Arts Arts and Culture Student Life

Artist Spotlight: India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner is a Black bi-racial artist, writer, curator and cultural worker from  Montreal. She is currently completing her BFA in Art History and Studio Arts at Concordia  University.

India-Lynn has previously had her writing published in the FOFA Gallery’s Undergraduate Student Exhibition Journal (USE) 2021. Most recently, her work has been shown at Fais-moi l’art gallery in May 2023 in a co-curated exhibition called “Tenderly Reminiscing.” India-Lynn was also a  facilitator/curator for the 2022 Art Matters Festival. She was the artistic and community alliances coordinator at La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse throughout 2022, producing La Centrale’s first digital publication, “[espace variable | placeholder]”. She is now a happy librarian and admin/finance coordinator at the Fine Arts Reading Room of Concordia University.

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree. Photo by BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner

I walked around downtown Montreal with a small tree (money plant) in my backpack, and wore plant netting and gardening gloves. It is a commentary on urban planning and its lack of care for trees, reinserting them into cities for aesthetics rather than for their true purpose. I’m employing a playful take on the commodification of nature, asking what it means when I become a tree and wear nature as an accessory. 

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner
India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree. Photo by BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner
India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, Performative Tree. Photo by BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner

Gaelic football: From Ireland to Quebec, it’s just a kick away!

This older variation of football is played by a Concordia club.

Football dates back many centuries and has since grown in different directions, developing different codes and rules. The commonality: using the foot to kick the ball into a goal to score points. The variation: the method of carrying said ball, regardless of its shape.

The two more popular codes among North Americans are association football (soccer) and American football, but there are many more variations across the world. For instance, rugby originated at Rugby College in the United Kingdom and branches out into two rule sets: rugby union and rugby league. Australian rules for football exist as well. However, the lesser-known Gaelic football, also known as Irish football, is less common, but certainly no less interesting. 

Gaelic football dates back to 19th century County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. It was part of a collection of Sunday field sports played after church, which were called “caid,”directly translating into English as “stuffed ball.” The Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA) was formed in 1884 and included camogie, hurling, Gaelic handball and rounders.

At first glance, the sport seems like a hybrid of rugby and soccer, as players can carry the ball with their hands and kick the ball through two upright posts. However, these posts are an extension of a net in front of which a goalkeeper is positioned. The pace of play is noticeably quicker.

To play the ball, a player is allowed to carry it, but not for more than four steps or for the time it takes to move four steps. At that point, they have three options: dribble the ball once (like in basketball) before taking another four steps and then dribbling with their feet (like in soccer), dribble right away with their feet, kick the ball up to themselves (imagine doing soccer kick-ups while running). To pass the ball to a teammate, a player must either punch the ball or kick it. Throwing is illegal, except for the goalkeeper, as in soccer, unless they exit their parallelogram (equivalent to the 18-yard box). 

A goal is scored by kicking the ball into the net. This counts for three points. One point is scored when the ball passes over the crossbar and through the uprights.

The game is certainly accessible. Montreal has a Gaelic Athletics Club (GAC), the Shamrocks, which breaks up into an internal super league in the winter and plays in the Stinger Dome every Saturday evening. 

The Montreal Shamrocks participate in national tournaments in the spring and summertime, including the Eastern Canadian Championships, where over 200 players participate in GAA sports, as well as the Montreal May tournament, where the Shamrocks host teams from Canada and upstate New York over the Victoria Day weekend.

For Gaelic football played in Ireland, the pitch is almost twice the size of a soccer field with 15 players on each side. The Shamrocks, however, play nine-a-side on a regulation soccer pitch in the summertime, and seven-a-side in the Stinger Dome for their winter internal super league.

“It’s tough to get used to a much faster play,” said Conor McAuley, who moved to Montreal from Belfast only two weeks prior to speaking with The Concordian. “[The seven-a-side] is a lot of running back and forth, as opposed to full pitch, which is a bit of a slower play.” The newcomer is looking forward to playing for the Shamrocks in the summer.

Our university is represented by the Concordia Warriors in both men’s and women’s. The super league consists of four men’s teams and an ever-expanding women’s division, which has just added a fifth team at the beginning of this winter season. Two years ago, there were only three women’s teams.

“The Super League was a way to get everybody playing regular games,” women’s Shamrocks coach Paddy Mahon said. “It’s a useful development tool as well. It helps people develop their skills. It’s not non competitive, but it’s not as competitive as playing for the Shamrocks.”

Most importantly, the game is easy to pick up. For anyone experienced in playing ball sports, all it takes is the desire to play. “There are a lot of ex-rugby players, a lot of soccer players that have joined,” Shamrocks treasurer and JMSB graduate Corey Crawford said. “It’s great to see and especially on the women’s side, it’s a lot more locals that are taking up the sport.” According to coach Mahon, there aren’t any players from Ireland on his team. 

Gaelic football’s popularity is growing in leaps and bounds, as nearly one hundred people attended the season’s opening day to try it out. It’s refreshing to see such a large crowd hold such enthusiasm for their sport, and even more so within Concordia.

Arts Arts and Culture Community Student Life

This week’s opportunities for fine arts students

Looking to start building up your CV? Check out these upcoming opportunities for emerging artists, including callouts, job listings, networking events and more!


Éric Lamontagne’s “The nature of silent things” is currently on view at Art Mûr (5826, rue St-Hubert), and will be ongoing until Feb. 24. Lamontagne’s careful interventions into the surface of his landscape paintings raise some interesting questions regarding the nature of a painting as a mutable object.

OBORO gallery is currently showing “Disobedient Matter” as part of the second edition of Af-flux, Biennale transnationale noire. The group show was curated by Olivier Marboeuf and will be installed until March 16.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, the McCord Stewart museum will be hosting a fashion show, co-curated by Armando Perla, chief curator at the Textile Museum of Canada, and Jason Baerg, multidisciplinary Métis artist and Indigenous futurist, titled “kisewâtisiw myootootow—S/he is Mercifully.” The show will take place throughout the museum’s galleries and will highlight and celebrate Indigenous creativity. Tickets are only $5 for students and free for members of Indigenous communities! 

Open Calls

The Mile End’s Gallery Diagonale is inviting curators, artists and theorists to submit their work for the gallery’s 2025-2026 programming. They are particularly interested in projects concerned with fibres. Submissions will be open until Feb. 29. Learn more about their guidelines on their website here

C Magazine has issued an invitation for its readers to submit 100-400-word letters to the editor in response to their most recent publication, issue 156 “CRAFT.” Letters that are selected will be published in the next issue coming out in the spring, and will earn a $100 honorarium. Send your letters to by Feb. 25.

The call for applications for the Summer 2024 Concordia Undergraduate Student Research Awards (CUSRA) has been announced! The award, worth $8,120 for 15 weeks of full-time research, is meant to provide students with the opportunity to spend their summer working on a project supervised by a full-time faculty member. The deadline to submit your application materials is Feb. 26, and you can find more information here.

Opportunities at The Concordian!

Want to see your artwork featured in the paper? Submit to the Concordian Arts & Culture section! Our artist spotlight series provides a space for Concordia’s fine arts students to showcase their recent artwork. Send your poetry, photography, digital art, films, or documentation of physical works or performances along with a brief biography (100 words) and an artist’s statement (250 words) to for a chance to be featured in print! 

Are you a graphic designer or illustrator? We are looking for artists to create original illustrations to accompany our creative writing submissions. If you are interested in illustrating poetry, prose, short fiction and creative nonfiction, please submit up to five examples of your work to to be considered for assignments.

Email our Arts & Culture Editor Emma Bell for more information at


Confessions of a parking ticket fugitive

How I was thwarted again by Montreal parking!

My car was stolen. 

I stood in the spot where my car had been, wondering how I would get to the West Island in time for brunch (behold, the most insufferable phrase I’ve ever written).  But wait—what was that just down the street? My car gleamed on the horizon, parked on Saint-Laurent as if it had been dropped down by a spaceship that got bored of the abduction mission. So it had been towed! And charged $186 for the honour—happy Thursday to me.

But why? The signs said I could be in my spot until Friday—or so I thought. New rules had changed the game overnight in the form of bright orange signs that had seemingly spawned out of nowhere and announced, “Gotcha!” Just the latest addition to a saga of suffering. Anyone who has ever tried to park, let alone drive in the city, will tell you that it verges on impossible. And who is to blame for all these problems? My arch nemesis: the Montreal parking police. 

The case of me versus the MPP (an acronym that I just made up) has been an ongoing battle, defined by endless tactics of evasion followed by endless consequences. Many a brain cell has withered away as I have attempted to decipher parking signs in my search for salvation. Can you blame me for always parking where I shouldn’t? The signs are written in an extraterrestrial dialect and resemble a cruel Terms & Conditions Agreement. You may occupy this spot, Earthling, but only on the full moon that lands on a Tuesday, and only if you drive a red Honda. 

I would cruise around for up to an hour sometimes, searching for a spot like a hawk preying on mice. I felt like a fugitive of the law on these mornings spent outrunning the parking police, my Tracy Chapman CD as the soundtrack to my smooth escapades. If you ask me, there’s a certain romantic tension between me and the MPP. An enemies-to-lovers trope, some might say. 

It’s all fun and games until reality bites though. I have been informed by numerous parties that you actually have to pay parking tickets. What do you mean I can’t just use them as lightly-humorous wall decor? My parking ticket art installation is only just getting started. This is almost as shocking as the time my friend hit me with a stern “you know, Emma, you actually do need to pay your taxes.” Just like my days of tax-evading were brought to a bitter end, the law will catch up to me again. 

But let’s have a moment of seriousness—who’s actually in the right? This time I can argue that they did me dirty (my roommate later told me she had seen them putting up the new orange signs at dawn, those sneaks), but all the other times…I’ll admit where I’m wrong. Montreal parking is a royal pain, but maybe parking shouldn’t be easy—that will incentivize fewer people to drive cars. (I really am anti-car, I swear. Up until last year I swore that I would bike everywhere for the rest of my life. Well, I folded. When your family lives in freaking Ste-Agathe, you do what you gotta do.) 

I suppose I really could just ditch the car, though, or learn the language of parking signs. But where’s the fun in that? Maybe I like the thrill of the chase. 


The Hive takes action following Provigo scandal

The Hive’s most recent steps to reduce the gap between affordable food and accessibility on campus.

On Jan. 13, Provigo announced they’ll no longer be offering 50 percent off for soon-to-expire foods, but rather 30 percent, causing public outrage across the country. Then, on Friday Jan. 19, the big food chain reversed their decision. 

Following these two confusing and controversial weeks at Provigo, The Hive is offering all students access to food without any financial barriers through their bi-annual grocery program, which is an expansion of the Hive’s Free Lunch and Breakfast program.

Alanna Silver, the Hive’s Free Lunch program coordinator, is frustrated that big food chains aren’t taking concrete action to better manage their food prices. 

“[Big grocers] are making this huge amount of profit while everyone else is really struggling and it shouldn’t be like that in a country that’s as developed as we are,” Silver said.

Sliver started the Hive’s bi-annual grocery program in December 2021 for students who cannot afford groceries at other food chains. The grocery program uses donations from food banks, their community fridge and ‘Enough,’ a waste sorting education company that also tries to reduce food waste. These donations provide canned goods, gluten-free options, fresh produce, halal, kosher and vegan options. This year, Silver expanded the grocery program by providing menstrual products, toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

Any student who picks up groceries from the program does not have to pay for what they buy, which is something Silver advocated for when she started the program.

“[Students] should never have to choose between paying tuition, paying for your textbooks, and paying for your meals—that should never have to be a choice,” Silver said. 

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, heard rumors about the announcement in December. He contacted Loblaws two weeks ago to confirm the rumor and later published the news on social media. Loblaws’ reason to reduce their discount was to match their competitors. “It was really the earmark of a really major PR crisis for Loblaws. Because you dealt with food affordability, food waste,” Charlebois said. 

According to the 2023 Canada Food Price report, the food prices forecast predicted that costs would rise by five to seven per cent. Charlebois confirmed that the housing crisis plays a big role in affordability. He believes that the big grocer wanted to limit how they were using their discounts. 

“People are forced to spend more to make sure they keep a roof over their heads, so they have less money to spend at the grocery store,” Charlebois said. “My guess is that Loblaws saw a lot of their demand shift towards these discounted products and they wanted to stop that. They wanted to protect margins as much as possible.”

Sylvain hopes that other large food markets such as Metro, IGA and Sobeys will see Loblaw’s discount charge as an opportunity to revisit their own discount numbers for their consumers. 

Matteo Di Giovanni, a second-year film production student, not only noticed the change in prices, but also the quantity of food in the packaging. As someone who’s celiac, Di Giovanni deals with expensive prices already with gluten-free products—now he’s facing the reduction of the quantity he’s getting.

“I’m not surprised,” Di Giovanni said. “It just sucks that I’m paying the same price for less food and I’m already paying a lot for gluten-free, so it’s a bit disappointing.”

Even though his parents do most of the groceries, he still worries about food affordability in the future. 

“When I start being more financially independent, it’s going to have a bigger toll on my spending and it’s kind of sucky, everything on top of just regular inflation,” Di Giovanni said.

Di Giovanni recently changed his diet over the break; he started going to the grocery store with his parents to pick out which products will be accessible and better for his diet. As worried as he is about his future with groceries, he’s already asking himself the right questions while he’s at the store. 

While big grocery stores are causing anxiety amongst students and other consumers, The Hive is one of the many organizations at Concordia that are providing relief in the university community.

The Hive believes in providing nutritional, healthy, and diverse meals for everyone to perform better in their studies and not worry about their next grocery bill. “Feeding people is our love language,” Silver said. 

Silver plans to continue the bi-annual grocery program for many years to come and encourage food education towards students.

Concert Reviews Music

Armand Hammer sells out Bar Le Ritz PDB

One of underground hip-hop’s finest duos returns to Montreal.

On Jan. 20, billy woods and ELUCID made their return to Montreal. Known together as Armand Hammer, the New York rappers kicked off the second leg of their tour in support of their latest album We Buy Diabetic Test Strips at Bar Le Ritz PDB on Jean-Talon Ouest Street. 

The rappers played a sold-out show for a packed crowd that easily hit the bar’s 300-person capacity. At the start of the show, they announced that it was their first show of the year, prompting an enthusiastic crowd reaction. The room was dimly lit by a few red spotlights, setting a true underground feel. 

The show officially kicked off with songs from We Buy Diabetic Test Strips. Hearing these tracks gave weight to woods’ claim about the sound system: from the looming low-end on “The Unreliable Flexibility of Space and Time” to the brash, abrasive cymbal crashes throughout “Trauma Mic,” the sound quality was pristine. woods had previously played at the venue twice in 2022, including once as Armand Hammer. “I know that the subwoofer in this venue is crazy,” woods shared with the crowd. 

Armand Hammer’s albums are skillful displays of lyricism, and their live shows are no different. Both MCs rapped every word without missing a beat, and their lyrical performances were enhanced by their compelling deliveries. ELUCID swayed along to the beat while perfectly delivering his signature, unorthodox flow, which is scattered yet perfectly linear. Meanwhile, woods’ delivery was bold and compelling, occasionally bordering on yelling. 

Every bar was razor-sharp, and the sheer power of his voice commanded full attention. The onstage chemistry between them was undeniable, like any other show: they ad-libbed in synchrony, and their back-and-forth repetition during the end of tracks made their choruses feel like mantras.

From the psychedelic haziness of “Landlines” and “Woke Up and Asked Siri How I’m Gonna Die,” to the underground rumble of “Blocked Call” and “The Key is Under The Mat,” the tracks perfectly showcased the sonic versatility that made Hammer’s latest album so unique and enticing. 

Fans were also treated to songs from all across woods’ and ELUCID’s joint and solo catalogues. ELUCID performed “Spellling” and “Mangosteen” from his 2022 album I Told Bessie, both of which had guitar-esque twangs ringing out beautifully over the speakers. woods dove into Hiding Places (with Kenny Segal), a classic among underground rap fans for its harrowing nature. Its tracks made for some of the night’s best performances: “Checkpoints” was ridden with strong emotion, and the hook on “Spongebob”—his most popular song—made for the strongest call-and-response from the crowd. 

The pair also threw in two of their most widely known songs with Earl Sweatshirt, “Falling out the Sky” and “Tabula Rasa.” They wrapped things up with “Stonefruit” from Haram (2021), just like their 2022 show at Bar Le Ritz PDB.

Throughout the show, the MCs showed a strong connection with fans. They raised the volume twice to the crowd’s liking and stuck around after the show to sell merch and sign records. The artists who truly love their art are the same ones willing to lug around stacks of vinyl in their suitcases and take Ubers to shows. Between captivating, unparalleled music, compelling live performances, and one-on-one conversation opportunities, Armand Hammer are truly for the fans.


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.”

Concordia Student Union News

CSU holds its fall by-elections debate

The CSU’s fall by-elections debate focused on tuition hikes and student engagement.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) held its fall by-elections debate on the seventh floor of the Hall building, where referendum committees and CSU council seat candidates were given the chance to present their platforms to students.

Students will be able to vote for campaigns such as Dave Plant’s advocacy of not renewing Concordia’s 2026 contract with Aramark, Kendra Downe’s promotion of anti-colonial solidarity with Palestine, and the Kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers, Giancarlo Laurieri’s pledge of enhancing student accessibility to CSU services, and Ryan Assaker’s intention of establishing a solid push back against tuition hikes.

These four council seat candidates were in attendance along with one referendum committee member. The candidates discussed issues such as the Coalition Avenir Québec’s (CAQ) tuition hike for out-of-province students and the disconnect between the CSU and Concordia’s student body during the debate.

“The CSU is looked upon as this demagogical society that exists above the student body when, in reality, the CSU is the representation of the students’ thoughts as a unified thought,” said Laurieri.

Laurieri proposed that the council get more involved in student media so that students could be more informed about what the CSU is doing. He also suggested that the union establish public Q&A events to give students more opportunities to bring up their concerns to the council. 

“A lot of people don’t know that the CSU is reaching out to fight against the tuition hikes, or that this source is available for students to use,” he said.

Concordia President Graham Carr stated on Tuesday that the university could lose up to 90 per cent of its out-of-province enrollment due to the tuition hikes. As the policy threatens implementation, the CAQ maintains that it’s aimed at protecting the French language by limiting the number of anglophone students in Quebec.

Students, however, feel differently. “It’s not a question about protecting the language, it’s a question about abusing the students. There are better ways of protecting the French language” said Assaker.

At the debate, referendum committee member The Link’s editor-in-chief Zachary Fortier, presented The Link’s fee levy increase campaign to increase funding to the student newspaper. The campaign asks to raise the current fee of 19 cents per credit to 40 cents, in order to meet inflation.

“Investing in The Link is investing into student life, and making sure there’s a dynamic and prospering community that gets amplified to the -nth degree,” said Fortier. “We’re a necessary presence on campus. I have a deep fear that we’ll cease to exist if we cannot make enough money to pay people a livable wage.”

Fortier highlighted the importance of the student newspaper’s coverage history, like giving Palestinian students a voice during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2002 visit to Montreal. “The Link has always been a place of advocacy for underrepresented students to have a voice,” he said. 

The CSU by-elections campaigning phase will end on Nov. 6, and students can cast their ballot from Nov. 7 to Nov. 9.

Briefs News

A union referendum for Concordia’s TAs and RAs

A secret ballot, open until Nov. 13, opposes TRAC and CREW.

Graphic by Carleen Loney / The Concordian

After a months-long battle in the courts and on social media, TRAC and CREW have gone silent to allow Concordia’s teaching and research assistants to vote, determining once and for all which union they want to be represented by. 

Between Oct. 23 and Nov. 13 at 8 a.m., some of Concordia’s teaching assistants (TAs) and research assistants (RAs) will have access to an online ballot in which they can decide which union will represent them. 

The battle between the two unions started last March, when the Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia Union’s (TRAC) executive team resigned to form the Concordia Research and Education Workers Union (CREW). They claimed that TRAC’s parent union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), made it impossible for them to get the gains they wanted in their negotiations with Concordia University.

By April 3, the end of the campaigning period determined by a legal deadline established in TRAC’s Collective Agreement, CREW had gathered 1,700 memberships out of Concordia’s 2,100 TAs and RAs, according to court documents. 

However, it turned out that TRAC’s Collective Agreement had never been filed to the Tribunal Administratif du Travail (TAT). This gave TRAC the chance to re-file their membership list over the summer, allowing it to remain the standing union for TAs and RAs. 

Instead of turning to a lengthy legal proceeding to entangle the validity of these memberships, TRAC and CREW are moving to a secret ballot to act as a tie-breaker between the unions. The vote will end on Nov. 13 at 8 a.m., after which the chosen union will be able to negotiate with Concordia for a new collective agreement. 

The eligible TAs and RAs have received an email from TAT with instructions on how to vote for their preferred union. 

For more information on TRAC and CREW’s legal battle this summer, read our article here

To find out more about each union, you can visit TRAC’s website and CREW’s website


Thousands come together in support of Palestine in Downtown Montreal

Downtown Montreal was flooded with supporters for Palestinian liberation.

As war rages on between Israel and Hamas, demonstrators in Montreal banded together to show support for Palestine.

This war has prompted pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Montreal and across the world. On Oct. 13, protesters gathered in downtown Montreal to show their support for Palestinians. 

“We all know of Israel’s occupation,” said Emna Maaref, a woman of Tunisian origin who was attending the protest. “It is only normal that the people of Palestine would want to be freed.”

The war started on the morning of Oct. 7 when Hamas launched an offensive against Israel. The day after, Israel officially declared war against Hamas. Since then, there have been approximately 3,500 casualties and 12,500 wounded on the Palestinian side. Around a million Palestinians have also been displaced because of the conflict. While Israel had 1,400 casualties and 120,000 people displaced.

The demonstration drew people from many backgrounds, not just middle eastern people.

“I have full solidarity with Palestine,” said Richard Davis. “Canada should stop aiding Israel with imperialism.” Davis was among the many who decided to go out and voice his support for the liberation of Palestine.

Many protesters refused or hesitated to speak to the media at Friday’s demonstration. Many even hid their faces to protect themselves from the media.

“It’s not a new conflict,” said a woman of middle eastern descent who wished to remain anonymous. “For us, it’s not a political issue, it is more of a compassion thing. We are proud that Palestinians are doing something to liberate themselves.”

She argued that no country has ever won their independence peacefully. “I grew up with Palestine being everywhere in my life, love for Palestine, my father talking about Palestine. Palestine is etched to our hearts.”

“Hearing about Palestine throughout my life made me want to participate,”said Yasmine Rahmani, who was one of the participants in the demonstration, said that the reason she decided to attend was to make a difference beyond the bounds of social media. 

She criticized Canada for not doing enough to help Palestine, but also thought that maybe it is for the best to not get involved. “Western countries should not include themselves within this conflict, since it is their fault anyway that this conflict even exists.” 

The demonstration went on peacefully, as its chants filled the streets of downtown Montreal. Protesters united their voices and sang: “Justin Trudeau you will see, Palestine will soon be free!”


Montreal turns orange on the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Activists say there is still a lot to be done to decolonize our institutions.

Last Saturday, on Sept. 30, wave after wave of orange swept across the streets of Montreal, as a crowd gathered to celebrate the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

This day is one of commemoration for the Indigenous children who were taken away from their families to be sent to residential schools, many of which never came home. At the march on Saturday, Indigenous activists and allies honoured these children and called on governments and institutions to do more to decolonize their work. 

Kai and Mia Fischlin, two sisters of Inuvialuit and Dene descent, were present at the march. Mia was the first in her family to get involved in the activist movement and had invited Kai to join her at the march.

Kai is a Concordia student in biology, and Mia is an alumni who graduated in human relations. According to the former, it’s important for these marches to continue, year after year, especially with the continued discovery of unmarked graves throughout Canada. “And there’s still a lot to fix within the communities, the Indigenous communities all over Canada. I don’t think [the marches] are ever gonna stop until we see real change,” she said.

“Colonization didn’t happen long ago, and it’s still happening,” added Mia. “Me and my sister, we’re the first generation in our family to not go to the residential schools since it started. There’s just so much change that needs to happen, and it needs to come from everyone. It’s a lot on Indigenous people’s backs to be the only ones pushing forward, so we need everyone’s help.”

National Truth and Reconciliation Day was implemented by the federal government in 2021 as one of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In response to these calls to action, Concordia University published its Indigenous Directions Action Plan in 2019. Manon Tremblay, senior director of Concordia’s Office of Indigenous Directions, is happy with the progress Concordia has made in the last four years, but believes there is still much to be done. “We can’t sit on our laurels,” she said. “We have to continue that momentum, and we have to be able to deliver on these recommendations and these promises.”

Concordia currently has 12 Indigenous faculty members and seven Indigenous staff members—including Tremblay, who is a member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Tremblay believes continuous action is necessary to decolonize Concordia and make it more than “inclusive.”

“Personally, I don’t like the word ‘inclusion,’” explained Tremblay. “I find that ‘inclusion’ is a word that basically says that it’s still their house. And we’re still guests in that house, and we still have to adhere to their rules. What we’re looking to do really is foster a sense of belonging.”

Brina Rosenberg and Meika Blayone, two friends who attended the march, believe that the educational sector plays a major role when it comes to leading the movement of decolonization. 

“Knowing that the research that you can do includes oral storytelling as a resource that counts is super important, and I feel like that’s missing in a lot of university courses,” said Rosenberg. “Especially in history, knowing that oral history is just as important as written history is extremely important.” 

Blayone, who is Metis from Saskatchewan, believes Indigenous realities are erased from educational institutions. According to her, language laws in Quebec make this even worse. “French is super important, but where’s the Indigenous languages? Why are we not learning those? Why are they not an official government language?” she asked. 

Kai and Mia Fischlin encouraged Concordia students to support Indigenous communities whenever and wherever they can, even if it just means sharing a post on social media. 

“And if you see some racism going on, don’t be afraid to call them out, cause it’s a lot for Indigenous people to always fight for themselves as well, and feel alone,” said Mia.

Protesters gather through the streets of Montreal for Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Photos by Marieke Glorieux-Stryckman / The Concordian

Concordia student takes the stand in front of the Police Ethics Committee

Anastasia Boldireff filed a complaint in 2020 against the two officers who helped her file a report after she was stalked.

A legal-size clipboard, a pen and a rickety chair next to the door. That is all Anastasia Boldireff said she was given to write her report at Montreal police station 20 in 2019 after being stalked. For almost two hours, she wrote her report, trying hard to recall the events, balancing her clipboard on her lap.

Last week, Boldireff stood in front of the Police Ethics Committee and testified against the police officer who took her report, Officer Kevin Jacob, and his supervisor, Sergeant Martin Bouchard. 

Adamo Bono first approached Boldireff on St-Catherine St., as she was heading to school—Boldireff is a PhD candidate at Concordia University. He started following her and asking her out, even after she repeatedly told him she was not interested. This was on Oct. 25, 2019.

On Nov. 5, 2019, she saw him outside a coffee shop where she was meeting a friend, he followed her, and he refused to leave until she gave him her number. Bono knew her name and personal details about her life. Boldireff saw Bono again, standing in the EV building on Nov. 11, 2019, as she was headed to an evening class.

On Nov. 7, 2019, two days after the coffee shop interaction, Boldireff decided to go to the police. She went to Police Station 20, where, according to her, the officer told her he was busy and that she could come back later. 

Boldireff decided to turn to Concordia security. She filed a report with a security agent, who then offered to return to the police station together and give an officer the report.

The same officer Boldireff had spoken to previously, Officer Kevin Jacob, was still there. Jacob asked the security agent to leave and told Boldireff that she would have to file another report. 

Boldireff spent two hours filing this second report. She gave Jacob her stalker’s phone number, and Jacob looked it up. “The entire expression on his face changed,” Boldireff said. “And I said: ‘He’s in the system, isn’t he?’” 

Jacob confirmed that he was, but did not give her any more information.

Bono had sexually assaulted two victims in 2016 and 2017. Boldireff would not learn that information, nor her stalker’s full name, until days later, when another officer accidentally handed her a laptop on which Bono’s file was open.

At this point, according to Boldireff, Jacob left to get his supervisor, Sergeant Martin Bouchard. Bouchard asked Boldireff to describe her stalker. Boldireff remembers describing him as around six feet tall, Middle Eastern but pale, lanky, built like a soccer player. 

“He [Bouchard] says: ‘Oh, sounds like a good looking man. A soccer player, you say? Why don’t you go on a date with him?’  He had his arms crossed, he was leaning back, and he laughed,” Boldireff recalled. 

“I remember just being shocked,” said Boldireff. Later, she asked for a ride home, as she felt unsafe walking alone. The officers told her they could not provide one. When she asked about the next steps, she said the officers advised her to watch what she was wearing. 

As she left the station, she said Jacob told her: “I’m sure being an attractive woman like you gets you into trouble.”

The two officers have denied making these comments.

After these incidents, Boldireff did not feel safe in the city. She left the province and, eventually, the country. In April 2022, Bono pled guilty to harassment and was sentenced to two years of treatment in a mental health facility. 

In March 2020, Boldireff filed a complaint against Jacob and Bouchard. She said they were “dismissive, condescending, and inappropriate,” and she suffered from systemic sexism, according to a later complaint to the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.

Last Wednesday, Boldireff recounted her story in a hearing in front of the Police Ethics Committee. She then answered the defense attorney’s cross-examination as even the smallest inaccuracy in her story was brought forward and criticized.

Boldireff denounced the fact that she had to stay standing for her whole testimony, which took the better part of the day. The way the room was set up meant her family, who attended the hearing to support her, was outside her field of vision.

On Thursday and Friday, Boldireff sat in the audience as the testimonies continued. Most of the legal proceedings were in French, a language Boldireff is not completely fluent in. “It felt like the worst language exam,” she said, adding that it made her feel confused and frustrated. 

“It makes all the sense in the world to me, given my experience in the last three days, of first having felt like it was a psychological stoning and it ending with me listening in silence, unable to contribute… It makes sense to me why so few women, so few victims of sexual violence, would come forward with complaints,” she said. 

She highlighted how grateful she is to the Police Ethics Commissioner for helping and believing in her, and to the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) for helping her throughout the process.

Boldireff had some words of advice for other people who might experience what she went through. According to her, having a strong support network is vital, including seeking help from organizations who know the bureaucracy of filing reports and complaints. During the hearing, Boldireff was accompanied by family members as well as a massage therapist, who helped her relax during the breaks in her testimony. 

She also advised victims not to post on social media and to be careful with the messages they send, as posts and messages can be used as proof in an eventual legal case. 

Boldireff carries around a notebook, which she uses to remember everything that has happened to her in relation to her case for the past four years. On one side, she writes the facts. On the other, she writes her thoughts and feelings. She advised other victims to do the same. 

“A lot of the time, […] when you’re victimized, you feel like it’s in your head. Or you feel like it’s not happening to you. You know, ‘Just walk it off’ kind of thing. Like, ‘Oh, that was just a bad day, a bad moment,’” said Boldireff. “I would say that you’re not alone, and reach out to the services that are there to support you, and to your friends and family.”

The decision of the hearing has not yet been announced. 

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