News Photo Essay

Picketers lead ‘shame convoy’ with Legault mannequin

Photos from Thursday: ‘Shame Convoy’

Photos from Wednesday: Classroom picketing


Concordia closed for two weeks due to COVID-19

François Legault announced a two-week closure for all schools and daycares in the province.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising in the province and around the world, the Quebec government announced that schools, CEGEPS, universities and daycares will close for at least two weeks.

This came as a relief for Montreal school boards as the previous measures set by the government were practically impossible, said Antoine El Khoury, general director of the Pointe-de-l’Île school board. The government suggested to close down schools from Friday to Sunday as they discussed alternative measures and that all gatherings of more than 250 people be cancelled.

“We have high schools with 2,000 to 3,000 students that need to have lunch,” said El Khoury. “We thought of dividing lunchtime, but that would mean up to eight different time slots. That’s impossible.”

Some teachers announced on Thursday they would not teach for the time being by fear of contracting the virus. “We can’t oblige them to come to school either,” said El Khoury. “We’re also in the middle of a labour shortage, so finding personnel is an issue.”

Horacio Arruda, director of public health at MSSS Quebec, said in a press conference that children are not at risk of the virus and that this closure is to reduce the risk of transmission.

There are 17 confirmed cases in Quebec thus far, and more than 250 under investigation.

Daycare services will be offered for children with parents in the public service domain, namely police officers and health care professionals. School boards have yet to decide which schools will remain open to accommodate these parents.

Parents outside this sector will have to find alternatives for their children.  El Khoury has said that the government has stressed that companies let their employers work from home to take care of their children.

Legault also warned parents that although this decision might inconvenience many, it is necessary to limit the spread of the virus.

Schools are tentatively expected to reopen on March 30. For now, school boards are not worried about catching up on school material.

“The same happened during the ice storm of 1998 and that was not an issue,” said El Khoury. “We are worried that the period might be extended. Then, we might have issues catching up.”

Although he’s not worried about elementary and high schools, El Khoury still believes CEGEPS and universities might have a hard time since their semesters are shorter, and have more material to cover.

A new telephone number was issued after Santé Québec’s 811 received an overwhelming number of calls yesterday. Quebecers can now call 1-877-644-4545 for more information.

Legault also confirmed that daily press conferences are to be expected in order to maintain communication and provide the population with up-to-date information.


Photo by Alex Hutchins


POLI SAVVY: New Year, New Weed but the same old mentality

The new year brought new regulations surrounding cannabis consumption in Quebec.

In order to circulate the information, the government recently released an ad, in which you see two men, a younger and older one, about to smoke a joint. An off-camera voice interrupts them just as they are about to light it up, informing them that the law has changed and that you now have to be 21 to legally consume weed.

Then, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo! The joint disappeared from the youngest’s hand, who then shrugs his shoulders, candidly smiles and casually leaves. The desire to smoke just simply goes away, because “it’s against the law.”

Tell me, do you know anyone under 21, especially in a country where specific drugs are legal, who would simply agree to give up their drugs because now “it’s the law”?

What Premier François Legault seems to have missed with these new regulations targeting the younger generation is that before the legalization, kids were smoking and they will continue to do so, even if the law has been changed.

What they will do now is turn to a product that they don’t know the contents of, how it got produced and what it will help finance. It goes against the very purpose of weed legalization.

Legalization was meant to control and provide a safe product, to reduce addiction, fight off the black market, and protect our kids. Additionally, it allowed families to bring up the subject and include everyone at the table.

The ad perfectly showcases another problem in our society, which shows how we expect parents to silence the subject to simply make it go away.

Once again, Legault shows a deeply toxic boomer mentality where patronization replaces education. Our society considers people as adults at 18 years old — you can drink at 18 — but Lord helps us, one cannot touch marijuana until they are 21.

But don’t worry, the joint will magically disappear and no one will need to talk about the reasoning behind such a decision.


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Poli Savvy: What’s the CAQ doing with weed and how does it impact you?

If you live under a rock or never toke up, then you might not have heard that the legal age for cannabis consumption will be raised from 18 to 21 on the first day of the new year.

The law will also ban the public consumption of cannabis. I guess that means you won’t be able to enjoy your joint on your way to the nearest munchies. This law is meant to regulate the number of young consumers and their vulnerability to the drug.

Another law that has stirred some controversy is the values test aimed at immigrants heading to the province. Premier François Legault said he thinks “it’s important if somebody wants to come and live in Quebec, to know that, for example, women are equal to men.”

Were you thinking of applying to move here permanently? Well, just make sure you have “aligned values.” But does a government that takes away the right for women to wear a hijab at their place of work believe women are equal to men?

Bill 21 has been heavily criticized for being a blatant form of discrimination, aimed mainly at women. It bans teachers, police officers and judges from wearing religious symbols at work. CBC News reported Prime Minister Trudeau saying the law is “unfair, unequal treatment [and] state-sponsored, systemic oppression.”

What does this mean for Canada? Well, it’s not as though Trudeau was rushing to fix these forms of systemic racism in the country. In fact, the CBC reported one of his priorities “is going to be on responding to [frustrations with the economic challenges], the way we’re going to be working to make life more affordable for all Canadians.” I guess he’s going to be prioritizing the oil and natural gas sector.

Also, if you were hoping your vote towards Canada’s favourite costume boy was for climate action, you have been pranked.


Graphic by Victoria Blair



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