many of which are directly inspired by the music and visuals of artists like Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z (see “HURT”). She sees the throughline between hip-hop and cinema as natural. “They both draw from human experiences and emotions,” she said. “They weave a cultural fabric that mirrors and influences the stories of our current society and those to come.” She believes hip-hop’s wide crossover appeal is the result of it not strictly being a musical genre, but rather a culture gathering a multitude of themes and ideas that can apply to masses of people. 

Design student Jaden Warren also sees hip-hop as boundless, bigger than music. For him, it is a convergence of various subcultures and niches including youth culture, skateboarding, streetwear, high fashion, and more. His personal style and projects are directly inspired by rappers who welded fashion and hip-hop together like A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti and Kanye West. Warren proclaims that “all hip-hop musicians wanna look fly,” and prides himself on helping artists bring a specific vision or style to life. This is evident in his work with local rappers: he designed a custom “4EVERYOUTH” jacket for KeBenjii! and curated the visual aesthetic for Justin Tatone’s BANE & BLESSING album, inspired by vintage fashion and Balenciaga’s creative director Demna. 

Warren believes that hip-hop crosses over easily into other domains because it is a form of artistic expression. He also cites designer Virgil Abloh as a primary influence, given Abloh’s extensive work within the hip-hop sphere and ascension in the fashion realm, most notably becoming the creative director at Louis Vuitton before his tragic passing in 2021.

Abloh’s success story as a Ghanaian-American man in fashion has inspired Warren’s mission statement: “I want to show Black kids that it’s cool to be creative.” Above all, the Concordia student is motivated by his youthful approach to creating, which is centred around simply having fun and feeling like a kid. 
The young designer’s most prolific work to date has been his clothing project “I can’t buy love so I buy clothes.” However, like hip-hop, he refuses to be bound to one field or title. As he puts it, he just likes to create stuff. The brand’s latest iteration is set to be revealed in his upcoming drop, set for release on Dec. 1 via @assassinsvizualz on Instagram.

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